ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / DANTE SRILAPA – SENIOR EDITOR / March 2ND, 2021 /
Let me start this off by saying that I’ve been trying to get better at Valorant. I really have. I just cannot fathom how some of you can play this game and actually be good at it. It’s CS:GO with broken League of Legends abilities and I can’t stand it. But I’m also addicted now, so I guess I will keep playing for now.
That aside, welcome to Act 2 Episode II! Act I just ended yesterday which means the competitive season did to. If you just started playing the game or just go back into it, this is the perfect time to get your rank and dirty grind your way to the top…or as far from the bottom as you can.
New episodes typically mean new patch notes, new balances, and new competitive season. However, we also got a new Agent with Episode II. Her name is Astra and she looks…broken.
Astra is a Ghanaian agent who harnesses astral powers to murder and infuriate her opponents. Although she looks insanely strong, her kit seems to be one that is tough to master. We’ll dive into her abilities and gameplay first and then I’ll discuss the patch notes and competitive updates.
Astra: The Newest Controller
X: Astral Form / Cosmic Divide
I started off with her X because it’s her setup ability as well as her ult. All of her abilities rely on Stars that she can place on the map by using her X ability. She projects the entire map from her Astral Form and can place her Stars anywhere to be used for later. When her ultimate is fully charged, Cosmic Divide becomes available. While in Astral Form, Astra can secondary fire and select any two points on the map. These two points will connect with a gigantic cosmic wall that stops bullets and heavily dampens relative audio. It’s a Viper wall on crack.
Q: Nova Pulse
After placing a Star with X, you can look at and activate the Star with Q to detonate it. It will charge for a second and then explode, causing all players in its area to become concussed.
After placing a Star with X, you can look at and activate the Star with E to transform it into a Nebula (smoke dome) that blocks vision. If you press F you’ll dissipate the Star, allowing you to place it again elsewhere following a slight delay. When you dissipate the Star it’ll leave a fake Nebula behind for a second before returning to you.
C: Gravity Well
After placing a Star with X, you can look at and activate the Star with C to turn it into a Gravity Well. Upon activation, nearby players will start to get pulled toward the center. Once it explodes it will make all affected players fragile.
Astra seems really fun. My biggest issue with her is that her abilities feel like they’re improved versions of other characters. Instead of creating an entirely new feeling Agent, we got a revamped hash-up of a couple others. By no means am I bashing Astra, but I am criticizing the fact that Riot continuously fails to bring fresh ideas to the table across all of their games. I may be a mere casual gamer, but I kind of expect more from such a huge creative company. More on that later.
Episode 2 Act II: Patch Notes and Competitive
With a new episode comes a new way to make money. Riot released the Weapon Skin Bundle: Prime//2.0 to purchase alongside the launch of the new Act. These skins are a reflection of the original Prime series, but this time accented with black, white, purple, and gold. If you want to spend money to look suave, now’s your chance. In addition to the bundle is the corresponding battle pass for Act II. Again, purely cosmetic, but I’ll still likely purchase it.
In the new competitive season, Riot made a few tweaks to matchmaking. Now you can queue with friends a wider range of lower (and higher) ranks, making it easier to play with friends without making smurf accounts. Additionally, if you were ranked during the last act, you’ll only need to play one placement match this time around.
Below are the patch notes. You can click the pictures to go straight to the site where they were originally posted.
The things to note are the following:
- Act ranks are entirely based off of your 9 best wins and how many wins you obtain during the act.
- Your act rank will display your best wins, as well as best wins in higher elos.
- Your rank border changes as you reach win thresholds.
- You can preview your Act Rank Badge in your career tab at all times, as well as your Act Rank Badges from previous acts (except for Act I, which has no corresponding badge).
- Your rank for Act II will be a little below where you placed in Act I, but you have the chance to rise through the ranks quicker based on individual performance.
- There are more changes coming, which you can read here.
- There are behavior detection and penalty updates that you can read here.
So what do you think? Are you satisfied with the new changes coming to Valorant? Personally, I’m excited to see where they take the game in a competitive sense. If you’ve got any opinions or concerns, feel free to hit us up on our social media or comment straight below.
Also, be on the lookout! We’re going to be doing a giveaway once our socials hit 100 followers each. We might even do a giveaway a little sooner too, so keep your eyes peeled.
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