Why Valorant players aren’t picking Yoru, and how Riot can fix him

Andrew Amos
Yoru in Valorant grimacing

Yoru hasn’t found his place in Valorant’s meta yet. He is one of the game’s least picked Agents in both casual and competitive. There’s hope yet, according to pros, but there’s a long way to go before the Japanese duelist is viable in ranked and pro play.

[jwplayer h7Ac7a3f]

Yoru’s arrival into Valorant was much hyped. An Agent that can go invisible? Everyone thought it would completely break the game. However, the Japanese duelist has barely even dented the meta.

In casual play, Yoru is the least-played duelist, and almost the least-played Agent in the entire game. He has a pick rate of 3.1% according to Blitz, with the lowest win rate of 43.5%.

In pro play, these stats are even worse. Looking at Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 Challengers, Yoru has a measly 2% pick rate ⁠— the lowest of any Agent (Viper is sitting at 3%, while Skye is just above the duo at 8%) according to vlr.gg.

So why isn’t anyone picking Yoru? There’s a few parts to that equation ⁠— and not all of them can be solved easily. However, there is a route Riot can take to make Yoru a viable Agent; not just in pro play, but for the casuals too.

valorant riot games yoru gatecrash bug
Yoru might look cool, but his gameplay has fallen flat.

Yoru’s complexity makes him a burden

Yoru’s utility does bring a lot to a team. There’s a lot of value in the intel-gathering tools provided by his ultimate, and he can surprise teams with his teleport. However, his kit is overly complex.

“We actually ran Yoru on every single map except one for like two weeks of practice. We realized that he was effective ⁠— we were winning scrims with him, and Subroza was the one playing him ⁠— and it was interesting having a comp with that many flashes on it,” TSM coach Taylor ‘Tailored’ Broomall told Dexerto.

“But Yoru is a complex Agent, and that is a big con when you look at all of his pros. The less complicated you can make this game, the easier it is to focus on the team dynamic and communication.”

Tailored drew comparisons to Phoenix. Both have flashes, and both have intel-gathering ultimates. However, Phoenix brings so much more to a team.

“Looking at Drone on Phoenix, his utility is so simple we can just send him in to go kill when we need him to. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to bail himself out of situations. Not only that, but Reyna and Phoenix both have healing properties that Yoru doesn’t.”

Phoenix in Valorant Duelists trailer.
Phoenix’s position in the Valorant meta might be under threat if Yoru gets buffed.

Yoru is strictly worse than the Agents he replaces

This brings us to the second major point. Yoru was pinned as a Phoenix and Reyna replacement when he was revealed. He has flashes, he has the ability to go in and frag. However, as time went on, Yoru fell behind those two duelists.

Ultimately, what it came down to was Yoru was doing the jobs of Phoenix and Reyna, but worse.

This was evident in what fans saw during Valorant Champions Tour. FaZe Clan was one of only a handful of teams to pull out the Yoru in their 13-8 victory on Split against Retake. While Corey ‘corey’ Nigra made the pick work, he doesn’t bring the same punch.

“I don’t know if it’s more complex rather than I think it misses certain things that’d make the character unique,” the FaZe star told Dexerto.

“His footsteps don’t really have much value aside from breaking Killjoy [utility] or stopping a [Raze] Boom Bot from getting value. I think his flash is genuinely weak because it’s pretty easy to react to unless you have some really weird setup.”

Valorant Agent Jett cinematic
Jett (pictured) and Raze have dominated the duelist positions in Valorant since release.

Even in North America, where triple duelists compositions are prevalent, it’s hard to argue that Yoru deserves a spot over locked-in picks like Jett, Raze, and Reyna.

“In order for Yoru to be picked he has to replace another meta Agent currently in play. Right now it’s not certain that he does anything more than another Agent in play,” caster Kevin ‘AVRL’ Walker said.

“He just doesn’t do anything better than existing duelists. I can see the potential for him in triple duelist compositions but it’s hard to justify Yoru in standard double duelist compositions.”

What Riot needs to change about Yoru

With the latest release failing to impress in both casual and pro play, there’s obviously changes that need to be implemented. However, there’s not a consensus on how Riot should approach it.

Yoru firing Judge in Valorant
With the right buffs, Yoru might break into the meta. However, even that may not be enough.

One ability was isolated across the board ⁠— Fakeout. Yoru’s footstep-generating ability is too predictable, and doesn’t “fakeout” anyone.

“His Fakeout ability is definitely the first thing on the list that needs tuning. The concept of the ability seems interesting until you realise that good human opponents are not going to be fooled,” AVRL said.

“I actually think that if you could select footsteps sounds to use in your teamplay ⁠— for example, a team always knows a Cypher is always lurking outside A on Split. You can actually make those footsteps Cypher’s to make it sound like he’s lurking,” Corey suggested.

His flash needs to blind for longer too, according to Corey.

“The way that I compare it is; a Skye flash can flash you for a long time, but if it’s really far away in the sky, it’ll blind you for a way shorter duration than if it was in front of your face.

“It’s the same thing with Yoru, you’re kind of forced to throw it into the sky and it’s going to naturally bounce out of the FOV of somebody’s vision.”

Tailored isn’t even convinced balance changes will bring Yoru into the fold.

“I think some of [Yoru’s utility] is overpowered, I think some of it is underpowered. He could maybe use a balance change, but that won’t make people pick him.”

Until changes are made, Yoru will be remaining on the sidelines of Future Earth in ranked and in the Valorant Champions Tour unless some new obscure meta emerges.