After taking an exhausting and extensive look at the top tiers of agent picks in North American VALORANT, we’re hopping across the pond to examine the trends and popular picks of Europe.
We looked at the agent pick rates from four of the top European professional teams: Team Heretics, G2 Esports, FunPlus Phoenix, and SUMN FC. After pouring over the data, we’ve taken the full field of agents and separated them into tiers based on their pro pick rates, according to VALORANT stats site VLR.gg. For the sake of consistency, we’ve used data from the beginning of First Strike qualifiers until now to not go too far back into previous metas. This data includes maps from the beginning of those qualifiers to the end of the Red Bull Home Ground event.
Here are the agents that are must-picks by the European pros, the agents that are being ignored, and some of the pros making the best plays with said agents.
Tier one: The most picked in Europe (over 70 percent)
Omen (78.5 percent)
All hail the shadowy king. There's no change at the top of the list compared to North America—Omen reigns supreme yet again. The only situation in which he rarely makes an appearance is when Team Heretics play on Bind, only using him four out of 14 times.
Each of the top four teams have a dedicated Omen player. First Strike champion Heretics have Auni "AvovA" Chahade, FPX run with CS:GO veteran Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow, and SUMN has James "Mistic" Orfila. For now, we're going to watch G2's Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski end a match with a spectacular Omen play. He gets an early kill, but rather than settle and fall back, he hits the grouped-up attackers with Paranoia then teleports to a high vantage point to mow them all down.
Sova (74 percent)
Sova remains a tier-one agent in both North America and Europe. Similar to North American pros, the European pros use Sova on almost all maps except for Split. Of the 18 maps on Split registered in our data, Sova was picked zero times. Despite disappearing on Split, Sova is still an abundantly popular choice.
Both Heretics' Dustyn "niesoW" Durnas and SUMN FC's Muhammad "Moe40" Hariff played Sova throughout their entire First Strike grand final showdown against each other. They each used their utility to generate information for their teammates, putting them in situations to make plays time and time again. In the pivotal third map, niesoW stopped the pistol round push dead in its tracks with a Shock dart, then used his Recon dart the next round to get a spray kill through the smoke.
Raze (74 percent)
The first significant change when comparing North America to Europe comes at the top duelist spot, where Raze emerges as the favorite. There are no discrepancies or anomalies when it comes to maps or team preference. In fact, she's been a 100 percent pick for FPX's Pontus "Zyppan" Eek. Raze is used more often and more carefully in Europe. Most pros opt to use her utility to clear out corners rather than satchel boost into sites.
Despite starting out as primarily a Jett player, G2's Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho followed the rest of Europe when he started playing more Raze. While his Twitch chat may not have understood his decision, the Spanish sensation proved it was a good choice. Watch him use Raze's paint can grenades while trapped in a corner to force an enemy into crosshairs while getting a kill with the grenades themselves.
Tier two: The mostly picked in Europe (45 to 70 percent)
Cypher (65 percent)
Another popular pick in North America is popular in Europe, with Cypher just missing the top tier by a few points. That might've been due to SUMN FC's unwillingness to pick him, only showing up in six of 16 maps played. But he's picked in a majority of games for the other three teams, including a 100 percent rate for all G2 maps.
It's hard to track down Cypher highlights given his tendency to be used in a passive support role. But watch G2's Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi take over his game in the late rounds with some smart Cypher plays and clutch shots. He gets the early kill and immediately smokes off the site entrance then uses his ultimate to learn that another push is imminent—all while his well-placed tripwires slow down the push.
Breach (50 percent)
This is where things really get interesting. Breach may be a niche pick in North America, but in Europe, he's well used across the map pool by FPX and SUMN FC. He's also a go-to Bind pick for G2. If you take away Heretics, who are reluctant to use him, he actually climbs to a 66 percent pick rate.
Breach's utility makes him one of the best agents for entering sites with his ability to blind enemies and blast them out of hiding spots. Both FPX's Tobias "shadow" Flodström and SUMN's Jake "Boaster" Howlett have established themselves as premier Breach players. Watch this pistol round from Boaster from the Red Bull Home Ground finals against Team Liquid. While he doesn't win the round, his early flashes allowed his team to take garage in Haven and he smartly uses his Fault Line to slow down Sage in the final one-vs-one.
Sage (46 percent)
This is another surprising appearance in the European list compared to North America. A basically untouched Sage in NA is a popular pick for Heretics (43 out of 45 maps) and a go-to Split pick for G2 and FPX. While Sova is constantly avoided on Split, Sage appears in all 14 Split appearances for those three teams.
While nerfs to her slow orbs and walls have brought her pick rate down slightly over time, those slowing abilities mixed with her heals and resurrection ultimate still make Sage a viable support agent. Heretics have found tremendous success with Christian "loWel" Garcia Antoran supporting the team through Sage. Watch him wall off the attacking SUMN FC for an easy defuse during First Strike.
Honorable mention: Viper (15 percent)
While Viper's overall rates in both North America and Europe have been low, she gets an honorable mention for how well she was used by SUMN FC in their First Strike run. Several times throughout the bracket, SUMN took Mistic off of Omen and instead let him run Viper—and the results speak for themselves. Viper helped them seal an opening win against Purple Cobras, was instrumental in their map three victory against FPX, and landed them their only win against Heretics in the finals.
Viper's utility kit allows her to wall off entries and control sites with her toxic screen and cloud. Her cloud essentially serves as a smoke but with an extra kick to it. Watch mistic use the Bind map to his advantage, sending his wall through it at an angle to wall off A short, mid teleporter, and the B bombsite. It's actually a fake, but even when it fails, he's able to redeploy the wall to cover his teleport and get a plant on B.
Tier three: The rest
Unfortunately for the agents that remain, they fall into the final tier, meaning they're niche picks or not played at all in Europe.
Brimstone's highest rate for any team is Heretics at 22 percent—and that's exclusively on Bind. He also appeared twice on Bind for G2, once for SUMN, and twice for G2 on Split. Killjoy, NA's honorable mention, only gets played by SUMN and by Heretics when they're on Ascent.
Jett was the closest to breaking into the second tier with an average rate of 33 percent. That number is around how often she's used by both Heretics and SUMN, but she's an outlier with the other two teams. G2 used her in 63 percent of their maps, while FPX didn't use her even once.
Phoenix ends up being the lowest picked agent in Europe other than Skye, who was picked zero times. Phoenix's average pick rate of four percent and overall pick rate of two percent is a massive drop off from the 51 percent seen in North America.
North America vs. Europe
So what are the biggest differences in agents picked by the best of Europe compared to North America? The biggest losers are Phoenix and Jett, who both tumble out of the top tiers with their average pick rate plummeting by nearly 50 percent.
Despite falling from 97 percent in NA to 79 percent in Europe, Omen remains the most picked agent. Both Sova and Cypher stay at roughly the same rates.
Raze jumps from tier two to tier one in Europe with her pick rate increased by roughly 20 percent. Cypher remains in tier two but jumps from 50 percent to 65 percent. Breach and Sage both escape the bottom tier in NA for the second tier in Europe. Viper overall gets a slight boost from nearly zero percent to 15 percent and was pivotal in some of the big wins at First Strike Europe.
This will be interesting to revisit after some more events of the VALORANT Champions Tour are wrapped up. This article will be updated when new data becomes available.
Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.