As if dropping a brand new map months earlier than planned, some of the coolest skin ranges we've seen yet and an all-new battle pass weren't enough, Riot Games is now adding a 13th agent to Valorant as part of Act Three and she's sure to change things even further thanks to some of the most unusual abilities we've seen yet.
Skye is set to launch on October 27, having been delayed two weeks to give players a chance to figure out how to play on the new Icebox map without having to worry about a new agent as well. She's listed as an initiator agent, but fills more of a supporting role than others in that category thanks to a team heal and disables that she struggles to capitalise on herself.
Her four abilities include Regrowth, a channeled ability to heal allies within a radius; Trailblazer, which lets you control a Tasmanian tiger to scout and concuss enemies; Guiding Light summons a hawk that will flash enemies when detonated by Skye; finally, her ultimate, Seekers, summons three seekers that track enemies across the map and nearsighted any that are hit.
As far as agents go, she's certainly unique and has been hands-on with her ourselves, we can say that she's not an easy agent to master. As we were struggling to figure out how to time her flash and control her wolf, the G2 Esports Valorant team was already running rings around us, having already figured out most of Skye's tricks. So, we just asked them for their tips instead.
"I think the new agent will be very good since she's got a good utility set, but overall she won't be better than Breach or Sova," said Ardis 'ardiis' Svarenieks when recapping his experience with Skye. "A nice agent overall, but I don't think she'll create a new meta."
Ardiis has been a Sova main for most of his pro matches, so when it comes to knowing how initiators work in Valorant, there are few more knowledgeable than him. His point on Skye being less impactful than Breach and Sova when it comes to that style of play certainly rings true, as she's unable to capitalise off her initiation abilities like the others are, thanks to long reset times and the distance these abilities can travel. However, this perhaps isn't the role that Skye's designed to fill, with her kit being closer to a support role than a true front line initiator.
"First of all, Skye will be one of my mains, as I'm kind of a support player in G2, playing all the flashers/healers," said David 'Davidp' Prins, who's mostly played as Sage until the most recent set of nerfs. "Skye will be very good at the top level. I think her kit is really nice: you've got flashes, a heal and a paranoia as an ult – that is insane."
The difference in opinions on Skye between the two G2 stars doesn't end there, which is very interesting given the roles they play on the team. From the early community reaction and the talk during the private testing by influencers, pros and Riot devs, it's clear that Skye having the ability to heal is the most controversial aspect of the agent.
Pretty much since day one, Sage, who's the only true team healer in Valorant until now, has been a hot topic of debate, with many saying that her healing ability is too strong and gives teams with a Sage too much of an advantage. This has led to multiple rounds of nerfs, to the point where she's now rarely played in the pro scene.
While Skye's healing isn't as powerful as Sage, she does have the ability to heal multiple members of your team at the same time, something no other agent can do. This can result in a team coming back to full health after winning a small fight, not only giving them an advantage when it comes to numbers but also putting them on equal footing in terms of HP. If you add a Sage into that mix as well it could be very difficult to take down a well-coordinated team, as, crucially, Skye can't heal herself.
"I like the idea of not being able to heal yourself, so it could spice things up a bit," said Ardiis. "I think it might be OP to run Sage and Skye, but only time will tell."
Running both a Sage and a Skye could limit how your team can play, but with Skye excelling on attack and Sage being one of the best defensive agents in Valorant, it's not crazy to think that we could see both healers in the same lineup. However, countering Ardiis's point, Davidp thinks that Skye's heal is just fine, as it's only a set amount given out.
"I don't think it is too strong, you'll have to use it well and choose how to heal properly because while you can heal several people, the more people you do heal, the fewer lives you can give them back," said Davidp. "So, I don't think it needs to get any changes."
It will be fascinating to see how much usage Skye gets in the pro level, especially in the upcoming First Strike tournament, which will be the first major event we get to see her and the new Icebox map feature in. For those of us outside of the pro scene, though, we need to figure out how to play and, crucially, how to counter Skye much quicker than that, as she'll no doubt be terrorising games in no time.
"I definitely think at a lower level this agent won't be good because you can easily team flash and you need to have good communication to play this agent," says Davidp, reassuring us when we mention how strong we feel Skye could be in lower level matchmaking when playing against full five stacks. "But, I'm pretty sure a lot of top teams will play this agent because her kit is really strong."
With Skye due to launch on October 27, you'll be able to experience her for yourself very soon, but please, for the sake of everyone in your pubs, tell your team when you're going to use your hawk flashes, as there is nothing worse than rounding a corner only to have a hawk fly over your head and flash you. That's the best piece of advice the G2 players gave us and we can say from experience of them demolishing us time-after-time that talking with your team really does work.