Omen's high play rate in VALORANT pro scene highlights the need for more controllers

The mysterious agent had a 98-percent play rate during the First Strike Closed Qualifier. Viper and Brim were at three and two percent, respectively.

Omen brings a lot to any team comp, as seen by his 98-percent play rate in last week’s VALORANT First Strike Nerd Street Gamers Closed Qualifier, according to VLR.gg. But the game’s other two controllers are virtually nonexistent in professional play.

The mysterious agent acts as the trademark smoker for most squads, especially since his abilities also include a blind and teleports. While his popularity is certainly related to his good kit, it’s also because the alternatives (Brimstone and Viper) pale in comparison. And since VALORANT‘s new releases haven’t been controllers, we might finally be due for one.

Omen was also the most played agent in the First Strike NSG Open Qualifier (99 percent) and the Renegades x NSG Invitational (99 percent). In each of those contests, Viper and Brimstone each appeared five percent of the time or under. And it’s unsurprising.

When competing with elite teams, the last thing a squad wants to do is handicap themselves by picking a subpar agent. Despite Riot buffing Viper in four different patches since VALORANT‘s launch, her kit is still too situational. While she might be occasionally picked on Split since it’s a smaller map with tight choke points, she’s still not the best choice. And no matter how many times Riot tries to improve Brim’s Stim Beacon, it’s still not enough to make him meta.

To be fair, the last two First Strike qualifiers were played on Patch 1.10. But it doesn’t seem like Patch 1.11 will change anything.

The new update introduces snowy tundra Icebox and Australian swiss army knife Skye. If anything, the new agent and map will further decrease Brim and Viper’s play rates. The two controllers aren’t optimal picks for Icebox’s verticality. And the budding flash meta may favor Skye, Breach, Phoenix, and Reyna over a second true smoker. Jett also fulfills the need for another controller since her short smoke ability is enough to get the job done.

VALORANT’s Episode One agent releases have been Reyna (duelist), Killjoy (sentinel), and now Skye (initiator). It makes sense for Riot to follow up with a controller that can challenge Omen for the smoker role or at least join him. But since Act III still has another 64 days in it, it may be a while before we see a dramatic shift in the meta.

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