Meta for the Masters Tokyo - VCT 2023
The Tokyo Masters was full of surprises. China's EDward Gaming made Valorant esport history, LOUD went out without winning a single card, and Fnatic became the first team to win two successive international events. We offer you analyse the meta of this very special competition, looking at the Agents that stood out, those that lost interest, but also the cards that were unanimously acclaimed by the pros.
Evolution of the Agents' pick rate
We suggest a comparison of the Agent selection rate during Lock//In, the VCT 2023's first international LAN, and the Tokyo Masters, which has just come to an end. There have been a number of important changes, including a sharp drop in the selection of several Initiatorsand a drastic reduction in Killjoy's selection.
The most popular agents
For the first time, no Agent has been over-selected. As a result, the three most-played Agents, Skye, Killjoy and Jett had a selection rate of around 53%.
During the Lock//In, Killjoy and her technological skills were almost omnipresent, as she was present in 70% of the compositions. While she remained on the podium during Masters Tokyo, there was a rather significant drop. It's likely that this drop is linked to the increased interest players have shown in Skye, but not essentially. The main reason for the drop is to be found in patch notes 6.03 and 6.08. Before going any further, it's worth pointing out that in Tokyo, players were using version 6.02 of Valorant. Having said that, we can resume our explanation.
Killjoy's strength lies in his kit. Its turret is very useful for obtaining information, its ultimate offers a good way of capturing a site and its nanites can cause serious damage. In patch 6.03This turret took some lead in its rotor, as it saw 25 fewer hit points. If it's easier to destroy this tool, the Agent becomes a little less attractive. This is all the more true given that in this same patch, the cost of Containment has been increased from 7 to 8 Ultimate points. Riot Games has also given us a third reason to give up on this character by tackling the swarms with patch 6.08. All these changes have undoubtedly contributed to the loss of interest we mentioned earlier.
But Killjoy isn't the only Agent in the top ten whose selection rate has dropped; the same is true of Jett. However, the reduction is a little less drastic. Where it was selected in 60% of compositions, it is now selected in only 53%. The growing interest in Raze goes some way to explaining this, but it's more a question of the card. During the Lock//In, Icebox was still part of the map pool. On this map, Jett was selected in 69% of cases compared with just under 4% for Raze. At the Tokyo Masters, Icebox has been replaced by Bind. According to the pros, this one is better suited to the Grenade Agent than the Kunai Agent. For example, Raze was selected in 94% of cases on Bind, while Jett only made a single appearance on this map.
Jett was particularly favoured over Pearl. It was present in 100% of the compositions that took off on the underwater map. It's not so surprising; her kit is more than interesting for breaking down defensive lines quickly, by dashing into a smoke on site the B for example, or as a bulwark against the offensive... Jett to the Operator on the long of B, it's particularly effective! And with the changes made via patch 6.11It is highly likely that she will retain her position as a necessary agent on Pearl.
Skye is undoubtedly the Agent whose development is the most interesting. While she was only selected in 25% of the compositions at Lock//In, she was present in 25%. in more than one out of every two compositions in Tokyo. Of course, for this representative of nature to shine, other Agents have lost a little interest in the eyes of the pros. This is particularly true of Fade, Sova, KAY/0 and Sage. Interest in the versatility of her abilities compared to these other Agents may explain her meteoric rise. She has a kit that can heal several allies simultaneously, which is perhaps more interesting than Sage's single heal, which is also subject to a cooldown. Her flashes provide a fair amount of information - for both attack and defence - and their positioning is more flexible than with KAY/0's flashes. What's more, its ultimate can be used to dislodge several opponents at the same time, like Fade's, but with the advantage that the spirits are free to roam the map. In the end, it combines a little of all the other Agents and is not particularly complicated to integrate into a team strategy, which makes it very attractive.
Agents in the cupboard
The bottom three rarely change. With a selection rate of 1,45% onlyso it's not surprising to find Phoenix one of the least-played Agents at this year's Tokyo Masters. Despite receiving a few buffs over the past year, the Agent still hasn't managed to find a place for himself... An Agent such as Phoenix remain too situational at this level of the competition. Professional teams prefer versatile agents, who can be useful both as part of a team and on their own. On the other hand, when it comes to selecting a Duelist, pro players are more likely to turn to Raze, who can easily apply pressure thanks to his ultimate and grenades, or Jett, who can quickly return to the site to cause confusion. Riot Games will probably have to think of new solutions to enable it, at last, to take off and conquer the hearts of professional gamers. With the lack of flexibility associated with it and the high risk of dazzling a sidekick, Phoenix's blindness is probably no stranger to the lack of interest seen. It might therefore be worth taking a closer look at the way he throws his famous curve flashes.
In the group of discarded agents, it's not surprising to see Reyna. In the same way as Phoenix, the Duelist is disowned by professional teams. Well, not all of them, since in every recent competition its pickrate is around 0.7%which implies that it was played anyway. Reyna is a particularly solitary agentAnd to call on the latter is essentially to rely on the pure skill of a single individual. At this level of the competition, it's a rather daring gamble. While it can indeed blur the view or distract one or more opponents, this is not its original role. In this respect, other Agents, notably Skye or Omen, will do the job just as well.
The third eternal left behind is none other than Yoru. Even more so than the previous two agents, this Duelist rarely appears in international events, just as he does at professional level more generally. The few sporadic appearances are linked to the fact that a team has tried to develop a strategy that includes him, which is rather risky. To be fully effective, the agent often has to take advantage of very precise and sometimes complex timings; its use requires a great deal of effort and set-up. Even if the surprise effect can work for a while, it's definitely not viable when the game lasts. At the Tokyo Masters, no team dared call on his services: he was completely absent.
Chamber is not far off either, with a pickrate of 1,45%. After dominating the meta for a long time, he quickly tumbled down the rankings due to the nerves he received with patch 5.12. As proof, its selection rate between Valorant Champion 2022 and Lock//In had fallen from 67.77% to 2.53%, and it's even lower now. The buffs of the 6.11 update will perhaps allow him to return to the forefront of the stage at the next Champions...
As we have already mentioned, Skye has seen one of the most significant positive developments, with its selection rate more than doubling between the two events. This is also the case for Brimstonewhose pick rate has risen from 10% to more than 23% This is hardly surprising given thatAstra was neglected. The Cosmic Agent was only present in 15% compositions, compared with 32% in the previous tournament. Protocol leader Valorant is more relevant, as he can inflict damage in addition to placing smokes. Moreover, the positioning of his smokes was made easier in patch 6.08, which may have worked in his favour.
Other notable developments are in the opposite direction. KAY/0, Sova, Fade and Sagevery present at Lock/In no longer seem as necessary as they once did judging by their selection rates in Tokyo: 17%, 19%, 10% and 3.6% against 41%, 40%, 23% and 18% respectively. As we saw earlier, this is linked to Skye's rise to prominence.
The maps of the meta
At the Tokyo Masters, seven cards were availableSplit, Bind, Haven, Ascent, Fracture, Pearl and Lotus.
Fracture and Lotus are the most popular cards, both selected 13 timesThree and two extra selections compared to Lock//In. At the time, Lotus was still what might be considered a 'new card', having only been added in January. Now that the teams have had time to analyse it in depth and understand it better, it's not unusual for it to be selected more often.
The other card making a strong comeback is Split. Appeared 7 times during the Lock//In, it was chosen by no less than 12 times in Tokyo. The reworked version of this card had only been in play for a short time at Lock//In, so had not yet been tested in a competition of this scale. Studying the different strategies employed by teams from around the world has certainly provided a better understanding of what does and doesn't work. As a result, pro players have become more confident in their game plans and have not hesitated to select it more often.
BindDespite the short preparation time for the new version, the race was not ignored. It was the scene of clashes at 8 recoveries. Also, Ascent has lost some of its appeal among professional players, possibly because Killjoy was less interesting to play. There has also been a drop in interest in Haven. However, these are not the cards that received the fewest selections, as they are of Pearl. Very popular at the Lock//In - with a total of 16 appearances - it no longer seems to be unanimously appreciated and has only been played by a handful of artists. 7 times. Quite complex to defend, it is possible that it will make a comeback at Champions due to adjustments made to site B in patch 6.11.
A brand new Sentinel, Deadlockhas just joined the ranks of the Valorant Protocol. We can't wait to see how professional players adapt to her skills, and more importantly, how they incorporate her into their game plans. As a specialist in information gathering, she could well make a stunning entry into the meta. at the Valorant Champions!