It’s been almost nine months since VALORANT’s last competitive map pool change, but next year, the player base might be headed back to the frigid temperatures of Russia on Alpha Earth.
According to popular VALORANT leaker ValorLeaks, the competitive map pool could be shifting once again at the start of Episode Eight, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. This new episode may be marked by the departure of Haven, while the supposed map replacing it in the rotation is Icebox.
Icebox was removed from the competitive map rotation back in April when Patch 6.08 dropped, with Bind taking its place instead. Players were split on the decision when it was announced, with some complaining that it needed too many adjustments to stay active, while others were content with how the map played.
ValorLeaks did note that Icebox’s return could be replaced with another map out of the competitive rotation, such as Pearl and Fracture. But Icebox has spent the most time out of the competitive map lineup, which suggests it might finally be getting its time in the spotlight alongside the other popular picks in the game.
Haven, on the other hand, has been a staple map in VALORANT’s rotation since the game’s debut and has never been removed from the competitive map pool. Haven and Ascent are the two maps to remain in the rotation since the start, but this short list could become even shorter by 2024.
It also isn’t known if Riot has made significant adjustments to Icebox, in a similar way that the devs made sweeping changes to Breeze before bringing it back for competitive play. There could be more news around the supposed map rotation changes and possible Icebox changes as the new year rolls around.