How to play Fade, VALORANT’s new spooky initiator

Fade is a powerful agent when used correctly.

Image via Riot Games

Fade is the new agent coming in Patch 4.08 that will shake the initiator meta to its core. The new agent can gather almost as much information as Sova and help soften up enemies like Skye with ease. Her terrifying abilities can track and identify enemies, hold them in one spot, and leave them vulnerable for an easy kill. 

Fade’s abilities are relatively easy to learn and use as some are similar to other existing abilities. But she was designed to fill a specific role, and learning how to use her abilities effectively is crucial to getting the most value out of her powerful ability set. Let’s take a look at her abilities to better understand the best ways to play Fade. 

Fade’s Abilities

Haunt (E)

Fade’s Haunt ability allows players to throw an orb that spawns a “nightmarish entity” that plunges to the ground after a short period. When the orb hits the ground, it transforms into the said entity and marks the locations of enemies within its line of sight. Enemies can shoot the entity, but they must act quickly to avoid being marked. Enemies hit with the Haunt ability are marked with a Trails debuff that lasts 12 seconds. 

Prowler (C )

The Prowler ability sends out a Prowler in a straight line that locks onto enemies or trails within its “frontal vision cone.” The Prowler chases them and nearsights enemies it hits. Players can control the Prowler with their crosshairs for better mobility. The Nearsight debuff lasts three seconds, and only one creature can follow a specific trail. Each Prowler costs 300 credits. 

Seize (Q)

Fade’s Seize ability also allows players to throw an orb that drops to the ground after a short period. When the orb hits the ground, ink explodes from the projectile and creates a small zone that enemies cannot escape. Enemies are tethered to the orb in the center and suffer 75 decay damage and are deafened. The orb is also indestructible, meaning players are stuck for the duration of the ability. Each Seize ability costs 200 credits and is one of the best abilities in Fade’s kit. 

Nightfall (X)

The Nightfall ultimate ability sends out a massive wave of nightmare energy that can through walls and other obstacles. Enemies caught in the wave are trailed, deafened, and decayed. The trail and decayed damage last 12 seconds, creating a substantial window for Fade to hunt down her enemies. The ability costs seven ultimate points and can be devastating. 

Understanding how to use Fade

Fade can gather substantial info for her team like Sova while also opening softening defenses and opponents like Skye. She has a significantly lower skill ceiling as players do not need to memorize intricate lineups to be successful. 

The Haunt ability is an easy way to mark enemies from a safe position as it can be thrown over walls and other obstacles. It doesn’t have the same distance as Sova’s dart, but players are already finding useful lineups that can highlight enemies without danger. It also provides a significant amount of flexibility as players can check corners and other obstructed areas with the ability to let their team know if an enemy is lurking in the shadows. 

The trial debuff also makes it easy to track enemy movement, helping teams secure easy kills or understand when it’s safe to push. Fade players can also use the Haunt ability defensively, marking enemies before they enter a site to help their team prepare for an attack. It can also mark enemies trying to retake a site, making it significantly more challenging for them to surprise you. 

The Prowler is another excellent way to gather information and track down enemies. If you can successfully hit an enemy with a Prowler, you’ll leave them vulnerable for a few seconds, resulting in an easy kill. Combining this ability with other high-mobility enemies can be devastating. It can also be used to push enemies out of hiding spots or help check corners before entering an area. 

The Seize ability is arguably one of the best powers at Fade’s disposal. Players can trap enemies within a confined space, hitting them with decay damage and the deafened debuff. Players can still fight back while trapped, but they have almost no chance of escape. This is also an excellent ability for post-plants as it can hold enemies for a few seconds, which could be the deciding factor for a close round. Other abilities like Killjoy’s Nanoswarm or Brimstone’s incendiary can easily take out trapped enemies. 

Fade’s Nightfall ultimate functions similarly to Breach’s ult, although it is arguably better. Enemies caught in the nightmare wave are trailed, deafened, and hit with substantial decay damage. The trial and deafened effects last for 12 seconds, which is more than enough time for a team to find and eliminate impacted players. This can make it significantly easier for a team to retake a site or soften up enemies before pushing into a site. It also forces players to reposition to avoid being caught in the nightmare, potentially exposing them. 

The learning curve for Fade is low, but it will still take time to master the ability kit. Her abilities don’t have a massive range, meaning you’ll have to be up close and personal to help your team gather information. But the flexibility of her abilities makes it easy for players to get the most value out of her kit regardless of the situation.