Hands-on Valorant Agent Preview: KAY/O, introducing a new meta with the Terminator
Valorant's upcoming Episode 3 Act 1 introduces a new Agent into the fray: KAY/O, an Initiator who is essentially Valorant's version of the Terminator. Instead of going back in time to kill John Connor, this war machine (not with Iron Man) was built with the sole intent of eliminating Radiants, hypernatural individuals such as other agents: Jett, Sage, Reyna, Phoenix, just to name a few.
It's a new kind of backstory that beckons throwing in a new meta into the mix, and thanks to Riot Games giving eGG Network early access into this new content, we can finally unravel first-hand how new Valorant Agent KAY/O shakes up the battlefield:
"EQUIP a suppression blade. FIRE to throw. The blade sticks to the first surface it hits, winds up, and suppresses anyone in the radius of the explosion."
KAY/O is the first-ever Agent to have a set of ability-suppressing skills, with ZERO/point as his main tool to disable other Agents' abilities. The effect lasts as long as eight seconds, and the explosion is so huge that it almost covers an entire Spike site, dangerous to those who stick too close together. Plus, the ability is free so each cooldown time is 40 seconds.
KAY/O's ZERO/point skill is half the reason why they would be a fantastic Initiator. Let's say if KAY/O players can predict where enemies are coming from, they can suppress their abilities ahead of time to prevent being blinded by flashes and smoke. That's just one of many tactical advantages that KAY/O can produce.
"EQUIP a flash grenade. FIRE to throw. The flash grenade explodes after a short fuse, blinding anyone in line of sight."
CS:GO players will feel right at home with this. However, the cooking time is a little longer with KAY/O's FLASH/drive - a long throw (left-click) flashes in 1.6 seconds, while lobbing it (right-click) explodes in 1 second.
"EQUIP an explosive fragment. FIRE to throw. The fragment sticks to the floor and explodes multiple times, dealing near-lethal damage at the centre with each explosion."
KAY/O's FRAG/ment isn't your ordinary frag grenade gifted by your Dad. Instead of going boom once, this cyber frag pulses a total of four times, even damaging through obstacles/walls. Each pulse deals as much as 60 damage at the centre, though it is reduced when enemies are at the edges.
"INSTANTLY overload with polarized radianite energy that empowers KAY/O and causes large energy pulses to emit from his location. Enemies hit with these pulses are suppressed for a short duration."
This is the other half of why KAY/O would control the arena so well. The NULL/cmd is a great way to deny/discourage enemies from advancing towards you, especially if you're an Attacker whose Spike is blowing up soon. KAY/O's ultimate pulses a total of five times every four three seconds, and the effect on suppressed enemies lasts four seconds each.
On top of that, KAY/O would have the Combat Stim buff upon activation, increasing movement speed, as well as increase your weapon's fire rate, recoil recovery, reload speed and weapon swap speed.
Plus, when they're downed in the Overloaded state, they can still be revived by teammates without Sage. Whilst destabilised, KAY/O has 850 HP and a 15 second countdown. They can restore up to 100 HP, depending on how much damage they took when destabilised.
Overall, KAY/O is a blend of both old and new playing styles in tactical shooters. His FLASH/drive and FRAG/ment abilities screams CS:GO, but on the other hand, the execution of his ability-suppressing arsenal is unique and definitely a game-changer. Though KAY/O is labelled as an Initiator (and a great one at that), he'd be a great Duelist too with his CS:GO-like utilities.
KAY/O will be released alongside Valorant Episode 3 Act 1 tomorrow. Download Valorant for free today and get in the hype!
Special thanks to Afiz for helping out! Do check out his Twitch channel for live streams of Genshin Impact, Valorant and more.