As a sworn controller main, I was stoked when Riot dropped a water bender who spoke my language. I was all in, rooting for this guy to dominate, but after forcing him on my teammates for five months during my FPS game adventures, I had to wave the white flag. It’s a shame to say it, but Harbor has got to be the biggest flop in Valorant controller history.
Remember Valorant patch 2.06? That update changed everything for controllers. Viper spent about four acts on the sidelines because her toolkit had nothing of substance, but then Riot put the work in, bringing her to the top of the pick rate chart. The 2.06 buff was a turning point for controller mains, and it seems history is repeating itself.
Five months after his launch, Harbor is a D-tier agent at max. With no niche and specialty, the water-bender is following in the footsteps of Viper. Except, his abilities are much trickier to buff. In his current form, Harbor is useless – maybe even worse than pre-2.06 Viper.
What exactly is wrong with Harbor?
Each Valorant agent specializes in something. Players pick Reyna for self-sufficiency, Raze for movement tactics, and Gekko for Wingman. So why would anyone choose Harbor over Viper – or any other controller for that matter. Anyone can do what Harbor can, and that’s the issue.
The true purpose of a controller is to slow down enemies and help spur on an attack, two things that Harbor’s toolkit is just not cut out for. Omen, Brimstone, Astra, Viper; everyone else can slow down enemy movement; why not Harbor? He isn’t equipped with even a single ability that effectively does the job. His Cove is not quite a smoke, so while players initially called him a hybrid, his pick rate wouldn’t look so bad if he were one.
Harbor’s Cascade stays up for seven seconds and can only be used once in a single round. Sure, he can bend it to will, but the slow effect barely benefits anyone in the long-range duels. Comparatively, Viper’s Toxic Screen sticks for 15 seconds and can be reused again after an eight second cool down. It also deals decoy damage, which is valuable at all duel ranges.
Harbor was added to the roster without a smoke, and it didn’t seem like an issue back then. But a controller needs a smoke; Harbor’s declining popularity proves it. As a hybrid, his toolkit doesn’t contribute much to the game. Even a single Viper-like smoke could be Harbor’s much-needed saving grace.
Riot could easily make Harbor a viable pick by adding a stun or slippery slope of water instead of Cascade to his toolkit. The mobile wall helps create new angles, but it’s nothing to write home about. Finally, his Reckoning is the most underwhelming ultimate in Valorant. In a rushed battlefield, nobody has time to look for ethereal wisps, and the resulting concuss is way too slow.
Harbor is a tough agent to buff
Harbor is no longer a new agent, so there’s no way to defend his low pick rate. In competitive Valorant, only 1.1% of players play Harbor. Even Gekko’s pick rate is higher than his, and he’s barely competed a month. The stats show that Harbor is the worst agent in the current Valorant meta, and there’s little Riot can do about it.
When Viper was struggling, all players had the same idea: Just add some more poison to her Toxic Screen. So Riot significantly buffed the decay in smoke and the hitbox of the wall, and voila! You got a top-tier controller. Viper was simple, but Harbor’s toolkit is different. Even with Riot’s efforts to buff him, Harbor may still end up in the D-tier, similar to Yoru.
Harbor doesn’t deal damage at all. His toolkit slows, and it’s highly unlikely that boosting the slow would convince players to pick him again. Cascade is also a simple ability that doesn’t do much besides creating angles. His Cove could get a boost in health, but that can be too risky and break Valorant’s skill cycle. His Reckoning, however, could use some work by changing how wisps operate.
Harbor didn’t quite hit the mark, but Gekko broke the new agent curse in Valorant. It’s worth trying out the latest Valorant character (or any agent other than Harbor for that matter), but if India’s finest thief has stolen your heart, then maybe lock in one of the best Valorant crosshairs to make things a little easier.