So recently I've come to the realization that a great deal of players truly are at a loss when it comes to how drafting works so I've decided to make this little article + a video in near future explaining it to a greater degree. There is of course swindle's lock picking guide but I find that despite it a great deal of players truly don't understand how it works when spectating tournament games.
Before beginning the most fundamental concept to understand regarding drafting: you are not only trying to get great lanes/synergistic draft but you're attempting to make your opponent draft outside their comfort zone and/or mess up their intended draft.
Secondly, never draft EXPECTING to get something when you don't plan to pick it on the first available pick.
Below we see a diagram of the lock picking, and picking stages labeled by numbers. L = Legion, Hb = hellbourne.
Keeping the diagram above in mind let's begin with the drafting break down.
Blind banning: In genera it's personal preference but I prefer to ban kotf / ophelia as Hellbourne captain as both are extremely flexible in lockpool, as legion my personal picks are tempest / parasite simply because those are the "counter" heroes which are albeit not as flexible are extremely strong.
L1 : is nearly always used to pickup a jungler/suicide such as a kotf, ophelia, tempest, parasite, wild soul (more or less in that order of importance depending on blind bans) The reasoning behind this is because if you pick a support and HB chooses to lock two initiators or vice versa, and then you either have to lock the power house jungler/suicide after all or let them be banned by HB in reg banning phase. BUT since you now have 3 types of heroes in lock pool, support, initiator, jungler/suicide it is possible for the hellbourne to screw the legion team over if they drafted right.
Example: L1 - rally
L5 - Magmus
As you can see now, hellbournce can wait to see how you draft to see if they should pick support from the lock pool or from phase #4 in picking stages to screw you over. (You first pick KoTF, they go Rally + magmus if you drafted supports before hand, now you're screwed with a pool of 3 supports)
L2 / L3: Although Legion gets the first pick out of pool, hellbourne gets to set the "tone" of the lock pool following the jungler. Say that there's only ONE power house jungler/suicide, you try to get the best possible trade for you strat or pull out a bluff. You can lock a moon queen, or double initiators, in essence make the legion drafter uncertain about whether you plan to draft hyper aggressive or end game with a hard carry.
Case in point:
Lock pool: KoTF, Moon Queen, Deadwood, Rally, magmus, pebbles
Regular picking stage drafts:
Legion: Engineer, panda, pyromancer
Hellbourne: Torturer, Master of Arms, Bubbles
Now, as the hellbourne i have the ability to pull out an aggressive trilane, carry torurer or master of arms, or bubbles suicide with carry mq top dual lane, dual mid with rally, suicide bubbles. As you can see, legion is now in a situation where they're not sure what direction i'll end up taking my draft until my lock selection stage comes. Although this "flex" lock pool is good it can potentially mean that you're giving them a hero that is extremely powerful (moon queen) should you choose not to pick it.
L4/ L5: Usually the Legion simply matches the hellbourne's draft here for reasons stated in my L1 explanation.
L6: Assuming the hellbourne/legion have a lock pool of 1 suicide/jungler 4 initiators or 2 suicide/jungler 3 initiators you essentially have L6 as a "psuedo" ban, a pick that is unlikely for the legion to draft as it is either this or the other pick. So you effectively ban your L6 choice, or their L4/L5.
OKAY now we're past the lock picks, it's time to move onto the regular banning phase. At this stage you want to ban out heroes that are a hassle to your upcoming choices/ try to prevent the legion from getting a pick you can't trade for. So this is where I would like to introduce "banning groups" heroes who I believe are similar to one another and should be banned together as when only one remains are good pickups for legion due to their flexible nature making the hellbourne reveal their draft early (on phase 2 of diagram)
[Keep in mind that these are bans you want to compliment as hellbourne, as legion you want to sneak one of these past bans, and avoid pairs, as when you first pick one, HB gets the other.]
And yes there is overlap in heroes. (Up to discretion of captains which grouping they care more about)
Group 1: Engineer, Master of Arms (Support duo)
Group 2: Rally, Deadwood (Power house physical initiation)
Group 3: All remaining powerhouse junglers (very, very rare to avoid blind bans/locks) KoTF, Tempest, Parasite, Ophelia
Group 4: Tortuer, Master of Arms (Support/carry flex picks)
Group 5: pebbles, Deadwood/Rally (Power house initiators)
Group 6: Moon queen, Sand wraith (Power house carries in meta, ban them in pairs unless you plan to bait one of them)
Group 7: Wild Soul, Warbeast
Additionally good heroes to ban in general regardless of pairing are as such:
Nymphora (good to ban when you want to draft carry)
Empath (To make the all in carry less ideal)
Aluna/Glacius/MoA/Torturer/Engineer (To make it so that if you bait out a carry there's less powerhouse heroes for enemy to defend their carry should you chose to mannup)
Bubbles/Hag (when you don't want the enemy to draft safe/ambigious picks/counter(split) push heroes)
BUBBLES (Literally most frustrating hero in game when you draft delayed stuns, panda, hammer, etc. Also man handles a hag)
Okay, so we're done with banning it's time to PICK (Finally)
PHASE #1 Legion attempts to get the optimal pick here, you either want to pickup a power house initiatior that slipped by, pebbles/rally/deadwood are usually first pick material, otherwise a Torturer/Pyromancer/ Master of arms/ Hag/ Bubbles also are flex picks (To hide your draft as long as possible)
PHASE #2 Hellbourne tries to get two trades for the legion's super strong pick #1. If possible try to pick ambiguous picks here (if no power house heroes slip by) Also, it is acceptable to reveal your hand here if you fear that legion might take your hero before phase 4.
PHASE #3 This is where Legion's draft is revealed unless lock pool is super unique/weird. Usually a Suicide or initiator + carry is picked here.
PHASE #4 This is LITERALLY Hellbournes' only "advantage" over Legion's many lock pick advantages. If drafted properly you can chose to switch a draft from passive to mannup and vice versa depending on your phase 2 picks. This is where you can safely chose to go witch slayer/ Soul Reaper/ Soul stealer/ ETC picks if you know they can no longer chose to mannup against your short lane. Also, you can pick up a hero that can mannup against their lineup as well.
PHASE #5 Legion first picks a hero of their choice, usually it will be the obvious one, such as KOTF/ Ophelia, etc. HOWEVER, on occasion if the hellbourne rely too heavily on getting a certain hero a legion captain might take an inferior hero over all to situationally screw the hellbourne's draft. Such as seeing as a KoTF + Tempest lock and seeing a HB lineup such as, Bubbles, Sandwraith, Empath. If you draft the KoTF now, you give them the jungler they wanted, however if you take the tempest they now have a Sandwraith AND kotf jungle and you can easily mannup on them by sending a tempest mid for example.
PHASE #6/7 These are the least exciting because everything past the first pick is a result of the first pick.
These are the thoughts in my head as I draft, I believe they're relatively advanced and hopefully not too convoluted. Before I end I'll throw in some tidbits I've realized over drafting in a great deal of games.
Never draft a passive carry with a passive suicide against a highly active team. Case in point kotf suicide, sandwraith carry versus a gank squad team (rally/deadwood/pebbles/parasite/hag/etc) It can lead to disasters. Especially since KoTF is dealt with in lane very easily by several pickups such as Soul reaper.
Avoid having a a draft with several skill shot stuns but no set up stuns. (Torturer/pyro/nymphora/etc)
Avoid having a draft filled with pure wombo combo heroes. If the enemy team has enough heroes to poke and prod you can get severely punished for being predictable with the timings you choose to push as five.
Draft as flexible as possible until you can't, this prevents the enemy team from matching your lanes as you pick them.
Hope you guys enjoyed the read. There should be a video in the near future too!