What does the “Fearless Draft” mode bring to League of Legends esports when banning 30 heroes in a single game becomes insane?

Fearless-Draft

“The global BP is pretty good,” Doinb mentioned during the live broadcast, referring to LDL’s implementation of the global BP (fearless draft BO3 mode).

In mid-July, LDL officially introduced the “fearless draft” BO3 format during the second round-robin of the summer season. This format, also known as “global BP,” means that in the BO3 series, after the second and third games, teams cannot choose or use any heroes that have already been used in the same series. It’s like the saying goes, “once a hero is used, it automatically enters the ban phase.” So, when the series reaches the third game, the system automatically bans 20 heroes, in addition to the regular 10 bans, making a total of 30 unavailable heroes for selection!

“Enables players to practice more heroes! Many skilled players in the LDL, even when Bei Chuan was in the LDL, he mainly played Sion and Nidalee, but after joining the LPL, he started practicing many other heroes,” Doinb said during a livestream, showing his support for this change. Many viewers learned about this change in the LDL through his livestream.

The fearless draft has increased the number of banned champions from 10 to a new height. What kind of changes will this modification bring to the LDL and related events?

What challenges does the fearless draft bring?

In fact, as early as the end of 2021, the LDL already had preliminary plans for this BP reform.

“The fearless recruitment puts pressure on players in terms of hero pool selection. For them, it requires more time to train and expand their hero pool,” said Xie Zixuan of the LPL Ecological Team Competition Operations Group, discussing the initial intention behind the reform of LDL. “How to quickly improve their skill level, hero pool, and better adapt to the future professional arena are our considerations.”

After the preliminary plan for fearless recruitment was drafted, the LPL Ecological Team initiated discussions and communication with major clubs. With the support from several clubs, the global ban-pick system officially debuted in the 2022 LDL Summer Split.

“Ban 30 heroes in one game?”

After the implementation of the “Fearless Draft Mode” in LDL in July, there have been some voices of reflection and questioning gradually appearing on forums and Weibo. From the perspective of the game, on one hand, banning more heroes will undoubtedly bring about diversity and improvement in the viewing experience. On the other hand, it also exponentially increases the requirements for the players’ hero pool and the coaches’ preparation work, posing a great challenge for both players and coaches.

“It’s a challenge,” said FPB coach Ye Shengliao to People Esports. “For coaches, the pressure they face in tactical reserves and on-field responses will be greater, but their corresponding influence and role will also be higher. Players also need to step out of their comfort zone in terms of hero pool and cooperate with tactics to expand their hero pool. Overall, this helps to diversify the training ecosystem and enhance the flexibility of players and coaches.”

For players, during the half-season adaptation, they gradually transitioned from “facing challenges” to “embracing and solving problems.” Many players have expanded their champion pool and have also gained more strategies and possibilities, improving their own strength.

“The impact is not as exaggerated as we imagined, but it does exist,” Xie Zixuan said. “The 30 spots are basically evenly distributed among players of each position, so every player needs to practice several champions. The relatively difficult part is still getting through this transitional period.”

After half a season of adaptation, LDL teams have basically adapted to this new BP system. While actively exploring more possibilities in the game, the communication between the players and coaches has also improved to a higher level compared to before.

Xie Zixuan said, “Due to the need for more communication to formulate the BP strategy and match tactics, the overall BP has deepened the communication between players and coaches, including those with data analysts, which has become a habit. This mode of communication is also beneficial for their future in professional competitions.”

From 10BP to 30BP, it not only challenges the club in terms of strategy but also presents a huge challenge for live streaming in LDL. According to Xie Zixuan, the biggest difficulty in live streaming is to enable viewers to clearly understand the overall BP situation, such as adjustments on the BP panel. In addition, there is also a significant challenge in understanding the commentary. Commentators need to change their previous BP thinking and grasp as many hero strategies and BP approaches as possible for both sides. Furthermore, in terms of presenting match data, analyzing and displaying more lineup data is also required for the 30BP format.

“Both international competitions and major regions currently use 10BP, but with the release of new League of Legends champions and the need for tactical diversity and spectator appeal, it is inevitable that we will go through a process of transitioning from 6BP to 10BP and beyond,” said Xie Zixuan. “Currently, 10BP is still in the adaptation phase in the LDL. After one season, we have received feedback from Riot headquarters and other regions about the possibility of implementing Blind Pick to some degree. In the future, perhaps we can see this change on a larger stage.”

The Asian Challenger Star brings value to the ecosystem, LDL seeks positive changes.

On September 12th, teams from five major regions of LDL, LCKCL, LJL.A, PCS.A, and VCS.B participated in the Asian Challenger Star (ASCI) invitational tournament. This new event is a result of some changes made to secondary leagues such as LDL this year.

Compared to the “World Championship” and “Mid-Season Invitational” that we are familiar with, ASCI is a competition among secondary leagues from various Asian regions. It aims to strengthen communication between different regions and provide a higher stage for emerging talents, promoting the overall development of esports in Asia. The tournament focuses on the battles of young players and tells the stories of these rising stars in the esports industry.

“After the implementation of the league system in LPL, players and clubs have consistently expressed their desire for a higher-level event for the secondary league. Now, ASCI can enrich the tournament structure and create a higher stage for them to showcase their abilities.” Similarly, Xie Zixuan believes that the focus of the Asian Stars this time will still be on the performance of young players, as “the stories of many young players are worth everyone’s attention.”

In terms of timing, ASCI, which starts on September 12th, conveniently fills the gap between the end of the league and the World Championship, while also serving as a new inter-regional competition to provide some pre-game hype for the upcoming World Championship.

The first ASCI was the first attempt at such an event, with the hope of bringing value to the ecosystem,” Xie Zixuan said. In the future, he hopes that ASCI can receive more feedback on the details to further grow. “We hope to explore more frequent events and more competitions in the future, covering the gap between two international events. We also do not exclude the possibility of long-term Asian competitions.”

Although the fearless selection method was not used in this ASCI event, Xie Zixuan believes that it is not ruled out that this BP method will gradually move to a larger stage in the secondary league in the future.

At the same time, whether it is the global BP or the new international events represented by Asian stars, the secondary leagues have undergone significant adjustments and changes this year. While actively helping players improve their skills and enriching the event ecosystem, the core of LDL still revolves around “people”.

“We hope to highlight some of the more promising and talented players through these modifications, and we encourage everyone to focus on a larger pool of individuals. This will allow the players to become more acquainted with our young talents – something we believe adds charm to the sport. Therefore, this is a direction we are pursuing.”

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