The Valorant agent meta is constantly evolving, and the meta today — both in ranked and pro play — is nearly unrecognizable from what it was two years ago.

Fiery duelist Phoenix has almost entirely fallen out of use, especially since the introduction of KAY/O. Whatever he could do, from his mollies to flashes, there was arguably another agent that could do it better.

However, a fresh round of buffs in patch 5.01 increased the effectiveness of his flash, making a new case for his viability in the meta. While Team Liquid star Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom has picked him on maps like Ascent and Breeze, Phoenix’s resurgence in ranked play is all the more impressive.

He is now the third best agent in solo queue at high MMR, according to Riot Games, an unlikely revival for an agent that was appearing increasingly irrelevant.

Phoenix is the third strongest Valorant agent in solo queue at high MMR

Valorant agent Phoenix
Credit: Riot Games

In a new State of the Agents blog post, Riot revealed several other interesting facts about how different agents are performing in ranked play.

Many of these run contrary to what you might expect, and an agent being favored in pro play does not always translate to success on the ranked ladder.

For instance, KAY/O is one of the weaker agents in ranked games across all MMRs, said Riot, despite being a priority pick in pro play. At Valorant Champions 2022, KAY/O is the fourth most-played agent at 45 percent, behind only Chamber, Fade, and Viper.

His flash is one of the best in the game, and is nearly impossible to dodge with the right lineups. His suppression blade is also a crucial information-gathering tool, revealing the number of enemy agents through walls.

Valorant KAY/O
Credit: Riot Games

Unfortunately, his kit does not always find the same value in the far more chaotic environment of ranked play.

There are also some agents that do a lot better in a coordinated five-stack than in solo queue, especially at the highest MMR. Chief among them are agents like Breach, Brimstone, and Neon — all agents that require good communication to capitalize on their utility.

Brimstone is also one of the most misunderstood characters in the game. Three times as many players think he is too weak versus too strong, despite him having one of the highest win rates at higher MMRs.

A select few agents are especially hard to master, coming with a steep learning curve. While some pros have found success with them on the international stage, they may not be the best pick for beginners.

Yoru and Neon stand out at the highest MMR as high mastery agents, says Riot, so you’ll probably need to put in plenty of hours to play them well.

Finally, good ‘ol Sage remains one of the best agents in the game. As one of the strongest agents in the early days of Valorant, she continues to stay relevant despite multiple rounds of nerfs.

She is one of the top agents across all skill bands in ranked, even though players believe that she is the fourth weakest agent.

You can read the full blog post here.

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