How to Draft in Clash: Flex Picks

Winning the draft phase in Clash is important as arguably even more important than it does in the pro play. After all, you can only estimate enemy players’ strength from their profiles, but you most likely never played them before. A solid way to out draft your opponent is to use flex picks, that keep the mystery surrounding your team’s performance.

What are Flex Picks?

Flex picks are champions that can be picked in multiple roles. They have been around for a while (you could pick Lux in Mid/Support since forever) but became prominent in pro play only over the last few years. Flex picks are a very strong tool with good preparation, as they enable you to choose a strong meta champion and assign it away from a potential counter.

The flex picks possibilities outside of pro play are even greater. For example, Zyra (Mid/Support) is hardly used in competitive games. Peeps won’t pick her for Mid because of poor AP scaling and vulnerability to ganks, while the other option doesn’t fit the profile of a deep warding Support. One death in pro play carrier the loss of lane priority and/or an objective.

Interestingly, some flex picks work well in both SoloQ and professional leagues. The infamous Soraka Top peaked at 57% in SoloQ and reached 8–1 by the second week of February across the leagues.

(Un)fortunately, it didn’t take Riot Games long to notice the trend. The company’s attitude toward flex picks changed a lot, but the current consensus is gutting a particular role and trying to preserve the champion. For example, Soraka is about to receive a severe Q nerf with a minor W buff to become irrelevant in the top lane but stay viable as a Support. Less severe offenders (Diana comes to mind), however, get to stay as flex picks for longer.

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Why use Flex Picks in Clash?

First of all, flex picks to address the fact that enemies know your most played champions. If you pick Lux when your team has a prominent Mid Lux player, the enemy is more likely to pick a counter for Lux in the middle lane. What happens next is you send Lux to the bottom lane and choose a middle lane champion that beats the enemy’s supposed Lux counter!

Then, flex picks can easily turn into off-meta picks that could shock enemies. Imagine realizing that their Orianna is going Support and not Mid as you just finished the draft! Few dedicated Support mains would know how to handle an Orianna shielding the ADC like there’s no tomorrow.

Flex picks also enable you to mess with the ban stage. If enemies think that your Fiddlesticks is a Support choice, they won’t be banning some A-Tier Support options like Nautilus. Then Fiddlesticks suddenly goes to Jungle, and your Support got that Nautilus locked in. 

Use this demon before they reworked him! | Source: Riot Games

Another reason to employ flex picks is to increase your chances of winning, plain and simple. As a model from 2019 suggests, outdrafting in pro play leads to victory 69% of the time. You don’t quite have the same range of stats as professional coaches do, but the scouting phase is not far away.

Tips on Flex Picks in Clash

Don’t shy away from triple flex picks. Diana, a champion with a low skill floor, is mostly played in Mid and Jungle. She is, however, viable in the top lane depending on the matchup as well. As a classic once said, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, how are your enemies supposed to know what you’re doing?”.

In lower Elo, prioritize meta and/or recognizable flex picks. Your enemies may generally be too clueless to recognize the Diana shenanigans I’ve just laid out, so you may want to go for a simple trap instead. As of early Season 10, a solid example would be Senna. While Riot try their hardest to shove Senna into the Support role, she is still a solid carry option and people remember her as an ADC before the nerfs.

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Another notable flex pick would be Ekko. By now, everyone knows he can go both jungle and the middle lane. Same thing with Cho’Gath, who is also secretly a triple flex pick. Apart from Top and Mid, you can still play him as a Jungler.

Make sure at least two people are willing to play the same champion. Just assuming that is dangerous, as you may end up in a terrible situation where the champion is countered in one lane but nobody wants to play him in another. This is how you create an internal conflict that may be not that easy to solve, especially when playing with random people.

Perhaps the easiest way to verify that would be a short pre-game talk. List potential flex picks that are generally good or particularly good at being vague. Then, have everyone who is ready to play a pick write their nicknames next to the champion name. Finally, highlight the recognized options not to waste time during the draft.

Aim to get flex picks early. You would want to give enemies as many opportunities to make a mistake as possible. Ideally, you would go for an obscure champion before the second ban phase to shield more meta options for other role(s). This is even better with triple flex picks like Diana, because enemies would be discouraged from target banning one person or position.

Sometimes, however, you have to settle for a later flex pick. Some metas have distinct must-pick champions that you can’t ignore. Besides, you may have a person with a shallow champion pool, so not drafting their champion early enables enemies to steal and/or ban the remaining option(s) for that person.

Finally, remember that late flex picks mostly work for countering purposes and not the surprise factor. Enemies see your preferred roles in the scouting stage and can easily verify the role distribution with third-party solutions.

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Related

When is the next Clash?

Clash is coming back on February 22–23. It is positioned as the first live run of Clash as opposed to beta weekends from previous years. As a result, the next coming of Clash probably won’t take long.

What are the Clash tiers?

Each player is assigned one of the four tiers depending on their rank and past Clash performances. For bracket formation purposes, each team is assigned a tier as well. The value is not strictly average, as it leans toward the higher-ranked players.

What are the Clash rewards?

You mostly get cosmetic items depending on the number of victories over the evening. Winners also get to claim banners that show up in their lane during regular matches. Skin shards, chests, icons are some of the potential rewards that you can get. No official breakdown is available at the moment.

Do I have to pay for Clash?

Basic tickets can be purchased for 195 Riot Points or 975 Blue Essence. Premium tickets, however, are only available for Riot Points (975 RP).

by Simon Kaastrup-Olsen
February 18, 2020

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