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UKU
0

Icebox in VALORANT: How to Play

Zakaria Almughrabi

Of all of the maps in Valorant, Icebox is one of the most divisive. Ever since the map’s release in October 2020, players have had incredibly mixed opinions on how good or bad it is. Many cite the verticality and abundance of difficult to clear angles as issues that hold back Icebox. Valorant Patch 4.04 introduced new changes to the map aimed at solving some of these problems. Here is our updated guide on how to play Icebox in Valorant.

icebox valorant

Image Credit: Riot Games

Valorant: Icebox Map Layout

icebox valorant map

Image Credit: valorantmaps.wordpress.com

Icebox is a standard two-site map with a middle lane of traffic. Control of Mid allows for quick rotations from site to site. A long tube connects the attacker’s side of Mid to the back of the B site through a kitchen. You can also go underneath the tube to enter the side of the site for another point of attack. 

The defender’s side of Mid connects directly to the A site for quick access. They also have a raised platform to keep watch of the passageway. Without mid control, players on both sides must make long rotations through dangerous choke points to get to the other side of the map.

The A half of the Icebox map consists of an indoor factory-like area with plenty of crates and pipes for cover. The A site is in the back of the building and has a multiple elevated platforms surrounding it, including one in the center that can be accessed via zip line (and planted on). 

Icebox’s B half is an outdoor shipping yard. Giant crates make up the map geometry and provide crucial line-of-sight breaks. The B site is a small area overlooked by a shipping crate with a zip line beneath it. While there is some cover on the site itself, this side of the map is very open.

New Valorant Icebox Changes

To those familiar with the previous iteration of Icebox, don’t worry. Most of the changes to the Valorant Icebox map are small in scope and meant to make it easier to traverse and less daunting to clear. You can see a full list of them under the Icebox section of the 4.04 Patch Notes.

The most important change made to Icebox in Valorant that is the B site rework. First, the big yellow crate has been rotated from a 45-degree angle to being parallel with the site walls. A smaller box was also added to the side of it. This makes the space much easier to take and hold in post plant.

The B site itself had the open crate at the bottom removed. In its place is a solid block with a cubby that can be planted in. This change lowers the number of angles and height differences that need to be cleared while also providing some consistent cover. 

Other than that, adjustments were made to give attackers more cover in Mid. A single smoke can now block off Boiler, the raised defender platform at the top of Mid. The A site was also made safer for defenders. They now have more cover on site and one less attacker head glitch to worry about.

Team Building for Icebox in Valorant

Icebox is a map that relies heavily on utility and proper executes. Even the best players can have trouble running in on a Duelist without proper support. As such, Controllers and Sentinels are crucial on Icebox. Having two to three of these utility-oriented agents is not a bad idea. Omen, Viper, Chamber, Killjoy, and Sage are all great picks. 

If your team has enough control agents already, there are many other options. Sova can get tons of information with his Owl Drone and Recon Bolt, as well as target tight, frequently played locations with Shock Bolts and Hunter’s Fury. Jett is an amazing Duelist for Icebox since she can take advantage of the verticality of the map with her Updraft. Reyna and KAY/O are also fine because of their valuable flash support for executes.

How to Attack on Icebox

Playing attackers’ side on the Icebox map differs slightly from on other maps. Since most of your avenues into the map are through tight chokes and past multiple defender angles, solo lurking is much more difficult. Rotations are long and difficult when you lack mid control, so getting isolated on one side of the map away from your team is a very real problem.

Instead, try and stick with at least one other player at all times. Use your utility to set up for aggressive peeks and take map control together. Your goal at the start of rounds is to gain enough space to work your team into a staging position. Some ways to do that include:

  • Smoking Boiler to peek into Mid

icebox valorant peeking into mid

Image Credit: Riot Games

  • Flashing deeper into the A building

icebox valorant flash into A

Image Credit: Riot Games

  • Clearing close Green with information abilities

icebox valorant clearing close green

Image Credit: Riot Games

Once you’ve gotten some ground, its time to stage the site execute. Since your accessways to the sites are so narrow, there will likely be a need for lots of utility and trading. This means that the majority of your allies should be ready to make this hit happen. After you manage to clear towards the site, its time to set up for the plant. 

The A site is very big and has lots of corners to check. Make sure to flush out any defenders hiding on the site before you go for the plant. It is crucial that you keep control of as much of the A building as possible, since this will now force the defenders to break through chokes. This can be done with leftover post-plant utility and crossfires. Here are two examples: 

  • Sage wall on the lower defender site entrance

icebox valorant sage wall

Image Credit: Riot Games

  • Viper screen over the corner of the B site

icebox valorant viper screen

Image Credit: Riot Games

After everything is set up, its just a matter of locking your opponents out of their retake. If you lack numbers or favorable control of the site, making aggressive plays can be a good option. Peek with leftover flashes or push into the last smokes. And of course, make sure to play for time. Both sites on Icebox have some very favorable attacker plant spots that force defenders to clear deep, letting the spike get ever closer to exploding.

How to Defend on Icebox

Defense on Icebox in Valorant can be tricky when faced with a coordinated offense. Since the attackers are best off trying to put together multi-man plays and executes, its important to not be caught in no-man’s land when holding. If you commit yourself to a forward position without anyone to help bail you out, a single flashbang or recon ability could make you into easy pickings.

However, that’s not to say that you must play a passive defense. An example aggressive setup for Icebox involves one player anchoring A, one spotting Mid, and two to three players pushing up Green on the B side. By taking control of B garage, the defenders can essentially cut off half of the map. If you are the lone A or Mid player here, your job is simply to call if anything is pushing you and stay alive to stall a push.

icebox valorant B green

Try to get aggressive at the start of the round with utility and multiple players present. Image Credit: Riot Games

A much more standard defensive setup involves two players on A, two on B, and one either playing top Mid or Kitchen. The A players’ main goal is to hold within the site and stop a plant. If a fast play doesn’t come through, one player can rotate to help cover Mid or Kitchen.

The B players can choose to either double up Green to get some map control, or hold one person there passively while the other plays towards Orange and Mid. By helping your top Mid player get aggressive on the area, it relieves any pressure splitting your defense down the middle and allows for the fastest possible rotations between sites.

As for your defensive utility, Chamber’s Trademark and Killjoy’s Alarmbot are amazing when used in Tube and Kitchen. The small space and sharp corners make it so enemies moving through will always be known.

icebox valorant kitchen

Trap abilities are impossible to clear in Pipe and Kitchen without showing close presence. Image Credit: Riot Games

If the attackers do manage to make their way into a site, retaking can be a daunting task. At worst, you might find yourself completely locked out of the site building on A or being held at Snowman on B. When deciding how to go about retaking a site on Icebox, it’s important to take stock of your map control.

Being able to quickly rotate through Mid and get behind your opponents is a surefire way to gain an advantage in the retake. Since attackers will be utilizing heavy site hits, they likely won’t have players watching flanks right away. If you can, sneak in during these early windows and close the trap on your opposition.

If you don’t have the luxury of moving as you please, treat retakes it as you would an attackers’ side push, just from the opposite side. Use all your remaining utility to force a push with as many members synced up and trading as possible.

On Icebox A, make sure to clear out every nook and cranny on the site before attempting to defuse. If the spike is planted up in the center, you’ll need someone to hold you as there will likely be opponents on the opposite side high ground. The B site is slightly different in that once you’ve cracked your way into the site, the onus is on the attackers to maintain line-of-sight on the spike, as they will often play around Yellow in post.

Tips for Icebox in Valorant

Icebox is a unique map in Valorant due to its narrow corridors, abundance of verticality, and emphasis on a single teamwide execute. This map can easily trip up new players who are more used to a free-flowing game on maps like Haven, Bind, or Ascent. Here are some tips for learning how to play effectively on Icebox.

Practice crosshair placement

Unlike most maps which have very consistent positions for enemies to peek from, Icebox mixes that formula up by allowing for variety on the X, Y, and Z axes. It can be very hard to learn how to effectively clear the map, especially when angles like this exist:

icebox valorant crosshair placement

Image Credit: Riot Games

Go into deathmatch and try to find games on Icebox. Putting in reps on this map will do wonders for acclimating you to the harsh environment.

Utilize movement and surprise opponents

If crosshair placement and pre-aiming is already difficult on Icebox due to the map’s design, then we can use it to our advantage and become more elusive. Characters like Jett and Omen can use their vertical mobility to get on top of walls and shipping containers. Adding even more angles to worry about is sure to make things harder on your enemies. Also, change up the exact position you take every round. The last thing you want is to become predictable.

Plan in advance

As iterated above, Icebox is all about coordinating plays with your teammates to get the most map control possible. Setup time exists for a reason. Use it to talk about a play that you want to make off the bat. Even if its just pushing up on one side of the map for the Ultimate Orb, it still grants an advantage that can be the difference between winning or losing a round.

***

And that is our guide on how to play the Icebox map in Valorant! Despite it being a very different experience than other maps in the game, Icebox has a lot of nuances and gameplay patterns that can make it an enjoyable experience. Hopefully you’ve learned some ways that you can up your Icebox game.

Zakaria Almughrabi

Zakaria Almughrabi

Zakaria is a former professional TF2 player turned caster and analyst. He has had a passion for gaming and esports for years and hopes to use his skills and experience to convey why gaming is so great. His specialty games are League of Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros, and PUBG.

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