Interview with Valorant Caster Tom "Tombizz" Bissmire
Yoann: Hey everyone, today I'm with Tombizz, caster for Valorant! How would you introduce yourself?
Tombizz: I would introduce myself as a Valorant esports commentator/analyst. I guess you could maybe add CSGO in there because I did do that in the past.
Yoann: When and how did you get into casting, and why in Esports?
Tombizz: I would say a lot of it wasn't necessarily intentional. I didn't have the plan to make it a job from the get-go. When I finished my degree, I started watching and playing CSGO, and there was a website called something like “esportsjobs.com”, and I saw a thing that was like, “we're looking for a commentator, send in a VOD”. So I recorded myself commentating on a matchmaking game. They were like, Sure, we'll give you a shot. And of course, this was all for free. But I eventually then grinded through that practice and here we are!
Yoann: How did you learn to commentate?
Tombizz: It sounds dumb, but you just start by finding a VOD on YouTube and give it a go. Even if you're on your own, try talking over the game, and try filling in the gaps, it’s one of the most difficult things that people find is how do I fill the space with enough that it's not just 35 seconds of awkward silence. It’s just practice.
Yoann: Do you have a mutual routine with Mitch before casting a match?
Tombizz: I wouldn't say we have a planned routine. A lot of it is just talking about general storylines, what we think from this match, and who we think will be leading the game. Come up with some stories or stats that we want to throw in at some point in the game. And those are always things that we'll both have ready when we go into the match.
Yoann: That’s interesting! How is the atmosphere behind the scenes, with the people working on a Valorant event?
Tombizz: I'd say it's very good, especially recently in Brazil, I had a very good time. Getting to hang out and talk with different people. It’s quite different compared to CSGO, Valorant is much more centralized, and you work with the same people more often.
Yoann: Do you have a favorite team to cast?
Tombizz: I don't know if I would say a favorite team, but there are some teams that I definitely really enjoy casting. The old KRU roster was probably the most exciting roster ever. The amount of bullshit that they would have in their games. I also love casting Fnatic, even if it’s sort of like my heartbreak team. I'm so glad they've won at Lock//in. Every member of that roster is lovely. And then I'd probably say M3C (former Gambit). They were so exciting to watch. Nats just seemed to have a hold on the game where I was like, I'm watching you play. And every minute I go, That's something new or That's cool.
Everyone now plays Viper like him because he is better than you.
My favorite match ever was either KRU VS Gambit or M3C VS Fnatic. Both of those games were unbelievable matches and it's because you had teams just at the pinnacle of Valorant.
Yoann: That’s right! Are there any big differences between casting Valorant and CSGO?
Tombizz: The biggest difference for me is that Valorant is still in a stage where everything changes so rapidly. Whereas for Counter-Strike, your focus becomes on the very, very, very small details.
Everybody can understand Counter-Strike, but to Master Counter-Strike is a completely different thing.
If I miss a month of Counter-Strike, there'll be some cool little things that I missed, but I would still be able to cast the game. If I miss a month of Valorant It might not be the same game anymore.
So I definitely adore both games. I think sort of the consistent freshness of valorant makes it just that a little bit different.
Yoann: Alright, you playtested the new agent Gekko, how do you feel about it?
Tombizz: It's really fun, honestly, it’s the thing I really love about the Valorant devs, they came out with very creative ideas.
I wouldn't have thought of having Wingman running with the spike, and planting it for you. It's a very fun agent, but it's also one that I don't actually think is going to be overpowered.
I think Gekko adds a new thing that people have to think about. It gives you the most opportunities to be really, really creative.
Yoann: Let’s now talk about the Lock//In Tournament in Brazil, and the finals between Fnatic and Loud. What are your final thoughts about this event?
Tombizz: I went into Lock//In a little bit skeptical because it’s single elimination. I thought we'd get towards the end and it wouldn't be very exciting because a lot of teams just went straight home. Like when we saw Sentinels go out or even teams like Giants for example.
But the grand final was utterly amazing. It's probably the most invested I've ever been in a grand final because I wanted Fnatic to win something for a long time. I think they deserved it because players like Boaster have been grinding for so long. So seeing them win the two first maps, lose the next two, and then be 11-3 down and still win. I was definitely emotional cheering at that moment, it was crazy.
Yoann: For sure! How would you describe the finals with only three words?
Tombizz: I’m going to say “Emotional Roller Coaster”, yeah there you go.
Yoann: Great haha! Which team do you see winning in Tokyo for the next international event?
Tombizz: I'd love to see one of the Pacific teams winning, but even the likes of DRX looked a little bit shaky. I'd probably lean into either Fnatic coming in for the double, or NAVI or NRG.
Yoann: All right, do you play Valorant in your free time with colleagues, casters or analysts?
Tombizz: I've been playing a little bit more recently this season. I was like, okay, I'm going to spend my time like putting more into like content, doing watch parties and stuff. I play a bit with Mitch, with Ryan and Yinsu as well. So some of us definitely play together.
Yoann: That’s cool! What are your hobbies and Passions outside of Valorant or gaming?
Tombizz: Outside of gaming's a little bit difficult because most of my passions do still involve gaming. I'm a Tottenham Hotspur fan, in other words, I like to suffer. I haven't watched as much F1 as I'd like, but I definitely want to get back into it. I'm also very much into Marvel, Star Wars stuff like that.
Yoann: What are your short and long-term ambitions?
Tombizz: I would say my short term ambition is just to continue to improve. Like I it sounds obvious, but Valorant is still such a young game, although I think both myself and Mitch established ourselves well as commentators, I still think there's a lot that we can improve on.
Pansy is a monster at this. Whenever I see anybody critique Pansy’s casting, I just sit there and go, You're wrong, but I'll listen to your opinion anyway.
I think she is genuinely fantastic at her job. And one of the things I love that she did during this event in particular was whenever there was a play, she leaves a big gap for the crowd to cheer.
That's brilliant. It sounds amazing In the arena.
Yeah, just continuing to learn these little things from people like her who have been in this industry for such a ridiculously long time and are so good at their jobs.
Long term goal, I would just say I want to do this for as many years as I can because it's such a fun job, like traveling around and getting to meet all these different esports talents.
Yoann: That’s great! You need to have a great game knowledge to commentate and analyse games. So do you think you could become a coach one day?
Tombizz: It's something I've always thought about. The problem is that I feel like the skill set for a coach and the skill set for a commentator can be very different. It would be one of those things where I think I'd rather either learn from a coach first, or start lower than Tier 1.
So it would just be if someone was willing to take that risk and I was in the right place because that's the other thing. I love my job. So it would almost have to be a point where I go, okay, I feel like I've done everything I can doing commentary.
I also want to make sure the team is getting value out of my coaching, I don't want to screw a team over just to feed my own ego.
Yoann: What would you change to Valorant if you were a developer?
Tombizz: I'd delete Icebox or Breeze. Maybe I'd make it so that if you played an agent composition on Icebox or Breeze, you're not allowed to play it again the next time. We would get some freshness on those two maps because we were seeing teams running the same agents for over 6 months.
Yoann: That’s right. Is there anything else you wanted to add to this interview?
Tombizz: Make sure that you're watching more of the regional leagues, EMEA, Pacific, and Americas, they're going to be amazing. But tune in for some of the other Tier 2 leagues as well, there are people doing watch parties, I've done some, and Yinsu too…
Yoann: All right, thanks for your time, wish you the best for the future!
Tombizz: Thank you!