Jessica S. June 9, 2020
Overwatch community manager Molly Fender wrote in a forum post that Hero Pools will be removed indefinitely from competitive play.
Hero Pools were initially created as a way to help unglue a stagnant meta from developing in between patches. Instead of being an extended ban for certain heroes, Hero Pools looks to keep the meta fluid by cycling certain heroes out of play for short lengths of time.
Though this was initially meant to be a part of both professional and amateur play, Blizzard is pulling the plug on that idea for the average consumer. With the introduction of the Experimental Card and more frequent hero balance updates, Blizzard feels confident in its ability to better action on potentially damaging meta trends for regular players.
Although casual players will not have to deal with the Hero Pools anymore, professional players will still have some implementation of the Hero Pools within some parts of the season.
Hero Pools changing for OWL Summer Showdown
On June 13, Hero Pools will be active for the first two weeks of each tournament cycle, which consists of three weeks of qualifier matches followed by a tournament weekend. Hero Pools will not be used for the week before each tournament, or during the tournament. Hero Pools will also now last for two weeks.
This effectively means that Hero Pools will have a two-week cooldown between each pool of banned characters. The first two weeks of the June tournament will have hero pools, and the last week of qualifiers will see them done away with until the end of the tournament.
In August, another tournament will take place with a similar structure. At this event, there will be a few weeks of regular season matches to balance out the amount of played matches for all teams. These two weeks of matches will include a Hero Pool.
While there is no information about how the playoffs will be structured, the 2020 OWL Playoffs will not feature a Hero Pool.