A picture of VALORANT's logo with a blue background
Image via Riot Games

Best agents in VALORANT: Ranked tier list

The definitive rankings.

The character you choose to play matters in every competitive game, and VALORANT is no exception. The best agents in VALORANT constantly change as Riot Games introduces new patches, adjusting the playstyles of each agent.

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Depending on who gets buffed and nerfed, a trend always emerges, and the list of the best-performing agents in the game is evolving. Keeping up with all the changes can be tough if you’re a casual player or are just getting back into Riot’s premier FPS title.

If you hesitate on which agents to pick or just want a better idea of the meta, here are our rankings for the best agents as of March 2024 (Episode Eight, Act Two).

Image of Cypher, Fade, and Harbor.
VALORANT is all about your team composition. Image via Riot Games

How we determine our agent rankings

This VALORANT agent tier list is determined by several factors, including the agents’ popularity and win rates in competitive, unrated, and professional play, their synergy with other top-tier picks, and Riot’s latest balance changes.

Riot is actively trying to strike a balance between the power of gunplay and abilities, which means agents widely considered the most powerful over a long period of time are often the most susceptible to changes. While there are some exceptions, you should expect that if you take time off, your favorite character might look a little different when you return.

Though our tier list is thoughtfully compiled, if you’re committed to maining a certain agent, you can make any pick work with enough expertise. But the truth is, some agents are just easier to make work than others.

As of March 2024, the meta has shifted noticeably from double-controller and double-duelist heavy compositions to teams favoring the use of two initiators. How does this impact the tier list? Since initiators are now being used in tandem instead of relying upon them solo, none of them individually rank in the S Tier. But there aren’t any initiators in the D Tier. Most initiator agents are very balanced in Episode Eight and combine together nicely.

That said, here’s our list.

Ranked tier list of best VALORANT agents (February 2024)

S TierJett, Omen, Clove, Cypher
A TierRaze, Sova, KAY/O, Killjoy, Fade, Viper
B TierSkye, Brimstone, Phoenix, Breach, Gekko
C TierNeon, Astra, Deadlock, Chamber, Yoru, Harbor, Sage
D TierReyna, Iso

S Tier: Jett, Omen, Clove, and Cypher

These agents are the cream of the crop and are fantastic picks in almost any agent composition on nearly every map in the game. They’re also great picks for when you’re trying to climb the ranked ladder yourself in solo queue, and if you’re good on one of these agents, don’t be ashamed to insta-lock.

Jett is the optimal choice for any player who wants to capitalize on opportunities to get kills. She is an attack-sided juggernaut with enhanced mobility, plus her smokes can be used to help the rest of the team or anchor her highlight plays. With the right mechanics, Jett is one of the best agents, and she also hasn’t fallen out of the meta at all since the game’s release. If you can master the timing of her movement abilities, she is undoubtedly the one true S-Tier pick.

Omen is the strongest controller agent in the meta due to his flexibility in adapting to various situations and playstyles. His ability to blind and teleport is unique in his agent class, and his ultimate can provide a variety of different uses to a team. He can help set up an entry to a site with ease and position his allies for easy kills on helpless enemies thanks to his smokes and flash. His smokes are the best and offer the most precise placement out of any controller agent. This last point alone is enough to choose him over any other agent with smokes.

The newest addition to the VALORANT roster, Clove brings a mix of duelist and controller magic to the table, ushering in an aggressive way to play the otherwise defensive role. While most of their kit is great at letting them pick frags and make space for the team, Clove can annoy enemies with smokes for her allies even after her death. Not to forget, their ultimate is self-resurrection. Clove’s ability to deploy instant pre- and post-death smokes has definitely changed the defensive and stale controller meta for good, making her an S-tier agent.

Cypher is a master of locking down a site with his defensive utility but doesn’t offer as much on the attacking side when it comes to getting to sites safely. Yet, the recent changes to Cypher’s kit, most notably adjustments to his Trapwire, now make him the strongest sentinel in the game. Cypher players are now fully equipped to handle engagements on their own and are more self-sufficient than ever. Cypher is also an excellent agent for teamwork and can even act as a pseudo-initiator, gathering information for teammates with all of his abilities.

A Tier: Raze, Sova, KAY/O, Killjoy, Fade, Viper

These agents provide a great amount of value to most compositions across a majority of maps. None of the agents in this tier are bad picks, but some agents in the S-Tier category might be better, depending on the situation and your expertise.

Raze is a destructive force, able to flush hidden enemies out of corners with her paint can grenades and Boombot. Raze’s main struggle is that she isn’t great on maps with wide open space, especially after recent nerfs to her Boombot and other destructive utility. She is great on maps with tight corners, and with recent changes to several of VALORANT’s maps to include even more of those, Raze’s use is on the rise. Her satchels also give her complexity in her movement and allow her to fly around an entire enemy team without getting picked off. Depending on your team’s strategy, Raze is sometimes a better choice than Jett.

Sova is the most approachable initiator agent in the game for players looking to try that role for the first time. His Recon Bolt and drone are essential tools for gathering information, his Shock Darts are vital to any post-plant, and Hunter’s Fury can swing a round in a multitude of viable ways. He also has utility that is easy to understand and implement yet leaves a high skill ceiling for experienced players. Sova’s lack of flashes and easy-to-counter utility means that he works well with another initiator, but he is perfectly viable on his own. Pair him with another agent that has a flash, like Omen or Phoenix, to fill in the gap.

KAY/O has powerful abilities with unique mechanics, making him a bit of a niche agent to pick up, but an incredibly valuable one. He can singlehandedly shut down pushes from an enemy team by canceling all of their abilities with just a throw of a knife. His flashes are powerful, and he can even be given a second chance at life if he dies in his ultimate. If you’re coming to VALORANT from CS2, you might find KAY/O’s flashes easier to use than some other agents.

Killjoy is the sentinel of our dreams. Her utility has become increasingly useful, and she rivals Cypher as the best sentinel in an agent class that struggles with consistency across the board. After the end of the Chamber-centric meta, and after getting health upgrades to her Lockdown and Alarmbot, the turret-wielding sentinel has taken a massive step up. Killjoy’s greatest strength is her external utility, which can almost act as a sixth agent on your team.

Fade is a great initiator, but there is really no other agent quite like her, which is both a strength and a weakness. The information she can gather for her team is comprehensive, and she also has her own follow-up abilities to be able to act on that information. She has no flash, like Sova, but in a meta once again favoring an initiator tandem, this doesn’t hurt her as much as you’d expect.

Viper‘s ability to place walls, choke off angles, deny defuses, and use her ultimate to establish control over an entire site makes her one of the most diverse agents in the game. Viper is most likely to succeed when she is played as a sentinel and used alongside another controller, which is the only reason why she isn’t S-tier. With the rise of the recent double initiator meta, Viper has had to stand her ground alone more often and has proven to be successful at doing so in most cases. While you’ll still need to be excellent with poison fuel management to actually use her by herself, her impressive set of abilities that make her viable on almost every map puts her in A Tier.

B Tier: Brimstone, Phoenix, Breach, Gekko, Skye

These agents can provide a fair amount of value when used properly but often have specific maps where they shine the most. The agents in this category can be defined as “not bad, just okay.” You’ll still see them played at the highest level, but usually with a well-coordinated strategy in mind.

Brimstone‘s post-plant ability is top-tier, and his smokes provide the most comprehensive site coverage. They also last longer than any other agent’s smokes, making him a prime choice for those who like executing onto sites through the front door. The main reason he isn’t in S or A Tier is because his smokes don’t recharge, limiting his value on maps that often end up with attackers rotating or utilizing a multi-site approach. Omen is generally a better choice unless you’re a lineup connoisseur.

Phoenix has cemented himself as a solid mid-tier agent with solid strengths and weaknesses. He is gaining popularity in the VCT but also casual play. During Episode Seven he sat in the top ten based on his win rate of any agent, indicating the players are eager and prepared to bring him firmly into rotation. His flashes make him a dynamic duelist choice, and he can provide self-sustain that most other duelists need to rely on a teammate for.

Gekko can be one of the toughest initiators to deal with since he brings so much utility to the table, and if used properly, can be a perfect way to push onto a site or defend from an incoming retake. With recent buffs to his kit (and nerfs to Skye’s flashes and dog), he has become a great solo initiator to play in ranked, although it’s important to learn how his Dizzy’s trajectory works. It’s also crucial that Gekko prioritizes picking up the orbs to have as many flashes as he can.

Breach is an overwhelming agent when used on the right maps. He particularly excels on maps with smaller sites. You’ll just need to coordinate with your teammates to make sure you don’t stun them, which can be tricky when solo queuing or for new players.

Skye has a long history of being one of the most versatile agents in VALORANT, but recent nerfs have set her back compared to her initiator counterparts. Her info-gathering utility is informative and oppressive, and she is also the only agent besides Sage who can heal teammates, which is a massive asset in a game without respawns. Her weaknesses include nerfs to her flashes, which were once the best in the game, and also the steep learning curve to play her at a high level.

C Tier: Neon, Astra, Deadlock, Chamber, Yoru, Harbor, Sage

Astra‘s ultimate ability is a double-edged sword that costs her some tiers compared to other controllers, but the global reach of her stars can still be valuable to a team. The other main reason she is all the way in C Tier is she is generally considered the most difficult agent to play.

Once a clear S-Tier agent that dominated the pro scene, nerfs to Chamber have knocked him down the ladder. With virtually his entire kit taking a hit in viability, he’s not completely useless, but he’s far gone from the crutch he once was.

Yoru has the potential to be a carrying force, but only if the player playing them has a great understanding of how to use his utility. After years of being an extremely niche, and almost a throw pick, in the VCT, Yoru is now becoming a far less rare sighting in professional play. If you’re looking for a new way to try out the agent, try pairing him with Fade.

Neon is a good choice for those looking for an alternative to Jett, but slightly less airborne. Neon’s lack of utility means she can struggle in slower-paced games, but she can be an incredibly viable option in aggressive scenarios. She still falls short of other meta duelist picks like Jett, Raze, and Phoenix.

Sage can exert an incredible amount of map control with her slows and wall and can reverse the momentum of a round with a well-timed heal or resurrection. She lacks flank-watching abilities that make the other sentinels in her agent class strong picks, like Killjoy. Sage is a great agent to start out on if you’ve never played VALORANT before. Unfortunately, she is one of the top few agents in dire need of a buff to stay viable in the meta. In the imminent Cypher and Killjoy meta, she is a bland pick to make in high Elo games and pro play—unless there is a quirky strategy involved.

Harbor is a welcome addition to the controller category, mostly due to his primary wall ability. The length, control, and duration of the wall is such a vital tool, as are his bullet-shielding cover orb and his site-clearing ultimate. He struggles less than Viper as a single controller, but sometimes the power of his utility can be a detriment to his own team.

While her release was one of the worst the game has seen so far, Deadlock received several buffs to her Sound Sensors, GravNet, and Barrier Mesh over the months, picking her up the tier list. Unfortunately, she was picked only one time in pro play and is still somehow too complex for ranked players to get the hang of. After the buffs kicked in, I have seen players decimating their opponents with Deadlock on maps like Bind and Split, but her underwhelming ultimate is incredibly situational, which makes Killjoy and Cypher better choices.

D tier: Reyna, Iso

No agent in the field is completely worthless, but in most scenarios, these agents don’t provide the most value to a team.

Reyna has the highest win rate in casual VALORANT play and boasts the highest pick rate. So why is she sitting down in D Tier? The main reason is Reyna is the most selfish agent. Her utility primarily serves her own needs, which results in a playstyle that doesn’t focus on the needs of her team. She’s fine if you want to go off and frag out on your own, but doesn’t add anything to a team composition.

VALORANT’s newest agent Iso once had the potential to grow into a truly incredible duelist, but this has failed to materialize several months into his release. Like Reyna, Iso’s utility is mostly selfish, though he does have a few abilities that teammates can work off of. His ultimate doesn’t often get a lot of value except in hyper-specific situations or pre-planned attacks, which don’t always go to plan.

This article will be updated with any changes or the addition of new agents in VALORANT.

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Sharmila Ganguly
Staff Writer at Dot Esports. An enthusiastic gamer who bumped into the intricacies of video game journalism in 2021 and has been hustling ever since. Obsessed with first-person shooter titles, especially VALORANT. Contact: sharmila@dotesports.com
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.