Overwatch: No More Hero Pool for Lower Competitive Ranks

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Overwatch: No More Hero Pool for Lower Competitive Ranks

Hero pools will now use Overwatch League pick rates and no longer impact games below Masters and Grandmasters.

Scott Mercer, Lead Designer for Overwatch, announced several changes for the hero pools:

  • Hero pools will now use Overwatch League data
  • Refined algorithm to prevent “hero pool ping pong” effect
  • Hero pools only affect Masters and Grandmasters

Hero Pools Now Use the Overwatch League Pickrates

When Blizzard unified hero pools for the Overwatch League, Contenders and competitive plays, a major anomaly occurred: the pick rates between these modes were totally different. Banning the same heroes for everyone didn’t make sense, as one could dominate competitive play while being absent from the Overwatch League metas. Scott Mercer even added “Yes, I’m looking at you, Mei and Reaper,” proving the Overwatch team is listening to community feedback.

Overwatch Mei Ban


Once the Overwatch League season is over, the hero pools will only take into account the pick rates from competitive plays. Scott Mercer did not specify if the selection will rely on the whole competitive player base selections or only the higher ranks.

Hero Pools Now Only Affect Masters and Grandmasters

Great news for most of the Overwatch community: hero pools are gone! All games for >500, Silver, Bronze, Gold, Platinium and Diamond players will no longer be affected by hero pools. This means that all heroes, no matter the hero pool, will be available. The hero bans will only happen for Masters and Grandmasters players, less than 3% of the player base.

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This restriction on the higher levels might create a problem already occurring on Overwatch: smurfing. Smurfing is a gaming expression to define the action of a highly-skilled person playing on lower ranks for the pleasure of being “better” than others – who are often beginners or casual players.

Overwatch smurf Widowmaker


If better players can no longer access the whole hero pool while players on lower ranks can, this will entice smurfing. The only way for players to properly train for friendly matches or tournaments is to improve their hero pool. Moreover, Echo is still pretty new to the game and may require more training to master.

To play the entire set of heroes, players had only two solutions: practicing in quick play or arcade modes. Now that lower ranks do not have hero pool in competitive, Masters and Grandmasters players can create alternative accounts to place below Diamond and enjoy the competitive Overwatch experience with all heroes available.

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Overwatch: No More Hero Pool for Lower Competitive Ranks
Ophelie Castelot
Ophelie is both an esport and journalism lover. She is the former head of the CS:GO section for a major esport website. Ophelie has been analyzing Overwatch ever since its release in 2016.