Breaking down Neon, VALORANT's new Filipino Agent

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·Senior Games & Tech Producer
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VALORANT's new agent Neon (Image: Riot Games)
VALORANT's new agent Neon (Image: Riot Games)

Neon, the electrifying Filipino, is the latest Agent that about to be added to VALORANT's roster

Her gameplay reflects her using electricity as her main element, taking advantage of her lightning-fast speed and shocking stuns to get the better of her enemies.

Yahoo Gaming SEA had a chance to try out the Manila-born agent before she goes live, and here is our breakdown and initial impression of her abilities, as well as how you could use them in-game when she launches on 11 Jan.

Before we get dive deeper, note that all of her abilities activate INSTANTLY when you press the ability button. 

There is no need to pull out her skills and risk getting shot at while she has her ability in her hand, but this means you will also need to make sure your crosshair is in the right place when you activate her wall or her stun.

Signature Ability: High Gear

Official Tool Tip: INSTANTLY channel Neon’s power for increased speed. When charged, ALT FIRE to trigger an electric slide. Slide charge resets every two kills.

Neon has an ‘electricity meter’ that she uses for this ability. When activated, she will use the charge from this meter to run much faster than you would with a knife in hand. 

Faster faster faster! (Screenshot: Riot Games)
Faster faster faster! (Screenshot: Riot Games)

But be warned, you are not able to hold any kind of weapon while this ability is active. You will also equip the last weapon that you were holding, so do keep that in mind when exiting this mode. You probably wouldn’t want your knife out if you are running straight into a gunfight.

You are also able to walk and crouch in this mode to reduce your sound and footsteps, but the speed is not any faster than walking or crouching with a knife, so do remember to get out of this form if you want to start walking. You can exit the form by pressing the same ability key again.

The ‘electricity meter’ will also refill by 25% if you manage to kill an enemy. This will help Neon to get some extra charge if her meter is depleted.

While in High Gear, Neon is also able to slide once (yes, a slide like in Apex Legends and Call of Duty) by using the right click on your mouse.

Unfortunately, you are NOT able to rebind this ability, unless you want to rebind your right-click to another button. This itself dashes all hopes of using the same button combinations to run and slide like in other games.

The slide refills after killing two enemies, much like a Jett dash or a Raze grenade. So no, you can’t infinitely run and slide either.

You will pull your gun out mid-slide, but will only be able to fire it at the end of the slide, so you're not going to be able to shoot anyone mid slide like in Apex or CoD.

Note that the slide will only activate if you are holding forward; you will not be able to slide backwards or if you are strafing sideways. You can, however, slide diagonally forward, as long as you are holding the W key.

Ability 1: Relay Bolt

Official Tool Tip: INSTANTLY throw an energy bolt that bounces once. Upon hitting each surface, the bolt electrifies the ground below with a concussive blast.

Neon throws a projectile that bounces once and is able to stun an area. 

She's able to stun two spots with a single bolt. (Screenshot: Riot Games)
She's able to stun two spots with a single bolt. (Screenshot: Riot Games)

But this is no ordinary projectile. While it bounces once on any surface like a fully charged Sova arrow, it will also stun the position that the projectile bounces on.

Even if you bounce this on a surface that is high up in the air, the ground below it will feel the effects of the stun as well. You can use this to your advantage as you can stun 2 spots at once if you have the proper lineups.

This stun also affects you and your allies, so do keep that in mind.

She is able to carry 2 charges of Relay Bolt, and it costs 200 credits per charge.

Ability 2: Fast Lane

Official Tool Tip: FIRE two energy lines forward on the ground that extend a short distance or until they hit a surface. The lines rise into walls of static electricity that block vision and damage enemies passing through them.

Neon pulls up to walls on her left and right, creating a ‘lane’ in the middle, hence the name of the ability, ‘Fast Lane’.

Almost like parting the sea. (Screenshot: Riot Games)
Almost like parting the sea. (Screenshot: Riot Games)

It acts a lot like a double Phoenix flame wall, but without the ability to curve it or even heal Neon. It also doesn’t damage Neon herself, but does damage enemies and allies that walk through it, much like Phoenix's wall.

Despite the tool tip saying that it extends ‘a short distance’, it is actually a pretty long wall if you get to deploy it at maximum distance. 

You will notice that Neon throws a projectile into the air at the centre of your crosshair when you deploy the wall. The walls of Fast Lane will extend on the ground to where the projectile lands, or till its maximum distance. 

This is pretty good compared to something like Phoenix’s wall, as you can raise your wall without worrying about hitting a surface if you aim it up at the sky.

Ultimate: Overdrive

Official Tool Tip: Unleash Neon’s full power and speed for a short duration. FIRE to channel the power into a deadly lightning beam with high movement accuracy. The duration resets on each kill.

Neon will automatically activate High Gear when she activates her Ultimate. Not only that, by activating her Ultimate, she also refills her ‘electricity meter’ back to its maximum, while also restoring her slide without the need to kill 2 enemies beforehand, if it was used before the activation. 

Do note that her meter will constantly drain while she is in her Ultimate.

Finger lasers! (Screenshot: Riot Games)
Finger lasers! (Screenshot: Riot Games)

Neon will also be able to shoot an electricity beam that will be familiar to anyone who's used Quake’s Plasma Beam, Symmetra's and Zarya’s primary fire from Overwatch, or Halo’s Sentinel Gun.

Neon will have 40 ‘bullets’ for this ability that will automatically recharge if she isn’t using this beam, or if she runs out of ‘ammo’. 

Once she does run out, she will go into a slight cooldown animation to replenish the ammo. This ammo stack will also reset back to full if she manages to get a kill, without the need to ‘reload’.

What’s pretty good about this Ultimate is that you are still able to fire your beam while you are running and sliding, with absolutely no movement penalty. 

However, jumping will cause your aim to go a little awry, so you CANNOT jump while firing your beam if you want to be accurate, unless if the enemy is pretty close by.

Sliding will still require you to kill 2 enemies for it to recharge, so you can’t infinitely slide when you activate Overdrive.

The Ultimate will end once your ‘electricity meter’ runs out, so do keep an eye out on that. You still retain the ability to restore 25% of the meter when you kill an enemy, though, so use that to your advantage.

As for the damage on her beam, the further you are away from the enemy, the less damage you do. 

While it does have infinite range, the most effective range for the beam is at 0 to 15 in-game meters, and the damage slowly drops off as you move further away from the enemy. Close range encounters with this ability can melt enemies in an instant.

If the enemy is beyond 50 in-game meters, though, the damage will stay constant. It is still very potent at this range, requiring only a possible 1 second to kill off your enemy if you manage to keep your crosshair on them.

Neon in VALORANT (Screenshot: Riot Games)
Neon in VALORANT (Screenshot: Riot Games)

Overall, Neon is an interesting character and a very welcome addition to the VALORANT roster. 

Her speed and movement gives the power fantasy of running and gunning, especially when using her Ultimate, but thankfully, Riot has balanced her other skills outside the use of her Ultimate to fit the ‘precise gunplay’ theme that we all love (and also hate when you get headshotted by a stray Vandal bullet that wasn’t even being aimed at you). 

I enjoyed my time using her in my play test, and she is a very straightforward agent to pick up, if you do want to try her out.

Also, she is Southeast Asia represent!

Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.

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