Valorant experts break down Yoru, new Ranked system, and Episode 2 battlepass

Valorant Experts React to Episode 2 FeatureRiot Games, Dexerto

With Valorant Episode 2 making its theatrical debut over the weekend, we’ve asked pro players, casters and streamers to weigh in with their thoughts on Riot’s latest installment to its flagship FPS.

Valorant Episode 2 has been one of FPS fans’ most anticipated events of 2021. With Agent 14 – now revealed as Yoru – finally entering the Future Earth fray after a host of leaks had us all on the edge of our seats, the newest chapter in the Valorant story promises to go down in history.

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There’s a lot to unpack here though. While Yoru is arguably the most exciting aspect of this new episode, he’s joined by a new Battlepass and its associated skins and cosmetics, as well as the Run It Back bundle, which sees a collection of familiar skins return to the store for a discounted price. Add in the Ranked changes and there’s a whirlwind of new content.

To help us digest all of this, we’ve asked pro players, casters and streamers to give us our thoughts on Valorant Episode 2.

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Jonas ‘AverageJonas’ Navarsete

AverageJonas First Strike BoradcastAverage_Jonas via. Twiter
Jonas has gone from Opera singer to Liquid Streamer in less than a year.

Streamer AverageJonas has become a European Valorant icon throughout 2020, and has just announced that he has joined esports behemoth Team Liquid as a content creator. You can get to know him better in this exclusive interview, but let’s get his thoughts on all things Episode 2.

The Norwegian streamer says Yoru is “very interesting from a design POV and it’s really hard to foresee where he will be in the current meta. His toolkit is unlike any we have seen before so I think it’s down to each team to evaluate how much value this could give to your lineup. He has an extremely high skill ceiling and I can’t wait to see how the big brain gamers out there use him.”

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The Battlepass, though, was a lot more simple. “The Battlepass skins look cool, even though I still wish some of them had SFX/animation/upgrades! Really hoping Yoru’s butterfly headcomb from the cinematic comes to the game.” Jonas epitomizes fan reactions everywhere: butterfly knife when!?

Our final focus was on the Run-It-Back bundle, which Jonas described as “a good idea because a lot of people want skins from older packs and it gives you a discount, but I don’t personally like the skins they chose for this bundle.”

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Andrej “babybay” Francisty

Overwatch League/Robert Paul
The King has become a Valorant icon, and he’s got a lot to say about Episode 2!

Babybay is former Overwatch pro turned Valorant player for FaZe Clan. The fragger offered his insight into Episode 2.

Talking all things Yoru, babybay states “I think it’s too early to tell if he’s broken as of yet but he’s most definitely strong. His flashes are very unique because they have to bounce off a wall. I think in the right hands he will seem broken because he has an extremely high skill cap.”

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The Run-It-Back bundle, however, left the player a bit perplexed. “Ahh this one is weird for me but my assumption is these skins are the most popular that people want and for some reason they didn’t purchase them in the first place. Personally, I wish there was new skins there, but then again that’s because I already own most of the skins to begin with!”

James ‘BanKs’ Banks

James 'BanKs' Banks Valorant First Strike

With a host of casting experience, BanKs‘ entry to the Valorant scene brings a seasoned voice to the analyst desk, and his thoughts on Episode 2 are pretty interesting.

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Regarding Yoru, he notes that “this is the most excited I have been for a new Agent. I see a lot of people complaining about another Duelist but he adds a true “lurker” element that was missing. He seems like an Agent you can utilize both defensively and aggressively with a mix up of styles… I can’t say he’s overpowered but I can say he is going to be very hard to deal with when in the right hands.”

It’s not just his playstyle that BanKs loves though. “Looking at his design, being from Japan, the mask and his look… I am very biased, I love the Japanese style.”

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Regarding the Radiant changes in Ranked, he explains “when it comes to Radiant, being limited to the top 500 players is huge and could have a benefit for the esports scene on scouting players. Sure many ranked players are not ready for pro play but this could be a quick run-through of people with potential. Honestly, I have seen some radiant players and well… it leaves a lot to be desired if you are to think they are in the same league as esports pros.”

“I am glad that Riot are still looking at all the ranks and what they can do to improve the system, slowly but surely we are getting there and that is the main thing I care about; improvement.”

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Jakub ‘Lothar’ Szygulski

G2 Lothar Valorant HearthstoneTwitter: LotharHS
Lothar has made his way into Valorant casting, and is anything but a clown when it comes to Valorant knowledge.

While it might raise an eyebrow that an ex-Hearthstone pro is weighing in on Valorant, G2 Esports’ Lothar has been streaming the game frequently and hosted First Strike: Europe. The Polish icon took a very nuanced approach to Episode 2.

Yoru “is a demanding but balanced champion,” Lothar explained. “There will be tons of backlash from the community about him being OP because people will not know how to play against him. That’s why people need to learn all the in and outs of his abilities and interactions. I personally love the design, the Agent has a very high skill ceiling.”

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There are some changes he’d make to the Battlepass though. “BP is always worth. For 10 bucks you get a massive amount of digital stuff. If someone likes the look of the skins – that’s subjective. Some will, some won’t. One thing I would love to see changed is the Radianite system. I would rather level the weapons by playing and not spending additionally after buying them, but in the case of the BP skins, you could argue that you get Radianite in the pass after all.”

Mitch ‘MitchMan’ McBride

MitchMan Valorant First StrikeTwitter: MitchMan
MitchMan has become an icon in the Valorant scene (he’s the one on the left btw)

Viper’s Number 1 fan MitchMan has become a staple in the Valorant scene. From hosting First Strike: Europe to appearing on our Curveball podcast, the Irishman is at the heart of the Valorant esports scene.

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“Yoru as an Agent is really interesting to me. He is listed as a duelist but provides MUCH more to his team. His flashes may seem like a gimmicky Phoenix flash at a glance, but the setups you can do with them due to the range and the fact that they’re invisible until they hit a surface and ‘activate’ are actually nuts. Flashes can come from above, beside or behind you without you even seeing them get there! Combine that with his teleport, and you’ve got a really interesting utility belt!”

“I’m sure we’ll see some teams getting faked out by some well-placed footsteps at times and his ultimate has so many uses mid-round. Overall I would say he is going to need a lot of preparation to play against, but can find a nice healthy spot within the Valorant ecosystem, at least at a pro level.”

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Commenting on the Ranked changes in Episode 2, MitchMan says “progress bars are a HUGE YES FROM ME! I cannot tell you how annoying those little arrows are. I demote then get 3 arrows up but don’t rank up again???? What’s going on???? Finally, I can see exactly where I sit and how far I am from the next rank… It stops you from feeling like you’re at the mercy of some unseen number cruncher who decides at random if you deserve the next rank or not. Now you know “Ok, 1 more game and I’m there;” that’s definitely a good thing.

“Similarly, the idea of having leaderboards gives us all something to work towards (I’ll never get there but I’ll be damned if I don’t try!) It’s always good to have extra goals for the Radiant players. Otherwise when you reach the top rank matchmaking just feels meaningless. In fact, even worse, a win can feel meaningless and the risk is losing your rank!”

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Yoru firing Judge in ValorantRiot Games
Yoru is Episode 2’s most exciting addition.

It’s pretty unanimous across the board that Valorant’s experts are pretty hyped about Episode 2. With everyone praising Yoru and the Battlepass, as well as the Ranked changes, the second chapter of the Valorant story is largely a hit.

The Run-It-Back bundle was a little more contentious, but each noted that it’s likely a question of personal taste. The concept is great, but which individual skins are included will always please some and disappoint others.

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All in all, the upcoming Episode should breathe new life into the game, even if it is in the form of an invisible assassin. We can’t wait to jump in and try these out for ourselves.

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