24th September 2021 – 5:52pm
Fierce matches and determined teams - that sums up the Berlin Masters. The last major VCT tournament before the Champions, the Masters 3 brought together 16 of the best teams in the world. In the final, Gambit Esports came out on top and won against Team Envy by a score of 3 maps to 0. After 10 days of intense competition, it's time to take stock! We'll take a look at the pick rates of the different agents, the win rates, the picks & bans of the maps, and more generally to the meta.
The pick rate at the top o the competition is of course the main indicator of the evolution of the meta. Comparing the pick rates of the Agents between the Masters 2 and the Masters 3, we can see that the meta is globally stabilised, except for a few Agents that grow in popularity or others that go down the drain.
Jett is still at the top in both in-game and in the hearts of the pros. Already top of the rankings in the Masters 2, she consolidated her number one position during the Berlin Masters. Her pick rate soared even further, rising from 80% to 85% between the two competitions. Because of her crucial role in the current meta, Jett was even selected in 100% of the playoffs matches.
It has to be said that her unique repositioning skills are useful in all circomstances, making her the only Agent played on absolutely every map, where others are more situational. The clutch of Yay during the final is a perfect example. Riot Games has already decided to crack down and Patch 3.06 deployed this week should weaken her. We'll have to see if these nerfs are enough.
Second place again goes to Sova. Pro players still appreciate his ability to act from one end of the map to the other, whether it be for controlled information gathering about the opposing team or simply to cause damage. He was present in 64% of the matches during the Masters 3. This is a slight decrease compared to Masters 2 where he peaked at 72% pick rate. This difference is partly explained by the growing popularity of Skye. We will come back to this point later.
Overall, Sova is selected on all maps, except Split where his arrows are more difficult to use in this rather restricted environment. It is this lack of selection on Split that reduces his pick rate and puts him in second place, behind Jett.
Just as Astra was beginning to make a name for herself in Masters 2 (43% pick rate), the Ghanaian Agent came out on top in Masters 3 and took the third step of the podium with a pick rate of 60%. This meteoric rise is not surprising. During the various matches, the players demonstrated the full potential of the character. It is clear that an Agent who can influence the game across the map while remaining safe is an undeniable asset for professional teams. However, Astra's absence on Breeze and Icebox is noteworthy, as her smokes are too limited to completely block the enemy's line of sight.
While Jett, Sova and Astra have earned the esteem of the professional teams, other Agents find themselves in a more worrying situation.
The case of Yoru is the most striking. Present in only 2% of the matches of the Masters 2, he has not been able to win the favour of the pros in this new tournament, on the contrary. Yoru has only been selected once... and that was during the group stages. Relegated to a solitary style of play, the players do not find him of any real interest and will turn more to Reyna, who is much more efficient at ensuring kills. With the Agent being shunned by pros and amateurs alike, one would expect Riot Games to look at fixing him soon. Perhaps he deserves a rework.
KAY/O scored little better, with only 2 selections in the Masters 3. Nevertheless, this low score is not yet alarming. He's still a very new character, as he was only released at the end of June. Perhaps professional teams need a little more time to decide whether or not the character has potential in a competitive composition. It's hard to know if he will evolve in a way worthy of Astra, but the buff in Patch 3.06 is a good start to make him more attractive.
For Phoenix it's a downhill slide. The Agent gets a 5% pick rate, whereas he was present in 17% of the games of the Masters of Reykjavik. He only found use on Haven. The duelist struggles to keep up with his competitors, especially Jett.
Apart from the most and least selected Agents, there are other interesting developments concerning Skye, Killjoy and Omen.
Earlier, we mentioned a slight drop in interest in Sova following the success of Skye, and that's an understatement! Over the last few months, Skye has been a real hit. She is at the top of the game and appears in 58% of games, compared to 34% previously. Players appreciate her versatility, which makes her equally useful as a support player or as a trigger for an assault. It's her ability to find enemies and blind them quickly that appeals most to pro players. So it's no surprise to see that she is getting a nerf in the new 3.06 Patch.
Reyna is not designed for team play, but her snowball effect can take its toll. She is back in the spotlight and has played in 24% of the matches compared to 5% at the last Masters. Her mastery requires a lot of individual skills. During the Reykjavik Masters, only TenZ, the Sentinels prodigy, dared to play her until the final stages of the tournament. Since then, other players feel they can make a difference on their own thanks to Reyna's potential.
The meta still included Omen a few months ago, but today, he's set aside from 29% to 8% pick rate. Knowing that Jett and Astra are already present to smoke, it's not surprising. Especially since Astra brings more to the group effort, where Omen is more useful alone.
Killjoy was in third place at the end of the Masters 2. Today, she disappears from the podium, dropping from 57 to 43% pick rate. The different patches deployed since May, notably Patch 3.0 and 3.05, have not been favourable to her. When she's not selected, it's because one would rather play Cypher. However, Cypher did not rise in the selections this time, despite the drop in interest in Killjoy. Even if they both remain interesting, these results show that teams are now favouring other alternatives, for example Skye or Astra.
The meta remains quite fixed, but this Masters 3 was nevertheless the occasion to reveal some Agents.
The win rate per Agent is a tricky statistic to interpret. Indeed, since an Agent can be played by both teams simultaneously, the ratio tends to be balanced.
Let's look at the win ratios of the Agents in Attack and Defense. Comparing the win rates in Masters 2 and during the group stage of the Masters 3, we can see that they are globally similar, both in Attack and in Defense. However, there are a few exceptions.
Thus, Brimstone seems to perform better on Defense with a win rate of 64.2% compared to 47.3% in Masters 2, and same goes for Phoenix who had a 67.6% win rate in Defense in Masters 3 compared to 54.7% in Masters 2.
On the Attacking side, Reyna was less effective, with a drop from 65.9% in Masters 2 to 49.3% in Masters 3. Despite her increased popularity, she has a negative win ratio in this phase of the game where she should excel.
If we put aside Masters 2 and look only at the ratios of wins per side in Masters 3, we see that they tend to be balanced overall. Agents win on average as many rounds in Attack as in Defense. There are a few exceptions, however; Cypher, Brimstone, Phoenix and KAY/O players win more when they play Defense! This being said, given the low pick rate of these Agents, it's difficult to speak of statistics representative of their potential.
However, when analysing the win ratios during the playoffs, a trend emerges. Even though the win ratios for Attack and Defense are close, Agents have a higher win ratio in Attack than in Defense.
Some Agents stand out from the crowd. Sova and Sage perform better in Attack with win rates of 58.9% and 58% against 44.8% and 44.2% respectively. While this is not surprising for Sova, it's more surprising for Sage. We can see that pro players are increasingly favouring the healer in an offensive role rather than a defensive one and it's working! In the same vein, Omen and Brimstone Omen and Brimstone have win ratios above 70% in Attack, for 58.3% and 33.3% in Defense. This trend could be explained by the fact that the majority of the teams present in the playoffs are teams strongly turned towards aggressiveness.
Beware of the credibility of the statistics during the playoffs, which were played on far fewer maps than during the group stage. It's not clear that this trend for the Attack would still be visible if as many rounds had been played in both phases of the Masters 3.
Out of the 28 matches of the Masters 3, only 10 matches were played in more than 2 maps. In total, 86 maps were selected, but only 66 were played, with 1356 rounds played.
Players competed on the 6 maps available at the time, namely Split, Haven, Icebox, Ascent, Bind, Breeze. Absent of the Reykjavik Masters, Breeze failed to win unanimous support and was only selected 6 times and played 5 times in the whole tournament, for 11 bans in total. This card, which invites to travel, was only released at the end of April. We can therefore assume that the teams are not yet comfortable enough to risk playing it. On the other hand, Icebox and Split were the most popular, both picked 18 times and played respectively 13 and 14 times during the Masters.
Overall, we can see that Attack and Defense win the rounds equally, with 52% and 48% of victories respectively on all maps. However, we can see that Attack has an advantage on Icebox. Indeed, 61% of victories recorded during the Attack rounds for only 39% in Defense. The 13-3 defeat of Sentinels against G2 Esports is a good example to understand the difficulties felt in Defense.
As Fracture was recently released, it was not present in the Masters map pack. With its unique configuration, narrow lines on site and countless rotation possibilities, we can't wait to see what strategies the pros will come up with. If you want to know more, read our guide.
We already know 12 of the 16 teams qualified for the Valorant Champions. The Last Chance Qualifier will take place from 10th to 17th October. This is the last chance for teams that did not qualify to get one of the four slots available!