Valorant Episode 4 Act 2 shakes up the scene with a Yoru rework and Icebox overhaul

The Valorant 4.04 patch notes details major balancing changes and a rework of Icebox.

Valorant Episode 4 Act 2 hasn’t introduced a new Agent or map, but arguably, the changes it’s brought are even more important. Developer Riot Games has described the Act as a chance to check the “overall health” of the game. As a result, the update, which dropped last night, has brought a welath of balancing changes and a full overhaul for one agent in particular.

Valorant Episode 4 act 2 patch notes changes yoru icebox
 
© Riot Games

You can scroll down for the full Valorant 4.04 patch notes, but first here’s an overview of everything that’s changed:

The new act comes, of course, with a fresh battle pass to grind through -- this time with community memes and themes forming the bulk of what's included. The real focus, however, has been on tidying up the cast and maps of Valorant. As such, Dimension-drifting duelist Yoru has had a major rework, improving his toolkit on almost every front. 

Yoru’s Gatecrash teleport now comes with two charges, and can be faked to trick enemies into thinking he’s warped. His Fakeout now spawns a full decoy of Yoru and flashes anyone that shoots it, and he has full vision and utility use while in his Ultimate. Scary.

Other changes have hit Controllers hard. Brimstone and Omen have both received buffs, with the former getting larger smokes and a speed boost effect on his Stim. Omen’s nerfs from previous patches have been reworked, making his smokes much faster to hurl across the map.

On the other side of the coin, Astra and Viper have been nerfed, with the former taking large hits to all her power cooldowns. Toxic-on-main controller Viper will now need to pick carefully which utility she activates, as using her orb and wall in tandem will drain fuel faster.

And finally, there’s Icebox. Valorant’s frosty locale hasn’t been hugely popular since its addition, particularly thanks to a single strategy holding dominance on the B side of the map. That area has had a major rework, shifting boxes, doorways, and sightlines around. Get a full look at the before and after comparisons for Icebox here. Expect to relearn a lot next time you play there.

Valorant 4.04 patch notes - Episode 4 Act 2

Valorant 4.04 patch notes yoru changes
 
© Riot Games

General Agent Updates

  • Improved the system used to place abilities at targeted ground locations. This update should make it easier to find valid placement locations in tight spaces. These are the abilities affected:
    • Omen’s Shrouded Step
    • Viper’s pit
    • Chamber’s Trademark and Rendez-vous
    • Every Killjoy ability
    • Yoru’s Gatecrash
    • Sage’s Barrier Orb

Omen

As strategic diversity in VALORANT evolved, Omen has struggled to find his place within the meta. Many of you enjoy his gameplay loop, but have found it increasingly difficult to justify his selection in higher tiers of play. We want to increase his reliability as a Controller by rolling back a selection of early nerfs to Dark Cover, and sharpen his combat-focused abilities.

Dark Cover

  • Cooldown decreased 40s >>> 30s
  • Cost increased 100 >>> 150
  • Projectile Speed increased 2800 >>> 6400

Shrouded Step

  • Cost decreased 150 >>> 100
  • Pre teleport delay decreased 1s >>> 0.7s

Paranoia

  • Added forward spawn offset, so players adjacent to Omen are not hit

Brimstone

Brimstone is in a healthy spot overall, but he wasn’t performing well in scenarios where we think he should excel. The limitations on his smoke deployment and his Stim Beacon’s versatility were leaving him too constrained. With these changes, we’re hoping Brimstone will be a competitive choice on a healthy portion of the map pool.

Sky Smoke

  • Deploy time decreased 2 >>> 1 second
  • Deploy radius increased 5000 >>> 5500
  • Smoke height increased to match other Controllers

Stim Beacon

  • Now also applies a 15% speed boost in addition to RapidFire.

Astra

With the mastery of Astra’s play patterns over time, she’s become an overwhelming force in both coordinated and high MMR play. She’s crowded out Brimstone and Omen by replicating their strengths and they simply couldn’t keep up with the map-wide impact of her utility. We’re taking steps to create clearer relative weaknesses in an attempt to carve more space for our other Controllers. This starts by reducing her overall utility output and increasing her ability cooldown , in the hopes that this will increase the importance of each move she makes. Paired with this, we’re taking the opportunity to provide some quality-of-life updates and bug fixes that we feel are long overdue.

Stars

  • Max Stars reduced 5 >>> 4
  • Cooldown on retrieving a Star increased 14 >>> 25
  • Astra can now pick up placed Stars during the Buy Phase to refund their charge immediately.
  • Max distance of Star Placement increased 10000 >>> 30000 to allow her to place Stars across the furthest corners of maps.

Gravity Well

  • Cooldown Increased 25 >>> 45
  • Gravity Well Size Decreased 525 >>> 475
  • Gravity Well no longer affects anyone fully underneath the Gravity Well.

Nova Pulse

  • Cooldown Increased 25 >>> 45
  • Nova Pulse no longer affects anyone fully underneath the Nova Pulse.

Nebula

  • Cooldown Increased 14 >>> 25
  • Nebula cooldowns are now sequential instead of simultaneous
  • Nebula size increased 410 >>> 475

Astral Form

  • While in Astral form, pings are no longer blocked by level geometry that Astra cannot see
  • Astra’s targeting ring in Astral form is reduced to one ring that reflects the now unified size of all her utility
  • Astra’s targeting ring no longer randomly disappears when aiming across some map locations
  • Increased the speed of the overlay that covers Astra’s screen when transitioning in and out of Astral form
  • Fixed an issue where Stars were placed slightly above the location Astra was targeting.

Viper

We like Viper’s hybrid Controller/Sentinel role on the roster, really. But her buffs and our newest map additions have turned her into a must-have Controller and best-in-class Sentinel in more situations than we think a dual-role Agent should fill. With the below changes, we hope to create stark decision points on when Viper should manage her fuel as well as provide clearer counterplay opportunities and attack windows for her enemies.

Fuel

  • Fuel drain increased 50% when Toxic Screen and Poison Cloud are both active.
  • Viper’s fuel bar now turns red when she does not have enough fuel to activate her abilities.

Toxic Screen

  • Cooldown after deactivating increased 6 >>> 8
  • Cooldown timer now starts when her smoke starts dissipating instead of when the deactivation telegraph plays.
  • Deactivation delay decreased 1 >>> .8
  • Toxic Screen now has yellow lights that indicate when it is on cooldown
  • Removed delay on Toxic Screen disabling when Viper is suppressed.
  • Added a unique VO line that plays when her smoke is disabled by suppress.

Poison Cloud

  • Cooldown after deactivating increased 6 >>> 8.
  • Cooldown timer now starts when her smoke starts dissipating instead of when the deactivation telegraph plays.
  • Deactivation delay decreased 1 >>> .8
  • Poison Orb now has a yellow light to indicate when it is on cooldown.
  • Removed delay on Poison Orb disabling when Viper is suppressed.
  • Added a unique VO line that plays when her smoke is disabled by suppress.

Snake Bite

  • Duration decreased 6.5 >>> 5.5

Yoru

Yoru is here with a few more tools in his belt, ready to Gatecrash his way back into your hearts (WHO WROTE THIS?) Fakeout is now a mirror image of Yoru and should help with adding a way to punish deceived enemies. Gatecrash’s teleport beacon—now with the ability to fake the teleport cues—will allow Yoru to create pressure around the map, confusing enemies as they second guess their backline safety. Dimensional Drift now gives Yoru full vision and access to his utility, allowing him to take space with his team while creating pressure on the backlines. We’re happy to be able to lean heavy into Yoru’s deception fantasy and are excited to see him back in your hands!

If you want some background on how we got here, read our previous breakdown.

Fakeout

  • Charges reduced from 2 >>> 1
  • Decoy HP: 150
  • Decoy is now a full running version of Yoru and can only be sent running forward
  • Right -click to place a stationary marker for the decoy
  • Reactivate similarly to footsteps to create the decoy that runs forward
  • Upon taking damage from an enemy gun, the decoy winds up, turns towards the enemy that shot it, and explodes after a short delay.
  • Enemies within the cone are flashed

Gatecrash

  • Charges increased from 1 >>> 2
  • Cost: 200 Credits
  • Cooldown charge refresh removed, switched back to 2-kill reset
  • Gatecrash can be faked by pressing F, while hovering over the beacon
  • Fake teleport will play audio and portal visuals as if Yoru is attempting to teleport.
  • Time it takes for teleport beacon has decreased 1.5 >>> 0.5 seconds
  • Teleport beacon’s in-game audio while traveling reduced 22.5m>>>12.5m
  • Teleport beacon’s speed has been increased 675 >>> 800
  • Upon activating a fake teleport, the beacon creates a small decal on the floor for 30 seconds to indicate location of the fake teleport

Dimensional Drift

  • Duration increased 8 >>> 10 seconds
  • Yoru is not revealed to enemies
  • Unequip delay time increased 0.6 >>> 1.2 seconds
  • Yoru is now able to cast all utility out of his ultimate
  • Yoru’s footsteps can now be heard within 15m of Yoru’s location
  • Cast delay added upon casting Dimensional Drift, preventing the invulnerability frame on cast
Valorant 4.04 patch notes yoru icebox
  
© Riot Games

Ascent

  • B orb can now be taken from the lower box (previously, you had to double jump up to the box to get it)

Icebox

This set of Icebox updates are focused around B Site and adjusting some of the problem spaces throughout the map. Stay tuned for an upcoming article where map designer Joey Simas dives deeper into these changes and what we hope to see from Icebox in the near future.

B Green

Changes to B “Green” lane are focused on improving attacker options and making the space more comfortable to play in.

  • Doorway from Attacker spawn building near Green lane moved to the first cubby. This is to give attackers a new way to approach B Green instead of having to enter from two similar positions.
  • Green lane slightly widened. This is to make moving through this space more comfortable.
  • Pocket in Green lane near Yellow extended. This is to make angles toward B Site and Snowman more clear and readable.

B Site Rework

The B Site rework is focused on adding more importance to controlling the site when attacking and making engagements around the site more manageable.

  • Yellow container adjusted and new stack of crates added. As players have settled into Icebox we’ve noticed a lot of rounds revolve around anchoring down behind yellow during post plant situations. This change should allow Yellow to retain some power while adding more value to holding space on the actual site.
  • Lower container removed and geometry adjusted into a cubby facing Green. Doorway on the upper container widened and it’s position adjusted. This should allow players to better isolate fights around the site and make utility usable more meaningful.
  • Outer wall on B site and crane structure brought in toward the site. Narrowing the site allows for more controllers to comfortably use their utility without having to worry about gaps.
  • Building in Back B closed off. We want to encourage attackers to push further and hold more space. Closing off this building should allow players to better anchor themselves in Snowman. It should also better highlight using B Fence to cut off rotations.
  • Plant zone on B site adjusted. This change is to encourage more spike plant diversity while retaining some safer defaults to work with. You can now also plant on the bridge from kitchen to upper container as well.

Mid

The changes to mid are aimed at adjusting lines of sight and making these spaces more comfortable to play in.

  • Back wall in Kitchen adjusted. This change should help moving through this space feel more comfortable and allow players to more easily clear this space.
  • Crates added to Orange lane to block line of sight from under tube to danger.
  • Boiler ramp geo simplified and slightly narrowed. Smokes will now fully cover Boiler and players should find head peaks from ramp more predictable.

A Site

A Site can feel overwhelming for defenders so these changes should give them some new options and allow them to better isolate Attacker angles.

  • Cover on back A site adjusted. This change should give Defenders a little extra space to anchor on.
  • Head peek on attacker side pipes removed. Where Attackers can peak from on A Site can feel overwhelming. This change should allow Defenders to better isolate where threats can come from.
  • Doorway into A lowered to prevent foot shot on players on top of screens.

Competitive Updates

Introducing initial testing of a new “deterministic map system” in LATAM. The goal of this system is to increase the variety of maps that players will encounter. If there are no issues, we plan to activate this system (explained below) for all regions within the next few days/week. Although this is LATAM region only, we are including it here as a heads up if we decide to expand. Stay tuned to the official VALORANT channels for updates.

  • Deterministic map selection follows 3 rules when picking a map, after players have been selected to play a match.
  • The system will look at all maps players have played over the last 5 maps for that mode.
  • The system will remove any maps that a player has played twice in the past 5 maps.
  • The system will pick the least played map.
    • If all maps have been removed due to the “Twice Played” rule, those maps will be added back to the pool and the least played map will be picked.

Bugs

Agents

  • Fixed issue where enemies wouldn’t trigger Cypher’s Trapwire in rare situations
  • Fixed the boom not showing up for Astra if planted while in Astral Form
  • Fixed a bug where Viper’s Toxic Screen audio could play in the next round if it is activated right on round end
  • Fixed Yoru’s Gatecrash icon showing up as a big white circle on Brimstone’s targeting map
  • Fixed a bug where Chamber’s teleport would sometimes fail when cast immediately after firing the last bullet of Headhunter
  • Fixed a bug where Chamber’s Tour de Force would inconsistently spawn slow zones when firing at KAY/O during NULL/CMD

Social

  • Fixed an issue with AFKs in Escalation game mode

Esports Features

  • Fixed a bug where the timer would overlap itself while viewing the megamap as an observer

Game Systems

  • Fixed an issue where you could tap the scroll wheel to activate the defuse audio without actually initiating a defuse.

Those are the full Valorant 4.04 patch notes for the Episode 4 Act 2 launch. Happy with the changes? Let us know your thoughts down below.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video game journalism stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry.stenhouse@allgamers.com, or catch him on Twitter.

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