This caped controller actually plays well with others.

19:00, 15 Apr 2020

VALORANT’s early closed beta tournaments are finally here and with their introduction, some interesting observations can be made. While watching some of the early beta tournaments, I consistently kept stumbling into an agent I figured was more just a ladder hero rather than competitively viable, and that agent was Omen.

From his visual design down to his multiple teleports, he felt like an agent tailored to a lurking style of play, heavy in flanking around and assassinating targets alone. While that isn’t wrong, Omen’s ability to control the map is subtly impressive and could result in a rise in his pick rate as tournaments progress. It is that controlling element that makes Omen one of the most misunderstood agents in the game. 

And it all begins with his kit.

Omen’s signature ability, meaning you don’t have to purchase at the start of each round, is Dark Cover. This ability holds two charges that refresh a single charge every 30 seconds. Dark Cover is a smoke that not only goes through walls but rivals Brimstone’s Sky Smoke in range as well. 

This ability is insane.

Again, not only does this smoke go through walls, not only does it has crazy range, but you don’t have to buy it! While a few hundred credits here and there don’t seem like a lot, it comes down to the eco-rounds that make the big difference. Yes, it doesn’t last as long as other smokes, but in comparison, when measured on smoke activation, Brimstone’s Sky Smoke lasts about 13 seconds, Omen’s Dark Cover lasts about 10 seconds and Jett’s Cloudburst lasts about 5 seconds. Again, for an ability that you don’t have to buy every round, and that recharges, Dark Cover is one of the best abilities in the game in my opinion.

Jett and Phoenix back to back.

Next is Omen’s Paranoia which is effectively a pseudo-flashbang that goes through walls in a straight line for a considerable distance. While you only receive one charge of Paranoia, it doesn’t have to be used on a wall like Breach’s Flashpoint, but it does feel like a worse version of Pheonix’s Curve Ball. The big difference between the two is that Paranoia moves in a straight line rather than an arc. 

Another large difference is how vision denial works. Both Flashpoint and Curve Ball operate like normal flashbangs, the enemy is stunned and their vision is blinded for a time. Paranoia severely hinders their vision, but they still have clarity within a small radius around them. All three abilities serve similar purposes, but in slightly different ways.  

His short-range teleport, Shrouded Step, can be useful for catching people off guard but is not an ability that you’re going to find consistent value with. This is where his visual design and his more lurk oriented playstyle begins.

Last but certainly not least is his ultimate, From the Shadows, which allows you to teleport anywhere on the map while also scrambling the enemy’s minimap. While many people tend to just run it down into the opposing sides spawn, this ability is subtly amazing. On one hand, you can coordinate a push while the enemy’s minimap is out of commission. 

Now I don’t expect this particular trait to be used in professional play. However, trying to abuse this on the ladder would be an interesting tactic while attacking or retaking a site. What this also does is threaten a flank from your Omen. The fact that the enemy team knows that Omen could flank is dangerous enough to slow down their play that round until he is spotted or dealt with. Every corner that they’ve just cleared become hostile again once From the Shadows is used. 

Again, let me reiterate; Omen doesn’t have to teleport across the map to find value. Just using the ultimate is value enough. Just the threat of his mobility coupled with how much control his kit brings makes not only misunderstood but underrated in my eyes. 

For example, let’s take into consideration a composition that features both Brimstone and Omen. On defence, you can cover a significant amount of the map in smoke which not only slows down attacks but on your own offensive rounds, it allows you to safely approach points. Both of these agents provide these smokes in a non-committal way, safely through walls--or in Brimstone’s case from the sky. 

The enemy team is then either forced to push through smokes, push through the angles you haven’t blanketed, or have a character like Sova or Cypher who can glean information through smokes and sight denial abilities. This does pigeon hole you into a slower, more methodical style of play focused around forcing the enemy team to become decisive with the time they have left post-smokes. 

On his face, Omen is build to be a lurker, both in visual design and in the amount of mobility in his kit, but he is surprisingly flexible. This is not the time to judge a book by its cover. Omen is not just your typical ladder hero, lone-wolf style agent. He can be played very selfishly, smoking his own angles for set up a teleport or using his ultimate to attempt to create some hero plays. Contrasting this, he can also be a fantastic team player by flashing entry fraggers in and smoking crossfires for his team as they execute any given site. 

Omen fulfils this trickster role within VALORANT. One round he could be flashing his team into A site and the next he could flank around through C and stab you in the back. It’s this freedom and flexibility that can make him a strong pick as tournaments continue.

Images via Riot Games

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