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Valorant: How the new map Icebox can completely change the ‘Agent and Weapon’ meta as we know it

Icebox in Valorant is defined by its tight corners and a variety of entry points into bombsites (Image Credits: Riot Games)
Icebox in Valorant is defined by its tight corners and a variety of entry points into bombsites (Image Credits: Riot Games)
ANALYST
Modified 14 Oct 2020, 13:44 IST
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Historically, Riot Games’ Valorant has seen a lot of meta shifts every time a big patch update came around, and the latest patch 1.10 is no stranger to this fact.

With a new map and a (soon to come) new Agent, there is bound to be a wave of meta changes in the coming weeks. 

Icebox is not the average, ‘run of the mill’ Valorant map, with large open spaces for skilled Operator users to absolutely go ham in. 

The snow-themed map is defined by its tight corners, a variety of entry points into bomb sites and a ton of options for vertical movement.

So, before the Valorant pros hit the competitive stage, we will not be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of where the meta stands at the moment. However, as much as we and the rest of the Valorant community have experienced Icebox (so far), there are a few assumptions we think we can safely make.

In a recent Reddit post, a Valorant player, who goes by the handle of jrushFN, provided us with an early but detailed take on the kind of meta that Icebox favours. And it does seem to be drastically different than what the players have been used to so far.

Valorant’s Icebox will have its own ‘Agent and Weapon’ meta

In the Reddit post, jrushFN gave us “early takeaways from Icebox” and dug deep at some of the changes that the map might be bringing to the game:

1. Flashes over Smokes

Flashes over Smokes (Image Credits: TheAnnoyedOne)
Flashes over Smokes (Image Credits: TheAnnoyedOne)
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jrushFn wrote:

“There is already a good amount of natural cover on the map. This is both favorable and unfavorable for smoke use. On the one hand, you can rotate with more stealth due to this cover... but on the other hand, enemies posted up in little corners will require a TON of smoke to block sight.”

With the number of entry points and corners that Valorant’s Icebox comes with (so very reminiscent of CS: GO maps), it’s going to be very hard to smoke all of the vital areas. If a smoke heavy comp is something that a team would like to go for, then Brimstone, Omen and Viper are going to be the meta for them.

The team will need a minimum of three smoke-ability Agents, along with the addition of a Jett, to make the defending rounds a bearable one. However, flash abilities might go a long way in Icebox than smokes.

jrushFn said:

“Flashes might be more valuable on this map than any other. They're more versatile than smokes considering the likelihood of an enemy moving to another cubby when smoked off, whereas flashes are equally impactful regardless of one's position. Flashes might also be more versatile than smokes here since you're less likely to have to block one specific angle for a long period of time (~15 sec) than on other maps like Ascent.”
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Phoenix, Breach, and the upcoming Skye are definitely going to be vital in Icebox. 

jrushFn added:

“Phoenix will be an incredible choice on this map. Recon/flashes both are very important here, both of which are in his kit.”

2. Callouts and recon are going to be crucial

Callouts and recon are going to be crucial (Image Credits: Metabomb)
Callouts and recon are going to be crucial (Image Credits: Metabomb)

Agents like Cypher, Sova, Phoenix and, soon, Skye (after her release) will be crucial to the team line-up because of their incredible recon abilities.

Sova with his ‘Recon Arrow,’ Cypher with his ‘Trap Wires’ and camera, Phoenix with his ‘Run it Back’ and Skye with her fox will be able to make defending and attacking in Valorant’s Icebox a whole lot easier.

jrushFn wrote:

“recon is more important here than ever... there's just so many corners to check.”

However, because of the vast number of angles and corners, Cypher might be at a disadvantage.

“Cypher's value will be inconsistent relative to other maps. Camera angles can be blocked off by natural cover and trips will likely have less consistent spots to find value.”

3. Options for vertical mobility will lay more emphasis on Omen and Jett

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Options for vertical mobility will lay more emphasis on Omen and Jett (Image Credits: Riot Games)
Options for vertical mobility will lay more emphasis on Omen and Jett (Image Credits: Riot Games)

Valorant’s Icebox comes with a lot of boxes and raised platforms, allowing a variety of vertical movement. It is because of this that Agents like Jett and Mone will receive a lot of priority early on, when players are still learning the map. 

jrushFn said:

“Jett/Omen will be extremely important for their vertical mobility potential. Further, Omen will be more valuable for his shrouded step than for his smokes. This is not to say that smokes won't be valuable, rather than the verticality of this map almost requires Jett/Omen to reposition effectively on short notice.”

Moreover, when it comes to vertical mobility, Sage will also have a nice role to play in Valorant's new map. Instead of blocking off entry points like she did on the other Valorant maps, Sage's main value on Icebox will be "boosting players up with her wall". Other than that, the wall isn't very strong in any of the more open areas.

4. Icebox will be a Guardian and Vandal meta

Icebox will be a Guardian and Vandal meta (Screen Grab from Valorant Store)
Icebox will be a Guardian and Vandal meta (Screen Grab from Valorant Store)
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Icebox is filled with long and short spaces with tight corners as well as raised platforms. The most versatile guns under these circumstances are going to be the Vandal and the Guardian. 

Valorant's Operator will definitely be seeing lesser playtime here, and we don’t feel that teams will be going for a double Op composition like players usually did on maps like Split and Haven.

The Phantom, on the other hand, might be incredible in short distances but it will fail to deliver on longer stretches. Hence, Vandal and the Guardian will definitely be the meta in Valorant’s Icebox. 

jrushFN stated:

“The Guardian will finally have a place in the meta here. One tap potential is huge for all the tight angles around the map, and there's tons of long-distance fighting that will be going on.”

All in all, Icebox will definitely be changing a lot of things about the Agent meta, and Valorant players will now have to come out of their comfort zone and adapt to a new playstyle.

Published 14 Oct 2020, 13:44 IST
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