C9 Hai: Fearless Draft would solve a lot of LoL esports problems

Cloud9 League of Legends coach Hai Du Lam is praising the slow rollout of Fearless Draft across the esport and believes the format change is revitalizing fan and player engagement in competitive League—even if it means more work for the pros.

Hai said the implementation of Fearless Draft should be prioritized and that it is a necessary move for the League showrunners to make to ensure the quality and viewing experience of the LCS—and League as a whole—remains up to scratch. “I think it’s a really interesting format that promotes a wide champion pool and a diversity of champions,” Hai said in an Esports.gg interview this week.

Blaber and C9 fistbump their opponents on stage during the LCS 2024 Summer Split.
Fearless Draft is the solution to many of LoL’s problems, according to Hai. Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

The LCS is currently enjoying its mid-split break, giving time for its players and staff to rest before the road to Worlds 2024 picks back up on July 21. In this time, Hai offers a retrospective on the opening weeks of the split and a focus on the implementation of Fearless Draft, a format that prevents League teams from continually picking the same champions game after game in a series and encourages a wider pool of champions.

“I’m of the opinion that as esports, and League esports specifically continues to grow, adding new things to change up the viewing of the sport for people is a good thing,” Hai said, adding that it keeps the experience fresh. He also feels it’s on the players to adapt and learn to play with Fearless Draft limitations because it’s all part of the job. “At the end of the day, players won’t have jobs if fans aren’t watching. I like things that increase the visibility of the sport and change things for the better.”

Sixty-seven champions have already been picked or banned this summer split, according to Leaguepedia, an impressive number given we’re just three weeks into the season. While Fearless Draft hasn’t been implemented yet in the LCS, its effect on the pro scene is beginning to emerge: One fan pointed out T1’s Gumayusi wrapped up the Esports World Cup playing a different champion in every game—and the LCK doesn’t even run Fearless Draft.

As more of the world’s League regions adopt the format, the onus is now on Riot Games to ensure a wider range of champions remain competitively viable now that the meta becomes a little more hazy. They’ve got a long way to go to match Dota 2, which recently saw all but two heroes played across qualifiers for The International, but seeing a wider range of champs hit the Rift can only be a good thing.

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