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Mandatory Players' Opinion on Patch 4.04

The patch 4.04 of Valorant was released a few weeks ago and has started to shake up the meta on the live server. Now that the first split of the VRL is over and Mandatory players have had a chance to acclimatise to the changes, we wanted to hear their thoughts on the matter!

In short, this new patch brought with it a redesign of Yoru and his abilities, nerfs for Astra and other controllers' buffs, but also a redesign of some Icebox sites. Important points, therefore, which should be implemented in the competitions in the coming weeks.

Mandatory: What is your overall feeling about the changes in patch 4.04?

HyP: I think we're going to see a big change in the meta. And it feels gooooood!

CREA^: The changes will probably change the game's meta, yes. Especially the end of Astra, which will probably bring back agents like Omen or Brimstone that had disappeared.

HoppY: Astra's nerf will clearly change the way rounds are played. We're going to get back to faster executions and big rushes, like we had before it came out. And the Brimstone stimulus tag buff proves that Riot wants the game to be faster.

APO: Personally, I don't think it's that huge. After that, Astra was way too OP and I'm glad for my fellow controllers to have more than one agent to handle, ahah.

Jbzz: This patch, in and of itself, I remain pretty neutral, since my agent doesn't change. Icebox, I didn't like it and now, I still don't like it.

The Mandatory team's opinion on Yoru

A new start for Yoru

Mandatory: What do you think of the rework of Yoru? Has it become viable?

APO: I think Yoru is certainly more viable than before. But I'm afraid that the mechanics of the character are too complex to be able to do anything with a team. And I have a hard time seeing him replacing an initiator on maps like Bind.

CREA^: I think it has the potential to be viable, but it remains to be seen if the teams will dare to take the plunge. Selecting Yoru means doing without another Agent who is more meta and theoretically more impactful. But on paper, I think he could have his place (even if I still have doubts about the usefulness of the clone).

HoppY: I find the new Yoru very interesting to play, but whether it's viable is another question. Personally I don't think so.

HyP: I hope he's not! It's too early to talk about viability in my opinion, but apart from messing up the game, the character doesn't bring much to the table, I think. To be seen in the future, but I have trouble imagining him in competition.

Mandatory: He relies a lot on tricks. Will players discover new strategies with him, or will his opponents get used to his tricks very quickly?

HoppY: Adding the clone may really brain. Today, people are not yet used to playing against, but with time I think the character will be less and less impactful. He's going to run out of steam and it's going to be hard to create a game around him.

CREA^: I think the flash is underpriced, as is the Ultimate. It even seems very strong to me now.

APO: Right. The ultimate that now allows you to use your spells while using them makes the character more interesting. But eventually, we'll all be more or less ready to deal with his skills.

HyP: Well, I think he's a bit of a loser already! There are too few situations where the mess he's going to make is really going to help him or his team. And apart from that, he really doesn't bring much to the table compared to other agents. He can't replace a Jett. I don't see what role he could replace except maybe an initiator. But why play Yoru when Kay/o exists?

The Mandatory team's opinion on Astra

What future for Astra?

Mandatory: After nearly a year of dominance, Riot Games decided to bring Astra back into the fold with some nerfs. What did you think of these changes?

HyP: "Finally", I want to say! Many pros already agreed that Astra needed a big nerve, only a few weeks after its release. And this big nerve has just arrived.

HoppY: I think these are the biggest changes Riot has made in Valorant so far. It changes a lot of things, both for the casu players and for the competition. Astra was bound to get some changes. The character was taking on the role of controller all by himself, leaving only a very small place for Omen and Brimstone in the meta. I haven't tested the new Astra yet, but I'm afraid the nerf is even a little too violent and it's been put aside, now.

CREA^: This is good for controller balance, although the nerf is probably a bit overdone.

APO: Well, the character was a must-have on almost every map. She was just too broken. The fakes smokes were literally free spells, with no real handicap behind them. Now, no more multiple pulls/stuns! We'll finally have a balance among the controllers.

Mandatory: Were the nerfs not too violent?

CREA^: In ranked it's the death of Astra. And I think for team play too. At least in the short term people will test other controllers. Maybe it will come back at some point.

HoppY: Time will tell, but she's starting with much less of an advantage, especially when you see what Brimstone and Omen have to offer. At the moment, I don't think it's viable yet.

APO: I think she will be on some maps, though. Just, you'll have to think a bit more about the situations and compositions where it makes sense.

HyP: A lot of people tend to say that it was too nerdy and is now unplayable. But I think that's not the case. It's still too early to say for sure, but she's still viable in my opinion. She was so strong compared to the other controllers that with this nerf, I think she's on par with the others. It just depends on the situations, maps etc.

The Mandatory team's opinion on Brimstone and Omen

The return of the original Controllers?

Mandatory: What do you think of the changes to the other Controllers?

HoppY: I think these changes were necessary. I think they are in balance now.

HyP: I like what they did. It's still a nerf for the controller role, overall. Astra brought a lot of pressure, and controllers will now have less impact with their smokes. They won't be able to guard areas as easily, for example. Astra's 15 second smokes cooldown got us used to having too much smoke all the time, and that's going to change. We're going to have a more open meta than we had with Astra. The only thing that bothers me is that less smoke potentially means that Jett becomes indirectly stronger. And this, while we've been waiting for a Jett nerf for almost 2 years. It's a bit frustrating.

APO: The changes are really good. They've standardized the smokes' sizes and speed. Omen's teleportation adds a lot of rhythm to the character, I think. Well, there's the Brimstone boost which is a bit OP, in my opinion. But it's really going to be great for controller players.

CREA^: The changes to Brimstone are nice and bring something new to the game that will take some getting used to. The speed buff can change a lot of the timing. It makes up for Neon's exit as well since the other agents can now run faaaaaast.

Mandatory: Are we likely to see them again?

CREA^: Yes! (Omen <3)

HoppY: Yes. Definitely.

APO: Of course, you could even see them from time to time in some teams before this patch. So now we'll have a more balanced selection of controllers.

HyP: If we're talking about Brimstone and Omen, then yes without hesitation! Regarding Viper, I have a hard time seeing its current pickrate evolving. It's already very high.

The Mandatory team's opinion on Icebox

The redesign of Icebox

Mandatory: What do you think about the changes on Icebox?

HoppY: They're nice, but I don't know if the map will play completely differently. It's a map I never liked. I'll see if this new map will make me want to play it more or not.

HyP: I like the changes, they are still good changes. However, I don't think it will fix the deep problem of the map, in my opinion. The 5-0's are too simple in the game and the mid is still not used enough.

Mandatory: So the changes are too small?

HyP: In my opinion, a change always makes a map more interesting to play. But in 2 or 3 months I'm afraid we'll get tired of the new Icebox again.

HoppY: From what little I tested, the way the map played was the same as a few months ago. I think the controller changes will have more impact on Icebox than the redesign. Adding a controller like Brimstone will change the dual duelist meta we've seen so far. After that, yes, it's still a bit more enjoyable to play overall. Especially for the attackers who have more strategic latitude.