Although Riot Games surprisingly didn't make any balancing changes in its latest major update, that's not to say that players aren't still continuing to figure out what the best Agents in the current meta are. As such, here's how the Agents stack up in Valorant Episode 5 Act 1 as of Patch 5.0.
Valorant Patch 5.0 Agent Rankings
Kicking off the list are the two Agents that remain no-brainer and consistently useful picks in almost all formats. Despite the hits that Chamber took in Patch 4.09, as well as those that Jett got in Patch 4.08, they are still the base ingredients for dropping high-frag games. Their utility and devastating ultimate abilities define rounds and how teams have to play.
In A Tier are 11 Agents that all have clear uses for certain maps. Fade has debuted pretty successfully both in pubs and pro play, being an irritant for aggressive defenders playing off-angles. Being that in about 95% of competitive games (Platinum rank and below), Reyna players continue to wreak havoc off of sheer gunplay, it's hard to keep her out of A Tier. Just keep in mind that she isn't as great at higher levels of play.
Viper and Omen certainly feel as though they are the only smoke Agents you need, outside of perhaps Brimstone for Fracture and Bind, and Astra solely for Split. Post nerf, the high-skill-ceiling Russian archer Sova has certainly dropped in popularity a bit, but still remains best in class on Breeze and Icebox. In general, it's a great time for flex/Initiator players as KAY/O, Skye, Breach and Raze have all become necessities for certain maps (e.g. KAY/O on Breeze and Ascent, Skye on Bind and Haven, Breach on Fracture, and Raze on Bind and Split). Lastly, Sage remains to be nearly a must-pick for Icebox.
The four Agents in B Tier are still viable, but have clear alternatives that most teams could prioritize. A sign of the seemingly struggling state of Sentinels at the moment, Killjoy and Cypher are pretty niche picks as it takes some sturdy setups to still get good value from picking them. Neon was somewhat questionably nerfed despite already being a rare pick. Astra has really fallen off in pick rate, but is still quite useful on Split since she can smoke and delay from anywhere on the map.
Lastly, in C Tier are Agents you just almost never see in competitive Valorant settings. While some pro teams are starting to break out the Yoru pick in officials, unless you're going for TikTok clips or your in-game name is PRX f0rsakeN or FPX ANGE1, it's hard to justify locking in Yoru in general. Phoenix is clearly next in line as the character that is in dire need of a buff. If you enjoyed playing Phoenix, you might as well just learn and play KAY/O right now.
For more on Valorant, be sure to check out our 2022 VCT Stage 1: Masters Reykjavík content: