Well, the time has finally come. After weeks of pressure from the Valorant community, Riot has decided to push through with the upcoming Operator nerfs that’s going to change the game’s meta.
In an interview with Team Liquid content creator Lucas “Mendo” Håkansson, Riot’s Game Designer Nick Wu Smith revealed the following changes to the Operator in the next 1.09 patch:
- Price increased from 4,500 to 5,000
- Decreased scoped movement speed from 76% to 72%
- Adjusted dead zone from 30% movement speed to 50% movement speed (become inaccurate sooner and longer to become accurate)
- Fire rate changed from 0.75 to 0.6
- Reduced instant equip time from 0.3 to 0.5
These changes have quickly caught the attention of the pro scene where one of the best Operator players in the world, TSM’s Matthew “Wardell” Yu, was shocked that the developers decided to nerf the Operator instead of Jett.
Even his rifler teammate, Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik joked about how Jett will also be nerfed eventually. Wardell also called out rival team Sentinels’ designated Operator player Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan for making light of the nerfs.
However, there are players like Brandon “Aceu” Winn who has been asking for an Operator nerf for weeks, and was pleased to hear it is finally happening.
Operator nerfs have been an ongoing debate from casual players to the very best pros in who consistently play Valorant. Just a few weeks ago, G2 Esports’ Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho enumerated all the different ways to counter an Operator.
But let’s break down what these nerfs mean for the Operator moving forward.
With the price being increased to 5,000, players will have to budget their third-round buy if they plan on purchasing an Operator that early in the game. They’re going to be forced to choose between getting heavy shields or full agent utility.
The Operator was designed to be a high impact weapon that came at a hefty price. With it now costing more, players who don’t make the most of it will be forced to take one or two heavy save rounds before they can buy it again.
The decreased scope movement speed and adjusted dead zone changes are supposed to prevent players from using the Operator aggressively. Riot is really forcing players to use the Operator defensively, even though they added new Breach buffs that countered it in a previous patch.
The reduced fire rate and increased equip time are both going to lower the Operator’s overall effectiveness. It will also offer more trade opportunities against Operator users. These changes benefit the attacker side, since Op players will have fewer shots on the enemy team rushing into a site. The increased equip time is also a huge nerf for players who use their agent abilities in between Operator shots.
Riot also mentioned that they’ve nerfed Valorant’s jump accuracy to becoming more inaccurate after hitting the ground. This also weakens the Operator’s jump-shot peeks.
“Players have gotten really good at peeking with the Operator and it has been really overperforming,” said Smith.
While the Operator changes look severe, one major issue that Riot has yet to address is the weapon’s effectiveness with Jett. The weapon can still be used aggressively because of Jett’s Tailwind ability, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see if Riot decides to nerf Jett in an upcoming match.