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Valorant’s least-picked agent is getting a major buff

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Valorant's resident snake lady has been unpopular since the game's launch on June 2. With walling and smoking abilities that deny vision, she's not the most unique character in Valorant's lineup, and the particulars of how to manage her toxin fuel gauge further complicates her playstyle.

Viper has been all but ignored at high-level play: in the 102 games played in a recent tournament hosted by pro team T1, Viper was picked just once. (The second-highest, the frustrating vampire Reyna, had 18 picks.)

Valorant patch 1.04 buffs Viper and will make several other meaningful tweaks when it goes live. Here's the breakdown of how Viper's changing, courtesy of Riot:

Viper's Pit (Ultimate)

  • Max time outside of her ult before it collapses changed from 5>>>12 seconds
  • Viper can hold the ability key to drop her ult early
  • Enemies in Viper’s Pit have their minimap obscured and do not provide minimap detection to their allies
  • Increased the brightness of the red enemy glow at the edge of Viper's near-sight

Viper’s toxin pit ultimate is supposed to carve out a small chunk of the map where Viper has a distinct advantage, but having to stay inside the pit makes it easy for enemies to pinpoint her location. More than doubling the time that Viper can spend outside the pit gives her room to use it more strategically. Instead of exclusively using it hunker down after planting the Spike, it might be useful as a supersized smoke grenade to cover a push.

The Smartest Viper Ultimate on Ascent from r/VALORANT

See Viper's ultimate ability in action.

Decay

  • Enemy decay per second increased from 10 to 15 from all sources.
  • After exiting Viper's smoke, enemy decay sustains for 2.5 seconds before starting to fade

Right now, the Decay effect feels so insignificant that I hardly notice it’s happening when stepping into Viper’s pit or smoke grenade. A 50 percent increase in decay per second is a pretty big deal—just a few seconds spent in the pit will erode your entire shield. The delay before health starts restoring is nasty too. In a tense retake against a Viper, 2.5 seconds is a long time to stay at a huge health disadvantage. Riot is targeting Viper’s ult in a big way here. If the goal is to make her toxin pit an ace in the hole, this could be what gets it there.

Fuel

  • Having both Poison Cloud and Toxic Screen active does not consume additional fuel beyond the cost of having one active

One of Viper’s biggest struggles is her need to commit to where her singular smoke grenade and wall get placed. By letting her use them in tandem without draining her fuel instantly, Riot is freeing her up to maximise vision control on the map. She'll still probably feel like a defensive plate-spinner compared to other characters, but for players who favor that playstyle this should be good news.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

The other changes

Raze

  • Showstopper ultimate cost changed from 6 to 7 ult points

Raze’s rocket launcher ult is a reliable way to nab a free kill (or more, if they’re bunched together). I’m not convinced that a single extra ult point will meaningfully reduce its presence, but if it equals even one extra round without that terrible rocket, it’s a positive step.

Brimstone

  • Orbital Strike ultimate cost changed from 6 to 7 Ult points
  • Stim Beacon no longer Buffs enemies and no longer shows its effect radius to enemies

A well-timed Orbital Strike on the Spike can literally win the round for Brimstone without having to throw himself into danger, so some sort of nerf felt inevitable. But as with Raze, one extra ult point feels like Riot is simply testing the water.

Cypher

  • Cyber Cage can now be picked up during the buy phase

A simple, but useful quality-of-life change for Cypher. The toss range on his cages can be a bit finicky, so I’m glad I’ll be able to correct a terrible placement before the round starts. Next, maybe let me pick them up after we’ve already won the round to save a few credits in the next buy phase?

The Classic (Default pistol)

  • Fixed bug where running inaccuracy on the right-click was much higher than intended. Running was adding a 1.5 penalty because it was referencing our generalized running error curves for pistols
  • Fixed bug where jumping had no inaccuracy penalty
  • Running spread is changed from 3.4 >>> 2.1. Primarily a bug fix
  • Jumping spread changed from 1.9 >>> 2.3
  • Walking spread changed from 1.9 >>> 1.95
  • Added a 10% bonus to accuracy when crouching and stationary

That’s a lot of numbers, but just know that the Classic is now 10 percent more accurate when standing still/crouched, less accurate when walking, and only a little less accurate than that while running. In fact, if you’re going to shoot it on the move, you might as well run. You also shouldn’t shoot while you jump (Call of Duty this is not), which sadly removes some of its shotgun-like versatility when using the alternate fire.

The full 1.04 patch notes also includes some smaller updates, like better audio mixing for the fancy Elderflame skins so that the roar of your $99 gun-dragon will no longer drown out enemy footsteps. Riot is also cutting almost 400MB from the already-small install size by streaming weapon upgrade videos instead of storing them locally.

Morgan is an FPS specialist who spends way too much time trying to get his friends into Rainbow Six Siege. He also loves weird stealth games, immersive sims, and having new memes explained to him by his partner.