How to play Killjoy, VALORANT’s engineer agent

Learn the ins and outs of the German genius.

Image via Riot Games

Killjoy, VALORANT’s 12th playable agent, sits somewhere between Raze with her explosive damage and information-gathering robots and Cypher with his gadgets, gizmos, and covert tripwires. 

She’s an engineer agent who thrives on the defensive, single-handedly taking control of a site and outthinking, outsmarting, and outmaneuvering her opponents. Killjoy uses her arsenal of robots to secure a flank, lock down an angle, or defend a position.

Here are some tips for playing VALORANT’s German genius. 

Nanoswarm (C)

Nanoswarm is a covert disco grenade in the same realm as Brimstone’s Incendiary, Phoenix’s Hothands, and Viper’s Snakebite. But it closely resembles Cypher’s Cyber Cage ability. It goes into a dormant state when thrown and remains invisible until activated on command. When activated, it explodes, dealing a quick burst of damage in a circular field.

This is Killjoy’s bread and butter damage ability. When used correctly, it has devastating effects. On the defensive, it can be placed in a chokepoint or down a long and narrow corridor. And on the offensive, it can be used to scout out and clear an angle or to lock down and protect the bomb from being defused.

Nanoswarm awards creativity. Like all of Killjoy’s abilities, it can be detected and destroyed. To avoid this and get the upper hand against your opponents, you should look to switch up its position each round.

It’s not always going to score you kills, though, or even deal damage at all. Using it to close off points of entry to a site, delay rushes, or make planting the bomb inaccessible is what makes it such a dynamic ability.

Alarmbot (Q)

Alarmbot is a small and deadly robot that hides in the shadows and jumps into action when enemies are in range, exploding, dealing damage, and applying a vulnerability debuff to those caught in its blast.

It’s a fun mixture between Cypher’s Tripwire, Raze’s Boom Bot, and Viper’s Snakebite. It’s easily detected and destroyed with a few taps of a pistol, but it can be recalled and placed at any location.

When Alarmbot explodes, it tickles your opponents, barely leaving a scratch. It’s vulnerability debuff, though, doubles the damage of your bullets for a few brief seconds, allowing you or your teammates to swoop in and pick up a kill.

But even without Alarmbot’s damage and vulnerability debuff, it’s a strong and reliable information-gathering ability. You can use it as a robotic booby trap to detect your opponents and to put you on high alert.

Ideally, though, timing it correctly and using it together with Nanoswarm should be your goal. The combined damage can lead to a quick and easy kill.

Turret (E)

Turret is a cute little stationary robot that can be deployed at any location to fire in a 180-degree cone.

It has 125 HP and fires in three-shot bursts after a 0.75-second delay. It deals eight damage per bullet from zero to 20 meters, six damage per bullet from 20 to 35 meters, and four damage per bullet from 35 meters and beyond. In other words, it’s not going to mow down your opponents in a hail of bullets.

Like Alarmbot, it can be destroyed for a 45-second cooldown or recalled for a 20-second cooldown.

Smokes and flashes are Turret’s biggest counters. If it can’t see your opponents, it simply won’t shoot them. A well-timed Omen Dark Cover, Brimstone Sky Smoke, or Phoenix Curveball will render it useless.

When left to its own devices, it can deal a significant amount of damage. The longer it survives, the better. But in most cases, all it’s going to do is annoy your opponents and cause a nuisance.

Turret also tags your opponents, slowing them down briefly. You should look to place it in the crossfire to distract your opponents and engage for the kill. Their split-second of indecisiveness, choosing to either shoot your turret or you, will often come out in your favor.

On the attack, Turret only really comes in handy after you plant the bomb. It can act as cannon fodder, though, baiting out shots and soaking up precious bullets before you peek an angle.

Lockdown (X)

Lockdown speaks for itself. After a lengthy setup, it captures all enemies within its large radius, preventing them from shooting, moving, planting, and defusing the bomb. If anyone gets caught in the blast, they’re basically done for.

Due to its eight-second windup, Lockdown is easy to avoid. It can also be destroyed, like Nanoswarm, Alarmbot, and Turret, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. It creates a rippling effect across its radius, leading enemies straight to it.

Despite its weaknesses, though, Lockdown has the potential to be one of VALORANT’s strongest and most versatile abilities. Even if it doesn’t catch anyone, it’s almost guaranteed to clear out a site. That gives you and your team a whole eight seconds to storm in and plant the bomb.

In a retake situation, it’ll instantly give you the upper hand. Your opponents are forced to choose between rushing you and destroying Lockdown or fleeing and abandoning the site altogether. Either way, you’re the one pulling the strings.

To make the most of Lockdown, you should look to hide it as best as possible. Place it behind a wall, at the back of the site, high up, or down low. Just never leave it out in the open.