With the new year, it does seem like we are playing a different version of VALORANT. There are now more eyes on the game, with the various tournaments taking place, more than ever. As such, Riot has tried its level best to make the game as balanced as possible. In doing so, there has been quite a shift in the current meta of the game. Within each rank, there are a plethora of players with various playstyles and skills in the game. This article will dive deeply into each character's popularity within the most common ranks.
The year 2022 could be called the year of the Chamber's dominance. As such most team compositions had a constant sentinel in Chamber. It could be mainly traced due to the universal presence Chamber had while holding one angle in a given round. Following the nerfs to the chamber, the character isn't as valuable as in the past. Due to this, his pick rate has fallen below 3% in major tournaments. In the current meta, with Breeze and Bind being banned from competitive play, Jett, Sova, and Killjoy are the most used characters in all major tournaments.
Most Popular Agents within the Iron Rank in VALORANT
It would have been quite a surprise if we didn't see Sage on top of this list. This is mainly because she can heal herself. Compared to other sentinels in the game, her abilities offer something different. While not primarily played for an attack, she is there for support. Either by healing her teammates to total health or putting up a wall before planting the spike and helping to block the entry for the opponent.
The top 5 characters on this list are:
One particular omission from this list is Jett due to her being 6th. From the above list of characters, we can find a specific pattern. This is because each of the following lacks a high skill gap. Due to their kit being to the point and easy to understand. Be it the smoke, blinds, or even the alarm bot.
The three agents that are the least popular are Breach, Harbor, and Astra. Each has quite a reason to follow their pick rate. Breach is the only initiator that doesn't provide information on the opponents. Harbor is quite complex to play with; understanding his abilities would take time. Astra, while having the most economical kit, still has quite a massive skill gap to play at her highest value.
Most Popular Agents within the Gold Rank in VALORANT
This will be quite a shocker for a few, but there isn't much change between the gold and Iron rank. The main change is that Jett has now become the third most popular character on this list. This could be attributed to the amount of mobility that Jett provides. Within her kit, the updraft and the dash allow the possibility of various off-angles in the game. As such, mainly here, players who play Jett invest in an operator in the game. Previously before the mega patch, it would have been Chamber who would be the operator.
While Reyna stands as the most popular character picked in this rank, this could be due to her ability to get kills when in a 1v1 situation. Due to the ability to heal herself or even be invincible for a short time after a kill. Another point to note is that her ultimate only needs six orbs to get activated in the game. This is the lowest and similar to Cypher's and Phoenix's likes in VALORANT.
The least popular characters in this rank are Astra, Harbor, and Yoru. One thing to note is that Astra has risen from the last position to the 3rd last spot in the rank. This could be due to players learning how to use the character and become proficient as the primary smoker in the game.
Most Popular Agents within the Immortal Rank in VALORANT
The last rank we will be covering in this article will be Immortal. While being in the middle of Ascendant and Radiant, this allows us to see the major transition. While the core of Jett, Reyna, Killjoy, and Raze is present in the top five characters in the game. Many of the game fans will be quite surprised to see all the original characters in this list. Jett and Raze would be simply present due to the mobility each provides with their dash and blast pack, respectfully. That leaves Killjoy as the primarily selected sentinel in this rank. This could be attributed due to her abilities best suited to delay the push on the site.
The fifth most popular character is Sova, the first initiator we see on this ranking. This is quite the shift from the previous ranks. While Sova grew in popularity following each rank gradually, it simply seems that in a team, many realized the need to play an initiator to gain certain kinds of information on the opponents. This is required before pushing onto a site or even on the post plant to ensure you know where the pinch could be taking place. The character who had a gradual increase in popularity are as follows:
These two characters jumped from the 16th and 20th position in Iron to the 7th and 11th position in Immortal, respectively. This could be attributed to the universal presence they provide on all maps, which is very useful on bigger maps to a higher extent than on smaller maps.
Check out this Reddit post by u/Colt_7 that breaks down what agents are played in different ranks