A month after it’s official release, VALORANT received just a few small patches to fix some pesky bugs. With so few changes, players are able to master their favorite agents without worrying about sudden changes in playstyle. The IGNITION series has been a perfect platform for pros to highlight their proficiency in certain agents, inspiring some solo-queue players to pick up agents they normally wouldn’t touch.
The best thing about these few changes, is that players get a chance to truly learn the match ups and nuances of each agent. Some agents that appeared overly powerful at first, have dipped a bit in the tier list rankings. Others on the hand seem to be cemented in their respective spots.
Cypher hangs onto his spot in the first tier, and the reasons remain the same. The sentinel can easily hold a site by himself thanks to tripwires and cages. His camera can often be the cause of many bugs, but even when it’s working as intended, the vision it provides is invaluable. Gaining so much information from one agent is undoubtedly powerful. His ultimate is just the cherry on top, as it acts as the perfect tool to capitalize on an early pick or give an advantage in an uneven fight.
The only healer in the game is still the must-pick agent every team needs. Sage’s ability to gain an advantage after skirmishes is unrivaled, as any damage dealt to a teammate is nullified. Her resurrect turns fights completely around, and can even help an ally keep an expensive gun if the team’s economy is shot.
Sage plays well on every map, thanks to her versatility. She can use the Operator well as she already wants to stay in the backline to heal allies, and can slow approaching enemies if she feels too much pressure. There is no doubt that any team without a Sage will be at an immediate disadvantage from the get-go.
After a short stint in the second tier, Sova has made his way into the highest level. He is a perfect pair with Cypher, as both can give almost perfect information to the rest of the team. The recon bolt can reveal certain areas a Cypher camera can’t see, and comes back on a quicker cooldown.
The added strength of Sova is his damaging abilities. Shock darts are excellent at denying space, and threaten a sudden pick if the opponent isn’t careful. Sova’s ultimate can create picks, and it reveals opponents ever so briefly, creating opportunities for teammates to follow up on the damage. Even if the Sova doesn’t know the perfect angles for vision arrows, the vision advantage he creates is always a huge advantage.
Brimstone is a solid choice for most maps thanks to his ability to easily set up smokes. Because he can block off several sight lines at once, Brimstone is an excellent agent for approaching enclosed points. His Molotov is great for displacing stationary opponents, and can even prevent a defuse if used creatively
The ultimate is powerful, but easily avoided in most situations. More often than not, Brimstone’s ultimate is used to clear a site or just force enemies into less protected positions. “Stim Beacon”, Brimstone’s combat stim ability, is a good little team-wide buff but is a little tough to utilize it to its full potential. It usually ends up being a beacon telling your opponents your own location.
Omen has some of the best mobility in the game thanks to the combination of his teleport and ultimate. Even though Omen won’t have his ultimate every round, it still is a round-defining ultimate that demands opponents be ready for his sudden relocation. Or if Omen is really tricky, the ultimate is a tool to simply just gain information about a site.
Omen’s blind is one of the strongest in the game, as it can be a little difficult to dodge. The blind also has a longer cast range than that of Phoenix, and doesn’t need to go through a wall like Breach. Paired with a solid smoke utility, Omen is seeing a lot more play as more players get comfortable with his kit.
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for Raze since her initial release. Ranging from incredibly busted thanks to the strength of her utilities, to overshadowed by Reyna upon the addition of patch 1.0, Raze is back again and ready to paint the town red.
Raze players are getting more and more creative with her satchel charges, finding different ways to speed across the map or traverse terrain. As always, her grenades are devastating in tight corridors, and can sometimes be the only utility needed to halt a push from attackers. Her ultimate is a little less frightening now that players have figured out how to play around it a bit, but still remains one of the most dangerous ultimates to face in the game.
The resident pub-stomper has slipped just a little bit in this version of the tier list. Reyna’s flash is one of the most hotly debated abilities in VALORANT, and for good reason. While it can be shot down, the flash demands opponents to play sub-optimally in order to remove the flash. A well timed Reyna flash can open up the site and net a few kills on the way.
However if Reyna doesn’t get one of those entry frags, she finds herself sitting around doing not much of anything. Because the rest of her kit relies so heavily on fragging out, Reyna can feel helpless at times. She has to win the duel in order to survive, otherwise she has no way of escaping without an orb to collect.
The entry-master has fallen quite a bit since the last tier-list. Breach still has some of the impactful crowd-control in the game, but many players are finding it easy to avoid it. His flash has a long duration, but finding the best corner or wall to use can sometimes be tough. Most opponents will have enough time to hide and wait out the flash, as they often are already situated near some cover.
Breach’s ultimate and his “Aftershock” ability simply take too long to hit in order to be really helpful. The width of “Aftershock” is surprisingly small, and most enemies can easily sidestep the damage while remaining behind cover. Breach is mostly a map specific pick, but still can bring some amount of value with hours of practice.
Don’t be fooled by the success of professionals using Jett, she is very much a feast or feed pick. Smart Jett players will be tricky to duel, as they save their utility to reposition and try a new angle. Novice Jetts will dash forward and instantly die. Sometimes it feels like there is no inbetween.
Jett has grown into one of the premier Operator duelists in the game, thanks to her quick smokes and dash. If the team doesn’t need a sniper, Jett does do well with shotguns, as they don’t lose as much accuracy while moving. Jett has a really high-skill ceiling when it comes to her abilities, but her floor is just good enough for everyday players to notch a highlight-reel play.
The poster boy of VALORANT is probably one of the most balanced characters in the game. His flash requires a little more timing than others, but it still performs its job perfectly. His wall and molotov do wonders for entering a site, by either spliting the site in half or displacing an opponent from an advantageous position.
“Run it Back” is still a strong ultimate, especially as a scouting and entry tool. Knowing how and when to use it can be tricky for newer players, but players can get the feeling for it after a few matches. Phoenix is a perfectly fine pick for any map, but don’t expect too many flashy plays from solo-queue teammates.
Viper finds herself stuck in the bottom of the tier list once again, as she was barely played in recent tournaments. While her various utility options appear strong, her actual gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. Having a resource that dictates how to she can even use her abilities is a massive liability in high pressure situations. It’ll take much more time for pros and everyday players to master the toxin-themed agent.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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