Are The Justice On The Rise Thanks To One Forgotten Star?
Jang "Decay" Gui-un is one of the most talented Overwatch players to grace the stage. After entering the league in 2019 carrying a pristine resume of success from Overwatch Contenders, Decay was the rookie to watch.
Since then, he has been a polarizing star within the league without much definitive success on the team front. Now, alongside the 2022 Washington Justice, it seems like the 'de-carry' is back in prime form. From being on the trade block to spearheading the Justice to a promising bid in the Kickoff Clash, Decay has wrestled control of his narrative as an inarguable star for the Overwatch League. The question is, did he ever leave?
Just to measure where Decay started from, and thus where his narrative begins, we pulled some statistics from the history books. Before the Overwatch League's Stats Lab, we had Winston's Lab. They measured their statistics a bit differently than we do now, but the impact Decay had was very clear even going back to 2017.
Ranking him against other Tracers from OGN's APEX Season 3, he was marked within the top 10% in metrics like percentage of his team's kills (PTK), kills per ten minutes, as well as first kills. However, coming full circle in his career especially recently, it was his kills per ultimate (KPU) that led the tournament.
And to add further context, Decay was on KongDoo Uncia, the sister team to the more well known KongDoo Panthera. Uncia bombed out of Group B that season going 0-3 to teams like RunAway, X6-Gaming, and Afreeca Freecs Blue. That means in three-match losses and only twelve maps played, not only did Decay end with positive statistics - but somehow even led in select categories.
APEX Season 4 wasn't much better in terms of KongDoo Uncia's success either. Once again being placed into Group B, they struggled against their sister team KongDoo Panthera and Nc Foxes and at least beat up on Flash Lux, a team who infamously rarely won maps and are most known for producing Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun. At least with one match win his statistics seem a bit more reasonable, but once again, Decay was a statistical anomaly.
On Tracer he led the tournament, yes including the playoffs and finals, with an astounding 30.3% PTK. Mind you this was 19% above the average of 25.5% PTK. Past that he had 11.72 kills per ten minutes, 8.5 being the average, and 14.9% of his team's first kills, 13.5 being the average here.
This Doesn't Happen - And When It Does, It Is Special
Underperforming teams throughout Overwatch's competitive history don't tend to produce or allow for strong performances. In the rare occurrence that a player is able to surprise repeatedly, it is the mark of someone special. And for how long Decay has matched that distinction, he must have ice in his veins.
Performing well on good teams is hard enough for players, performing above and beyond on poor teams is superhuman.
Sadly we don't have Decay's Overwatch Contenders statistics, but rest assured; he de-carried. If he managed those kinds of numbers on a bottom table team during the APEX era, just imagine what he would be able to do with a map-five playoffs appearance in the first season in 2018 followed by a second-place finish in the following season. Much like some kind of heretical text hidden away from the world by the church, maybe we aren't ready to see what kinds of numbers Decay managed during his 2018 bid.
What we do know is that he was the rookie to sign heading into 2019 and landed with the Los Angeles Gladiators right as Overwatch entered one of its most rigid metagames ever.
One dominated by tanks and supports.
We fished out Decay's performance on Zarya from the official Overwatch League Stats Lab, and it's fairly surprising but nothing to really leave you gobsmacked.
There again, DPS heroes were simply not a thing that season, so some grace should be given.
For the 2020 season, he would move to the Dallas Fuel and that's where his statistics continued to leave everyone scratching their heads.
Of the 27 Tracers that were ranked per the official Overwatch League Stats Lab, Decay ended the season ranked seventh in final blows per ten minutes, eighth in eliminations per ten minutes, leading the entire season in hero damage done per ten minutes, and held the second-fewest deaths per ten minutes across the league.
Decay performed admirably on picks like Reaper and Ashe, but his Tracer was otherworldly - and that wasn't all.
We all remember the master class he put on as Widowmaker on Rialto against the Houston Outlaws during the 2020 season. He was the dagger in the heart of the Outlaws' hopes during the May Melee knockout stage. 42% scoped critical hit accuracy is simply monstrous, but his pressure aided the Fuel to finish the map at a blistering pace, ending with a 5:11 time bank.
Decay managed this all while the Dallas Fuel went 9-12 during the regular season.
This Is Why Decay Is Overwatch's 'Iceman'
On middling to even bad teams, something that repeats itself time and time again throughout his career, he is able to outlast his team's rankings. Decay has arctic blood and is able to weather the storm and still perform at the highest level.
The 2021 season echoes those all too familiar notes. The Washington Justice are our underperforming team that Decay calls home, they squeak into playoffs with a 9-7 record during the regular season. And yet somehow, some way he still is among some of the best players statistically.
Of the 10 Reapers that were ranked per the official Overwatch League Stats Lab, Decay ended the season ranked first in final blows per ten minutes, fourth in eliminations per ten minutes, third in hero damage done per ten minutes, holding the second-fewest deaths per ten minutes, and being ranked third in solo kills per ten minutes.
But it doesn't stop there.
Of the 24 Tracers that were ranked per the official Overwatch League Stats Lab, Decay ended the season ranked fourth in final blows and eliminations per ten minutes, seventh in hero damage done per ten minutes, and he held the lowest amount of deaths per ten minutes.
He also held the fourth-highest first elimination rate across the league on Tracer.
For the better part of a five-year career, Decay has consistently been a world-class talent in every sense of the word and has done so on teams that don't particularly strike fear in the hearts of the league.
Someone put South Korean MMA legend Jung "The Korean Zombie" Chan-sung on the phone because Decay is giving him a run for his money. No matter the obstacle, no matter the punch dealt, Decay continues marching forward and has looked impressive doing so.
And 2022 looks to be number six because Decay has struck again.
This time his dominance was felt by 2021's silver medallists, the Atlanta Reign. After a far too early prediction and off the back of a strong opening to the 2022 season, the Reign looked in prime form to be real contenders for the Kickoff Clash title. That statement feels more than suspect now after the Washington Justice throttled them 3-0. Primarily off the back of Decay's Tracer performance. 13 final blows, 3 deaths, and an astounding 80% Pulse Bomb attach rate.
While that is a map dominating performance, this year it doesn't look like he's alone.
The Washington Justice looks impressive to start the 2022 season.
Kim "Mag" Tae-sung looks to have found his sea legs and is able to facilitate his DPS players by being proactive on Winston while also defaulting to a slower, more reserved style.
Lee "Happy" Jung-woo is a wonderful DPS partner, especially with how much-dedicated hitscan is being played. Even Jeong "Krillin" Young-hoon has surprised us with his efficient Biotec Grenades and Sleep Dart accuracy.
Rounding out the Kickoff Clash, the Washington Justice has to face the Paris Eternal, the Boston Uprising, and the Florida Mayhem. This, by our early estimations, has them ending at worst 4-2 which should mathematically qualify them for the stage playoffs. With the metagame in a state of flux, with teams still waffling about on their tank choices, with Genji still being viable, with Tracer becoming more of a solid pick on game types like Push and Control and with Doomfist seemingly being paper-thin to Overwatch's flanking face - this looks very winnable for Washington.
Yes, JusticeStan449, you may have never sold your stocks, but the community-at-large does not understand just how impressive Decay's career has been and how little he has to show for it. That said, Washington's iceman is due for a major payout. With a little bit of confidence, a sizeable amount of growth and one explosive star, the Overwatch League ends week two with the Justice being a potential contender.
There is a spotlight on Justice and Decay is taking centre stage.
Perhaps the Kickoff Clash title will put some respect on his name.