A new controller agent has entered the Valorant meta.
Valorant’s 15th agent is the Ghanaian Astra, a celestial space-punk heroine, who mobilizes cosmic energies to reshape battlefields as she wishes. This means that she is able to divide dangerous areas on the map – at times fully – to steer enemies away, potentially leading her team to a landslide victory.
Astral Form and her Stars
If you’ve listened to Astra’s audio cues, you’ll know that it’s all about how you use her Stars. These dots of light, seen on maps where Astra is in play, cannot be destroyed by bullets or other agents’ abilities.
When Astra is ready to use any of her abilities, she goes into her Astral Form, which brings her to an otherworldly plane that showcases the entire map. Having said that, it is tantamount that you study all the current Valorant maps if you want to be an Astra main.
Astra is given two Stars at the start of every round, and she can have up to five Stars in total. She can also recall misplaced Stars on the map, but these do not carry over to the next round the way unused Stars do. A Star costs 200 credits and does not disappear from where it is placed, unless recalled.
Now that you understand the mechanics of her Stars, let’s go right into Astra’s abilities:
This ability, triggered using the C key, forms a literal blackhole where it’s placed. Astra’s Gravity Well pulls any nearby opponents and allies alike towards it, before it convulses and explodes in about 3-4 seconds. As a result, anyone caught in its effects is made vulnerable and will take extra damage.
However, players who are caught in the Gravity Well will still be able to shoot. Their aim accuracy will still remain precise, so it is best to pair Gravity Well with a molly or any type of damaging ability. Astra’s Gravity Well ability can be used multiple times in the round, because it has a 12-second cooldown period.
Astra’s signature stun, called forth by the Q key, charges in 2 seconds at most before it strikes. It concusses all agents within its range, which will buy the user and their teammates time to rush in or out of an area when needed.
Since Astra can drop her stars anywhere on the map, this can be used as an effective way to clear corners when on the attackers side. Astra can also use Nova Pulse to slow down rushes or pushes, while she’s on the defenders side. Nova Pulse can likewise be used multiple times during rounds, as – like the Gravity Well – it has a 12-second cooldown.
Nebula / Dissipate
Astra’s smokes are quite unique. First off, her actual smoke ability – activated using the E hotkey – is called Nebula. Like Omen’s signature smoke, it envelopes a given space of the player’s choosing within a hollow dome which you can’t see into or out of for about 15 seconds. Where Omen’s smokes are a deep purple void, Astra’s match her own character design – a lighter, whimsical purple, and sunset hues of orange and glittering gold to reflect the vast heavens.
Her alternate fake smoke activates when you hit the F key. Doing so dissolves any placed Star and returns it to Astra. After a slight 8-second delay, she can then drop it in a new location. We refer to the Dissipate action as a secondary smoke because it also briefly creates a fake, 2-second Nebula at the original location Astra retrieves it from.
Astra’s ultimate is charged after 7 kills, a notably higher number than what is required for other agents. Once in her Astral Form, you may then select two locations on the map which will act as ends for the summoned Cosmic Divide. Though players can pass through this large, imposing celestial wall, it also works to obscure vision, block bullets, and heavily dampen sound.
So what does Astra bring to the competitive table?
After playtesting her in Riot Games’ closed beta, we can say that Astra looks to be a viable agent in the upcoming meta. In fact, Astra has a shot at dethroning either Omen or Brimstone as Valorant’s top controller agent. This is because while her ability set fits the controller role, she also has the features of a sentinel and initiator.
Astra is versatile on both offense and defense. On attack, her Gravity Well and Nova Pulse work best when she coordinates with her team. Similar to Skye and Breach, her abilities set her team up for success when used properly.
Meanwhile, on defense, Astra’s Stars placed around the map will force the enemy team to play more cautiously, because she can slow down the enemy’s push with her space-controlling abilities.
Astra shines brightest when you pair her abilities with other agent abilities, like a molly or a flash, after she lands her Gravity Well or Nova Pulse. Additionally, her Cosmic Divide ultimate will make for intense entry plays and post-plant situations, because of its bulletproof and audio distortion effects.
Interested in becoming an Astra main? You can check her out for yourself when Episode II Act II begins.