When Valorant esports kicked off shortly after the game's release in June of last year, casters Mitch "MitchMan" McBride and James "BanKs" Banks were everpresent on the casting desk for many of the game's initial tournaments but the popular duos days casting Valorant may well be over after BanKs revealed that he has not been chosen to cast the European leg of the Valorant Champions Tour.
In a statement, BanKs revealed that he discovered that he had been effectively dropped from the broadcasting team for Riot-run events, at least for 2021.
Sadly this might be the end of VALORANT for Mitch and I as a duo in 2021.— James BanKs 🇩🇰 (@BanKsEsports) February 10, 2021
"Today[...] I found out that the talent for all of 2021 has been decided and I will not be involved in this circuit despite me contacting both Riot and Freaks4U multiple times to work with Mitch and also Mitch asking them during his negotiation process that he wanted to continue the duo work with me as well."
The last Valorant event that BanKs cast was the First Strike qualifiers back in November though he was absent from the Main Event held in December.
BanKs also stated that due to the way the VCT is set up the chance of BanKs and Mitch appearing alongside each other at other events is small. Riot's decision to region lock talent, which has come in for criticism, also reduces BanKs ability to cast the game.
BanKs was the face of many tournaments in Valorant's first year as an esport. (Picture: WePlay!)
"This means that for the majority of the year I will not be able to cover VALORANT. I had one other hope to get us on the broadcast in North America but sadly with the region lock of talent that won't be possible anymore."
BanKs, a former CS:GO professional and a frequent sight on casting desks in that esport, went hard on Valorant from release. Alongside his casting roles, he is also the General Manager of Alliance Esports, an organisation that MitchMan, as Alliance's analyst, too works with on a day-to-day basis.
Any suggestion that his role with Alliance was reason for his snub was quickly put to bed by BanKs after the issue was raised shortly after he released his statement.
"That (BanKs relationship with Alliance) was discussed and was fine in the current state, Mitch confirmed it wth Riot as he is our analyst. Our focus and priority has always been talent work, we wouldn't of done this if it wasn't an option. (sic)".
That was discussed and was fine in the current state, Mitch confirmed it wth Riot as he is our analyst. Our focus and priority has always been talent work, we wouldn't of done this if it wasn't an option.— James BanKs 🇩🇰 (@BanKsEsports) February 10, 2021
BanKs did suggest that this is not the end of the road for him in Valorant as he seeks to host third-party tournaments:
"Personally I will still be trying to grow the European scene with some events outside of the VCT that are desperately needed to support the current ecosystem but sometimes you can’t win them all. As always I will be cheering and supporting Mitch, not only my amazing co-commentator but my best and shortest friend."
Feature image courtesy of Riot Games.