Valorant released officially on June 2, relatively in the same state it was during closed beta, and without its competitive ranked mode. As the community studies every agent and the potential optimal compositions for esports tournaments, Viper has consistently come up as a rather lackluster choice.
The trouble she faces in high-skilled gameplay is that her kit isn’t viable in all situations, and sometimes her teammates are the ones who have to adjust their playstyle to accommodate her existence. Naturally, Valorant agents who can slot right into any team composition is usually picked the most during competitive tournaments, and Viper definitely needs a number of changes to reach that level.
It seems those changes are exactly what patch 1.02 aims to bring to her.
Valorant lead character designer Ryan “Morello” Scott talked about the upcoming changes to Viper during his stream prior to the release of the update. He went into how her Toxic Screen is deemed useless if the player in charge of the character doesn’t know the optimal lineup, and replicated it exactly every round to make use of the ability.
Not only that, but her Poison Cloud is easy to play around as more Valorant players are getting used to where they are usually placed. As for her Snake Bite, it functions as a somewhat less punishing version of Phoenix’s Hot Hands.
“We think this is a very critical buff, and when it comes out, we need to see how she lands afterwards.”
The changes presented in the latest patch rework a couple of her abilities to make them more useful. The Toxic Screen we mentioned earlier can only be placed on wide open surfaces, so the little smoke emitters are on the ground. Other than that, you get it on top of roofs and weird places where it doesn’t benefit your team at all. The change will allow Viper’s Toxic Screen to finally pass through walls. This means that now when you line it up on your minimap, this is exactly how it will look like once activated, regardless of the different obstacles and walls in the way.
The second change adds a new game mechanic to her Snake Bite ability. Now Viper’s poisonous puddle on the ground will make opponents “fragile.” As the term suggests, it applies “a debuff that increases damage taken.” This makes her much more useful when pushing teams, as good Viper players who manage to land their Snake Bite even on one or two enemies will give their teammates a significant advantage.
The only downside to the changes introduced was increasing the Poison Orb cooldown from 5 to 6 seconds. This isn’t as significant of a nerf, but slows down Viper’s ability to smoke off spots which put the enemy team in a strong disadvantage if they decide to push through.
Taking all these changes into consideration, they make Viper a more accessible Valorant agent to newcomers and stronger in the hands of those who put hours into learning the character during the closed beta and since release. You can now drop your Toxic Screen and activate it more easily without having to worry about messing up its lineup and having green smoke across the map doing nothing to help your team out.
Not only that, the new “fragile” mechanic added to her Snake Bite brings a whole new dynamic and utility to the ability. It’s immensely helpful that, even if Viper died, if she managed to weaken two or three members of the enemy team with her poison then her teammates would have a much easier time finishing them off. She was one of the few Valorant agents that leave nothing behind for her team to benefit from, unlike Sage for example.
There are several tournaments coming up to prove Viper is now stronger than ever and finally viable as a top-tier agent. The upcoming Ignition Series Valorant tournaments for the SEA, EMEA, and LATAM regions, alongside the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers tournament, are the main stages where these changes will prove worthwhile. In addition to that, Viper will definitely see more play if any of the professional Valorant players picked her consistently in any of these competitions with so much at stake, showing their faith in the revamped poisonous lady’s ability to carry them to victory.