The Astra nerf everyone has been asking for is finally here.

Pro players have been vocal about how Astra ruins the game with her oppressive utility. Valorant patch 4.04 is bringing down the notorious cosmic controller by many notches, while introducing long-awaited buffs to Omen and Brimstone.

This levels the playing field for controller agents, where none are considered a must-pick anymore.

“The changes will probably lead to different smoke agents being viable on different maps,” tweeted Cloud9’s Anthony “vanity” Malaspina. “None of them are insanely better than the others.”

Valorant patch 4.04 adds Astra nerf, buffs Omen and Brimstone


Astra in her Astral Form
Credit: Riot Games

Astra has long overshadowed her fellow controllers, particularly in higher ranks and pro play where good team coordination allows her to shine. With these nerfs, Riot hopes to give her clearer weaknesses and create more space for other smoke agents to step up.


  • Max Stars reduced from 5 to 4
  • Cooldown on retrieving a Star increased from 14s to 25s
  • Astra can now pick up placed Stars during the Buy Phase to refund their charge immediately
  • Max distance of Star Placement increased from 10000 to 30000 to allow her to place Stars at the farthest corners of maps

Gravity Well

  • Cooldown increased from 25s to 45s
  • Gravity Well size decreased from 525 to 475
  • Gravity Well no longer affects anyone fully underneath the Gravity Well

Nova Pulse

  • Cooldown increased from 14s to 25s
  • Nebula cooldowns are now sequential instead of simultaneous
  • Nebula size increased from 410 to 475

Astra’s overall utility has been reduced. With just four Stars and higher ability cooldowns, Astra players will have to put more thought behind each move. For example, she can no longer adapt to mid-round calls as quickly because of the longer cooldown on retrieving a Star.

The fewer number of Stars also reduces her ability to simply set up default Stars in each round, and she may have to focus on executing set plays instead.

Gravity Well is getting quite a big nerf too. The smaller size means players will have to be more careful about where they place them, and enemies can now crouch directly below Wells set on top of boxes because they no longer affect players that are completely underneath.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Astra, and she received a handful of quality-of-life updates as well. Most notably, she can pick up and refund Stars in the Buy Phase, so teams can fully utilize this time to fine-tune their executes.

The speed of the overlay when transitioning in and out of Astral form is increased too, which should help it feel more seamless.


Valorant agent Omen
Credit: Riot Games

Riot is walking back some of the previous nerfs to Dark Cover and sharpening his ability to use Shrouded Step aggressively.

Dark Cover

  • Cooldown decreased from 40s to 30s
  • Cost increased from 100 to 150 credits
  • Projectile speed increased from 2800 to 6400

Shrouded Step

  • Cost decreased from 150 to 100 credits
  • Pre-teleport delay decreased from 1s to 0.7s

The faster smoke travel time will allow him to set up for quicker pushes, giving the enemy team less of a heads-up. In addition, the shorter cooldown should make him more versatile in mid-round scenarios where adaptability is key.

But the most interesting change is probably the one to Shrouded Step. The shorter pre-teleport delay lets him reposition quicker, so there’s a better chance of catching opponents off guard with some sneaky plays.

On top of that, a forward spawn offset has been added to Paranoia, so you’re less likely to blind teammates standing close to you.


Valorant, Brimstone, Art
Credit: Riot Games

Brimstone’s weakness has always been the limited range of his Sky Smokes, so Riot is increasing the Deploy radius again to boost his utility on a wider variety of maps.

Stim Beacon also confers a new speed buff so players can run faster, a nice bonus that should help Brimstone feel a little more competitive.

Sky Smoke

  • Deploy time decreased from 2s to 1s
  • Deploy radius increased from 5000 to 5500
  • Smoke height increased to match other controllers

Stim Beacon

  • Now also applies a 15% speed boost in addition to RapidFire

All these changes amount to a massive reshaping of the controller role in Valorant, but they are a step in the right direction to improve the health of the game in Episode 4 Act II.

By ensuring that there isn’t a single controller that is significantly better than the others, Riot is laying the foundation for more diverse agent selections and creative gameplay moving forward.

You can read the full notes for Valorant patch 4.04 here.

READ MORE: OpTic Gaming shows why Astra and Viper are absolute must-picks on Bind