Icebox is easily the most complex map in Valorant. Attackers and Defenders are faced with a multitude of possible paths to each of the two sites and a million different angles to check on the way. For the first few weeks of play, there will be plenty of those “where the heck did I get shot from?” moments as players explore the multi-tiered and snowy battlefield.
Giving off a distinctly Overwatch vibe, teams will spawn in their own respective hangar areas before picking their way through a twisting maze of shipping containers, cranes, tubes, ziplines, and research buildings. The middle of the map funnels Attackers into a wide-open shooting gallery where Defenders can rain down bullets from the high ground.
It also offers easy access to the A-Site and a much more roundabout path to the B-Site. Like both Ascent and Split, Icebox seems to incentivize a multi-pronged push onto either site and should heavily reward Attackers savvy enough to wrest mid control away from the Defense.
The two bomb sites on Icebox differ wildly from their layout to even the aesthetic setting. The indoor A-site sports a mind-bending number of elevation changes, abrupt corners, and plenty of obstructed sightlines for both Defense and Attack. It seems to scream slower and careful entry, though several ziplines allow for quick movement from low to high and even across the middle of the site. It’s important to note that while on any of the numerous ziplines you can still shoot with reasonable accuracy as long as you are not moving. This could definitely create some interesting peeking scenarios for both attackers and defenders.
With a massive planting area for the Spike, there should be tons of variety in post-plant defense and ample opportunity to find some amazing lineups for Agent utility. A-site seems perfect for Sentinels like Killjoy and Cypher to dominate with traps and mind games but the movement abilities of Agents like Jett and Omen could prove incredibly advantageous for Attackers.
The B-site on the other hand is a wide-open outdoor space that encourages freedom of movement over and under the many obstacles. The main angle of Attack funnels through a long corridor offering a more simple Defensive position than the A-site. Simple is a relative term on Icebox, however, as the stacks of shipping containers offer plenty of sneaky angles to approach from both above and below. B-Site offers a much smaller planting area which means that once the Spike is down, players will likely spread out to crossfire from afar.
Both A and B sites allow players to plant above the ground level which could lead to some very interesting defuse scenarios. With so many places to hide, intelligence will be at a premium on Icebox as will Agent mobility. Expect to see a lot of Omen, Jett, and Raze played on this map but be sure not to sleep on the powerful impact of Sova, Killjoy, Cypher, and the soon-to-be-released Skye as well.
A vision for the future
Icebox seems to be an attempt by Riot to really end Episode One in a big way and simultaneously answer a lot of the lingering questions about the game’s direction going forward. Icebox is an ambitious addition to the map pool that should push professional teams to innovate more than any of the preceding maps. It is also a resounding statement by the Valorant team that this game is more than just a reskinned Counter-Strike. The uniqueness and complexity of Icebox is an exciting step forward for the game and bodes well for the replayability of the game.