I've watched some games from the world championship and I can't understand how the champion selection is supposed to work. I've seen that there are different "phases" in the whole operation but I can't figure out how the thing works.

What are the "steps" in the champion draft?

Please note that I played LoL for a short time and I didn't even get to the "ranked" part so I don't know how that system works.

  • 1
    You can try out draft mode in normal as well, as long as you own 16 champs, I don't think you have to be level 30 for normal draft. Normal draft is the same as ranked, only it's not ranked :D
    – Kevin
    Sep 28, 2014 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


For starters, in order to play Draft Mode you need to own 20 champions.

In casual draft (normal, ranked solo/duo and flex), the phases are:

  1. Pick intent
  2. Banning
  3. Picking
  4. Swapping

And in tournament draft (used in pro-league):

  1. Ban phase 1
  2. Pick phase 1
  3. Ban phase 2
  4. Pick phase 2
  5. Swapping

1. Pick intent

Each player may choose (or not) to display the champion they intend to pick.

  • Not turn-based.
  • No team disbanding if the timer reaches zero.
  • Unavailable in tournament draft.

2. Banning

When a champion is banned, it is excluded from the match (no team may be able to pick them).

In casual draft:

  • Every player may choose to ban a champion (5 bans per team).
  • Not turn-based: all players must ban before the countdown expires.
  • Bans are hidden until the phase concludes.

In tournament draft:

It's separated in two sub-phases:

1st phase: 3 bans
2nd phase: 2 bans

  • Only the first player of each team bans one champion per turn.
  • The team that bans first will play on the blue side (Nexus on the bottom left).

3. Picking

Each turn, one or two summoners will pick a champion. The player who banned first, will also pick first.

In casual draft:

The pick order is 1-2-2-2-2-1

  • You can see which champions the enemy team picked.
  • You can't pick a champion that the enemy already picked.

In tournament draft:

Also separated into two sub-phases:

1st phase: 3 picks
2nd phase: 2 picks

4. Swapping

This is where you can swap the champion you picked with your teammate's.

  • In order to switch, both, the swapper and the swapped, must own the champion they picked.

Now, to understand the purpose for each phase

The pick intent phase is to let your teammates know what champion you're going to play. Solo wise, ideal to let players know that you're going to pick an often banned champion. Furthermore however, this would help others plan ahead and consider better banning/picking options, into a defiant team composition.

During the banning phase, you'll want to ban the champions that troubles not only for you, but for the entire team. In other words, champions that can drastically dominate teamfights or that are simply unbalanced (op), are often banned for the purposes of not let the enemy team use them.

Note that if you can't find a specific champion for banning, it means none of the enemy summoners own them.

Now, say that you want to pick Irelia for example, but since the enemy chose her first, you can't anymore. The trade or swap phase exists to prevent that.

Say you're the last pick, but you want to pick Irelia. You can tell to one of your teammates to pick her for you, and he does, you may pick the one for your teammate (e.g. Viktor).

Chat preview:

2nd pick: "Ok, since you want Irelia, I'll pick her for you"

Last pick (you): "Which champion you want back?"

2nd pick: "Xerath"

2nd pick: "damn they picked him, do you have X champ"?

Last pick: "Nope"

2nd pick: "or Swain, Viktor?"

Last pick: "I have Viktor"

After the pick phase, you'll trade Viktor to get your Irelia.

This also works for when someone in your team isn't sure about which champion the enemy will pick after that someone's turn, just to not get hardly countered during lane phase (i.e.: If, after picking Irelia, the enemy picks Pantheon, Irelia will probably get in hell of a trouble).

  • 1
    You must Own 16 champions I believe that free champions count in normal draft (not ranked).
    – dphil
    Sep 29, 2014 at 15:13
  • @dphil yeah I thought it worked like that too, but for unknown reasons my friend had 12 champs, and 5 free non-owned, still the game didn't let him play draft mode. I don't know if that was either a bug or that you actually need to own them.
    – Arkl1te
    Sep 29, 2014 at 15:21
  • What I told you it happened long time ago though (1 year and a half), I don't play normal draft mode since I transfered to my region (draft mode is disabled here).
    – Arkl1te
    Sep 29, 2014 at 15:23

They use the regular Draft Mode.

Phase 1 - Ban phase: Each team gets to ban 3 champions by taking turns during the process

Phase 2 - Pick phase: The players pick their champions in the following order:

  1. Team1Player1 picks a champion

  2. Team2Player1 picks a champion Team2Player2 picks a champion

  3. Team1Player2 picks a champion Team1Player3 picks a champion

  4. Team2Player3 picks a champion Team2Player4 picks a champion

  5. Team1Player4 picks a champion Team1Player5 picks a champion

  6. Team2Player5 picks a champion

Phase 3 - Switch phase: Basically, team members can switch heroes between eachother

  • How are the Player1/Player2 etc. decided? Is it a choice of the team or the order is somehow fixed?
    – RCap107
    Sep 27, 2014 at 17:55
  • 1
    @ThCP It's a fixed order. I just don't entirely remember it.
    – user1337
    Sep 27, 2014 at 18:22
  • 3
    @ThCP In professional games, it's a fixed order, and it goes Top, Jungler, Mid, ADC, Support. That doesn't mean that champions are picked in that order, since they can trade. That's just the order the players sit in. Sep 28, 2014 at 11:15

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