The day we thought would never come is here: The meta-dominating Operator
sniper rifle is receiving what many would say are due nerfs and just desserts. While there’s much more than changes to the gun everyone loves to hate in this patch—including a pretty significant Jett
nerf—it’s hard to ignore the ramifications that may come from changing Valorant’s big boi weapon.
A small visual change, but one that is vital to Valorant. Paranoia hasn’t always been the easiest ability to literally see, and it appears the dev team wants abilities to be good based on their function and not on if an ability isn’t deploying correctly or fairly.
Blade Storm (Burst Fire)
We like to poke fun at the “abilities shouldn’t get kills, guns should” statement from Riot folks, but there is a tough line to walk between abilities being functional and being overpowered. In the case of Jett, her signature Blade Storm not only defines her play but is an economic strength for herself and her team. The changes to how her right-click with Blade Storm functions feel fair and balanced, as nothing feels worse than thinking you’ve got the drop on an ult’ing Jett, only to get dropped from 25m out by a chest-full of daggers. We’re also fans of any changes that stop rewarding new players for doing things in-game that form bad habits. Like shooting from 50m away. Or trying to burst fire like it's a sniper rifle.
These Viper changes feel very “Well, duh”, in that it never made sense that Viper’s fuel started at anything but full. In a world where Viper is most effective when able to set up a control spot quickly, starting at 50 fuel felt like a handicap more than a viable design choice. The Snake Bite change is also important, going a long way towards making enemy Agents weigh the risk versus reward of stepping into the Viper’s Pit even more than before. Likewise, the Viper’s Pit changes are important because Viper shouldn’t be struggling to even get off her Ultimate in situations where she needs it most.
This nerf feels like Reyna is getting off light considering how she terrorizes the lower ranks. The Duelist Queen has a 73 percent pick rate at Iron rank in Competitive, with that number only sliding down as the rank increases. The reason is simple: she’s a loose cannon that dominates the game at lower levels because she’s built to lurk and made low-rank players sad. The fire rate bonus change makes her a bit less of a nightmare when holding a rifle or heavy weapon. However, don’t be shocked if more tweaks come in future patches that address Reyna’s massive pick rate advantage at lower levels.
The developers put it plainly: with Reyna getting a nerf to her fire rate, it felt like Brimstone needed an increase. Considering that Stim Beacon can be an obtuse ability to deploy, increasing the numbers may make it more obvious to new players in regards to using Beacon.
Well, here we are. This will probably be the first major “talked about” change to Valorant in regards to how it affects the meta and for good reason. The price increase is a direct solution to players grabbing armor and an Operator in the earliest rounds and riding that snowball directly downhill—a problem discussed in the notes by Lead Game Designer Max Grossman as a preface to the Operator notes.
And while all of these changes address specific ways that the Operator has pushed the envelope of balance, the most important change at the lower ranks of Valorant will be the equip time and dead zone adjustment. This means that Operator users will have to make the most of their opening shot, as they may not get a second if they miss. These and the other changes go a long way to making the Operator a true skill weapon and not a blunt instrument that’s good simply because you shoot them in the chest and they die.
Learn to take your time if you plan on buying the Operator. Otherwise, you’re wasting economy as well as your team’s time.
While not strictly an Operator nerf, these changes to jump land accuracy seem to most effect Operator players who love jumping off a corner and blasting away. Remember, kids: Think before you jump and shoot.
Do you need a hug? Perhaps a warm cup of tea? Change is scary, and the Operator nerfs may very well have big ramifications at the lower ranks of Valorant. That said, ValorBuff is here for you and all your shooting needs. If the Operator has been your only method of success to this point then now is the perfect time to gather your thoughts, look at some cold, hard statistics, and start thinking about the best way to improve without being a one-trick.
We believe in you. Patch 1.09 is now available.