Riot Games promised map balance changes in Episode 4 Act II, and it’s delivering exactly that. Valorant patch 4.04 introduces a massive rework to Icebox that completely changes how you attack and defend on the map, particularly on B site.
The new Icebox changes are similar to what was previously uncovered by Valorant data miners. Riot worked on eliminating what map designer Joey Simas called “problem spaces”, making it overall easier for attackers to clear angles while still giving defenders more options to play with.
For instance, attackers have always favored A site on Icebox since they had to funnel through an overly narrow corridor to get onto B site.
All the Icebox changes in Valorant patch 4.04
- Doorway from attacker spawn building near Green moved to the first cubby
- Green lane is now slightly wider
- Pocket in Green lane near Yellow is bigger
Riot moved the doorway that opens onto B Green into the first cubby. This gives attackers a new way to approach B Green, instead of being forced to enter from two adjacent positions.
On top of that, Green lane was widened to make moving through it more comfortable, so attackers now have more space to play in.
The second pocket near Yellow was extended as well to give attackers a clearer line of sight to B site and Snowman.
- Angle of yellow container was adjusted and a new stack of wooden crates added
- Lower container on site removed and replaced with a cubby facing Green
- Distance between the crane structure and the outerwall on B site reduced
- The building by Snowman is now closed off
B site itself also received a major overhaul. The angle of Yellow container was adjusted, and a new stack of wall-bangable crates was added. This gives attackers more positions to play with during post-plant situations, instead of simply hiding behind Yellow or waiting for defenders to push B Green.
At the same time, defenders may not give up Yellow as easily. Previously, the 45-degree angle meant that there wasn’t a lot of cover to hide behind in the face of an aggressive push down B Green.
On B site, the lower container has been removed and replaced by a cubby facing B Green. The plant zone has also been widened to encourage more spike plant diversity. Attackers can even plant on the bridge between Kitchen and the upper container.
The doorway on the upper container has been repositioned and widened too. This gives defenders a better position to hold, helping them spot and fend off attackers coming from B Green.
The crane structure beside Danger now sits closer to B site as well. This allows more controllers to use their smokes without having to worry about gaps, so they can block off vision more effectively.
Prior to the change, Viper’s Toxic Screen was the only smoke that could cover the area without any gaps.
The developers also closed off the small building next to Snowman. This provides more cover for attackers, encouraging them to push further into B site and control more space. The change is also intended to make it more difficult for defenders rotating from A site to set up a B site retake.
Before this, attackers generally didn’t push into Snowman because it exposed them to anyone rotating from Kitchen or A site.
- Back wall in Kitchen adjusted
- Double-stacked metal crate added to Orange
- Boiler ramp simplified and slightly narrowed
The Icebox changes to Mid include tweaks to Kitchen, where the back wall was shortened.
Outside of Kitchen, the developers added a metal double-stacked crate to Mid Orange that blocks the line of sight from under tube to Danger.
The major rework in Mid involves Boiler. Riot narrowed the platform to allow smokes to fully cover Boiler, so attackers don’t have to worry about being peeked from Boiler if it is smoked off. The ramp was also narrowed and moved closer to Kitchen, making head peeks more predictable.
- Crate added to A site
- Head peek angle on attacker side removed
- Lowered Screens doorway into A site
On A site, defenders now have new options to isolate attackers. Riot upgraded the half-box to a full-height crate to give defenders some extra space to anchor the site.
They also removed the standing platform on the attackers’ side of Pipes, denying attackers vision to the back of A site. The doorway to A site at Screens has also been lowered to prevent attackers from shooting defenders rotating from Mid or B site.
These extensive Icebox changes go a long way toward making the map feel more balanced. Attackers have more options when approaching B site, and defenders have a better chance of holding down A site with fewer angles to watch and more positions to work with.
The rework also allows teams to experiment with different agent compositions, as Viper and Sage are no longer necessary picks.
Aside from the Icebox changes, Valorant patch 4.04 includes agent updates to balance the game’s controllers, as well as the long-awaited Yoru rework.
See the full Icebox changes and notes for Valorant patch 4.04 here.