Shrouded Support; Who Is BRANTED?
Evil Geniuses VALORANT lineup has a myriad of shining players. Packed with obvious individual talent and experienced leadership, their most underlooked attribute are their more supportive elements, namely Brandon “BRANTED” Ballard.
EG’s smoker aficionado packs a tenure that is rarely mentioned and selflessness to the cause that makes him a pivotal member of the team. However, as someone who rarely sees the spotlight, his history stands as particularly interesting.
Before landing with one of North America’s most veteran esports franchises, BRANTED had a minor stint in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) from 2018 to 2020. Playing alongside amateur North American teams like Turtle Squad and Drove Here From Cali, BRANTED and co. were participants through North America’s open qualifier ecosystem.
The National Championship Series (NCS) Major – Denver would be a feather in BRANTED’s cap toppling the likes of Dignitas’ famed female roster, Kinship, and Hooked. It wasn’t until near the end of 2020 that BRANTED would make his debut within Riot Game’s newest tactical FPS, VALORANT.
Finding early success with Sedated during the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Challenger 1 qualifier, BRANTED not only established himself as a talent to take note of — he did so in a completely different role.
Originally he began his career in VALORANT as a duelist piloting agents like Raze and Reyna to a high degree of success. In a narrow loss to Renegades in the aforementioned Challenger 1 qualifier, BRANTED found massive success during their series’ opening map. Leading his team with 16 kills, 263 average combat score (ACS) and 134.5 average damage done per round (ADR). Following his time with Sedated, BRANTED would join Decisive shortly thereafter.
It would be alongside Decisive that BRANTED would truly move into the smoker role, something fans of Evil Geniuses are more familiar with. Battling through more of the same monthly qualifiers and smaller events like Community Gaming Premier Series, BRANTED and Decisive would mark themselves as contenders to break into the foreground of North American VALORANT either as a team or as individuals. Racking up wins over the likes of Complexity, Gen.G Black, and Team Seal, it was only a matter of time until a large esports organisation took notice.
And on June 28th, BRANTED joined the hallowed halls of Evil Geniuses.
There he has been a quiet but supportive fixture, mainly tending to Astra and Viper on select maps. However, initially–with their first iteration of the roster–BRANTED returned to his duelist roots with time on Jett and Raze.
Over the last few months, vlr.gg has amassed his individual metrics and while they don’t leap off the page, as a support, their individual impact is more felt through intangibles and mid-round utility usage. Even still statistically BRANTED holds his own managing 169.0 ACS, a 112.2 ADR, and over 200 assists with Astra.
While Evil Geniuses’ duelists take most of the public spotlight, their success is not without adequate support and it’s that skill that BRANTED brings to the table. Be it competitive mechanics on duelists or being the anchor as a smoker, BRANTED is key to both the foundation of Evil Geniuses and their future in the North American VALORANT ecosystem.
BRANTED is someone to follow as EG heads into the new year with newfound experience and tenacity to prove they belong as staples of the VALORANT landscape.
Images via Riot Games