For the first time in League of Legends history, every champion has been picked at least once in professional play during a single season.
Last year, the professional scene went into the World Championship with just two characters left on the board – Annie and Vi. This time around, every champion in the game has been picked at least once, including some of the game’s newer additions like Qiyana and Yuumi, who have both seen extensive play on the pro level. Even recently reworked characters such as Pantheon and Mordekaiser have had an impact on the scene.
This year, especially before the World Championship, it’s impressive to see every champion off the board, as the professional scene has not only shattered last year’s pick-rate records, but beaten them with ease and time to spare.
And now, as we move into Worlds, it should be interesting to see which champions end up dominating the tournament.
Throughout the course of the season, Aatrox, Irelia, and Sylas ended up being the most popular in terms of overall pick-ban presence, as those three sported marks of 64%, 60%, and 56%, respectively. Whether or not they hold on to their presence title throughout the tournament will most definitely be an intriguing storyline, as champions who end up having the most sway over the regular season usually don’t end up going on to dominate the World Championship. For reference, if we look back to last season, the most popular champions heading into Worlds were Camille, Ryze, and Braum, but they were overlooked heavily for characters such as Aatrox, Alistar, and Urgot.
Still, the fact that every champion has been picked at least once going into the tournament is incredibly impressive, and regardless of who dominates the scene, it’s intriguing, to say the least, that the possibility of an incredibly diverse tournament remains likely. Last season, 74 unique champions were selected at least once, while in 2017, 73 were selected. However, that year was quite the anomaly, as the tournament’s most popular champion. Kalista, was involved in 100% of drafts while never being picked once.
And with the Play-in Stage kicking off in less than 24 hours, now is the perfect time to see wild card teams perhaps pull out distinct strategies, champions, and compositions, as players from lesser known regions may play pocket picks that the general public is unaware about, certainly helping to boost those diversity stats in the process.
Still, champion diversity has been on a steady trend upwards for the past two years, and as we head into the year’s grand finale, the chances of a unique tournament are certainly favorable.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends