The Reykjavik Masters 2022 meta
The Reykjavik Masters, the first international LAN of 2022, ended this weekend with OpTic Gaming's victory. It is time to look back at the meta of this tournament, this is the first time that the project has focused on a few issues, including agent pick rates and map selection.
The selection of agents during the Masters
At the end of the last big tournament, we studied the Valorant Champions meta. If the meta had not particularly evolved since the Berlin Masters at that time, the observation is quite different today. Several agents have seen their stats drop or on the contrary, increase greatly.
The most privileged agents
Not surprisingly, the Kunai Agent keeps the lead in the selection of the Agents. Interestingly, however, his supremacy has taken a big hit. Where Jett's selection percentage had plateaued at almost 80% during the Champions, it is only a matter of 65% today. In fact, at the Valorant Champions, Jett was played on absolutely every map, which is not the case at this year's Reykjavik Masters: the professional players shunned her on Bind, preferring Raze's presence. Despite this clear drop, Jett is still one of the most active agents in the professional players' compositions. It now remains to be seen whether she will remain at the top following the new nerf of patch 4.08, preventing her to dash as freely as before.
As usual for the last 3 international LANs, Sova takes second place. However, the Agent was not as popular with the professional teams at the Masters as he was at the Champions. At the latter tournament, the Agent with arrows was present in more than one game out of two: his selection percentage was 68%, today it does not quite reach 50% with only 49%. This decrease is explained by its low selection in the compositions on Bind and Haven in particular (8.3% and 22.22% of selection), whereas he was clearly more present during the Champions (68.8% and 70.8% of selection). With patch 4.08, Sova is also taking a beating. The nerfs of his drone and arrows can be explained by the arrival of Fade. With the heavy modification of his spells, but also with the presence of this new data-gathering agent, we can expect his pick rate to be even more negatively impacted in the future.
This time, the third place of the podium goes to Viper, with a selection percentage of 45%. Again, there has been some decline, since she was chosen in more than 57% of cases during the Valorant Champions. The patch 4.04 may well be the reason for this change. In this Valorant update, the controllers have been rebalanced. Viper has undergone some nerfs, notably on the poison consumption speed: this has increased by 50% when Toxic Screen and Poison Cloud are active. This is a significant point, which makes her a little less attractive and trickier to play.
All its downward developments are also linked to the global modification of certain compositions. This is due to the renewed interest in agents that have been put aside, such as Omen or Brimstone, but also due to the rise in power of Chamber. We will come back to these points later in the article.
The least played agents
Reyna is one of the Agents with the biggest drop in selection: she was chosen in less than 5% of the parties, against 22% at the Valorant Champions. The pro teams have lost interest in this very lonely character, preferring more useful agents like KAY/O, Omen or Breach.
With only 2 selections on the whole Masters, Yoru is once again at the bottom of the table... Nevertheless, this is an upward evolution, since he was totally absent from Valorant Champions. Also, the Japanese Agent has been reworked recently. Yoru's rework, was only integrated into Valorant last March. This new version of the character implies to review his use in game, to understand all the new mechanics he can offer in a team; in short, to take him in hand. The situation is therefore not alarming, at least for the moment. Besides, Yoru has already done some prowess during this Masters, since f0rsakeN showed its potential during the match between Paper Rex and G2 Esports. Given the hype surrounding this new Yoru, it is not unlikely that the character will be one of the most played in the next official competitions.
The fate of Phoenix has not changed. Totally absent from the Valorant Champions, the Agent is still not played in competition. When it comes to pushing a site, professional players always prefer to rely on the skills of other duelists like Raze, or even Neon now. Even if the Agent is still fun to play, he doesn't fit when the stakes are too high. After the redesign of Yoru, a work on Phoenix might be on the agenda.
We have already mentioned it in this article, but several Agents have grown during this tournament. As far as Chamber is concerned, we can't really talk about an evolution, as he wasn't playable during the Valorant Champions. However, he has been very well received by professional players since then, as he was selected in 44% of the games. This important attraction for the French Agent can be explained by several points. In defense, thanks to his kit, he can easily hold a site on his own; this avoids selecting Cypher or Killjoy, less versatile in attack. It is therefore not so surprising to see that these two agents are less present. Also, like Jett, Chamber has an efficient ultimate, which can be used as a main weapon at the beginning of a round. This is a great feature, which offers the possibility to save credits when needed, or to buy a weapon for a teammate if needed.
Apart from Chamber, it was the early Controllers who were in the spotlight during the Reykjavik Masters. While they were among the Agents left behind at the Champions, Omen and Brimstone are back in the spotlight. Their respective pick rates are up from 2% at 38% and 4% at 15%.
In order for these Agents to be strong, it is necessary for others to be less popular. It was essentially Astra that took the brunt of the success of Omen and Brimstone. In third place in the previous world competition with a pick rate of 59%, the agent has fallen down a long way today. The professional players have only chosen it in 22.5% of cases.
The likely reason for such changes? The 4.04 patch again. On the one hand, the overall recovery time of Astra's stars has been greatly increased. It is therefore no longer as interesting as it was for a long time. On the other hand, some of Omen's old nerfs have been cancelled. His teleportation is faster again and his smoke recovery time has been reduced. For Brimstone, it is the deployment time of his smoke bombs that has been reduced. Now these two Agents appear to be more relevant in the place that Astra occupied. The evolution of these three Agents, Omen, Brimstone and Astra, is therefore not so surprising.
What percentages of victory?
When looking at the percentage of victory of each Agent, it is necessary to take into account that both teams can play the same Agent simultaneously. This ratio therefore tends to be balanced in general. This is indeed what appears during this Reykjavik Masters. Nevertheless, 4 characters stand out, namely Chamber with 60% of victory, Neon at 80%, but also Reyna and Killjoy which are both around 40% of victory only.
If we compare this percentage of wins per agent, between the Valorant Champions 2021 and this Masters, some small changes can be seen. Reyna seems less effective with a ratio of 40%, compared to 59.4% at the Champions. However, it is likely that this variation is related to the low representation of the character during the Masters. Indeed, Reyna was only played on 5 maps, against 32 during the Champions. The statistic could therefore be higher if she had been selected more. If we look at Brimstone, we see that his win ratio was over 80% at Champions, but over 50% at Masters. However, he was only played on 6 maps during the Champions, compared to 18 at the Masters. Again, the statistic is probably biased by the lack of selection of the Agent. The same logic can be applied to the results ofOmen, who reached 100% in 3 maps, compared to 50% in 46 maps today.
Also it is interesting to analyse the percentage of victory in Defense and Attack. Globally, all the Agents are close to balance during this Reykjavik Masters. Only Yoru shows a real difference. He seems to be more punishing on Attack than on Defence. His Attack win ratio is 61.9%, in 21 rounds against 40% in Defence, in 20 rounds, all played on Bind. Since his rework is still recent, it is possible that his perfect mastery in Defense is more difficult to obtain; his kit being more favourable to push a site in Attack than to defend it.
What are the meta maps?
During the tournament, teams battled for the title on a total of 60 maps. Icebox and Ascent have been selected twelve times, and remain the favourite maps of the professional players, as they were already the top picks during the Champions. They are closely followed by Split, Haven and Fracture, selected 10, 9 and 8 times respectively. The two least popular cards are Bind and Breeze, with only 6 and 3 selections. Fracture has been more successful in finding the hearts of the players, moving from last place with 6 to 8 selections, while Breeze has been more than ignored. In the TOP 2 during the Valorant Champions with 12 selections, it now falls to the last place.
It is on these two maps that the Attack/Defense victory percentages have varied the most between the two competitions. During the Champions, Fracture was widely regarded as a difficult map on the defense side: the win rate was then 60% in Attack against 40% in Defence. Today, this ratio is almost balanced for both sides, with even a very slight tendency for the Defense to win more rounds: 54% against 46%. With practice, players have probably learned to master the map, get used to dealing with retakes and better understand their opponents' pushes. On Breeze, it's the opposite process. The winning percentage for Attack was 51% during the Champions and is now only 40% in the course of the Masters, while the Defence Department's share of the total increased from 49% at 40%. It can be assumed that teams have refined their Attack on Breeze strategies more, which has undermined those employed in Defense.
This World LAN is only the first of the 2022 edition of the VCT. A second Masters is planned for the end of split 2. With the arrival of Fade and the current modifications of Jett, Sova and Neon, we can expect some changes in the meta for this second competition. However, only time will tell! To continue following the VCT, please refer to our Valorant Champions Tour 2022 monitoring page.