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VALORANT’s newest agent, Fade, has just been released for early access to a few select people. Having had the chance to try the Turkish Initiator, I’m here to answer one question: Is Fade good?
The short answer is yes.
The danger with new agents is the possibility of having another Yoru situation on our hands, where it will take a lot of fine-tuning to bring them to a place where they’re a viable choice in competitive matches. As far as I can tell, that’s not the case. Let’s get into what makes Fade a strong agent.
Fade first impressions
Fade was billed by Riot Games as an agent that can compete with Sova. That’s a tall task considering many think of Sova as the best agent in the game now that Jett has been nerfed. While Fade and Sova occupy a similar role on a team, they are very different agents, but I’ll delve more into that in the gameplay section. It’s hard to see Fade fully replacing Sova, although she seems to excel on different maps and with team comps where Sova might be weaker.
What really makes Fade shine is how she pairs with other agents. The different synergies that can combine with Fade’s Nightfall (X) ability are what really give her a chance at becoming a mainstay in competitive VALORANT.
Fade’s core gameplay revolves around her Prowler (C) ability, or as I call it, her spooky doggo. The prowler follows trails left when Fade tags enemies with her other abilities. She can also manually control it like a Skye flash. It definitely did not feel as though you needed to mark someone first before using the prowler, though. Because it locks onto people in its line-of-sight, it was useful for clearing angles even if it wasn’t following a trail.
Fade felt at her best during fast executes onto sites. Unlike Sova, it’s not necessary to take time to line-up arrows or get drone tags. You simply throw your Haunt (E) onto the site and send your prowler after any marked enemies. The autonomous nature of her abilities is the core difference between Fade and her kindred Initiators, Skye and Sova.
Now, let’s talk about Fade’s ultimate: Nightfall. This is the ability that makes the Turkish Initiator truly terrifying. If you are hit by the ability, you are deafened and a trail leads them directly towards you. As it turns out, sound is pretty important. In early matches, we found that using Omen or Yoru’s teleports, which both give off an audio cue, were great pairings with the deafen on Nightfall. It creates genuinely terrifying moments to turn around and find the enemy Omen directly in your face.
The Fade ultimate is also phenomenal for re-takes and site hits if you have both charges of your prowler to go with it. The spooky doggos hunt out the enemies that are marked by Fade’s ultimate, exactly like Skye’s ultimate.
Fade is not going to replace Sova. That much became obvious pretty quickly. Even though she fills a similar role, the fact that you can’t use your abilities across the map or with Sova’s precision ensures that she will never fully usurp his position in the meta. Instead, Fade is strong in teams that like fast executes, and on maps like Split where Sova struggles.
All that said, Fade feels like she will be a viable alternative to the “info-gathering” Initiators like Sova and Skye. Her design is unique and feels rewarding. She can be terrifying to play against. Most of all, she works well with other agents, emphasizing the fundamental sandbox trait that makes VALORANT fun. Personally, I can’t wait to continue theory-crafting new and exciting ways to use her abilities.
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.