Exploring Valorant's Map Updates: What's Changed in 2023?

No one can deny that Valorant is as fast-growing as it is dynamic. Speaking of dynamic, there's the matter of maps. After all, they are a big part of whatever strategies are going to be used to either detonate or defuse the spike.

In this article, we take a quick look at what 2023 brought to the table to help you understand what the current state of the maps looks like.

Map Rotation Changes

As of the time of writing, the current map pool for your ranked and unrated modes will include the following:

  1. Ascent
  2. Bind
  3. Fracture
  4. Haven
  5. Lotus
  6. Pearl
  7. Split

That means Icebox and Breeze are currently sitting things out. There's also the range, but considering it's for practice purposes, we don't technically count it as part of the rotation.

Honorable mentions also go out to District, kasbah, and Piazza, which are the three maps introduced with the new Team Deathmatch mode.

A Quick Word on the Current Maps?

Considering any coaching or labbing approach will have you learning the nuances of the maps, let's briefly talk about our current rotation:

  • Ascent is one of the more challenging maps, but controlling the Mid area is where you're going to be winning the game. After all, the space is vast, and you're going to be reaching any spike site in no time. With all the choke points, attackers will have a bit more difficulty than defenders here.
  • While many will sing Ascent’s praises, Bind is regarded by many others as the best map in the game. The portals allow you to rotate spike sites in no time, making for some interesting strategies. Without them, it would be as plain a map as you could get.
  • Fracture is pretty unique, having A and B sites with short rear firing ranges and long frontal ones. Attackers will usually want a good Controller Smoker covering key defender spawn points, while defenders will be looking to stop their opponents at A-Main and A-Hall from onsite. It's also recommended to have someone defend A-Rope, ensuring that no one is coming from Door.
  • You're going to need to master your callouts if you want to do well on Haven, considering that the map boasts three spike sites. Mostly, there are two ways of entry regardless of which way you go, with short and wide angles to take advantage of. Unfortunately, there aren't the kind of callouts you would want for spike-planting ground locations, so like most players, you're going to have to improvise to get around that challenge.
  • Lotus is a new kid on the block, boasting three spike sites just as Haven does. Spawn barrier positioning is a big consideration here, meaning not too long after the round starts, you may find yourself in a firefight. It's a pretty retake-heavy location, with lurkers shining, so long as they're not making too much noise with the doors.
  • If you're playing on Pearl, expect to deal with long-range encounters, especially at the B site. Unfortunately, teamwork isn't enough to conquer things here, meaning you will need at least some lineups for your main agent if you're looking to come away with the W. As far as skills go, Smoke is probably the most optimal option you have.
  • Split is the final piece of the puzzle here, featuring three main bottlenecks that attackers must deal with if they wish to get to Mid, A, or B. The Mid bottleneck is probably the most crucial of the trial, allowing attackers to run away with things if they can take it.

Quality-of-life Updates

Riot is always trying to keep things smooth and fresh, which means that we've seen various quality-of-life updates across the patches we've gotten so far in 2023. For example, Pearl’s B site was seen as pretty problematic to hold as a defender, which led to changes such as the B- Ramp and B-Site screen adjustments.

As always, it's recommended that you have a look at the detailed balance patch notes and adjust your gameplay accordingly, especially if competitive play is in your future.

Ending It Here

That's going to be it for today. Of course, the best way to improve your skills on each map is to jump into the thick of things and learn through practice.