Valorant update 5.12 shakes up agent abilities ahead of Episode 6

Valorant patch 5.12 notes reveal dozens of changes to agent ability damage and economy, as well as Spectre nerf and a beta for a new game mode

Valorant: Killjoy and her robot companion, seta against a blurred image of the map Haven

The Valorant update 5.12 patch notes have been revealed by Riot Games, and as well as those long-awaited Chamber changes, there is going to be a huge sweep across the kits of pretty much every agent.

The main focus of update 5.12 isn’t to just nerf the best Valorant agents and buff the worst ones, but to shakeup the ability meta a bit ahead of Episode 6 in January. Riot has made sweeping changes to the ability economy and has also switched things up with regards to gadget damage.

When it comes to ability economy, costs for certain abilities in buy phases are being adjusted – particularly for agents that previously had poor utility for early pistol rounds. On top of this, large-scale, site-controlling ultimate abilities (such as Breach’s Rolling Thunder) will now cost more ultimate points. Riot explains that by upping the cost for these kinds of ultimates it should “reduce their overall frequency and increase counterplay against them at the strategic level”.

Then there’s the changes to destructible ability damage. Riot has now made it so that offensive abilities (such as a Brimstone Incendiary) can do damage to gadget-based abilities like Killjoy’s Alarmbot or Sova’s Recon Bolt. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean these kinds of abilities will be instantly destroyed – damaging abilities will only do 50% of base health to gadget abilities, giving them better survivability. A bunch of abilities (including Raze’s Boom Bot and Cypher’s Spycam) have also been granted immunity to allied ability damage.

There are a lot of tweaks to be aware of with these two big meta shakeups to ability economy and ability damage, so consult the full Valorant patch notes for 5.12 to see what’s changing for your favourite agent.

On top of the agent-based changes, there is one weapon balancing change to watch out for too. The Spectre, which Riot says has been “overperforming”, will now perform slightly worse at longer ranges thanks to a new damage range drop-off point for fights at more than 30 metres.

There’s also a new game mode coming in 5.12 for all you time-strapped players out there. The new Valorant Swiftplay mode beta will drop, which gives players the core tactical experience of Unrated lobbies but in a condensed form. Matches will be first to five rounds, with four-round halves, which Riot estimates will result in games lasting around 15 minutes.

With some meta-shifting changes coming ahead of Episode 6 and the new-look 2023 Valorant Champions Tour, it’s time to get some practice in with your favourite agent. For more on Riot’s tac shooter, check out some of the best Valorant crosshairs and latest Valorant skins.