Two main causes were identified.
VALORANT‘s competitive meta was shaken by the latest season, and changes were analyzed througouth the VCT LOCK//IN in February. Most interestingly, it seems that pros are switching back to the Phantom, and fans think they know why.
The international tournament lasted a month and gathered the best teams across four continents, showing a good look at what the meta looked like.
Among the data that caught the fans’ attention was the Phantom’s pick rate. Fans noticed it increased compared to previous tournaments, and they gave ideas of what was the cause.
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In a recent Reddit thread, many players gave several reasons why they thought the Phantom was gaining back its popularity to answer a user’s question.
The main idea fans had revolved around simultaneous changes that favored more close-ranged encounters.
While the Vandal and Phantom feature similar stats, their main difference lies in the range efficiency. The Vandal is more effective in medium-range fights (30 to 50 meters), while the Phantom’s decreases.
The causes were, according to top-voted comments, the addition of smokes in games due to double-controller meta, as well as the introduction of Lotus and its small choke points, and Split’s return in map pools.
“Chamber has largely left the meta. Without an agent that forces rapid fights and one hit headshots as much, the vandal lost some of its value,” added a user.
Another reason several fans mentioned was the feel of Phantom in LAN play. “Ive heard many pros say that the Phantom on LAN feels so much stronger than online. Something about the recoil control,” read a comment. It was confirmed by others in the thread.
This last cause is backed by the competitive ladder’s stats. While the change was noticed in the VCT LOCK//IN tournament, it didn’t translate to the Radiant games online. In Patch 5.07’s matches, the Vandal remains largely above the pack as the most popular weapon in the game.
It accounts for 50 percent of the matches’ total kills, while the Phantom still stagnates around 14 percent, as the second-most popular weapon in VALORANT, according to ValorBuff. Based on this number, a shift might not be forthcoming in online competitive play.