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The Rise of Controllers

By Stephanie RoehlerJune 10, 2021
The Rise of Controllers
Over the past few months, Valorant’s meta has been a little stale. While pros and casual fans still have tons of fun playing, the viable agent pool has been limited. For example, unless you’re picking Omen, Controllers haven’t been a serious option. Sure, you’d see a rare Brimstone or a bold Viper, but the class was otherwise middling at best and most players avoided them altogether.
That is, until a little over a month ago.

The Change: Breeze

When Breeze dropped, it took the Valorant community by storm. The style of the map was so different from any of the others before it. It’s large, has an open mid-point as a focal area, and a bunch of angles and long hallways for people to perfect their longshot. Because of this, the Controller style is more important than ever. Before, self-sustainability was the name of the game, so many of the team-focused characters fell to the wayside.
If everyone is focused on controlling mid point and protecting their team from tough angles, the vision blocking and space-manipulating abilities of controllers are game-changers. If the new meta is getting your team control of one area, no one does control better than, well, a Controller.
And while not all of the Controller stat boosts are solely because of Breeze, the addition of the mode has clearly made players more interested in what team-focused fighting can do for them. Because as far as the stats are concerned, Controllers are some of the hottest agents on the market right now.

Controller Stats

If we’re going to talk about Controller’s improved stats, let’s talk about the new main three: Brimstone, Viper, and Astra.
As of Patch 2.09, these agents are in the top five (3rd/4th/5th, respectively) for competitive win rates in the entire game. Previously, they all were middling at best, and other than Omen were rarely picked in pro play.
In a stats sense, they aren’t that impressive overall. Other than their win rates, their KDA and first blood potential have still stayed in that middle-of-the-pack area. However, their win rates have boosted so highly because of their map-manipulation. They are doing well because they’re doing their job: not getting the top kills, but making sure they set up the space so that their carry players can survive and get those kills.
While their pick rates haven’t caught on to their wins (Astra’s is still at an abysmal 5%), the change-up in games has made a big difference in how people include these agents. In competitive Breeze games, Viper is not only picked more than Raze (one of the top agents since the game came out), but she has the best win rate out of all the agents.

Reaching Their Potential

Omen was the only Controller to survive the early meta because a lot of his manipulation tactics are still very solo-oriented. His smokes and teleportation tricks can be used to help the team, but they also can easily be all about him moving around the map to get himself in the best angles on the enemy. The other Controllers don’t have the same amount of individualistic luxury. Brimstone is all about team support, but if his team isn’t right by him, a lot of his abilities can fall flat. Astra is a powerhouse at ruining enemy plans, but if her team doesn’t push them into her abilities, her powers can be useless. And Viper, while the queen of manipulating sightlines and punishing with poison, until this Controller revolution her poison costs really got her down.
Now, with Breeze changing the way people think about the meta, there’s more space for Controllers to take their shot.

Prepare for Controllers to Bite Back

Before Breeze, the meta situation was a case of scrap, then point. People fought, often picking each other off until they reached a fever pitch of capturing/defending the point. With more maps like Breeze, though, Duelist supremacy might fade in favor of Controllers — the kind of agents that are made for point-control manipulation and epic teamfights.
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