New Valorant controller Harbor is already making waves on and off the server.
With the power of the raging seas at his fingertips and the ability to block bullets with his smokes, he appears to have the potential to disrupt enemy setups and cut off long sight lines.
However, it is far from clear whether he will have a place in the Valorant meta. Pro players have had mixed responses to Harbor — some believe him to be incredibly strong, while others find his kit to be lackluster compared to other controllers in the game.
Harbor may not be as strong as he seems
At first glance, Harbor feels like an alternative to Viper. His signature High Tide ability throws up a long wall of water that can cut sites in half and obscure multiple sightlines, similar to Viper’s Toxic Screen.
Cove also presents unique possibilities. It is a dome smoke that can block bullets, making it a potentially powerful tool in retake scenarios or while planting, especially in pistol rounds.
Some players like Cloud9’s Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker think Harbor is a powerful controller who is “very strong.”
“Think he will allow for some insane retakes and defaults more so than any other controller agent,” he said on Twitter.
High Tide provides a bit more flexibility than Toxic Screen. While Viper cannot reposition Toxic Screen once it is deployed, Harbor’s wall operates on a 40-second cooldown, which means he can use it multiple times in a round in different areas where needed.
Sentinels analyst Dani “Dani” Hashweh also singled out Harbor’s strengths in default executions, securing map control quickly, and retake situations. Unlike Viper’s wall, Harbor’s wall goes up the second it is used, so teams need to be ready to take advantage of it.
However, he struggles as a solo controller and is therefore overall a “bad agent,” said Dani. In comparison to Omen, Brimstone, or even Viper, Harbor is completely lacking any ability to smoke off sites other than the one he is currently on.
Others have noted that Harbor’s kit is missing significant stall ability. FunPlus Phoenix in-game leader Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov described the Indian controller as looking “a bit weak.”
“Biggest problem is that he doesn’t have enough stopping power for defense,” said ANGE1. “Any other smoker has something to stop or even cancel executes.”
For instance, Omen has his Paranoia blind, Brimstone has his Incendiary molly, Viper has Poison Cloud and Snake Bite, while Astra can pull and stun enemies.
High Tide and Cascade have a slight slow effect, but it only lasts a short while and does not actually slow movement by that much. “This slow is just not enough,” the FPX IGL said.
Harbor also doesn’t quite replace Viper, former XSET player Brendan “BcJ” Jensen said. “Harbor is worse than every controller already in the game when it comes to solo controller,” he said. “And when it comes to double controller, he is still worse than Viper.”
That said, it’s still too early to rule out the agent yet, and it’s possible that teams may still find a place for him in the meta as they continue to experiment with him.
Harbor will be available to play on October 18.