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While Valkyrie used to reign supreme over the Apex Legends player pick-rates, this latest season, Arsenal, has seen her drop to some of her lowest popularity since release.

According to Apex Legends Status, at the start of Season 16, Valkyrie’s pick-rate was at 5.123 percent. By the start of Season 17 on May 9, it was down to 4.85 percent, and it swiftly plummeted to 3.788 percent just a day later. Her pick-rate has barely gone over four percent since Season 17 started. 

Previous drops in the legend’s popularity with players have been largely due to balance shifts with her kit and abilities—like in Season 14: Hunted, when she saw many changes that were largely nerfs to her movement abilities. But with the addition of a new rare item this season, Valkyrie may have had her kit’s usefulness tanked pretty severely until more changes are made to the game in the future. 

Season 17 introduced a new survival item to the game called the Evac Tower. It’s a portable jump tower that allows squads to launch themselves skywards to make quick escapes, or sneakily set up aerial ambushes. While these towers are destructible, they do offer a decent replacement for Valk’s verticality and movement abilities—especially since they’re Rare, the second-most common item-type in the game.

One of Valkyrie’s tactical abilities and her ultimate are both focused on using her jetpack to move around a battlefield, or help her squad rotate to a new position on the map. This used to be huge for Valk teams, especially for professional players that used a more edge-based playstyle, but now with Evac Towers that utility seems a bit redundant.

There are usually two main type of playstyle when it comes to the circle in Apex Legends: Players can either try to land and stick within the safe area it provides all the way to the endgame (usually called “zone play”), or they can stay to the outside edges of the circle to flank and stay just within safety, typically looking for fights (“playing edge”). Many professional squads, like North America’s XSET, have previously relied on Valkyrie’s ultimate to execute both types of playstyle, either by using it early to get to where they think a game will end, or to drop onto a fight happening along the edge of the circle. 

The legend’s pick-rate tanking makes sense, then, as it almost seems like a waste of a legend slot when you can secure similar mobility with a fairly easy-to-find item.

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