Last weekend’s VALORANT invitational may hint at the competitive meta leading into the First Strike event, the tac shooter’s first Riot-produced tournament.
Sixteen teams faced off in the Renegades x Nerd Street Gamers Invitational for their share of a $10,000 prize pool, including big names like Cloud9, Immortals, T1, and Twitch star Ninja’s squad, Time In. And VALORANT‘s most mysterious agent, Omen, was played in 99 percent of the matches, according to VLR.gg. Conversely, the once-popular Sage wasn’t even picked once after getting hit with extensive nerfs in Patch 1.07.
Omen’s popularity isn’t much of a surprise considering he can do it all. The agent has two free global smokes that replenish after a cooldown, a blind that has the potential to shroud an entire team’s vision, and mobility for repositioning and outplay potential. Unless Riot nerfs the versatile agent, his high pick rate will likely continue into the First Strike event.
The second and third most-picked agents at the Renegades x NSG Invitational were Sova and Cypher, respectively. Both agents can scout and offer plenty of information for elite teams to capitalize on. In the Pop Flash, PAX Arena, FaZe Clan, and Pittsburgh Knights tournaments, Cypher appeared in the most matches. But it seems the surveillance expert has been dethroned.
With intel and anti-flank being so important in the elite stages of play, the two will likely find themselves on most team comps going forward.
While Viper and Brimstone boasted extremely low pick rates in last weekend’s event, Sage was the only agent to appear in zero matches. The nerfs to her heal, barrier, and slow seemingly have propelled her well outside of the competitive meta. And it’s unlikely that she’ll get picked up in future events with far better options across the board.
VALORANT‘s new map (Icebox) and agent (Skye) will become available for competitive mode on Oct. 27. The icy tundra has many tight choke points and plenty of verticality, favoring agents like Jett, Killjoy, and Breach. And Skye offers plenty of scouting of her own, as well as a heal, potentially elbowing her way into the pro meta.
Andbox claimed first place and $6,000 in the invitational, followed by a new Immortals lineup in second and C9 in third. Fans also got to see the new T1 roster with Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham back in action.
The qualifiers for VALORANT‘s biggest North American event to date, First Strike, kick off Oct. 26. The eight best teams will then compete at the culminating event in December for a $100,000 prize pool.