State of the Agents - March 2024

Coleman Palm and John Goscicki touch on balance and the first new Agent of 2024.


Hey all, I’m Coleman, one of the members of the live balance team. We wanted to check in and talk with you about the state of VALORANT in terms of Agent balance, and shed some light on some of the changes we’ve shipped over the last few months.

Historically, our balance philosophy on VALORANT has been to take a measured approach. VALORANT is a complicated game with a lot of moving parts, and so when we update the game, it can take awhile for players to experiment and figure out what’s strong, what’s weak, and how they should play around the changes. Because of this, it’s important to us to give content time to breathe and grow—to help us build confidence in our understanding of what’s working and what isn’t, and help us avoid making short-sighted changes that we might regret later.

However, it’s been a few years since launch, and we’ve learned a lot in that span of time. Although we still hold the same philosophy, we want to try being a bit more proactive going into 2024 to see how pushing more changes feels. The recent sets of changes—updates to Cypher, Deadlock, Gekko, Skye, and Iso to name a few—have been a result of this approach. However, this is always a balancing act—we want to help the game stay healthy and feel fresh, but we also want to make sure that it doesn’t feel like the game is constantly shifting beneath your feet and you can’t get your bearings. We also need to be cognisant of the Esports scene, and make sure we’re giving teams enough time to respond to and play on the new sets of changes.

We’ve already gotten a lot of helpful feedback from the start of this year, but I just want to encourage you to please keep sharing how you feel about our approach to balance (both historically as well as more recently) so that we can keep learning and improving how we do things here.

To give you all a bit more of a peek behind the curtain, our primary focus right now as a balance team is improving the diversity of play within each of our four roles. For Initiators, we’ve primarily focused on bringing Skye more in line with the rest of the Initiator cast, as she was overly dominant in coordinated play, as well as giving Gekko some extra help to make him a more competitive pick overall. For Sentinels, we’ve buffed both Deadlock and Cypher over the last several months, as well as sharpened Killjoy a bit to create more space for competition. And, most recently, we made some minor Chamber buffs to help sharpen his value proposition.

However, this doesn’t mean that we’re “done” with these roles and moving on to the next. We’re going to keep working across the roles over the course of this year. And to set expectations here, you’re going to see us slow down changes over the next few patches—both to learn how our recent sets of changes are impacting the game, as well as give our VCT competitors a chance to get their bearings in the new ecosystem. But we’re interested in getting your feedback around this approach as well as what you’d like to see us tackle next. Thank you!


You’ve heard from Coleman about the current state of balance and how we’re thinking about things throughout the remainder of the year. But I’m here to give you some hints into our first new Agent of 2024…

Harbor, our last Controller, debuted in 2022. At that time we wanted to double down on large-area map control, given the size of our newer maps like Lotus. Even with Harbor’s “Get in There” playstyle, the Controller roster consisted of Agents that encouraged you to sit on the back line, providing utility for the rest of the team to make plays off of.

Many of you love that, and these types of playstyles work really well in coordinated play. But with that said, many of you get into the game as a solo or duo. Maybe some of you have amazing aim like TenZ, but understand the strategic needs of the broader comp, which leads you to picking a Controller. You’re the people we thought about when creating A25.

Y’all are some mischievous risk takers. You know how to play the map while always pursuing favorable fights. But when you jump into a wee fray, it’s inevitable you’ll lose the fight sometimes, and having the team's Controller be the first or second one out in a round is normally a daft play and can greatly limit you and your team’s options.

But we think it will lead to some beautiful moments.

We look forward to seeing what you think of Agent 25 during their release later this month, when dropping smokes takes on a new life.