We've had competitive League of Legends for well over two years now, and so much has changed in that time. We've had countless new champions, new items, changes to the map, the jungle, old champion overhauls, graphics updates, but the number of bans remains at 3 a side. By the end of the year, we will have 109 champions available to play and still only 6 can be banned. Riot hasn't increased the number teams are allowed to ban at the same rate they add new champions, and it raises some interesting arguments. Do we need more bans? Do we need to change the way we look at bans and does it take away from the game in both solo queue and competitive play if certain champions are never seen?
The Case for more: Gimme More!
Not too long ago the game only had around 70 champions and we were still banning 6 total which is around 8.5% of the total champion pool at the time. 6 out of 70 is certainly not an overwhelming amount and felt right at the time. However, you look now and we are soon to have 109 champions to pick from and still only those 6 bans. 6 out of 109 comes out to just 5.5% of the champion pool and is a far cry away from the old numbers we use to enjoy.
In any patch, there are going to be strong cases for anywhere from 2-5 or 6 champions being overpowered at the time. The degree to which they are "OP" certainly depends on the patch, and those champions should be able to be taken away with bans especially in solo queue. In solo queue, teams are never going to be coordinated enough to consistently deal with champions that are significantly stronger than others in the current patch. It just makes sense that the team captain would get to eliminate some of these issues before going into the game.
This same sort of logic applies when looking at the game from a competitive standpoint. If Rengar or Diana or whomever else is particularly strong during a certain patch, competitive teams are forced to select these champions themselves, or are forced to use one of their precious 3 bans on a champion that is just "op" and not one the other team might be particularly proficient in. Since the number of bans are so low already, it means certain champions we will see every single game, and other champions we will never see just from the nature of the way bans are to begin with.
This brings us to the way DotA bans are done. When on the pick/ban screen in DotA, both captains in ban 3 heroes each, then select three, ban two more, then pick their last two. This adds a lot of strategy to the way picks bans are done, and adds a different dynamic to the game. I don't think this is the best course of action for League of Legends to take, but it is certainly refreshing to see something outside the box thought of instead of just leaving things the way they are.
The Case Against: Less can be a more
Specifically, the same number of bans isn't the worst thing in the world. If we added more bans, certain champions would almost never be heard from again. It sucks not being able to play one of you favorite or best champions in solo queue because they are always banned. Riot certainly hates eliminating people's fun, and even goes so far as to try and eliminate anything in the game that is anti-fun, so not being able to never see the crying eyes of Amumu or the regal rockiness of Malphite would certainly put some of their player base out.
Let's move this argument to the competitive scene. Players get known for playing certain champions. It's rare to be able to see Froggen get to play Anivia (banned 85% of the time against CLG.EU) or Misaya play TF (banned 86% of the time against World Elite) and fans are missing out on seeing those champions played to (near)perfection. If we up the number of bans, we'd see player's marquee champions even less because there would simply be more opportunities for teams to take that champion away.
If we moved up to 8 bans, we'd be at 7.3% of the total champion base, which is still less than when the game began adding bans in the first place, but it would eliminate some champions for good especially against certain teams. This is a double-edged sword because it could mean we could see more champions than ever before in competitive play, but the second someone gets good enough with certain comps for a certain patch, teams will have enough bans to take them out of it. Just because there are more bans doesn't mean there will be more innovation especially if it becomes even easier to take teams out of what the want to do.
It's a fine line Riot must walk in order to keep releasing new champions to keep making money and keep the game fresh, along with keeping the game balanced and fair to keep it entertaining to watch and play. Personally I think we need at least one more ban a side and perhaps look into banning two champions at one point of champ select, and two at another instead of all in a block at the beginning. I'm open to trying new things to see how it works and if it could add strategy to the game, but adding bans is certainly a slippery slope because before you know it players will want 5 bans a side (if you give a mouse a cookie etc...)
What do you think RoG'ers? What should Riot do about the number of bans and should they look into doing a more DotA style of champion selection? Would it help or hurt the competitive scene? Let us know in the comment section and stay tuned to Reign of Gaming for all your League of Legends related news, updates, and theorycrafting-related needs!
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