Since the announcement of Yoru, the stealthy duelist has been an underutilized member of the VALORANT agent pool. Despite a rather unique playstyle, he’s failed to make his way into the ranked and professional metas due to his kit requiring multiple rounds of conditioning opponents to set up his teleports and traps. Riot character designer, Ryan “Rycoux” Cousart, announced today that they will be addressing Yoru’s viability through a series of changes to up his value on a per round basis.

Since the announcement of Yoru, the stealthy duelist has been an underutilized member of the VALORANT agent pool. Despite a rather unique playstyle, he’s failed to make his way into the ranked and professional metas due to his kit requiring multiple rounds of conditioning opponents to set up his teleports and traps. Riot character designer, Ryan “Rycoux” Cousart, announced today that they will be addressing Yoru’s viability through a series of changes to up his value on a per round basis. 

“We’ve learned that in addition to our duelists needing to offer something unique to the field, they also need to have a strong baseline value that any team at any round can rely on in order to maintain strong viability on any team composition. Yoru’s payoff “dream plays” seem to only happen after rounds of conditioning the enemy, which can leave him ineffective for longer than we’d like.”

In professional play, Yoru has been picked at a staggeringly low rate. At VALORANT’s biggest event, Champions, Yoru hasn’t been selected once on any map. Back at Masters: Berlin in stage three, only the South Korean team F4Q used him on one map of Breeze, but that was the lone appearance he made on the circuit. He completely fell off again during the Last Chance Qualifiers, not being selected in any region.

The reason for this is the same one Rycoux laid out in the blog post – low impact on a per round basis. While his kit does provide plenty of deception, players could easily read the many fakes and tricks. It was only after rounds of conditioning that Yoru could move into less decipherable plays on entries and post-plants. In short, the amount of rounds of setup is the reason his pick rate is so low even with strong tools at his disposal.

Riot has set out to change this starting with his most distinct ability Fakeout

Fakeout

The first ability to look at is Fakeout, the footsteps decoy that drove a lot of the deceptive plays that we loved to see. To help with Yoru’s mind games, we’ve decided to replace the footsteps with a new visual: a carbon copy of Yoru that runs forward, and upon getting shot, will wind up and explode, debuffing enemies.

Yoru’s Fakeout has plenty of potential as a game mechanic. It’s a tool centered around mind games and in a game like VALORANT where that play style is everything, it can be a damaging ability. The change not only keeps intact the deceptive nature of Fakeout, but allows the tool to be a more effective team combo by debuffing opponents when the copy of Yoru gets shot. 

On entries specifically, Yoru won’t be as inclined to make individual plays, as he can now set up for more aggressive swings on bomb sites. And in terms of his kit, Fakeout was the ability that needed the biggest rework and received it. 

Gatecrash

Gatecrash, similar to Fakeout, is a potentially strong component of Yoru’s kit. It’s an off balance ability that makes opponents holding an angle or bomb site been keenly aware of where Yoru is at all times. However, Gatecrash wasn’t effective with opponents easily reading the play. It’s not effective without a level of prior conditioning. So, Riot decided to speed up the movement and reduce the range 

“With Gatecrash, we’ve lowered the range at which enemies can see and hear the tether on the map while it travels. We’ve also increased its travel speed by 20%. In addition to these quality of life improvements, Yoru can now activate the tether from a distance to trigger a fake teleport, playing the same audio and visuals as if he were teleporting.”

Even more, Yoru now has the option to cancel the teleport at the end, while still making the sound effect. In theory, it should work like Omen’s Shrouded Step, which has shown to be a powerful fake out tool in previous meta’s. The increased speed of the orb will undoubtedly make a difference in how players will approach entries and when needing to quickly get behind enemy pushes. 

As for now, Riot hasn’t announced the rest of the changes to his kit but they’ve assured us that more changes are coming to the least played agent in VALORANT.

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Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022