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OWL Reveals June Joust Hero Pool

Bradley Long

The Overwatch League announced the first hero pool of the 2021 season on Thursday. Tracer, Sombra, Reinhardt, and Zenyatta will be removed from the June Joust tournament, including its regular-season qualifier matches. The league also announced the tournament Map Pool.

June Joust Hero Pool

OWL's new Hero Pool system has delivered its first results, removing four heroes from the June Joust. Phot Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Implemented last year to avoid meta stagnation, Hero Pools were a controversial topic: some fans enjoyed the diversity of hero picks, but concerns of player burnout loomed large amidst constant changes. The league is aiming for balance this year, with Hero Pools only being used in two out of four tournaments.

Of the heroes taken out of the June Joust, Tracer and Reinhardt will likely be the most notable absences. During the May Melee, they were staple picks from start to finish. Tracer was the most picked hero overall, and Rein was the third most common tank pick. Especially in North America, Rein defined the Brawl comp, one of the major styles of OWL’s first tournament of the season.

Tracer and Sombra seemingly became more and more important as the tournament went on, possibly because they were go-to picks for the eventual champion Dallas Fuel. Yeonghan “SP9RK1E” Kim and Dongha “Doha” Kim wreaked havoc on opposing backlines with the two flanking DPS picks. With new hitscan Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim not yet with the team, the Fuel will be tested even further on their ability to adapt and overcome.

The final selection was Zenyatta; the fifth most picked Support hero. Primarily used in long-range Poke compositions, Zen was most prevalent in the East region, especially with teams that play a lot of Wrecking Ball. The Hunters and Valiant will feel his absence, but it won’t drastically change the meta.

All removed heroes were selected from those who had seen a 10% pick rate or higher during the May Melee. After the tournament saw one of the league’s most diverse metas ever, that meant 18 heroes were eligible this time around.

What these changes mean

As for the June Joust meta, Reinhardt’s absence would suggest more of the already popular Dive tanks, Winston and D.Va. However, they just lost two of their best DPS partners in Sombra and Tracer. Echo, Doomfist, and Genji could be the stand-ins. Double shield comps with Orisa and Sigma could make a comeback, though losing Zen hurts.

With the June Joust qualifiers starting next weekend, teams won’t have too long to adapt. A quick grasp of the meta is essential for teams with championship aspirations. After all, a slow start almost kept Dallas out of the May Melee Knockouts entirely. Anything can happen in a new meta. Next week is sure to be fun.