Riot explain why Valorant won’t be getting Agent & map bans for now

Andrew Amos
Sage and Ascent from Valorant

Will Valorant be getting Agent & map bans? Not for the foreseeable future, with Riot ruling out the possibility on July 2, saying that without them “the game state is healthier.”

Agent and map bans have been a contentious point of discussion in the Valorant community. With only 11 Agents to choose from right now, and four maps, there’s little room to fit a proper drafting system.

However, as the game expands, and the system becomes more complicated, things might change. The devs have been quizzed on this numerous times, notwithstanding a July 2 dev post asking the same question ⁠— “Will there be a pick and ban system with Agents and maps?”

Raze in Valorant
Agent bans have been leveled as a possible counter to broken characters.

Riot has knocked back both suggestions for now though. “We’ve considered a draft phase for Agents, but the current thinking is that we would not have bans,” said Senior Game Designer Trevor Romleski.

Romleski outlined Riot wants players to express themselves in different ways, especially during the early days of Valorant. This skill expression, and testing with certain Agents, would be lost if bans were implemented.

“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.

“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,” he added.

He also stated the devs want to take a different approach to Agent balance, rather than giving players the tools to take them out of every game. Instead of forcing players to ban overpowered Agents, they will be constantly monitoring how each agent is shaping up.

“Because Valorant doesn’t have hard counters in the form of Agents, 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,” he stated.

While he didn’t touch on map bans in the question, it seems like for now, there won’t be any in-client support for changing what maps you can queue up for. This might change in the future, however.

Similar systems have been implemented in rival titles to Valorant. Overwatch’s hero pools and ban system looked to curb some of the game’s balance issues, but only seemed to exacerbate them.

Map-wise, CS:GO players can choose what maps they’d like to queue for when they line up for Competitive games. Rainbow Six: Siege is also implementing a map ban system later in 2020.