Fade is available for professional teams to pick up in the North American Valorant Champions Tour Stage 2 Challengers league starting on May 13, though professional players and coaches seem to be divided on how strong she might become.
Fade is Valorant’s newest agent and is a part of the Initiator class. The Turkish nightmare-inducer joins a loaded class of agents that are all used in some capacity at the professional meta, even triple Initiator compositions are not that uncommon as Duelists continue to fall out of favor.
Coaches and players that Dexerto spoke to are divided on how strong the new agent is or how she will fit into the meta. Preston ‘Juv3nile’ Dornon, the head coach of TSM, claimed that Fade will become like Chamber early on, meta-defining and a possible replacement for fellow Initiator: Skye.
“She’s super oppressive,” Juv3nile said. “She seems like just a better Skye, like a much better Skye.”
Other coaches and analysts aren’t too convinced that Fade will take over Skye’s place in the professional meta. But everyone agreed that the agent is great at piling on utility and will be useful in close-quarter situations.
“She definitely works best on those maps where she can really just pump up the utility play in those close quarter fights.” XSET’s Valorant analyst Drew ‘DrewSpark’ Spark-Whitworth told Dexerto.
How will Fade fit into current compositions
As for her place in future compositions, select coaches argued Fade only excels in combination with other strong agents. The Turkish character has utility that is broken easily, like her Haunt or Prowler abilities, and cannot hold a site on her own, so she needs backup in order to be played optimally according to some.
“If you’ve got a Sova dart coming in and you’ve got a Haunt coming in at the same time or staggered at a certain point, then it’s going to be really hard for [opponents] to clear both at the same time,” DrewSpark said.
So fans should expect Fade to slot into maps that teams normally run triple Initiator compositions and feature sites that have a lot of close quarters fights, like Icebox and its tightly packed A site.
As for how she will be used by individual pros, Fade’s kit revolves around her Haunt ability to ping enemies. To use the ability well, players may need to learn specific lineups, much like Sova, but according to Juv3nile, it might not be all that necessary.
“It seems like it’s actually a really fluid character, you don’t do too many lineups,” the TSM coach said. “Obviously, if you get lineups for the eye, or her equivalent of the Recon Dart, I’m sure you’ll get more effectiveness out of it. But it’s also just a really good ability in general just to throw when you’re running. It seems like you can play more ‘deathbally’ with her than other Initiators.”
But Valorant is full of players and analysts that want to map out specific lineups for situations and Fade could still lend herself to those who put the work in.
im failing to see how Fade is going to replace the Skye+Breach or Breach+KO meta
i dont see her being picked on IB/Breeze and on Bind/Haven Skye/breach is gonna stay king for a while
this leaves split/ascent as the only possible maps where shes somewhat viable in competitive
— ROY (@RealStrongLegs) May 4, 2022
“She’s the kind of agent that lends herself to a lot of prep work,” Soniq’s head coach Daniel ‘Danimal’ Booth told Dexerto. “Which I’m interested in because that’s kind of what I love, finding little tricky, annoying, cringe things to do with agents.”
Her Haunt ability is also breakable, so at the professional level, Fade players will have to find sneaky spots so enemies don’t destroy it immediately.
“I think [Haunt] requires a lot more specific stuff. Like she’s gonna be very like lineup-heavy when it comes down to it because otherwise good players and good teams will just make that utility like negligible,” Misfits Valorant player Presley ‘Slandy’ Anderson said in an interview with Dexerto.
Fade’s best abilities, according to the pros
Fade’s most useful abilities, according to those we spoke to, are Haunt and Prowlers. Haunt is what her entire kit revolves around, and her Prowlers are almost like a better version of Skye’s Trailblazer.
The Prowlers can be used in substitute for Skye’s scouting ability, and it also blinds and deafens enemies that are hit by it.
“[Prowlers] just work well with so many different abilities,” Juv3nile said. “You know how Skye is really good with Viper? [Fade] is even better with Viper because as soon as it locks onto you, it just moves so fast.”
“The Prowler seems like it’s the ability you can just entry with. It can be an entry ability honestly.”
Prowlers do have a short range when they don’t lock on to an enemy, so they have limited use in scouting situations according to Danimal.
But according to two players from Misfits Black, Slandy and Vernina ‘ Verninaa’ Gozum, Fade’s Seize ability is her best ability as it does a lot to enemies and can stall pushes.
“The fact that it decays you, it deafens you, and then along with that it holds you in place… like it’s just really good,” Slandy said.
For right now, Fade might be seen as a niche pick for most teams as they find techniques and uses for her abilities within their own compositions.
While most have said she is viable and will have a spot in the meta, breaking in over other established picks might require nerfs, teams willing to take a risk or changing up how they play on certain maps.
“I believe once we see other pro teams utilize Fade’s kit really well, I feel like she will still find a place in certain comps. It won’t be like a rare pick to see,” Verninaa said.
Fans of Valorant can check to see if pro teams will pick up the new agent starting on May 13 as the main leg of Stage 2 Challengers gets underway.