A little over a month after VALORANT officially released worldwide, the esports scene has been fully ignited, with top-tier teams competing in tournaments all over the globe.
From North America to Europe, esports organizations are scooping up the best players from the closed beta period and creating the foundation that could take them to the VALORANT world championship in the future.
Along with the budding competitive side of the game, the action inside the game is also always evolving. The development team is continually patching the game's maps and agents to find the perfect balance between the cast of operatives. By taking selection data from recent major tournaments in the game's current two most-developed regions, North America and Europe, here is the current agent tier list for the competitive scene as we head into another weekend of tournament action with the $50,000 WePlay! VALORANT Invitational in Ukraine.
For the first time since the game entered its closed beta phase in April, Sage is not on top of the tier list. Instead, the Morrocan spy with his grab bag of deadly intel gadgets leads the pack in competitive play. Regardless of whether it's North America or Europe, Cypher is an almost insta-lock; the agent had a 100% overall pick rate during the Vitality European Open, the region's first major Ignition Series event.
Some of the top Cypher players to watch right now in the professional scene would be T1's Austin "crashies" Roberts, James "Kryptix" Affleck of Fish123 and Michael "MkaeL" De Luca from Gen.G Esports.
Although not on top of the tier list for once, Sage is still in the S tier for now, as she's still a pick in over 70% of professional matches in both major regions.
The Sage-less composition was first revolutionized by the Swedish side FABRIKEN before teams such as Team SoloMid in North America started playing around with teams that didn't involve the Chinese monk, especially on recently-added map Ascent. While she's no longer a forced pick on teams, Sage is still a constant in most matches, with teams still using specific strategies to circumvent not having the walking ambulance on their side. She's getting close to dropping from S-tier, however, and by the next time we update this list with possible nerfs on the way, Sage could find herself in new territory in the VALORANT hierarchy.
Brimstone, the king of the smokes, slides into the top of the A tier. While Omen has also gained prevalence in recent weeks with his buffs to make him a more well-rounded Controller, instead of ousting Brimstone from his perch we've seen both get plenty of playtime, sometimes even working together in certain compositions.
Maybe the least mechanically-intensive agent in the entire field, including Sage, Brimstone remains that backbone that many top teams are built on. A top Brimstone player is generally one that is overlooked in matches, doing the job in terms of smokes, Artillery Strikes and setting up the team for overall success, quietly putting up big numbers behind the carries of the squad.
Two pro Brimstone players who have impressed recently are Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow of the Party Parrots over in Russia and Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik from North America's TSM. Neither is the superstar of his respective team, but both do the little things and come up with the big plays when needed to open up their Operators and carries for optimal performances.
North America and Europe can agree on one thing: They like Sova.
It has been an interesting road for Sova thus far in VALORANT, rubber-banding between being an almost S-tier selection in some cases to be where he is now in A tier. Though Cypher is the ultimate reconnaissance man in the current cast of characters, Sova brings a more offensive flair that the lurking tripwire specialist sometimes lacks. Along with Sage and Jett, Sova is one of the staple agents that the primary Operator player pilots for a team, with Sova's long-range tools setting up kills with the sniper rifle.
In comparison with the aggressive Jett and the defensive Sage, Sova is a middle ground between the two in the Operator world, useful from a distance but not needing to rely only on his sniper to pull off frags if needed with Shock Darts and Hunter's Fury.
While not the most-played Duelist in North America, Raze's prominence in Europe and solid playtime in NA keep her at the bottom of the A tier. While Cypher can hold a site by himself with his arsenal of traps, Raze has shown she almost has the same capability with her own arsenal -- except hers can blow up an entire team in the right situation.
The Brazilian demolitions expert doesn't bring the same utility that other agents have, but what she does bring is an outstanding amount of damage that can stall a team from entering a site or push opponents off of one with her Boom Bot and Paint Shells.
If there's one player to watch right now on Raze to learn how to take over a game on the agent, it's FABRIKEN's Pontus "Zyppan" Eek, a former Fortnite pro who has become one of the fastest-rising stars in all of VALORANT.
Remember when at the start of VALORANT's closed beta when Omen was considered the weakest agent of the bunch? Too gimmicky to make work in pro play? Well, following some buffs and more time in the hands of the best players in the world, Omen is barreling toward the A tier and firmly in the B tier after being a showcase agent in recent premier tournaments.
The addition of Ascent has made Omen's buffed smokes an important weapon to fend off an Operator (or two), and his Paranoia, another elevated ability in his kit, is a death sentence for anyone who gets hit by it. That's without mentioning his reworked ultimate: Now, it can be used as a scouting device without the worry of being a one-way trip to the grave, which has added another element to Omen's well-rounded kit.
Overall, he's in the best place he's been in VALORANT, even being used as a primary Operator on Fish123 with captain Adam "ec1s" Eccles.
It's a good time to be an Omen main.
Similarly to Omen, Jett found herself at the bottom of various tier rankings before getting a buff to her smokes. Primary Operators have seen her as the perfect character to play aggressively on with the sniper rifle.
Thus, once laughed at, Jett is now becoming the norm for the best players in the world with the Operator, the biggest names in VALORANT like Tyson "TenZ" Ngo, Matthew "WARDELL" Yu and Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho converting to Jett mains. There's no other agent that can find the same angles and have the safety of a quick escape like Jett, and she's become what the developers of the game always wanted her to be: a character that can be the mightiest weapon in the game in the hands of a skilled player but a heavy anchor that can drag any team down if given to someone with cinder blocks as hands.
In Europe, Breach is an A-tier agent, a key cog for a majority of the region's best teams. He has been used as an Operator agent, a Rifler and sometimes even the primary entry with his flashbang and disruptive abilities in his kit making him a force on offense.
This isn't only about Europe, however; over in North America, Breach is an endangered species, with T1 and Sentinels seemingly the only two teams that still value the Nordic cyborg. In the most-recent NA tournament, the Pulse Invitational, only Shahzeeb "ShahZaM" Khan played Breach, and even he moved off the agent near the end of the tournament to try using the Operator on Jett like the rest of his rivals.
For a good European Breach to watch, I'd suggest FABRIKEN's Tobias "ShadoW" Flodström or Fish123's Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom.
In North America, Phoenix is an A-tier agent, a key cog for a majority of the region's best teams. He has been used as a primary engage agent for a team's star Rifler, looked upon as a tempo starter to begin pushing the pace against the opposing team.
As you can tell, Europe loves Breach and North America loves Phoenix, opting for Phoenix's more aggressive playstyle that characterizes North America as a whole. Breach, though he can be offensive in his own right, is also one of the best agents in the game at playing from a distance with his abilities intact, capable of fending off a site by himself. Phoenix, in comparison, is useless ability-wise if he's fighting from afar, needing to make others react to him rather than the other way around like Breach can with his utility.
In the Pulse Invitational, Phoenixes ruled the day, as Jay "Sinatraa" Won of the Sentinels and Anthony "gMd" Guimond both put on master classes for the agent, creating havoc with rushes that resulted in a bevy of first bloods for their respective teams. If North America is going to continue its meta of playing fast and fragging fast, Phoenix, the party-starter himself, will continue to see plenty of starting time on NA's marquee lineups.
When the Mexican vampiress was unveiled and her glass cannon kit was shown for the first time, there were questions on whether she could be viable in pro play when half of her abilities centered on her getting a kill. At first, she saw a lot of playtime in both North America and Europe, but as the weeks go on, she's been surpassed by Phoenix and Jett in North America while only a few top pros in Europe still see her as a signature agent.
Team Envy's Jake "kaboose" McDonald is one of those Reyna champions still left playing her in marquee events, but if there is one person still waving the Reyna flag high, it's no one other than Damien "HyP" Souville of Europe's Ninjas in Pyjamas. HyP has played Breach, Sage and Raze in recent games, but his one true love still seems to be Reyna; he played her in back-to-back wins in the $50,000 WePlay! Invitational over Fish123.
As long as Hyp and NiP are around, don't worry. Reyna will not be forgotten.
It been a tough time for Viper fans.
She's been cast aside by a majority of the pro players who once championed her even when she was considered a bottom-tier agent. In North America, no one is playing her in high-level tournaments, and if they are, they're getting eliminated early in qualifiers. Over in Europe, the only top-tier player still utilizing Viper is Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel, and he's actually putting up good numbers when doing so, having a kill-to-death ratio of 1.43 with an Average Combat Score of 245 on the forlorn agent of VALORANT.