On Feb 17, VALORANT released its newest patch of the year, patch 2.03.This patch includes big changes such as the new game mode, Escalation. There are also agent updates for Reyna, Yoru, Brimstone and Phoenix, that will hopefully balance out the field. Here is a look at those agents and what that might mean for their place in the meta.
Nerfing Reyna’s Reign
First off, this update is tackling the infamous and all-powerful Reyna. She has been running circles around her enemy teams for far too long. Instead of completely nerfing her though, this update calls for dual nerf and buff which attempts to balance her. This move intends to keep her competitive, but not as a destroyer of souls and rage creator.
Reyna has been a key figure by wreaking havoc especially in the pistol round. Before this patch, Reyna players were able to charge her leer ability, her soul orb ability, and also upgrade her pistol to a Frenzy. This patch increases the cost of Devour and Dismiss from 100 to 200. The increase in price stabilizes her power early rounds but keeps her viable. This is where the buff comes in. Reyna’s buff allows her to gather Soul Orbs from players she’s damaged, instead of by killing blows only. The buff counters the price increase to her abilities and also comes into play when teammates land the killing blow. Reyna players can fill up on Soul Orbs instead of anger now.
This is a strategy that has worked for VALORANT developers before. Reyna’s nerf seems to mirror Omen’s nerf in the last patch. Increasing the price of Omen’s Paranoia ability is more competitive as a controller pick against Brimstone. (Viper still needs reworking). The price increase on Reyna’s Devour and Dismiss limits the power of increased Soul Orbs that players gather now that Soul Orbs are obtained from damaging hits alone, rather than just the killing shot.
Yoru has also gained buffs to his abilities. When developers first released him, they did not expect to have to buff him. Developers suggested that Yoru’s abilities would be intimidating and seem almost too powerful before his release. Players and the development team noticed that Yoru was not a force to be reckoned with in comparison to other agents. The development team stated that, “While we investigate future changes to Yoru that target his power and ability to achieve his core promise, we wanted to make a few changes that we felt would improve his use today,” in their patch notes update.
First off, the minimap now shows the range that the tether can be seen by enemies while moving on the minimap. It will also show the range at which enemies are able to hear the audio of the Gatecrash teleport. Yoru players will be more successful when sending this ability out with this update. Previously, when Yoru players did not have this knowledge, the enemy team noticed Gatecrash easily. Gatecrash could easily give away his position and provide an easy kill for the enemy team. This new update for Gatecrash provides Yoru players more insight on how to direct the ability to a spot that can ambush and initiate a push to an enemy guarded site, rather than leave their team a player down.
Yoru’s Dimensional Drift is also being reworked. While in Dimensional Drift, Yoru’s minimap will be visible. Players will now be more aware of everything around them while using the ability. Enemies within Yoru’s vision range will also be revealed to ally minimaps while he is in Dimensional Drift. It will take the pressure off Yoru players as they previously had to relay this information to the team in real-time, while navigating through the map to get the best possible reconnaissance in a timely manner, without getting too close to enemy positions. By updating Dimensional Drift, Yoru’s information will be easily accessible to teammates. Players can now act right away with the information at hand, rather than waste time waiting for it all to be relayed back to them by their Yoru player. Dimensional Drift will now be on par with location revealers such as Sova’s Recon Bolt and Cypher’s Neural Theft.
Brimstone and Phoenix received smaller adjustments. Brimstone’s Incendiary and Phoenix’s Hot Hands in patch 2.03 will now have audio that is easier to hear when other sounds occur nearby. Their abilities’ sounds got lost in more active areas. The silenced caused a more surprising grenade launch or fireball. With the audio levels under control, hopefully, these abilities won’t get lost in active map areas.
Attention will mainly be on Reyna and Yoru this patch. Developers have hopes that their strategy with Reyna will counter the ease in which she has destroyed enemy teams. Will it be enough? Will adding information to minimaps of Yoru’s abilities make him a bigger contender against the rest of the initiators? Only time will tell.
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