Could Harbor take over the meta? Pro VALORANT players say only in certain circumstances

An early verdict has been made.

Image via Riot Games

Harbor has dropped anchor on the VALORANT meta following his early-access arrival. The game’s newest agent will be setting sail for a full release to the public at the start of Episode Five, Act Three on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The latest agent to join the roster, which now features 21 characters in total, is the first new controller since the addition of Astra in early 2021. The India-born agent has an ability kit based on his power to control and manipulate water, designed to wall off chokepoints and angles. A number of members from VALORANT‘s pro competitive community have already come together to clearly define his strengths and weaknesses.

His signature ability is High Tide, a long wall of water that he controls with his crosshair, and a wall that briefly slows anyone who passes through it. His Cove ability is a water sphere, the size of a typical smoke, with a bullet-absorbing shield that lasts for the damage equivalent of 13 Vandal or Phantom shots. His Cascade ability fires a rolling wave of water that slows players it hits. Finally, his Reckoning ultimate hits players in its large radius with successive and concussive geyser strikes.

The most valuable aspects of Harbor’s abilities, according to members of the pro community, are that they can be used quite viably on fast executes and retakes. The Guard’s valyn points to High Tide as “a strong ability for taking bombsites,” since it has the length of a Viper wall but more control over where it goes. He likes that a team can Cascade into a site on an execute or retake, and combo it with flashes or recon abilities while the defending team is scampering. Sentinels analyst dani highlighted the same strengths and added that the Cove orb is a great tool for pistol rounds.

But many pros have also brought up Harbor’s biggest weakness: his ability kit lacks the punch needed for him to be a viable solo controller.

Former FPX in-game leader ANGE1 says Harbor looks “a bit weak at the moment,” due to a lack of stopping power. The other controllers have abilities that can damage or blind opponents to slow them down (Omen’s Paranoia, Brim and Viper mollies, Astra’s suck and stun abilities), and ANGE1 thinks Harbor’s Cascade should have something like that instead of just a brief slow. Both Dani and former XSET player BcJ agree that teams cannot run Harbor as a solo controller.

The sentiments from these pros are very early, and Harbor’s place in the meta is subject to change after extensive tests from pro players, coaches, and analysts.