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    Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking About Valorant

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    The latest ‘Valorant’ agent controls space and time

    a person wearing a purple hat on stage: 'Valorant' Episode 2, Act 2 character Astra

    ‘Valorant’ Episode 2, Act 2 character Astra

    Riot is kicking off the second act of Valorant’s Episode 2 with another character that can bend the rules of reality. The developer has revealed Astra, a Ghanaian agent who wields the “energies of the cosmos” to control the battlefield. She can enter an astral form to place “stars” that produce gravity wells, explosive novae and smoke-like nebulae. You can also create a “cosmic divide” between two stars that blocks bullets and suppresses sounds.

    Astra will be available to play on March 2nd alongside a new battlepass. Free users will get a new pistol, a new Versus card, a new buddy and a new spray. Those who pay, meanwhile, will get an axe, a Cavalier Vandal and Operator, another Versus card and their own spray.

    It’s too soon to say how well Astra will work in practice. However, her addition helps outline Riot’s ongoing strategy with Valorant. Like Blizzard did with Overwatch, Riot is betting that a constantly expanding character mix will keep its game fresh after the novelty of the core game wears out.

    Valorant’s latest agent will have you over the moon

    Astra, Valorant new agent, Episode II Act II

    © ONE Esports Astra, Valorant new agent, Episode II Act II

    A new controller agent has entered the Valorant meta.

    Valorant’s 15th agent is the Ghanaian Astra, a celestial space-punk heroine, who mobilizes cosmic energies to reshape battlefields as she wishes. This means that she is able to divide dangerous areas on the map  – at times fully – to steer enemies away, potentially leading her team to a landslide victory.Astral Form and her Stars

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    © Provided by One Esports

    If you’ve listened to Astra’s audio cues, you’ll know that it’s all about how you use her Stars. These dots of light, seen on maps where Astra is in play, cannot be destroyed by bullets or other agents’ abilities. 

    When Astra is ready to use any of her abilities, she goes into her Astral Form, which brings her to an otherworldly plane that showcases the entire map. Having said that, it is tantamount that you study all the current Valorant maps if you want to be an Astra main.

    Astra is given two Stars at the start of every round, and she can have up to five Stars in total. She can also recall misplaced Stars on the map, but these do not carry over to the next round the way unused Stars do. A Star costs 200 credits and does not disappear from where it is placed, unless recalled.

    Now that you understand the mechanics of her Stars, let’s go right into Astra’s abilities:Gravity Well

    © Provided by One Esports

    This ability, triggered using the C key, forms a literal blackhole where it’s placed. Astra’s Gravity Well pulls any nearby opponents and allies alike towards it, before it convulses and explodes in about 3-4 seconds. As a result, anyone caught in its effects is made vulnerable and will take extra damage.

    However, players who are caught in the Gravity Well will still be able to shoot. Their aim accuracy will still remain precise, so it is best to pair Gravity Well with a molly or any type of damaging ability. Astra’s Gravity Well ability can be used multiple times in the round, because it has a 12-second cooldown period.Nova Pulse

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    © Provided by One Esports

    Astra’s signature stun, called forth by the Q key, charges in 2 seconds at most before it strikes. It concusses all agents within its range, which will buy the user and their teammates time to rush in or out of an area when needed.

    Since Astra can drop her stars anywhere on the map, this can be used as an effective way to clear corners when on the attackers side. Astra can also use Nova Pulse to slow down rushes or pushes, while she’s on the defenders side. Nova Pulse can likewise be used multiple times during rounds, as – like the Gravity Well – it has a 12-second cooldown.Nebula / Dissipate

    a car on display

    © Provided by One Esports

    Astra’s smokes are quite unique. First off, her actual smoke ability – activated using the E hotkey – is called Nebula. Like Omen’s signature smoke, it envelopes a given space of the player’s choosing within a hollow dome which you can’t see into or out of for about 15 seconds. Where Omen’s smokes are a deep purple void, Astra’s match her own character design – a lighter, whimsical purple, and sunset hues of orange and glittering gold to reflect the vast heavens.

    Her alternate fake smoke activates when you hit the F key. Doing so dissolves any placed Star and returns it to Astra. After a slight 8-second delay, she can then drop it in a new location. We refer to the Dissipate action as a secondary smoke because it also briefly creates a fake, 2-second Nebula at the original location Astra retrieves it from. Cosmic Divide

    © Provided by One Esports

    Astra’s ultimate is charged after 7 kills, a notably higher number than what is required for other agents. Once in her Astral Form, you may then select two locations on the map which will act as ends for the summoned Cosmic Divide. Though players can pass through this large, imposing celestial wall, it also works to obscure vision, block bullets, and heavily dampen sound.So what does Astra bring to the competitive table?

    After playtesting her in Riot Games’ closed beta, we can say that Astra looks to be a viable agent in the upcoming meta. In fact, Astra has a shot at dethroning either Omen or Brimstone as Valorant’s top controller agent. This is because while her ability set fits the controller role, she also has the features of a sentinel and initiator.

    Astra is versatile on both offense and defense. On attack, her Gravity Well and Nova Pulse work best when she coordinates with her team. Similar to Skye and Breach, her abilities set her team up for success when used properly. 

    Meanwhile, on defense, Astra’s Stars placed around the map will force the enemy team to play more cautiously, because she can slow down the enemy’s push with her space-controlling abilities.

    Astra shines brightest when you pair her abilities with other agent abilities, like a molly or a flash, after she lands her Gravity Well or Nova Pulse. Additionally, her Cosmic Divide ultimate will make for intense entry plays and post-plant situations, because of its bulletproof and audio distortion effects.

    Interested in becoming an Astra main? You can check her out for yourself when Episode II Act II begins. 

    Valorant’s newest agent is Astra and she can divide the map in half

    Valorant agent Astra

    © Provided by TechRadar Valorant agent Astra

    A new agent is all set to grace Valorant who can harness the energies of the cosmos. Called Astra, the new agent hails from Uganda and is a controller. She is set to be the fifteenth agent to be introduced in the game by Epic Games. 

    She has been described in the lore as, “Agent Astra harnesses the energies of the cosmos to reshape battlefields to her whim. With full command of her astral form and talent for deep strategic foresight, she is always eons ahead of her enemies next move.”

    Astra’s abilities in the game are unusual to say the least. Her abilities revolve around placing Stars on the map, which are essentially small throwable projectiles which can be activated with different effects as and when the player chooses, but she has to phase into her astral form to place these Stars. Between the ability to place stars and her ultimate, she has five skills. 

    Astra has to go to Astral form in order to place Stars as well as use her ultimate which is only available when fully charged. Her ultimate ability is called Cosmic Divide which created a wall that goes through the whole map. This wall makes bullets impermeable and heavily dampens audio from the other side. 

    As for the Stars placed on the map, there are three different abilities that can be activated on them. The first among those is called Gravity Well which when activated pulls all players towards the center before exploding and leaving them in a Fragile state with lowered defenses.

    Next is Nova Pulse which charges up and then strikes, concussing all players in the vicinity. The third is Nebula which when activated transforms a Star into a Nebula which is essentially a smoke.

    These Stars can also be returned to the Astra user using the Dissipate skill which creates a temporary Nebula as a fake for the enemies. Astra is all set to go live on March 2 and we will witness how she changes the meta of the game.

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