After August brought with it Killjoy and Act II, September in Valorant kicked off with patch 1.07, which immediately nerfed newcomer Killjoy, as well as buffing Breach and Viper, not that it helped the latter too much. Fast forward a couple of months and a few bug patches, and well we’ve got a brand new agent in Skye to play with – something we’ll break down in this guide.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Valorant is a free-to-play FPS from Riot Games. It’s a mix of the gunplay of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the ability laden heroes of Overwatch, nestling into a niche in the middle.
Each character – or agent – as they are known in Valorant, has the ability to buy guns and use unique abilities to shake up gameplay. This tier list is going to order Valorant’s agents, taking into account how easy they are to master, how dominant their powers prove to be, and how often they’re picked in professional Valorant tournaments.
It’s important to stress, however, that none of the Valorant agents are downright unplayable. Riot has done a great job in balancing the abilities of its characters and it helps that all guns are shared. As long as your economy is in a good place, you should be fine to play with any agent you choose.
Abilities in Valorant are there to complement the gunplay, rather than to earn kills on their own, the way they might in Overwatch. This tier list is based around how each agent meshes into a well oiled team, although a few heroes in the lower tiers can excel if you favour more selfish play.
|Tier 1||Cypher, Breach, Omen|
|Tier 2||Killjoy, Raze, Brimstone, Sova, Jett, Skye|
|Tier 3||Sage, Phoenix|
|Tier 4||Reyna, Viper|
Now we’ve laid out our Valorant tier list, we’re going to explain how we came by this ranking by going through each and every agent.
Cypher gets stronger almost every day. With more angles and placements for his abilities being discovered every week, Cypher is one of the most viable agents in the game. He’s good for information gathering, due to his spycam, trapwires, and ultimate ability Neural Theft. Cypher’s camera can be used to cover large areas, and on maps like Haven, where there are three Spike plant sites, it is especially useful for working out enemy plays.
Top tier Valorant players are realising that having a team spread out across the map isn’t ideal, and travelling in packs helps overwhelm the enemy. Cypher’s recon abilities allow him to support teammates, while keeping an eye on critical areas of the map. Cypher’s reconnaissance is also a little bit more suited to solo queue than Sova’s recon. His ultimate gives all players fair warning that you’ll be able to see the location of enemies, and his trapwires give off sound effects to help your teammates place the position of enemy players. If you want to be all-seeing, play Cypher.
The biggest reason Cypher is in Tier 1 when other observational agents sit lower is because of how straightforward his surveillance is, and how quickly Valorant players adjusted to using him for the new bunching together style of play. He’s relatively easy to get to grips with while offering a lot of depth for more serious players.
Breach is possibly one of the most complex agents in the game, so bear that in mind when playing as him. His abilities can often take their toll on teammates and prompt arguments if used incorrectly. Without proper coordination, there’s a whole host of things that can happen as a direct result of Breach’s abilities.
In fact, up until now he’s bounced between Tiers 3 and 4, only useful to players extremely skilled in his ability set, and even then not quite as good as similar agents. Enter patch 1.07.
In the most recent patch, Breach received a huge buff, one which gave him more damage, more canisters, shorter reload time, and the ability to permanently descope players. Riot Games even added in the patch notes that “these are not all the potential Breach changes we want to do,” perhaps understanding that the patch would make him far too overpowered. As it stands, his difficulty to get to grips with stops him being an automatic pick, but after this buff, expect most high level teams to use Breach frequently.
If you like your Overwatch, then you probably already know Omen’s abilities quite well. The agent, which is suspiciously like Blizzard’s Reaper, has teleportation abilities. He can be everywhere and anywhere and if played right, can be a deadly agent against a well organised team.
Omen has powerful abilities, but being unpredictable is key. Well versed players will know standard Omen plays, so if you want to get the edge on enemy teams you’re going to want to get creative. His smokes are helpful and his paranoia ability is great for blinding enemies hiding just around the corner. If you’re new to the game, Omen is a really fun agent to try out.
Omen is a defensive powerhouse, and definitely Tier 1 when defending. Offensively though, he excels at nothing much more than forcing the enemy into positions, and needs a good squad around him. Still, as the meta has evolved, he’s gone from a passenger in the beta to a key figure in the game’s current format.
Killjoy has enjoyed a strong start to life in Valorant, debuting in Tier 1. However, Reyna had a similarly successful debut before the opposition figured out some fairly comprehensive strategies for stopping her. In Killjoy’s case, that strategy is a substantial nerf to her Nanoswarm ability.
That said, Killjoy does appear to bring more to the table than Reyna, and will likely remain in and around Tier 2 for a while, barring a sudden meta change or another big nerf.
Her ability to distract opponents with turrets while planting the bomb has been deadly so far. Her loadout is both unique and powerful, which makes her a great agent for any squad.
Valorant fans have complained about Raze’s abilities being too focused on damage in the past, which is a step away from the game’s philosophy that abilities are second to guns. Riot Games has since balanced her a little since launch, so she’s not as powerful as she used to be.
However, Raze is still top of Tier 2 because, with a grenade, her boom bot, and her blast packs, she still packs a punch. Her abilities are pretty easy to grasp, and with the number of nook and crannies available in-game, it’s easy to lob a grenade towards the last known position of your enemy than risk your own neck in a one on one situation.
A recent update nerfed Raze’s Showstopper and Blast Pack, but she remains a force to be reckoned with.
Raze is great against some lower skill players, but expect to run into some difficulty as you climb the ranks and play against those who know how to counter her. She’s a solid agent but doesn’t bring all that much to a team aside from being able to handle herself.
Brimstone is deceivingly useful on the battlefield. If you know Valorant, you know that many agents will have smokes – orbs of obstructing smoke or effects which prevent enemies from seeing your position. Brimstone’s, in particular, are useful because they drop directly from the sky. This might not sound important, but it means enemies have no way of knowing where Brimstone is placing them from, so you can continue to hold your position and wait for them to push.
His ultimate, Orbital Strike, has more than one use too. Although it can be used to attempt to kill enemies, it’s also really useful for denying plants and defuses. It’s also pretty useful to prevent rushes too. He and Omen have switched places in the Tiers, with Omen being a key agent in countering the Brimstone-heavy meta of July and August.
Sova is a great agent for team plays. With recon abilities and the ability to do a little bit of damage, playing Sova is an art. So if you’re looking to play him, you’re going to need to know your angles. Sova’s recon arrows are great for gathering information but only if you know where to put them. Sova could be at the top of this list, but if you’re new to Valorant, knowing how to use him properly is a pain, and if you’re solo queueing, all that information you’re gathering may not be worth much if your teammates are going it alone.
The archer also has his drone, which again, is great for reconnaissance, but it’ll give away your position pretty quickly. Like Cypher’s camera, it has a dart to mark opponents, but it can be easily destroyed and it’s hard to hide.
In short, he doesn’t bring much Cypher doesn’t already cover, plus he’s harder to play as and has more exposed weaknesses. A nice addition to a team with Cypher, but definitely not a replacement.
Jett is the fastest agent in the roster. Although she doesn’t have the same surprise elements that Omen may have in teleportation, Jett can startle players by her quick movements and vertical abilities. The Korean duelist commands air, so she can launch herself upwards or forwards, and her passive means she can glide rather than fall to the ground (if you remember to hold space).
Players like to argue about how effective she is. In the right hands, Jett can be devastating, but as players learn her boost distance, and work out her usual positions, she becomes less effective. If you master her, she’s a great agent, but that goes for all of them. Other agents require less work and can have a bigger payoff which comes sooner.
Her ultimate Blade Storm, arms her with throwing knives, which give one-shot kills with headshots up close and deal a moderate amount of damage to the body. While this ultimate can be devastating, it really depends on how good your aim is. Plus, patch 1.09 recently nerfed Blade Storm, making it less effective at increased range. All in all, Jett’s abilities don’t matter anywhere near as much as the player’s instincts and predictions.
Skye’s build makes her one of the most valuable additions to a team composition. As yet another support character, the Aussie can both heal teammates and scout the path ahead. Although she cannot heal herself with her Regrowth ability, Trailblazer and Guiding Light are valuable tools in disrupting the defending team’s set up.
As you can guess though, she’s entirely dependent on teamplay. While she’s a great pick for five stacks and competitive games, she’s less viable in solo queues.
Sage is the closest thing Valorant has to a support character. She can heal herself or others during a round, effectively giving everyone a little bit more longevity in the playing field. Her ultimate ability also allows her to resurrect a teammate, making her an important agent in any Valorant composition.
Sage isn’t just a support though as she has some of the best environmental abilities. She can wall off areas and take her enemies by surprise or force them to give away their position by shooting it down. Her slow orbs can be great for defending points or for gathering information. After getting a recent nerf to her abilities (including her solo heals), Sage has fallen out of Tier 1 for the first time and straight into Tier 3. Where she was once the best delayer and healer in the game, she’s now not particularly good at either. Sage mains, cross your fingers for a patch soon.
Phoenix is the second most self-sufficient agent on the roster. He’s a fiery (literally) Londoner who controls various flame abilities. Like Viper, he can put up a wall which prevents enemies’ sight lines, and like Brimstone he’s got a Molotov. Although these abilities hurt other players, they also heal Phoenix. His ultimate Run It Back means the agent can run in, hopefully, take down an agent or two, before being teleported back to the start of the ultimate with all his health restored. This makes it a great ability for aggressive players with little risk involved. Mix these together and Phoenix is a good team player, providing he’s used right of course.
Phoenix has leapt from Tier 3 to the bottom of Tier 2 mainly on the back of his popularity, especially amongst North American teams. Though most of what he offers can be found in other agents, Phoenix groups them all together in a hyper aggressive package. He’s constantly on the front foot and if you utilise his abilities properly, he’s one of the most effective at utilising the opportunities Cypher, Sova and Sage offer.
As a generalist, he’s unlikely to climb the ranks much higher, but can definitely be a useful part of a well oiled machine.
Reyna was, at first, a little bit of a surprise to players. The playerbase was just starting to settle into a routine, knowing what agents did what, and where they were best placed, when all of a sudden this new agent arrived with new abilities. Now players have had time to work our her ability Leer, they’ve figured out she’s quite a selfish agent, with not much to offer when it comes to team play.
Unlike Phoenix, Raze, or Jett, Reyna’s abilities revolve around her surviving a long time. Dismiss and Devour are solely self-preservation methods, and Empress gives Reyna buffs. She is scary on her own, but when you’re in a game that’s about teamwork, these abilities aren’t enough on their own to be effective.
As a counterpoint though, if you’re in a lobby by yourself and your team aren’t much cop, Reyna (or Raze) are excellent at going solo. Her selfishness means she’ll never be part of the most tightly knit teams, but she’s one of the best in the game when going toe to toe.
Viper got a buff in patch 1.07 and patch 1.09 and is still the worst agent in the game. Her future as anything more than a casual pick does not look bright.
Viper is a situational agent, but the best situation for her is sitting on the bench. Her theme is poison which does provide some neat effects but Viper’s main ability is being able to block sight lines on command. Unlike any other agent, her smoke orb and smoke line is placed and then turned on and off with a press of a button. This is useful for hiding allies sneaking onto a point and confusing for the enemy team, but overall it’s not particularly useful.
Unfortunately, these skills are pretty one-note. Viper is best on Bind, since she can cover a lot of A and B site, but her abilities aren’t very well suited to the likes of Ascent. Even on Bind, she’s Tier 3 at best. This is why she’s at the bottom of this list.
If you’re got a big old plan you want to execute, Viper is your agent, otherwise you’re going to need to rely on someone else. It’s a real shame because aesthetically Viper is one of Valorant’s coolest characters, but she’s very much style over substance.
And that’s that. If you’re planning on making your way all the way to Radiant in Valorant ranked, then you’re definitely going to need to get to grips with different agents. Obviously the meta will change with each and every update, so make sure you check back here to see where the game’s agents place in the future.