How Increased MOBA Character Bans Impact Wagers

By Kory Walker in Sports
| December 29, 2017 12:00 am PST
MOBA Esports Games

Palms were visibly sweating as the moment of truth came upon the two great rivals who were about to face off in mere moments to determine one another’s fate. The moments slowly passed as the teams stared one another down, daring their opponents to go against them.

Finally, the blue team made their selection and banned the last heroes of the game, exhausting the remainder of their bans. Once all the bans had been exhausted, it was time for the red team to make their moves.

It became a back and forth dance, where both teams were opting to grab the best heroes that they could get. Blue got the very first pick, and red got to finish off the selection, choosing the last unbanned hero to complement their team fully.

The squads were formed and the time for pleasantries was over. Then came the moment of truth when the teams faced one another with the sole intention of crushing their opponents. Let the games begin!

Today you will learn about the increase in the number of characters that can be banned before matches within Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games. You will find out how it will not only impact the teams involved, but also the bets you intend to place down on them.

Character Bans – Why Do They Matter?

When you think about esports, you think about a bunch of people sitting on their computers, fighting against one another in dominance over some video game. Well, that is pretty much what is going on, but there is more involved in the process than just that.

Before a multiplayer online battle arena game begins, teams will have to select heroes that they want to utilize to fight against their opponent. During this phase, each team will take turns selecting heroes and banning others from being played in the game.

It’s much like how jury selection occurs in a court – lawyers want to select who will favor their position and remove those that would be better for their opposition. Each set will have a certain number of jurors that they can excuse.

Once all excuses are exhausted and the jury is set, a trial commences where lawyers utilize their designated strategy with the “team” that is presented before them. If one side does a superior job during this phase, they have a distinct advantage throughout the trial.

The same idea applies to the selection process for character heroes in the MOBA games. Teams will start off by banning specific heroes from being played, then pick some, ban some more, and rinse and repeat until a team gets formed. Different games have a different number of bans permitted within them.

Team Strength

One of the essential portions of a professional MOBA esports match is the composition of the team of heroes that is used. Using proper bans is an important tactic in the professional circuit because it will have a dramatic impact on both the team and their opponents.

The idea of using bans is for teams to remove characters that their opponents prefer to use while getting ones that they prefer to use. The use of bans is the reason that professional esports competitors must be talented across the board with multiple characters.

They became professional players for a reason, and if the other team can remove a portion of their strength, that could change the outcome of the entire match. Players must also make sacrifices and understand who they are fighting against because they might want to ban a character they prefer.

Teams take turns in selecting heroes, and they cannot pick the same one. Players might need to sacrifice a character that one of their teammates prefer if their opponents can potentially benefit more from it. The concept taking one for the team comes to mind in that situation.

Esports professionals will have a preference in character that they want to use, and it might be for the good of the team to just remove the hero from play early on. The hero selection process becomes a game of predictions, and the goal is figuring out how to disrupt their opponent’s picks.

Impact Strategy

The hero selection portion may be the most important part of the entire match for many teams, especially those who are reliant on being able to use specific tactics. For example, if a team has a very one-dimensional strategy, they can be in trouble against a multi-dimensional play-style opponent.

Many teams in the professional scene compete against one another often and know others tactical plan as well as their own. In these cases, the largest battle will occur before the match starts because each team will try to counter their opponent’s optimal tactics.

For example, if one team is reliant on a smaller pool of heroes and most of them get banned by their opponents, there is a problem. They are unable to utilize the optimal heroes for their strategy, and that means they will need to rely on the “leftovers” they may not want.

That is a primary reason why professional esports players need to make sure that they are skilled with a variety of different heroes – to deal with the possibility of their character of choice getting banned. The esports pro scene is not just about being a talented player with one character, but across the board.

Tactical Picks

Since the ban and picking phase is such a crucial part of the MOBA esports match, there need to be intelligent tactics that are applied during the initial phases. The goal is to get their opponent to waste their ban options on champions that they didn’t intend to use.

Teams play many mind games throughout the initial phase, where they will attempt to trick their opponents into making the wrong decisions with their bans. Often, teams will pick flex heroes in the first phase that are universally good in multiple roles so that their opponents are unsure who to ban next.

Teams try to select tricky heroes to hide the actual strategy they intend to use and therefore make it difficult for an easy counter-pick by the enemy.

If they are successful in their deception, a team can end up with an optimal squad, which would give them a clear advantage to start.

The Impact on Bettors

The portion of the match where players are given the opportunity to ban or pick characters can be more important for bettors than the actual game itself. In this phase, teams are attempting to get their optimal characters so that they can perform their desired strategy.

If the selection process is countered, it is a clear indication that one team now has an advantage over their opponents. As bettors, it is important we understand the implications that are involved when players ban or pick certain characters.

Team Research

Esports bettors need to pay very close attention to this phase of the match because it can be a clear sign of whether they should put down a wager on one team or another. If a savvy bettor observes early on that one team’s optimal hero was banned, it is worth noting.

When doing team research, it is important that you understand how the individual players work, including the person that gets relied upon the most. As a bettor, understanding what a team’s optimal strategy is will help greatly in determining an intelligent wager.

By having a good idea of what a team may be going for strategy-wise, you can deduce whether specific character bans getting put into place will dramatically impact them. Teams will try to put on a stoic face against their opponents, but if you are familiar with a team’s play history, you can tell what they prefer.

It is worthwhile to do a bit of research on both teams that are competing and not just on who you intend to place a bet. The goal is understanding what both teams are tactically trying to go for and how successful they will be in performing their strategy with the characters available to them.

Live Betting

The initial phase where teams go against each other in their lineup picks should be one of the more crucial times for people to pay attention to what is going on. At this point, with all luck, bettors will be able to identify the possible tactics and changes that teams intend to use against their opponents.

It cannot be denied that a team getting their optimal selection in a matchup is huge. If one of the teams gets a desired line-up against their opponents, then that will be a huge advantage for them, and as a bettor, it is the time to strike.

Remember, the bookmakers are playing catch-up, and you may potentially have more knowledge than they do at that point. After all, they are accepting wagers to make money and may not understand the ramifications that a specific character getting banned will have on the entire matchup.

After all, it is one of the best reasons to place wagers on esports, because as bettors we have the best opportunity to get ahead of those bet takers. Constant updates to the games and changes in heroes will force teams to evolve continuously.

By watching individual players’ live streams or staying current with their news, you might have noticed that the teams have evolved their strategies, but that doesn’t mean the bookmakers are aware.

Stay alert and make sure not to miss your opportunity for that smart bet.


The importance of the selection and banning process of a match cannot be denied because it is where some of the best betting opportunities can arise. As someone who wagers on esports, you will follow multiple teams to understand various strategy methods.

You don’t need to be an expert when it comes to the individual games themselves, but that knowledge won’t hurt you. What is the most important is that you comprehend the type of strategy that teams are attempting to go for to determine whether they have an advantage over the opponents.

Figuring out a team’s preferred strategy is the best way to utilize the character ban process to place a smart wager. As a bettor, you need to remember that player and team research is the backbone of how you become successful in esports gambling. Don’t forget to do your homework.



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