On July 21, The Overwatch League announced the hero bans for the final tournament of the 2021 season, the Countdown Cup. The removed heroes include Sigma for the tanks, Ashe and Echo on damage dealers and Lucio on support.
The future of the #OWL2021 Countdown Cup is in our hands.. what could possibly go wrong!?
— Plat Chat (@PlatChatPodcast) July 21, 2021
Final hero bans through marbles
To finalize the bans in this season, the league decided to do something more interesting to the common fan. Activision Blizzard allowed the popular podcast Plat Chat to make these bans. Not only was it done by a non-traditional group, but it was also done in a non-traditional way. Headed by Connor “Avast” Prince, the team used the game “Marbles on Stream” to simulate the draw. Giving each group of heroes a marble to represent them, they ran them through a course. Whoever was to finish first would leave the game. For the damage dealers, there were two races done for the two bans.
There were very popular heroes that were not available to ban due to their time spent banned in the June Joust. These include Zenyatta, Tracer and Sombra. In the end, watching the heroes roll down a track to their inevitable elimination made the spectacle of a hero ban more engaging.
What these bans mean
To put it simply, some popular compositions are dead as a result of these bans. With Lucio banned, that June Joust dive GOATs composition won’t return. With Sigma gone, double shield should also disappear. The most surprising outcome out of this run of hero bans is that the Wrecking Ball compositions that were popular in the Summer Showdown haven’t been affected.
Teams most impacted by bans
(teams with players in top 3 playtime on banned hero in regular season by minutes played) pic.twitter.com/LCoUCmvL9y
— DC Justice – PRE (@PRE_owl) July 21, 2021
Most of the heroes banned were Western teams favorites. The challenge for the Western teams now is to learn how to adapt quickly, while the East must only improve on what they already deemed the best composition. However, with these bans, new compositions can rise. No matter what, this tournament will be the final chance for teams to get into the season playoffs.