Over the last decade, the drafting system in competitive League of Legends has remained the same for almost every league in the world, but in 2024, North America’s Challengers might be adopting a new system to add some excitement to its games.
The NACL will reportedly be using the Fearless Draft system that was heavily popularized by China’s developmental tier-two league, according to esports reporter Sander Hove. This means that across every best-of-three series next year, the next generation of NA talent will be brought up through one of the most unique drafting styles in the world.
The Fearless Draft format is a huge step away from traditional professional League since it applies one special rule to the drafting phase: once a team picks a champion, that team can no longer pick that same champion for the rest of the series. It is a system that encourages more preparation in pick-ban since coaches cannot draft the same few champions over and over again.
By forcing teams to adapt around this new system, fans are treated to increased variety in drafts, an increase in pocket picks, and special team compositions that add even more excitement to games. Players must decide when to use certain meta champions and when to break out a unique pocket pick that they have been saving for a specific moment. It also forces teams to study up on other players and their possible pocket picks in the event that they need to ban it.
With Fearless Draft making its way over to North America, many fans are also wondering if Riot Games could consider making the system a permanent addition to the tier-one scene in the near future. In countless events like the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship, there have been champions that have defined the meta, with a select number of champions being must-bans and must-picks in each game.
With Fearless Draft, fans could finally see more draft diversity on the Summoner’s Rift without the fear of a stagnant meta dictating every pick-ban phase. This will undoubtedly take a lot of time to discuss and implement—if it even gets to that phase—especially with how ingrained today’s current system is with competitive League.