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Valorant: A guide to eight of the heroes in Riot Games' new FPS

Riot Games is taking on multiple genre giants with its new multiplayer FPS Valorant, a tactical shooter that blends the lethality of Counter-Strike with the character abilities of Overwatch. And like most every other shooter these days, that means having its own cast of heroes and villains with backstories, drama, and reasons for shooting one another in the head. But everyone knows the why doesn't matter nearly as much as the how, so we created this handy overview of the eight Valorant characters and their abilities that have been revealed so far.

Valorant isn't due for release until sometime this summer, with a beta planned for sometime before that. Take some time to get acquainted with the agents you'll be playing against, and for a broader introduction to Riot's hardcore FPS, check out our extensive hands-on preview.

Before we begin

It's important to understand just how character abilities work in Valorant, since it's different from most other shooters. Instead of having access to several powerful abilities on short cooldowns, like in Overwatch, Valorant's character abilities are more more varied, and most of them have to be bought, almost like frag grenades or flashbangs in CS:GO. Each character's "ultimate" even takes multiple rounds to recharge between uses.

Your agent isn't stuck with a specialized weapon like in other character-based shooters. You spend money buying weapons (and armor and abilities) at the beginning of each round—exactly like Counter-Strike.

Here's a quick rundown of each type of ability characters have:

  • One ultimate ability - This powerful ability requires multiple charges to use that are earned from kills or completing objectives (like defusing the bomb). It might take three rounds or more before you have enough charges to use yours.
  • One main ability - This ability is automatically usable each round. How many times and how often you can use it varies between characters.
  • Two purchasable abilities - Each character has two extra abilities that require charges bought from the store at the beginning of a round. Think of them like grenades in Counter-Strike, an optional item that gives you some extra utility in combat.

Valorant Characters 

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Phoenix 

Phoenix is an aggressive character who excels at rushing into combat and using his fire abilities to push other players around.

Abilities: 

  • Hot Hands - Throws a fireball that covers a small area in flames after a short wait or when it hits the ground. These flames damage your enemies but heal you.
  • Blaze - Summon a wall of fire that blocks vision and hurts anyone passing through it. The wall can also be bent when casting.
  • Curveball - Throw a flashbang that curves around corners.
  • Run it back (ult) - Marks your current location and starts a short timer. When the timer expires, or if you die, you respawn at the marked location with full health.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Jett 

Jett is an agile soldier all about outflanking enemies and taking them out with quick, precise ambushes.

Abilities:

  • Cloudburst - Throw a smoke grenade that obscures vision wherever it lands.
  • Updraft - Launch yourself upwards after a brief pause.
  • Tailwind - Dash a short distance in whatever direction you're moving.
  • Blade Storm (ult) - Wield several throwing knives that deal moderate damage and kill on headshots. Getting a kill replenishes your daggers and you can choose to throw them one at a time or throw all remaining daggers in a short-ranged burst.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Viper 

Every shooter needs a fighter who loves the smell of their own noxious gas, and Viper is Valorant's. Her abilities also use a secondary resource called fuel.

Abilities:

  • Snakebite - Fire a projectile that creates a pool of acid.
  • Poison Cloud - Throw a gas bomb that emits a cloud of poisonous smoke at the cost of fuel. You can retrieve the gas bomb and throw it again after a short cooldown.
  • Toxic Screen - Creates a line of gas emitters that can be activated to create a wall of toxic gas at the cost of fuel.
  • Viper's Pit (ult) - Creates a poison cloud that blankets a large area, letting Viper easily pick off enemies trapped within it.


(Image credit: Riot Games)

Sova 

Valorant's resident bow and arrow guy has abilities that help you track enemy movements.

Abilities:

  • Shock Bolt - Fires a bolt that radiates damaging bursts of static energy on impact.
  • Owl Drone - Use a pilotable, flying drone to scout the map and fire darts that reveal enemies.
  • Recon Bolt - Fires an arrow that emits sonar waves that marks and reveals nearby enemies for as long as it remains in place (can be destroyed).
  • Hunter's Fury (ult) - Fires up to three energy blasts that pierce walls and travel the length of the map. Any enemies that are hit take near-fatal damage and are revealed to your team.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Cypher 

If you like spying on your enemies, you'll like Cypher. He's an expert at luring enemies into deadly traps or revealing their movements.

Abilities:

  • Trapwire - Place a tripwire between two walls that restrains and reveals enemies who cross it for a short time. Can be retrieved and reused.
  • Cyber Cage - Places a trap that, when activated, slows enemies who pass through it. Cypher can also detonate the traps, either one at a time or all at once.
  • Spycam - Place a remote camera that can be manually operated to fire tracking darts at enemies.
  • Neural Theft (ult) - Steal intel from a dead enemy, revealing the location of their allies.

Brimstone 

Brimstone brings death from above with a range of orbital weaponry that bombards the map, creating smokescreens or damaging enemies.

Abilities:

  • Incendiary - Throw an incendiary grenade that coats an area in flames.
  • Stim Beacon - Select an area to call in this beacon that gives any player nearby a boost to fire speed.
  • Sky Smoke - Use your map to call in multiple smokescreens that block vision.
  • Orbital Strike (ult) - Call in a deadly orbital strike that strikes a targeted area repeatedly over several seconds.

(Image credit: Riot games)

Sage 

Sage is Valorant's resident medic, able to revive downed allies or impair enemy movements.

Abilities:

  • Slow Orb - Throws an orb that creates a zone that slows any who pass through it, preventing them from jumping and emitting a distinct noise when they move through it.
  • Barrier Orb - Creates a large, impassable wall.
  • Healing Orb - Heals you or an ally over several seconds.
  • Resurrection (ult) - Revive an ally to full health after a quick delay.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Omen 

Omen likes to play mind games by teleporting around the map, striking and blinding enemies.

Abilities:

  • Paranoia - Launch a shadow clone in a straight line that inflicts anyone it touches with blindness.
  • Shadow Walk - After a delay, teleport a short distance.
  • Dark Cover - Throw a stealthed orb that explodes into an obscuring sphere of shadow once it reaches its destination. Can be charged to increase its maximum distance.
  • From The Shadows (ult) - You can teleport to anywhere on the map, but it takes a few seconds to complete. Enemies can see a "shade" at your destination and cancel your teleport by killing it. After teleporting, you become invincible for a short time.
Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China's PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He's Canadian but can't ice skate. Embarrassing.