Combos are key, but don’t forget about the economy.
Competitive VALORANT is starting to take shape. With the millions watching at home waiting desperately to secure their own beta access, the first few VALORANT tournaments are beginning to pop up. With content creators and aspiring professionals answering the call and setting agent tier lists and metagames to the side for a moment, let’s dive into what we will see develop during the first few VALORANT tournaments.
In games like Overwatch and most MOBAs in general, VALORANT’s ultimate economy will begin to develop. Now I don’t think it will be as rigid and straight forward as let’s say Overwatch’s ultimate economy has become, but seeing set plays around ultimates are going to begin in just a few weeks. Not only that but both how teams and pro players are using their ultimates in tandem with how the actual economy of the game will be interesting. For example, let’s say Viper has her ultimate and the tactic that round is for her to use Viper’s Pit. This could cause her to buy more close-range weapons like a Judge or a Spectre.
And that’s just something straight forward, what happens when Brimstone’s Orbital Stike is put into the picture? Does his ultimate become a defacto counter to someone like a Viper? That’s more difficult to tell on the outside looking in and especially with the first few tournaments, but that very well could be a possibility down the road.
It’s also important to remember how and who is gaining ultimate charge. Take for example the fact that defusing the spike gives two ultimate points. That can be divided between teammates because of the staging system during the defuse animation.
For those unaware, that line on the defuse cast bar isn’t cosmetic. If you push past that point it acts as a checkpoint for the next person and you’re rewarded with one ultimate point and once you’re finished defusing, you also gain another ultimate point. This means that you might channel halfway to finish your ultimate and give the rest of the defuse to someone else so that you don’t waste that extra ultimate point.
That said, there are other ways to gain your ultimate.
Fighting over the ultimate orbs on the map are going to be pivotal for professional VALORANT. Much in the same way that the economy, both in terms of money and ultimate points are going to be important to maintain control over, the fact that Riot has given you an extra objective on the map with these “ultimate orbs” to fight over means there is more to VALORANT than planting the spike and clicking some heads.
That said, winning a duel and securing an orb might just be valued nearly the same. One might net you extra money and remove an enemy agent from the map, but the other can secure a potent post-plant ultimate or something like Breach’s ultimate which cracks many of the sites wide open for you.
- Read more: Best VALORANT Characters - Agent Tier List
Now that isn’t to say that if there is an orb on the map, both teams must fight over it. That’s not necessarily the case. There can and certainly will be circumstances where a team might find it more useful to forfeit the orb skirmish for a quicker execute on a site or potentially using their numbers advantage to brute force their way into a site.
It’s these interesting decisions that teams are going to have to make. These objectives that encourage action as opposed to forcing make for a much more nuanced game. However, controlling the orbs means you’re going to have to win some duels early in the round, which leads us nicely into our next point.
Even with the developers versus the streamers show match, we got to see our very first glimpse at ability combos. Day 1 we already saw players beginning to develop a strong understanding of how good stacking smokes and vision denial tools were, but the next step into that is finding appropriate counters and counterplay.
Having someone like a Cypher or a Sova hold specific abilities until the attacking team begins their execute or even until post-plant scenarios will become more commonplace. Having something like an Owl Drone scout into all of the smoke and mirrors that people will cloud the site with makes reengaging much more manageable.
Then you’ve got people like Breach who can physically interact with people without being in their line of sight. Picture this; you’re approaching an angle and your Breach is on the opposite wall to you. You can call for him to use his signature ability, Fault Line, to check the corner your about to take which makes that play infinitely safer.
This also ignores how well certain abilities work together. Let’s revisit Breach for a second and look at his ultimate, Rolling Thunder. If you’ve seen even just a little bit of Overwatch you can already see how it could combo well with someone else's ultimate. Take for instance Brimstone or Sova. If you’re knocked up and dazed, it’s going to be tough to avoid all the damage these agents can output. But what about someone like Raze? She doesn’t even have to pull out her dreaded rocket launcher to combo well with how much disruption Breach brings. Teams are going to quickly come up with combos you would have even thought possible.
Images via Riot Games