Written By RkT - 2020-08-13
The competitive scene of VALORANT keeps growing. This weekend we had theFaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational, which had more than 120000 simultaneous spectators on Twitch. The format of the tournament was 16 invited teams separated into four groups where the best two from each group went to the playoff stage in a double-elimination format. All matches were Bo3 except the grand finals which was Bo5. A total of 84 maps were played, and also remember that Killjoy was disabled for this tournament. The overall pick rate was:
The essential agents, present in virtually all compositions.
Cypher (92%) keeps his crown, the control he provides and the amount of information he can bring to the team is essential.
Powerful agents, they provide useful tools and are difficult to replace, usually the flex slots.
Four agents in Tier 2 shape the most typical composition. Omen (69%) is an increasingly recurring choice among teams, becoming the favorite smoker of almost all teams. Sova (65%) found a quite stable place in the meta; Jett (63%) got her highest pick rate since the beta, consolidating her position in a meta where the Operator is a key tool of the teams. Finally we have the biggest surprise, Sage (57%), who is at her lowest point since the start of the game.
Good agents, with potential in the competitive game, viable depending on the map or players who prefer them.
Tier 3 is led by Phoenix (48%), who remains a major option for North American teams. Brimstone (42%) gave up most of his space to Omen. Raze (42%), despite the nerfs received, maintains a stable pick rate.
Agents that need some adjustment to enter the meta or are viable in very specific situations.
Breach (13%) does not find his place in North America, he showed up marginally on some maps, but it is not a recurring option. Reyna (5%) and Viper (4%) are still marginal options, the buff to Viper was not enough to raise her pick rate.
Total maps played 88:
A week with changes in the most played maps, having Ascent as the leader, followed by Bind and in third place, the big surprise, Split, which had been the least chosen map. Haven came in last in this report. Cypher remained a steady choice for all maps except Split, the map where some teams are trying out new compositions. Omen is the preferred Smoker on Ascent and Split, on Bind and Haven he still competes against Brimstone who maintains his highest pick rates on those maps. Sova is an extremely solid pick for Ascent and Bind. On Haven, he is a recurring option, although not as much as in the two previous maps, but on Split he is totally left out with a 0% pick rate during the whole tournament. Jett remains solid on Ascent, Haven and Split but on Bind she has her pick rate lower than Raze. Sage's pick rate dropped noticeably on all maps except Split. Phoenix works very well on Haven, on Ascent and Bind it depends on the preference of the teams and on Split he yields his spot to Raze. Breach has a marginal use on Ascent and Split, and doesn't usually show up on Bind or Haven, which, because of their designs, favor other agents. Reyna and Viper have less than 10% in all maps, Viper had almost 10% on Split and generally entered to take the place of Sage, the team that tried this was Lemonade Stand.
Cypher, Jett, Omen, Phoenix, and Sova was mainly used by TSM, Envy, and FaZe Clan without Sage and with a win rate of just over 50%. If we separate the performance of this composition among the teams, TSM has a 59.7% win rate per round which makes sense considering that they were the champions. Envy has 45.4% and FaZe 38.1%. Cypher, Jett, Omen, Raze, and Sage was the composition used only by Gen.G Esports, even with better results in win rate than the previous composition. Brimstone, Cypher, Jett, Phoenix, and Sova, Immortals’ composition without Sage, proved to be very effective, with an almost 60% win rate. Breach, Cypher, Omen, Sage, and Sova, this is the composition Sentinels used in this map, has 64%, improving the win rate obtained by TSM’s composition, showing the importance of Sage and the viability of Breach.
Brimstone, Cypher, Raze, Sage, and Sova was used by three teams: Gen.G Esports (4 times), Sentinels (4 times) and FaZe Clan (3 times). Envy and Sentinels had positive win rates, 54.4% and 60.5% respectively, while FaZe had 47.3%. Cypher, Omen, Phoenix, Raze, and Sage was used by Envy, and they could not take full advantage of the composition. Brimstone, Cypher, Phoenix, Sage, and Sova was used twice by two teams: Gen.G and Luminosity Gaming, and once by Sentinels. Gen.G got a 50.0% win rate per round, but MIXUP and Sentinels didn't do as well with a 39.5% round win rate for MIXUP and a 27.8% round win rate for Sentinels. Finally we have Cypher, Jett, Omen, Raze, and Sova, only used by Immortals with an excellent win rate of 64.4%. This is another of the compositions without Sage which has proven to be effective. They even played without Brimstone in one of the maps where it is more often seen.
Brimstone, Cypher, Jett, Phoenix, and Sova was used by TSM, Sentinels and Gen.G: while TSM and Sentinels obtained positive win rates, 59.0% and 52.5% respectively, Gen.G could not take advantage of this composition and only obtained 23.5%. Again we see the good performance of a composition without Sage. Cypher, Jett, Omen, Phoenix, and Sage was another composition used by three teams. The only one that could take advantage of it was FaZe who had 65.2% of round win rate, while Cloud9 Blue and Renegades got percentages under 50%; 43.5% for Cloud9 and 45.1% for Renegades. Cypher, Jett, Omen, Phoenix, and Sova was used mainly by Immortals, but had a single use by Built By Gamers and Envy. While Immortals had a solid 55.0% win rate per round, Build By Gamers and Envy could not reach 40%.
The teams agree on which is the composition to use in Split, 43% for a single composition is a huge pick rate; when the pick rate of a composition is so high its win rate tends to be 50%. It was used by five different teams: Envy, Sentinels, FaZe, Complexity and Immortals. Breach, Brimstone, Jett, Omen, and Sage was used only by Immortals.
The potential and the number of tools Sage provides to a team cannot be denied. Sage allows you to control the movement of the enemy team with either your wall or your slow, the Slow Orb has excellent synergy with damage skills, such as Paint Shells or Orbital Strike; healing and resurrection give the team sustain after the trades. The problem that teams have is what they lose by including Sage in the team. A good example is what happens on Haven with TSM and Sentinels. They use Brimstone, Cypher, Jett, Phoenix, and Sova, which gives them a more aggressive line up taking advantage of the aggressive plays with Jett's dashes plus the Curveball which is extremely efficient on Haven due to the map design. This changes the tempo of the game: when playing with Sage on defense it's about stalling and allowing good rotations, and in attack it's about blocking certain entries to the sites. While playing with Jett and Phoenix, the tempo of the game is much faster, especially in games where Sage is not on either team as we saw in TSM vs Sentinels. When there is a significant change in the game style, teams need time to adapt. We will see if these compositions without Sage can find their place in the meta, maybe the teams will manage to adapt their Sage game to this new speed or maybe we will see a mix of both, depending on the particular styles of each team.
The fall of Sage, at least in the North American region, was announced, although with some changes. First we saw several teams without her on Ascent some weeks ago and with time they were able to adapt that game style to the rest of the maps. If they can adapt this game style without Sage to Split, the map where she keeps her highest pick rate, we’re likely to see her fall a little more. And this makes us think: what is going to happen with Killjoy? her kit seems strong, but at least in North America, teams are opting for a faster tempo and more aggressive play style. I'm not sure she can take the place of some of the aggressive agents that grew up in the last weeks (Jett, Phoenix or Raze), but I see that she can hardly take the place of Cypher. The relationship between Omen and Brimstone is something that has been going on for quite some time. At first, teams kept Brimstone in their lineup, but over time (and with the buff Omen received) this turned to the mystery agent. Jett is still growing, I suspect she is close to stabilizing her pick rate at a similar level to Sova's. Breach grew a little compared to the previous report, but in North America, few still choose him (Sentinels among them).
Tournaments with Killjoy enabled are about to start. The next report will focus on the European region, which for now has a slower playing style than the one we saw in North America, giving Killjoy the possibility to show up. It will be interesting to see what space she occupies in the compositions, which will be the piece to exchange in order to take advantage of her. At first glance I would think that there will be no big changes in the compositions, as the teams that have been getting good results will make the change when they are satisfied with Killjoy's performance, which will surely take a few weeks of improvement. For now, we have to wait and see what the teams decide.
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