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Understanding The Agent Meta from First Strike: North America

Jalen Lopez  | 
first strike meta

The First Strike NA finals included Skye and Icebox which slightly changed the Team compositions. The First Strike NA finals included Skye and Icebox which slightly changed the Team compositions. (Riot Games)

The VALORANT First Strike: North America tournament has concluded, and 100 Thieves have been crowned the best team in the region. However, the other seven teams proved themselves as the top teams in North America and earned their spot in the finals through one of the qualifier events. The North American qualifiers provided insight into what team compositions and Agent meta the best players in the region are using. The finals featured a slightly different Agent breakdown as Skye was available to use, and Icebox was introduced into the map pool.

The top three Agents remained the same, but the bottom three went from rarely used to completely abandoned. Icebox also created a new battlefield for players to adapt to, and their Agent meta reflects the best choices for the map.

The introduction of Skye

Skye is the newest Agent introduced in VALORANT and features a unique kit that can help her teammates take sites and heal them if needed. The new Agent is useful in certain situations, but many teams have yet to add her to their standard team composition.

According to vlr.gg, Teams used Skye the most on Bind as she appeared in 30% of matches during the finals. Renegades’ Chuck “cp2” Proud used Skye on both maps against TSM, but it is worth noting that they lost the series 2-0. TSM’s Stephen “reltuC” Cutler also used Skye on Bind, and it appears teams see the potential for her kit on that map.

Sentinels’ Hunter “SicK” Mims used Skye on Split against FaZe clan, which ultimately worked out as Sentinels beat FaZe 2-0 in the series.

Skye only appeared in 18% of matches in the finals and is far from becoming a staple in team compositions. However, she is still used more than four other Agents, despite the others being in the game for a longer period.

Icebox is Here

Icebox was not included in the map rotation during the North American First Strike qualifiers, but it was included during playoffs. The map was only played twice the entire tournament; 100 Thieves defeated Sentinels on Icebox, and Envy also beat Immortals.

Despite only appearing twice during First Strike: North America, it still provided insight into what the top players are using on the map. Omen remained an essential part of compositions and appeared in both matches on Icebox. Jett, Sova, and Reyna appeared in three out of four of the team compositions selected on Icebox.

Raze, Cypher, and Killjoy appeared in two out of four team compositions, and Skye was included in one composition. The remaining Agents were not selected for Icebox, but they can appear later once teams understand the best setups for the map.

Omen is still required

The top eight teams in North America made it clear that Omen is an essential Agent to maintain competitiveness. The popular Controller appeared in 100% of team compositions on every map. This is slightly higher than his selection rate in the qualifiers, where he appeared in 98% team compositions.

It was already established that Omen is currently the best Controller in VALORANT, as Brimstone and Viper both had less than a 5% pick rate before the finals. However, the top eight teams did not select the other two Controllers once, which indicates how they pale in comparison to Omen.

The only other Agent not to be selected during the finals was Sage, but it was expected as most players abandoned her after she received multiple nerfs. It is unclear what needs to be done to make Brimstone and Viper more viable, but fans will likely not see them at the top competition levels in North America unless they receive an overhaul.

Other Agents

Jett and Sova were the second and third most popular Agents with an 82% and 71% pick rate, respectively. It is worth mentioning Sova was not selected in any match on Split as his kit is not as useful in the tight corridors and sites.

Raze, Cypher, and Phoenix appeared in the majority of compositions as they all had pick rates above 50%. Phoenix did not appear in either of the games on Icebox, but he was one of the most picked Agents on Haven with an 83% pick rate. Raze also appeared in all compositions on Split and in 90% of matches on Bind.

Reyna appeared in a decent amount of compositions and appeared in two out of four matches on Ascent. Breach, Skye, and Killjoy were the least selected Agents, but all appeared in 15% of team compositions.

The agent meta will continue to evolve

The First Strike playoffs agent meta rates were similar to the rates during the qualifiers. The introduction of Skye and Icebox slightly changed the composition rates, but nothing drastically changed. Professional teams will continue to experiment with different compositions until they find the perfect setup to be competitively viable.

Other regions such as Europe will also improve and fine-tune their meta as the VALORANT esports scene continues to grow. Fans will have to wait and see if Skye will see more action in games and if another Controller will ever dethrone Omen from the number one spot.

Jalen Lopez
Jalen Lopez
Jalen has been destroying noobs for almost as long as he could read. When not working full time in marketing, Jalen is combining his passions of gaming and writing as an esports writer.