We are gathered here today to bid farewell to some of the brave VALORANT agents who are no longer with us following the shifts in the meta that occurred in 2021.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a character you love to play, especially if they’re your go-to instalock. But just as the tides change the course of a ship, as the winds alter the flight of a plane, an update from Riot Games can have a drastic effect on a character’s viability in-game.
Some of these agents were once beloved selections with high pick rates and an open invitation to be part of any team composition. For others, they never got the time or respect that they felt was owed. Perhaps we’ll see them again in the future, but for now we lay them to rest.
Our beloved spooky, shadowy son Omen was once the most popular smoker agent someone in the controller role could ask for. Precise placement of smokes from great distances, an easy-to-use blind, and the ability to teleport made him a threat to opposing teams from virtually anywhere on the map.
As the collection of agents grew, however, a new smoker rose to prominence in Astra, with her additional map control abilities providing more usefulness to an overall team composition. Additionally, Omen’s ultimate has always been considered one of the weakest. From the highest pick rate at competitive events to now one of the lowest, Omen may now be gone but he is not forgotten.
Omen may have fallen the furthest of any other agent in the game, but he was not the first controller to fall out of favor with the player base. Brimstone has been on a slow and steady decline throughout the entire year, with more and more controllers flocking to Astra and Viper. Both agents are able to control more angles on a map, and both of their ultimates provide more usage to a team.
Brimstone being able to simultaneously deploy up to three smokes at the same time can be useful, but it’s not worth having to use the rest of his lacking ability kit. The RapidFire effect from Stim Beacon isn’t tremendously valuable, and other characters have better corner or Spike-clearing abilities than his single Incendiary grenade. You can rest now, old friend.
Once a popular pick at the duelist role, Phoenix has slid down into irrelevance at the end of 2021, with a stunning zero appearances at VCT Champions. The preference for a self-sustaining duelist with a blind ability has shifted to Reyna, since her Dismiss ability is a great additional info-gathering tool, and her ultimate can be a round-changer while Phoenix’s is somewhat lacking.
As an entry agent, he doesn’t draw the same kind of attention away from entry points as Jett does, and he doesn’t have the raid boss sustainability that Reyna is capable of. His wall is also the least useful.
While all our previous entries at some point had a moment in the sun, our poor Yoru was never given the chance to succeed and has virtually been ignored by the greater VALORANT community since the day he arrived.
His Gatecrash is loud and slow, his fake footsteps are easily read and non-impactful, and his ultimate at best provides information while also telegraphing to the enemy team that he’s going for a lurk. There’s just no viability to him at all, never has been, and that’s why Riot appears to be digging him out of his grave once again for more experiments. Maybe he can finally live as a “master of deception” than die as a low-rate duelist.
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