Valorant was one of the most popular multiplayer games of 2020, and Riot Games plans to keep that momentum up in 2021. Valorant is starting the year strong by kicking off Episode 2, Act 1 this month. Each year of Valorant appears to be its own episode, with Act's being treated like seasons in Fortnite or Call of Duty.
With Act 1 of Valorant Episode 2, players can expect a new Agent, a new battlepass, balance changes, and more! Here's everything you need to know about Valorant's first big update of 2021.
When is the Valorant Episode 2 Act 1 start date?
Valorant Episode 2, Act 1 will begin on January 12, 2021. When this date rolls around, the new battlepass and Agent will become available and the game's meta will be adjusted for the first part of the year. Riot Games has confirmed that the battlepass will be available until March 1, 2021. So this Act might only last about two months.
Is there a Valorant Episode 2 Act 1 trailer?
Yes, there is! A cinematic trailer titled "RETAKE" was released on January 9 ahead of Episode 2, Act 1's release. The fully animated trailer introduces Yoru, the new agent, as he takes on several enemies with Phoenix. While Pheonix gets in over his head, Yoru slyly uses his multidimensional powers to gain the upper hand. It's an entertaining cinematic, and you can check it out below:
What balance changes are happening with Valorant Episode 2, Act 1?
As with each seasonal update of Valorant, some significant balance and meta changes are coming to the game. On January 11, Riot Games detailed the biggest changes coming with Episode 2, and most of them centered around making the ranking process clearer and more rewarding. Episode 2 introduces regional leaderboards, which will highlight the top 500 players in each region. Players must have played 50 ranked games and play at least one match a week to stay on the leaderboard.
The ranking system itself has also gotten modified so it's has a progress bar and Rank Rating showing how close you are to your next rank. Players will get a minimum 10 RR whether they win a match or not but can get up to 50 RR if they win and play very well. Players will only be demoted if they lose at 0 RR in a rank, and if you are demoted there's no way to go below 80 RR in the rank you dropped to.
Check out some of the other, smaller balance changes coming to the game below:
- Added Rank rewards for Episode 1, which will be respective gun buddies based on the highest Act Rank you achieved during EP1.These will be granted at (or shortly after) the start of Episode 2.
- Act Ranks will give you a rank triangle for the rank you end the match with, versus the prior state of having to win at that rank
- Your end of Act Rank and Badge will commemorate your final leaderboard position at the end of an Act.
- New rank rating bonus progression for your initial rank matches each Act
- Made the number of placement games consistent for each Act (5), regardless if you have done initial placements or not. The highest rank you can place in is now Platinum rank tier 3.
- Updated rank distribution to be more forgiving, significantly reducing the number of Iron players and increasing the percent of players in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
- Removed hiding players' rank during an Act. This will now only happen for players who have not completed placements.
What is in the Valorant Episode 2 Act 1 battlepass?
A new battle pass for Valorant is coming alongside the new act and episode. It costs 1,000 VP, which is about $10. For that price, you get the opportunity to unlock 12 gun skins, 1 melee skin, and new gun buddies, cards, sprays, and titles. Riot Games is specifically highlighting the following items:
- Infinity Phantom, plus 3 Variants
- Infinity Classic, plus 3 Variants (earnable at Tier 50 for free by all players)
- Aerosol Operator
- Outpost Melee
- Salt Shaker Gun Buddy
- Choose My Weapon Spray
- Omen and Sage Versus Card
The new skins are split between three different skinlines: Infinity, Outpost, and Aerosol, each of which has a distinctive look. Meanwhile, some of the new sprays play into the meta, like "Choose My Weapon" and a "What was that?" spray to taunt other players after they mess up. Even if you don't buy the battle pass, the Infinity Classic and its 3 Variants will be free for all players at Tier 50.
“As always, we look to past battlepass content that players love for inspiration and try to build on that," Producer Preeti Khanolkar explained. "We also always sneak in at least one teaser in every single battlepass. Actually, this one has a lot more than just one," they also teased. As was previously mentioned, the battle pass will be available until March 1.
Can I get Valorant Episode 1 skins in Episode 2?
While Episode 2 of Valorant will feature plenty of new items for players to unlock, Riot Games is releasing a new bundle that contains some of their favorite skins from Episode 1. The Run It Back Bundle includes the Sovereign Ghost, Oni Phantom, Prime Spectre, Nebula Ares, and Spline Operator skins. The bundle itself is pretty expensive at 5946 VP, so you'll have to spend about $55 to get enough VP to buy it.
If only one of the skins interests you, you can buy it individually. Overall though, the bundle is 33 percent cheaper than buying them all individually. While these special skin bundles are super expensive if you really wanted one of the aforementioned sins you now have another chance to get it.
In addition to that aspect of this bundle, Khanolkar said that the Run it Back is also Riot Games "offering a bundle that included five very different skins, so that players who want a different feeling and theme for each of their weapons can have that variety within a single bundle.” If it's successful, we will hopefully see more varied bundles in the future.
Who is Valorant Episode 2 Act 1's new agent?
The newest agent is an Infiltrating Duelist named Yoru. "Japanese native Yoru rips holes straight through reality to infiltrate enemy lines unseen," his official bio explains. "Using deception and aggression in equal measure, he gets the drop on each target before they know where to look." He will be available on January 12 as the new Episode begins. Like all agents, Yoru is free to use.
His abilities make him much stealthier than any of the other characters in Valorant currently. Fakeout allows Yoru to spawn an "echo" that will step forward and possibly trick enemies into thinking that you are moving. Gatecrash lets Yoru send out and teleport to a tether, allowing him to quickly move around the map. Yoru throws an "unstable dimensional fragment of reality" with Blindside, causing a flashbang effect once it hits the ground.
Finally. his ultimate is Dimensional Drift, which lets him see and go to another dimension. In this state, enemies can't see or damage him. Yoru's stealthy skillset is much different than anyone else in the game, and that was an intentional change for Valorant Episode 2 Season 1.
"The idea of “Stealthy Infiltration” is something we toyed around with for years, but could never fit in the game," Characters Product Lead John Gosicki explained. "We felt that if we started from the ground up, we could create an Agent that revolved around the idea of “Stealthy Infiltration” in some way."
What is wwFest: VALORANT
On January 15, Crown Channel and Riot Games will hold wwFest: Valorant on the Crown Channell as well as YouTube and Amazon Live. This is a Valorant-themed concert that celebrates the start of Episode 2. It is Djed by Skyler Madison and is poised to include performances by ARMNHMR, Moore Kismet, Ookay, and Whipped Cream and street art from Thomas Turner and Killamari. If you like any of these artists and Valorant, it'll be worth checking out on January 15 at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Valorant Episode 2, Act 1 starts on January 12.