LCK has deleted a truly unique viewing and strategical experience for both fans and players alike. Blind draft was something LCK implemented in the 5th game of best of 5 series in which teams had no limits as to what champions they could play and their picks would be concealed from the opposing team until all champions were locked in. This style of league of legends is often considered random and doesn’t allow for the highest level of competition. I find however, that there is great value to having this kind of system in place not just in Korea, but the entire League of Legends competitive scene.
First of all, blind pick was something truly unique to league of legends and it allowed for some fascinating matches that otherwise would have never been seen. It grants the chance for mirror matches and some of the most exciting plays in league. Watching masters of a certain champion going head to head on the same champion can be very intriguing and acts as a test to see who and outperform the other. There have been separate tournaments on Twitch called Best Riven NA or Best Zed NA where they pit the best players on a certain champ to claim who is the best at that certain champion. Any true fan of the game surly remembers, or has at least seen, the legendary Faker vs Ryu Zed vs Zed matchup. Though it may not uphold much value on its own, there is still an appeal to watching these events pan out. Potentially we could see the best players, on the best teams, on their best champions play out and witness some of the highest level of competition League of Legends has to offer.
Another great boon to having blind pick is that it shows who the better team is. Having no bans means that there isn’t a benefit to being on blue side or red side. It evens the playing field for these players to show their best. Side imbalance has always been an issue for league of legends due to how patches influenced certain champs and often times would make them completely over powered. Depending on which side you’re on would affect how a team would pick and ban. A great example of this scenario is worlds, 2015. During this tournament blue side had much more freedom in what they could ban leaving red side with the decision to ether ban out the incredibly imbalanced Gangplank and Mordekaiser or risk one of them going first pick by the blue side team. Having blind pick in this case would allow each team the ability to draft these overpowered picks or have hard counters ready if you assume that the enemy will pick a certain champ. Blind pick adds another layer of strategic diversity and intense mind games based on anticipating the moves of your opponent.
Aside from fun mirror matches and different strategical approaches, blind pick is great for the fans. It’s different from the standard format in which best of 5 are usually played and adds a bit of fresh spice to an already close matchup. Also the fact that it was placed in the final game of a best of 5 series made the hype even better. It allowed players show their best champs or pull out surprise pocket picks that would otherwise not be worth picking in a normal draft. Considering how blind picks occur only in best of 5’s, which usually means playoffs, these games hold a lot of weight. They bolster storylines of a team’s regular season as well. Teams who’ve had a particular strategy banned against them become unlocked in this format. Imagine Unicorns of Love breaking out their Cassiopeia, Yorick combo that teams couldn’t handle in spring 2015 in game 5 vs Fanatic.
All in all I think blind draft was great feature and a unique viewing experience. It would have been nice to have seen more regions pick this up but sadly I don’t think we will get another chance to see competitive blind picks outside of show matches.