Ghanaian controller Astra wields the power of the cosmos to control the battlefield. But she may just be a little too powerful, and Valorant pros think something needs to change.

With her ability to set down global smokes and stun or pull enemies across the map, Astra can have a huge influence on gameplay outcomes, regardless of her positioning. Her stars also cannot be destroyed, making her incredibly effective at slowing or shutting down fast pushes.

Since her introduction last March, she has gradually made her way into the pro meta, and more than a few pro players are unhappy about the impact she has on the game.

Pro players think Astra needs to be better balanced

FNS and dapr on Astra Valorant
Screenshot by Koh Wanzi

“Astra ruined Valorant,” tweeted OpTic Gaming’s Pujan “FNS” Mehta in early February. Sentinels’ Michael “dapr” Gulino chimed in as well, saying that there is effectively “no counter-play” to Astra’s Gravity Well, which pulls players toward the center before exploding and debuffing them.

Playing against Astra means that you need to have an entire game plan to bait out her utility, according to dapr, a sign that the Ghanaian agent may require balancing.

OpTic Yay on Astra Valorant
Screenshot by Koh Wanzi

Astra stands out among other controllers like Omen and Brimstone. Omen’s Dark Cover smokes have a travel delay built-in, and Brimstone is significantly limited by the range of his Sky Smokes. On the other hand, Astra’s Nebula smokes can be set down globally, and they offer cover in an instant.

Sentinels’ in-game leader, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, has also said that she ruins the viewer experience because of how much she slows down each round. When going up against the cosmic controller, teams are often forced to wait over 30 seconds for her to exhaust her utility before executing a push.

Her Nova Pulse stun and Gravity Well pull abilities can be used globally as well, which means she can stop aggressive rushes from anywhere on the map. This can make her more effective at holding a site than certain abilities from sentinel agents, such as Sage’s Slow Orb or Killjoy’s Nanoswarm, because they actually have to be in the area.

If an Astra player learns that many enemy agents are clustered in a choke point, she can immediately place a stun or pull from a different site to delay the push, or create an opportunity for her team to take the fight to their opponents.

This can even be combined with abilities like Raze’s Paint Shell grenades or Killjoy’s Nanoswarm for devastating effect.

Her stars can be placed and activated quickly, so she doesn’t have to rely on predicting an opponent’s play and can respond on the fly. What’s more, she is very reliable to use and players don’t have to learn any lineups.

That said, she requires constant communication with her team to maximize her impact, so she may not seem all that overpowered in regular competitive matches, particularly in the lower ranks.

However, communication is a given in competitive play, which may be why she feels so oppressive.

How to fix Astra in Valorant

C9 Vanity on Astra nerf in Valorant
Screenshot by Koh Wanzi/ONE Esports

Astra’s entire theme is built around the galaxy and cosmos, so it makes sense to still allow her to set down global smokes, stuns, and pulls. However, some have suggested that the galaxy-brained controller should lose her ability to take back stars, forcing her to think more carefully about where she puts them.

This change would also bring her in line with other agents like Omen and Brimstone, both of whom cannot switch up the location of their smokes once deployed.

Another alternative is to add a delay before she can use Nova Pulse and Gravity Well after placing a star, so she is also forced to predict plays instead of simply reacting.

Cloud9 in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina thinks that Astra shouldn’t be granted a fake smoke when taking back her stars, and should only be given a single Nova Pulse and Gravity Well per round. As it stands, she only has to purchase stars, and the rest of her abilities operate on a cooldown.

But with the upcoming Episode 4 Act II promising agent balance updates, Riot may already have their eye on the issue.

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