Even though the European VALORANT scene is continuing to grow and develop, there’s a clear consistency in agent choice across the region. Similar to First Strike, there are striking similarities and differences compared to North America.
But there are also differences within Europe when you compare Challengers to First Strike, so we're taking a deep dive into the pick rates for EU Challengers Two and Three. Rather than just looking at the top four teams like last time, we're examining the entire field of teams that competed in the open and closed qualifiers—every single map for a total sample size of 632 (stats courtesy of VLR.gg).
Here are the most popular agents overall, some unique picks and snubs for certain maps, and who's been left largely untouched in Europe.
Sova: The overwhelming favorite with one glaring exception
Sova has easily been the most-picked agent across Europe with the highest overall pick rate of 75 percent. If you look at his pick rates for certain maps, it looks his overall rate should be much higher: 96 percent on Ascent, 88 percent on Bind, 88 percent on Haven, and 72 percent on Icebox. His information-gathering skills have been spoken of at length. He's one of the best at revealing enemy agents and flushing them out of corners.
But you probably have noticed the one map missing, where Sova is consistently left aside. Sova's pick rate falls off a cliff on Split to just nine percent. With so many ways to enter sites on Split, his recon arrow isn't as useful as the abilities of a smoker or flasher. Additionally, the varying elevation makes lining up arrows more challenging. But given how much he's used elsewhere, it's fine for him to have one off map.
Omen, Jett, and Raze: The top trio
In terms of consistent use among all maps, there's no more popular trio of agents than Omen (72 percent overall), Jett (59.5 percent), and Raze (60.5 percent). Omen dips slightly on Bind and Icebox but is a top-two pick on Ascent, Haven, and Split. Raze makes her money on Bind and Split (she's the most-picked for Split) but is a common choice for all the other maps too. Jett is popular everywhere and is exceedingly popular on Icebox (more on that later).
Omen comes as no surprise. He was the top pick for both North American and European teams during First Strike and tied Sova for the top overall usage during Challengers Three. He's a terrific choice for players who play the lurking role, but his abilities can also be used in an aggressive manner, making him viable to all kinds of players.
While North America shows love to all four duelists, only Raze and Jett get consistent playing time in Europe. While Split may not be Sova's map, it's Raze's playground, and the best of the best love to satchel jump from high spots to soar over their opponents for backstabs. Jett's mobility combined with her smoke cover allows the best aimers to be even more deadly.
Cypher and Killjoy: The utility duo
Cypher (44 percent overall) and Killjoy (46.5 percent overall) have worked out a nice little partnership. Cypher gets the run on Bind (60 percent), Haven (63 percent), and Split (53 percent). Killjoy is the go-to choice for Ascent (74 percent) and Icebox (49 percent). Both agents have gotten some time on all maps, except for Cypher on Icebox (only 3.5 percent). But, in general, this is how the two sentinels split the map pool.
Both agents are popular picks for savvy, in-game leaders. Their abilities are designed to slow down attacking pushes, allowing teams to stack other sites and leave just one defender with all the utility.
Sage, Viper, and Reyna: The ice queens
Overall, Sage (41.5 percent) hovers around the second tier of agents, while both Reyna (12 percent) and Viper (8.5 percent) are near the bottom. But this changes when a series turns to Icebox.
Sage is regularly used on Split (72 percent) and sparingly on Ascent (36.5 percent), Bind (26.5 percent), and Haven (17 percent). But she's the most popular agent selected for Icebox at a staggering 91.5 percent. Her wall and slow orbs are tremendously useful for taking sites, especially the B site.
On Icebox, Viper (78.5 percent) and Reyna (43 percent) get much more run compared to other maps. Similar to Sage, Viper's toxic screen wall helps attacking teams get safe plants down on B, while her total utility package can be useful on both sites. For Reyna, her flashes are more useful on Icebox than any other map, making her a viable choice despite her recent nerfs.
Brimstone and Breach: The niche brothers
Despite low overall pick rates for both Breach (37.5 percent) and Brimstone (22 percent), the two agents each get to shine on their own respective map picks.
Breach is a popular pick on Split with a 70-percent pick rate. As mentioned earlier, it's a map that allows a flasher agent to excel. And with so many hiding spots for enemies, his Aftershock and Faultline abilities become vital.
Brimstone has carved out a spot on compositions for Bind with a 53-percent pick rate. With longer smoke duration and Molotovs to trap enemies in teleporters, he gets to outshine the other smoking controller, Omen (47.5 percent on Bind), if only once.
Skye, Phoenix, and Yoru: The bottom
Phoenix may be popular in North America, but the U.K. native doesn't get nearly the same attention in Europe with a 10.5-percent pick rate. Maybe it's because the U.K. left the Union? It's more likely because EU teams don't run triple duelist comps the way NA does.
Skye gets a little bit of attention at a nine-percent pick rate and Yoru is all but ignored with a dismal one-percent pick rate. He's only one percent higher than Astra, who wasn't allowed to be used during Challengers.
Ideally, there will be some changes to these rates going into the next phase of VCT after Masters One. The VALORANT team is already exploring ideas for Yoru buffs and Astra will be making her official debut. With her debut, expect to see rates for either Omen or Brimstone decline slightly or even tremendously. And eventually, these pick rates will shift again if and when a new map is introduced.
All the maps and agent selections made in EU Challengers come together at the first Masters event, starting on March 12.
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