Here’s everything you need to know about Valorant’s new initiator, KAY/O, including his ability list and pro player reactions to his unveiling.
KAY/O is going to change the meta
Classified as an initiator, the newest member of Valorant’s agent pool has one mission behind his release: to change the meta. KAY/O’s agent reveal trailer makes it pretty clear that the character’s backstory sees him being created to take down radiants.
In the weeks leading up to KAY/O’s release, there were already speculations about what the agent could bring to the competitive scene. These were all confirmed when players finally got to test his kit.
Get ready to be suppressed
Arguably the most exciting feature the new agent comes with is KAY/O’s signature ability to suppress (a.k.a silence) opposing agents. However, it’s not just the signature ability that does this: KAY/O’s ultimate takes it even further, with suppression pulses recurring while the ability is active. Here’s a look at the agent’s full kit.
(Q) FLASH/drive – is the agent’s flash grenade that pops off after a very short delay. It’s very similar to CS:GO’s pop flash.
(C) FRAG/ment – KAY/O’s equivalent of the molotov grenade activates once it hits a horizontal surface. Unlike other mollies in Valorant, this one comes in four pulses, each triggering after one second. Being hit with three pulses is enough to kill an agent with full armor.
(E) ZERO/point – is the agent’s signature ability. Kay/O can throw a dagger that explodes on impact. The dagger releases a pulse that suppresses anyone caught in the radius of the explosion. The suppression lasts for eight seconds.
If an agent like Killjoy or Cypher gets directly tagged by the ZERO/point ability, then the traps they’ve set up will no longer be active for the duration of the suppression.
(X) NULL/cmd – KAY/O’s ultimate overloads the new agent with polarized radianite energy that pulses four times and has a sizable radius. Enemy agents caught inside the pulse will be suppressed for four seconds. KAY/O also receives a combat stim, allowing him to shoot faster.
If KAY/O drops to zero hit points while NULL/cmd is active, the agent enters a “downed state,” which lasts for 15 seconds. During this period, the agent receives 850 temporary hit points, and allies can revive the agent. It takes four seconds to get KAY/O back up from the downed state. If KAY/O’s 850 temporary hit points drop to zero, he’s out of the round for good.
An agent to attract more?
Valorant players who have logged some hours playing CS:GO will notice that KAY/O’s FLASH/drive ability is pretty much like the pop-flash from Counter-Strike. Spencer “Hiko” Martin and Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, both former CS:GO pros and current Valorant stars on 100 Thieves and Sentinels respectively, have expressed how similar the ability is to the pop-flash.
It’s not a secret to anyone that Riot’s Valorant draws inspiration from Valve’s long-time first-person tactical shooter franchise. Many of Valorant’s professional players come from the CS:GO community. It begs us to ask: could this be Riot’s attempt to lure more Counter-Strike players to their game?
Shaking up team compositions
Hiko also mentioned in one of his YouTube videos that KAY/O has the potential to replace agents who have long been in professional and high-ELO competitive team compositions. The 100 Thieves captain even called the new agent a duelist on top of being an initiator. Based on Hiko’s opinion, Raze and Phoenix could be picked less and less.
Patch 3.0 will most likely be the version of Valorant that will be played during Challengers 1 of VCT Stage 3. It will be interesting to see what the professionals will make of this new agent.