Patch 1.07 was certainly a powerhouse of an update. In one quick moment, the perma-picked Sage tumbled down out of the top tier for the first time ever. A brutal nerf to her heal and her slow opens the door to much more interesting compositions, allowing players to find a new meta to discover. Buffs to Breach and Viper are surely going to reshape the solo-queue landscape. The current agent tier list is wide open, and is filled various different looks and strategies based on a team’s proficiency with an agent.
Throughout the recent Pop Flash Invitational, Cypher was a near instant lock for every team and map. Cypher’s cameras are integral tools to set plays and quick rotations. The tripwires provide even more information, by revealing the location of opponents even when they destroy the trap. More importantly, Cypher becomes a must-select due to the vision disadvantage that happens without one. Sova arrows are great at detecting an area, but it doesn’t give the perfect information a Cypher camera provides. Then just top it all off, Cypher has multiple smokes he can deploy while moving, giving attacking teams a shot at passing through tight spots. Ranked-ladder warriors looking for a new main after the Sage nerfs should look to pick up Cypher.
After a few patches of uncertainty, the most recent patch brings a lot more light to Breach’s viability. An additional flash is a massive boon to his already devastating arsenal of entry abilities. To make things even better for Breach players, his primary ability now prevents opposing snipers and riflers from scoping while affected from concussion. Having the opportunity to weaken enemy Operators is going to be one of the main reasons why Breach is going to be much more prevalent in solo-queue matches.
Oddly enough, Jett has become the “anti-Reyna” of sorts – extremely dangerous in high level matches, and usually useless in lower ranks. Jett is the premier sniping agent, and it really isn’t close. The ability to reposition after a kill or missed shot is incredibly powerful, as it creates so many additional angles of attack. Pair the mobility with several smokes that can curve to certain locations, and Jett becomes incredibly difficult to contain. Luckily shotguns have received much needed nerfs to their strength while on the run, making the flying Judge-Jett a lot less viable.
It was worrying at first when Killjoy was released, as she had dominated defensive-sided maps for a few weeks. Surprisingly it wasn’t the turret that caused frustration from players, it was her Nanoswarm grenade. The classic strategy was to place both grenades on the “default” plant spot, wait for unsuspecting attacks to begin planting, and to detonate the swarm, killing them almost instantly. That was also the case for attacking-side as well, the only thing Killjoy needed to do was stay alive long enough for the defenders to try and defuse. Thankfully that should be less common, as the recent patch nerfed the damage and made it easier to detect. Killjoy still has a powerful defensive kit, but is a little less auto-include in every composition these days.
Omen actually was in 0-tier for a few hours, after it was discovered he could teleport through the spawn doors once patch 1.07 was released. Sadly it was hot-fixed, and Omen came crashing back down to reality. While Omen sits in the middle of the pack on the tier list, he is one of the most popular picks in pro play. Notching the second highest pick rate throughout the Pop Flash Invitational, teams love his ability to block out sites with smokes, as well as clearing out tight quarters with his Paranoia. As it stands, Omen serves as an interesting option in each team composition thanks to his controlling kit.
What we thought was a map bug for Omen teleporting past the spawn barriers… is actually an issue with Omen, so we're disabling him until we have a _real_ fix. Which is hopefully tomorrow.
Sorry for all of the disruptions.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) September 3, 2020
The scouting agent slowly fell in the past few weeks as teams are finding that he is less of a must-pick than initially thought. Typically teams are favoring Cypher over Sova as their preferred vision enabler. Though it is worth noting how strong Sova’s ultimate is when pushing onto linear sites. Combining a recon dart and Hunter’s Fury is usually a guaranteed kill, making entries much easier. In general, Sova is just simply a very balanced character that teams can fall back on if someone can’t play Cypher well.
Raze is incredibly obnoxious to play around, but she isn’t quite on the same level as Cypher. Her Paint Shells are dangerous in close quarters, and her Satchel Charges provide insane mobility for Raze players. Outside of fragging out, there isn’t much that Raze brings to the team in terms of utility. Bomb Bot helps clear out certain hallways, but it is tricky to find value with the ability if no one is around. Raze could be considered a very top-tier agent, but her recent nerfs to her ultimate cost leaves her just out of the highest tier.
When a player doesn’t play Omen much, they are often times playing Brimstone. Both agents provide long lasting smokes for cover, but only one of them can blind and teleport as well. Brimstone’s ultimate may pose more of an immediate threat, it is a bit one dimensional and needs some support in order to maximize its value. The molotov is a strong plant and defuse deterrent, that is, if it bounces the right way. Even though Brimstone is a bit outclassed by Omen, he can certainly be a fine pick on maps like Bind and Haven.
The fiery duelist is close to being one of the more powerful options in the game thanks to his overall safer floor. The problem is truly reaching that sky-high ceiling consistently with Phoenix. With two flash bangs and a second life every few rounds, Phoenix has the potential to be a one-man attacking team. However, Phoenix’s ceiling is based heavily on the player’s gunplay skill. Unlike other agents, Phoenix needs to do a little more than check a room with his ultimate. Since he has to teleport back to his starting location, Run it Back is only so helpful with ensuring a site is clear or not. It’s at its strongest when he can grab a pick or two, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen in solo-queue.
The true pub-stomper remains on the lower end of the tier list, as players have caught on to her play style. Much like Phoenix, if Reyna can’t find kills, she is pretty useless. Her flashes are strong, but they are not nearly as oppressive as they were at her release. She is a pretty good Operator agent, but she can’t miss her shots. If Reyna misses a shot with her sniper, she can’t Dismiss away to safety like Jett. Reyna will continue to cause problems against teams that aren’t ready for her, and sometimes that even includes professional teams.
What a meteoric fall for the only healer in the game. Sage started as an agent that was so powerful, that it was considered a throw if a team did not field one. She slowly fell out of favor after a few nerfs, but she remained a staple in the ranked ladder. Now with a significant reduction in healing, and a much smaller area for her slow, Sage is almost unplayable. While recovering 60 health is no joke, it is vastly weaker to a full heal after winning a gun fight. Just to add insult to injury, Sage’s barrier is now much weaker against aggressive opponents. Hopefully these heavy nerfs are simply to make way for a new healer on the horizon.
Receiving even more buffs this time around, is this the patch that makes Viper good? Probably not, but it is certainly worth trying. Placing poison walls during the buy phase is a gigantic leap in the right direction, but the rest of Viper’s kit just lacks the mobility the game demands. Perhaps the Viper-mains of the ranked ladder will find the best spots and strategies for the poison agent, but for most players, she will remain at the very bottom of the tier list.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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