Icebox will Replace Haven from the VALORANT Competitive Map Pool in Episode 8 Act I

Mehraj Mahdin
By Mehraj Mahdin
3 Min Read
Credit: Riot Games

The VALORANT competitive map pool is set for a shakeup as the game approaches a new Episode.

VALORANT is Riot Gaming’s competitor for Valve’s long-running Counter-Strike 2. Within a relatively short time, it has become a favorite among gamers for both its tactical depth and colorful visuals. The constant updates to the game have kept the experience fresh, and VALORANT’s upcoming map pool rotation is no different.

During the introduction of a new episode, the map pool changes in VALORANT from a pool of 10 maps. The game still lacks a feature to choose which maps to play in competitively, but in the professional scene, a singular map change can dictate the new season for a lot of teams.

Read More: VALORANT Rank Distribution (January 2024)

VALORANT Map Pool Changes

With episode 8 right around the corner, VALORANT’s official account on Twitter/X posted that Icebox will be returning to the map pool, replacing the long-standing map, Haven.

Haven has been a part of the competitive pool since the game was released back in 2020. It was the first map to implement a 3-site concept. One of the most unique and unorthodox maps will be leaving the rotation, and Icebox will return, following some sort of changes.

The Flaws with Haven

VALORANT released with every map having a signature feature. From ziplines and teleporters, each map had its own calling card. Haven was the first map to have 3 sites for attackers.

Haven Map Layout
Haven Map Layout

While in theory, it meant that defenders had to be stretched thin, the games were not as simple as that. The rotations were tedious but attackers had to spend a lot of utility just clearing the many angles, making fakes really difficult. The many flank angles were also not a good time. All in all, rounds on Haven became relatively one-dimensional.

What to Expect from New Icebox

Icebox had its own issues that needed to be addressed. The map felt very one-dimensional, with the attackers only ever preferring one site for the entire half. There are few mid-round rotation options, forcing the team to commit to a site from the start of the round. Players also don’t prefer the same meta agents on the map every time. Hopefully, the developers have made enough modifications to the map to allow for diverse strategies and compositions.

Icebox Map Layout
Icebox Map Layout

With Icebox returning, players can hope that Riot adds some different ways to approach the map for both sides. The map has the potential to be a fan favorite once again.

Read More: Everything Confirmed with VALORANT Episode 8 Act 1

Mehraj is an FPS writer at GameRiv. He is an Esports Enthusiast and studying Finance in his senior year. He is also an active professional CS:GO player, having a particular affinity for FPS and RTS titles