Blizzard officially announced that Overwatch's competitive play is doing away with Hero Pools, as the more recent changes have proven more beneficial for the meta.
Writing on the official forums , Overwatch's community manager Molly Fender explained that Hero Pools were meant to address stagnating metas and keep matchups more exciting.
Hero Pools basically removed the most overplayed heroes for a week, but the restrictions never really felt like they made things more exciting. However, the addition of Experimental Cards and ongoing hero balance changes mean that Blizzard can come up with a fresh meta without having to disable heroes.
So, Hero Pools are removed from competitive play with immediate effect and "no tentative date for re-implementation".
Come June 13, 2020, the Overwatch League will use a single hero pool for the first two weeks of each cycle, which consists of three weeks of qualifier matches and bracket play. "Hero Pools will not be used for the week before each tournament or during tournament bracket play", they wrote.
Blizzard also wrote that the upcoming Summer Showdown will be played without Hero pools , and the official shared rules are:
- Hero Pools are suspended for all tournament matches - all heroes will be available.
- Matches are first-to-three map wins until the finals, which will be first-to-four maps.
- Higher-seeded teams pick the first map.
- The losing team of each map picks the next map in the series.
- In case of draws, the team that picked the previous map picks again.
Summer Showdown qualifying matches will be played over the last three weeks of June.