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Winners and Losers of OWL’s Week 5 Hero Bans

overwatch league hero bans

The four heroes that will be disabled for Week 5 of the OWL have been confirmed making the official start of the Hero Pool system in the OWL. Reinhardt, McCree, Moira and Widowmaker will all be unavailable for the following teams that are playing in Week 5:

  • Toronto Defiant
  • Florida Mayhem
  • Paris Eternal
  • Houston Outlaws
  • Boston Uprising
  • Washington Justice
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • NYXL
  • Atlanta Reign

With all of this confirmed, its time to look at who the winners and losers of this week’s hero bans are. Check back next week to see who the winners and losers of Week 6’s bans will be.


The Fans

First and foremost, the fans of the OWL are the biggest winners this week. Not because they will be seeing the highest quality Overwatch, but because they will be given a break from the frozen tundra of Mei/McCree/Reinhardt/D.Va. A breath of fresh air, at least in part, will be coming with this week’s games.

At the end of the day, so much of what keeps OWL exciting are seeing fresh compositions and styles week-to-week. There’s nothing worse for a viewer than three months of mirror matchups. Hero pools starting this week should put an end to that, even if the overall quality of the league dips a bit as a consequence.

owl week 5 hero bans

Photo: Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment

Toronto Defiant

Of all the teams in the pool, Toronto is one of the few that is served best by the changes. Their main tank, Adam “Beast” Denton, is a bit better suited on Winston, who could see a big increase in playtime this week. He will be paired, likely, with their star DPS, Lane “Surefour” Roberts, who is a jack of all trades on DPS, and Brady “Agilities” Girardi who can thrive on dive-style heroes. While Beast’s Orisa is still a bit unproven at the OWL level, if Toronto can turn this week’s hero pools into a successful dive meta, they could see better results in their matchup against the Florida Mayhem.

Projectile DPS Players

Obviously, Widowmaker and McCree being out of circulation this week means that hitscan DPS players will have a tougher time slotting into viable heroes. While this could lead to some Solider: 76 playtime, it could also simply lead to more projectile heroes like Pharah, Junkrat and Hanzo seeing playtime on the OWL stage. For teams who are more stacked with these sorts of players, this week’s games should look a lot more natural for them.


Boston Uprising

After recently losing their DPS player Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon, the Uprising are down to just two DPS players for Week 5, each of whom specializes on hitscan DPS heroes. Unless they plan to roll out with some Solider: 76 and Bastion compositions, Boston may struggle to find their footing in their matchups against the Justice and the Reign.

OWL Casters

The Watchpoint desk even joked about how this week’s bans will make it harder to hype up certain plays. It’s just easier to get a crowd screaming for headshots and build up Widowmaker 1v1’s. Announcers will have to think on their feet, much like the players will have to, if they want to deliver exciting moments. With how talented this crew has been thus far in 2020, this should be no problem when it’s all said and done.

New Viewers to the OWL

This one is more about hero pools in general. These bans, in addition to making the league much more interesting and sporadic, also create an additional thing that new viewers are expected to figure out as they watch. They may be able to watch the games as they would have previously, but its another hurdle to leap before they can begin to understand the game and the league more fully. For some, the more hurdles they have to leap, the higher chance they quit halfway through the race.


As a reminder, this week’s matches are underway beginning on March 7 at 1:00 pm PST as the Florida Mayhem take on the Toronto Defiant. Be sure to tune in to see what compositions become most popular in this first wave of bans.


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Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment

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