9th October 2020 – 7pm
Icebox is the fifth Valorant's fifth map. Forget the warm corridors of Bind, the vegetation of Haven, say hello to wide expanses of ice. Icebox is a unique map in more ways than one, unlike anything we have seen in Valorant.
It's not necessarily obvious at first glance, but Icebox is a map full of contradictions. It's undoubtedly the map with the widest and most open spaces of Valorant, but it's also the narrowest and the most interventionist, offering few paths between the important points. Its two sites are built completely differently and correspond to two opposite styles of play.
The fights take place on the docks of a port, both between and on containers all over the place. When on ground level, these containers greatly limit the field of vision, as well as the room for manoeuvrer. On the other hand, the Agents who succeed in getting on it will benefit of choice points of view, but they will be immediately spotted by their opponents. Opponents will play cat and mouse in these sheet metal corridors.
The containers make of Icebox a map devoid of curves. The angles are straight and the corridors are long. However, its two sites are radically different and the mid has unique characteristics.
The entire area surrounding Site A is in a hangar. There is no notions of Long, Mid or Short, the site's entrances being extremely limited.
Defenders have direct access to it via a staircase leading to a walkway behind point A, or through a garage entrance located on the side. In the middle of Site A, there is an elevated room with two windows facing the side the attackers are coming from. The defenders can easily see the threat come and be ready to defend, they also have good cover options.
For Attackers, even though they can enter through two separate doors, they are bound to have to go through a bottleneck to reach the site. This small narrow passage will probably be where most of the fights take place on this side of the map. Attackers will probably prefer to take out their opponents before getting involved and risking getting stuck.
The Icebox's gimmick can be found on site A: the zip line. A horizontal rope is stretched between the two raised points of the hangar, just above the bottleneck. It's hard to imagine players using it in the middle of a fight, but it allows you to dodge obstacles and get through the site quickly.
Site B is radically different from Site A. This time, the fights will take place outdoors, in the most open areas that have been seen in Valorant so far. Site B also doesn't have a Long, Mid or Short strictly speaking, but it's possible to reach it by many ways.
The defenders will be able to gain height and hide on or behind the containers. The possibilities sheltering are limited, however, unless you're prepared for a long-range combat. The difficulty will consist above all in identifying where the opponents, since site B is surrounded by different access points.
The Attackers indeed have three ways that lead to Site B. The first is the most obvious, but also the most risky, since it forces you to walk along a freight car with little cover, especially if a sniper is watching the passage from the top of a container.
The two other ways go through Mid. In this Mid, there's a long tunnel with no cover, but leading directly behind the back of Site B, high up. This is a potential way to gain height and surprise opponents from behind. But it's also possible to go under this tunnel and arrive from the side of Site B.
Finally, a particularity of this Side B: it's the first site where it's possible to plant the spike at height. If the Attackers manage to plant it up there, the retakes may be complicated and it will be nearly impossible to defuse the Spike right under the Attackers' noses.
It's hard to estimate which side really has the advantage today. The two sites attack and defend each other in radically different ways. One would tend to say that Side A is to the advantage of the Defenders, while Site B seems to be to the advantage of Attackers.
Everything will depend on the teams composition, but also on the economy of the players. Teams that can afford long-range weapons are likely to prefer to attack on Site B. Teams that have invested in short or medium range weapons will be more comfortable at Site A.
Note, however, that were the Attackers can hardly move from one site to another without going through their spawn again, the Defenders can very easily move from one side to the other. It would not be surprising to see formations with one defender per site and the last three at Mid. The Mid corridor allows you to control all comings and goings and collect vital information.
With its large expanses and verticality, Icebox is likely to shake up the meta somewhat. Most areas of play are too large to be covered by smoke or area spells like the Nanoswarm of Killjoy or the Slow Orb of Sage. It's very easy to get around them.
On the other hand, it could allow the walls of Phoenix and Viper to finally find real use. They make it easy to cover movements from one shelter to another, or even to fake team movement. This is especially true in Mid, so that Attackers can reach the tunnel leading to B.
Killjoy and Cypher, qui sont parmi les Agents les plus populaires, auront beaucoup plus de mal à être utile. Les couloirs sont trop larges pour les fils de détente, par exemple. Ces deux Agents garderont en revanche leur utilité autour du site A.
However, there is no doubt that Jett will remain the Queen of Valorant for a while yet. With its long stretches and verticality, Icebox provides an ideal playground for Jett, able to easily reach the top of containers and use sniper rifles on her opponents.