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VALORANT Map Analysis: Is the Game Defence Favoured?

Abhimannu Das
12/Jan/2021 06:36 am

Valorant might have a problem with its map balancing as all five maps seem to favor the defending side.
We broke down the stats of the top three teams in Asia, Europe and NA to find out if the community's feelings coincide with the esports scene.
The discrepancy in defenders' winrates can be attributed to abilities within Valorant and map design.

That has been a  lot of discussion on online forums discussing attacking being more difficult than defending in Valorant and we want to test the theory by breaking down competitive stats of some of the best teams in the world. Statistics are on the player base's side proving that all four maps that saw extensive play throughout Valorant’s Ignition Series and First Strike tournaments are defense favored. 

Defenders have a better K/DA than attacking teams by a noticeable margin and defensive round winrates are higher as well compared to that of attackers. But is that really surprising? Most maps in competitive games like CS:GO and Overwatch is usually split in terms of them being attack or defense favored. Most of Overwatch’s 2CP maps, for example, are difficult to breach into for not just uncoordinated ranked teams but also for professional players. But in Valorant’s case, the defense has a clear advantage across all maps. For the purposes of our analysis, we've used stats from thespike.gg. Statistics from showmatch events have not been included. 

North America

The top three teams in North America right now are Sentinels, 100 Thieves, and FaZe Clan. Here is how they performed in 2020. 

Sentinels

HLTV CS:GO Map BreakdownImage Credit: HLTV

If we compare Valorant’s maps with CS:GO or Rainbow Six Siege, we notice a glaring difference between Riot’s shooter and other games. Valorant offers an advantage to defenders across all five maps we have right now. But that is not the case in other games in order to make them more competitive.

Here are the possible reasons behind the discrepancies: 

Map Balancing: Some sites in Valorant offer ample cover and let you defend more easily. In CS:GO there maps that clearly favor terrorists while others favor counter-terrorists. Cache, Cobblestone, Dust 2, and Vertigo are favored for CTs while Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Season, Train, and Tuscan are favored for terrorists. But such discrepancies are not seen in CS:GO with all maps generally favoring defenders. 

Abilities: Sentinels and Controllers are great at defending in Valorant but the same can be said for Initiators as well. Agents like Cypher who are designed to gather intel on enemies and push in offensively can also be used defensively for holding sites Agents like Jett and Phoenix are equally effective on offense and defense making defending just as effective as attacking, it not more. 

Not Enough Maps: There are just five maps in the game and Icebox, Valorant's newest entrant, has barely seen any playtime. The disparity between attackers and defenders may change over time if Riot decides to add maps to the game that favors attackers more. We may also get more agents that swing the meta into more offensive playstyles. 

Riot is known for its “50% win rate balancing” in League of Legends where they nerf anything that strays too far from a barely positive win rate. Defender’s advantage in Valorant may be attributed to map balance and agents. Riot can either release agents that are strictly better at attacking or introduce maps that are more attack-favored. The developers have promised a faster map rollout for 2021 and we can expect multiple map releases this year according to the Dev Diaries episode released on November 30th, 2020.  

RELATED:  Riot Teases Incoming Buffs to Brimstone “Very Soon”

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Abhimannu Dastwitter_link

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Abhimannu Das is a part of the content team at AFK Gaming and a lifelong obsessive gamer. He is covering content on esports titles like VALORANT, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG and more. He also writes opinion pieces, cover stories and conducts interviews with esports professionals.