Valorant recently got a major balance patch that shook up the new first-person shooter’s meta thanks to agent buffs and nerfs and some significant map changes. While it’s still too early to tell what changes it will have on team compositions over time, there’s no denying that Valorant is currently a game that heavily favors a defensive playstyle. And some agents are better equipped for that than others.
Riot’s Valorant is still in closed beta, but it’s already attracted a pretty dedicated playerbase of former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros, Overwatch League retirees, and everyday gamers who continue to uncover new strategies, ability techs, and team compositions. With the addition of ranked mode and a lot of tournaments around the corner, it’s time to take a look at which Valorant agents are making the biggest impact in competitive play. Using Valorant stats from Cyphercam, here are the agents you need to be if you want to win.
Cypher received some nerfs in the recent Valorant patch, but they didn’t do too much to affect his S tier status. In fact, his ultimate is still the best in the game. Able to find out where the entire enemy team is by simply tossing his hat onto an enemy corpse, his ultimate, Neural Theft, has been used in 60% of winning rounds. In a game where stealth is so important, being able to reveal an entire team’s location can change the game entirely.
Cypher is also able to hold down sites by himself, is able to stall pushes, hold off rotations, and can gain valuable information with abilities that reveal enemies, including a spycam. Cypher isn’t as strong on the offensive, but still remains a valuable agent to have on any team.
No team is complete without a Sage. Currently the only healer on the agent roster, Sage not only saves her teammates from getting knocked out with headshots, but her ultimate allows her to revive a downed teammate. In the chart above, it’s clear that Resurrection, similar to Overwatch’s Mercy revival ability, can completely change the outcome of a round.
But it’s Sage’s defensive prowess that makes her a real threat. The recent balance patch targeted Sage as well. Developers lowered the duration of Sage’s Slow Orb ability by two seconds, but to no avail. Sage uses peeker’s advantage to quickly peek a corner before deplying her second Slow Orb, making the nerf somewhat useless. The cost of her Barrier Orb was also increased, which can get a little frustrating, but she’s still a top agent thanks to her strong advantages on defense.
Breach is a powerhouse on both offense and defense. His kit focuses on making space for his team, often stopping enemies’ pushes with ease. His abilities are often viewed as a puzzle, since when they are placed and timed just right, the other team is almost powerless against the incoming barrage of unavoidable stuns and knockups. This intense crowd control agent can easily set up a team for victory. He currently has a 49% win rate on attacking rounds.
In a game that favors stealth and mechanics, it can be quite satisfying to play an agent like Brimstone. His kit is all about hitting hard, with abilities like Sky Smokes and Stim Beacon that allow him to aggressively lead a team to push a site. There’s a reason he’s the most-played agent after Sage. His ultimate, Orbital Strikes, is considered one of the best for playing around spike plants and defusals. When you hear the cue that your enemies are defusing the spike, simply launch a blast their way to deny them the defuse.
With his assassin attire and the ability to teleport, Omen is often seen as a stealth agent. But Omen’s true power lies in his ability to control a variety of situations, turning them in his team’s favor. Using Shrouded Step, he teleports to a marked location to bypass hard angles. For skilled Omen players, it’s all about mind games and doing the unexpected, staying one step ahead of opponents. This has earned him a 70% round win rate in tournament play.
Once players learn the ins and outs of a game’s maps, abilities and team strategies, pure firepower alone can’t hold up against kits with a utility focus. When the closed beta first dropped its keys, many Valorant players, including vocal streamers, repetitively demanded that Raze be nerfed. Unlike the previous agents, Raze’s abilities just focus on dealing massive amounts of damage. Many are even instant kills if aimed correctly.
While this amount of deadly power is enough to keep Raze high on the Valorant tier list, she’s still no match for agents with a focuse on map and crowd control. She most definitely excels at stomping pubs and is by far the best duelist in the game, able to pave her own way in solo queue. But she has very little impact on matches when compared to other agents with more tactical abilities.
When it comes to solo play and fragging, Phoenix is a showstopper. He deals a lot of damage, but his kit is overall underwhelming when it comes to making an impact on the game. The one ability that stands out is Phoenix’s ultimate, Run it Back. This flashy ability allows Phoenix to rush onto a site with aggression, not only firing at enemies with abandon but gaining valuable information for when he eventually falls back. Run it Back is the second-most impactful ultimate in the game right now with a 57% round win rate.
While self-sufficient and reliable, Phoenix is held back by the rest of his kit. It seems that dealing damage just isn’t enough to put you at the top of the Valorant tier list in the current meta.
Sova is moving up the tier list as the Valorant meta evolves. Once thought to be nothing more than vulnerable, now Sova’s Owl Drone ability is getting praise for the valuable information it provides. It allows for timely rotations when combined with his Recon Bolts. Valorant players are still trying to find the best locations for that ability, but there’s no denying that knowing an enemy’s location in Valorant is essential. That’s how Cypher gained the top spot on the tier list.
So what’s holding Sova back from joining Cypher at a higher rank? He just really can’t hold sites as well. Sova can’t hold his own and is prone to getting rushed down.
Jett is able to use her abilities, Tailwind and Updraft, to get unsuspecting angles in the otherwise simple closed beta maps. Unfortunately, they often feel clunky and don’t really lead to any big game-changing moments. Cloudburst is also not very effective. It’s often viewed as a worse version of the other smoke and vision-impairing abilities in the game due to its shorter duration. While a lot of players seem to have fun with Jett’s unexpected movements, her actual impact on each round is minimal.
Almost everyone can agree that Viper is the most underwhelming agent in the game. She was given a buff in the recent patch, but nothing can really help her climb the ranks if her abilities stay as they are now. Omen and Brimstone offer better smoke abilities and her Poison Cloud and Toxic Screen don’t do much to stop incoming enemy pushes. Her ultimate has very specific uses and is can be rendered pointless. She currently has the lowest pick rate in competitive play at 13%. Because of this, Viper has remained low on every Valorant tier list.