As most players should already know by now, a new agent named KAY/O is slated to join VALORANT's roster on the 22 June for the launch of Episode 3 Act 1. In case you missed it, here's an article detailing his abilities and ultimate.
Now let's get to some of the juicier bits of our trial with KAY/O.
KAY/O detailed breakdown
His main ability is ZERO/POINT, where he throws a knife that can suppress enemy’s abilities for 8 seconds.
From some testing, we found out that this even disables Ultimates that were already activated (with the exception of some); Jett will not be able to use her Blade Storm, Raze will also not be able to equip her Showstopper rocket launcher and poor Sova will just fall out of his ultimate. Ultimates like Yoru’s and Viper’s are not affected by this though, so that is something to note.
The ability also has a secondary effect where it tells you who it supressed. Information is very vital in a game like VALORANT, and we would say that the information given by Zero/Point is very useful especially, for instance, to find out if someone is hiding in Ascent’s B Site Boathouse (back of site) waiting to ambush the Spike planter.
You can also use the knife to know where the enemies are going to push, especially when you’re defending, by just throwing the knife out to the main entrance of a site. The pulse of the knife is able to travel through walls, so enemies are not able to shoot down the knife if they’re on the opposite side of the wall.
KAY/O's two other abilities are very “vanilla”, but it feels like that’s the point.
His FLASH/DRIVE is a flash grenade that is very similar to the typical flash grenade in CS:GO (Counter-Strike:Global Offensive). When you use your mouse’s left click, he throws it like a CS:GO flashbang. When you use the right click, it has a shorter fuse and KAY/O lobs it instead.
The same goes for this other ability, FRAG/MENT (okay Riot, maybe the naming is a bit on the nose). It is a “grenade” that explodes when it hits the ground, releasing four damaging pulses to anyone trapped inside its radius.
The closer you are to the grenade’s core, the more damage you will take. Three pulses from the middle of the grenade will be enough to take someone out even with full armour.
It functions very similarly to Phoenix’s “Hot Hands” (without the healing properties, of course), Viper’s Snake Bite and Brimstone’s Incendiary. Yes, you can do line-ups with this ability to get people off the Spike.
His Ultimate NULL/CMD is perhaps one of the best ultimates in the game, especially when you’re pushing a site or retaking one.
KAY/O will emit pulses that are very similar to what his ZERO/POINT knife does, and it totally supresses the abilities of anyone unlucky enough to be caught in NULL/CMD's radius. The suppressing properties are the same as ZERO/POINT’s, but each pulse only lasts 5 seconds instead of 8. He emits a pulse every 5 seconds as well, so if you’re constantly stuck in these pulses, you are basically being suppressed for a good 25 seconds. His ultimate lasts 20 seconds, and in this time, he also gets a 15% fire rate increase, and can be revived when he’s down, very much akin to reviving someone in Apex Legends or PUBG.
Vanilla, but that's not a bad thing
So, how is KAY/O a CS:GO player’s dream come true?
In CS:GO, the only thing you have to do at the start of the round is to buy a gun, a few utility grenades like a flash or a high explosive, and you’re off to the races.
KAY/O’s FLASH/DRIVE and FRAG/MENT abilities seem to emulate every single thing that you would normally buy in a round on CS:GO.
Tired of getting one-shot'd from a Raze or Jett’s Ultimate? Suppress them. Tired of Yoru or Jett manoeuvring their way out of an evenly-matched gunfight? Suppress them.
That being said, KAY/O's ultimate doesn’t make the gunfight fair (to the opposing team), as he gets an increased fire rate and also the ability to revive. So if your headshots are not on point, you might get outgunned by a very good KAY/O player.
Coming at a time when developer and publisher Riot Games is pushing the game towards more gunplay — from the decrease in price for some guns to tweaking the costs of some of the other agents’ abilities — the inclusion of KAY/O seems like a dream come true for anyone just longing to play a good old shooter and not having to worry about dealing with abilities from enemy players.
KAY/O also seems like an agent that is extremely versatile, since he can flush corners with his grenade, get information, suppress enemy abilities and blind your foes.
Combining his abilities with many other agents also seem like a breeze. He can work with almost any agent, and it feels like he’s a very good choice for someone new to VALORANT.
Yes, he seems like an extremely “vanilla” agent and a jack of all trades, having abilities that are all pretty standard, with the added flair of crippling enemies so that he can have a fair gunfight. But there in lies the beauty and simplicity of this new character.
If a fair gunfight doesn’t describe what people remember fondly about CS:GO, what does?
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