2021 has been an exciting year for VALORANT. Riot Games’ tactical first-person shooter is as popular as ever, and its popularity will only become more widespread in the coming months.
Numerous changes have been made to the game in terms of Agents Abilities, Map Layouts, Map Elements, and Weapon Balances in 2021. Thanks (or no thanks) to these changes, some Agents have naturally become more valuable picks versus others due to the greater value they can offer to a team.
Today we take a quick look at the updated Agent Tier List for the start of the New Year! Let’s get started!
There is simply no counter for a Jett right now. Jett pretty much has free reign upon site entry, thanks to her dash and smoke ability.
Since Jett can dash out of just about any sticky situation, Jett players can hold more aggressive angles regardless of whether they are Defending or Attacking. The early picks that Jett can acquire is very valuable to the team as it places the enemy team at an immediate disadvantage playing 4v5.
Sova’s skillset is a godsend for clearing angles and gaining quick on-site information. Our favorite Russian Initiator is also equipped with a very useful ability that deals significant damage in Shock Bolt, as well as a powerful post-plant weapon in Hunter’s Fury. Sova is a very approachable Agent, but his skill ceiling is high enough that he has become a staple pick in pro-play.
All in all, Sova is a very rewarding Agent to pick up as he will only get better as your lineups and map awareness gets better as well.
Viper was a joke of an Agent before she received a buff at the beginning of 2021. After her buff, she immediately skyrocketed in pick rate and has become a staple Agent in almost any map in VALORANT.
In some maps like Icebox, Viper can dominate as the improved damage that her abilities deal with enemies can prove too much to handle. Her Toxic Screen can also effectively split bomb sites into two parts which makes it easier for her teammates to rush in and secure a huge chunk of the site.
Astra is arguably the most powerful controller in VALORANT right now. Astra received a few nerfs around Episode 3, which made her a less common pick as the skill required to play her and the value she brings to the table proved too much for some players.
However, as time went on, players have continuously gained a better understanding of how to play Astra effectively.
Her ability to place smokes simultaneously on just about any spot on the map before the round even begins is very strong. Her ultimate is also a one-way trip to winning rounds on just about any map.
As an Initiator, Skye is very comparable to Sova in terms of her ability to provide recon for her team and her ability to clear out close corners for her teammates.
Skye’s flashes are probably the most powerful in the game right now. It covers a ton of space and blinds enemies for a considerably large amount of time. Skye can also double as a pseudo-Sentinel as she can heal multiple allies around an area.
Chamber is the newest addition to the VALORANT roster. As such, it might be too early to call him an A-tier Agent. Nevertheless, Chamber has been looking very promising right now in the few months that he’s been out.
Chamber’s abilities allow him to play two positions at the same time, thanks to his teleport ability and his Recon Bot. His skill set allows him to move back and forth quickly between bomb sites. This ability might be most valuable in Haven, where Defending can be tricky due to the triple bombsite setup.
Chamber can easily provide weapons for his teammates as he doesn’t really need to spend a ton of money for weapons himself. His Headhunter weapon is strong enough to skip rifles in certain rounds where your teammate might be able to benefit from one better than Chamber will.
Killjoy sat at the top ranks for a considerable amount of time in 2021. Her Turret and Nanoswarm abilities allowed Killjoy to cover a ton of space in any bombsite. Her Turret was also annoyingly powerful and durable for what it was at the time.
Riot Games saw it fit to nerf Killjoy’s Turret which made Killjoy just a tiny bit weaker by comparison. However, the final nail in the coffin was the susceptibility of Lockdown, Killjoy’s Ultimate Ability, to abilities such as Brimstone’s Ultimate ability. This basically made Killjoy’s Ultimate useless as Agents such as Brimstone can immediately cancel out or destroy Killjoy’s Lockdown from anywhere on the map.
Reyna is a powerful Duelist in the right hands. However, due to how dependent Reyna is on the player’s ability to aim, she might be a hit or miss in some situations.
The VALORANT player base’s overall skill level has expectedly risen as more and more players gain more experience from playing the game.
The only real reason Reyna is in Rank A is that Jett is arguably the more complete Duelist who can do more for her team. Also, Jett is the overwhelming favorite Duelist in the recently concluded VALORANT Champions, wherein Jett overwhelmed Reyna with her 80% pick rate, which says a lot about the two duelists’ viability in a high-skill game.
Many VALORANT players saw KAY/O as a subtle throwback to CSGO. His skillset was a fitting choice since a good majority of VALORANT players were likely coming from the godfather of all tactical shooting games.
KAY/O’s flash and molly abilities resemble a typical loadout in CSGO, while his other two abilities basically force VALORANT Agents into gunplay.
On paper, KAY/O is a powerful anti-Radiant/Ability Agent who can easily counter defensive setups. However, his pick rate is still one of the lowest of any Agent in VALORANT simply because Initiators such as Sova and Skye are arguably the better picks every time.
Raze is in B-tier simply because Jett and Reyna already occupy S-tier and A-tier, respectively. Also, both of those Agents simply have a good way of keeping themselves alive and going throughout the round.
Raze is somewhat of a niche Duelist now in that she is only really most viable in maps such as Split or Bind where she has an apparent advantage.
Sage is the quintessential Sentinel. She has the most straightforward support role of any Agent in VALORANT thanks to her Healing Orb and her Ultimate Ability. Her teammates can play just a little bit more aggressively because they know that Sage can help them recoup from any small mistake that they make early on in the round.
However, these two abilities are the only things that make Sage stand out. In more competitive settings, Killjoy and Chamber both offer better flank-watching capabilities. The two Agents also dish out more damage from their abilities when compared to Sage.
Overall, the better value that her other Sentinel friends ultimately place her in the B-tier.
Like Sage, Cypher is another Sentinel Agent who deals close to zero damage with his abilities. His skill set is focused on flank-watch more than anything at this point. On the other hand, the newest Agent, Chamber, can deal damage and watch his teammate’s flank at the same time.
Killjoy is another Sentinel Agent who can control a large amount of space and force enemies into awkward positions thanks to her Turret and Nanoswarm Grenades.
With the dawn of the new age Sentinel Agents such as Chamber, Cypher is a difficult Agent to pick these days as there is just much more value to be had when picking other higher tier Sentinels and Controllers.
Omen was once the pinnacle of the Controller role. Omen could command space like no other Agent thanks to his powerful flash ability and mid-range teleport ability. Omen can take advantage of awkward angles to catch his opponents off guard.
However, his Smoke ability is one of the weakest in the game when compared to Astra or even Brimstone. Omen’s smoke is hollow on the inside which means that enemies can take advantage of the same smoke. Omen is also limited to a maximum of two simultaneous smokes at round start and a single smoke after another after that.
There are better smoker Agents in the VALORANT roster, which makes Omen a pretty difficult pick these days.
Breach’s abilities are some of the most aggressive there is for the Initiator role. His flash is almost impossible to dodge, and his Fault Line ability can quickly clear out a path for his teammates.
His skill set comes with a deadly caveat, as his abilities have to be used with 100% coordination with his teammates. Breach’s Fault Line and Flash abilities affect teammates, which makes it a liability when used incorrectly. Breach can be an unnerving teammate to play with because you’re always worrying about getting hit by his abilities as well.
Liability is something that not many teams can play with right now, as the cons more often than not outweigh the pros. Initiators such as Sova and Skye exist as well, and arguably provide more value to the team without the threat of getting friendly fired.
Phoenix was once a feared Duelist. Armed with a fast-acting flash grenade and a host of sustainability abilities, Phoenix players can throw caution to the wind and play with unmatched aggression.
Right now, though, he doesn’t really provide much for his teammates and is really just an awkward entry fragging duelist with only his flashes to support his site entry.
If there was an award for every highlight-worthy play in VALORANT, Yoru would have a sack full. However, as time went on, the novelty wore off, and players quickly realized that this Japanese Duelist was a one-trick and doesn’t really have much value to offer to his teammates.
His flash ability is some of the slowest in-game and is only really useful for setting up his teleport ability. His Ultimate is a powerful recon ability that allows him to enter enemy territory quickly.
There are other Duelists who can provide much more value to any team composition in VALORANT. Yoru is just not worth the pick these days.
We will have to wait for his incoming buff/rework and see what that does for our Japanese Duelist’s in-game dynamic.
A quick look at Brimstone’s skill set, and you will quickly realize that Brimstone is 80% a post-plant Agent. His molly is very powerful in that it can travel quite a distance before landing and cover a large area. His Stim Beacon is only valuable for holding angles defensively, and his Ultimate only really works on players who are either slowed or have to commit to a bomb defuse.
Other than that, Brimstone is just a glorified Smoker Agent with average defensive capabilities on post-plant. This makes him a niche Agent that doesn’t really offer much to a more competitive setting.
Although we have to mention that picking Brimstone whenever there’s a Killjoy on the other team might be a good idea since he is the only Agent who can reliably disable Killjoy’s Lockdown remotely.
New Year Meta
There you go! This is more or less what the VALORANT Agent Tier list looks like heading into the new year.
Of course, upcoming patches will definitely move some of the Agents around accordingly. However, we doubt much of the Agents currently in their respective tiers will move much at all given how Riot tends to balance gameplay elements incrementally.
Keep an eye out for updates and changes in the upcoming patches to keep you on top of your game!