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On the surface, Jett is cool.
She is designed to be the hip Korean character of the game with some jawdropping gameplay when played properly (and giving almost every player hope that they can also pull off the same insane feats like dashing in, getting multi-kills on enemies like the pros do).
She manipulates wind and as a resort, has skills that reflect that, like the Tailwind dash and Updraft.
The problem starts when these skills are highly valuable in a tactical shooter like VALORANT.
On the surface, VALORANT emulates a lot of what Counter Strike: Global Offensive does. There is a heavy emphasis on gunplay and accuracy, with developer and publisher Riot Games constantly enforcing these gameplay elements, by increasing bullet spread on guns when moving etc.
Riot even introduced an agent like KAY/O that forces players to rely solely on gunplay if you want to challenge him and his teammates in an impending push. If you lose your gunfight, that’s it. You will be instantly dead thanks to the short time-to-kill the game has.
A lot of other agents do not have skills that can drastically skew a gunfight, barring flashes and stuns, but that is all part of the tactical shooter experience, anyway.
In fact, you are still able to get kills when you are blinded or stunned. Just make sure you have your crosshair at the right place if you are not backing out of a fight.
To use any of these skills effectively, you will also have to be in a favourable position. Running out in the open just to throw a Raze grenade would most likely get you murdered in the middle of the battlefield before you know it.
Which is why Jett’s Tailwind dash is probably the MOST USEFUL skill in the game at the moment. Jett is able to dash out of harm’s way no matter the situation.
The startup of the skill is instantaneous, and you can dash in any direction you like. Good Jett players will use this skill to notoriously push to a risky off-angle position with an Operator sniper rifle to scout for information or get a kill, knowing that they can dash out of the way if the need arises.
There is no opportunity for a trade kill for the opposing team once the Jett gets the kill and run out of the way. Even if the Jett player whiffs their shot, they would still be out of harm’s way and would return to their team with some information.
This can be extremely frustrating for VALORANT players who crave for fair gunfights. The Operator is supposed to be a clunky one-hit sniper, that when used on any other agent, poses the risk of getting punished if you miss your shot.
Jett’s Tailwind dash nullifies whatever drawbacks the Operator has. Jett essentially has a “get out of jail free” skill if she is caught in an unfavourable position with the Operator and losing gunfights.
More often than not, even in the professional scene, there are barely any games that will be devoid of a Jett player. At the recent Masters in Berlin, Jett had an 85 per cent pick rate in all the matches.
You could take all the other skills away from Jett, as long as she keeps her dash, she will still be undoubtedly extremely useful in a game, especially when she is holding on to the Operator.
Even pros like Shahzam, who uses Jett a lot during his matches with Sentinels, has agreed that there is very little counterplay to a Jett with an Operator.
Which is why her nerf in patch 3.06 does absolutely nothing to balance that. Sure, she has one less smoke, and is not able to refill her ultimate when she uses it as a burst, but so what? She is still able to push into risky angles and get out of it for free.
One can argue that Yoru and Reyna could do the same, but their skills do not function exactly like Jett’s. If a Reyna whiffs her shot, and she has no soul orbs to save her, she is instantly dead. For Yoru, even if you do hit your shots, his teleport has massive startup, which is ample enough time for an enemy to flick your head before you teleport away.
The problem lies with how to balance Jett’s mobility and making the Operator as viable on other agents as well. Taking the dash away from Jett will absolutely cripple her identity that the developers are going for for her in-game.
Increasing the startup time of her dash will also reduce the skill to merely a “lousier” Yoru teleport. There are only a few ways I can see this happening without risking making Jett a totally useless agent once her dash gets nerfed.
1. Make Tailwind a buyable skill instead of a signature skill
This would somewhat force Jett players to think about their economy while also planning to equip an Operator. Should it still refill after two kills? That is up to debate, but I think by making it a one-time-use only skill will severely disrupt her identity.
2. Do not give her a fully charged Tailwind at the start of the round
At the start of the round, she should have to get a kill before being able to activate her dash. While not totally addressing the problem, this would help with the frustrations of a Jett player taking up the Operator at the start of the round to shoot whoever they like and running away.
If they whiff their shots at an off-angle, you should be able to punish them. This will also reduce the usage of her dash to twice per round instead of the current 3, if she kills 4 enemies. But this will also pose a problem when attacking a site, as she will not be able to dash in during her push with her team before getting a kill.
Jett is an extremely iconic and powerful agent in VALORANT. Tweaking her to make her “balanced” would require a lot of work and implementing the right idea on Riot’s part, and I would say it would even be on the level of reworking Yoru.
But till then, Jett is still going to be extremely dominant in the game, and her being the only agent that is viable with the Operator without much repercussions is a problem.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy being headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.