After an underwhelming release of Skye and Yoru, it seems that Riot Games’ has finally hit the mark with savvy and fierce-looking Astra.
Hailing from Ghana, the new agent is ethereal, magical, and astronomically viable, quite literally. Agent 15 harnesses energies of the cosmos to manipulate the map in favour of her teammates. Using her Astral form, the agent can annihilate the enemies before they know what hit them.
Astra can make enemies vulnerable, concuss them, and throw smokes around the map, using stars to activate her abilities. She must skid into her Astral form in order to shower stars around the map. Stars can be reactivated later, transforming them into a Nova Pulse, Nebula, or Gravity Well.
“We wanted her skill expression to be about gathering information and turning that into a plan, where the execution phase is less about precisely targeting a grenade throw and more about seeing if your read on the enemy came together how you hoped,” Jordan “Riot Wrekz” Anton said.
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Why Astra may overtake other controllers
Valorant’s 15th agent is a much-needed addition to the controller roster that hasn’t been updated since the game’s release. Here’s why Astra might overshadow the other controllers.
Unlike other agents, Astra’s kit goes beyond your standard controller kit, setting her apart from other agents. At first glance, it’s hard to say which category Astra belongs to as the new agent can do a little bit of everything. The ethereal agent can stun enemies, like Initiator Breach, block a site like Sentinel Killjoy, and carries classic smokes that every controller has.
Conversely, Viper’s smoke may be viable, but the poisonous agents only store one smoke. While Brimstone has plenty of sky smokes, the agent’s ability to block angles is vastly limited. The only controller that comes close to Astra’s viability is Omen, the most picked in his category.
The Ghanaian agent’s access to the map makes her an absolute menace for the enemies. Nothing can hinder Astra’s wreath once she’s in her Astral form, dropping stars around critical areas in the map. So far, only Omen has been able to get that sort of control on maps, but his sight is also largely restricted. Astra’s access to all the areas on the map was enough to grant her the title of the best controller, but there’s more she can do.
She enjoys a bird’s eye view over the entire location. But the best part about her kit is that her stars are re-deployable. The players can pick up the stars, replace them after a delay, and utilize them however they like. This ability makes her a valuable agent throughout one game, forcing her to play passively. While she repicks her star, the one-second smoke residue provides her a cover and decoy for enemies. Moreover, the opponents can never tell what the star will transform into, unlike Viper’s smoke device and curtain trail.
All in all, Astra is a team agent, and her kit warrants control and a say in strategizing pre-game. With her initiator-like kit and a heavy map intel, it’s unlikely any other controller could overshadow her. Her power to use the map in her favor will provide her with an edge over other agents in professional matches. It’s possible that Astra’s pick rate will surpass Omen in upcoming professional tournaments, thanks to her fine kit.