Sova is at the foremost an intel-gathering initiator. Ideally, Sova’s Recon Bolt or Owl Drone should be used to gather intel straight away to inform pick potential or gather needed site information. When the Recon Dart lands, dualist roles like Jett should be able to work out if dashing into combat is a wise move or not. Additionally, utility agents like Breach or Brimstone can setup their abilities based on this information.
At least that is in theory anyway. In most games, you will not have a full team all on voice comms working on playing together in the best way possible. Most of the time, you will find that public matches are just randomly matchmade, and that is where Sova gets tricky. Therefore, Sova is an agent that is not fully utilized in ranked or unranked settings. But that is not to say he is a bad agent for solo or smaller queue teams. Here are the tips to make good use of Sova in any situation.
Recon Bolt effectively
The Recon Bolt is Sova’s tool of the trade. He launches an arrow, with the option to make it bounce once or twice along sides different power levels. When the Recon Bolt lands, the ability pulses a sonar wave three times and detects players in its line of sight. The Recon Bolt can be destroyed by the opposing team when it lands. The ability has a 30 second recharge time, making it a reliable use of utility at several points in the round.
First off, a good Sova must learn where to land their Recon Bolt and why they are doing so. For example, if you are gathering information on where opponents are holding angles to site, that helps your team judge how to peak. This is the case when trying to enter Bind’s A site. The clip below highlights how Recon Bolt can gather great site information. Players can then make informed opinions on whether to push or try their luck elsewhere.
Secondly, this is rule also applies to defense rounds. A perfectly placed arrow can detect whether several people are gathering at an angle. Sova can inform their team how many agents are gathering and how likely a push is. A clear call from a Recon Bolt can change an entire round from setting up intel control for either game half.
Finally, the post-plant position is a great situation for the ability. By the time you have opened the site with your utility, the post-plant is the next big challenge. No doubt at this point the Recon Bolt will be back up or nearing its cooldown. When applicable, smart use of the Recon Bolt may pick up the angles the defenders are using The difference between a good and bad arrow means the team will gather vital information on retake angles, or the dart offers nothing in value. Sova players get better here with better game knowledge.
Eye in the sky
Sova’s Owl Drone is the second form of intel utility available. Sova can buy an Owl Drone for 300 credits and spend it to scout around corners safely. The drone last 10 seconds, has a small health pool and can fire a tagging dart, with the ability to second cast the dart if the drone survives the five-second recharge. What the tagging dart does is reveal the opponent’s movement for several seconds.
While this drone is much more limiting than the Recon Bolt, it has the same potential for success, if not more. Good drone use is for getting around tight angles that a wall bouncing Recon Bolt may not perform well on. Or better yet this can be used to scout retaking positions in the event the Recon Bolt is on cooldown. Not to mention that an Owl Drone is great for scouting sites after the Spike goes down.
Or, you can take a page out of other FPS shooters and drone for an ally. This drone can act as the first bullet sponge for an ally, and if you land the tagging dart, the pushing teammate can take a 2v1 encounter with ease. It is also a useful tool for scouting multiple opponents and calling out exactly what you see. Essential information is vital for winning rounds.
Sova is your fast track ticket to becoming Zeus if that was ever possible. The Shock Bolt ability is a great addition to allow Sova to get control over corners with safety. The Shock Bolt unleashes a lightning splash damage, which can do 70 damage to opponents if it hits head-on, or lower damage if hit further away from the center. What you’ll find is that this is a deadly combination if you know where someone already is through intel.
The Shock Bolt ability also works for early damage. Shock Bolts can come from cover with a strong charged two bounce, aiming for points where the attackers pass through when the round barrier lifts. What this means is that Sova can whittle away shields from the get-go if the attackers follow a set timing.
One good example for Shock Bolt usage is on Split’s B Main. Defenders have a much better time making use of Sova’s Shock Bolt. Bouncing Shock Dart bolts off the right wall can drop the bolt in the middle of the B Main Hall. This offers nasty poke damage before they even begin to peak. What’s worse is players can die if they try their luck too much.
Sova’s Ultimate, Hunter’s Fury, offers him the chance to fire three Ultimates across the map. The ability has a short delay firing but penetrates surfaces. Enemies hit take a huge chunk of damage and are revealed for several seconds. While this ultimate certainly isn’t the best, a good Sova Ult can still devastate entire rounds.
Hunter’s Fury highlights how good Sova’s damaging kit works well with the intel kit. If you know enemies are funneling an area, such as Split’s A or B main, then Hunter’s Fury is an excellent use of placing free damage, or maybe a kill. The same applies to the attacking side. When Sova gathers intel on where the enemy is, Hunter’s Fury charge is a free way to keep them away and open a site through the safety of its penetrating cover.
Finally, another note for the shock dart and Hunters mark is their use to deny the Spike plant. Good post-plant use comes with more experience of map rotations, wall bouncing arrows and other such techniques. While this is difficult to learn, mastering these opportunities can make great plays. This is for certain one of the higher skill cap mechanics that comes with Sova.
Sova is one of the most impactful Agents in VALORANT. The kit Sova has is excellent for chip damage, gathering information and in general a great team player to have. However, this is an operator with an incredibly high skill cap and one that will take some time to truly master.