Valorant’s fast-talking British duelist Phoenix could finally be about to get some love. Riot Games is testing some long-awaited Phoenix buffs in the patch 5.01 Public Beta Environment (PBE), in the hopes that it can provide a boost to his languishing pick rates.
In addition, Yoru buffs are being tested as well, making it easier to use his Dimensional Drift ultimate more aggressively and catch enemies by surprise when exiting the ultimate.
Finally, robotic initiator KAY/O is receiving small quality of life improvements too, which should make damage dealt from his FRAG/ment molly feel more consistent.
Phoenix buffs are now being tested in patch 5.01 PBE
Phoenix currently has among the lowest pick rates in competitive play. In the last 30 days, he is second from the bottom with a measly 8.2 percent pick rate, according to Valorbuff.
He is also barely used at all in pro play. In the VCT NA and EMEA Stage 2 Challengers, Phoenix was not even picked a single time. The weakness in his kit lies in the fact that other agents can do everything Phoenix does, and even more effectively.
For instance, his Curveball flash is currently the worst in the game, while his Blaze wall and Hot Hands molotov don’t offer any unique benefits to his team compared to Neon’s Fast Lane or Viper’s Snake Bite.
To make him more competitive, Riot is buffing his Curveball, Blaze, and Run It Back ultimate.
The flash duration of Curveball has increased from 1.1 seconds to 1.5 seconds, while the flash windup has decreased from 0.7 seconds to 0.5 seconds. In addition, Phoenix will equip his weapon earlier when he stops bending his Blaze wall.
The most significant change is to Run It Back, which allows Phoenix to respawn with the amount of shields he had when the ability was cast, even if he lost it in an earlier engagement.
“We view Phoenix as an aggressive entry agent, so the additional Run It Back and Blaze changes are intended to support his proactive intentions when taking space or fights early on into rounds,” said Riot in the PBE notes.
Yoru and KAY/O are also getting buffed
On Yoru’s end, it will now be easier to make a play when in his Dimensional Drift. Previously, the long time when exiting his ultimate meant he had to make sure that he was in a safe location, because being spotted by an enemy meant almost certain death.
To reward Yoru players for using their flash in Dimensional Drift, the time when exiting the ultimate has been reduced from 1.2 seconds to 0.8 seconds. The Blindside flash lasts for 1.5 seconds, making it easier to throw out a flash and exit the ultimate to kill a blinded enemy.
At the same time, the duration of Dimensional Drift has increased from 10 seconds to 12 seconds, giving more time to scout a site or execute a play.
KAY/O is also receiving small adjustments as well. His FRAG/ment molotov now deals damage even when it is not within line of sight, so opponents cannot hide behind boxes to avoid it. However, its diameter is being reduced from 10m to 8m.
On top of that, the changes make it slightly easier to revive KAY/O during his NULL/cmd ultimate. Only allies will hear the full channel audio of reviving KAY/O. Enemies will hear just a short audio cue when the revive has started, similar to tapping the spike, and will not know whether you are sticking to revive or holding for a swing.
If the changes go through, you should expect the buffs to hit live servers in Valorant patch 5.01.