How the new VALORANT patch will impact the pro meta
Omen as a background shadow in VALORANT broadcasts
Omen as a background shadow in VALORANT broadcasts | Provided by Riot Games

How the new VALORANT patch will impact the pro meta

Luminosity Gaming's mac and Knight's Genghsta talk about the upcoming meta

The professional VALORANT meta is in for a shakeup come next week in North America as Week 5 of the VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers league will play on Patch 4.04, which includes extensive changes to the Controller Agent class and Icebox. While there have been some ruminations online about how the pro VALORANT meta will change, from an abundance of viable agents, to the new B site on Icebox, pro teams had the opportunity to scrim on the new patch and broke down their thoughts on the upcoming changes.

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Luminosity Gaming’s head coach Jared “mac” Schneider said in a post-match interview after the team’s Week 4 matchup that one of the biggest changes coming to the game is Astra’s rework. The VALORANT pro meta has revolved around Astra since her release a year ago and nerfing her into the ground has added a much needed freshness to the game, according to mac.

“I think it’s really important for the game to have multiple characters that can be a meta, versus just having stale comps over and over,” he said. “I think it’s gonna improve the game life a lot, because now teams can play any different controller and you can make it work.”

With the changes to Brimstone and Omen, he said that teams can pick up either depending on their style of play, and Astra could stand to use a tiny buff in an upcoming patch to bring her back into the rotation if needed.

“I think this is the best update that’s come out so far,” mac said.

Pittsburg Knights player Amgalan “Genghsta” Nemekhbayar, who has already scrimmed a few teams running Brimstone, said that the Agent feels “really busted right now.” He also said that while Astra has been nerfed significantly, he doesn’t feel like she is completely out of the meta just yet.

VALORANT pro meta on Icebox and speed of play

Icebox has historically been a rough map to play and watch professionally. The meta has been largely stale since its release and B site on the bridged dock is a war of utility that almost always ends in a post-plant scenario. With its new changes, that old script may be getting thrown out.

“I think it’s definitely way more balanced,” Genghsta said based on his limited experience practicing the map and its changes. “It’s not just like a Jett or Sage running in there to plant and die. It I think it opened up a lot of options for how you will want to attack from both sides to be honest.”

With Astra’s introduction into the game, and Viper’s continuous buffs before this patch, pro VALORANT shifted into a post-plant heavy meta. Most teams would rush into a site, plant the Spike and then set up their utility and hold positions to stop the Defense from defusing with molly’s, Shock Darts or Astra Gravity Wells. With the new changes to Brimstone’s Stim Beacon, adding a speed boost, and the nerfs to Viper’s molly’s and Astra’s abilities, teams can now execute quickly and not have too worry too much about post-plant utility or other abilities slowing them down during executes.

It seems like VALORANT may be in for a meta where teams hold down their W-keys and rush into sites to overwhelm enemies. In mac’s opinion, the game won’t change that drastically, but the option to pop onto a site is definitely there now.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be like a W-key meta, but I think it’s gonna be more of like you’re able to do a lot more on your T-sides,” he said. “Like you can pop more, you can contact out, you can do a lot of these things and you’re not just going to get stopped by one Astra suck.”

Genghsta shared a similar sentiment, saying he thinks the patch “opens up another option to attack” other than the typical post-plant and slow meta fans have come to expect.

Fans can see the new VALORANT patch and teams tinkering to find the new meta in Week 5 of the NA VCT Challengers league with Cloud 9 and The Guard kicking off the final week on Friday at 4 p.m. EST.

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Declan McLaughlin
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.