Why are duelists no longer top picks in pro Valorant?

By Fariha Bhatti


Sep 17, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

You may see Reyna and Pheonix running rampant in ranked games but agent comps have changed in professional tournaments. Duelists are no longer the top pick and it’s a good thing. 

The final stage of Valorant’s biggest circuit VCT is approaching an end, with the last race to bag qualifying points in Masters 3 Berlin. Agent selection from Valorant Champions Tour Stage 3 proves that the agent compositions have changed drastically, as duelists take a backseat to let support agents shine.

What are the top five agents at VCT?

While the rest of the duelists sit outside the top five, Jett hangs in the big leagues. The agent enjoys a pick rate of 82%, the highest on the list, followed by Sova, who played 62% across all maps. Astra and Skye enjoyed high playtime on Split and Bind, respectively. Sage rules the A-tier with a 49% pick rate, coming fifth in the top agent list. Killjoy and Viper remain the best agents to hold off enemies on the defender’s side. 

Comparing the current pick rate at VCT Stage 3 with the previous series like VCT Masters 1 Europe, First Strike, VCT phase 1 North America, and more, it’s evident that the game meta has shaken in favor of support agents. It seems that the recent game changes are finally unfolding and showing an impact on a higher level. 

Previously, Raze rose through the ranks, acquiring the top spot on the tier list. However, the recent changes have sent the aggressive duelist to the eighth position. Reyna has seen a drastic drop in pro matches, and so has Pheonix. His name is shocking in C-Tier, as the duelist was picked only 4% of the time in the series so far. 

Riot Games rolled out significant buffs to the gunplay in patch 3.0, which ultimately brought support agents to the forefront. With major changes to how weapons work in Valorant, the developer nerfed the duelists’ kit with price changes. Naturally, higher-level players shifted towards more affordable agents to manage the overall team economy. For example, Raze’s Boombot went from 200 to 400 creds, and her ultimate ability also hiked to 8 points. 

Support agents benefited from these changes, becoming the top pick in high ELO games. It’s reflected better in professional matches as well. Many teams like Team Liquid have managed to pounce over enemies with a squad of five support agents, zero duelists. The addition of new maps like Breeze and Icebox also contributes tons of the pick rate in current VCT and pro matches. Few duelists shine on Breeze due to the large map size, whereas Yoru is a bust on smaller locations like Icebox. 

Whatever the reason behind these changes, it’s mostly all for good. Few patches ago, the game had become all about aggressive agents, making complex strats a second priority. The current pick rate at VCT shows that Valorant is transforming into a cutthroat shooter that requires impeccable gunplay and teamwork. However, ranked games are much different than pro matches, so a few agents like Kay/O, Breach, and Reyna might help you climb ranks in lower level games.