Examining The Early European VALORANT Meta
The top eight European VALORANT teams have made it to the First Strike: Europe finals after fighting their way through the qualifiers and established themselves as the best team in the region. The qualifier events gave fans an in-depth look into the current professional meta and what Agents the European pros are using.
Similar to North America, Omen and Sova were the most popular Agents selected. However, Breach was the third most-picked Agent, a considerable difference from North America, where he was the seventh most picked Agent. Cypher and Jett rounded out the top five Agents, and Raze and Killjoy were still popular Agents on certain maps.
The remaining Agents were rarely selected, and some of the Agents are clearly unpopular in North America and Europe.
Omen rules the world
According to vlr.gg, Omen had a 95% pick rate in the European qualifiers, which is slightly lower than the North American pick rate at 98%. However, he is still the most popular Agent by a large margin and is currently the most viable Controller.
Omen’s lowest pick rate was on Bind, but he still appeared in 88% of matches on the map. He was also the least selected on Bind in North America but was still chosen a lot more frequently than other Agents.
Viper and Brimstone are currently much less viable than Omen, and few European players picked them as a result. Brimstone had a five percent pick rate across all maps, while Viper had a two percent pick rate. They were the least selected Agents alongside Skye, who had a pick rate of four percent.
Omen has a strong kit that allows him to smoke off sites for his team or flash into sites as needed. He can also teleport and escape danger, and his ultimate ability can gather intel for his team or rotate to a different area with ease.
However, his strong kit is not the only reason he is the most popular Controller. Brimstone’s smokes and molly abilities are useful, but his stim beacon does not provide enough benefit to justify his selection. Viper is similar, as her kit is very situational and does not apply to most maps. These prevent the two Agents from seeing much playtime in the European meta, which mirrors the choices in North America.
Team Heretic and Prodigy did opt for Brimstone over Omen on Bind, showing that some players prefer him over Omen on that specific map. A few teams used Viper on Split, but none of the teams who used her made it to the First Strike finals. It is also worth mentioning that every team that used Viper on Split lost their matches, but a few teams did when with her in the team composition on Bind.
Another Controller will likely be introduced next season, but Omen is currently essential in almost all team compositions for now.
The rise of Breach
One of the most significant differences between the European and North American First Strike Qualifiers was the use of Breach. Breach was the third most selected Agent and appeared in 64% of matches in Europe, but only appeared in 33% of North America games.
Breach received a significant buff in Patch 1.11 as flashes were adjusted to be more effective, and his full flash time was increased. European players appear to prefer Breach over other Agents which flash abilities, such as Reyna and Phoenix who were selected less frequently than in North America.
Breach appeared in 87% of matches on Split and appeared in most games on the other three maps. His lowest pick rate was 57% on Ascent, which is still a considerable high rate. North Americans also selected the Agent the most on Split but preferred other Agents on other maps.
Cypher and Jett were the third and fourth most picked Agents, and both had a 62% pick rate. They were both selected slightly less than they were in North America, but they were still relatively popular choices.
Raze was the last Agent to appear in the majority of matches with a 59% pick rate and almost appeared in every Split match with a pick rate of 97%. Killoy only had a 34% pick rate but did appear in over half of the games on Ascent.
Reyna and Phoenix were the least picked Duelists with a 17% and 12% pick rate, respectively. This was lower than their pick rates in North America, which indicates the European players prefer Raze, Jett, and Breach.
Sage still was overlooked compared to other Agents but was picked slightly more in Europe. She had an 11% pick rate, which is a significant increase from the 3% pick rate in North America. She was in 24% of matches on Split and appeared more than Brimstone, Skye, and Viper.
Brimstone and Viper have already been established as weak Controllers compared to Omen, and Skye is a relatively new Agent introduced in Patch. 1.11. It is unclear if she will see more use as players use her more, but she does have a unique kit that includes a healing ability for her teammates.
Expect further meta changes
The VALORANT meta will continue to change as professional players are introduced to new maps and Agents. There is likely a new Agent coming next season, so players will have another option when creating their team composition.
Agents are also adjusted continuously and balanced, so other Agents might become more viable or less powerful in future updates. Icebox has not been introduced into the professional map rotation yet, and that will add another unique map that not all Agents will be effective on.
However, there will likely not be major meta changes in North America and Europe any time soon, and the top three Agents will likely maintain their positions. The VALORANT Champions Tour will begin in early 2021 and will provide consistent competition throughout the year. Fans will have to wait and see if the same team compositions will continue to be effective.
G2 Esports, Team Liquid, FunPlus Phoenix, SUMN FC, nolpenki, Orgless, Purple Cobras, and Team Heretics will compete at the VALORANT First Strike: Europe Finals on December 3-6.