Overwatch

Could Overwatch be getting a new hero ban system without role limits?

by Michael Gwilliam
Blizzard Entertainment

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A new ban system made its Overwatch esports debut during a May 30 show match in South Korea, and fans were wondering if it will be implemented in their games in the future.

On May 30, 2020, the iconic rosters of Runaway and Lunatic-Hai squared off at the Giga Arena, which was home to OGN’s Overwatch APEX for four seasons before OWL began.

While many were excited to see the old rosters reunited on stage after a few years, the show match also featured a very unique ban system that surprised many fans watching live.

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YouTube/Overwatch League
The exhibition match featured some unique hero bans.

The format completely removed 2-2-2 role lock and hero pools. Instead, teams were allowed to ban four heroes for the entire series – one support, one tank, and two DPS.

What made the format unique, however, is that it was possible for teams to have two completely different bans.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGm0lZcK9A

For instance, while the first three were the same across the board, Lunatic-Hai chose to ban Sombra while Runaway kept their opponents from running Mei. This means that in theory, eight different heroes could be banned, but only four per team.

Additionally, as the series went on, teams were allowed to unban heroes they weren’t allowed to use, slowly increasing the options available to them. This added another layer of strategy.

Many fans and content creators approved of the format. YouTuber YourOverwatch was impressed by its implementation.

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“Seems like when given 5 minutes to come up with a workable ban system with limited adverse effects, OGN did so. Almost like we should let esports legends work on the esport format hm?” he tweeted.

Former pro turned content creator Connor ‘Avast’ Prince seemed to be down with the format, but was opposed to removing role restrictions alongside it.

“No hero pools and pick ban systems are perfectly valid things to be discussed if it improves the game,” he wrote. “2/2/2 is non-negotiable because we’ve seen what happens without it and how it hurts players.”

So far Blizzard hasn’t commented on the OGN ban format, but it will be interesting to see if ever makes its way to the Overwatch League or even ranked.