Valorant patch 5.01 has brought a number of balance changes to agents alongside a new experimental detection system meant to deal with smurfs.
Balancing is difficult in any game, and that applies to both the game itself and its matchmaking engine. Some agents are overly powerful or even weaker than they should be, and some players end up competing against opponents that are way better or way worse than they are. Riot Games is taking steps to deal with both sides of these issues in Valorant patch 5.01.
A number of changes were made to Phoenix, Yoru, and Kay/O. The tweaks largely reflect a series of experimental changes that were made on the PBE.
Phoenix got improved across the board with a longer duration on Curveball, quicker draw when he stops bending his Blaze wall, and the ability to keep his shield after using Run it Back. Yoru’s Dimensional Drift now lasts 12 seconds instead of 10 and the unequip time was reduced by 33%.
Kay/O received a mixed bag but will likely be stronger on the whole, with FRAG/ment’s AOE being reduced but its effectiveness ignoring obstructions while NULL/cmd no longer being heard by enemies.
Valorant patch 5.01 bringing new smurf countermeasures
While the balance changes aren’t surprising, there are some interesting new additions with this patch. First and foremost being new countermeasures meant to deal with smurfs.
“This addition to our smurf detection systems is designed to make sure that new players, that means all new accounts, are matched up with players of the correct skill level, much faster than before,” Riot said.
It’s uncertain whether that means players will be able to climb the ranks more quickly as they pick up wins, or something else entirely. Regardless, these new changes will first be implemented in North America. If the experiment there is successful, it will be rolled out in other regions in a future update.
Also included in the patch is “improved collision behavior” surrounding other players in order to deal with the bumping and shoving that accompanies every B-rush. There are also some bug fixes for specific agents and an issue with scrolling in the friends list and chat.