VALORANT's new character is feast or famine
The 11th agent entering VALORANT’s agent stable is Reyna, the vampiric juggernaut. Equipped with an ability to induce near-sight in a surprisingly large radius and the creative Soul Orb system which heavily rewards players for earning kills. Once you kill an enemy player, they drop a Soul Orb which can be channelled into two of her abilities. Reyna is an agent that excels at lurking, so for those that tend to stay away and are looking to backstab the enemy, she is the agent for you. And while she brings some interesting and subtle options to the game, Reyna enters VALORANT as a juggernaut; an agent that looks intimidating and powerful but has some very real weaknesses.
Leer is a good piece of utility and is unique with its ability to be destroyed. Reyna can use this to quickly peak around corners due to how much it deafens those effected by the eye. However, that’s the only piece of utility that she brings to her team. Outside of Leer, Reyna is going to need to lurk around and find kills to become a sticky threat during post-plant scenarios.
The mechanic attached to her abilities, Devor and Dismiss, is creative. However, the windows in which these abilities unlock themselves are inconsistent. While only gaining Soul Orbs from freshly killed players, there are plenty of times where you will find kills on Reyna but find little to no use from your Soul Orbs. Topping your health pool off and gaining part of your armor that is lost is a welcome tool, but Dismiss feels very situational outside of her ultimate, Empress. The ability to perhaps escape situations you wouldn’t normally be able to is hidden under a fairly high skill ceiling, a small window of opportunity, and fairly low impact.
Reyna is feast or famine, and a big "get frags" agent. Two of her abilities require Soul Orbs to cast, which are only spawned when *Reyna* kills a player. They only last a few seconds (1/X)
Right off the bat, comparisons can be drawn to other very selfish duelists like Jett, but they still do her job better. Jett brings newly buffed smokes to her team, the ability to take vertical angles that most agents can’t access, and a dynamic feel when using her ultimate. 80% of the time, Reyna feels like a girl with a gun rather than a stylized character in a video game, and in a way, her design is elegant in its simplicity but also bland in other ways. The creativity is there, but the execution leaves Reyna feeling flat.
However, on rounds where Reyna has access to Empress, she can combo into other kills with the invisibility on Dismiss. Being able to safely reposition quickly mid-engagement is going to lead to some amazing highlight plays without a doubt, but you’re going to need to have the stars align to make that a reality. More often than not, your Empress will next you a quick kill with its increase to your fire rate and reload speed while also allowing you to Devor automatically off a kill without expending the Soul Orb, but the timer on the orbs remains consistent.
Now that isn’t to say that Reyna doesn’t excel in some situations. Taking armor on a pistol round makes her feel like an unkillable demon. While it seems counterintuitive, Reyna needs to win her first duel, and positioning to close the gap on someone using a Ghost or Sheriff is going to be necessary to unlocking her potential.
Theoretically speaking, Reyna might be well versed with one of the close-range weapons that VALORANT has in its shop. Consider the following, Dismiss allows you to become intangible for a short time while increasing your movement speed. Let’s say Reyna played a close angle like Garage on Haven. If she finds a kill with the Judge, she now has a choice with the information present; she can Dismiss forward, close the distance and attempt to take another trade or Devor the Soul Orb and continue holding the angle. The problem you run into is how consistent you can pull this off. It is an interesting playstyle that she might be able to use, but just a concept that might be available.
She also is going to dominate as a ladder star, meaning, if one team’s coordination is lacking she is going to seem impressively strong. She is the true lurker of VALORANT so far but might be designed in a way that makes her hard to balance. Reyna is going to be a polarizing agent in her current state. She falls into the camp of agents that are either going to be too good not to pick or useless at the highest levels while being a thorn in the side of mid to low rated ranked players.
This early verdict places Reyna somewhere within the B-Tier of agents. She is fine but will struggle to find usefulness over other agents like Raze and Jett. Feast or famine feels like an apt description of Reyna’s kit. She’s good but not great, a dish finished but lacking seasoning. And some people will undoubtedly enjoy that nuanced simplicity, but she is an agent that will be relegated to the ranked ladder rather than being a staple in the professional side of VALORANT.
Images via Riot Games