Week 5 of the 2020 Overwatch League (OWL) season was one of the craziest weeks that competitive Overwatch has seen this season. The introduction of Hero Pools into the league undoubtedly played a large role in this. There were multiple upsets, players were picking a variety of different heroes, and the games seemed wildly unpredictable. Professional players and coaches have had a mixed reaction since the announcement of Hero Pools. Their reactions after week one are still, unsurprisingly, mixed.
Reactions to Overwatch League Hero Pools
Florida Mayhem’s head coach Kim “Kuki” Dae-kuk told the Washington Post: “I understand what Blizzard was going for. I understand the perspective of fans,” Dae-kuk said. “But, to talk about my perspective, it’s hellish.” He also emphasized the amount of work it took to prepare his players for the week.
Boston Uprising’s Walid “Mouffin” Bassal stated in the same article that he “dislikes it so much” and that “One week is just way too small of a timeframe for teams to figure out what’s good here, what’s good there.” Boston lost both of its games this weekend and sits at the bottom of the OWL standings.
Other players have felt that Hero Pools are good for the OWL. Corey “Corey” Nigra, a damage player for the Washington Justice, said to the Washington Post that he believes that the changes are a “breath of fresh air.”
The New York Excelsior’s support player, Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang, told ESPN via an interpreter that he didn’t know how to feel initially, but after playing it he thinks “having this diverse system can be very positive.”
Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman of the Atlanta Reign gave one of the most neutral opinions in a separate interview with ESPN, stating that he thinks it’s “not the worst thing” but that he wishes the players had more say in the bans.
One thing that most players seem to agree on is that the OWL Hero Pool should be the same as the Hero Pool in competitive play. Currently, the two Overwatch pools have different hero bans. This is a change that could help the pros practice.
Regardless of what players and coaches think, Hero Pools don’t seem to be going anywhere in the OWL. It will be interesting to see whether opinions change once everyone gets more used to the system.