Who are the best VALORANT agents to play in ranked in patch 1.05?

15:30, 20 Nov 2020

Patch 1.11 brought new wind to VALORANT ranked, introducing the new agent Skye and, of course, the new map Icebox, with patch 1.12 ironing out some bugs. For the best VALORANT Agent tier list, this, of course, means a whole lot of changes in the relative power levels of Agents. The Operator meta has firmly left the servers, and with Skye’s kit, she introduces a lot of volatility into our meta conceptions. Moreover, pro teams find more and more effective interactions, and those have also been permeating into the ranked solo queue experience, changing viability on top of balance changes setting the tune.

In order to quickly digest what the teachings of the best players are, especially when they are dominating the VALORANT ranked ladder, we’ve compiled the Best VALORANT Agent Tier List. Taking statistics, ladder performance, and expert opinion into account, we rank VALORANT Agents in three convenient tiers to decide which agent to pick. That said, keep in mind that a well-rounded team composition is an important aspect to consider. 

The Best VALORANT Agent Tier List answers the simple question: “Who should I pick right now in order to maximise my win chances in my ladder games?” In doing so, the Agent Tier List gives you pointers about where to look to improve, what kind of techniques you have to master in order to unlock the potential of each agent, and whether or not a VALORANT agent is likely to stick around in the meta so that maining them makes sense. 

Best VALORANT Agent S Tier

Cypher

All the meta gods have fallen, but one has been here since the early meta stages and despite several nerfs, he’s still on top of the best VALORANT Agent tier list. No matter how many camera angles you may know off and try to clear preemptively, the sheer amount of them makes every Cypher player a unique experience to play against, as their knowledge differ wildly.

Because Cypher doesn’t have the ability to act as a primary Smoker, that doesn’t mean his Smokes are useless, just that they are used in a different way. As previously mentioned with Omen, Smokes have reached a new level of understanding in how much more useful they are in VALORANT than they were in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). They are clear angle killers, and pre-firing puts the opposition on the backfoot by giving their position away without a clear idea where the smoke-camping, angle-clearing opponent is.

Omen

Omen has been climbing the best VALORANT Agent tier list for a while now and has established himself as clearly the best Smoker in the game, banishing Brimstone to the shadow realms. No longer is he just a toy to lurk with; he can power through tough angles and take crucial orb control early in the rounds for his teammates.

Players have found the power of curved smokes in VALORANT, and their razor-sharp visibility rules mean they are fully utilisable to clear out unwanted angles. The precision Omen has had for a while in doing so is just too outstanding. It therefore almost doesn’t matter that his ultimate isn’t one of the best in the game; his barebones kit is just clearly S-tier.

Breach

An Agent that has been enjoying great popularity on the pro level depending on the region is Breach. The changes over the last couple of patches to his Flash have made him an incredibly strong Agent that provides consistent value. The only downside is that a lot of the abilities require extensive team play and aren’t as plug-and-play for solo queue players.

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Breach might be the primary example of an Agent that works very differently at a range of skill levels, and that’s mainly down to if your team understands how to take advantages from the abilities you are using. You can assist them in doing so by making clear calls when and how you expect your abilities to hit so they can make the most of them.

Jett

While the Operator meta is gone, the core concepts of what made Jett a top tier VALORANT agent are still all there. Denying trades, utilising Smokes to clear angles, being able to off-angle three-dimensionally, and a powerful ultimate in Knives makes Jett an incredibly powerful Agent. Taking the Operator out of her hands more often has only increased the risk of those moves, but not considerably so.

She’s still a staple in the professional meta even for single Duelist compositions. The things great players are able to do with her still feels oppressive at times and the sheer carry potential she has is rivalled by few others on the best VALORANT Agent tier list.

Best VALORANT Agent A Tier

Sova

It doesn’t feel quite right to have Sova a tier below the rest because he’s still the first step to building the vast majority of all completely viable compositions on most maps. That said, because he has been so popular, it increased the amount of training opponents got against him, decreasing the success rate of Hunter’s Fury for the majority of ranked players who will need to study up on use angles once more. Furthermore, counter playing a drone has also become intuitive for a lot of the player base, taking safety precautions when the zoomy sound starts up. 

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Moreover, enemies have learned to use Smokes to give Sova false confidence in his Recon Bolts, pretending to not be on the site but actually being tucked away safely. Perhaps Sova can innovate once more and with the emergence of Shrouds (like Viper’s Toxic Screen and Phoenix’s Blaze) as powerful tools, he might just be the answer in the mind game for information.

Skye

A gut-feeling makes us think Skye will soon launch into the upper echelons of the best VALORANT Agent tier list, but we need a bit more tech and strategy to see that being part of our regular ranked experiences. Theoretically speaking, she could completely take over pistol rounds by allowing teams to just roll up on-site as a unit, powered by her heals and trading favourably while being topped up for retakes.

Bringing more flashes into the game, she scouts effectively for opponents even when blinding them, giving the player the information that they caught one in the ability with the indication of a voice line. Her other abilities are also really solid at providing insight into the opponents’ whereabouts though they need some timely setup to be useful. Still, the information all her abilities provide is top-notch on paper, but sadly some bugs have held her back on occasion. Otherwise, she might be lurking and making a play for the top ranks soon

Killjoy

A bunch has changed about Killjoy’s kit and its numbers from her launch until now, but she has finally successfully found her niche and is damn good at it. She’s the space control queen throughout all her abilities and on top of info, also brings lethality to the table.

Post-plant, she’s one of the most annoying Agents to deal with, setting up several devices to take control of the situation. Opponents need to jump through several hoops which significantly cuts down on the time they have available to solve the situation. Approach site? Ultimate is up and zones. Peek into site? Turret says hi! Finally near spike? Alarmbot and Nanoswarm are here to ruin your day… well, the round at least.

We think that Killjoy might climb up the ranks as more masochists find nerve-wracking ways to anchor sites. Her biggest problem is that she competes with two of the best VALORANT agents in the game for that position - Sage and Cypher. 

Raze

Raze is still a really solid option to pick in your ranked games, and especially on Split she shines bright in the tight corridors in which enemies have a hard time escaping. However, she’s no longer the oppressive experience that she once was, causing an uproar within the discussion of whether or not abilities should be able to kill in VALORANT.

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Let’s be honest, Paint Shells and Showstopper kill a lot, and gain from the inexperience of your opponents to counterplay against them. If you find yourself in the lower ranks, Raze probably still feels like the best VALORANT agent in the game in many rounds, and picking her should elevate your performance.

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She got some trickery to her kit like many players have demonstrated with her Blast Pack, either using it for its pure damage, or to pull off ridiculous movement manoeuvres. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite as cool as they used to be, given that the boost Raze got when using her ultimate was nerfed. No worries, there are few mortals that could pull those off either way, and conservatively blowing things up still works like a charm. 

Phoenix

Hey Mr Solid, how are you doing this patch? All fine? Sweet, you deserve your A-Tier spot. The one-man army gives you all the tools to work your solo queue games with autonomy, giving you heals, flashes, smokes, and mollies to work with.

On top of that, Run It Back has information gathering potential on top of taking away a lot of risk from pushes. Just make sure that you started your enflamed run in a safe spot, will you?

Best VALORANT Agent B Tier

Brimstone

Much like Sage, Brimstone has fallen off the ranks heavily. While the Agent was still one of the four riders of the meta apocalypse at the start of the game, Omen has completely outclassed him in what kind of abilities they bring to the table. He doesn’t have the orb control, his Smokes are clunky and costly, and Stim Beacon is straight up the worst ability in the game where it could be argued that it screws with the muscle memory of receivers enough to not make them hit shots that they otherwise would.

The lack of a Flash completely phases him out of the meta right now, and he has nothing to really bring himself back. Catching players trying to defuse or plant a spike with your ultimate is fun, I guess.

Reyna

Reyna is a strong pick under exactly two circumstances: a) You are feeling it today b) the teams you were queued into have let you down, and you’re fed up with it.

She’s arguably still the best Agent to take over a game with, mostly due to the snowball-y nature of her kit. If you can isolate opponents one at a time, she enters every new duel fresh. Unfortunately, now firmly in the flash meta, her kit is just so much worse at it than Skye, Breach and even Phoenix.

There’s nothing much she brings to the team and is therefore fairly selfish in her resources. Not too much thinking is going into her play relatively speaking, and she’s mostly brute force. If that’s the chaotic energy you are feeling that day, have yourself be possessed by a good round of Reyna.

Sage

If you just recently came back to the game after having played the first couple of months of beta, scrolling this far down to see Sage might be a big surprise. However, several nerfs to her kit hit her hard, and while there was some inertia build-up from respecting her as an S-Tier pick, she had gently fallen down the ranks to the point where she is on the weak side of things.

She has been overtaken by a lot in the area control she provides. Cypher is simply better at delaying attacks and gathering info. Killjoy is better at controlling large spaces and getting kills while doing so. Her heal has been nerfed so heavily that it’s utility has become rather weak and just so much worse than Skye. While she’s outclassed on an ability to ability comparison, the synergy between those abilities also doesn’t really help that much more in this meta state.

Viper

Alright, Viper is once again at the bottom of the table, but you will notice that she has escaped her own tier and just sits with the other kids at the back of the class. That is because slowly but surely, the understanding of how to best utilise her kits is finding its way into the meta.

Teams like FPX have successfully used her during the First Strike qualifiers, using Toxic Screen not merely as a tool to cut a side in half but to set up angles for the opponent that are unfavourable to peek through every single time. If the Viper player is aware of cooldowns and uses of scouting tools such as Recon Bolt, she can completely shut down a site and put your team into favourable positions.

Her ultimate post-plant remains a pain to deal with and controls space incredibly well, allowing for big clutches. Poison Cloud has also found useful one ways on several positions and especially on Bind and Haven, Viper could be making a run for the top spots.

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Images courtesy of Riot Games

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