First introduced in Patch 2.04, Astra is a new controller agent that plays differently to both Brimstone and Omen in VALORANT. While she did have a few bugs at launch, one thing quickly became certain. Astra’s kit could change the way a team plays. The agent is special because her abilities allow a team to have more control before going into a site, making Astra an essential agent for any team.
What makes Astra amazing
At first glance Astra may appear similar to the other controllers, however, the opposite is true. Sentinels player Jared “zombs” Gitlin told Upcomer “Omen revolves around the flash a lot [over Astra, where] you have to be hyperaware of everything happening on the map so you can help your team.” Overall, while Astra may be easy to use, her utility has to be carefully planned according to what your team is doing. Her potential to make team plays is through the roof. Astra has abilities that can be activated upon placing one of her Stars – of which there are a maximum of five per round. Each star can be used to concuss an opponent, pull them into a certain point, make them vulnerable or simply deploy smoke.
The versatility of her stars makes her plays unpredictable. So, if a star is placed somewhere across the map, an opponent may not want to play there in fear of any of Astra’s abilities. Astra can also recall her stars, and they will turn into smokes for one second before being able to be reused. Her ultimate – the cosmic divide – is also effective and creates a wall that cannot be shot through, allowing players to control more space.
In the most recent Riot-sponsored tournament, VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 2, Astra has been especially prevalent. Teams that use her have had a large advantage over teams who don’t. In their most recent match, Sentinels showcased why the character is so effective. With Astra even stronger thanks to a buff in patch 2.07 and great utility usage by Zombs, Sentinels crushed 100 Thieves 13-4 on Bind.
It’s not just Sentinels using Astra either. In Champions Tour Stage 2 North America, the agent was picked by 75% of the teams in attendance. Gen.G coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore told Upcomer that “Teams can make it work without Astra, but she is very strong.” With the upcoming Iceland LAN, it will be interesting to see how different teams use the new character.
Astra’s ability to work with other agents
Not only does Astra bring value to her team through her own abilities, but combined with other agents, she improves their utility too. Specifically, agents whose utility inflicts damage, such as Sova, Raze, Phoenix and Killjoy. With tons of combinations, there’s a reason pros such as Ricky “floppy” Kemery are recommending Astra. “Astra is the agent you need to be running out of all the controllers” floppy said.
Here’s an example, In this specific instance, a sage slow is used in combination with a suck as three people are pushing a sewers. Following the Skye flash, Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev is free to swing and get three easy kills on stacked opponents that are fully blind and cannot move. This is just one instance showcasing the untapped potential Astra has. With the Iceland LAN approaching, the Astra agent could be the key to a team’s success on most VALORANT maps.
With Astra being so strong, teams will discover new tactics over time and the possibilities are endless. While some professional teams may not have had enough time to use her in their agent line-ups, she is definitely a key agent to play on most maps in the current pool.