The first official VALORANT patch is here, along with a brand new agent to shake up the tier list. There is no ranked ladder yet, and players are testing out the latest changes to Sage, Omen and Jett. The good news for fans is that Twitch Rivals held a massive VALORANT tournament. Featuring content creators and full-fledged teams, Twitch Rivals showcased the potential for almost every agent.
Despite even more nerfs aimed at slowing Sage down, she still remains the must-pick option for any map. Her healing ability stands as one of the most powerful tools to swing gunfights into the team’s favor. Sage’s ice wall continues to do double-duty as a way to make space for attacks, and deter attackers while on defense. Resurrection doesn’t have quite the impact players were worried about before VALORANT’s official release. That doesn’t stop players from executing risky peeks knowing they will have a second chance in the round.
The king of vision control is here and people have noticed. Cypher is capable of controlling an entire half of a map, thanks to his camera and trip wires. Even if opponents don’t trip the wire, destroying it will notify Cypher and in turn provide the enemies location. Cypher’s cages help block certain pathways and delay opponents just long enough to call for backup. With an ultimate that can highlight the location of every enemy, Cypher is often considered a must-pick on multiple maps.
If Cypher is the king of vision, then Breach is certainly the king of entering sites. His kit is perfect for creating an incredible amount of disruption. Each ability displaces or disables opponents, making defending against a Breach extremely difficult. With an ultimate ability that covers an entire site, Breach will demand defenders to expend resources in order to safely approach. Having access to both flashes and stuns, Breach makes for a powerful addition to every team.
People have finally realized the potential that the masked agent possess. Omen’s power comes from creating confusion with smokes and vision denial. With his teleport, Omen can quickly relocate throughout the chaos to gain a positional advantage. Omen pairs well with several of the duelists in the game, as they can follow up with the various utility at his disposal. Expect to see a lot more Omen in the ranked ladder after Twitch Rivals.
The old-dog still has it. Brimstone still lingers on the top-half of the tier list despite new agents and buffs to others. With three smokes, Brimstone can lock down certain points for almost an entire minute. What Twitch Rivals displayed was how much Brimstone’s ultimate can control a certain site. Because Brimstone only needs six charges for his ultimate ability, he has access to it quicker than most. In a pinch, his fire can pressure out attackers in advantageous spots.
Potentially the safest duelist in the bunch, Phoenix brings plenty of firepower for those who want to be self-sufficient. His ultimate is his greatest tool, as it serves as his catch-all ability. Phoenix has no problem entering a site, scouting a dangerous position, or even peeking a sniper sight line thanks to his “Run It Back”. With its recent buff, Phoenix’s ultimate now feels a little better across all skill levels. The rest of his kit remains solid, and in the right hands he can lead a team to victory.
The developers mentioned Reyna is a classic feast-or-famine type of agent. However, no one truly believed it until she was in the hands of the best players across VALORANT. In the NA finals of Twitch Rivals, Reyna was absolutely invisible. Victor “Food” Wong was 3-12 entering the half on Haven, and the rest of Team Brax appeared to be playing 4v5. On the other hand, Reyna in unrated matches plays the role of raid boss. Healing after each kill grants Reyna massive snowball potential, and for lower ranks that can be just enough to hard-carry a match.
The Russian archer sits perfectly in the middle of all agents. His arrows are powerful tools for vision. When he isn’t gaining sight on the opponent, he can dish out plenty of burst damage with shock darts to enemies in tight spaces. Sova’s ultimate is extremely powerful, but is easily dodged. His recon drone is good for scouting large areas quickly, but it is shot down more often than not before securing too much info. If no one can play Cypher, Sova is a perfectly fine alternative.
Thanks to a buff to her Cloudburst ability, Jett can help out her team quite a bit more than before. However, she still sits as primarily a play-making duelist type. While not necessarily a bad thing in VALORANT, duelists without strong non-damaging abilities tend to rely heavily on sheer gun-play. Jett does have an incredibly strong ultimate, as her knives possess immense comeback potential. Much like Reyna, one kill can spark a lethal rampage. Jett requires quite a large amount of play time to truly unlock her potential, so take time while ranked is down to master the agent.
Raze’s journey in the VALORANT tier list has been a wild one. Her initial kit demanded both teams to select a Raze, as her grenades demanded incredible amounts of respect from the opponents. Then after her nerf, she still lingered as a popular pick due to the sheer hours players put into perfecting her play style. On the flip side, players have also found more ways to play around her dangerous abilities. Raze is a bit one-dimensional in her play, but always represents a dangerous threat when ignored. She doesn’t have large snowballing abilities like Reyna or Jett, but sometimes a blast pack and a rocket launcher are all a defender needs.
Unfortunately, we have finally reached the point where there is a definitive weakest agent. Viper is the master of point control, but players have started to adapt to her play style. Teams have found that quickly rotating after scouting for a few moments with Cypher cameras and Sova drones is the optimal strategy. In this lies Viper’s key weakness – her inflexibility on defense. Once Viper sets her poison orb or poison wall, that is where her abilities will stay. Without even the option to rotate and aid an additional point with abilities, Viper remains a weak pick as a defensive option.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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