How to play as Sova: Valorant’s Initiator Agent with a thirst for intel - Dexerto
Valorant

How to play as Sova: Valorant’s Initiator Agent with a thirst for intel

Published: 30/May/2020 14:40 Updated: 30/May/2020 14:45

by Andy Williams

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Valorant’s resident Legolas has an ability set like no other Agent. We break down the Initiator’s utility and showcase exactly why they might be the perfect character for you!

Sova is Valorant’s recon expert, who also sports a well-rounded lineup of abilities which support their ruthless knack for precision, while simultaneously allowing them to be the most deadly Agent in the server.

While on paper Sova could be one of the most lethal Agents in Valorant, there is more to the Russian recon expert than meets the eye. So here’s everything you need to know about the game’s Initiator Agent.

Sova’s abilities

Valorant's Sova.

Sova’s abilities are game-changing if used in the right way. Being an Initiator, their trusty bow and arrow can alter the course of a round in the blink of an eye. So let’s delve into exactly why the Russian Agent could fit the bill for you. Firstly, here are Sova’s four abilities:

  • Ability 1 — Owl Drone (300 Creds): EQUIP an owl drone. FIRE to deploy and take control of movement of the drone. While in control of the drone, FIRE to shoot a marking dart. This dart will reveal the location of any player struck by the dart.
  • Ability 2 — Shock Bolt (100 Creds): EQUIP a bow with a shock bolt. FIRE to send the explosive bolt forward, detonating upon collision and damaging players nearby. HOLD FIRE to extend the range of the projectile. ALTERNATE FIRE to add up to two bounces to this arrow.
  • Signature Ability — Recon Bolt (Free; 35s cooldown): EQUIP a bow with recon bolt. FIRE to send the recon bolt forward, activating upon collision and revealing the location of nearby enemies caught in the line-of-sight of the bolt. Enemies can destroy this bolt. HOLD FIRE to extend the range of the projectile. ALTERNATE FIRE to add up to two bounces to this arrow.
  • Ultimate Ability — Hunter’s Fury (7 Points): EQUIP a bow with three long-range, wall-piercing energy blasts. FIRE to release an energy blast in a line in front of Sova, dealing damage and revealing the location of enemies caught in the line. This ability can be reused up to two more times while the ability timer is active.

Sova’s Owl Drone will allow you to get a sneak peek at a Reactor Site or specific lane, while allowing you to tag enemies for your teammates. Coming in at 300 Creds, the controllable drone will prove a handy tool for any squad when intel is a must.

Combined with the Recon Bolt, both abilities allow you to obtain a wealth of information on the enemies’ whereabouts while remaining unscathed.

Sova's Recon Bolt Ability in Valorant.
Riot Games / Dexerto
The Recon Bolt’s shockwave will not penetrate walls to reveal your foes, meaning that the bolt needs to be fired into an open area.

It’s worthwhile noting that both Sova’s Recon and Shock Bolt can be bounced off up to two surfaces. So if you’re looking to bend the trajectory of your arrow around a corner, use nearby surfaces to your advantage here.

Sova gameplay

Dexerto acquired the talents of Counter-Strike legend Mathieu ‘Maniac’ Quiquerez to exhibit Sova’s abilities, while the Swiss pro put on a clinic of how to use the Russian Agent.

The first few clips highlight just how essential Sova’s recon abilities are to allowing you and your team to take effective map control. Given the cost to benefit ratio on the Owl Drone, this tool will prove indispensable when attempting to take control of a specific Reactor Site.

Sova's Owl Drone in Valorant.
Riot Games / Dexerto
Targeting enemies with the Owl Drone is as simple as locking on your foe and clicking Mouse 1.

One downside of Sova’s Owl Drone is that it’s relatively easy for the enemy to destroy. But when you’ve mastered the knack of charging the Recon Bolt to bounce it off of surfaces (making it difficult for enemies to destroy), this can provide you with a plethora of information — as Maniac highlights at 0:36 while defending a Reactor Site.

Aside from the Agent’s ability to gain key intel on a whim, their Ultimate (Hunter’s Fury) is will serve two purposes. Essentially, Sova can fire three deadly energy blasts that penetrate a large portion of the map in the direction that they’re fired. Given that the wall-piercing energy blasts can both dish out damage and reveal your enemy’s location, this is a handy tool to have.

Maniac even manages to highlight the devastating effects of Hunter’s Fury when used with the Bolt at 2:46, where the former CS pro essentially wins his team the round just by utilizing his Agent’s Ultimate. Although, as Maniac states, it is possible to avoid the wrath of the energy blasts due to the sound cues it produces while being charged.

Dexerto’s take: Game-changing for intel

One of Sova’s weaker areas is his Shock Bolt. During later rounds — when your opponent is more likely to be equipped with Heavy Shields – you’ll often find yourself favoring your weapon to deal damage, as opposed to relying on the explosive bolt.

Saying that, the Shock Bolt is always a handy tool to use to clear out a corner that you suspect an enemy to be camping in — perfect for clearing key areas when taking a Reactor Site!

Maniac’s play from 3:57 puts three of Sova’s abilities in the spotlight, and perfectly showcases how important the Agent can be in determining the outcome of a round.

Sova's Hunter's Fury in Valorant.
Riot Games / Dexerto
Hunter’s Fury dealt the final round-winning blow to the enemy Phoenix player.

Sova’s ‘Initiator’ playstyle seems suited to someone who leans more towards being nimble on both Attack and Defense. If you’re someone who’s happy to gather intel for your team, but doesn’t want to be bound by Cypher’s abilities, Sova is the one for you.

Valorant

Valorant dev responds to players asking for map-specific queues

Published: 29/Nov/2020 1:30

by Alan Bernal

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A Valorant developer gave weight to the idea of map-specific queues after Icebox’s mixed reception made it difficult for some to get any meaningful practice on the map.

Icebox has been a divisive addition to Valorant. There are some members of the community who swear it’s a great example of a tactical map that demands a thoughtful approach to Agent ability usage; and there are others who believe it’s the worst map to grace the game.

Unfortunately, people in either camp share the same matchmaking playlist. This presents a problem, at times, in which people who want to play Icebox can matchmake with someone else who will then dodge that particular map.

Luckily, there are discussions within Riot Games for a solution that could include special playlists that feature specific maps.

Riot Games
Some players have been dodging Icebox too many times, and Riot might try to find a solution for it.

“Could you please put a separate queue so that we can quickly get some experience,” a message to Riot said. “I found it hard to get used to Icebox because people keep dodging so I can’t rack up the hours to get used to the map.”

Riot Insight and Strategy dev on Valorant, Coleman ‘Altombre’ Palm, responded with an encouraging word, noting how the idea is “a great suggestion and it’s something we’ve talked about ourselves as well.”

One of the last times Riot addressed map selection playlists was back in July, when Senior Producer Ian Fielding said from a competitive standpoint, separating the matchmaking pool wasn’t ideal for players.

“Splitting up matchmaking into separate map pools would reduce the overall players in our matchmaking pool,” Fielding said in an Ask Valorant blog. “Which not only slows down matchmaking, but makes it more difficult for us to produce fair matches.

“Given that, we currently don’t have plans to enable map specific selection for Matchmaking.”

riot valorant map selection

As disappointed as some players might have been, Altombre’s update has given some hope that Valorant could one day include these smaller matchmaking queues.

Although who’s to say it would look anything like the kind found in CS:GO. In League of Legends, Riot has people lock in a primary and secondary role to choose which one they get in a match.

In some instances, a player won’t get either. Moreover, if the system determines there’s a lack of sufficient players queuing for a certain role, then the game offers a brief reward for anyone willing to fill it.

csgo map selector matchmaking
Valve via 7tlo Reddit
A map selector could be coming to Valorant, though it might not look what people are familiar in CS:GO.

A general idea like that could be applied to Valorant’s maps. Although tweaked to fit the concept, that could be a solution to let people choose which two locales they prefer, while maintaining the possibility of getting any map at the end of the day.

In either case, it sounds like Riot wants to tackle this issue in some capacity soon, and hopefully it results in a meaningful quality of life update for Valorant.