What is the Valorant Meta looking like right now in 2023?
VCT Lock//In has come to an end following one of the best B05 in FPS history. With the storylines of each team coming into the finals, everyone knew we were in for a banger of a match. The tournament also introduced us all to the new character in Valorant; Gekko. Seeing him be used firsthand was quite the buzz for most players. Many of us can’t wait for the animation of wingman to run onto site and plant the spike in the upcoming update.
With the event being on an older patch there are quite a few notes one can take from it in relation to the game’s upcoming meta. Especially considering the majority of Valorant gamers tend to focus the characters they use based on who they see played during live streams and tournaments. Let's have a look at what Valorant’s meta is currently, and what we can expect with the launch of Gekko.
Killjoy’s domination in the meta game
Now, this might seem like history is repeating itself, with another sentinel having the highest pick rate in the game. Killjoy has been the most common pick to be seen in any map during 2023. Be it in official tournaments or even during qualifiers. Her presence and utilization have become a mainstay for the game. The only real difference between the previous meta and the current one is the economy. Where a player using Chamber could spend the bare minimum and help his team's economy. However, Killjoy’s abilities are not damage centric, focusing more on area control. Her lockdown is currently one of the best abilities to use for map control. Having the power to push back the rest of her opponents helps in shifting the dynamic during the post-plant.
The recent patch provided the needed nerfs for Killjoy as well, which you can read more about here. Lockdown now needs 8 ult orbs for Killjoy to activate. This was done to reduce the frequency at which the ultimate could be used during either half of the game. The ultimate also saw a reduction to its HP. These were needed nerfs, but one must note there aren’t a lot of sentinels in the game. With Cypher still not selected as much as he’s just not on par with Killjoy on most maps. Chamber following the nerf to his teleport has simply fallen down and will need some form of buff to have a healthy pick rate.
Duelists Are Making A Much Needed Return
Valorant is mainly an FPS game with various mechanics that differentiates it from the rest. One of these mechanisms is the mobility that each character provides. For Jett, it’s her dash and updraft allowing her to take 1v1 battles from different off angles. Raze on the other hand has her mobility mainly used during her ultimate. In the past, we have even gone to matchups with a 3 initiator setup with no duelists in their teams. But in the recent tournament, we’ve seen the revival of the duelist class in Valorant.
What has led to this change is that right now Chamber is not the viable operator agent. As such it becomes much more suited for a sniper to be in the hands of an agent who moves away following their shot; making it difficult for their opponents to be able to trade back a kill. While on an operator it’s crucial a player be able to change their angle, even from the last hit. Making it unpredictable for the opponent to recognize where the next shot will be taken from. While characters that achieve this, like Reyna Yoru and Neon are still not the most selected agents in the game, maybe in future patches we’ll see some sort of buff to these characters.
Viper & Harbor Taking Over The Controller Class
This will be quite a shift in dynamic, but towards the end of February there have been multiple debates on Harbor having the ability to act as a pseudo-initiator in-game due to his ultimate; stunning opponents and also providing the location of the characters in that given region. Viper on the other hand has been seen as the controller that can flank with ease while not having any form of radius which would disable her abilities.
On Icebox during Lock//In, Viper had a 100% pick rate. Mostly due to the fact that Vipers toxic walls can block quite a huge area on the map — which can then be used as a decoy for more confusion. A good case to explain this would be: Have Viper hold the angle at mid while sending her wall across B site with one character making noise at B. The rest of the team could slowly creep onto A site and Viper with the help of the wall and her smokes can give the idea of a plant at B site.
It does seem that with the addition of Gekko in the game, we could be returning to a 2 controller meta. While the scary ideal would be the composition of 2 controllers, 2 initiators and a Killjoy. If this is the case it will eventually lead to a massive utility spam-based post-plant situation on every round.