The brand new VALORANT 2.06 patch is live on retail servers now! The new patch contains much-needed buffs to VALORANT's lowest-picked agents, Viper and Yoru. The new adjustments will hopefully make both agents more viable selections in the competitive meta.
The new update also added a new damage model and spread pattern for the Bucky shotgun, some quality of life changes, and a new 3D audio engine option for those who want it.
Viper gains "Toxin" passive ability and buffs to Poison Cloud, Toxic screen, and Snakebite
At just over a 2% pick rate, Viper is the second least popular agent in the game. The latest patch included a number of buffs to Viper’s abilities that are designed to improve her overall viability and attractiveness to players. The adjustments should make Viper a more punishing and flexible agent to play against.
Viper’s new Toxin passive ability
Most notably, the new update introduced a passive ability to Viper’s kit called Toxin. She will now inflict enemies that pass through her Poison Cloud, Toxic Screen, and Viper’s Pit abilities with a base of 50 decay, after which the decay level will increase the longer they are touching Viper’s toxic abilities.
Decay is a status effect in VALORANT that decreases player shields and health temporarily. The instant 50 decay hit will force players to think twice before touching one of Viper’s poisonous abilities. To help balance out the new passive decay damage, the devs decreased decay-over-time from 15 to 10 while in Viper’s Poison Cloud, and decreased the delay before health regeneration from 2.5 to 1.5.
Developers buff Poison Cloud, Toxic screen, and Snakebite
The developers also adjusted vipers Poison Cloud, Toxic Screen, and Snakebite abilities.
Poison Cloud can now be redeployed immediately after being picked up, but it will only grant a temporary charge rather than a permanent one. So there is a tradeoff for moving your Poison Cloud now, but you can also pick it up and move it without delay. As an added bonus, the ability will also remain active for an extra two seconds after Viper dies and the pickup distance for the ability was doubled from 200 to 400.
Viper’s Toxic Screen was also buffed. It too will remain up for an additional two seconds before deactivating after Viper’s death and the blind distance of the edge of the wall was expanded to better match the blind distance featured on smoke abilities.
Finally, the developers decreased Snakebite’s equip time from 1.1 to .8.
New practice tools for Viper
Along with the changes to Viper’s kit, the developers also added some convenient practice tools for the character. In custom games with cheats and infinite abilities on, Viper will be able to recall her Poison Cloud and Toxic Screen and the location of her Poison Cloud’s landing spot will be visible on the minimap.
Yoru receives buff to Blindside, Gatecrash, and Dimensional Drift
Yoru has an abysmal pick rate of less than 1 percent. If there is one agent who needed a buff, it's Yoru. In Tuesday's patch, the developers buffed a few of his abilities in the hopes of making the character more viable.
His blindside flash activation time was decreased from .8 to .6, which is a 25% increase in the speed of activation. The flash duration was also increased from 1.1 to 1.5. So post-patch, Yoru’s flash is both easier to land on enemies and punishes them more if they are flashed.
Gatecrash is no longer refreshed with kills and is now instead activated on a 35-second cooldown. As a result, most players will be able to use the teleport ability much more often during a given round. The lifetime of the Gatecrash fragment was also increased from 20 to 30 seconds and the range at which the fragment is revealed from stealth was decreased from 7m to 4m, which will make it harder for enemies to discover.
Finally, Yoru’s Dimensional Drift ultimate ability was buffed slightly. The points to activate the ability were reduced from 7 to 6 and Yoru can now reactivate his Gatecrash while still in Dimensional Drift.
Overall, while these changes aren't groundbreaking, they should make Yoru a better agent to play. We will have to wait and see if his pick rate increases as a result of these adjustments.
Bucky shotgun reworked to have tighter spread, lower damage
The Bucky Shotgun received a bit of a rework in Tuesday's patch.
The developers buffed the primary fire spread for the Bucky slightly, decreasing its overall spread from 3.4 to 2.6, which is a 35% improvement. They also buffed its right click-alt-fire spread, decreasing it from 3.4 to 2, which is a 41% improvement. However, they also reduced the total number of pellets fired with the alt-fire from 15 to 5, which will balance out the improved spread of the weapon.
While the spread is tighter and it will be easier to hit more pellets now, the pellets themselves will do less damage. At close range, the gun lost two damage per pellet, from 8-12 meters they took away a full five damage per pellet, while outside 12 meters the weapon damage remains the same.
The post-patch the damage curve for the Bucky is:
- Within 8m deal 20 damage-per-pellet
- From 8m to 12m deal 12 damage-per-pellet
- Farther than 12 m deal 9 damage-per-pellet
These changes make the Bucky's spread more reliable, but it has less potential to deal damage overall.
Brand-new 3D audio engine
For fans of 3D audio, the new patch introduced the Head Related Transfer Function feature into the audio settings in VALORANT. The new option will simulate surround sound in player headphones. Currently, the engine only renders footsteps, reloads, and Deathmatch respawns in 3D.
If you choose to use the new feature, Riot recommended that players turn off any other 3D Audio emulation software they might be using.
Find a complete list of changes and additions in the 2.06 patch here.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.