Two sites, destructible walls, and corners galore. Ascent has arrived.
VALORANT’s release this past Tuesday has brought us not only a new agent but a new map among other additions. Ascent is a small, semi-dystopian, reality-bent cityscape that focuses heavily on map destructibility. While that might sound daunting, we’ve got some advice on how best to approach Ascent as you level up your battle pass and prepare for the upcoming release of the ranked ladder.
Ascent is similar to Haven due to its wide array of attack paths. The difference is that the Defence is not punished as hard on Ascent for pressing aggressively off the point. On Haven, you need all hands on deck to secure all three sites. The number of attack paths remains a problem, but being aggressive is more of a risk due on Haven due to losing control over a quarter of the map. However, on Ascent, those problems are reduced not only by obviously having only two sites to attack but how small the map feels in comparison.
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Please excuse how general this sounds, but Ascent feels very dependant on controlling the middle of the map. That’s not to say that direct and well-timed rushes onto the sites won’t be effective, but a more methodical and flexible approach is gained through controlling the middle of the map. In that way, the map also feels similar to Split. With mid control, attacking teams unlock nearly half the map and add possible attack paths while defending teams stifle and limit the attacking team to these very narrow alleyways that lead directly into each site. Speaking of stifling aggression, let’s dive into some tips and tricks that the Defence might find useful.
While this seems incredibly generalized at this point, Cypher is very strong on this map. He alone can control each of the spike sites with his vast menagerie of gadgets. On A-Site, Cypher can abuse the fact that the site itself has a good amount of crates and boxes that break up the surface area and creates a lot of little choke points. These gaps are small enough that the point can, and often will be, cluttered with Trip Wires.
All of the same concepts you’ve come to know, love and hate about Cypher can be applied to B-Site as well. This site itself isn’t as congestible when compared to A-Site, however, the two alleyways that lead into the site are. With all the utility at his disposal, a good Cypher will make attacking into either of these sites very, very costly.
Mid Cubby and A-Link on defence is an interesting spot due to how close they sit towards A-Main. Because that distance is so small, there are a number of abilities that can be quickly tossed through the wall to either slow a push or cover an aggressive peak from someone holding A Site. Breach is built for this point. Not only can he help control Courtyard, but all of his kit can interact with the wall that separates Mid Cubby from A-Main. Omen is strong here as well for similar reasons. He can Paranoia through the wall as well as smoke the entry point. Reyna can also be played in the same position for similar reasons.
When it comes to defending B-Site, Jett does an extremely good job. With a few one-way smokes, an added angle of attack thanks to the portholes overlooking B-Main, and with her inherent mobility, Jett can become a pseudo-staller holding B-Site on Ascent. If taking a duel isn’t in her wheelhouse, she can also double-back to play along, or on top of, the boxes on the site itself. The attacking team now has to pre-aim so many more angles, giving the defender's advantage to Jett. With the recent buff to her smokes, Jett is going to be a staple in this position if she continues to creep her way into the metagame.
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Phoenix isn’t just a good vanilla pick when climbing the ladder, he also is going to excel on this type of map. Ascent, once you advance past your spawn, is riddled with a number of 90-degree angles. Your Curve Ball is going to allow you and your team to push through these angles much safer than just attempting to take duels and rely on the peeker’s advantage. In that same light, Breach will continue to be a staple in the metagame and will do extremely well on this map. Being able to flash your team, having Fault Line to either stun or remove people holding certain angles, and having Aftershock to assist in the control of particular angles, Breach will become a nightmare to deal with as the game progresses and Ascent doesn’t do anything to get in his way.
Having a Brimstone or an Omen is going to be necessary, but weirdly enough, Viper might find some use here as well. First with our favourite controllers, let’s face it, smoking some of the angles in mid are going to be necessary and if your team doesn’t have them it’s going to hurt. It is far too open to just flash in and run and gun. With that in mind, Omen is slowing creeping in to become a strong contender to excel here. Not only can he smoke angles from a considerable range away, but he can also traverse the map without directly crossing any sightlines. I would not be shocked to see defences fall apart with a few set Omen teleport spots through mid.
On the other hand, we have Viper, an agent that is very underutilized. Whether it’s due to her genuinely being weak or just having a high skill ceiling, Viper doesn’t see much playtime, outside of Split, and as we’ve mentioned before, Ascent has some similarities to Split. One nice thing that Viper brings is the ability to consistently cut the battle for the middle of the map in half with her Toxic Screen. With how quickly the attackers can get to Mid Link-off at the start of the round, she can blanket the middle of the map very quickly which saves the attacking team a lot of resources and utility.
The fact that this is a high traffic area on the map and isn’t going to be taken in one fell swoop also benefits her because you’re only allowed to place it once per round. The fact that Viper can also reuse her Poison Cloud grenade is not to be underestimated in this position. This creeping barrage of toxic smoke and re-deployable utility makes her a strong candidate on Ascent.
Images via Riot Games and Blitz.gg