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VALORANT: How Do the Pros Play Astra?

VALORANT: How Do the Pros Play Astra?
Image Credit: Riot Games
Written by: BigTime

Next up in our series of pro guides is Astra. Since her introduction in early March of 2021, she’s made a big splash in the pro scene. Let’s look at her champions pick-rates.



















Astra’s pick rate is insanely high with her total only being brought down by the fact that she isn’t used on Breeze or Icebox. She’s the go-to choice of controller on most maps right now so let’s break down how the pro’s use her.



How Does She Fit the Meta?

The biggest point to talk about here is quite simple. Flexibility and versatility. The current meta is very utility-driven, often calling for two initiators. We also see a lot of stall and control alongside this to avoid just getting flatted by quick plays where the wealth of utility won’t be able to be effective.

Astra is so meta right now because she actively contributes on both fronts. She has so much utility, and because of the star mechanic, it is so versatile. Astra’s utility is also naturally easy to use on the defender side. She’s great at holding the opponents at choke points and forcing them to think before they just rush a site.

The reason that she doesn’t have any picks on Breeze or Icebox is that these maps are entirely dominated by Viper. She can block off the wide-open spaces on these maps that Astra just can’t do, so I wouldn’t expect to see her picked on these maps any time soon.




GRAVITY WELL: This is easily Asta’s strongest, and most important ability. Using gravity well correctly is what will define you as a good Astra player. This ability will suck in any player towards the centre of the gravity well and make those caught in it vulnerable. This is one of the best punishment tools in the game when combined with competent teammates who can react quickly to your utility. Use this to clear corners, punish peeks, cancel the defuse and just about everything else you could imagine. This ability is fantastic but very tough to master. Expect it to take some time before you fully understand its uses and positions

NOVA PULSE: Nova pulse is similar to gravity well in a lot of ways. It punishes positioning in a very similar way just instead of pulling the opponent it stuns them instead. While stunning is a great mechanic, it’s just not as powerful as the repositioning of gravity well. We see this mostly used when gravity well is on cooldown and to try and force a peek from the opposition.

NEBULA: This is Astra’s smoke and the key to her being a controller. Overall her smokes are pretty good even though they like size comparatively. The most unique part of this is that you can potentially have 5 smokes in a round if you wanted to, meaning you can always have one ready in a pinch.

COSMIC DIVIDE: Cosmic Divide is Astra’s ultimate. It’s essentially a huge viper wall extending all the way to the sky and can’t be shot through. On the attacker side, we see this used in the execute or to secure the space in a post plant. It creates a hard divide that can be tricky for defenders to work around. On the defender side, this ultimate is best used in a retake or holding control of key areas of the map (i.e walling off a site if time is running low for the attackers).



ASTRAL FORM: So this is essentially Astra’s signature ability. She goes to the astral plane and you place your stars that are then activated by your abilities. It’s important to be very safe about when you choose to place your stars as you can’t see or hear anything whilst you’re doing so. With time you’ll quickly become more proficient at placing your stars quickly and accurately.


DISSIPATE: So dissipate isn’t really an ability but it’s worth discussing. When you recall a star, a nebula will form for a couple of seconds and will then disappear. This is essentially an endless piece of free utility and you should take every advantage of it. Use this instead of a proper smoke if a shorter duration will suffice e.g smoking the cross or covering a killjoy turret for example.

Now it’s time to look at her pros and cons.




✓ Really strong stall

☓ Small smoke size is problematic

✓ Flexible utility

☓ Mediocre ultimate

✓ Strong post-plant

☓ Often can be telegraphing unless smart

✓ An infinite range of usefulness



Playing Astra

When playing Astra it’s important to remember the golden rule of playing smokes (on attack). DON’T DIE BEFORE THE EXECUTE. You should be taking the least amount of risks as without you and your smokes, getting onto a site is extremely difficult. When you’re defaulting make sure that you’re in one of the safer positions and it’s important to not over agress.

The thing that set’s Astra apart from the other controllers is her ability to be helpful from literally anywhere. This should be very much at the front of your mind whilst playing her as teammates will be constantly asking for help and you have to make sure you’re in a position to do so.

Also on the attack, once the spike is down, don’t be afraid to play a proper post-plant. Astra’s utility is so strong here as it can drag defenders off the bomb, make them vulnerable and then stun them. Particularly in a 1v1, don’t be afraid to lean on this utility to get the job done.

Astra is also great at lurking. This cross-map usefulness should definitely be put into use on the attacker side you should attempt to lurk a fair amount. It can be tricky at first to balance helping the team and making a solo play but this will become much easier over time and your lurks will become much more effective.

On the defender side, most of your job is about stalling. Try to prevent the execute by smoking off the entrances when there is noise and most importantly back that up with an extra star where possible. This will allow you to gravity well or stun when the attackers are actually entering the site giving you a big advantage.

It’s definitely worth working on some setups that you understand so you can have your reactions planned and ready.



Players to watch

Since Astra is very meta right now, there is an abundance of strong players to study. My personal go-to recommendations for players looking to learn Astra are Avova and Zombs. Both are very much top-level professionals who excel on this agent. When studying these pros, make sure to watch their movement, positioning and utility usage as these are far and away the most important parts to study. Watch how they are appropriately passive when they need to be and understand the value of their life.


To conclude, Astra is incredibly strong right now and far and away the most meta smoker for now. A strong Astra player will always be in demand at every level of VALORANT. Focus on perfecting your utility usage as this will be the key to your success.





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