Within the preseason patch notes, Riot noted the Normal Draft queue has been removed from the game for most regions. The queue is still available for players in North America, EU West and Brazil, with no immediate plans to change that.
In a post on the forums, Riot Socrates stated Riot wants to limit the amount of total queues in order to keep them “healthy,” so getting rid of Normal Draft queues will hopefully move more players to the Flex Ranked Queue instead.
Normal Draft will be retired at the start of preseason for all regions except North America, Europe West, and Brazil. Our goal is to offer the fewest number of queues that give unique experiences (so we can keep queues healthy) while keeping disruption low, and in all regions except NA/EUW/BR, normal draft had very low participation. In an ideal world, we’d like to retire normal draft in all regions.
- Riot Socrates
Many Normal Draft regulars have been vocally upset with the change, since this forces players in those regions to either play blind pick, where you may have to fight for your position with a stranger if you're not playing with a full group of 5, or ranked, which is an inherently more stressful experience.
This is also a problem since you cannot Flex Queue with friends that are more than one ranked tier above or below you, so you can no longer play draft games with friends of vastly different elos.
Rioter Draggles said that Normal Draft lovers in the regions where it is still active shouldn’t be too alarmed by the new announcement, as Riot will be watching the player behaviors carefully and only remove the queue if it becomes unpopular.
We caused confusion by saying that "in an ideal world" we'd retire Normal Draft in NA, EUW, and BR. We have no current plans to do so. Ultimately, we would like to take the best aspects of both normal queues (position preference from Normal Draft and less hardcore gameplay/speedy champion select from Blind Pick) into a single queue.
- Riot Draggles
He also noted regions that have already had Normal Draft queues taken away will be monitored for feedback from players about how the changes have affected preseason.