Raze has been part of Valorant since its launch, and she provided quite a lot of moments to rage at for early fans of the game. As a duelist, she’s always been classified as the second or third-best in the game, however due to the multiple nerfs on her abilities, there was a dip seen in her pick rate in professional play. But during the VCT EMEA LCQ, Raze was the highest-picked agent, which made us wonder; is BLIX the best Secondary Duelist in Valorant? Here's our case for Raze being the best Secondary Duelist in the game right now.
We’ve previously mentioned the core idea of the secondary duelist role in another article. In brief, the idea is the secondary duelist provides that extra explosive power on the attack — ideally during the progression and penetration phase, helping in removing the amount of utility the controllers have in play. As such the secondary duelist will act as an element of danger for any anchors on site as well as making sure they can get information about the site and gain the highest amount of map control in the shortest period. Due to each duelist having a unique ability kit, when playing with a secondary duelist, their role will vary.
The steady rise of Raze
If we go back to the start of this year, and the start of Valorant’s franchising era, to VCT LOCK//IN and take a look at the pick rate of duelists in that tournament we see Jett was first and Raze was second. On paper it would look like Raze was quite popular back then but Jett had a pick rate of 60%, the second-highest in the tournament. Raze on the other hand only had a pick rate of 29% with Split being the only map where she had a 100% pick rate.
Looking at the 3 VCT Leagues following LOCK//IN, Raze had a small rise in her pick rate, averaging around 37%. The fact that Icebox was still a part of the map pool and then removed could be factored into this rate too. In the 3 LCQ tournaments is where we began to see the tide start to turn, with Raze being the highest-picked duelist in both EMEA & the Americas region. During this time Valorant’s meta has been quite varied across maps. Teams who have players who could play a flex role shifted from initiator to duelist on a map by map basis. This is when the secondary duelist playstyle began picking up steam and Raze stepped forward as the primary candidate.
The complete secondary duelist?
If you look at Raze’s ability kit, you’ll notice there are no flashes or smokes in her kit. As such in a 1v1 duel, she has no abilities that put her at an advantage. It’s one of the reasons many players shy away from the idea of using her as a primary duelist. But, as a secondary duelist, Raze has the complete package. Starting with her Boom Bot, which can scan corners and clear out angles. If it detects an enemy it locks onto them, forcing them to change their aim and break it. Thanks to the change of aim and Boom Bot’s sound queue, Raze can peek and kill the opponent with ease. If there’s no opponent then just by using her ability, Raze has gained a lot of control over a section of the map. Ideally, this kind of play is seen on Bind in Showers as well as while pushing into Hookah.
Her Paint Shells are a form of a cluster grenade. Due to the amount of damage it puts out, enemies have to run away, or else it will result in deaths, even if they have full shields. This ability in itself helps to clear out enemies anchoring a given part of the site, providing space for Raze’s teammates to push onto the site and plant the spike. Her Paint Shells can also be used to break various forms of utility, like Killjoy's turret and even her lockdown.
But the ability that really sets Raze apart as the best secondary duelist is her ultimate. Showstopper is a rocket launcher that on impact is a OHKO. The second the sound queue of her ultimate is heard, players pull back — its damage output is respected. In defense if the ultimate is activated, there’s a 10-second timer after which the ability cannot be used. Using this, even as a way to delay the plant, spooking opponents who are worried about a Showstopper coming their way.
The unique part about Raze is her ability kit provides a full package; the ability to gain map control with Boom Bot, Blast Pack, to help her push onto the site with ease, and respectable damage output across a section of the site thanks to Paint Shells. And that’s before Showstopper even has to come into play.
It seems that the community is catching onto this as well, with Raze having the highest pick rate of any Duelist during the VCT Champions group stage. But only time will tell if Raze will be recognized as one of the best agents in the game.