Skip to main content
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Meet Astra, ‘Valorant’s’ galaxy brain new agent coming in Act 2

“Valorant’s” developers promised a “galaxy brain” new agent, and they have delivered. Astra, a Ghanaian controller agent whose aesthetic is inspired by Afrofuturism, brings a kit and perspective that feel wholly distinct from anything available in the game right now.

Astra’s abilities work differently from those of most other agents — with the exception of Omen’s smokes. In the buy screen, the agent can purchase nodes; by pressing the X/ult button, Astra enters an interface in which she hovers over the map to place the nodes. During the game, these nodes can be retracted by the agent (with a cool-down before they can be redeployed) or triggered to do one of the following abilities:

  • Gravity well: This ability pulls in players within its radius after which it explodes, adding a weakening debuff to the players caught in the blast.
  • Nova pulse: This ability, when activated, charges briefly and then concusses players caught in its radius.
  • Nebula: This is a smoke ability. These smokes function similarly to Omen’s — as opposed to, say, Brimstone’s — as the smokes themselves are hollow on the inside.
  • Cosmic Divide: Astra’s ult, like all of her utility, is triggered through the hovering map interface. Cosmic divide creates a massive barrier, placed by the player, that dampens audio and blocks bullets. The barrier can be walked through.

Astra goes live March 2 alongside the new Act 2 battle pass. Information about the agent, who was set to be formally announced on Sunday, leaked in advance of the planned release.

Smoke abilities have become an essential part of a standard team composition in “Valorant,” and Astra looks to be the most strategy-oriented and unique agent with smoke abilities in the game.

“With Astra, we wanted to make a controller that was thinking about the whole map,” said Jordan “Riot Wrekz” Anton, a designer at Riot Games. “Her global presence was there right from the beginning. From there, the fine-tuning was in finding the right abilities to balance predicting enemies’ actions and reacting to changing game circumstances. … We wanted her skill expression to be about gathering information and turning that into a plan, where the execution phase is less about precisely targeting a grenade throw and more about seeing if your read on the enemy came together how you hoped.”

G2 were the kings of Valorant esports. What happened?

The other two most prominent controllers with smoke abilities — Brimstone and Omen — have been tweaked in recent months. Omen’s utility was made more expensive, and changes to Brimstone were aimed at making him a less onerous choice.

The new Act also comes with an updated battle pass, offering rewards in exchange for experience points gained during play. The new battle pass will cost $10, though some of the items on it will be available free, similar to previous passes. Three new skin sets can be obtained via the battle pass, including a new set of Prism skins — a redux of the purchasable Prism skin line that launched early in the game’s life cycle. The pass will also include player cards, gun buddies, titles and sprays.

Read more:

unive, captain of ‘Valorant’ champions 100 Thieves, has some advice for the pros

Icebox, ‘Valorant’s’ fifth and newest map, is a test for both players and Riot

Meet Yoru, the new agent arriving in ‘Valorant’ Episode 2