VALORANT Astra Guide – Key Smokes & Strategy to playing Astra effectively
The Ghanaian agent Astra is the latest Controller to enter the Valorant Protocol. She is the most complex Agent in the game, arguably also the strongest one.
Although she technically does fall into the Controller category, she’s much more than that. Due to the fact that all her abilities have different functions and potential impact, Astra feels like somewhat of a Controller/Sentinel/Initiator hybrid.
As a result of her dynamic abilities and strengths, Astra has had a lot of attention in the competitive scene. She is practically a must-have in any map other than Breeze and Icebox. Astra has stolen the thunder from OG smokers like Brimstone and Omen.
VALORANT Astra Strategy and Abilities Explained
Astra’s skill cap is very high, as she does not come easy to players who don’t like to be challenged. To master her, one requires a lot of discipline and practice, but also the ability to think and act swiftly in dire situations. She’s an ideal pick for players who like the slow-paced and strategic playstyle.
- Max Number of Stars: 4
- Cost: 1st one free, rest 150
Before we get into the nitty gritty details of her abilities and how to best make use of them, we need to talk about Astral Form. This is the very core of her kit. When entering Astral Form, Astra goes into a meditation-like stance, opening the entire map for you to choose where to place your stars.
Unlike other Agents, Astra is only limited by the amount of stars she has, not by her abilities themselves (they have cooldowns). Her stars are the only thing that can be bought in the shop and you can only trigger your abilities through those stars. You can have up to 4 stars per round, and use your them on any ability you wish. This means that you can use any one of your abilities for up to 4 times.
Since that is the case, it’s very important for a player to think ahead and be strategic about their decisions. It might not always be ideal to wait for cooldowns just so you can use one ability 3-4 times, but rather use a mix of abilities that compliment each other well.
If not already used to pop an ability, your stars can be recalled at any point of the round. With this in mind, you’re always able to play a bit of mind-games with your enemies.
Pro Tips for Astra to break opponents mental
The enemy never knows what the star might be there for, so you can use them as bait. They could be a late round smoke for a retake or they could be there to pop a gravity well in order to prevent a push onto a site. Enemies are likely to move out of the stars area of effect since they’re not looking to get pulled in or be concussed. So strategic placing of the stars will, more often than not, force enemies out of positions you want them to move out of. With any successful bait, you’re also always able to recall your star and make better use of it later on.
While attacking, placing stars on more than one site in the early stage of a round will make enemies uneasy since they cannot be sure where in fact you’re going to attack from. By doing so, you also ensure an easy rotate from one site to another, since you’ve already placed your stars accordingly and are ready to pop them when needed.
One thing to also take into consideration is that whenever you enter the Astral Form, your Agent becomes stationary. So If you don’t use all your stars pre-round, it’s best to not play aggressively and position yourself out of harm’s way.
- Pull duration: 3s
- Vulnerable duration: 5s
- Cooldown: 45s
Using a star, Astra activates a Gravity well that pulls any Agent (friend and foe) towards the centre before exploding, making anyone in its area vulnerable. When perfectly timed, pulling any number of enemies into its centre almost guarantees you one or more kills. Gravity Well works wonders on the defender side, especially when combined with her Nebula smoke.
For example, Smoking off the entrance of a site and placing a star right in front of it, ready to be activated as Gravity Well, will have a devastating effect on the enemy if they decide to push through the smoke.
It’s also quite effective in post-plant situations. You can place a star right on top of the spike and activate the Gravity Well once you hear them try to defuse.
Astra’s Gravity well is also a perfect tool to give you and your team an advantage in the early stage of the round. If you have a courageous Jett in your team that likes to start off strong or even if you’re a daredevil Astra yourself, Gravity Well has got your back!
When placing stars pre-round, the enemy cannot see the star for a brief moment after round start, which you can take advantage of in any quick peek-kill scenario.
Placing a star pre-round onto the entrance of B site (Haven) and activating Gravity Well right after the round start will pull any enemies that dared to peek and give you a huge advantage when coming from Mid Window.
- Charge time: 1s
- Concussion duration: 4s
- Cooldown: 45s
Use star to activate a Nova Pulse which, after a brief charge, detonates and concusses all players in its area.
You can use Nova Pulse to secure or push enemies out of key choke points for a safe entrance onto a site. Nova Pulse, much like all of Astra’s abilities, works like a charm when well thought out and combined with other abilities. Smoking off one angle then concussing enemies that might be peeking from another is key.
Gravity Well and Nova Pulse, in particular, perform very well together. Just stacking one star on top of another, pulling enemies and then concussing them while they’re unable to escape is a one way ticket to a round win.
This encourages players to think strategically and develop a sixth sense of where enemies might be if you want to make the best use of her abilities reactively.
Nebula / Dissipate
- Smoke Duration: 15s
- Dissipate duration: 1s
- Charges: 2
- Cooldown: 25s
Astra can use her stars to transform them into a Nebula (Smoke). You can cast up to two smokes at a time. Her smokes, much like Omen’s, are fairly large and are hollow inside. Smoke placements are vital, and unlike any other Controller, Astra is not limited by range. Whether you’re planning on rushing onto one site or faking it and rotating to another, Astra can cover any angle of any part of the map in a matter of seconds.
Dissipate allows her to recall her stars at any given moment. Upon calling back the star it will leave a fake Nebula for a brief moment that lasts for 2 seconds. This could also be used to fake an attack by making the enemy think you’re smoking a site.
- Cost: 7 ultimate points
- Activation time: 3s
- Duration: 20s
Astra can cast an infinite wall across the entire map, essentially splitting it into two halves. Once in Astral Form, use the Secondary Fire to select a location from which you can rotate the wall to your liking and then use Primary Fire to lock it into place and cast.
While her ultimate is active, players cannot see nor hear anything on the other side of the wall, but are able to freely walk through it. Bullets cannot penetrate her ultimate, but anyone is able to cast their utility through it.
Cosmic Divide can be very helpful when the enemy is pressuring you from multiple sides or while retaking a site. It’s especially powerful on the attacker side since it acts as a giant smoke that allows you to cut off the entirety of a site. If positioned correctly, you can leave out a small fraction where you can plant the spike and reposition safely. If enemies are aggressive enough, they can walk through it and kill you while you’re playing thus disabling your smokes and ultimate, so it’s always best to let someone else plant while you cover their back!
Head to the Astral Plane!
Astra is an Agent that’s unique in her own right. While some might find Astra’s high skill ceiling a bit intimidating, she’s still an excellent pick, even for players new to the game.
She’s the perfect agent for any creative soul that thrives when met with endless possibilities for them to make use of. She does require a lot of effort to master, but once you do, you’ll be able to make plays that are out of this world!