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Meta Agent Tier List Patch 8.04! – New Phoenix Meta

So, we will 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 you can incorporate in your games to give yourself a leg up on the competition.

Understanding the Meta

First, I want to talk about the D tier. These two characters are being experimented with, and they have the potential to move up this list, but right now, they need the pick rate to justify a higher placement.

Deadlock’s Potential on Icebox

Deadlock was being experimented with by Pro Team EG on maps like Icebox and doing well. It looked imposing for them to shut down enemy teams with Deadlock. However, as enemy teams got more accustomed 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, Deadlock can be that sleeper pick that opponents need to learn how to play around. But on other maps, it’s going to be more challenging.

Phoenix in the Meta

Phoenix, a character almost relegated to the “Superstar tier”—a rank given to characters that don’t have a place in pro play but shine in ranked play—has always been an all-star in ranked but lacking in pro play. However, Loud, one of the best teams in North America, has been slaughtering teams, specifically with Phoenix on maps like Sunset, Bind, and Ascent. They’re explicitly abusing the fact that Phoenix can get his ult very quickly, with only six ult points needed. By playing the map, fighting for control of particular orbs, and engaging in combat, a Phoenix player can farm a Phoenix Soul every few rounds, which can decisively win a round by itself.

Sage’s Decline in the Meta

Sage has been having a tough time in the meta, especially on Icebox, where her pick rate has significantly slipped. This decline in popularity is about more than just the map, as even with Icebox in the pool, she’s seeing less play than Deadlock. While Sage maintains a high win rate in ranked play and can be viable there, her utility needs to translate into more value in pro play. Many players believe that some of the nerfs given to Sage over the years could be reverted to make her more viable across different maps.

Neon’s Specific Use and Limitations

Lastly, Neon is another character who does not see substantial play, which is partially Neon’s fault. Her consistent play was mostly on Fracture, now out of the map pool. A more fundamental issue with Neon is that playing her means sacrificing either Raze or Jett and when you have a character that requires an initiator like Breach to set up for value, it’s hard to justify her pick over the more flexible and powerful duelists that don’t require the same level of setup.

Exploring the C Tier

Moving on, we have to talk about the C tier. The first character I want to discuss is Chamber. Chamber did recently get buffed, but it didn’t dramatically change his pick rate all that much. He still sees some play, but due to the power of many of the Sentinels at the high end, he can skip seeing play, even on his previously good maps. Maps like Breeze and Lotus have been dominated by Cypher precisely due to the power of some of these really difficult-to-deal-with trips.

So, you’re put in a situation where you have to play Cypher, but you can’t rock two Sentinels, Chamber and Cypher, because then you’re weak on attack and lack many options. The Chamber is picked a lot less relatively. He still sees a little play here and there in some maps like Lotus and Sunset. He’s picking up a few percentage points, but his power level is still substantial overall. He has potential, but some of these other Sentinels at the high end would have to be nerfed for him to see any play.

Yoru’s Sleeper Potential

Next, in the C tier, we have to talk about Yoru, a character that has been experimented with quite a bit. The top team, Sentinels, used it quite a bit to achieve great success. Other teams, like G2, have used it, and Yoru is a sleeper pick. You have a couple of requirements: You need someone perfect for the character, really comfortable with the character, and not a character that random other duelist players can flex to.

They need to know Yoru inside and out, and 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 expect specific compositions, so they prepare for it. But when you introduce a new variable, something like a Yoru, they must completely readjust and build strategies around this character. Because you whip this out on the fly, sometimes you can steal games from teams that must be prepared for you.

Harbor’s Role and Potential

Next up, I do get 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. Overall, right now, he’s seeing a little play on Breeze, Bind, Icebox, and some of these maps, never as a solo controller but more as a double controller. He is still an excellent meta addition and a powerful character, but he will only reach the higher numbers of the tier if his pick rate needs to catch up to the rest of the characters on the roster.

Delving into the B Tier

Moving up, we do have to talk about the B tier. First off, I do get to talk about Astra. Astra is just a fantastic double controller as well. We’re seeing a lot of value in Astra, specifically on Split. That’s where she sees play, but she sees a substantial amount, about 50%, which makes her a substantial meta-pick. It doesn’t mean she’s dominating every map or anything like that, but she’s still strong in the situations she’s good in.

Fade’s Position in the Meta

Next up, I do get to talk about Fade. Fade is still a strong character, seeing a little, and we are playing, especially on maps like Lotus, and we could see more play in the future. One of the things about Fade that kind of pushed her down the list a bit is, even after all the nerfs, Skye is still powerful, Gecko is looking very strong lately, KO is still decisive, and especially with all of 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, and Fade is, unfortunately, just worse than many other options. It’s not that she’s weak or anything like that, but relatively, these other characters provide more value.

Strategic Use of Breach

Teams often employ Breach on attack and defense to control the game aggressively. This approach can catch enemies off guard or limit their rotation options. For instance, by aggressively taking control of an area like A-main, the enemy can only rotate back if facing uncertainty about your team’s positioning in various hiding spots. Setting up a joint play to aggressively take a main might eliminate two opponents or instill enough fear in the enemy team that they’ll hesitate to rotate back there. This tactic might leave someone planted in a strategic spot, allowing the rest of the team to focus elsewhere. These strategies showcase Breach’s potential uses in controlling the game’s flow. However, his pick rate suggests that his integration into the meta must be consistent and definitive.

Ranked Superstars: Iso and Reyna

Before moving on to the A tier, it’s essential to mention the ranked superstars, characters like Iso and Reyna, who may not see meta play but excel in ranked environments for players with superior mechanical skills. These characters demand high-level game knowledge and mechanical proficiency to dominate ranked lobbies. While they might not be prevalent in professional play anytime soon, their potential to climb the ranks in skilled hands is significant.

A Tier Analysis

The A tier is populated with characters with a lot of play and considerable potential. Gecko, for instance, has emerged as a strong pick, especially as teams experiment with double initiator compositions, such as Gecko and KO, demonstrating effectiveness in professional play. Despite Sky’s nerfs, she remains a dominant force on maps like Split and Bind, proving her utility is invaluable.

With a high pick rate on maps like Ascent and Breeze, KO reaffirms his status as a top choice in professional play, though his success in ranked play may depend on better synergy and mastery. While not as dominant as before, Killjoy still claims a solid position in the A tier, showing strong pick rates on Icebox, Lotus, and Ascent. Lastly, Jett continues to excel as a premier duelist, especially on maps like Breeze, Icebox, and Ascent, maintaining her position as a top pick despite the rise of other duelists.

Expanding the Operator Pool

We’re seeing many more characters excel in the operator role, not just Jett. However, Jett remains one of the best operators, showcasing her enduring power and versatility in the meta. Despite the rise of other characters in this role, her ability to maintain relevance underscores her significance in the game’s strategic landscape, making her a meta mainstay likely for the foreseeable future.

Soaring with Sova

At the very pinnacle of the A tier, Sova continues to command a significant presence across various maps like Breeze, Icebox, Sunset, and Ascent. His utility is indispensable for dealing with Cypher’s traps, highlighting how the evolving meta requires his skills to counter specific strategies effectively. While not always at the top of the pick rates, Sova’s role in disarming enemy setups and providing invaluable intelligence keeps him a potent force deserving of his high-tier status.

Deciphering the S Tier

The S tier features characters with the highest pick rates or those significantly impacting the meta. Cipher, for example, has reshaped the competitive landscape with his utility, influencing strategies on maps like Breeze, Sunset, Ascent, and Split. Although teams have become adept at countering Cipher’s setups, his influence persists, demonstrating the game’s adaptive nature. Similarly, Raze’s dominance across multiple maps solidifies her as a top duelist, edging out even Jett with her utility and aggressive playstyle. Omen’s ubiquitous presence, particularly on Lotus, Ascent, Sunset, and dual-controller setups, illustrates his strategic flexibility, adapting to more active roles in team fights and objectives.

Meta-Shifting Viper

Viper dominates the meta across nearly all maps in a league of her own, with staggering pick rates that suggest her unparalleled influence. Her control over the battlefield, through toxic screens and gas clouds, challenges teams to adapt or adopt dual-controller strategies to mitigate her impact. The omnipresence of Viper prompts a critical examination of her balance and the potential need for adjustments or the introduction of new characters to provide competitive alternatives. The community’s perspective on Viper’s dominance and its implications for game health remains a topic of debate, emphasizing the evolving nature of the meta and the continuous search for equilibrium.

Engaging with the Community

The discourse around characters like Viper highlights the dynamic interaction between game design, player strategy, and community feedback. As the meta evolves, so does the conversation about balance, character utility, and the overall health of the game environment. Engaging with these discussions through platforms like HuskyBoost for strategic improvement or community forums for debate enriches the gaming experience, offering insights into the complexities of competitive play and the shared journey of mastering the game.

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