Valorant’s latest controller agent, Astra, is now live and available for players to unlock and play.
Like all agents, to unlock Astra you will need to activate her contract and get to Tier 5 (60,000 XP).
I’ve been playing her since patch 2.04 dropped in my ranked Diamond games and I can honestly say that I’ve never had this much fun playing Valorant before.
Astra at a glance
Able to harness energy from the cosmos to reshape the battlefield according to her desires, this Ghanaian space-punk heroine was developed to control multiple parts of the map simultaneously.
To match her otherworldly abilities, Astra’s design was notably inspired by the elements of Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic coined in the early 90’s which explores the correlation between African diaspora and technology. This is especially evident in Astra’s use of Stars, and in her access to the vividly beautiful Astral Form which allows her to place and track her abilities.
As a fan of Space Westerns like Cowboy Bebop, the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and even the more recent Mandolorian series, I’m a big fan of Astra’s character design. I like her cavalier persona and her charismatic voice lines as well. There is simply a uniqueness to her that the other Valorant agents don’t have.
Astra’s abilities are likewise characterized by rich purple and golden hues, meant to evoke both a grandness and mysterious depth to them. These new themes are additional fuel to fans like me who like to craft theories on Valorant’s lore.
Ease of use
When I tried Astra, I expected her to play similarly to Omen or Brimstone. But after familiarizing myself with her abilities, I realized that she has a lot to offer for any team composition.
A controller agent’s main role is to dominate a portion of the map. You do this by blocking your opponents’ vision with smokes. In my opinion, what makes Astra different from Omen or Brimstone is that she has more opportunities to outplay opponents.
Let me explain: to play Astra, you need to have really good game sense. You’ll also often be making hard reads against your opponents. A perfect example of this is a situation where you know there is still an enemy Sova alive in the round. You can then anticipate when he’s going to use his Owl Drone. If you can predict where he’s going to be casting it from, you can draw Sova out into the open with your Gravity Pull.
It will probably take some time to get used to familiarizing yourself with her Astral Form and keeping track of where her Stars are on the map. But, once you do get used to it, she becomes really easy to play.
What does Astra bring to the team?
As I’ve mentioned before, Astra has a lot to offer on both the attacker and defender side. And if you’re really looking to learn how to play her properly, you absolutely need to develop your game sense. You need to familiarize yourself with all the maps if you’re planning to use Astra as your main agent, as this will allow you to anticipate your opponents’ movements.
Placing her Stars at the start of the round already is a mind game in it of itself. But if you’re attacking a site, you could stack all five of Astra’s Stars on one site and rush it.
Personally, I drop Stars in the normal spots where you’re supposed to smoke. Once I get in position, I drop my counter-play Stars where I expect the enemy agents will be, or where I’m going to corner them. If all goes according to plan, you should have an advantage against the enemy team.
As long as you keep in mind what tools the enemy team has, you can counter them with your stars. I’ve even been able to stop a Raze right when they used their Blast Pack to keep them grounded. You can do something similar against Jett players who tend to play risky angles, by planting Stars where you expect them to retreat.
Astra has tons of outplay potential
She’s so much fun to play. As the more experienced player in my group of friends who play Valorant, I often am the last one to pick an agent because I can fill any agent role. I’m sure, as a Valorant player yourself, you know people tend to pick duelists because they want to frag out.
I find Brimstone boring to play because he’s really just an agent that has valuable smokes, who is good in post-spike plant situations. Omen is quite different because you can get very creative with his utility kit, and his Paranoia is still one of the best flashes in the game.
I personally enjoy playing Astra because she can really outplay opponents hard. It’s always fun to learn a new agent that has so much potential.
Verdict: Astra has big brain outplay potential and has all the tools to be top-tier, but she really requires you to be able to anticipate what your opponents will do. If you’re just starting Valorant, you’ll have a bad time with Astra, but if you’ve been playing for a while, you’ll enjoy what she brings to the table. I’ve already made her my go-to controller agent.