Image via Riot Games

How to play Astra in VALORANT: Abilities, ultimate, and tips

For those without a galaxy brain.

Astra is VALORANT’s controller agent from Ghana. Her abilities bring an incredible, out-of-this-world level of utility to the tactical shooter. Though her kit may have seemed overwhelming at her release in early 2021, once players figured their way around her utility she became overpowered. After being balanced in patch 4.04, she is a bit more on par with her controller agent counterparts.

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There’s a lot to learn when it comes to playing as Astra, let alone mastering her. But you don’t need a galaxy brain to be proficient with her, just this helpful guide.

Astral Form

The core basis of all of Astra’s abilities comes from her Astral Form, where she switches to a top-down view of the map and can travel anywhere to put down Stars on any flat surface. There is no range limit when placing Stars. These Stars are what allow her to use her actual abilities, and this is how she differs from many of the other agents. Once a star is placed, Astra will have to recover the star in order to change its placement and use it again. Each star has a small cooldown time before refreshing.

Instead of purchasing each ability separately at the start of the round, you purchase the Stars instead at 150 credits each, but you start with one free Star each round. This actually gives you a ton of versatility and options when it comes to using her abilities, which we discuss below.

Image via Riot Games

In Astral Form, your body stays in place while your form travels around the map. Your body is not invulnerable while in Astral Form, and taking damage will take you out of it. You can place your Stars anywhere around the map while in Astral Form, even putting utility on one side of the map while you’re defending or attacking another.

Speaking of utility…

How to use Astra’s Stars

Once a Star is placed, you can choose one of three abilities to use: Gravity Well, Nova Pulse, and Nebula. Gravity Well pulls any players into the center of the well before exploding, causing any caught players to become vulnerable. Nova Pulse is a concussive charge, disorienting players for five seconds. Nebula is Astra’s smoke ability, which creates a purple smoke that lasts for 15 seconds.

Image via Riot Games

When a round starts, you can cast one Gravity Well, one Nova Pulse and/or two Nebulas, if you have purchased enough Stars. But each ability has a cooldown of 10 seconds after it is used, allowing you to use it multiple times in a round. If you have the maximum four Stars, you could use it on four gravity wells, four concussive pulses, or four smokes in a single round if you wanted to, or any combination of the three.

When recovering a previously placed Star, it will briefly deploy a fake Nebula that lasts a couple of seconds before returning, nowhere as long as a real smoke.

Astra’s Ultimate – Cosmic Divide

When your ultimate is charged, you can use Astra’s Cosmic Divide ability. Enter Astral Form, right click to switch to Cosmic Divide, then left-click twice to determine the direction you want the infinite Cosmic Divide wall to go. The Cosmic Divide wall is an infinite wall that blocks bullets and cuts off audio. Players can pass through the wall, but their bullets can’t. This means if any part of a player is visible outside of the bounds of the wall, they could still be damaged.

Playing as Astra

Astra’s abilities are a cosmic combination of various other agent abilities, and with her Astral Form she can literally place them anywhere on the map. This gives her a ton of versatility as an Attacker and a Defender.

On the Attacking side, she can smoke off two pathways or sightlines while concussing a defender in another, and gravity welling another out of a hiding spot, all at the same time. With one free Star each round and each additional Star only costing 150 credits, she could pull off this four-ability strike as early as the first round. Additionally, she doesn’t need to be in Astral Form to activate the Stars once they’re on the ground, so she doesn’t need to hang back while the team pushes. This also means she can hold angles with her gun while defending a spike plant and still deploy her abilities if needed. Activating these abilities will trigger a brief animation, however, during which she is unable to shoot.

Image via Riot Games

On Defense, her abilities are a pain to get past for Attackers. Since each ability has a reset timer, she could theoretically just smoke the same point off five times in a row in the round. However, since patch 4.04 the Star recall cooldown has been significantly increased, making Star placement at the beginning of a round a much more important decision since you can no longer rely on your abilities coming back as quickly.

There’s potential for some formidable team-up moves with other agents as well. Her gravity well could be combined with a Killjoy grenade or a Viper Snakebite, forcing a vulnerable player to get stuck in the damaging area. Paired with a strong initiator or sentinel, she can get a lot of value out of every Star she places.

Finally, since her ultimate is literally infinite, it can be used to wall off several entry points and hiding spots to allow your teammates to pass unharmed and potentially undetected. Cosmic Divide can also be a key ultimate for a post-plant defensive strategy, cutting the other team off completely from site. As a zoning ultimate, Astra’s is one of the best in the game.

Even though Astra has fallen in and out of the meta as players redefine her role and her strengths, there is no doubt that her kit is unique and powerful in the right hands.


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Author
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.
Author
Nadine Manske
Nadine is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers VALORANT and Overwatch with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and marginalized genders in esports. Before joining Dot Esports as a freelance writer, she interned at Gen.G Esports and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her favorite Pokémon is Quagsire.