Gekko and Deadlock splash art
Image via Riot Games

Riot teases potentially game-changing VALORANT duelist agent, promises Deadlock buffs

One more agent to go.

With VALORANT Champions 2023 in the rearview and Sunset out in the competitive queue, Riot Games is looking ahead to the game’s next phase and is hoping to bring one struggling agent back to relevance before a potentially game-changing duelist is introduced.

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On Sept. 29, Riot Games posted its “State of the Agents” address, teasing one final addition to the roster this year, while covering how Gekko and Deadlock fit into the game’s meta and their respective roles.

The developers officially announced that the next agent will be a duelist who will bring a “little twist you never thought would make it into VALORANT.” Riot also mentioned that some of us were “dreaming in the right direction” when discussing the new agent’s abilities. Additionally, Riot said this agent is namely for those “putting hours in clicking those orbs with aim trainers for that clean 5K,” which could mean an agent like Jett or pre-nerf Chamber that absolutely shines in the hands of the most mechanically gifted players.

Along with this information, Riot also included an image titled “duckblood.” It seems to be set at a hot pot restaurant, with a gloved hand using chopsticks to pick up a piece of piping hot meat—potentially duck.

A gloved arm in a Korean BBQ restaurant grabbing food off the plate
Are you excited about the upcoming agent? Image via Riot Games

Many players have already been thinking about the new duelist ever since their card was leaked in the Episode Seven, Act Two battle pass. The card is titled “Bulletproof,” leading many fans to theorize about whether the new agent will be able to tank incoming damage.

Others started paying attention to the card’s design, which looks like a reactor of sorts and might be the key to their new movement ability. The agent, codenamed “Giraffe,” is the supposed new duelist with a leaked audio file featuring mechanical movement and a dedicated movement folder in the game’s files.

Within the State of the Agents post, Riot also discussed Deadlock, who is struggling to find her place in the game’s meta. Deadlock was not picked once during VALORANT Champions 2023 and is viewed as a weak sentinel agent when compared to someone like Killjoy or Sage.

The developers seem to agree and note that they are “keeping an eye on areas of her kit that we can improve that would help Deadlock become a sentinel that can better react on the fly.” This will likely bring changes to her Sonic Sensor and GravNet as those abilities can be incredibly inconsistent.

Unlike other sentinels, Deadlock can’t really hold flanks with her utility so the upcoming buffs should make her more viable in that department at the very least.

Finally, Riot noted that it is still monitoring Gekko’s spot in the initiator meta and will watch how his recent balance changes affect his stock.


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Edward Strazd
Freelance News and SEO Writer for Dot Esports, covering everything from live service games like Destiny 2 and Fortnite to new releases. Writing about games since 2021. When he's not writing, he's probably grinding for loot in Destiny 2.
Author
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.