A Riot Games developer has explained how a greater weapon equip speed on Initiator Agents Skye and Breach will make them be much stronger in Valorant Episode 3, despite nerfs to available flash charges.
Valorant Episode 3 will likely see the biggest shake-up of the meta yet. While the full patch notes are yet to be released, we know Riot are keen on reducing player reliance on spamming abilities and instead focus on gunplay.
While this idea manifests most obviously in the new Agent, KAY/O, who can suppress opponents from using abilities, Riot also plan to make abilities much more sparing across the board, with most Agents having either economic or charge-based changes to abilities.
As such, Breach and Skye will both have their number of flashes available reduced from three charges to two, meaning players will be less able to spam flashes. But a change to the equip time, as displayed by G2 Esports content creator Jakub ‘Lothar’ Szygulski, means players can now shoot while the flash is being deployed.
Why do I think Skye actually got an insane buff in the Ep3 patch pic.twitter.com/bwwGcbf404
— G2 Lothar (@LotharHS) June 19, 2021
As such, Riot gameplay researcher Coleman ‘Altombre’ Palm, who handles game balance, explained how this change should make Skye a much stronger Agent in Episode 3.
He said: “There are two main things – she equips out of her bent birds faster, and if she lets a bird fly straight she can pop the flash without taking her gun down. In either case, she’s better at capitalizing off of her flashes than she used to be.”
Palm then confirmed that Breach will receive similar treatment by having his equip time reduced. This means that, after using a flash, Breach will pull out his weapon much quicker.
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One player was concerned that these changes could blur the line between Initiators and flash-reliant Duelists, like Phoenix and Reyna, but Palm believes the distinction is still well-defined.
He explained: “Duelists still tend to have a lot more capability to heal up after engagements or deny trades to secure more advantaged fights over a round, whereas initiators bring a broader spread or larger volume of raw utility.
“It’s something we still talk about a lot, but we feel these versions of Breach and Skye will also be easier to balance across competitive environments overall.”
Either way, these changes certainly align with Riot’s focus on gunplay over abilities, and we can’t wait to see how these changes pan out when Episode 3 drops on June 22.