Overwatch League Countdown Cup Hero Pools revealed

Four top picks are now unavailable for this season's final tournament cycle.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch League’s final tournament cycle of the year is set to be an interesting one after its Hero Pools were announced. The Countdown Cup will kick off on July 30 and it’s the last chance for teams to rack up wins before the 2021 postseason begins.  

Hero Pools effectively “ban” one tank, one support, and two damage dealers for an entire tournament cycle. These pools exist to spice up the meta and keep teams on their toes. League specialists normally use software to randomly choose heroes from an eligible pool, but this time around, the process was a bit more flashy. 

The Plat Chat Podcast, hosted by casters Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson, Matt “Mr. X” Morello, analyst Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson, and former player Connor “Avast” Prince, was put in charge of the random selection of hero bans. They decided to use the popular game Marbles on Stream to achieve selections without bias and with additional flair. 

After all the marble runs were completed, four heroes are out of the Countdown Cup. Tank Sigma, support Lúcio, and damage dealers Ashe and Echo will be removed from the tournament. 

Sigma managed to get eliminated even though fellow tank D.Va had three “marbles,” or chances, to be removed thanks to her massive playing time during the Summer Showdown. An enormously high play rate leads to a “weighted” chance to be removed during subsequent Hero Pools, but D.Va avoided that fate. 

With Sigma out of the lineup, double shield compositions with Orisa will be out the window. His removal isn’t massive for most teams, considering he had a play rate below 20 percent. But existing compositions like “double bubble” with Winston and Zarya should remain at the forefront.  

Screengrab via Plat Chat Podcast

As for support heroes, Lúcio’s marble completed a speed run of the track that led to his quick elimination. The loss of the game’s fastest hero means that rush compositions, which involve heroes like Reinhardt and Reaper alongside Lúcio, are likely done and dusted for the Countdown Cup. Other supports, like Ana and Mercy, may have more time to shine. 

Only five damage heroes were up for elimination and they all had a single marble, so the field was completely even. Long-range sniper Ashe was the first to take the dive and aerial hero Echo quickly followed her. The two are polar opposites for most compositions, with Ashe normally fielded to take down pesky Echo players in the sky. 

With Echo out of rotation, some teams—especially those in the East Region—will likely field a Pharah and hope to avoid McCree’s ire. Otherwise, Tracer and Sombra remain available, so we’ll likely see a repeat of the Summer Showdown as far as damage dealers are concerned. 

The first game of the Countdown Cup begins on July 30 when the Dallas Fuel take on the Paris Eternal.