Riot recently kicked off their Valorant esports Ignition Series partnership program. This entails offering tournament organizers the chance for their competitions to be featured on the studio’s media and streaming channels. Not only that, but they will also get a dedicated page with an updated schedule, in addition to organizers getting direct feedback from those responsible for Valorant’s esports in Riot throughout the duration of the event. So far, the regions covered are LATAM, SEA, MENA, NA, EU, with more to come.
This is all well and good, but it leads us to a question that’s on the minds of many Valorant players and especially those involved in the game’s budding pro scene: should Valorant esports introduce agent picks and bans for competitive play?
Valorant currently features four maps and 11 playable agents. In regular professional tournaments so far, all we see is teams banning one map, and that’s it. This means that if a player on the opposing team has dumped thousands of hours into playing exclusively one agent since closed beta, you can do nothing about it. Furthermore, as the meta matures and counter-picks become more defined, the ability to ban agents would become even more necessary.
Riot’s not oblivious to the value of picks and bans in high level play. League of Legends features picks and bans in its competitive tournaments, so teams can minimize counters and strategically force opponents away from their most comfortable heroes. Nonetheless, we have to take into consideration League of Legends features over 145 champions, so banning five out of those doesn’t exactly limit the options available. The same is not yet true for Valorant.
We might eventually see Valorant esports get agent picks and bans when the game’s roster receives a couple of new faces. RIght now, the tactical shooter’s true competitive scene is still in its infancy. There is a possibility Riot would consider adding this as a stipulation for future events, once all the competing rosters are official, and players cement their names in the scene piloting certain agents.