A deeper look at Picks and Bans at the 2015 World Championship
Last week the 2015 League of Legends World Championship has come to an end. In a four game final series it was SKT who claimed their second World Champions title in Berlin.
Naturally there were contested picks across all roles. Champions who would be picked or banned most if not all games. Interestingly these Champions were quite different between Blue Side and Red Side on the Rift. In this article we will look at the most played Champions in each Role and which side usually gets a hand on them.
Top Lane has been the lane that has been changed heavily before Worlds began. Thus we see three Champions as the top three that did not really fit into the meta before each of their reworks. But after they have become most contested picks for their role.
The most appearing difference as far as sides are concerned is obviously Gangplank, who is sitting at above 60 bans at red side compared to only seven on blue side. Every time he was not banned he has been picked by the blue team as first pick. Thereby he is the only Champion who was either picked or banned in 100 percent of the games.
The second most selected Champion has been Darius with a total of 53 picks or bans. Though he has fallen out of favor later in the tournament. Darius has been picked a lot more often than banned and he used to be a go-to pick for red side in the first rotation in Group Stage. That is the reason why his red side pick ratio is slightly higher than his blue side pick rate. Additionally that is also the reason why blue side has banned him more often than red side did.
While Darius fell later in the Tournament it was Fiora who rose instead. However a clear difference shows. Had Darius been played mostly on Red Side, Fiora on the other hand appeared twice as often on blue side than on red side. With a lesser sample size of games at the later stages her overall numbers are obviously lower.
The Jungle meta has not changed so much compared to summer. Elise has come back strong but other than that the same Champions as before have been the most contested picks and bans.
Elise clearly has been the best jungler as far as pick and ban rate can tell. She was either picked or banned in 71 out of 73 games at Worlds, only falling all the way through Champion Select twice at Group Stage. The high difference between blue side and red side picks shows how often she has been first picked by blue team. Likewise red team chose to ban her more often to deny her as a viable first pick.
Rek’sai and Gragas have been battling over the number two spot with Rek’sai getting the better of it in the end. However part of that is due to Gragas being disabled for the last two weeks. But even before Rek’sai had a higher pick and ban ratio than Gragas. Rek’sai was mostly picked by blue side, if Elise was banned, or by red side against Elise. Her ban rate is higher on blue side, because blue side often banned her as soon as red side would ban Elise.
Gragas however was mostly used as a solid pick as soon as Rek’sai and Elise were unavailable or against either of the two. That goes for both blue and red team whereas he has not been a first pick for blue side very often. Red side however often picked him first rotation which explains the rather large difference in pick ratio.
Mid Lane has been the most diverse with a lot of different Champions picked more than 10 times. The top three were Azir, Twisted Fate and Viktor, but it is worth noting that Viktor had 18 games and has only been one game ahead of LeBlanc at 17 games and two games ahead of Veigar at 16 games. With Mid Lane not being the priority lane number one we can see clearly that especially red side ban ratio is quite low.
The most contested Champion has been Azir who has mostly been banned by blue team. However even red side could afford to ban him 10 times even though red side has been obligated to ban Champions like Mordekaiser and Gangplank. The difference in pick rate alone can be explained by Azir being a solid blind pick when red side has not revealed their mid lane yet.
Twisted Fate shows a somewhat similar curve as Azir with the overall numbers being lower. Once again blue side could afford mid lane bans more often and therefore the higher ban rate can be explained. The pick rate on blue side is only slightly higher than on red side and therefore does not indicate a lot.
Viktor has only been banned once in the whole tournament. He is not strong enough to be a must ban nowadays but he still is a solid pick for most teams. Especially since he has been so powerful before and therefore every mid laner has learned to play him and he seems to be a comfort pick for many of them. Resulting his pick number is almost dead even between blue side and red side.
AD Carry (and Mordekaiser)
The only change to the bot lane carry role was the introduction of Mordekaiser back with the Juggernaut patch 5.16. Still Kalista is the most contested pick among the traditional AD Carries with only Mordekaiser having a higher amount of picks and bans.
Mordekaiser is in a very similar spot to Gangplank with an abnormal ban rate on red side. That is because he is such a strong champion at the moment and will be first picked by blue side whenever he is not banned. In only one game Mordekaiser was neither picked nor banned. He has never faced off against Gangplank (the only time they did, the game was remade and is not included in these stats) and therefore no team had to make a choice between picking Gangplank or Mordekaiser first allthough Gangplank is considered the stronger of the two in a direct match up.
Kalista has seen Champions Select in 56 games total and she has been strong enough to be banned 20 times by blue side alone. While red side had different priorities most of the times she often got picked up by any team first or second rotation. Red side picked her slightly more often because she is often a good first rotation pick for red side while not as good as a first pick for blue side due to other high priority pics.
Jinx is the hypercarry who has seen the most action with a total pick number of 28 and three bans. The only contender has been Tristana with 26 total games. Just like Kalista Jinx benefits from the fact that red side will often pick their AD Carry first and thus will often get their AD Carry of choice.
Support featured three very evenly contested picks. Alistar was picked or banned 33 times while Tahm Kench and Thresh saw Champions Select 34 times. However Thresh had fewer appearances later in the tournament while Alistar and Tahm Kench were not as popular early on.
Tahm Kench turned out to be so amazing at protecting and rescuing teammates and no other support could match that power. He is the only support who has been banned more often than picked and especially blue teams did not want to see him played quite often. The reason being once again that he is such an easy pick up for red side in their first rotation while blue side might have a hard time deciding which Champion to pick first. In term of actual picks both teams were dead even at 7 picks each.
Thresh shows a more traditional pick and ban curve for a support. Not really banned very often he is picked a lot by both teams almost equally. Like Tahm Kench he has been banned more often by the blue team but many teams were not as scared facing him and therefore left him open especially since a lot of greater threads existed.
At the later stages of Worlds Alistar has taken over Thresh’s spot as a very important Support who be played both aggressively and defensively. His graph is very similar to Thresh’s with high pick rates and slightly higher pick value on red side. Moreover he has been banned less and only by the blue team.
This last category is about Champions who can be played in multiple roles and have been used at at least two positions at this year’s Worlds. The most common Flex pick is Lulu with a total of 69 appearances in Champion Select. At number two and three there are Kennen and Shen.
Lulu is probably the most equally banned Champion for blue and red side at the tournament. Both sides have banned her more than 20 times. If not banned she was often picked first by blue team because she can fit into most compositions and protect either a top lane carry or a traditional AD Carry. However sometimes she fell further down in picks and bans if other important picks were available.
Kennen is the only Champion who was used on more than two positions as he was played as a top laner, as a support and as AD Carry. He has once again only been banned by blue team since he is not among the top priority Champions and therefore red side cannot afford to ban him instead of another player. His pick numbers on the other hand are very close and do not really tell a bigger story.
Lastly Shen has mostly only been played Support at Worlds but technically also counts as a flex pick as he could go top lane. Like Kennen he was only banned by blue team for the same reason but the difference between his blue and red side pick rate is quite large. Mainly that is due to the earlier Support rotation on red side and with Tahm Kench mostly banned and Alistar often picked by red side afterwards it leaves blue side more often with the likes of Shen.
Pick and Ban ratios can tell a lot about the current state of Champions. However it is also important how the ratio is made up since that will tell more about the overall state of a champion. It will be interesting to see how these ratios shift at the next tournaments after more patches went live and buffs and nerfs hit the servers.