The Overwatch League casters, hosts and players alike are all holed up at home for the time being, with matches taking place online while the world waits for the Covid-19 pandemic to run its course. It seems like cabin fever is starting to set in though, as this week they've adopted a cat into the analyst's panel to decide on the hero pools.
It went about as well as you can imagine.
Guest cat Nori "The Wizard" was brought onto host Soe Gschwind's video during the most recent Watchpoint episode, to help them decide who to ban. Soe laid out a bunch of tickets with characters on for Nori to choose from, and the first one he touched would be unplayable this week.
This was done in three (well, four, as you'll see in a bit) stages, with tickets individually laid out for tank, support and damage heroes. Nori had to choose one tank, one support, and 2 damage to get rid of this week, with popular heroes getting more tickets if they had a high pick-rate, to make it more likely they'd get banned.
Nori decided the tank ban by simply walking over Zarya's card. He showed his butt to the camera and everything, clearly telling us what he thought of her.
Next was the supports. There was a bit more consideration here, Nori had a thorough look up and down before giving one of Brigitte's tickets a good sniff. She was clearly right out.
McCree was the cat's next murder, much to the disapointment of the panel. But after a brief moment doubting Nori's capabilities, he chose Mei to banned next, completely redeeming himself. The eruption of cheers sent the animal sprinting off, for his work there was done.
Since hero pools were first put in place earlier this year, Mei hasn't been banned once. Not once! Yet here we have our hero and saviour, Nori, giving fans and analysts alike what they want.
Unfortunately at the end of all that, due to some "technical difficulties" (read: they accidentally forgot to print off tickets for Sigma), the tank bans had to be redrawn. Nori was still nowhere to be seen however, but backup cat, Miso, showed up just in time to select Hammond as the true tank ban for this week.
So there you have it - thanks to Nori and Miso, OWL's week 9 hero bans are Hammond, Brigitte, McCree and Mei.
The hero pools are usually chosen at random, but by humans, which are much more boring than cats. Introducing some adorable kitties into the process was a fun way to shake it up a little bit while the analysts are all stuck at home. I sure enjoyed it anyway, I'd probably watch Overwatch League more often if more cute animals were involved.
If you want to catch any of OWL's online matches in the coming weeks, they're streamed at the weekends over on the OWL YouTube channel.