How To Get The Most Out Of VALORANT's Least-Popular Agent
There aren’t many things that the entire VALORANT community can come to an agreement on, but there is absolutely no debate, at least in the professional scene, that Viper is the most unpopular Agent out of the 12 Agents you can play in the game.
While the likes of Mixwell have shown that she is somewhat viable in the top tier European scene, she rarely makes any appearances in competitions worldwide. In fact, at the BLAST Twitch Invitational, the latest EU Ignition Series, Viper was the only Agent that had a 0% pick rate. She’s also considered bottom-tier in many pro players’ rankings and is seemingly in desperate need of a revamp or buff.
However, there is one team in Europe that's managed to incorporate Viper into their line up. While still fairly unknown due to the fact they've only been competing together as a roster for four weeks, SUMN FC is currently the sixth-best team in EU on VLR. GG's official rankings. Having made four consecutive finals out of the six tournaments they've competed in so far, they've become somewhat of a nuisance for their opponents particularly on Bind because of the fact they played Viper.
Before SUMN FC's Team Captain and IGL Boaster shared how to utilise her properly, he explained why Viper isn't a popular Agent in the competitive scene.
He said: "The thing is, Viper can't be the main smoker on a team, so she has to be a secondary support. And when you've got Breach and Sova as secondary supports, you don't tend to want to have Viper.
"Her wall, although it can be good in situations, it's still too thin. Enemies can just run through it and receive no penalty for it, and it's not high enough in some locations so you can actually see over it from places like A site on Bind. You can see over it from heaven if you position yourself in a particular spot, especially if people do the Viper wall over the site, people can just run through it. If a team uses the Viper wall somewhere, it's usually an indication that they are going to execute on that site – of course, you can fake it, but you can run the risk of giving away where you're going.
"The game is quite simple right now, you smoke, flash and then push so you're almost having a more difficult experience by using Viper. You can't just burst somewhere with her stuff which is probably why she's not considered that great right now because her kit can be quite situational."
According to Boaster, Viper is the strongest on Bind and Split, and he definitely would not recommend anyone trying her on Haven or Ascent. Not only that, but he also revealed why his team decided to take a risk with an Agent that he admitted was "making things more difficult".
He said: "Well, the reason we played Viper is that it's a niche and it works. No one plays her, so no one is used to her. So if you do have Viper ultimate, it's really awkward for the attackers especially when you're on the defensive side. It's really awkward for the attackers to know what to do. It causes them to be uncomfortable when taking site, although being in the ult as a Viper is quite uncomfortable as well. So it's a bit weird, but if you're drilled enough, and you know what you're doing it works.
"She can be a great support if you have really solid T-side defaults. So you throw her smoke somewhere, and it masks where you're going to go, but you still have an Omen to do other smokes with it.
"All you have to do then is to get the bomb down. If you get the bomb down on Bind on A site and you have the after plant set up your teammates just need to play time. The enemies can't really diffuse, or if they do try and diffuse, it's really awkward because you throw the toxins and you put the Viper smoke up, and they can't actually sit on it. No one wants to sit in a smoke and Molotov for half of the bomb defusal."
Some teams have referred to what SUMN FC do with Viper as 'cheesy', while others believe they are only achieving results due to the way they've managed to exploit niche strategies and uncommon Agents. While Bind has been their speciality with Viper, Boaster also hinted at the possibilities of trying a line up with her on Split. Moreover, he shared which Agents he believes works the best if a team wanted to start incorporating Viper into their roster.
He said: "I think you always need a Cypher. You need another smoker, and I'd say it'd probably be omen with his flash. With the current Meta, Breach is super strong, super solid and a must-have. Sova would probably complete that lineup. This is a bit of a weird one, but you can actually put your Operator on the Viper because she can support on the backline - it's strong on CT side, but on T side it's a bit different though and more difficult."
Despite the fact SUMN FC have found success with the Agent, Boaster wanted to stress that there is a lot that comes with being able to make the Viper pick work and it's not something he'd recommend for players in solo queue.
He said: "To play Viper you need to have a team that knows what they're doing around her kit and you need to be drilled enough to understand what to do. In a pug, you've got no strats, no defaults, and no tactics - you're just a Viper throwing down stuff essentially, and it just won't be a good experience for your teammates. So it's really hard to play her in solo queue, especially on attack side. On defence side I think she's pretty solid, you have the wall for holding which makes the enemies scared to push. The Molotov is good, and the smoke can be used as a one way but I personally really wouldn't recommend risking it to play her in solo queue unless you have a team that knows how to play around the Viper."
Images via Riot Games