Critical Hit: Should hero bans be implemented in Overwatch?

Over the past few days, pro players and analysts such as Taimou and Moetorious have come out publicly in favour of a new way to play Overwatch both competitively and casually for the future. Essentially, the argument being made by Taimou and a few other coaches centres around implementing hero bans to make the games fun once again as both teams are prevented from running the same team compositions.

At first, the idea seemed preposterous given Overwatch’s slim hero pool in general, but after taking a second look, can it actually work? And how soon is too soon to implement bans into the Overwatch League?

Making Overwatch fun again

Earlier this week, Dallas Fuel’s Timo “Taimou” Kettunen went on a passionate rant combing over each and every specific reason as to why his favourite game of Overwatch, simply isn’t as fun as it used to be. Basically, Taimou faults no one in particular for this change, but mentioned that the act of ‘balancing’ Overwatch is an impossibly daunting task in and of itself.


© Overwatch League

Whether its damage amplifiers, overt heals and burst damage from one shot heroes, or simply oppressive play by whatever busted tank hero is currently meta, Taimou’s chief complaint of the game stems from its spammability where it feels like pro players are running the same game over and over.

This complaint can be seen across the Overwatch League where many times the same two teams will be forced to run the same composition on attack or defence, leaving very little creativity or innovation in response. If every team competes on the same cookie cutter composition, the chances for variance in play become shockingly small.

For this reason, Taimou and his Head Coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins have come out in favour of one hero ban per team in this following season of Overwatch. In an ideal world, a Head Coach like Aero would enjoy the possibility of using one ban each map in order to disrupt the synergy his enemy may be planning.

Reciprocally, the team who gets second ban after a coin toss can choose whether or not they attack or defend to truly give both teams a fair shot at competitive advantages, without completely sabotaging the integrity of the game. Is this strategy foolproof? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But the future implications for interesting scenarios via hero bans could add a completely new layer of sophistication to the team building stage of Overwatch on each and every map.


© Blizzard Entertainment

What the future holds

In the event that Overwatch League becomes a bit too stale over the course of the season, Blizzard may look to make these changes sooner rather than later to give a much-needed facelift to the pro scene.

Whether you admit it or not, the highly touted GOATS team composition has become meta for most Overwatch teams and the stacked triple healer, triple tank lineups have become all too commonplace in a game with double the amount of DPS characters than anything else in the game. Using a ban on each side before attack and defence could give a much needed competitive boost to teams that are reliant on more than one strategy to succeed.