Riot released patch 1.11 for Valorant today, balancing several agents, the economy, and also adding Skye
to the Agent pool officially. Classified as an Initiator, Skye joins the roster of characters from the land down under and flaunts an incredible arsenal of animal “totems” that each supply powerful utility.
Prepare to see a whole lot of the Aussie in your matchmaking games as her kit heavily overlaps with several Agents and feels, dare I say, a bit overpowered at the moment. I was able to get in one partial game on Skye before the other team surrendered so here are my first impressions of the newest addition to Valorant.
Skye’s utility kit is extremely good. For a total cost of 700 credits you can buy everything she has to offer; broken down as Regrowth (200), Trailblazer (200) and Guiding Light (100x3). It seemed like an odd choice at first to make an Agent that both heals and initiates. After getting my hands on her tool kit, it’s a lot more clear what Riot had in mind. Simply put, Skye initiates from the back thanks to her very long-range Guiding Light flashes and the free entry information possible from Trailblazer.
Trailblazer, in particular, which makes you stationary like Sova’s Owl Drone, must be used from around a secured corner to get any real value. Used correctly, the value is immense as you steer the Tasmanian Tiger into dangerous areas and not only draw enemy fire but also can potentially damage opponents if you get close enough. The vision on the tiger drone is limited but I found it to be highly effective at basically clearing the push into a site for free, very akin to how Phoenix’s Run It Back works.
Guiding Light is without a doubt the best flash in the game currently. Again, best used from safety, you throw a bird forward that flies a very long distance as maximum range. You can steer the bird similar to how Jett’s Cloudburst works and also detonate the bird at any point to trigger the flash of anyone looking at it. It is a strong flash but what really makes the ability incredible is that you get a voice line from Skye notifying you when an enemy has been flashed by your Guiding Light. In Valorant, there is nothing better than free information.
I was only able to use Skye’s ultimate twice but it seems ridiculously powerful. The first time I used it was as we entered a site on Attack and the Seekers drew enemy fire while exposing their positions. My second attempt came at the very beginning of the round, attacking on Bind and I was able to immediately know that only two players were on the A site since the third seeker veered off from A short to head towards B through the market. This kind of free information at the beginning of the round is amazing by itself but when you also time a push with the Seekers closing in on enemy positions it feels downright broken.
I feel pretty confident in saying that Skye has one of, if not the best ability kits in the game, and we haven’t even talked about her heal yet. Regrowth is a channeled ability with limited “fuel” but has the potential to bring any injured allies on-site and in line of sight back up to full health. The line of sight part will definitely cause some misuse early but being able to initiate for your team and then heal them all back to full after an execute seems a bit ridiculous.
In addition to being potentially the strongest Agent in Valorant, Skye is also top tier when it comes to her character design. From her voice lines to the modeling of her abilities, the sound design and artwork is impeccable. Taking a quick look at her Agent Contract as well, it’s evident from the quality of everything from her gun buddy to the signature weapon, a Frenzy, just how much time was spent polishing Skye for release.
Game developers have to walk a pretty tight line when releasing newly playable characters like Skye. On one hand, they need to incentivize players to try out the new content while on the other trying to maintain competitive integrity. It’s pretty clear that in this instance, Riot has opted for not only creating one of the most unique and interesting Agents to play but they have also introduced her to the game in an over-tuned state. There is basically no chance that Skye avoids nerfs in the coming weeks. That being said, even with significant adjustments to her skills, Skye will be both useful and entertaining to play. Due to her broad impact potential on the game, it’s highly likely that Skye becomes one of the most popular Agents in the game for some time to come.