The start of Season 21 will see the premiere of Hero Pools in Overwatch Competitive Play, bringing weekly rotations to the game. The big Overwatch update was announced today Blizzard, via a new developer YouTube post by game director, Jeff Kaplan. As mentioned above, these changes are being implemented in Competitive Play and they are expected to roll out in early February. This will be the first big meta change made to the game in months and “Hero Bans” could have a lasting effect on how the game is played on PS4, Xbox One and PC.


The Hero Pools system will feature a weekly rotation of playable heroes intended to improve the quality of play. Fans are also calling this Hero Bans.

This will mean the temporary removal of some characters in a bid to increase weekly hero diversity and strategy in matches.

This big change is coming to Overwatch Competitive Play and is also being adopted by the Overwatch League.

The Overwatch update to League play won’t be implemented until March 7 but when it does arrive, it will make one tank, one support, and two damage heroes unavailable for selection during matches each weekend.

For those wondering about how this new feature will impact arcade or quick play matches, Hero Pools will not be implemented.

Hero Pools will disable certain heroes selected by the development team in competitive play each week, meaning they will not be randomised.

“No hero will be unavailable two weeks in a row. Hero Pools will not be used for midseason tournaments, the play-in tournament, playoffs, or Grand Finals. All heroes will be available for those matches.

“Teams will be informed of each week’s Hero Pool approximately one week in advance of matches.

“Our expectation is that a rotating Hero Pool for Overwatch League matches will foster a wider range of team strategies and showcase more heroes in competition as players adapt and teams experiment with new compositions when some of the most-played heroes are no longer options.”

Blizzard also announced plans to bring experimentation servers to PS4, Xbox One and PC.

This will allow wider testing of new Overwatch features and will function as an additional game mode.