Drafting Hints & Tips
- Don’t put too much weight on the champions your players are good at. Bonus Attack and Defence are nice, but they’re not going to make a bad pick into a good one. Instead, identify the strong champions and try to acquire players that are good on those champions. The be-all and end all is, comp trumps player skill at all times.
- Learn to identify when champions are pick/ban. This is fairly common with new champions – to a greater or lesser extent, Sniper, Ghost, Necromancer, Devil and Lightning Mage are all pick/ban on release – but can easily arise due to misguided buffs or a specific metagame existing. To give an example, in my current playthrough Pyromancer has received back-to-back unjustified buffs every patch for two seasons and now outputs comparable single target damage to Sniper. She’s pick/ban for that reason – there is no better backline damage source right now – and all the more so because the AI keeps picking 2+ melee into her.
- On a similar note, identify when champions stop being pick/ban. Nerfs are the most obvious reason this happens – but think critically about a nerf when it happens. Did the change actually hurt the champion all that much? If Lightning Mage’s ability cooldown gets nerfed, it really doesn’t weaken the champion much at all – you’re picking her for her AoE basic attacks, not her frankly fairly mediocre ability.
- If a certain champion gives you no end of trouble, and you can’t seem to create a good comp to abuse it yourself, there’s no shame in banning it whenever you’ve got one free. I’ve done this fairly regularly with Ghost and Plague Doctor, simply because they have a nasty habit of pulling wins together from terrible comps through random chance. Just don’t cripple a comp you’re trying to put together if you desperately need those bans to prevent counters.
- Remember that if you’re first pick, you can treat that pick as an extra ban if you need to. Just make sure the champion is good enough to be worth picking, and you’ve got options for comps to run around it.
- By contrast, the advantage of picking second is having two picks together – you can pick up combinations of champions that individuals tend to underperform, like Berserker and Plague Doctor, without risking them being stranded.
- If you run the same comp over and over again, the AI will notice and try to pick/ban those champions away from you, particularly if you’re finding success with them. This isn’t a problem if you know how to beat it and the AI doesn’t but can be problematic if you’re abusing very strong champions that you can’t turn the tables on. To avoid this problem, periodically swap from one comp to another to wrongfoot the AI.
- Further to the above, it can be beneficial to maintain at least a small stable of alternate players. This is a great use for players with otherwise irritating traits (I’m looking at you, Collaboration Attack/Despise Weakness) – you can swap them in for one game at a time to run strategies that aren’t crippled by their traits, then swap them back out to return to your usual comp.
- If all else fails, go into the team statistics, look at the match record for the top team in your league, and try to copy what they’re doing. It’s not a great strategy since the AI can often be questionable, but if you’re constantly losing and can’t seem to find your feet, it may give you a starting point at the very least.
- Not really about drafting, but as an additional note – if you really want to min/max, bear in mind you get paid on a per-game basis. Since playoffs are done on a gauntlet basis, that means you’ll get more money for winning the league if you finish the regular season in 4th or 5th, since you’ll have more games to play to win. Of course, given the substantial payout for winning the league vs just playing games, this is only recommended if you’re very confident.
Teamfight Manager – Player Traits Guide