Upcoming VALORANT agent KAY/O is a robot designed to kill Radiants—and his ability kit certainly supports that narrative.
Riot unveiled KAY/O yesterday, the newest addition to the VALORANT cast. Armed with a flash, a grenade, a revive, and suppression, a new mechanic that prevents enemies from using abilities, the killer robot is the perfect counter to the post-plant. And while he’s categorized in the initiator class, KAY/O can do plenty of entrying as well.
Here’s how to play KAY/O.
At first glance, KAY/O’s kit doesn’t look complex. Despite introducing new mechanics to VALORANT, none of his abilities are revolutionary.
KAY/O’s FLASH/drive (Q) and FRAG/ment (C) will help tac shooter aficionados feel right at home. With FLASH/drive, KAY/O throws a grenade that blinds players caught in its line of sight. And FRAG/ment throws an explosive on the floor that combusts multiple times, dealing lethal damage at its center. Again, nothing revolutionary here.
As with other blinds, players will want to throw FLASH/drive when entering a site to help their team burst in. It’s also a great way to check corners and counter an enemy sniper. And FRAG/ment will likely be used more for zoning since it’s fairly easy to dodge and has a slow projectile speed. But players can learn line-ups in post-plant situations, preventing the opposing team from defusing the Spike and stalling until it explodes.
It’s the initiator’s ZERO/point and ultimate that have potential to shift the meta. KAY/O throws a suppression blade with ZERO/point that winds up before exploding in a moderately large radius, rendering enemies’ abilities useless. KAY/O and his teammates also get an indicator that shows all the opponents caught by the ability. And NULL/cmd, the robot’s ultimate, empowers KAY/O to pulse radianite energy that suppresses enemies hit within its huge radius. The initiator also gets a combat stim throughout the duration and gets knocked down instead of killed when taking fatal damage. He can be revived by an ally at this point or killed if the opposing team can deal 850 damage to the downed robot.
Theorycrafters will enjoy devising line-ups for the suppression blade, especially since it can be shot by enemies to nullify its effects. KAY/O can throw it onto a site when attacking, canceling out traps and potential blinds if he catches any opponents in the explosion. And it provides great intel while defending since your team is instantly alerted when enemies are caught. As for KAY/O’s ultimate, it’s an excellent way to push onto a site and sacrifice yourself for the greater good.
An entry initiator with the potential to disrupt the post-plant meta
VALORANT‘s existing initiators include Breach, Skye, and Sova, all agents that you wouldn’t normally consider entry fraggers. KAY/O, on the other hand, can.
While players wouldn’t normally want to take incoming fire, KAY/O’s ultimate gives you a second breath of life. With NULL/cmd, the initiator can take one for the team by entering onto a site and suppressing any nearby opponents. But enemies won’t be completely useless since they’ll still be armed with their guns. With traps, blinds, and flashes nonexistent, however, KAY/O’s allies can follow up on the execution with their own abilities and easily push onto site. And even if KAY/O goes down, he can still be revived once his squad successfully takes over the site.
When defending, KAY/O players will want to find out as much intel as possible. Use your ZERO/point early to pick up an enemy push, which will help you team with rotations and flanks. Players can stall with flashes and grenades until your allies get there. And if the opposing team manages to plant the Spike, KAY/O can counter any post-plant setups that enemy squads might have. If an enemy Viper, Sova, or Brimstone is playing far back, for example, KAY/O can push them with his ultimate to prevent them from using their ultimate or line-ups. This allows your ally to defuse without worrying about getting taken out.
KAY/O is an initiator with pseudo-duelist capabilities, providing a healthy departure from preconceived notions of what each class should be. He can provide intel, entry, initiate a fight, and counter the pesky post-plant meta.
As someone who offers plenty of intel, initiation, and utility, KAY/O can fit into most comps.
The robot can take the place of agents like Sova or Breach, offering just as much utility and then some. As for who he can work well with, Astra is a great controller to pair KAY/O with. Astra’s Gravity Well can hold opponents in place while the robot’s FRAG/ment deals devastating damage. He also can work well with agents who are good at making space, such as Jett, Yoru, or Phoenix. If KAY/O uses his ultimate to eliminate the threat of enemy abilities, a Jett dash, Yoru teleport, or Phoenix flash can quickly turn the tides of a round.
KAY/O, along with Episode Three, Act One, kicks off Tuesday, June 22. Players can expect a new battle pass and a slew of balance changes as well.