VALORANT Agent Guide: Sova - The Reconnaissance Initiator
Sun 28th Jun 2020 - 1:09pm
Sova is one of the most versatile agents in VALORANT. When used correctly, his kit can offer great information to his team. He can peel enemies from any site and grab a critical pick without even peeking to open up the map for his team. In this guide, we will go over Sova’s abilities, his strengths and weaknesses, as well as some tips and tricks to find your footing.
One of Sova’s greatest strengths outside of his gameplay is how balanced his kit is in the eyes of Riot Games. While the visual changes have made Sova look much more polished, Sova’s abilities and costs haven't been tweaked a single time since the official release of VALORANT.
His utility and damage are very fair, and the costs and cooldowns on his abilities represent how valuable the information and vision Sova can provide to his team are. As a Sova main, I can outright tell you this has been a huge factor that has made Sova’s challenging kit much easier to learn. Without constant changes to his kit, it is much easier to learn Sova’s abilities, when to use them, and the win conditions they provide for his team. Let’s hop into Sova’s abilities.
300 Credits - 1 Charge
“EQUIP an owl drone. FIRE to deploy and take control of movement of the drone. While in control of the drone, FIRE to shoot a marking dart. This dart will reveal the location of any player struck by the dart.”
Sova’s Owl Drone is extremely useful, and can be used in a few ways. The most common use is to scout out initial vision without needing to peek. Owl Drone has three key areas to pay attention to while flying it around: A health bar, found on the left side, the battery life, found at the bottom, and the ammunition on the right.
While controlling the drone, Sova will be locked in place, unable to move until you choose to stop using the drone, it gets shot, or the battery runs out. Keep this in mind when using Owl Drone, and make it a priority to find a safe area to deploy it beforehand. In addition, even though you will automatically swap to the weapon you were holding prior to using the drone, there is a small delay between using Owl Drone and when Sova can begin firing again.
The drone can shoot out two darts in its lifespan, but you will rarely have a chance to shoot more than one vision dart before the enemy team shoots your drone down. To help you, Owl Drone has a small, but forgiving area-of-effect when the dart is shot out. However, it will only tag and reveal one enemy.
Pair Owl Drone with duelists such as Jett, Phoenix, Raze, and Reyna, and you have yourself an effective engagement tool as well. Have them follow just slightly behind when your drone peeks a corner; this quick but effective tactic will often catch your opponents off guard, allowing your teammate to quickly kill them while they are focusing on taking down your drone.
100 Credits - 2 Charges
“EQUIP a bow with a shock bolt. FIRE to send the explosive bolt forward, detonating upon collision and damaging players nearby. HOLD FIRE to extend the range of the projectile. ALTERNATE FIRE to add up to two bounces to this arrow.”
Shock Bolt is an important part of Sova’s kit that often is used incorrectly to the detriment of the person playing him. The main uses for this ability are to peel off enemies trying to push you, to flush enemies out of cubbies and corners, and in niche situations to try and secure a kill.
When the enemy team grabs an early pick or two while you are defending, there will be a mismatch of players defending each site compared to the number of enemies that will be pushing up to plant. In a situation like this, Sova can use Shock Bolt to effectively hold off a push and deal a bit of damage for a short amount of time while your teammates rotate to the site.
There are many sites in VALORANT maps where you will need to 50/50 peek to get a plant or defuse off. Luckily, Shock Bolt can help your team feel a bit more confident about these situations. Changing the bounces and sending bolts into areas where enemies normally hide can do some good damage or flush them out, forcing them to fight your team. If you use both of your Shock Bolts in a corner but don’t kill anyone with them, don’t just assume nobody is there. It is very tough to fully kill enemies with this ability, and it isn’t hard to juke most of the damage these bolts can do without compromising your position.
The largest mistake Sova players make with Shock Bolt is using the ability as a substitute in many situations for a gun. Only use Shock Bolt in situations where you are preemptively holding off a push or are trying to flush an enemy out. Niche situations where Shock Bolt at times should be used with the purpose of damaging enemies for a kill are in pistol rounds from a safe distance, or when you absolutely know the opponent is damaged enough to die from Shock Bolt’s area-of-effect while they are out of vision from a gun being able to finish off the kill. Niche situations are niche for a reason, so make sure to use good judgement when deciding to use this ability.
Signature Ability - 35s Cooldown
“EQUIP a bow with recon bolt. FIRE to send the recon bolt forward, activating upon collision and revealing the location of nearby enemies caught in the line of sight of the bolt. Enemies can destroy this bolt. HOLD FIRE to extend the range of the projectile. ALTERNATE FIRE to add up to two bounces to this arrow.”
There are a plethora of articles, videos, and websites out there to help you become familiar with effective Recon Bolt locations. Two of them I would suggest taking a look at would be another Dignitas article you can find here, and the location helper created by Blitz here.
But at the end of the day, practice makes perfect. If you want to get really good with Sova, you need to practice, practice, practice until you understand the correct times and places to use your signature ability effectively. By doing this, you will not only memorize the key locations that work best, you will also learn how to improvise with Recon Bolt in situations where you need to use the ability but don’t have a memorized routine.
Another thing to note with Recon Bolt is to learn how to be unpredictable with the ability. And this isn’t just advice for Sova; you should be mindful of this with every agent you play, or else your abilities can actually be tools for the enemy team to know exactly where you and your team are. If you use Recon Bolt on the site you are about to push every single time, the enemy team will quickly catch onto this in higher ranks. This happens all the time in my current rank of Diamond, but players often start to catch onto these things in Gold elo.
The same goes for Recon Bolt placement. Learn a few areas on each site that gives you a good amount of vision but isn’t so predictable that the enemies destroy the bolt before you get the information you need. In addition, using Recon Bolt to bait enemies to a different site can be very effective. There are many spots on each map where you can send a Recon Bolt from one site to another, confusing the enemies as to where you really are.
Ultimate Ability - 7 Ultimate Points
“EQUIP a bow with three long-range, wall-piercing energy blasts. FIRE to release an energy blast in a line in front of Sova, dealing damage and revealing the location of enemies caught in the line. This ability can be RE-USED up to two more times while the ability timer is active.”
Hunter’s Fury costs Sova 7 ultimate points, a pricier ultimate among VALORANT agents, but the price sure packs a big weapon. Hunter’s Fury gives Sova a short amount of time to charge and shoot 3 blasts that do 80 damage per shot to all enemies caught in its path.
Find any enemies with your Owl Drone or Recon Bolt? The key to using Hunter’s Fury is to pair it with the vision Sova’s kit offers to him. After tagging an enemy with one shot, it will light them up, letting Sova know where they are before taking the next shot, indicating that you tagged them for 80 damage.
This ultimate is not too hard to dodge if you know how to move correctly against it, so make sure to be as precise as possible when using Hunter’s Fury. You are free to move your bow around in Hunter’s Fury, but the moment you start to charge up a shot, you can only move your crosshair around ever so slightly to accommodate enemies trying to juke you out.
The difference between someone who is good with Sova’s ultimate and someone who is great is what they can do with the extra charge or two after killing the opponent(s) they initially set out to kill. One major factor is game sense, which you will pick up more and more of as you continue to play VALORANT, but the other is how to effectively use the minimap for information during an ultimate.
While in Hunter’s Fury, there is an extremely helpful line drawn on your map to show the exact area-of-effect your shots will cover. Use this to shoot your remaining charges into common areas enemies you have not yet seen may be hiding. In addition, paying attention to the map allows you to see any question marks that pop up when an enemy is seen by your teammates. This is a dead giveaway to help you tag or even kill another 1-4 enemies after getting that initial kill.
While Sova is one of the more challenging agents to learn and play effectively, he is a ton of fun once you get his playstyle down, and has a high skill ceiling to continue to work towards. Hopefully this guide helped you all learn a thing or two that you can apply to your own gameplay. Best of luck with the ranked grind!