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Monday, February 19, 2024

Valorant is testing a new way to detect smurfs

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Valorant’s 5.01 patch notes are pretty typical for agents, but perhaps game changing for ranked players. Riot Games is testing a new way to detect smurfs and bump them up to where they belong in the ranks, hopefully stopping them from pretending to be novices while farming low rank players. 

The patch notes explain that North America will be the test region for this new smurf detection system. It’s designed to look at the performance of all new accounts and adjust them to where they’re supposed to be much faster than before. This testing started on July 11, so players in America are already going to be seeing these changes.

Hopefully this new system works. If you’re playing any ranked match below Platinum, there is a very high chance either one team or both will have a smurf playing. It’s frustrating when you lose a match not because you played badly or your team was vastly outmatched, but because one single player on the other side is obviously far more practised. 

Annoyingly this new smurf detection may not account for individuals buying accounts when they hit level 20—it’s not clear what “new” accounts mean. Level 20 is when accounts are able to play ranked, and so there is a large market of players buying accounts in that level region. “New” accounts are likely to include level 20 for that reason. 

Agent changes in this patch have been made to Phoenix, Yoru, and KAY/O. Phoenix is underpowered at the moment, perhaps the worst agent in the game. So his curveball flash is being buffed, flashing players for longer, and the wind-up to using the ability is shorter. He will also equip his gun faster after casting his wall and his ultimate Run it Back will return shields the player had before casting after it has ended. 

Yoru is getting an increase to his Dimensional Drift time, from 10 to 12 seconds, and the unequip time is being reduced from 1.2 seconds to 0.8. This is in an effort to allow Yoru players to have a little more fun with their ultimates and attempt to pull off those mischievous plans they make. 

KAY/O in turn is being tuned better. His grenade is decreasing its area of effect from 10 to 8 metres but it’s now able to damage players that are out of line of sight. His ultimate NULL/CMD is getting audio cue changes. Rather than the opposing team hearing his full reviving audio, they’ll have a much smaller cue akin to what players would hear when tapping the spike. The other most notable change is that Twin Hunters in Spike Rush can now damage destructible walls. 

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