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Thursday, December 8, 2022

How to Play Astra, Valorant’s New Agent 15

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Astra is set to be the 15th agent released in Valorant and is the 16th agent as per the Valorant Protocol. Described best as a Controller, Astra will be third addition to this faction. As we brace for the release of the Ghanaian agent, let us take a better look at the abilities and how one can use it.

X(1): Astral Form

Warning: This is not her ultimate but just her ultimate form. Confused? Fret not. Astra has to get into her Astral Form in order to be able to place Stars on the map, which will then be utilised according to the abilities the players opt to activate through those stars.

The Astral Form enables her to rise above the map and gives her a bird’s eye view of it. Astra may be rising as a result of the Astral Form but the Ghanaian makes sure she pulls the stars down to the ground for her abilities, with her stars requiring a surface to be put on. Astra can have a maximum of 5 stars per round.

C: Gravity Well

Press (C) to activate a star with Gravity Well to create a hole-like structure that sucks the surrounding players into it before exploding and making the players sucked in more vulnerable. Its ultimate effect is similar to Killjoy’s Alarmbot but players can evade the ‘gravity well’ easily, making it perhaps, the weakest of her abilities. However, Gravity Well can be utilised to full effect during a post-plant scenario by the Attacking Side and to target common holding positions.

Q: Nova Pulse

Compared to the Gravity Well, Nova Pulse is quicker to activate and only has a brief self-channeling period. Press (Q) to activate a star with Nova Pulse. Players who remain in the vicinity or target area of the Nova Pulse get concussed in a way similar to Breach’s Fault Line. However, users won’t have to channel the ability in Astra’s case and all that one has to do is to activate the placed star for the Nova Pulse.

Players will find it laboursome to evade Nova Pulse, with the most effective of evasions requiring users to be equipped with agents like Jett, Raze or Yoru – agents that have abilities that allows quick displacement. On the flip side, the effect of the concussion isn’t as severe and fades out quicker than Breach’s Fault Line. Nevertheless, a powerful ability that will make it difficult for players to enter sites and take advantage of choke-points.

E: Nebula

An apt name for the ability, Nebula allows players to convert a placed star into a Smoke with a similar fade duration to Omen’s Dark Cover. The look of a Nebula’s Smoke oozes that galactic, interstellar feel that the word ‘Nebula’ is associated with, which is a compliment to the developers and designers, who have hit the nail on the head with this one.

Players can activate two Nebulas at once by pressing (E), with a cooldown of 15 seconds before they can convert another star into a Nebula. The brilliant part about Astra is that players can pick Stars back up from their positions by pressing (F) while looking at the placed star. While doing so, there is a fake Nebula that spawns and fades within a second – a Fake Smoke Pop that adds an extra outplaying dimension to Astra’s abilities.

Basically, one can equate Nebula to being a mix of Omen’s Dark Cover and Cypher’s Cyber Cage. However, Astra users can pick the Star up at any point during the game while a Cypher is only allowed to pick up Cages during the pre-game Phase of each round after the update.

X(2): Cosmic Divide

Every new agent has had a game breaking ability or appeared to have one when released. For Astra, its her Cosmic Divide. Once charged, players can choose two locations with Secondary Fire and Primary Fire before activating a ‘Cosmic Divide’ that segregates the map into two locations. Press (X) to go into Astral Mode and then place the Divide through Secondary Fire and Primary Fire.

The Divide is like a wall that is impregnable by bullets while also having full opacity, which means players cannot see the other side of the Divide, with audio heavily affected as the wall absorbs sounds like a sponge. However, players are allowed to traverse through the Divide.

The Cosmic Divide can be a game breaking ability mostly when trying to defend a post-plant, with the opposition able to just create the Divide for the retake. Since players have to go through the Divide in order to stop the retake and the subsequent defuse and cannot see through the Divide before traversing through it themselves, the retaking side can use it to their advantage.

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Pranav Nalawade
Pranav Nalawadehttp://www.talkesport.com
Editor in Chief at TalkEsport. VFX artist who enjoys Valorant as much as he writes about it.

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