No Pick and Ban Stage Planned for Valorant

Riot’s new FPS VALORANT has now been out for a full month. The game has a growing global player base and a budding competitive scene that’s attracted the likes of G2, Cloud9, TSM, T1, and many more top tier esports organizations. Players have been wanting to know what possible changes could come to the competitive experience.

One of those potential changes would be a pick and ban stage for agents and maps. This is something that a combination of esports do. MOBAs like League of Legends have a hero pick and ban before competitive matches. FPS games like Counterstrike: Global Offensive have map picks and bans, yet we won’t see this in VALORANT and for a good reason.

In Riot’s “Ask VALORANT” series, devs answer burning questions from fans biweekly. In today’s edition, a question came up regarding potential hero or agent picks and bans. Senior Game Designer Trevor Romleski responded with why picks and bans wouldn’t work in VALORANT.

“We’ve considered a draft phase for agents, but the current thinking is that we would not have bans,” Romleski said. “For some more reasoning around bans: first, we expect teams to have set plays and strategies that will require very specific agents. Banning an agent would invalidate that entire strategy, and we don’t want to discourage practice.”

This is an excellent response. The game does not have direct agents countering other agents. More importantly, the game is based on teamwork between agents rather than counters. There also just aren’t enough agents yet to have it make any sense.

“Second, bans often remove a players’ star agent and we want players who are exceptional at certain agents to be able to play them and show off their skills with them,” Romleski said. “Finally, because VALORANT doesn’t have hard counters in the form of agents (this isn’t our design philosophy), we think the game state is healthier if we’re held accountable to ensuring no agent or agent-facilitated strategy becomes so oppressive or unsolvable that a ban is the only choice.”

Quite sound logic, but he didn’t mention maps. Reasonably, with the game only having four maps so far, there isn’t any room for banning maps. At the Nerd Street Gamers x T1 event, teams seemed to already stray away from Split. If there are more maps added in the future, we may see a CS:GO type map ban for average joes in competitive and pros alike.

One enticing thing mentioned in the Ask VALORANT release was the plan for a Deathmatch game mode. Currently, players can play Spike Rush, Unrated and Competitive, all round-based modes. Deathmatch in CS:GO is key for players wanting to warm up their shot.

“Deathmatch is absolutely a mode that is coming to VALORANT in the future,” Lead Game Modes Producer Jared Berbach said. “We don’t have a timetable yet, but it’s something where we’re actively working on the underlying technology as well as designing, iterating, prototyping, and playtesting right now.” So we might just have to wait a little.