Starting from the beginning of Competitive Season 21, Overwatch has instituted Hero Pools, a system designed to shake up the meta on a regular basis. Each Thursday, the development team will select four heroes to remove from play for the next week. For players, strategies and hero picks must adjust as they respond to the absence of certain heroes. Every week, Hotspawn will be examining the Hero Pool with an eye on how it will affect your ranked games.
The Banned Heroes
This week, two tanks, Roadhog and Sigma, are being removed from the pool for the first time. After two supports were removed during the previous weeks, fans are questioning whether the pools should always include multiple damage heroes.
After all, the choices available to DPS players have always been more numerous than for tanks or supports. More than half of Overwatch’s 32 heroes are damage dealers, and the addition of Echo as a DPS only widens the gap. When multiple tanks or supports are banned, the pickings get pretty slim for players in those roles.
Why are two supports banned?
Is there any rhyme or reason to the hero rotation in Overwatch ranked? At least OWL is transparent, even if convoluted and random.
Banning 2 out of 7 supports is egregious. That's like banning 4 or 5 DPS heroes in a week.
— Josh Wilkinson (@SideshowGaming) March 12, 2020
Alongside the two tanks, Doomfist and Brigitte have also been removed for the next week. One of the most frustrating DPS picks as well as his best support counter are gone for the time being.
What Does It Mean?
Realistically, this Hero Pool shouldn’t dramatically alter how ranked Overwatch works for most players. Obviously, players who have had their main removed will need to find a new pick, but none of these picks were exactly mainstays of the meta. Sigma and Roadhog have both been underwhelming over the last few patches, so tank players especially won’t have to adjust too much. Reinhardt and D.Va should remain the dominant picks for the next week.
Brigitte’s absence might open things up for dive comps. Her ability to stun any divers and peel for her support partner makes it difficult to effectively jump on squishy targets. Without her around, Winston, Genji, and Tracer should have an easier time accessing enemy supports. Life might also be tougher for more vulnerable DPS who could be on the receiving end of those dives. As for what replaces Brig, support players can move to more self-sustaining picks like Lucio and Moira.
For the Doomfist mains, other flankers like Sombra or Genji seem like obvious replacements. Doomfist has a really unique playstyle, so finding direct analogs can be hard. Still, he’s a niche pick that has a pretty low pick rate, so games really won’t be too different for most DPS players.
Overall, this Hero Pool won’t be the most impactful, especially when compared to the Mei ban in the first pool and the two supports removed last week. Dive could have a mini resurgence without Brigitte there to shut it down, but the ranked meta won’t be going off the rails this week.