How To Play Astra In VALORANT
VALORANT has introduced a new Controller Agent for Act 2 named Astra. She has been one of the most highly anticipated agents in quite some time, as her gameplay trailer filled the community with excitement.
Astra holds enormous potential as she can place her abilities anywhere on the map, which creates some attractive defensive and offensive options for the team to utilise and win matches. Not to mention, her unique ultimate divides the whole map, and Astra can use it to retake sites, obscure vision, and more.
Ghanaian Agent Astra harnesses the energies of the cosmos to reshape battlefields to her whim. With full command of her astral form and a talent for deep strategic foresight, she's always eons ahead of her enemy's next move.
- Astra's in-game description in VALORANT
On first impression, many VALORANT pros and players were overwhelmed by the Agent's release. Everyone predicted her to become meta ahead of the likes of other Controllers in the game. Moreover, now that she's been out for a while, many players have pulled off insane combinations with her abilities. This offers further evidence as to why we think professional players will play this Agent heavily in competitive matches.
Gamers can unlock the Agent for free by grinding till Tier-5 of the Agent's contract or buy her using VP (VALORANT Points). Furthermore, players can complete her contract to receive the free Astra Ghost cosmetic, which looks phenomenal inside the game.
ASTRA'S STARRY ABILITIES AND ULTIMATE ABILITY
Astra is a celestial being, and unlike other agents in the game, she has two parts to her ultimate ability. Her ultimate ability allows Astra to enter Astral Plane and place stars on the map. Each star costs 100 credits, and she can buy five stars at any given time. After placing these stars, they can be taken back by pressing 'F' (Dissipate), which forms a temporary smoke, and then they can be placed somewhere else on the map after a brief delay.
Apart from buying the stars, Astra doesn't need to purchase any abilities as her abilities are free of cost. Now let's drive straight into her abilities:
Q Ability (Nova Pulse) - Activate a Star to detonate a Nova Pulse. The Nova Pulse charges briefly then strikes, concussing all players in its area. Similar to Breach's E ability.
E Ability (Nebula) - Activate a Star to transform it into a Nebula (smoke). These smokes are hollow, just like Omen's smokes, and they can be placed on one-way platforms as well.
C Ability (Gravity Well) – Activate a Star to form a Gravity Well. Players in the area are pulled toward the centre before it explodes, making all players still trapped inside vulnerable.
Ultimate Ability (Cosmic Divide) - While the primary fire button is used to place stars on the map, players can use the secondary fire button to form an infinite cosmic wall for a brief duration. Cosmic Divide blocks bullets and heavily dampens audio. It takes seven ultimate points to perform her ultimate.
Her abilities recharge after utilising them once (except Nebula, i.e. 2); therefore, there is a brief delay which should stop players from spamming their abilities in the round and make strategic choices.
HOW TO MASTER ASTRA AND READ ENEMIES LIKE A BOOK
Astra is reasonably hard to use, but she can be lethal in the right hands when mastered. Players who are well equipped with intensive map knowledge and who are readily reading the enemy movements can use her to her fullest potential. Knowing where to place stars during the defence is monumental to her achieving success, and using the right abilities at the right time will create significant opportunities for her team. Moreover, Astra is a Controller. Therefore, her team needs to assist her and constantly feed her information which can be further used to gain advantages on the map.
Many players have utilised the Gravity Well to punish the players who peek at the defence and camp at specific locations on the map. Moreover, her ultimate ability dampens audio which players could use to rotate to another site without letting the enemy know. They could also be simply used to plant the spike, and enemies would have to cross the wall to defuse the spike or use their utilities to give away their position on the map.
IS SHE A VIABLE CHOICE IN THE COMPETITIVE META?
In the case of the Controllers, Omen was leading the charge in the competitive meta with his versatility, followed by the likes of Brimstone and Viper. With the inclusion of Astra and the overwhelmingly positive response from the community, she might just be the best Controller in the game as of now. Her kit has CC, smokes, concussive ability, and more to choke the enemy and prevent them from executing their plans effectively.
However, some professional players like Team Liquid's Lucas "Mendo" Håkansson have expressed their concerns with Astra as she is 'unreliable' for SoloQ and stressed that VALORANT players might still go for Omen due to his simple kit and comfort.
It remains to be seen how Astra does in the professional leagues all across the world and if she becomes a meta pick in the coming weeks.
Images via Riot Games