New Valorant initiator Fade is one terrifying initiator, and she could be about to shake up the Valorant meta in very interesting ways. Her unique brand of initiation puts her close to the action, allowing her to follow up behind her team.
Riot Games designed Fade to be a competitor to Sova, bringing recon to a more “personal level”. To set her apart from existing initiators, the developer made sure that she had no utility to pilot, such as Sova’s Owl Drone or Skye’s Trailblazer.
At her core, Fade is intended to be an information-gathering agent that is less reliant on lineups, so you don’t have to be a physics nerd to play her well. The shorter range of her recon abilities encourages players to use her more aggressively, running into sites immediately after throwing out her utility.
Fade is a new Valorant initiator focused on hunting her enemy
Fade’s codename, Bounty Hunter, says a lot about her kit and abilities.
“Seize was the sort of gotcha moment to us where you’ve cornered the prey and want to ensure they can’t escape,” said Nicholas Smith, Designer on Valorant.
The Turkish agent’s Seize ability takes inspiration from Camille’s ultimate in League of Legends. The Hextech Ultimatum sees Camille dash to a target champion, anchoring them to the area. In a similar fashion, Seize is an orb that tethers and decays enemies ensnared within its radius.
“I think it can be used in a multitude of ways, but producing a trail, and seeing where the enemy has run and then capturing them is the dream play,” added Smith.
Bounty hunters are also often associated with animal companions, according to the Valorant designer, which was how Prowler came about. Prowler is a creature that travels in a straight line looking for enemies or trails to latch onto. When it reaches an enemy, it nearsights them.
“Since we had trails as a key component of the character, we needed a piece of utility that could clear angles for you with some safety, as trails in themselves don’t threaten an opponent holding an angle,” he explained.
Prowler was born from the idea of having a hunter partner that could let you know which angles are safe, so you can follow the trails and find kills.
Unlike Sova, Fade’s recon abilities are more localized, which means she does not have the same map-wide impact. She excels at hunting down her quarries in close quarters, making her one of the most aggressive initiators in the game.
Instead of being solely focused on gathering information, her kit actively pushes opponents back with punishing debuffs that help her team win duels.
While it’s not yet clear whether she will suffice as the sole initiator on a team, she could very well find a place on one of the double initiator compositions that have been dominating the pro meta.
Fade will drop sometime during Episode 4 Act III, which goes live on April 27.