Drafting Guide for Ranked/Competitive

  • This guide focuses on the concept of bans and rotations during drafting. This applies to Ranked matches, as well as premade games that utilized Ranked draft and competitive/tournament matches. Examples and definitions used in the guide will be based off patch 2.10, A Tigron’s Tale. Glossary for unfamiliar terms will be included at the bottom of the guide.

    Understanding Drafting

    Drafting is one of those more obscure aspects of this game. You may be familiar with countering champions during draft. For example, picking totem Grohk into CC heavy teams, counter picking stealth champions with Cassie, Vivian, or Tyra, etc etc. However, picking certain champions too soon will inevitably put you and your team in a situation vulnerable to the various strategies Paladins has to offer. Maybe you took that totem Grohk and thought it was a great idea, only to later look at your screen in disbelief as the enemy team picks up Willo. You sigh in defeat and wonder why you didn’t think of that earlier before locking in the Grohk.

    Drafting changes and evolves as the meta changes and evolves. What is currently written in this guide may age very well, but equally may become obsolete the very next day as players find new strategies and develop new metas. Don’t panic if you read this guide and it doesn’t work on the current meta you’re playing in, just remember that most of drafting is like playing poker; maximize your chances of winning by hiding your hands, building your strategy, deceive your opponents, predict and anticipate (even manipulate) your opponent’s line of thought.


    To determine champions to ban, it’s easy to just ban the most OP champion. However, it’s a bit more advanced than what we see on the surface. Banning allows you to remove a champion from the match. You can use this to target one trick ponies you know on the other team, remove OP champions that most players aren’t able to deal with, or removing annoying matchups that puts your strategy at a disadvantage.

    In the current high MMR matches, the core bans are Torvald, Zhin, and Koga. I’ll explain why that is one by one.

    Torvald’s ability to hard pocket carries with a personal shield, as well as prevent ability activation at a distance using Direct Current-boosted silence makes him a high-risk, high-reward champion. Good players will be running a support Torvald loadout to maximize the impact of the player/champion he is pocketing. Such loadout includes Glyph of Freedom, Lifegiver, and Winddancer as core cards. With each elimination his carry gets, the more bubbles and silences he’s able to use, making it easy for his offlane duo to snowball the game.

    Zhin is a flank that has it all; Mobility to get in and get out of fights, good range, high base damage, cooldown resets and reductions for all his abilities for his loadouts, and an execution ability. A good Zhin will kill everyone and anyone, with the talent "Guillotine," he’s hands down the best flank this patch. You either ban him or take him.

    Koga is the ultimate pub stomper champion. He has 3 dashes that makes him invulnerable for its duration, lots of ammo and high rate of fire to output damage, has mobility to get in and out of fights, has vertical mobility, has loadout cards that amplifies the effectiveness of his kit, and a damage immunity ultimate that allows him to kill multiple champions caught in it. A good Koga at this MMR will be running Surprise!, Tenacious, and Trigger Happy with the talent "Adrenaline Junkie". If you absolutely don’t know every person on your team and whether they know how to play against Koga, best get rid of him as it’s easy for him to farm your teammates.


    Rotations and priorities go hand in hand; Some champions you want to secure as soon as possible for certain strategies, as well as leaving some for last pick so you don’t get counter picked.

    There are 6 rotations in a game. First rotation is commonly known as first pick, second rotation as second pick, and sixth rotation as last pick.


    First rotation focuses on securing the strongest, least counter-able pick that will not give away your intended strategy. This usually is a spot for main tanks as counter drafting main tanks are very inefficient.

    Common first rotation picks are:

    • 3 core ban champions - Obvious reasons.
    • Barik - He is a very strong main tank in this meta, his reworked Double Time card synergizes with Bowling Bowl incredibly well, allowing him to rival Inara in the game of sustain.
    • Jenos - He’s often picked with Barik due to champion synergy, as well as damage boost from Luminary talent.
    • Strix/Kinessa - On sniper maps, you generally want to ban one of the snipers and take the other.


    Second rotation is the same as first rotation. However, as you get an additional pick to secure a strong DPS, offtank, or healer of choice to build your composition with.

    Common second rotation picks are:

    • Barik + Jenos - Champion synergy.
    • Priority DPS + offtank - Gives you the ability to change the pace of the game, as well as securing a strong foundation for the team composition.
    • Priority DPS + Jenos - Securing a strong DPS and damage boost.
    • Main tank + priority support - Stable picks to figure out and anticipate opponent's strategy.
    • Priority support + offtank - Forcing certain DPS matchups with offtanks and secure desired support.
    • Priority DPS + priority support - Giving room for potential offmeta offtank picks while securing priority DPS.


    Third rotation is the foundation rotation. After securing first pick, you want to build a strong core without giving too much of your strategy away. This is also the same rotation where you could take away possible synergy picks from the enemy team.

    Common third rotation picks are:

    • Main tank + priority support - Deny counter-picks for champion(s) of your choice.
    • Main tank + priority DPS - Securing a priority DPS for your composition and a mid for contesting objective.
    • Priority DPS + priority support - Saving main tank slot for later or another offtank to run double offtank.
    • Offtank + priority support - Securing desired offtank and flex DPS picks.
    • Offtank + priority DPS - Allows your team to set pace of the offlane.


    Fourth rotation and fifth rotation are strategy rotations. Champions drafted in these rotations determine the strategy and playstyle your team composition is going for. These picks will not only round off your lineup, but also influence the last pick. No more additional details will be provided for these two rotations as they vary the most from match to match.


    Sixth rotation is the wildcard rotation. This is where you can round off your composition with a stable DPS like Cassie, Lian, or Viktor. You can also opt to choose any champion that would normally be counter-picked any other rotations. However, this is also the rotation where you’d reveal the secret pocket pick for your unique strategy (a second support in a double support sustain comp as an example), thus the wildcard aspect of last pick.

    Hopefully you're able to get a good idea of drafting. While a majority of it is mental game and setup for the match, your mileage may vary from game to game and rank to rank as there are plenty of strategies out there, whether unknown or without form. Feel free to leave any questions, comments, and concerns below and we can have a discussion.


    Main tank – Frontline champions that excel at contesting the objective. Barik, Fernando, Inara, and Terminus are examples of main tanks.
    Priority DPS – Damage and flank champions that has high mobility and high burst damage. Androxus, Bomb King, Evie, Maeve, and Strix are examples of priority DPS champions.
    Priority Support – Strong, highly contested support champions in the meta. Jenos, Furia, Mal’Damba, and Ying are examples of priority supports.
    Offtank – Frontline champions that excel at contesting areas outside of the objective, such areas are also known as offlanes. Ash, Atlas, Fernando, Khan, Makoa, Raum, Ruckus, and Torvald are examples offtanks.

  • PC

    Good post, i see this will be helpful to new players to get a general idea about bands and drafting phase.

  • PC

    Nice job.

    I'll add that having most, preferably all, the champions is a necessity so anyone can pick what's needed at the appropriate time. You don't have to be able to play them all but you must have the ability to pick anything. You can later swap with a willing teammate at the end of the draft.

    Key to all of this is cooperation and communication.

  • Problem is, that below Diamond rank there is no cooperation. The last guy will write "Me Damba" and then pick Damba no matter what the others do. Also the opinions what is a good or weak champion are very different and in no relation to winrates. If Terminus has a 65% winrate at Platin rank this can't convince people that he is a good pick at Platin rank. It was always funny that Seris who had by far the lowest winrate of all supports was believed to be a super effective healer.

  • @M3RC3N4RI0 You are correct, but even if a couple off people in the draft are picking based on the enemy team comp its helps a great deal.... I had a game just last night where i was last pick... We had zhin on split stone and i was concerned about his ability to deal with kinessa.... Picked Ash as the off tank and ran slug shot. I was able to zone the sniper out at the start of every point fight. I did not get top kills or top tank or top damage but i had a huge impact on the point fight as Nessa was shooting at me most of the time. She tried to ult me 4 times. Mean while my team is calling me names because they have no clue how much pressure im taking off all of them.

  • This is some really good info that talks about counter picks. Picking to counter the other team is great, however the biggest issue i see in rank is picking something that is already countered.

    Aka the other team picks Tyra... You should not be picking Raum into Tyra....
    You should not be picking Raum into Jenos, that can just pick you up every time you try to run...
    Dont pick Drogoz into Andro


    This web site list champs that champs are strong against and champs they are weak against....
    If you go to grok you can see that willow is the top vote for strong against... Willow is a hard coutner to grok healing... You can learn allot from looking at this site.

  • PC

    @M3RC3N4RI0 Sometimes I write "Me Tarzan" when people do that.

    My ranked S2 WR was ~70% with Seris for both my accounts - always as MR. Seris "WAS" effective at raw healing before - now not so much.

    @shadowchess I've seen that counters site before. Looks like they've updated the info as it was stale for quite a while. Anyway, It's opinion based and without knowing what skill level the voters are it's kind of useless info. There aren't that many voters either.

  • VVGN Ciruchan

    Ur impressive... Thanks for this

  • PC

    good guide, I'll add it to list tomorrow cuz it's 2am already ^^' also you should mention some stuff only worth mentioning for diamond and above, exemple : BK who's first ban worthy ^^'''' or even cassie/lian depending on map, even vik could get a ban on specific map

    and you should explain more of the basic guideline for a good draft rather than just champs
    like how one should ban / pick depending on enemy bans and picks

    like if they ban strix I have to ban nessa in sniper map(except maybe in quarry because of vik/lian)
    or if they ban drogoz, they prob want bk (and they surely have no idea how to draft but that's an other story)
    if they pick drogoz you prob want to pick a hitscan
    if they get torv you surely want to get barik to deny them, also because jenos restrict tank picks a lot (you don't wanna play term with a jenos) while barik will do good with any support, that's also why u usually don't want a jenos first pick

    and so on

    but drafting is difficult and I'm not the best at it (I'm still decent drafter I think, or hope...)

  • @TangAce said in Drafting Guide for Ranked/Competitive:

    you should mention some stuff only worth mentioning for diamond and above, example : BK who's first ban worthy ^^'''' or even cassie/lian depending on map, even vik could get a ban on specific map

    I find this to be the most difficult part to write about as the ranked experience is as good as RNG. You never know how well a player is going to play a champion, and drafting becomes completely irrelevant if you manage to get Koga or Zhin and the player who plays it ends up hard feeding. Here is where I stress "your mileage may vary." For the most part, once you hit Masters & GM and you're consistently 1st or 2nd pick, you have to either adjust your bans to accommodate for the skill level of your teammates or pick an hard carry champion and try to solo the game. Any ranks below that it's pretty much a wildcard.

    and you should explain more of the basic guideline for a good draft rather than just champs
    like how one should ban / pick depending on enemy bans and picks

    I've avoided specific draft examples as those goes deeper into team compositions and strategies.

    I might do another guide on different compositions. Team compositions and drafting do go hand in hand, but it is also a very complex topic as it dives into win/lose conditions and how one adapts to those conditions to ensure victory.

  • PC


    I couldn't agree more, Ranked is RNG

    honestly I'm gonna quit the game simply because of the matchmaking is making it difficult for me to keep playing, don't even have the will anymore

    making a guide on team comps and advanced drafting could be great, but overall outside of premade matches everything is just RNG

  • The hard reset did not improve the matchmaking. Player with high skills are mixed in Bronze and Silver rank teams. I hope this will get better after a while.

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