VALORANT operator nerf aftermath: pro players like WARDELL reacts

Nafiu Aziz
By Nafiu Aziz
5 Min Read
Image Credit: thesportsrush/ Riot Games

Riot Games finally put their foot down on the operator issue that has been constantly plaguing VALORANT since the very beginning.

In VALORANT patch 1.09, Riot Games officially nerfed the operator in several different aspects that significantly hindered its ability to perform as effectively as it used to before the patch. While in the past Riot Games denied that the operator was in any shape or form overpowered, they finally acknowledged the issue and acted shiftily in order to make the gun more balanced.

Operator VALORANT nerf
Image via Riot Games

All the operator changes at a glance:

  • Increased price from 4500 >>> 5000
  • Decreased scoped movement speed from 76% >>> 72%
  • Adjusted weapon dead zone from becoming inaccurate at 30% movement speed >>> 15% (become inaccurate sooner, become accurate later when stopping)
  • Firing-rate reduced from .75 >>> .6
  • Instant equip time adjusted from 0.3 >>> 0.5 (instant equip plays after tapping orb, bomb defuse/plant tap, Jett Cloud Burst, and Phoenix Curveball)
  • Leg shot damage decreased from 127 >>> 120

WARDELL’s reaction to the new changes:

The change really affected professional VALORANT players who were dominating the VALORANT’s competitive scene. A great example would be WARDELL from TSM.

WARDELL reacted pretty strongly to the new changes. According to him, the operator just doesn’t feel like the same weapon anymore. While many players from the professional VALORANT teams feel like this change was a little bit too much, most of the casual player base feels otherwise.

Furthermore, this weapon has been a talking point in the VALORANT community for some time now. Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to the OP. Riot Games actually took their time with this one in order to make sure that they get this change right.

Riot Game’s rationale behind all the changes:

Before you jump to press that “send” button, please read our thinking behind the Operator changes below. The Operator’s been a frequent talking point around the community in the last few patches, so bear with us.

The Operator serves an important role in VALORANT: It provides the most difficult tactical challenge for teams to overcome, requiring strategic planning and clever utility use. We’ve been taking a long look at the weapon to try to understand the best way to adjust some of its outsized strengths while ensuring it remains the most powerful angle-holding weapon in the arsenal.

For you Aggressive Operators—dry peeking angles with an Operator is noticeably more effective than we’d like (especially when jump peeking). Additionally, pushing an Operator off of an angle with utility feels less valuable since the user is able to re-peek and kill their opponent at a reliable rate. This suite of mechanical changes (deadzone, scoped move speed, firing rate, equip time, jump land inaccuracy) targets these issues, increasing counterplay around high-mobility Operator play. The Operator is still quite potent at peeking angles but predictable repeeks should be easier to punish.

Regarding Operator access—we’re seeing some of you obtain the Operator+Armor combo as early as round 3 and snowballing that lead into additional Ops throughout the half. The new price point delays the Operator’s appearance and increases the penalty for dying with one in hand. We hope to better balance the risk/reward of using this premium weapon.

A related note on breaking angles with abilities: Many abilities in the game are built to aggressively take angles, especially when a powerful weapon like the Operator is posted on that angle. The recent changes to Breach have given players access to more powerful angle-breaking utility, but it still feels like there’s more to be done. We’re looking at a few changes for a couple of Agents, but they’ll need some additional reps internally to build confidence around them. Expect more from us in the future!“, Max “Orcane” Grossman, Lead Agent Designer on all the recent operator changes.

With this new update, Riot Games is hoping to see some significant changes to the meta in the game. Since aggressive Operator plays might just be a thing of the past, more new gameplay opportunities might emerge in its place to fill the void.

Nafiu Aziz is an avid gamer and a writer at GameRiv, covering Apex Legends, CS:GO, VALORANT, and plenty of other popular FPS titles in between. He scours the internet daily to get the latest scoop in esports.