Riot Games has made a game that isn’t League of Legends. What? Valorant is their take on the never going to die classic FPS multiplayer genre. This tactical shooter is a bit of a safe bet for the studio. It’s not completely reinventing the wheel, but it’s not a bad thing. You’re going to find all the things you love about Counter-Strike mixed with the fun magic/chaos abilities of Overwatch. And it’s free to play.
Valorant has a roster of heroes and villains with backstories, drama, and their own completely valid reasons for shooting one another in the head. As expected each of Valorant’s eleven agents will have varying abilities that you may or may not like depending on your playstyle. Before the game comes out to play tomorrow you may want a peek at how each character works. Let’s get into it.
Before we introduce all the agents it’s important to understand just how character abilities work in Valorant. Instead of having access to several powerful abilities on short cooldowns, like in Overwatch, Valorant’s character abilities are more varied, and most of them have to be bought along with their weapons and armour. It starts off a bit more like a round of Counter-Strike where you purchase your loadout before the game. Each character’s “ultimate” even takes multiple rounds to recharge between uses.
Here’s a quick rundown of each type of ability characters have:
- Two purchasable abilities – Each character has two extra abilities that require charges bought from the store at the beginning of a round. Think of them like grenades in Counter-Strike, an optional item that gives you some extra utility in combat.
- One signature ability – This ability is automatically usable each round. How many times and how often you can use it varies between characters.
- One ultimate ability – This powerful ability requires multiple charges to use that are earned from kills or completing objectives (like defusing the bomb). It might take three rounds or more before you have enough charges to use yours.
Okay now that we’ve got that sorted here’s are the agents.
Just announced today, Reyna will be seen in action for the first time at Valorant’s launch tomorrow.
- Blinding – Cast an Orb that blinds enemies within the vicinity. Enemies can see and destroy the orb while blinding.
- Soul Catcher – Reyna’s health can regenerate to fill by absorbing life from Soul Orbs. Collect Soul Orbs from corpses that you kill.
- Signature Ability: Invulnerability – Reyna can temporarily become invulnerable to incoming damage, by using power from Soul Orbs. Collect Soul Orbs from corpses that you kill.
- Ultimate Ability: Sleight of Hand – Temporarily increases the rate of fire, decreases reload time and speeds up your skill usage.
Two of Reyna’s abilities rely on Soul Orbs, which only appear after players get a kill with her. The first of these abilities allows her to regenerate her health and shields to full by absorbing the life from Soul Orbs. The second ability appears to be her Signature, in which she becomes invulnerable for a while. It is also worth noting that the Orbs only last for a few seconds and cannot be taken into the following round.
Reyna’s final ability will see her cast a giant sphere that blinds enemies within an area. Unless destroyed, the sphere will continue blinding enemies, allowing Reyna to swoop in for an easy kill. According to Valorant’s character design lead, Reyna is a high-risk, high-reward type of agent. If she doesn’t get kills she’s bad. Like, near-useless.
Phoenix’s star power shines through in his fighting style, igniting the battlefield with flash and flare. Whether he’s got backup or not, he’s rushing in to fight on his own terms.
- Curveball– Cast a curving flare that bursts into a flashbang after a brief delay, temporarily blinding all looking at it. Left-click curves it left, right-click curves it right.
- Blaze – Cast a flame wall that blocks vision and damages anyone passing through it. You can bend the wall when casting by turning while holding left click.
- Signature Ability: Hot Hands – Throw a fireball that explodes after a delay or upon impact with the ground. The fire zone damages enemies, and heals you.
- Ultimate Ability: Run it Back – Marks your current location and starts a short-timer. When the timer expires, or if you die, you respawn at the marked location with full health.
Strengths: Phoenix is an aggressive character who excels at rushing into combat and using his fire abilities to push other players around. Stepping into his own flames heals him, making his Blaze and Hot Hands abilities particularly useful.
How To Play Him: Force enemies out of corners using Hot Hands, and be prepared to catch them as they try to escape. Learning how to curve your Blaze ability is essential for both offensive and defensive strategies. For instance, when entering a bombsite, curve the fiery wall to block your enemy’s vision as your team pushes. When defending, put the brakes on enemy advances by placing the wall, topping up your health in the process.
Jett’s agile and evasive fighting style lets her take risks no one else can. She runs circles around every skirmish, cutting enemies up before they even know what hit them.
- Cloudburst – Throw a smoke grenade that obscures vision on impact. Hold down the ability button to bend the cloud’s in-flight trajectory.
- Updraft – After a brief wind up, launch yourself upwards.
- Signature Ability: Tailwind – Immediately dash a short distance in the direction you’re moving.
- Ultimate: Blade Storm – Arm yourself with several deadly throwing knives that deal moderate damage and kill on headshots. Scoring a kill restores all daggers. Left-click throws a single dagger. Right-click throws all remaining daggers in a short-ranged burst.
Strengths: Jett is an agile soldier that specialises in outflanking enemies and taking them out with quick, precise ambushes. While defending a bombsite she can boost herself onto boxes to catch the enemy off guard. Jett’s abilities let her reach windows and ledges faster with Updraft. This can be useful for rushing towards opponents.
How To Play Her: Combine Cloudburst with Updraft to place a couple of smoke grenades ahead and propel yourself onto a higher platform while concealed. Maximise Cloudburst’s effectiveness by sending your Cloudburst smokes around corners and through windows by holding C and flicking your crosshair around in your desired direction.
Viper deploys an array of poisonous chemical devices to control the battlefield and cripple the enemy’s vision. If the toxins don’t kill her prey, her mind games surely will.
- Snakebite – Fire a projectile that creates a pool of damaging acid.
- Poison Cloud – Throw a gas emitter that you can reactivate to create a poisonous smoke cloud at the cost of fuel. The emitter can be picked up and thrown again after a short cooldown.
- Signature Ability: Toxic Screen – Deploy a long line of gas emitters that you can reactivate to create a tall wall of toxic gas at the cost of fuel.
- Ultimate: Viper’s Pit – Emit a massive toxic cloud in a large area that lasts as long as Viper stays inside the cloud. Enemies inside the cloud are highlighted to Viper.
Strengths: Viper is one of the faces of Valorant and she’s a bit of a toxic powerhouse. She doesn’t take any damage from her toxic emissions and her abilities also use a secondary resource called fuel. You’ll need to activate the spike often if you pick this agent, as her shields allow for safe planting.
How To Play Her: Be mindful of the abilities that require fuel. Poison Cloud and Toxic Screen can be used at the same time, but this drains your juice quicker. Viper’s Poison Cloud can be reused, though. All you need to do is pick the canister up before it fully depletes.
Sova tracks, finds, and eliminates enemies with ruthless efficiency and precision. His custom bow and incredible scouting abilities ensure that even if you run, you cannot hide.
- Shock Bolt – Fire an explosive bolt that emits a damaging pulse of static energy upon impact.
- Owl Drone – Deploy a pilotable drone that can fire a dart that will Reveal enemies who are hit.
- Signature Ability: Recon Bolt – Fire a bolt that deploys a sonar emitter. The sonar pings tag nearby enemies, causing them to be revealed. Can be destroyed.
- Ultimate: Hunter’s Fury – Fires up to three energy blasts that pierce walls and travel the length of the map. Any enemies that are hit take near-fatal damage and are revealed to your team.
Strengths: Valorant’s resident Hanzo has abilities that help you track enemy movements. Sova has a drone that reveals enemies to accelerate your teams’ chances of locating and eliminating them.
How To Play Him: Avoid sending Sova’s Shock Bolts near teammates as this ability damages allies, too. Instead, work on bouncing your arrows off walls to hit opponents lurking around corners and behind cover. While Sova’s Recon Bolt reveals nearby threats, remember that well-placed enemy smokes counter it to keep opponents hidden.
Cypher is a one-man surveillance network who keeps tabs on the enemy’s every move. No secret is safe. No manoeuvre goes unseen. Cypher is always watching.
- Free Ability: Trapwire – Place a stealthed tripwire between two walls. Triggering enemies are restrained and revealed for a short time. If the trap is not destroyed, it activates to daze the trapped victim. Can be picked up.
- Cyber Cage – Toss out a remote activation trap. Reactivate to create a cage that slows enemies who pass through it. Look at a trap and press USE to detonate it, or hold ACTIVATE to detonate all.
- Signature Ability: Spycam – Place a remote camera. After placing, reactivate to view the video feed. Left click while in camera to fire a tracking dart. Recharges when picked up or killed.
- Ultimate: Neural Theft– Extract information from the corpse of an enemy, revealing the location of their living allies.
Strengths: If spying on your enemies is your thing, you’ll like Cypher. He’s an expert at luring enemies into deadly traps and revealing their movements. His regular abilities slow opponents to make their journey to the bombsite more challenging, allowing him to sit further back and engage at a safe distance. One of his traps can even be detonated remotely.
How To Play Him: Place Cypher’s Spycam high up near a bombsite, ideally obscured from view. This allows you to check on the bombsite while you hold another angle. By stacking your Trapwire and Cyber Cage abilities and hovering close to them, you can promptly react to incoming opponents. These abilities buy you just enough time to eliminate a slowed enemy before taking lethal damage.