Riot Games aims to shake-up Valorant Initiator role with new update

Riot Games’ latest Valorant update – which is actually the last patch for Episode 7 Act 3 – is here and with it comes a brand new Team Deathmatch map and some choice improvements to Gekko, an Agent struggling in this FPS’ current meta. Valorant players who favor Initiator Skye, however, will notice Patch 7.12 introduces a few tweaks to navigate – although, these shouldn’t actually affect the Agent’s performance all that much.

If you’re someone struggling to climb the Valorant ranks as Episode 7 draws to a close, you’re going to want to consider checking out Gekko after the arrival of Patch 7.12. He isn’t one of the best Valorant Agents out there right now, but Riot Games’ new Valorant title update is cutting his recall time for Dizzy (E), Wingman (Q), and Thrash (X) in half (from 2s to 1s) and increasing the speed of Dizzy – both the pre-fire targeting time and the projectile speed itself. With all the best FPS games continually striving for balance, this update should make Gekko a more viable pick when it comes the Initiator role.

As stat site Valorant Tracker shows, though, this role is largely commanded by Skye – an Agent whose Trailblazer (Q) is being tweaked to force players to be more specific and deliberate with its use. Gekko and Skye may have near identical win-rates and K/D ratios, but Skye’s pick-rate is 6.1% (to Gekko’s 2.7%) and she accounts for 5.5% of kills (compared to Gekko’s 2.4%). Gekko isn’t quite the worst Valorant Agent right now, but he’s far from the best and Riot Games’ combination of a very targeted Gekko buff and even more targeted Skye changes should balance the two Agents out and increase the diversity in this role.

Those new Skye changes, though, really aren’t anything to worry about if you’re a Skye main – none of the current damage values or timings are being altered. All you really need to keep an eye on is that the Trailblazer (Q) explosion will now concuss enemies and allies, and it won’t let out a concussive explosion when destroyed mid-air. This will mean you’re going to have to be a little more careful when you use it, especially if you’re diving into an already-ongoing team fight.

You should also find countering a Skye a little more rewarding, as shooting the Trailblazer (Q) while it’s mid-air isn’t actually going to punish anyone around it. Riot Games is also locking the camera while leaping with Trailblazer (Q), which again means Skye players will have to be much more deliberate with each use.

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On top of all this, Drift is being added to the Team Deathmatch map pool – an environment that features largely isolated side lanes with long sightlines and some interesting, elevated pathways – and a number of bug fixes that should improve the overall experience. One of those fixes addresses the issue that kills would not be awarded correctly while using a controlling ability – like Sova’s Shock Dart (Q) or Cypher’s Spycam (E).

If you want to make sure you’re well prepared for this final stint of Episode 7, you can check out the best Valorant crosshair codes right here. You can also check out the next Valorant Night Market dates here if you’re looking to pick up some new cosmetics while we wait for more on the next major update.