VALORANT is now in its second act of the first season. With the release of Killjoy, the cast has grown to 12 total agents, all of which have unique mechanics and niches. The meta has shifted quite a bit since the game’s initial release. Evolved understanding of the game mixed with balance changes from Riot have heavily influenced which agents are in the spotlight. Here is our VALORANT agent tier list.
Cypher still resides as the king of the hill in terms of agent strength. The Sentinel class of agents currently all have assets that make them extremely valuable in multiple parts of the game. Cypher still leads the way in map control. His double Tripwires give tons of options on both sides for zoning, flank detection, and push stalling. Cyber Cages help Cypher reposition and can even act as powerful pseudo-smokes which detect enemies. His Camera can be used for all sorts of information gathering, and his ultimate when used properly can win a round. In terms of utility and versatility, no agent trumps Cypher.
Killjoy is another member of the Sentinel class that is making waves. She differs from Cypher in that her kit is much more damage focused. Her Turret is mostly just used for enemy detection and holding alternate angles. The chip damage rarely matters, but its real strength is being used as a distraction. Alarmbot and Nanoswarm are less useful for map control than Cypher’s skills, but they excel in being combat utility. Placing these abilities on areas where you expect enemies to position greatly cripples their chances. The real reason why Killjoy is so strong is her ultimate. Using Lockdown near a site forces the opposition to either run into an unfavorable fight or cede the ground for free. This powerful ability should almost always be a point on the board for Killjoy.
Omen has taken the spotlight as the top Controller in VALORANT. His unique recharging smokes allow for multiple waves of map control. Paranoia was once a joke of an ability, until its buff came. Now, it is the strongest blind/near-sight ability in the game. Paranoia can clear out an entire corridor and force enemies out of almost any angle with little counter play. Although his teleport is a situational reposition and his ultimate is either an information play or a telegraphed flank, Dark Cover and Paranoia bring enough value to make Omen a top pick.
Sage has been nerfed multiple times ever since the game was released. Even so, her value as a Sentinel is still high enough that she retains a frequent spot in meta compositions. Slow Orb and Barrier Orb still do their job for the most part, but now have come caveats. Being able to walk through the Slow without making noise means Sage needs to keep tabs on the area she is trying to control. Additionally, the Wall’s new reduced range makes it harder for Sage to play safe positions while still getting it off. Most of these problems can be circumvented, but they are still there. She isn’t a universal pick any more, but a Sage will never be unappreciated.
The demolitionist extraordinaire has been running rampant in both ranked and organized play. Although she recently saw some big nerfs to her Blast Packs and Showstopper, Raze still wreaks havoc on the battlefield. Blast Packs allow Raze to be incredibly mobile, which is important when she needs as many kills as possible for extra Paint Shells and ultimates. All of Raze’s skills are amazing at forcing enemies out of their positions, else they take a beating in return. Showstopper is an oppressive 1v1 victory guaranteed. Expect Raze to remain present as a big carry threat.
The biggest winner of the recent meta developments has been Jett. While she was once considered a bottom tier pick, she is now one of the premier picks of skilled players. The Operator has risen to prominence and has no better wielder than Jett. Her mobility allows her to take aggressive and unexpected angles with few ways to stop her. Cloudburst’s duration being increased makes them much more valuable. Bladestorm has a variety of uses ranging from Updraft combos for picks to full gun round usage to save an economy. In the right hands, Jett can win the game by herself.
On the downturned side of the meta is Brimstone. With Omen and Jett rising to prominence, his smokes just aren’t that important anymore. There are very few pushes in the game that require three to be placed simultaneously. His Incendiary Grenade is mostly relegated to stopping Spike defuses on attack and preemptive stalling on defense. The one thing that used to set Brimstone apart from Omen was his powerful area denial ultimate. Now that it has been increased to seven points required, Brimstone sees those highs less frequently.
Sova is interesting to discuss in a tier list. He sees the most disparity between importance in solo que and organized play of any agent in the game. Most of his value that comes from information gathering requires your entire team to play off it. While his ultimate can be useful for solo Owl Drone into pick combos or Spike denial, using to clear angles while attacking sites is one of the more important strategies used in high level play. Knowing line-ups is also required to play the agent optimally, making him require research and practice that may see fluctuation in how rewarding it is.
Phoenix is the exact same agent that he was on release of VALORANT. He has not received any changes, nor has the meta changed in a way that particularly affects him. His raw entry power is used in the same consistent way and his utility and self-healing will almost always be useful. The reason why Phoenix is now rated below Jett and Raze is that his highs don’t reach the heights of the other two. A good Phoenix will always get work done and bring value to his team, but he can have trouble being the most impactful agent in any game.
Much like Brimstone, Breach has also suffered greatly as understanding of VALORANT has evolved. Most of Breach’s skills can be replicated or straight up replaced by other agents. Aftershock is less useful at clearing angles than say Boom Bot or Owl Drone. Paranoia is essentially Fault Line and Flashpoint combined. Even Breach’s ultimate is just outclassed by Killjoy or Brimstone ultimates in terms of zone control. Breach is just an example of a jack of all trades who doesn’t excel in any one field.
Reyna suffers from being the most feast or famine agent in VALORANT. If she isn’t popping off, she essentially has one ability. Although her Leer is very powerful on paper, it has the most counter play of any flash or near-sight ability in the game. On top of that, Reyna has the weakest ultimate of any duelist. Where Jett, Phoenix, and Raze get new options opened up to them, Reyna just does the same thing only slightly better. Even so, the highs of earning an ace while weaving in between enemies in your ultimate is a fantasy that can still be reached under the right circumstances.
Despite numerous buffs to try and bring Viper into relevancy, her kit is just ill suited for her class. Her niche as a damage-based Controller just isn’t required in any team composition. Viper’s skills seem like they’d be good at splitting zones of control, but they just don’t accomplish anything that another agent can’t. Her Toxic Screen can only be placed once and Poison Orb is very hard to re-place mid round, meaning she is either very telegraphed or just avoided. Additionally, the Vulnerable status her abilities apply isn’t the most useful in a game with one shot kills from headshots and the Operator. Viper just isn’t worth the time investment when you could just learn a different agent.
As with all tier lists, it is subject to change depending on how Riot balances VALORANT agents and how the community’s understanding of the game continues to evolve.