VALORANT Episode Two kicked off today, introducing Japanese duelist Yoru and increasing the agent roster to 14. And while the tac shooter is in dire need of a fix for controllers, the infiltrator still delivers unique gameplay that’s sure to excite fraggers.
Yes, Yoru is a duelist. And yes, he has a flash. But he does offer enough variation to make him stand out from other agents in his cohort. If Jett is one of the more mechanically-intensive agents, Yoru is perfect for veteran manipulators.
Does VALORANT really need another duelist?
With Jett, Phoenix, Raze, Reyna, and now Yoru, duelists are easily VALORANT’s largest class. And while some players might’ve expected a new controller, adding another duelist isn’t exactly a bad idea.
In a typical team comp, squads run two duelists (three if you’re TSM), one sentinel, one controller, and one initiator. This can obviously vary from one Elo to the other, but there are always at least two duelists per squad. Due to the current meta, VALORANT inherently needs more duelists to provide better game-to-game variety. And throwing Yoru in only increases the class’ diversity.
The problem, then, isn’t that Riot released a fifth duelist. It’s that one of VALORANT’s classes has been unbearably stagnant for months—controllers.
Through First Strike: North America, Omen appeared in 99 percent of the matches, according to VLR.gg. Viper and Brimstone were both picked less than five percent of the time. It’s clear that smokes are necessary to execute coordinated attacks or fend off opposing teams. But between controllers’ limited meta agent pool and the harsh sentinel nerfs in October, the power of duelists is only increasing.
Releasing another controller admittedly wouldn’t fix the issue but simply put a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. Riot clearly understood this going into Episode Two and finally targeted controllers in today’s Patch 2.0. With Omen nerfed, Brimstone buffed, and the “underperforming” Viper on the radar, Riot may have bought enough time for a potential new controller in Act II.
Yoru’s kit lends itself to outplays
Even though adding a fifth duelist might’ve been a hard sell, Yoru may quickly win over the VALORANT community. He’s calm, stylish, and the perfect foil to the charming loudmouth Phoenix.
The Japanese duelist’s Blindside isn’t exactly revolutionary. The flash only activates if it hits off a hard surface, but it can be tossed relatively far. Yoru’s power instead comes from the mind games he can play on opposing squads.
In the hands of a particularly high IQ player, Yoru has the potential to be a menace. As the name implies, Fakeout can absolutely bamboozle opponents with false footsteps that can go in any direction—and its uses are unlimited. Whether you want to fake a rush, pretend to retreat, or briefly disrupt your enemy’s crosshair, the ability is subtle yet powerful.
The duelist’s Gatecrash and Dimensional Rift can be used in tandem with the fake footsteps, drawing your opponents’ attention elsewhere before you sneak up behind them. There are some built-in counters, however.
Gatecrash can be shot by opponents and the dimensional shard becomes visible if it gets too close. Yoru’s ultimate similarly unveils him if he gets within range of an enemy, though he still maintains invulnerability. And each ability gives off a sound cue that can point enemies in your direction.
Even with those minor drawbacks, it’s hard to imagine a team comp where Yoru doesn’t fit in. He can set up devastating flanks, lurk to pick off any stragglers, and entry by flashing and teleporting. Pair him with an Omen and enemies won’t know what direction to look in. Plus, the five-duelist comp is finally possible.
Yoru might not be what players need, but he’ll be what players want.