With a few tweaks, Yoru can potentially elbow his way into the meta.
VALORANT’s Yoru was supposed to be the ideal duelist for “lurkers” who would “keep [enemies] on [their] toes,” according to a December dev blog post. Over two months after his release, however, the Japanese agent leaves much to be desired.
A quick “Yoru” search on the VALORANT subreddit yields numerous complaints about the agent, with one player describing him as “not so duelist,” another showcasing his “incompetency,” and various posts offering suggestions for improving his lackluster kit. Despite being fun to play, picking Yoru in agent select inevitably leads to comments from teammates asking you to play another duelist—and I speak from experience.
The truth is, Yoru’s abilities are loud, ineffective, and don’t always support duelist gameplay. Game designer Rycoux has hinted at future buffs, commenting on a Reddit post that Riot is experimenting with more “round to round power to give him better base value per round,” as well as “revisiting some of the audio attenuations.”
While there’s no confirmed buffs yet, here’s what would instantly make Yoru a better agent.
Gatecrash: Make it instant and quieter
In its current state, Yoru’s Gatecrash is nothing but a glamorized teleport. Opposing teams will rarely let you teleport behind them, especially at higher ranks, and it’s ineffective as an escape tool. But the ability has a ton of potential.
When thinking about what makes Jett such a great Oper or Reyna such a devastating duelist, it’s that they can instantly get out of harm’s way. A Jett can peek a precarious angle, take a shot, and quickly dash away to safety. A Reyna can poke her head out and quickly take out an opponent before using Dismiss to flee or reposition. Yoru can’t do that.
Gatecrash has a brief animation before Yoru can teleport to his tether’s location. In that time, enemies can easily take you out where you stand. If it had a similar cast time to Jett’s dash or Reyna’s Dismiss, it can open up tons of possibilities for Yoru. He might be able to take a risky Op angle and retreat. And lurking would be even more effective, allowing you to get a pick and join back with your team safely.
Dropping the sound on the teleport activation would also let him pull off impressive flanks. There would still need to be some indication for counterplay, but perhaps making the sound radius smaller would reward Yoru players who have good Gatecrash placement and timing.
Fakeout: Global or invisible footsteps
The fake footsteps are admittedly one of the most niche abilities in the game. It’s extremely situational, which can be a good or bad thing.
Yoru can make high IQ plays by distracting Raze or Killjoy’s bots, faking a push while your team goes to the other site, or attempting to convince an enemy that you’re running away. But the more experienced the opponent is, the smaller effect Fakeout will have.
And it seems like there’s little that can be done to improve the ability. It already costs a cheap 100 credits, two charges per round are enough, and you can cast them instantly or not. One fan suggested giving Yoru an interface similar to Brimstone’s smokes, allowing you to place them within a certain radius around you. This is an interesting idea but one that wouldn’t quite work thematically.
If Yoru was able to perhaps go into another dimension—like Omen or Astra—and place footsteps from anywhere on the map, it might make the ability more efficient. But would it be worth wasting time in another dimension for an ability that doesn’t provide as much utility as a smoke?
Another player believes making footsteps cast by primary fire completely invisible could be a good buff. This may confuse opponents a bit more than usual, adding some flair to the ability.
Dimensional Drift: Reduce ultimate cost to six
Yoru’s ultimate is an excellent scouting tool—and that’s about it. To avoid making him too overpowered, the only immediate change this ability needs is a cost reduction.
With an ultimate cost of seven, Yoru’s Dimensional Drift is in the same company as Astra’s Cosmic Divide, Breach’s Rolling Thunder, Brimstone’s Orbital Strike, Cypher’s Neural Theft, Killjoy’s Lockdown, Omen’s From the Shadows, Raze’s Showstopper, Sage’s Resurrection, Sova’s Hunter’s Fury, and Viper’s Viper’s Pit. With the exception of maybe Omen, Yoru arguably has the worst seven-cost ultimate.
Dimensional Drift barely offers intel, doesn’t do any damage, and is too loud to pull off cheeky flanks. What most Yoru players end up doing is using it to gauge how many enemies are on a site before teleporting back to their Gatecrash. This same information can be provided by a Sova Recon Bolt or Owl Drone, neither of which are an ultimate.
But it’s obvious why Riot is hesitant to pump more power into the ability. If it’s silent or Yoru is completely invisible, then it adversely affects competitive integrity. Playing against the duelist will no longer be about gunplay since you won’t have any inclination of where he is.
One fan suggests giving Dimensional Drift an “instant cast without the mask animation,” which would be a fair buff that wouldn’t push it over the edge. But for now, simply making it cost six will put it more on par with other ultimates in the game.
Some Yoru fans believe his kit lends more to the initiator class, making suggestions to improve his Blindside by reducing the cost to 100 or giving him an additional charge. While this would be nice, it’s not that realistic. Yoru’s blind is easy to pull off, but also easy to look away from. Since it can be tossed from far away and needs to bounce off of something, enemy teams can counter that easier than a Breach or Phoenix flash.
Even though it’s a good part of his kit, it doesn’t seem like a core part of the bamboozling mind games that Riot intends for him. Instead, it makes him a tad self-sufficient and a pseudo-entry. If Riot focuses on improving his other abilities, the blind should be fine as is.
With the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters event finished, Riot can probably make balance changes that wouldn’t disturb the competitive ecosystem. Yoru will likely receive buffs in Patch 2.06.
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