The introduction of Hero pools to the Overwatch League in March of this year will prove challenging to all teams. Washington Justice more than most perhaps. DC is tied for the smallest starting roster in the league. Eight players. Two supports, Three tanks and Three DPS. These are the main challenges Washington faces once hero pools come into play.
Hero Pools Will Demand Roster Depth
The most obvious challenge Washington has is to make sure they have enough heroes in their collective roster. When it comes to the League, players are usually able to pick up heroes pretty quickly. But the whiplash of potentially having to change playstyles from one week to another can erode a lot of learned practice in favor of instincts. Instincts that might not meld well to an OWL environment that values teamwork and coordination.
Being able to play a hero is not the same as being able to play it at an Overwatch League level. This is where roster depth can really come into play. Teams like San Fransisco Shock, New York Excelsior and Atlanta Reign have a lot of individual hero talent in their rosters. That is not really present with Washington.
Starting with the biggest red flag for Washington right now. Supports. It’s already a little unsafe to only field two players for the position. ArK has been a great player but his hero pools in the league consist primarily of Mercy and Lucio. With some Ana if his recent streams are any indication.
For Aimgod, Zenyatta has always been his bread and butter. We have also seen his Ana, which is arguably not at the same level as ArK’s. Aimgod has also played Moira both in and out of the league.
Starting with ELLIVOTE. His D.va has always been highly praised, the same can be said of his Zarya. That leaves a big blindspot for his Roadhog and Sigma. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he is skilled at it. It is also possible that Roadhog will not be as prevalent on the new weekly metas. But hoping that a hero won’t be played is not ideal.
LullSiSH’s best hero is undoubtedly his Reinhardt. Followed by Orisa and in third place Winston. He will likely field Orisa in the League. There is also a possibility that he could play Wrecking ball for the team as he has been grinding the hero in the ladder, even reaching second place in North America’s top 500.
As expected, rOar has a similar pool of heroes as LullSiSH. Whether this means he will be starting over ELLIVOTE’s life-long duo partner remains to be seen. But for the topic at hand, it means that there will be a lot of overlapping leaving once again the question of Roadhog and Sigma open to speculation. It is worth noting that he has played some Sigma on the ladder as of late.
Corey is the hitscan and sniper player of Washington. Whether there will be a need for Mccree, Hanzo, Widowmaker, Tracer, or Reaper. The main issue that can be brought up then is Sombra. Neither Stratus or TTuba have the hacker in their belt. This could mean that Corey will need to learn it.
TTuba is a very skilled projectile player. He has a good Doomfist and Pharah, which is what fans have seen of him in contenders. But doubt still looms over him as a rookie. But the fact that Washington’s new developmental coach, Sup7eme, has worked with him in the past suggests that there is trust in TTuba to perform up to the level of competition.
The remaining DPS player on the team is Stratus. He is very much among the best western projectile players in the game. He has great Pharah, Mei and Genji skills. He has also played Junkrat and Doomfist in the past, though TTuba is possibly more adept at Doomfist play.
Washington Justice’s Blindspots
The heroes that the Washington Justice might struggle to incorporate into their team will be Roadhog, Sombra, Brigitte and Symmetra. This last one might not seem so important, but given the high skill ceiling of Symmetra, having a player with a deeper understanding of the hero can prove valuable in weeks where cheeky teleporter plays flourish.
For some of these heroes, like Roadhog and Sombra, the best way the Washington Justice can integrate them into their roster would be by practicing them. Either Corey or Stratus could make the effort to learn Sombra and find good success with it. Having good communication with whoever is playing that hero is key.
For Roadhog. It’s all about aim and predictions. ELLIVOTE already has a full plate with keeping up with his Zarya, Sigma and D.va. So it would not be surprising to see rOar take on the Hog. Even LullSiSH could if he finds the time after learning Wrecking Ball.
A Possible Permanent Solution
One of the ways the Justice could prepare for the Hero pools change is to expand their roster. This was one of the longterm strategies outlined in their season preview. By looking at the new talent coming up through the Path to Pro system, DC can adapt to the changing meta by looking only for what they need.
Another option that is always on the table is to trade for talent already in the league. A strategy that could be very profitable if teams decide to reduce their rosters in the middle of the season.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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