VALORANT’s latest agent NEON is dropping next week with Episode 4. We had the chance to go hands-on with her as part of an early access event with Riot Games this week.
This new electric Filipino agent is a duelist who is all about speed. The developers used the terms prickly and playful to describe her personality in the developer press conference, and they used the terms fast and frenetic to describe her playstyle.
All of NEONs abilities are all based on electricity. She does provide a compelling alternative to Jett’s kit, with a well-rounded set of abilities that let her quickly rotate around the map using her sprint and slide, the ability to concuss enemies around corners using a unique bouncing charge grenade, and dominant ultimate that can put enemies to sleep in an instant. Here is everything you need to know about the new agent to get started sliding around corners and zapping enemies to death.
How NEON’s abilities work in VALORANT
E - High Gear (Sprint)
NEON’s sprint ability is activated by hitting E, and can be switched on and off at will. It is governed by a battery that will be expended when you are sprinting, and recharge when you are not. This is her standard tactical ability, so you will have access to it every round.
The sprint allows her to run quickly around the map, but she also makes a distinct set of foot-step sounds so enemies will know you are coming in hot. She can also slide during her sprint, which will automatically pull out her gun after the charge and deactivate the sprint. Use these sparingly though, since she only has one slide by default, with you being able to earn extra slide charges by getting two kills for each.
Q - Replay Bolt
Replay Bolt casts an energy bolt that can bounce once off a surface. The bolt will cast an electrical charge on the ground in an upward cone in the place it bounced as well as the place it bounced too, so there are two concussive blasts per charge. You can carry up to two charges of the replay bolt, so in theory, with the right lineup, you can stun 4 separate locations. The height of the cone is not high enough to hit people on top of double boxes from a ground hit, but if you hit the top of the boxes it will hit people on top of them and on the ground below.
C - Fast Lane
Fast Lane will create two parallel energy walls forward made of electricity. Enemies will have their vision blocked and will take damage if they pass through the electrical barrier. Your teammates will also take damage when passing through the barrier, however, NEON will not. This ability only lasts six seconds, and since covers both sides of your approach, it can be very useful for entering an area without being gunned down by enemies.
Z - Overdrive
NEON’s ultimate ability, Overdrive, allows her to zap people while she is moving at sprint speed. Up close the ultimate can kill in 6 shots, at longer ranges 15 shots. It does not have a range limit, beyond the damage falloff itself, so if you can see an enemy you can shoot them.
You have 40 bullets while using the ultimate ability, but they recharge when not being fired and they will reset to max ammo when you get a kill. The ultimate length is tied to a battery similar to her sprint battery. You can switch out of the ultimate to your weapon, however, if you do the ultimate battery will continue to tick down until it is depleted.
Tips and tricks for NEON in VALORANT
Dodge, juke, and ult
NEON’s ultimate is very good, but it can’t do headshot damage. That means you will lose to headshots from many weapons, but you will beat people if they do body shots only. You run at your sprint speed during the ult and you can use her slide ability to take enemies from an unexpected angle, so you can take advantage of that to evade enemy shots. When this is executed correctly, this is already one of the best ultimates in the game.
Make sure you have your preferred weapon out when you sprint and slide
When you are sprinting, you can use a slide to get around corners, escape, or duck behind a smoke. When you do slide, you will automatically end your sprint and pull your weapon. However, the game will not automatically default to your primary weapon, it will pull out whatever weapon you had out when you started your sprint. So make sure you have your weapon of choice out when you start a sprint if you plan to use your slide ability, otherwise you might find yourself bringing a knife to a gun fight.
NEON's sprint makes her perfect for large maps
Maps like Breeze and Fracture, which involve relatively long rotations in some cases, can really benefit from the NEON pick. Her sprint allows her to quickly reposition in the map, so she can always be right where she needs to be. She is still useful on smaller maps like Ascent, but she has particular value on the bigger maps where rotations are an issue.
Use her double bounce grenade to master entry
With a little studying, there are some spots that will allow you to concuss multiple defensive locations on-site using her stun. You can do really impressive entries to take the site, or prevent a plant, if you learn the right lineups for her shock grenade.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.