Valorant’s next big update will introduce a major rework to the game’s least popular agent – Yoru. Originally, Riot Games intended Yoru to be a full-on lurker (think info-gathering lone wolf), but will now be more of Duelist/Initiator hybrid build (think aggressive engager looking for a frag). So let’s look into why Yoru didn’t work, and how the changes he’s getting should impact his popularity.
Who is Yoru?
Valorant is a 5v5 FPS where attackers try to plant a bomb called a spike and defenders try to stop them. The characters in the game fall into archetypes: Duelists excel at being aggressive, Sentinels and Controllers focus on battlefield control, and Initiators take over parts of the map by exposing or displacing the enemy.
A “lurker” isn’t an official archetype in Valorant, but Yoru’s original skills were intended to allow him to play as such – as stated as far back as late 2020 from Riot, he was purposely designed to lurk behind enemy lines, with his utility aiding in that mission. He just ended up falling flat.
By the time Yoru was released, Valorant had been out for over six months, and with only a handful of agents and maps, players both professional and casual were quickly optimizing defensive and offensive strategies. Yoru’s kit made him a predictable, and therefore ineffective, character, unable to break past enemy lines. Taking him into a match was more of a liability than a boon, and with more flexible options on the table, he fell into obscurity and needed an overhaul.
Let’s take a look at his old skills and the reworked version.
His first skill is called Fakeout. In Valorant, sound is a key factor in locating enemies, and this skill sent out fake footsteps intended to confuse or distract the enemy.
At higher levels of play, it’s hard enough to “fake out” someone, and most players try not to give away their position with audio queues like footsteps. When Yoru used this skill, he often times gave up more information by alerting players to his presence rather than gaining any intel for himself.
The new Fakeout is far more effective, if not radically different. Yoru summons a decoy clone (that still has fake footstep sounds) that moves forward until shot or disappears. If shot, the clone will face the enemy, explode and blind them.
This creates a stronger info-gathering tool that can double as a dueling option should Yoru decide to take a fight. This brings the skill to be on par with other possible-info gathering skills like Raze’s Boombot or Reyna’s Leer.
This is one ability that won’t be changing much – you’re still able to teleport from one spot to another on the map. The only update includes a visual element of where the Gatecrash used to be after Yoru teleports, which now leaves a small puddle behind. This puddle is designed to confuse the enemy team, letting them know that he teleported — but where exactly did he go?
Until now, Yoru’s ultimate was designed for you to press a button and run behind the enemy lines to find as much information as possible while remaining mostly invisible with no footstep noise. Yoru also couldn’t use any abilities and his sight range was shortened, but he was invulnerable.
Now, Yoru is now fully invisible, can cast all utility, has normal sight, and the enemy can hear Yoru’s footsteps.
The biggest change to the ultimate gives Yoru more choices during the skilll since he can now use his abilities. This means, as an example, he can cast his ult, drop a teleport deep into a bomb site, maneuver around and pick a good spot to emerge – either where he is when his ult ends or jump to his previously placed portal. While enemies can hear Yoru’s footsteps, he’s now totally invisible.
Will the rework work?
Things are looking good for Yoru’s rework. Riot has kept the original identity of the agent by letting Yoru still gather information through Fakeout, and allowing him to cast his utility during his ultimate provides him a lot more flexibility in how to engage a fight. This should allow Yoru to become a great secondary duelist pick or even a better entry onto a site similar to Reyna or Phoenix.
It’s hard to say if the rework is strong enough for Yoru to be considered for competitive or professional play, but with more reliable and team-centric utility he should at the very least have a pick rate over 0% (which has happened in pro play). What do you think of the Yoru changes? Are you going to become a Yoru main? Let us know!