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VALORANT meta review: December 2022

VALORANT meta review: December 2022

Landon Summers


So, in my past few articles, I’ve talked a lot about how much we see Chamber, and how much impact he has in the game. But that got me thinking, where are we actually? I’ve discussed Chamber thoroughly, looked at Fade and her power, and I’ve been looking into writing about the Controller category for a while now (I’m looking at you, Harbor). As much as I like analyzing agents, I think it is also important to take a step back and look at the big picture. So, where are we in terms of meta?

To start off, I limited my data set to Patch 5.03 to now. 5.03 was the first Chamber nerf patch, and so I thought it would be a good starting point. To refine my data further, I looked for the top comps on each map. I felt like trying to compare map to map would be a little too difficult to reason out, so I broke it down by map. In addition, I only pulled the comps that had been picked a total near and above 100 times. That was a good balance between having too few to make patterns and having so much that we can’t discern the big patterns. Also for every map, there was a pretty clear divide between most played and fringe comps, and 100 was around the general cut off.

I also made a quick little score called a meta score. It looks at how much the top-played comps take up the total comps from the patches drawn from. If the score is above 50%, that means that the map generally sees only a few sets in pro play, and their iterations are very narrow. If the score was below 50%, that means the most played comps are in a sea of variation, so, while I can make some inferences, there is more agent diversity and its harder to pinpoint some patterns. Think of this score as a measure of the variety of the map, the higher the score, the more stale the map is, and the more likely we are to see a mirror match (or a mirror match where both teams play common compositions).

Here are my results:


Meta Score: 61.12%

Top Ascent Meta comps, 8 reached the threshold

The first thing I noticed about Ascent is that it is always 2 Initiators. With all of these comps, they had either KAYO/Sova or Fade/KAYO. The rest was very copy paste: Omen or Astra, Raze or Jett, then Killjoy or Chamber. Interestingly enough, Chamber appears in 4 out of the 8 top comps on Ascent, despite Killjoy being dominant on the map.


Meta Score: 42.16%

Bind Top Meta comps, 3 reached the threshold

If Ascent is double Initiator, Bind is double-double; the top 3 comps have either double-Controller, double-Initiator, or both. If we go down the list, we see other agents like Breach and Astra appearing, but still fitting the double-double pattern. In fact, one comp that accounts for 7.61% of Bind comps has double Smoke and double Initiator picks; Brim/Viper, Skye/Fade.


Meta Score: 78.94%

Top Breeze Meta comps, 4 reached the threshold

In contention for one of the more stale maps, we have Breeze, where over 75% of all maps have a Sova and a Viper, 72% of comps have a Jett, and 64% have a Chamber. Every top comp is some iteration of this set; Jett is replaced with Neon, Chamber is replaced with Cypher. In the fifth slot, it’s either Skye or Sova. What makes this stale is that we can generally predict what a team will pick on Breeze, there is little to no variation. The top comp is picked almost 50% of the time: that’s a coin flip.


Meta Score: 52.65%

Top Fracture Meta comps, 4 reached the threshold

I don’t think people talk enough about how strong Brimstone is on Fracture. He is in every single top comp on Fracture as a solo Controller. His strength frees up the fifth slot for Double Initiator or double Sentinel. We also need to talk about Breach’s strength. I know some teams experiment with non-Breach comps, but I think this shows that Fracture plays to Breach’s strength so well. The Duelist slot is given to Neon (32.89%) generally, however, Raze (19.75%) does like to pop up, usually to help clear sites with her explosive nature.


Meta Score: 51.22

Top Haven Meta comps, 5 reached the threshold

Haven is interesting. The top 5 comps all have some components that pop up over and over. For example, 4 of the top five comps have Fade/Breach. A different 4 comps have Omen as the primary smokes, and another set of 4 (different from the first two) have Chamber. However, there is some strong variation. Looking at the list, I see some Skye instead of Fade, Astra instead of Omen, and Killjoy instead of Chamber. In the Duelist slot, we see the highest amount variability in choice, with teams picking Raze the most (39.16%), but sometimes letting in Jett and Neon instead.


Meta Score: 64.82%

Top Icebox Meta comps, 5 made the threshold

The other map in contention for the most stale map, we have Icebox. While the top 5 comps make up a smaller amount of the total comps, when compared to Breeze, every single comp on this list has the same 4 agents. Let me repeat that, the top 5 comps all share the same 4 base agents: Viper, Sova, Sage and Chamber. This is why I think Icebox is in contention for the most stale meta map. Breeze has at least some variation in the top 78% of comps, Icebox is copy and paste.


Meta Score: 22.79%

Top Pearl Meta comps, 2 made the threshold

Since Pearl is so new, teams are still trying to figure out what fits well on the map. 34.35% of all the comps on Pearl since Patch 5.03 have pick rates in the single digits, and 46.22% of all comps on Pearl have pick rates less than 20. Another way of saying it is that nearly 50% of Pearl comps have been picked at most 19 times. That’s a lot of different possible compositions and testing being done in tournaments. There are only 2 comps that have been picked over 95 times, and they are almost the exact same: Astra, Chamber, Fade, and KAY/O. Teams round out their comps with either Viper (for more map control and post-plant) or Neon (for more aggression).

Biggest takeaways:

Chamber is truly everywhere. Chamber appears in 52.80% of all of the top comps in all VALORANT maps. I could flip a coin, and Chamber would appear in a comp more often than I would land heads. That is a big deal, because if pros use similar compositions and experiment less, then we will end up seeing more Chamber than the data shows. Naturally, VALORANT patch 5.12 has introduced Chamber reworks. We are yet to see if those impact the French Agent’s pick rate.

VALORANT Patch 5.03 aims to balance the Frenchman Chamber
Chamber can’t seem to disappear.

Viper needs to be looked at. She appeared in 39.87% top comps, and this is only brought down by the fact that she doesn’t appear on Ascent, Fracture, or Haven. If Viper is played, in general, she is played on every single team. The only exceptions to this are Pearl and Bind, where it is common to see solo smokes with Astra and Brimstone, respectively. I think it’s important to point this out because a character that pops up this much really needs a foil (Omen and Astra or Sova and Fade). Here’s something funny to note: in both of the maps with the smallest agent variation, Viper is the predominant solo controller. I don’t think that is by accident.

Viper remains a constant threat in VALORANT

KAY/O, Fade, and Sova are all probably going to see some nerfs soon. Their abilities and strengths are consolidating a lot of power in the Initiator slot, and since Chamber can hold his own, and only one or two maps have viable double-Controller comps, we see lots of double-Initiator team sets. In fact, if you go back through the graphics, every map except Icebox and Pearl has a majority of the top comps with double-Initiators (5 of the 7 maps in the pool).

There are some unsung heroes that need to get more spotlight: Brimstone, Breach, and Neon all popped up a lot more than I was expecting. I didn’t realize how versatile these agents are, and I think that they will see more and more play as teams play these maps more.

Breach is really starting to take hold of the meta, showing his explosive power.

The Controller agent category feels the most balanced out of all the classes. Aside from the consolidation of power from Viper on wall smoke maps, Astra, Omen, and Brimstone all have clear-cut playstyles that allow for diverse Agent sets. For maps with small chokes and small hallways, Brimstone smokes can stop advances and stop post-plant attacks with the duration of his smokes and his utility. For maps with some open space and larger areas that require space control, teams can choose between Astra and Omen. The two are generally interchangeable, however, Haven is commonly Omen’s map, and Pearl belongs to Astra.

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