Has Harbor flopped as a controller in the current Valorant meta?
Since the launch of the Indian origin character Harbor in Valorant, there has been quite a lot of discussion on the Agent. Firstly, due to the massive event that took place in the city of Mumbai by Riot to launch the character. Secondly could be his character model looking one of the best. Finally, it was the fact that the player currently has the lowest pick rate in the game.
While coming in as a substitute for Viper, it hasn’t been able to live up to that mantle. This in turn has led to not a lot of professional teams playing him in the game. With a lower pick rate than Yoru in the current meta, let’s take a look as to why the character is currently in quite the state of a pickle.
We are also looking at why a character like Chamber after multiple patches is still one of the most picked agents in Valorant. It was stated that in the new patch updates we can expect some more nerfs to Chamber in the upcoming future as well.
Harbor as a controller in Valorant
While looking at the abilities of Harbor we can see his main ability is Hide Tide which is a wall that can cover a lot of areas. While also being able to be curved in the manner the user wishes the wall to be. His smoke is unique in that it can protect one from bullets aimed at the smoke. Cascade is similar to a way which moves ahead and can be used to occupy space while also can be stopped by the user of the ability. Finally, we have his ultimate which is in the form of a pool of water. Opponents in the vicinity of the ability will be stunned while also their location being given out after each stuff.
In the eyes of the developers, they have gone for a controller with a pseudo-initiator vibe to his kit. Similar to Omen being a pseudo-Duelist and Viper being a pseudo-controller in-game. This approach has sadly taken backfire for the character as a whole. This is mainly because when compared to other controllers, he has no solo abilities. While omen has blinds and Viper has her poison mollie, Harbor has none. As such in a 1v1 situation, there isn’t an ability as such that can be used to trick the opponent. Each ability is catered to helping the team push into a site but not be able to take back the site during the post-plant.
Unlike a character like a Viper or even Brimstone, there are no lineups that one can have with Harbor. One part to also notice is that none of his normal abilities can damage or harm the opponent. unlike other controllers in the game
Paper Rex and Harbor
In the recent GXR Invitational that took place in India, Paper Rex was one of the invited teams.
In their game against BOOM Esports on Fracture, Paper Rex for the first time player with Harbor. Mindfreak was the bottom fragger he and he didn’t need to do much. The game ended with a score of 13-1. What could be seen during the game was that the Tidal Wave ability could cover either side with ease, blocking all possible entries into the site. On attack, the full potential of Harbor was on display. But on defence, it didn’t seem the best character to use.
In their game against Team Heretics from EMEA, they lost the map 13-6 with the Harbor comp. On defence Paper Rex lost every single round on the map. It could be seen that he needed another controller on his team. This is where the weakness of the character could be seen on an international stage. It would have been all but Paper Rex didn’t lose hope in the character and used him on Breeze. This was where one could see the true potential of Harbor on defence. During this Map, Paper Rex won 9 out of the 12 rounds on defence with mindfreak also getting a 3k to clutch the round.
Here’s a solid recap by Thinking Man’s Valorant:
The contrast between Chamber and Harbor
While this comparison in the eyes of many would not make sense, in a certain manner it does. Currently, Chamber is one of the most overpowered and mostpicked characters to play in the game.
Whenever I tend to pick Chamber it’s not because I know how to play him at his best, it’s because his playstyle is multi-dimensional. On some rounds, one can be aggressive and use an operator to get the first kill of the round. In others, one can sit back in their site and hold an angle to play off. While on attack one can play with him as a lurker as well.
This ability to use Chamber to use him in so many ways is the simple reason why he is so good in this game. With Harbor there is one style of play which is effective and that is to play with your team. The contrast between these two characters has led there to a massive difference in their pick rates in the game. While their roles according to the game are style similar and that is to keep control of a site. Chamber is quite superior in that role to Harbor who himself is the Controller in-game.
Other than a cloud of smoke or the wall there is no way for Harbor to be able to stop a push by the opponent team. If someone decides to pass through the wall, the secondary effect isn’t even long enough to give the advantage to Harbor. These are some of the issues the developers of the game need to keep in mind.
While already having discussed the nerfs that have come to Chamber in the previous patches. It has still led the character to still be one with the highest pick rate in the game. With updates to both Cypher as well as Killjoy, Chamber is still the best sentinel one can use in the game currently. Within the recent patch notes that were put out by Valorant, there was a bit of a hint given.
While talking about the buffs to Cypher. There was also a mention of the upcoming nerfs to the chamber that is said to take place. In the eyes of many, it could lead there to be a nerf to the working of his ultimate as well as the head hunter. While some believe it’s going to be about the price of all his utilities in the game.
In our opinion, I believe the animation time for the ultimate will be a bit longer within Valorant. This will make it slower than a marshal but faster than an Operator. Secondly, the animation time of the teleport will be longer as well. This will allow Chamber to not have a “Get out of Jail Free Card” when he misses a shot. The main aspect about Chamber as stated above is how easily multiple styles suit him. While in the future we do expect to see him get a boost about the alarm Bot as well.
It depends on Valorant if they wish to make sure that the overlapping abilities are as balanced as it can be. Before the Valorant League begins in Brazil.