As we enter Valorant’s new patch, with the release of the new agent, a lot of changes are taking place. In one of our previous articles, we mentioned Raze is one of the top duelists in the game, but in update 7.09, Riot nerfed the agent in all aspects. Let’s take a closer look at the changes to the agent, as well as the additional nerfs to different weapons, to see how these changes could affect the competitive side of things.
How significant is the Nerf to the Judge?
The Judge has proven to be one of the most powerful weapons in Valorant. We saw this in the NRG vs. Bili Bili Gaming match on Split. In that match, Bili Bili used the Judge in such an effective way that NRG had no way to counter it. This game caused a lot of community debate about how overpowered the gun was. The Judge was even being used frequently in long-range battles, despite shotguns traditionally being effective only in short-range duels. Based on the community’s discussions, Riot chose to nerf the weapon in several ways. Firstly, the size of the magazine was nerfed from 7 bullets per magazine to 6. This should result in a reduction of the Judge spam among the player base. Since the number of bullets is reduced, players will have to be very cautious in how they choose to use the gun now.
The second balancing tweak is its jumping spread. Usually, you’ll see plenty of pro players jumping and maintaining full accuracy using a Judge. Increasing the jumping spread from 1.25 to 2.25 makes the weapon unviable for long-distance fights. With such a high bullet spread, the Judge will instead mostly be viable in specific parts of a given map, for example, A Link on Haven.
The last nerf is the Judge’s running spread for its bullets. The bullet's running spread is now 0.75 instead of 0.1. As a result, we’ll see its used lower in run and gun cases. Since run and gunning, in general, has been nerfed even further, many players with high momentum will miss their shots. A great example of this is when Raze pushes out with a Judge using her Blastpack. It used to be pretty accurate on the opponent's body, but now, with the increased running spread, a move like this will see a reduction in accuracy.
Is the Nerf to Raze going to be impactful in professional Valorant?
Raze is one of the best agents in the game due to her ability and mobility in-game. She’s one of the game’s most popular agents, and a lot of players have been hoping for a Nerf this season. Now, Riot’s made the changes, and it feels like they finally recognized how powerful the agent once was. They also nerfed her Blastpack; now, the satchel doesn’t deal damage until it is fully armed. This drastically reduces how quickly she can deal damage with it and the amount of damage it puts out. Her satchel’s arm time has also gone up from 0.5 sec to 1.5 sec. This will impact both her mobility and movement speed in the game. The raft of changes means players will need a lot more skill to use the Blastpacks properly.
The second change to her abilities is in her Paint Shells — one of her most well-known abilities. The primary explosion radius has been decreased from 6m to 5.5m, reducing the area that it affects. Her secondary explosion radius has also been lowered from 6m up to 5.25m, meaning cluster grenades cause less AoE damage. Now, opponents who fall in the radius of the damage can more easily move to a spot where they won’t take a lot of damage. To support this, the primary grenade explosion’s minimum damage has been reduced by one health point, down to 14 from the previous 15 health points. This means opponents can move away from the damage radius and take minimal damage to their health, the same damage nerf also applies to the secondary grenade.
The final nerf on Paint Shells is the multiplier to the enemy utility, which is now reduced from 250% to 100%. This change will make it harder for Raze to destroy the lockdown of a Killjoy, for example. Another few examples will be on Sage and Deadlock’s walls, both of which have a high amount of health. All these reductions in damage output should result in Raze players conserving their abilities for the right moment, as Riot’s changes intended. Instead of the abilities being primarily used for damage, players will have to adapt and use the utility to clear an enemy's utilities on a given site or clear out certain spots on the map to gain more map control.