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Meta Agent Tier List Patch 8.04! – New Phoenix Meta! – Valorant Guide

Ever since the start of the Champions Tour, we’ve seen dramatic innovations in the meta. So, we’re going to be breaking down the new meta tier list, talking about the best and worst agents, characters that pros are trying and succeeding with, and strategies that you can incorporate in your games to give yourself a leg up on the competition.

Champions Tour Innovations

First off, I do want to talk about the D tier, and these are two characters that are actually being experimented with, and they have potential to move up this list. But right now, they don’t have the pick rate to justify a higher placement. But I do want to talk about Deadlock first.

The Viability of Deadlock

Deadlock was being experimented with by Pro Team EG on maps like Icebox and was actually doing really well. It looked incredibly impressive for them to shut down enemy teams with Deadlock. However, as enemy teams got more and more used to dealing with Deadlock, they were able to adapt and overcome it.

That being said, it proved that Deadlock is viable on Icebox, and especially in ranked play, I think that Deadlock can be that sleeper pick that opponents don’t know how to play around. But on other maps, it’s going to be more powerful. Sentinels, even though the Sentinel meta is shaking up quite a bit, but we’ll hit that a little bit later.

Phoenix’s Role in the Meta

Now, the next character in the D tier I do have to talk about is Phoenix, and I almost didn’t want to put him here. In the past, I put him in the rank Superstar tier, a rank given to characters that don’t have a place in pro play but they only have a place in ranked play. Phoenix has always been this character that has been an All-Star in ranked but in pro play has been lacking.

Although Loud, one of the best teams in North America, has been slaughtering teams, specifically with Phoenix on maps like Ascent, Sunset, and Bind. The way that they’re doing this is by specifically abusing the fact that Phoenix can get ult very quickly with only six ult points needed.

You play the map, you fight for control of certain orbs, and all of a sudden, you’re getting like one to two free orbs a round. Your Phoenix gets a couple of kills in a joint engage, and you’re farming a Phoenix soul every like three rounds that can literally win an entire freaking round for you by itself. You’re going to be able to bait out tons of utility.

Unlocking Phoenix’s Potential

Able to gather information and entry on the point, Phoenix can even secure kills, making him incredibly strong. It’s something that players in ranked play need to abuse more: the fact that this character has the fastest ult charge and one of the strongest ultimates. If you have even a slightly good game on Phoenix, you can chain a pop-off round into an ult round and then back, which can snowball out of control. Although still phenomenal for ranked play, the fact that Phoenix is being experimented with in meta play and teams are succeeding indicates that Phoenix has potential here to move up the rankings as an anti-meta pick.

The Struggle of Sage in the Meta

Sage has been having a rough time in the meta. Even on Icebox, her pick rate has slipped to the point where she doesn’t really see any play right now, and we can’t blame that on the map anymore. Even Deadlock is seeing more play than her, which is really bad for the character. However, this character still has a high win rate in ranked play and is doing fine, and you can win with her in ranked. But for pro play, her utility doesn’t translate into enough value, and it’s possible that many of the nerfs given to her over the years could be reverted to make her more viable on other maps compared to some of the other picks.

Neon’s Current Standing

Lastly, we definitely have to talk about Neon, another character not seeing substantial play right now. This is not necessarily a fault of Neon as a whole; it’s more so the fact that Neon has only seen consistent play on Fracture, which is currently out of the map pool. That being said, I think a more fundamental problem exists with Neon, which is if you’re playing her, you’re sacrificing either Raze or Jett, one of the two.

Character Selection in the Meta

I do think that when you have a character that requires an initiator like Breach to set her up to get value, even if it comes at a different target in the meta, it doesn’t make sense to justify picking that over the really tried and true powerful Duelists that just don’t require the same level of setup or are more flexible with their engagements.

Moving to C Tier

Now, moving on up, we definitely do have to talk about the C tier, and the first character I want to talk about is Chamber. Chamber did recently get buffed, but it didn’t dramatically change his pick rate all that much. He still is seeing some play, but due to the power of a lot of the Sentinels right now at the high end, he’s not seeing play even on his previously good maps. Maps like Breeze and Lotus have been dominated by Cypher, specifically due to the power of some really difficult to deal with trips.

Chamber’s Current Status

You’re basically put in a situation where you have to play Cypher, but you can’t rock two Sentinels, Chamber and Cypher, because then you’re really weak on attack and you lack a lot of options. You have to sacrifice something for that composition. So, Chamber is picked a lot less relatively. He still sees a little bit of play here and there, some maps like Lotus and Sunset, he’s picking up a tiny bit of percentage points, but overall, his power level is still pretty substantial. He does have potential, but I think some of these other Sentinels at the high end would have to be nerfed for him to see any play at all.

Yoru: The Sleeper Pick

Next off in the C tier, we actually have to talk about Yoru, a character that was experimented with quite a bit, and the top team Sentinels used it quite a bit to some great success. Other teams used it as well, like G2, and I do think that Yoru is a bit of a sleeper pick.

There are a couple of requirements for Yoru: you need someone who is really good on the character, really comfortable on the character, not a character that random other Duelist players can just flex to. They really need to know Yoru inside and out.

Most of the time, it’s whipped out as an anti-meta strategy that keeps enemies guessing. You have to think about how it works at the highest meta, where teams kind of expect certain compositions so they prepare for it. But when you introduce a new variable, something like Yoru, all of a sudden, they have to completely readjust and build strategies around this character.

Because you whip this out on the fly, sometimes you can steal games from teams that are just not prepared for you. Maybe you play them again down the line, and they’re more expecting of some of these strategies, but.

Yoru’s Strategic Advantage

You only need to win against them one time on one map to make it worth it to justify it, and I do think that this is another reason why Yoru could be really good in ranked. Because if you’re a really good Yoru that understands your proper engagements, enemies might not go up against a great Yoru all the time. So, they have to recalibrate, and if they don’t know how you’re engaging and what you’re doing, and they get confused and lost, that’s the easiest way to just completely mentally boom them and win a game. Not only is he seeing some anti-meta play in pro play, but it also exemplifies his strengths in ranked play as well.

Harbor’s Role in the Meta

Next up, I have to talk about Harbor. Harbor is mainly used as a double controller setup on maps like Breeze, and he does have a lot of potential to see more play. Right now, he’s seeing a little bit of play on Breeze, Bind, Icebox, some of these maps, never as a solo controller, more as a double controller. Still really solid meta edition, still a powerful character, but not going to reach the higher numbers of tier just because his pick rate is kind of lagging behind the rest of the characters on the roster.

Shifting to B Tier

Now, moving up, we do have to talk about B tier. First off, I have to talk about Astra. Astra is just a fantastic double controller as well. We’re seeing a lot of value on Astra specifically on Split. That’s pretty much where she sees play, but she sees a substantial amount, about 50%, which makes her a substantial meta pick. She’s really strong in the situations she’s good in, so she’s at the bottom of B.

Fade’s Position in the Meta

Next up, I have to talk about Fade. Fade is still a strong character, still seeing a little bit of play, especially on maps like Lotus, and could see more play in the future. One of the things about Fade that kind of pushes her down the list a bit is, even after all the nerfs, Skye is still really strong, Gecko is looking very strong lately, KO is still really strong, and especially with all this utility that needs to be busted like Cypher trips, Sova is more important now than ever to be able to break that utility in a way that Fade can’t do as reliably. So, you combine all these factors together, and Fade is, unfortunately, just worse than many of the other options, not that she’s weak or anything like that, just relatively, these other characters provide a little bit more value.

Brimstone’s Usage and Effectiveness

Next up, we do have to talk about Brimstone. Brimstone is seeing a ton of pick rate, specifically on Bind. That’s his best map by far, although we are seeing him sometimes on Icebox and some other maps with double controller setups. Overall, Brimstone’s effectiveness in these scenarios highlights his value to the team, especially in maps that favor his unique abilities, marking his significant yet situational role within the current meta landscape.

Brimstone’s Current Position

This is a rather light time for Brimstone, considering Fracture isn’t in the map pool, but once that comes back, Brimstone’s pick rate will skyrocket, and his tier on this list will go up respectively to that.

Last in B Tier: Breach

Last up in the B tier, we have to talk about Breach. Breach sees a smattering of play; a lot of pro teams try Breach on different maps—Split, Ascent, Sunset, Bind—and really, they use him to take early aggressive space and try to set up something with a Duelist. They typically do this a lot, and they’ll do this on attack or defense. Often, a team will run a Breach and take control of something super aggressive as a team, so that enemies either get caught off guard or their options are limited with rotation.

Breach’s Strategy and Play

If you like aggressively take a main, then all of a sudden, they can’t rotate back into a main because they don’t know where you’re hiding, you know, cubbies and things like that. So, if you set up a joint play aggressively taking a main, you might kill two people or you might potentially put so much fear in the enemy team that they’ll never rotate back there because you could leave someone planted there. And so, the rest of your teammates can really expect them on the other side. That’s just a hypothetical of some of the things these teams are doing, but it’s not very consistent. His pick rate is seeing substantial play across maps, but he’s not kind of cemented in the meta; he’s not definitive. Some teams are experimenting with him, but overall, he has a relatively light pick rate.

A Tier Overview

Next up, we do have to talk about A tier, a pretty stacked tier, but a lot of these characters are seeing a lot of play, and they’re really good and have a lot of potential. First off, I do want to talk about Gecko. Gecko is just really looking good, especially after Skye has got nerfed. A lot of her pick rate has been given up. Gecko is seeing a lot of value, especially as many of the top teams are trialing Gecko, and it’s even these double initiator comps like Gecko and KO that Sentinel is running that is looking really good.

Gecko’s Rise in Popularity

Really good and overall, Gecko is finally in a place where teams like him and they’re playing him more and more. I do think that he’s a really good character in ranked as well, so don’t sleep on Gecko. He’s been slept on for quite some time.

The Enduring Value of Skye

Next up, I have to talk about Skye. I can’t not talk about Skye because, even outside of all the nerfs she’s received, she’s still great. Her utility is just so good on Split and on Bind, she’s dominating, and she sees some pick rate here and there on most other maps. Skye’s just a really powerful character, and it seems that all the effort to nerf her has affected the meta at large, but it hasn’t made Skye bad. She’s still a great character, super strong, and it looks like that’s not going to change anytime soon.

KO’s Dominance and Synergy Issues

Speaking of which, we have to talk about KO. KO is just rolling on Ascent, always has maxed-out pick rate on Ascent, but we’re also seeing him dominating Breeze as well, and a lot more experimentation on maps like Sunset, Bind, and Icebox. I do think that KO has always been one of the best characters in pro play, and pro teams are adopting him now more than they have in quite some time.

For ranked play, he does have a rather harsh win rate overall, and I think it’s really due to the fact that people don’t synergize with KO very well and don’t master KO enough. So, definitely put in the hours, grind this character, and I think there’s a lot of value in free games waiting for you.

Killjoy’s Steady Presence

Next up, we have to talk about Killjoy. Killjoy is just a super solid Sentinel, nothing that is taking over the meta or anything like that anymore, but she still sees max pick rate at Icebox, a lot of Lotus pick rate, and a lot of freaking Ascent pick rate.

Now, there are other alternatives to her. Before, she basically dominated Ascent; teams only picked her on Ascent, but we’re seeing some interesting different types of compositions that don’t pick her nearly as much. They’re either playing Cypher or they’re playing something completely different. She’s still a really powerful character but isn’t taking over the meta like she once was. Still A-tier worthy, though.

Jet’s Unwavering Dominance

Next up in the A tier, we have to talk about Jet. Jet is still an All-Star on Breeze, on Icebox, on Ascent. She’s freaking dominant; she’s nuts. We know how good Jet can be, and that hasn’t changed. Raze is out a little bit right now, but still, Jet overall is a very powerful character and the best oper. Although we’re seeing a lot more other characters op right now, not just Jet, Jet is still one of the best opers, very powerful, and definitely going to be meta probably forever at this point.

Sova’s Essential Role

Next up, we have to talk about Sova. At the very tippy top of A tier, Sova is still seeing a ton of play. Breeze, Icebox, a little Sunset, a little Ascent, so he is really needed a lot to deal with Cypher trips. Sova’s ability to gather information and disrupt enemy setups with his utility makes him an invaluable asset across various maps, maintaining his position as a top-tier choice for teams seeking to optimize their strategic play.

Cipher’s Meta Evolution

A little bit about how the Cipher meta is changing, because people are getting better at dealing with his utility. Sova is like one piece of that, pretty reliable, and it’s nice to be able to pressure out these trips without having to peek into them. Silva’s really good at that; he’s always been a strong character. So, while he’s not just having maxed out pick rate, he’s still very powerful, definitely deserving of upper A.

S Tier Overview

Last up, we do have to talk about S tier, and these are the characters with the highest pick rates or the characters that have the craziest impact on the meta at large.

The Impact of Cipher

First off, I have to talk about Cipher. Yeah, Cipher has kind of just warped the meta around him in a meaningful way on Breeze, on Sunset, and he sees play on Ascent and on Split as well. Teams have gotten a lot better at dealing with Cipher than they did in the past, like when the buffs happened right away. Now, everyone’s adapted, even in high-level ranked play, and it’s kind of trickling down.

People are getting better and better at dealing with Cipher because they respect his utility more. The meta is kind of solving itself where Cipher isn’t this end-all-be-all, psychopathically impossible to deal with character. He’s strong but does have vulnerabilities that teams are getting better at exploiting.

Ray’s Dominance

Next up, I have to talk about Ray. I mean, it’s hard not to when she’s seeing almost 100% pick rate on Split, seeing tons of pick rate on Bind, Lotus, and Sunset. The best duelist right now, just narrowly edging out Jet, and being really strong. It’s hard to understate how much value this character can get. She has been consistently one of the strongest characters in the meta for quite some time and one of the best rank stompers as well.

I have suggested Ray a million times to people. I do think that she’s one of the best characters that you can learn if you are someone that is locking in Yso, Reyna, Neon, any of these characters where you’re just trying to run it down, pop off, and get kills. Just put that effort and time into Ray, and you will become absolutely cracked. Ray isn’t easy to learn, but she gives you so much flexibility, movement, so much carry potential, and she’s a meta pick as well.

Omen’s Strategic Flexibility

Next up in the S tier, we have to talk about Omen. Omen is seeing literally perfect pick rate on Lotus, Ascent, Sunset, and is still seeing some Split pick rate as well, although as a dual controller setup, specifically with Viper. Now, Omen is great. We’ve talked about how Omen’s great, but we’re seeing variations to it that Sentinels and Tens and some other teams are innovating on.

Omen is getting a lot more active in fights, using his utility, setting up his team, but then going to teleport in, take an angle, fight for the objective. Not going to lurk quite as much as he has in the past, still lurking though. Marv is still out there doing his thing but getting more proactive in these fights, teleporting in, trying to trade out your duelist after they Satchel in or Dash in.

After you use your paranoia, after you use your smokes, your life doesn’t matter nearly as much. You don’t have to play as safe, as controlled, so you can go more proactive and try to aid your team in that aggressive pursuit, with Omen slotting right into that.

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