Week 5 introduces Hero Pools. Who will be affected the most?
With Week 5 of Overwatch League’s 2020 season on the horizon, Hero Pool will finally see the light of day. Blizzard Entertainments’ aggressive new idea to keep the competitive metagame fresh and fluid, by disabling random heroes. Reinhardt, McCree, Widowmaker, and Moira all will be unavailable for this weekend’s games in Washington D.C. With Dive being the odds on favorite for the next metagame, can the Justice turn their luck around at home? Can the Uprising mimic that same narrative? It’s time to dive into our Overwatch League’s Week 5 predictions.
Match of the Week: Paris Eternal vs Philadelphia Fusion @Washington
15:00 EST 12:00 PST 21:00 CET (March 8th)
Yiska: Philadelphia (3-1) There are few teams in the history of the Overwatch League that were better prepared than the Fusion towards volatile meta switches. They’ve always sported deep benches and it’s no different here. Notably, Heesu is not eligible for this week, which arguably is a huge loss in the rumored meta. If against all odds, the Eternal actually take this one here, we’ll have to strongly consider them to be an elite tier team for now.
Volamel: Philadelphia (3-1) Philadelphia is not only an obvious choice for one of the strongest teams in the league at the moment, but they are proving this statistically as well. With one of the highest teamfight win percentages, their transitions off of first eliminations, everything. This team is among the title contenders and Paris, in my estimation, will be taking a hit due to the Hero Pools, at least for the foreseeable future.
Toronto Defiant vs Florida Mayhem @Washington
15:00 EST 12:00 PST 21:00 CET
Y: Toronto (3-1) Toronto has already displayed that they aren’t shy to play dive in this meta and they have a deep enough bench to play all kinds of iterations. Mayhem already looked to be struggling and the bans didn’t exactly help them here.
V: Toronto (3-1) This particular Hero Pool, the way I see it playing out, benefits Toronto really well seeing how they’ve already have started playing Dive centric compositions. This coupled with the fact that Florida either has to commit to Kris having to play Lucio, which is a detriment, or playing non-Dive compositions with double flex supports give them a much steeper hill to climb.
Paris Eternal vs Houston Outlaws @Washington
17:00 EST 14:00 PST 23:00 CET
Y: Paris (3-1) The Eternal coaching staff did a marvelous job in expanding their players’ understanding of Overwatch in general. A coaching staff should not just be measured by how well their star players are playing but by how well integrated and improved the rest of the team looks. Certainly, these hero pools aren’t kind to them on paper but I’m inclined to give the vision of Eternal’s coaching staff the benefit of the doubt here.
V: Houston (3-2) Paris has two games to prepare for, Houston has one. Houston, in theory, is put on comfort heroes with Hero Pools, where Paris has to adapt their roster, who already doesn’t communicate without fracture, for Hero Pools. While Paris is generally a better-structured team with a stronger average, Hero Pools should be enough to turn the tide slightly in the Outlaw’s favor.
Boston Uprising vs Washington Justice @Washington
19:00 EST 16:00 PST 01:00 CET
Y: Washington (3-2) The season has not been kind of Boston so far and their only victory against the Outlaws might just be a testament to their opponents slump that they seem to have gotten out of. Nevertheless, the rumored meta doesn’t help Justice at all, probably to the point where they will have to play their own version with different heroes. Not having two hitscan players will hurt them here, but not to the point where the Uprising should be seen as a favorite.
V: Washington (3-1) Hero Pools or not, the Boston Uprising has been in a free fall since Stage 3 of Season 2. The roster they field now is as barebones as it gets and will struggle to beat Corey and the Justice at home. A saving grace could be to finally put Colourhex on something he can overrun the game with, but finding that hero is the more difficult part. Whereas Corey has an ocean of heroes to pull from.
New York Excelsior vs Washington Justice @Washington
17:00 EST 14:00 PST 23:00 CET
Y: New York (3-1) The question in this match will only be how much New York will want to toy with their food. They’re another team with a deep bench that shouldn’t be shaken by the changes and yet the team we’ve encountered in the first two seasons were slow to adapt to metas and mostly looked mortal in the first weeks after a huge balance patch. We’ve gotten hints of head coach IMT restructuring the team, presumably to be more adaptive to the challenges of the hero pool season. Will it bear fruit? It’s unlikely to be tested against the Justice.
V: New York (3-1) Another team that is under some serious criticism as of late is the Washington Justice. With Corey as their sole threat, it’s hard to imagine a world where the NYXL, a team that historically has been among the top teams, loses to a team on pace to sit either near or in the bottom five. Now the NYXL has not shown the level of consistency or dominance that they have in the past, but perhaps that changes or levels out with Hero Pools.
Boston Uprising vs Atlanta Reign @Washington
19:00 EST 16:00 PST 01:00 CET
Y: Atlanta (3-0) Hopefully we’ll get to see the Reign flex their hitscan depth this weekend. Babybay performed very well in their first match last week but had a considerable dropoff in his individual performance and I would’ve liked to see either SharP or Edison making an entrance. Very few top tier rookies across the league have failed to deliver upon their promise this season, speaking towards the quality of talent that was playing in contenders last season. Both SharP and Edison were the crown jewels of their respective teams and should be able to show up just the same. The match against a weak Uprising should be the perfect testing ground for all kinds of substitutions for the Reign.
V: Atlanta (3-0) Atlanta has a deep roster capable, at the very least, of piloting any metagame put in front of them at a mid-table Overwatch League level. Sitting opposite them is the Boston Uprising, a team that really does look like top Contenders teams would make them struggle. The Uprising needs to bounce back and do have potential, but they’re going to need time and playing against an opponent like Atlanta doesn’t help either. This should be very one-sided.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment