When Season 7 starts this spring, League of Legends will be implementing a 10 ban system in all its professional player tournaments. According to Riot, these pick/ban changes will hopefully lead to an increase in champion diversity and strategic play — and that offering more bans will encourage deeper champion pools so more individual champions seeing the Rift.
The strategy here is to give each team two more bans to make the draft phase more fun and engaging for fans to watch. The extra bans should encourage adaptability, and teams will have to have a better working knowledge of all champions in order to discover what strategies opponents are going to use then quickly counter them.
Riot tested the new system with pro players, then kept their feedback and fan feedback in mind as they implemented those new changes. As they roll it out, they’ll be gathering even more feedback to further improve the system throughout the season.
The New Pick Order
Of course, changing the number of bans means changing the turns in the pick/ban phase as well. The first part of champion drafting will stay the same, with both sides banning 3 champions each. Then the draft will follow the usual order (1 pick Blue, 2 picks Red, 2 picks Blue, 1 pick Red). This is when the extra two bans come in.
During the second ban phase, the two sides alternate bans back and forth (starting with Red side). Once all 5 bans are made, the draft will rotate back to pick phase. Red picks once, Blue twice, then Red again to finish it all out.
So does this mean anything for regular matches?
It looks like there might be some changes there too. Riot has decided that some sort of banning might come after some time for regular League of Legends matches. But first, they want to make sure they know what pick/ban format makes the most sense for regular games due to unfamiliar allies and a lack of information about the opposition.
Should they decide to implement the feature in regular play, Riot is considering only one ban per player. There are already concerns about the queue times being too long, which would only be made worse by an extensive draft time. So the team is exploring other options as well to make room for everyone, like reducing the time for champion selection.
The 10 ban system still has a lot of appeal for regular matches, and the player feedback has encouraged Riot to try hard and implement it. But ultimately it depends on how the testing phase goes. If it goes well, we may see a completely different draft phase for players to enjoy.