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Pro League of Legends adopts new pick & ban format

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Each team will now ban five champions in a new pick-and-ban format.

Riot Games

Professional League of Legends will be increasing to five bans per team from three, Riot announced Thursday in a post by Lead Champion Designer Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon. Picks and bans for regular play will remain the same for now, with changes there also expected to come.

In pro play we think pick/ban changes can lead to an increase in champion diversity and strategic play. We believe that offering more bans will encourage deeper champion pools with more individual champions seeing the Rift - and that it’ll make a fun and engaging draft phase for fans to watch.

The first three bans and six picks of the new system will function like the old: three bans per team, back and forth, before a snake draft starting with blue side. Midway through red side’s second pick rotation, however, the two teams will ban two more champions each, starting with red side. Then the second phase of picking finishes off the draft in the same snake format.

The length of time allowed for each pick or ban will also be reduced to 30 seconds from 60.

League has expanded its champion roster greatly over the years, growing from the 40 it started with to the 134 it has now. But over that time, the amount of champions each team could ban before a match had stayed at three. In October, Meddler said an increase to five bans per team was “quite likely.”

That raised both excitement (the ability for each player to be guaranteed one ban is certainly appealing) and concerns. For players who mainly play a champion often targeted by bans, like Yasuo, five bans per team would seem like a death sentence to their chances of ever playing that champion in ranked games. It would also lengthen what is already a pretty long process to get a game of League started.

Meddler addressed highlighted the time problem in the post, and said changes to pick/ban in regular play will be coming.

Revised pick/ban for regular play will come somewhat later than the changes in organized play. We’re still assessing what style of pick/ban changes makes the most sense for regular games, given the different circumstances (unfamiliar allies, lack of information about your opposition).