Skye was released in November and joined VALORANT’s ranked and competitive play a few weeks afterward alongside the somewhat difficult launch of Act III. But VALORANT’s meta hasn’t seen drastic changes since this summer. And from what Riot showed with the balance changes of Patch 1.11, as well as the release of Skye and Icebox, it won’t likely change that much before 2021 even if some agents’ spots in the meta have moved.
The start of the First Strike tournaments in several regions around the world and a first view of North America and Europe’s top 100 rankings on the ladder gave more information on which agents are dominating the meta of VALORANT.
Here are our rankings for the most powerful agents in VALORANT’s Act III.
Omen has been everywhere since this summer. He dominates VALORANT’s ladder, as well as the competitive stats. In First Strike tournaments from Europe and North America, he boasts the highest pick rate of all agents with an overwhelming 98-percent rate in North America and a 95-percent rate in Europe, according to VLR.GG.
Omen is the only controller agent that has a strong spot in the meta, contrary to Viper and Brimstone. He’s versatile with the ability to carry a round alone with a well-timed ultimate, help his teammates with his powerful smoke, and rotate quickly around the map with a teleport. He’s a must-pick agent in every composition. Omen isn't easy to play, however. His ultimate is a double-edged sword that both can cause an instant death or an ace of the enemy team.
Out of the 10 highest-ranked players on VALORANT’s European ladder in September, five were Jett mains, which tells a lot about her power on the ladder. She also boasts the most popular ultimate in several regions. Jett is the strongest duellist in rated matches with a powerful cocktail of mobility, aggression, and control. In the First Strike tournaments from November, she also was the most-picked duelist, according to VLR.GG.
She’s the ideal pick for players who like to make clutch moves rather than stay back and help the team. Her abilities allow her to reach unique locations on the maps and play with verticality, which is a core element of the latest map, Icebox. She also offers some utility with three smokes that last around 10 seconds. Her passive, which allows her to hover after a jump, is another way to create clutch plays. Jett is incredibly fun to play but also hard to use to her full potential. Jett is most powerful in risky positions, even though she can get killed due to the slightest mistake.
Sova is a versatile agent, which makes him a valuable asset both in competitive play and unrated matches. He can be picked in almost every situation and can fit several playstyles. His Recon Bolt reveals every enemy in the radius of his sonar and can discover when the enemies are attacking as soon as the round starts. In addition, the three charges of his ultimate can wipe a team when they're trapped in a choke point by dealing significant damage at long range.
The initiator isn’t in the best spot in the meta right now, however. He’s getting outshined by Skye and Breach, mainly because he isn’t strong on Split compared to the other maps, whereas Skye is more versatile. Although Sova still has a strong place in VALORANT’s meta, Skye might outshine him once players unlock her and discover her potential, similar to previous releases.
Cypher has been the most consistent agent in the meta since the game’s release. He was at the top of everyone’s list and in almost every competitive match since its launch, but his recent nerf may have changed that. In the latest patch, when he dies, his trapwires and camera are revealed and then destroyed. It forces him to stay behind and not try to make early engages because his death is now more dramatic for his teammates.
His biggest strength is to gather as much information as possible on the enemy’s position with his traps, camera, and powerful ultimate. His traps are easy to use and versatile. Enemies are revealed as soon as they step onto them and can only destroy them silently by using a knife. As soon as they destroy the traps, Cypher will get a trigger warning, however. Cypher’s camera also can be put in several powerful spots on each map and reveal the opponents if he throws a dart at them. But to stay discreet, Cypher can always call out the enemies' positions without targeting them to keep his camera safe.
Reyna is one of the biggest winners of the latest patch, earning more popularity since her release. Being a duellist, she’s played in many rated matches and at every level. She’s also seen a higher pick rate in First Strike tournaments since Patch 1.12 went live, according to VLR.GG. She’s a good fit for the meta, which is becoming more aggressive. Reyna is particularly popular in rated games because she can carry a game all by herself. Her duelist kit favors snowballing without being complicated to play around teammates because her skills can’t have a negative impact on her allies, contrary to Phoenix’s flash, for example.
Reyna is made to kill. Her kit helps her get kills after impairing the enemy’s vision and then she becomes stronger by using the orbs created by her prey’s corpses. She can’t be strong in the hands of every player, though. If she's played in a passive style or gets behind, she'll serve no use in the game.
Breach has earthquake-themed abilities that help his team get control of the map. His abilities are only effective at close range, however, and the Breach player has to know exactly where his enemies are without putting himself at risk to use them at their best potential. In high-level play, he becomes a huge threat because he excels with efficient communication and good knowledge of the maps.
He’s popular in competitive matches and high-level ranked games, especially on Split where his pick rate skyrockets as opposed to Sova’s due to the numerous corners and small hallways the map features. He’s become as often picked as Sova since his buffs in Patch 1.07 and 1.11. In low and medium Elo rated matches, Sova still outshines him, however. And the release of Skye may have brought another contender who might take his place in the meta in the future.
While it’s too early to know exactly how Skye will fit in the meta over time, her kit shows good promise. As an initiator, she has a powerful flash to engage enemies or save herself from a bad trade, as well as a strong AoE heal. The only downside is that it doesn’t heal herself. While her scouting animal can be hard to use because she has to control it, similar to Sova’s drone, her ultimate sends out seekers that will find the opponents by themselves.
She seems to be overshadowed by Breach and Sova, however, who remain the most-popular initiator agents in VALORANT. But that might change in the future.
Raze has made waves since her release in VALORANT. Her abilities heavily complement her weapons by offering good area control. She was too powerful when she was released a few months ago, but then Riot nerfed her. Now, she's lost her prominent place in the meta and become more of a situational pick. With powerful area control abilities, she shines on maps with many corners and small pathways. That’s why she’s a must-pick on Split and strong on Bind. Her pick rate dramatically drops on other maps, however.
Raze is mostly countered by sentinels. She'll likely get stronger since this kind of agent—Killjoy and Sage—lost some power with nerfs and the trends of the current meta, which doesn’t put them at their best.
As a duelist, similar to Jett, Phoenix has the kit of a typical solo player who seeks clutch plays. His power lies in the versatility of his skills since he can blind enemies, burn them while healing himself, as well as create a gigantic wall of flames. He can switch playstyles in a round by being useful to his teammates and then flanking enemies by using his ultimate, which allows him to go for a play without taking any risks.
He’s been popular in ranked since the release of VALORANT but lost his prominent place in the low and medium Elo meta after the release of Reyna, who’s been more and more popular since this summer. Although he’s still picked by many players eager to solo carry their ranked games—he boasts the most popular ultimate in the U.S.—he’s not seen in many high Elo competitive matches and ranked games partly because his ultimate and other abilities are easy to predict.
Phoenix was the least-picked duelist agent in First Strike tournaments. This might change in the future, though, since the flash mechanic has gotten stronger following Skye’s release and Breach’s buff.
Killjoy has given Riot's developers a hard time with game-breaking bugs on her ultimate and turrets. But now, that seems to be history. On top of fixing bugs linked to her, the developers also nerfed her several times. In Patch 1.11, her alarmbot received a balance change, but it’s unclear if it made a difference on how often she'll be picked.
She got an indirect nerf, however, with the meta being focused on flashes with the release of Skye. Flashes are the biggest counter to her turrets alongside smokes, which makes Phoenix and Breach threatening agents—and they’re on the rise in this meta. She’s also stronger on defense than on attack, which makes her even more situational. Her pick rate remains around 30 percent in First Strike tournaments of every region, according to VLR.GG.
Riot has done it: Sage is finally out of the meta. She dominated every single game in VALORANT since the game was released and Riot hit her with countless nerfs to put her out of the meta. Patch 1.11 was the nail in the coffin, though with Skye’s release, who's the second agent with the ability to heal allies.
Sage has disappeared from competitive matches, but she’s still picked in some rated games by dedicated mains. Her wall is still a powerful skill and her ultimate has no comparison, but she’s become more situational.
Contrary to Sage being tirelessly nerfed since VALORANT’s release, Viper has received no less than four buffs. But still, she hasn’t found her place in the meta. She’s highly situational, being only picked on Split in competitions, according to her abysmal pick rate in First Strike tournaments. This map offers countless choke points and small hallways that make her strong, but that’s the only battlefield she can dominate.
The new season’s patches have made no change to this situation and Viper still belongs to the bottom of the tier list. She might stay there for a while, too.
Despite having a useful kit with plenty of smokes and an AoE ultimate with heavy damage, the controller hasn’t seemed to find his place in the current meta. His smokes can’t compete with those of Omen and his ultimate is too hard to use in games since opponents need to be packed in one small area for it to work. But in this area, Raze has more possibilities. Riot has tried to make him stronger by improving his Stim Beacon, but that didn't cut it.
In addition, his abilities require good communication to work, which makes him weak in solo queue and ranked situations. He’s also practically non-existent in competitions, being picked only on Bind in First Strike tournaments from North America and Europe with a less than five-percent pick rate.
VALORANT's Act III won’t end until early 2021. Some agents will certainly become more popular than others, which may affect their rank on this list, and Skye will likely receive more adjustments as the players figure out her strengths in the game. The introduction of the latest map Icebox in competitions might also shift the power of agents later.
This article will be updated with any changes or the addition of new agents in VALORANT.