Drafting 101: How To Ban Efficiently7 min read

Hello, VainGlorians! I’m starting a new series on How to Draft for a Ranked 5v5 match. This will be broken down into several posts because drafting involves a lot of things that can’t all be stuffed together in one super long and wordy post. You’d hate to read that and I’d hate to write that. Today, we’ll be looking at how to ban efficiently. Yes, the banning phase is actually important. You don’t wanna be that guy who bans Skaarf so he can play Saw (please, don’t be that person, ever). You’ll just trigger your teammates to throw, especially in solo queue and ya’ll will be wasting each others’ time and end up running to Reddit or Twitter to salt about it. Not that that ever happened. But you’ve had similar experiences I’m sure. And not that that’s a bad thing, but really, just spare yourself from the tilt!

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s jump right into it and start getting overloaded with information. Special thanks to Vyzeox for lending us his brains and for, basically, every major tip you will find below. He does nerdy stuff for Tribe Gaming and vgpro.gg. Go check out his Twitter page for more!

Tools used: Draft Simulator by Broken Myth and VGPRO.GG

Click here to jump to your end Solo Q.

#1 Know Which Heroes are in the Must-Ban book


I would say that one of the fundamentals of ban phase is considering how many “broken heroes” are. Let’s say that in a certain meta, there are 7 broken heroes (the number of broken heroes is mainly subjective, but it can be objective too, if all of the stats say so as well) – Vyzeox

There is a widely agreed list of heroes to ban depending on Tier. If you’ve been ranking for awhile, you’d have noticed the same heroes being insta-banned. If not, vgpro.gg is a good source, as you can see below (sorted by highest ban rate). VGPRO stats are taken from T9 matches and up. For lower tiers, you’ll probably see Flicker banned more because solo queue coordination against him is not easy (A roam that buys vision is one thing, a roam that utilises vision properly is another).

This is an important phase because you have to know how many heroes are considered OP (or broken) so you can get nerdy and calculate how many and which heroes to leave open for pick.

#2 Learn the Technique


Get ready for some Math. If you wanna git gud, no pain no gain, my friend. Consider the OP Tier list from VGPRO where there are 7 “OP” heroes, currently. You can manipulate the banning phase to get a higher number of OP heroes for your team than the enemy’s. (This works best for teams or full man parties, because you can coordinate what heroes to take beforehand.)

There are 4 bans which means up to 4 of the [OP] heroes may be banned. If you’re A side [team that bans first and picks first] and there are 7 heroes that you consider [OP], then you want to end the ban phase by having 4 or 5 [OP] heroes still up [for picking]. This is because you can get 2 of the [OP] heroes and the enemy will get 2 [tied, if both teams ban 3 OP heroes], or you will get 3 [OP] heroes and the enemy will get 2 (this is in your favour) – Vyzeox


To help you understand this better, I did a quick vid of how to ban if you are A team. Let’s assume that there are 7 OP heroes. If you are team A, you can get up to 3 OP heroes for your team and 2 for the enemy (if both of your bans are non-OP heroes, and if the enemy bans 2 OP heroes). In the vid below, I banned Kinetic and Flicker (neither is considered OP by VGPRO, although, aren’t they really?) leaving B team to ban Anka and Churnwalker because enemy would be really dumb to leave either Anka or Churnwalker open (at least in solo queue).

However, if B team is smart, after your first non-OP hero ban, they will ban another non-OP hero so you are forced to change your strategy. It’s like playing chess. And it’s much easier to understand if you try it on your own so head over to draft.brokenmyth.net to test out different ways to ban where your team ends up with the advantage.

More Examples

If you’re B side you want either 3, 6, or 7 [OP] heroes up after ban phase because you get 2 and A side will get 1 (this is in your favour), or both sides get 3 (tied), or you get 4 and A side only gets 3 (this is in your favour). Both sides can manipulate how many of the [OP] heroes are up after ban phase. – Vyzeox

Let’s say A side bans an [OP] hero first, and B side bans an [OP] hero second. There are 5 [OP] heroes up now [which] means that A side has the advantage so their second ban wouldn’t be another [OP] hero, it would be a non-OP hero that counters one of the [OP] heroes that they want to first pick. So at B side’s second ban there are still 5 broken heroes up, and they have to ban another [OP] hero to get 2 while only giving A side 2. If they do not ban any then there will be 5 broken heroes up after ban phase which gives A side 3 of them, while B side only gets 2. – Vyzeox

Is your nose bleeding yet? Hopefully not. It’s quite easy when you can wrap your mind around it. And it works regardless of the meta. Just change the number of OP heroes and adjust your calculation accordingly. Again, this works best for teams or full man parties, because you can pre-plan what comp you want before starting queue. Solo queue is another story.

# Solo Queue

Solo Q is its own world (filled with goodies and crazies alike) and the above methods might not work well enough. So, here’s a separate list of tips for you all, my lovely solo Q folks.

Ask in draft chat

…for any requests before you ban any hero. Some, if not a lot of, players will thank you for it. The worst thing that can happen is they will ignore you, which is fine. At least, you tried.

If they request that you keep a hero open

…then don’t ban that hero, unless you are not first pick and the requested hero is Anka or Churnwalker (at least, as of VainGlory 3.8)

If you are first pick (#1) Team A

Your first ban would be a non-OP utility hero (such as Lorelai, Flicker, Catherine) because:

  • You want the enemy to waste their ban on the OP heroes.
  • You don’t want the enemy to get annoying utility heroes that counter a lot of carries.

If you are second pick (#2) Team B

Your first ban would also be a non-OP utility hero (such as Lorelai, Flicker, Catherine) for the same reasons above and you want to leave more OP heroes open for the picking, especially since team A gets to pick first.

Manipulate the banning phase

…to your advantage and just make sure that:

  • The most OP (to the point of being broken such as Anka) hero doesn’t go to the enemy. If you can’t have Anka, neither should the enemy.
  • Your team gets the most number of OP heroes to choose from

Be nice and have fun!

Glad you made it this far. I hope you learned something new today and as always, drop me a comment below or DM me on Twitter if you wanna say hi or have suggestions! GLHF!

Special thanks to my sister for the amazing post thumbnail.



Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
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