The VALORANT meta has continuously changed and evolved as new agents and maps have been released. Teams must find the best compositions for success, which sometimes leads to certain agents overshadowing others. But the current professional meta features several viable agents that thrive in different scenarios or maps, resulting in an exciting and diverse experience.
Recent updates have pushed other controllers besides Viper and Astra into the forefront of compositions, allowing agents like Brimstone, who have sat on the sidelines for months, to appear in professional games. Even Omen, long considered an obsolete choice, made an appearance on the newly reworked Icebox. The duelist meta hasn’t changed as drastically, but Neon has poked her head into a couple of matches.
No VALORANT player is better equipped to talk about the meta than a professional, and Dot Esports spoke with several after their matches in the NA VCT Challengers One upper quarterfinals and semifinals last weekend. Players from The Guard, Cloud9, and OpTic Gaming shared their opinions on the current state of multiple agents and if other characters could potentially become viable in the future.
Chamber is the newest sentinel in VALORANT and has become a viable choice across North America. He blurs the line between sentinel and duelist with a robust kit that includes two weapon-based abilities. Players can hold down areas and cover flanks with ease while also delivering devastating firepower against opponents. Chamber currently has a 47-percent pick rate in NA VCT Challengers One, according to VLR.gg, and has appeared in 79 percent of matches on Breeze. He rarely appears on Haven, Bind, and Ascent but has been picked in the majority of games on Icebox, Breeze, and Fracture. He’s also just short of appearing in the majority of compositions on Split.
Chamber’s ultimate is perfect for covering long sightlines, and his Trademark ability allows teams to watch the flank with ease, especially on large maps like Breeze and Fracture. Other agents provide more value than Chamber on other maps, however, or Chamber’s abilities don’t always provide the necessary utility in common situations.
“I think Chambers in a pretty good spot, honestly,” The Guard’s Jacob “valyn” Batio told Dot Esports. “I feel like they released him really well. His alarm bots are not too overpowered, but they’re good enough, especially because you can see them, so it makes [for an] interesting idea. and where to position the alarm bells because the enemy team can see them.”
Valyn’s teammate Trent Cairns echoed the same sentiment, although he highlighted a point of frustration caused by his teammates dying mid-animation due to Chamber’s teleport failing to activate immediately. C9’s Mitch Semago also told Dot Esports he believes Chamber is “pretty solid” but would like to see the duration of the slow effect from his alarm bot slightly reduced.
OpTic’s Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, who dominated C9 on Haven during the upper semifinals with Chamber, believes the agent is strong but tricky to learn.
“I don’t think he’s been figured out entirely, how to play like really effectively,” yay said. “I’m still trying to figure out like my own identity on some maps with him. But I think he’s a really strong agent… and I think he’ll really be meta for a lot of teams, on a lot of different maps, it’s just a matter of, like, it’s just gonna take time like to really flush him out figuring out kind of like how Viper was, you know, maybe not to the same extreme.”
Chamber’s healthy pick rate across multiple maps will likely continue for the foreseeable future unless an unexpected nerf comes to ruin the fun. Another controller agent, Brimstone, has finally started seeing some time in professional matches.
Brimstone received a significant buff in Patch 4.04 that improved his Sky Smokes and Stim Beacon. The Stim Beacon granted a speed boost alongside the rapid-fire buff, making it a more viable option. While he isn’t the star controller, he has appeared in compositions from seven out of eight teams in the NA Challengers One main event.
Yay believes Brimstone has a sure place in the meta and that the updates to the Stim Beacon in Patch 4.04 introduced more value to his ability kit. The updated ability provides an excellent boost for teams pushing into sites or rotating to a new position. Yay agrees with this sentiment and believes fans will see Brimstone played on three or four maps going forward.
Valyn also commented on Brimstone being in a healthy spot, although he would like to see a speed reduction to the Stim Beacon. Riot Games reduced the number of Stim Beacons from two to one in Patch 4.05, removing some of the effectiveness that resulted in Brimstone’s increased pick rate. The speed is still the same, but players must strategically decide when to use the ability.
It’s unclear if this nerf will significantly impact Brimstone’s pick rate or if he will remain a viable choice in some situations. Pros are still playing on Patch 4.04, so it will be a while before the changes impact their compositions. The diverse controller meta is entertaining, especially as other agents like Omen have also seen a rise in pick rates. There is no longer any controller agent with a zero-percent pick rate, meaning teams are experimenting and using diverse compositions on different maps, resulting in a fresh experience no longer dominated by the same agents.
The duelist meta is a different story, despite Neon recently joining the game and the extensive Yoru rework. Neon has appeared a couple of times on Haven and Split, but it’s clear teams are still hesitant to pick her.
“I think [Neon is] still gonna be like a rare pick, even though we lost to it today [against OpTic],” Mitch said. “I don’t think she has as much impact as you know, other duelists agents do. So maybe they gotta change her kit up a little bit or give her above for people to actually start playing her.”
Valyn echoed a similar take, explaining how Neon is decent but still overshadowed by Jett. If Jett receives a nerf in the future, Neon might become an agent that teams will consider. Trent also said her stuns can “almost stun everything on certain maps,” devastating large areas, and how some teams might incorporate this strong ability into their strategies.
Yoru’s long-awaited rework was also included in Patch 4.04, but teams are still hesitant to use him or haven’t dedicated enough time to learn his tricky ability set.
Valyn, Mitch, and yay all believe Yoru has potential, but a few issues will prevent him from becoming a top choice. With the strength and benefits of other duelists like Jett, teams’ lack of preparation with Yoru’s updated ability set, and Yoru’s higher skill ceiling, he will continue to be overlooked for now.
Most professional VALORANT players appear to be happy with the current diverse meta that allows for more agents to be viable instead of two or three from each class being the only option. Fans can also enjoy a less repetitive experience since each team is incorporating new agents into the compositions, resulting in unpredictable and unique matches. The pros did make it clear some agents still need a bit of work, and hopefully for VCT fans, future changes will maintain and improve the exciting current meta.