VALORANT Patch 1.11 significantly changed the abilities of Initiators and Sentinels to make them more effective in their designated roles while also nerfing them in certain situations. These alterations are likely suitable for the general player base but they’re also changes that pros will need to adapt to quickly.
Hiko expressed his opinions on the changes today on stream and explained how they're poorly timed with the First Strike open qualifiers in full swing.
Hiko reviewed the patch notes on stream this morning to see what changes were added to VALORANT. Dozens of VALORANT pros, including Hiko, are in the process of fighting for a spot in the First Strike tournament, the first official event hosted by Riot Games. The latest patch changes will impact professional play and cause teams to have to adjust their strategies and playstyle rapidly.
After going through the notes, Hiko expressed how the changes will affect professional matches, despite Riot claiming it doesn't want top teams to adjust mid-tournament.
“This is what they literally said in these patch notes: ‘We want to ensure that the top teams don’t have to constantly adapt to a changing game while they’re playing in a tournament,’” Hiko said. “That’s very ambitious for them to make a comment like this, then literally change multiple staple Agents.”
Hiko was referring to Cypher and Killjoy, who both received significant updates in Patch 1.11. Pros will have to adjust to these changes mid-tournament, which could make it more challenging to compete at the highest level. Hiko also explained how these changes are counter-intuitive when the top teams are trying to form a competitive meta in the first official tournament hosted by Riot.
Teams are now competing in the second day of the Nerd Street Gamers NA Open Qualifiers and will have to adapt to the latest changes. Hiko and 100 Thieves made it to the second day of the competition and will be directly impacted by these changes.
Riot did distribute patch notes to competing teams to help them prepare for the changes and admitted that it's not a great solution. But Riot still seems to be trying not to affect the competitive side drastically during tournaments. It's unclear if the changes will significantly change the competitive meta, but that's another issue the pros will need to consider.