Valorant devs should focus on reworking Phoenix sooner, buffs wont cut it
Phoenix is getting some marginal buffs, but we feel they are not enough to cause a meta shift. Maybe a re-work will help his cause. Let’s discuss it.
When Valorant launched worldwide for the masses who were hungry for a new FPS. Phoenix was one of the most popular characters in the game. Due to his play style, he was a very easy transition from players coming from CS: GO. With his kit containing the basics of a mollie, flashes and a wall to act as a smoke, amateurs and professionals alike couldn’t wait to get their hands on him during tournaments.
Players like Sick made sure that Phoenix was his pick every single round on a map like Haven during the first year of the game. But with the introduction of new Characters, there has been a steady dip in the popularity of the character. Every new Agent release brings a better kit with way more utility to offer the squad. As a result, agents like Phoenix are left behind and in need of a re-work.
From Hero to Zero
During the beginning months of Valorant’s professional scene, there was a META which consisted of a 2 Duelist set-up. Many players made the most of this by instalocking Jett Reyna and Phoenix for their distinct abilities which helped the team to push into sights with ease. But the major changing block came when characters like Astra and Kay/o were introduced in the game.
When comparing the kit of Kay/o and Phoenix there are more similarities than differences. Each of them has a mollie, 2 flashes as well as their Ult.
While Phoenix comes back to life after being killed using his Ult, Kay/o goes down and can be revived by his teammates. Additionally, KAY/O’s knife suppressed enemies and gave away their location to the team as well. This helped in gaining more map control at the start of rounds. The days of Phoenix were already numbered.
Earlier, Yoru nullified Phoenix’s uniqueness with more directional flashes. Additions to his kit in the past few updates to his fake footsteps, Teleport and ULT only made him stronger. The character has been more used than before now. Currently, Yoru is still being patched with new updates to help and nerf him at the same time. Many players such as Tenz have also used Yoru in the recent qualifiers of the VCT. Yoru’s rework has helped to shift the META only consisting of Jett as a viable duelist on certain maps as well as to trick opponents in-game. This has led to the character’s popularity to increase as well which helps the scene as a whole due to allowing new playstyles.
At this stage, there is at least three agents that are more viable options than Phoenix, that offer the same utility and then some. It’s time for that re-work.
How can Phoenix change without changing too much
Phoenix is the poster boy of the game together with Jett. Each of them has quite a loyal fan base who wants to see their characters get better. Phoenix and Jett became flip sides of a coin. One who stayed in the META and has been used ever since by everyone while the other is just being mostly forgotten but new players of the game. While still being in the background of the new update and the videos concerning it, it still shows that Valorant care about their major mascot.
Currently, Riot is testing some buffs to Phoenix, none of which really address his issues. Faster flash, weapon speed after using Blaze, and Run it Back not consuming shields are cute additions but don’t change the underwhelming kit of this agent.
It’s only a matter of time before we could be seeing a full-blown rework of the character to suit the current power creep in the game. One would highly expect there to be a change to his wall and his ultimate. With a change to his Ultimate to suit more of him being allowed to cancel it as well one could have more freedom on the character as well. Currently, it feels like Phoenix’s main weakness is his ultimate and with perhaps a new Ultimate we could see Sick use him again on Haven and cause chaos again.
Maybe the most crucial change is an update to his flash. Either simply increasing the range and arc of the flash when cast or re-working how the mechanics work to make it more viable than a simple corner-curver.
Either way, Phoenix just needs a little tweak to become meta again. We hope Riot takes their on-going tweak to the Agent further.