VALORANT is packed with character. From the music to the art to the actual characters, it is loaded with style. But what really matters are the agents -- the characters you bring to the field -- and what they bring to the team.
We polled over 30 people who played in the influencer and press bootcamp to get their thoughts on who is the top agent after a weekend of play. Here's what we found out.
Results: 58.07% high tier, 19.35% mid tier, 22.58% low tier
Is it really a surprise that the agent who most closely resembles a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive character hit the top spot? In the online bootcamp, Counter-Strike players (along with a few other mechanical monsters in other games) were the kings and queens of the three-day event, and Phoenix was their knight in shining armor. The fire-starter's kit favors an aggressive play style and is perfect for players coming from CS that are used to using utility to set up big rounds. He has a flash-bang and a molotov (that heals him as a bonus), making him the easiest one-to-one transition for players coming from Counter-Strike.
Along with that, though, he's just an all-around beast. Not only does he have a molotov and the ability to create a gigantic curving wall of fiery death, but Phoenix's own fire heals him, meaning his utility not only is perfect for setting up kills and chokepoints but can also get him back to full health as well. His ultimate, Run It Back, is one of the best in the game, particularly in the hands of a pro who understands timings and positioning, and it allows Phoenix to turn disadvantageous outnumbered situations into clutch round victories.
If you were planning to main Phoenix, I hope you have a fast trigger finger in character selection, too. A lot of people in beta and full release are going to want to get their hands on the fire-bending showstopper.
-- Tyler Erzberger
Results: 45.15% high tier, 38.7% mid tier, 16.15% low tier
It makes sense to me Sage is this high up, and it's warranted, too.
I spent most of my games during the bootcamp as her simply because of the utility she brings. Sage brings a large area-of-effect slow, a heal that she can use on herself or allies, a huge, long-lasting wall for zoning players off, and a resurrection ability as an ultimate. As long as you don't die early in the round, you'll always be able to make an impact for your team.
Sage's tools made her useful on both maps we played, offense or defense, solo holding or with a group. Is a team rushing the site? Wall them off to funnel them elsewhere. Did they break the wall? Toss a slow.
Are you going for a fast plant? Throw up the wall to cover your teammate so they can safely enter. Did your team plant? Wall off one entry point so you can focus on the others and get ready to toss some slows.
Jett won a duel but is hurt? Toss a heal. Jett lost a duel? Rez her (safely -- so many people got picked off going for an unsafe rez).
Need to get crafty? Boost yourself or a teammate onto a crate with your wall.
Obviously, Sage is least effective when she gets picked off early, so solo-holding a site is not advised unless you're quick to react. Still, her flexibility in that she CAN solo hold with the wall to give time for her team to rotate is extremely powerful. I expect her to be a priority pick in most games because her ability to shape the battlefield is unparalleled.
-- Darin Kwilinski
Results: 41.93% high tier, 25.81% mid tier, 32.26% low tier
When it comes to the assassin from South Korea, it's all about mobility. The only other duelist released thus far alongside Phoenix, it's no surprise that both he and Jett rank in the top three. Unlike Phoenix, however, Jett was more divisive among the pros and streamers; some loved her fast-paced style with jumps allowing users to create creative plays, while others finding her too straightforward and one-dimensional.
Jett's kit is something that is going to be pushed to the limit as top players get more time with her in the game. While right now she's seen by many as second-best to the United Kingdom operative with the jacket made of fire, as players start learning ways to utilize her twice-a-round jumps to bend the map to their advantage, Jett could become the top agent in the VALORANT hierarchy.
Results: 32.25% high tier, 51.62% mid tier, 16.13% low tier
I like Brimstone, the area-of-effect specialist, and this feels like a good spot for him. The three smokes he can drop were very powerful for rushing sites, and really, that's the best part of his kit. There's a lot of versatility there, and the range from which he can drop them ensures he's safe. They also last 15 seconds -- or 45 seconds total if you space them all out -- an eternity when the rounds are so short. On defense, the smokes are a great site re-take or stalling tool, making aggressive players second-guess what's past the fog.
His area-of-effect ability that increases the rate of fire of those in it works well when holding a position, but you're rarely going to use it off the bomb site. The incendiary grenade launcher (a molotov for you Counter-Strike fans), is useful for pushing out campers or stalling pushes.
His last AOE ability is his ult, a massive circle of damage that comes from the sky. Paired with solid information, this ability can knock out bomb defusers, site retakes, or snipers down long C on Haven.
If it sounds like Brimstone is straightforward and a little vanilla, it's because he is. But that doesn't mean he's not effective.
Results: 38.71% high tier, 29.03% mid tier, 32.26% low tier
As you can see, there are mixed opinions on Viper. Personally, I think she's strong in some situations and weak in others, and really, it's up to the team to help elevate her above just another body on the field.
Straight talk, Viper is much more impactful on offense rather than defense, and it comes down to her wall. She can shoot it up and over structures, and the length of ground it covers is mind-boggling. She can cut bomb sites in half at the start of a round, creating safer lanes for her team, forcing new angles and uncertainty for the defense. When you do get to the site, her stationary smoke ability covers an area big enough for her to sit in, making a player have to think about if she's in there or waiting for you to walk through.
Her ultimate is really cool, but a double-edged sword. It's a massive AOE poison cloud that damages everyone, including your team, and remains in play until you leave it for a while. It's a great tool for her planting a bomb and having her team hold the outside edges.
On defense, this kit is a little less effective. Because Viper's smoke is stationary, but technically infinite as long as she has toxin, she needs to be very sure where she wants to plant it. Her ult damages everyone, so it's a gamble to use it for site retakes, and her wall is 50/50 unless you have eyes on the enemy: They can't see you, and you can't see them.
Because Viper has such high highs and low lows, I'm not sure how often she'll be picked, but I'd lean towards less than more.
Results: 33.33% high tier, 46.67% mid tier, 20% low tier
Since his short trailer release showcasing his scouting arrow that shows enemies in the area, there have been been some concerns about whether VALORANT's Russian spy would be game-breaking powerful. Well, after the three-day bootcamp, you'll be happy to know that while there are definitely people picking up Sova as their main, his kit isn't nearly as busted as theorized.
His scouting arrow is a nice tool to let your teammates know where the enemy might be, but there is counterplay against it, with the opponents having an opportunity to destroy it before it transmits their position. Sova's ultimate, which fires three nuke-like arrows across the map, is also less game breaking than you'd think; the ability requires perfect setup to really be a round-winner.
All-around, Sova is a capable agent and one for players who prefer playing the long game and using recon throughout the round to put themselves into a position of victory.
Results: 20% high tier, 40% mid tier, 40% low tier
The No. 1 piece of feedback I got about Cypher from pros and streamers playing against the agent all weekend was while he might not be their favorite to play, he sure is annoying to play against. From his tripwires to his hellacious traps, facing a a formidable Cypher is not a pleasant time. In a game where flanking and timing are paramount, Cypher is the ultimate nuisance, stopping minutes of planning with a single tripwire or spycam.
Cypher's ultimate allows him to use an eliminated opponent to get the information where the rest of his teammates are. That sounds like it could be overpowered, but like all ultimates in VALORANT, it's situational. Although you'll know where the enemies are at the exact time you use Cypher's ultimate, it's not an updating tracker, allowing the opponents to regroup and think of a new point of attack.
Still, I'm happy whenever there isn't a Cypher in my game. When he's on my team, his traps never work, and when he's my opponent, he knows where I am every second of every round.
Results: 16.67% high tier, 33.33% mid tier, 50% low tier
Ah, Breach. His hair and face scream micro-brew entrepreneur, while his arms crave destruction. I really liked Breach ... on Bind (the two-point map). On Haven, where there are longer lanes and three sites, I felt he was far less effective.
Breach's modus operandi is to play around walls. He can shoot a flash through a wall. He can shoot a damaging pillar of flame through a wall. His signature move and ultimate are both small and large earthquakes that stun and slow, with the signature move exploding all at once while the ultimate cascades forward. They also go through walls.
This is to say Breach loves walls. He wants small areas to play with, whether it's on offense or defense. When he's not able to do that, his abilities become far less impactful, save for his ultimate, which is probably the best site retake tool in the game. On top of this, the coordination he requires with his team is higher than most because all his abilities can impact them, too.
I have a hard time seeing people pick Breach on bigger maps with more open areas like Haven, but he does have a place on tighter maps like Bind.
Results: 16.66% high tier, 16.67% mid tier, 66.67% low tier
Omen, Omen, Omen. Yes, by looking at only the numbers, people are going to think Omen is unplayable and stay clear from him. Someone had to be last, and it was Omen.
First off, though, as with all agents, they're only enhancements to your own foundation of mechanical skill, brains and positioning. Even if Omen is considered the "weakest" agent, in a world where the best Counter-Strike player in the world gets his hands on him, they will still dominate and put up 30-plus kills without much issue.
For the players who are committed to Omen and want to master him, however, he could be the best of the bunch. From talking to a few former pros and top streamers, the ones who understood his kit and thought outside of the box, they found success playing him. His teleportation, paranoia and stealth features aren't as straightforward in strength when compared to an agent like Phoenix or Sage, but in the hands of a creative player, Omen goes from cannon fodder to leading the leaderboard in kills.
VALORANT, at its core, is all about counterplay, creative freedom and breaking the box that they created for you. Omen isn't going to be for everyone, but for the people he does connect with, there are going to be some highlight-reel performances.