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Esports Overwatch

Overwatch League should allow hero bans

Overwatch should allow hero bans in the OWL. I know this is controversial and I am not 100% convinced of it myself, but the pros outweigh the cons. This is the most effective way of reducing one trick heroes and giving the game another strategic element, raising the skill level and allowing teams to innovate more.

However, they need to wait until the release of at least two more heroes and then, and only then, they should allow one hero ban per map. Not per stage.

This would give them time to get every important role filled with at least one replacement. There are however cons, but I firmly believe that in a couple of months the pros will outweigh the cons. An argument could be made for implementing this now. Yet, Blizzard should wait until season two of Contenders.

Waiting until they filled some more roles would help alleviate role banning. First, we need another speed hero before we can ban heroes. Lucio is the only hero that doesn’t have a contemporary.

Pros

Strategies

Every esport has several aspects that facilitate strategic thinking, separating the great from the merely good. Teams can use strategic thinking to separate themselves from the herd; both in other esports and Ovewatch. In Season 2 of OGN Apex you had two teams use strategies to advance themselves farther than anyone thought possible. MetaAthena used the wackiest, and some of the smartest, set plays to overwhelm otherwise superior opponents. On the other hand, you had RunAway using other more fluid strategies to propel themselves to the final of OGN Apex where they pushed Lunatic-Hai to the brink.

Photo: Robert Paul

 

However, this is not typical of Overwatch. Throughout Overwatch, there has typically been one dominate strategy, or meta, that nearly every team has run. And the team that plays that specific meta will win everything. In the western scene’s case at this moment, this is Rogue. They were strong before dive comp and now they are dominating the scene, but that gap is closing. Slowly.

The gap is closing only because other teams are learning how to play dive. But, what if you could ban Soon’s Tracer? You just handicapped Rogue and forced them to pull out one of the other strategies that they are always mentioning. This would force teams to innovate and come up with strategies while allowing the meta to be more open and broad.

Teams would be forced to come up with counter strategies for other teams and specific maps. You could ban out Ryujehong’s Ana or ban AKM’s Soldier. There are enough other heroes that fill those roles to allow you to still-hit scan or to get heals or even main tank.

Eliminating one tricks

 

While I love seeing players play their best hero and seeing the level of skill that these players bring to the game, I hate to see players get away with playing only one hero. It drives the meta issue and doesn’t facilitate innovation. Which is one of the reasons that we are stuck with a meta for several months.

Players who can play multiple heroes at that high level should be more praised than someone who can play only one hero. Albeit at a slightly higher level.

There aren’t many players who can play 5 or more heroes at a high level. Only a few such as Flow3r, Surefour, and Tviq can do this. We haven’t even seen Soon play that many heroes in a professional setting. Let alone be good at them. This is not to diminish the skill level of Soon, he is incredibly good at what he does. But, variety is the spice of life.There are almost no players with this natural skill and they deserve to be highlighted and depth of roster to be rewarded.

Forcing these players on to other heroes would mix up the strategies and force innovation. Because it is hard to push players to innovate when they are winning everything. Nor should we. The losers need a little more chance to innovate and come up with new ideas.

This is a better method of getting them to do this than adding and balancing heroes. Because if you constantly update heroes you get what LoL has. The team that can adapt to the new meta fastest wins.

The winning team should do so through superior skill and strategy; not whoever runs the current meta the best.

Another solution to the innovation problem is releasing heroes. Blizzard doesn’t seem likely to increase the hero release rate too much and we don’t want them releasing poorly designed and made heroes.

Allowing hero bans is the easiest, most fluid solution.

Cons

Not seeing the best possible players

Hero bans

In my mind this is the only con. We wouldn’t get to see top players playing their best heroes as often. We wouldn’t get to see WhoRu destroying teams with Genji because teams would ban him out. Nor would we get to see a lot of Soon on Tracer. This is my biggest issue with a banning system. However, the pros of forcing these players to learn other heroes outweigh this con. Forcing players to learn other heroes improves the professional scene as a whole.

I would miss seeing some of these players pop off on their favourite hero,  but at the end of the day this isn’t even that big of a con. The meta will determine what needs to be banned out and what doesn’t; so having such a star player playing on a sub optimal might be better than having him play a slightly worse on a slightly better hero.

At the beginning of this system, each team would be allowed to ban out one hero. A total of two heroes would be banned and neither team would be allowed to use said team. I could see a problem when both teams ban out Orisa and Reinhardt, or something similar. Then you aren’t battling with any anchor tanks and forced to play dive. As soon as there are more heroes, this won’t be a problem anymore.

This is a risk that needs to be taken as the pros outweigh the cons. The potential for more strategies and the reduction of one tricks would be awesome and nearly immediate.


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