For Patch 4.08, Riot Games gives Sova’s Shock Dart and Owl Drone a Nerf. Read on to find out what this might mean for Sova mains and the rest of the VALORANT roster.
Sova has always been one of the most picked Initiators in VALORANT. You really can’t fault anyone for picking the Russian Initiator because of how easy to use and relatively straightforward his abilities are.
On top of that, Sova players can usually hang back and let Sova’s Owl Drone, Shock Bolt, and Recon Bolt do most of the work, allowing players to play somewhat passively throughout the round.
In the upcoming Patch 4.08, Sova joins Jett as they get hit on the head by Riot’s Nerf Hammer. While Jett mains probably still have it bad, the Nerf to Sova Shock Dart and Owl Drone is arguably more game-changing, not just for Sova mains but also for the VALORANT meta.
Sova Shock Dart and Owl Drone Nerf
In Riot Games’ article on Jett Changes for Patch 4.08, the eagle-eyed among you have probably spotted the part where Riot hinted at a possible Sova Nerf coming in Patch 4.08.
The third paragraph under the ‘WHY THIS APPROACH’ section reads:
It’s not just about existing Duelist balance either, as Jett’s power also makes it more difficult to create compelling and viable alternatives for Duelist players. Also it sometimes made it hard to balance other Agents. For example, we were concerned about a Sova nerf before we shipped 4.08, since his utility is a key piece of how many of you deal with Jett in coordinated play. We found it necessary instead to update Jett’s dash ability to avoid reworking the entire game around her.Riot Games
VALORANT’s game balance is always teetering over a small string where one change to how an Agent’s abilities work tends to affect the rest of the game. In this case, Riot Games probably knew that nerfing Jett’s Dash inevitably makes Sova an even more powerful counter to the Duelist.
So for Patch 4.08, they have decided to Nerf Sova as well.
Sova Shock Dart and Owl Drone Nerf Changes
- Shock Dart now deals 15 less max damage. 90>>>75
- Shock Dart radius allegedly reduced slightly
- Owl Drone shortened duration 10s>>>8s
- Owl Drone enemy ping reduced from 3>>>2
Looking at these changes, Riot probably intends to reduce the viability of Shock Dart Lineups, especially for post-plant. The reduced damage and smaller area of effect will make it more difficult to two-shot Agents with a Double Shock Dart Lineup. Chip damage should also be less damaging, making Shock Darts a less viable option for randomly clearing out common spots around the map.
Owl Drone is probably hit harder by this Patch 4.08 nerf, suffering significantly reduced duration (shorter travel distance) and reduced enemy pings from three to just two.
Because of Owl Drone’s reduced duration, Sova players will be forced to take more aggressive positions along entryways to maximize their Owl Drone’s eight-second duration. The reduced Owl Drone pings should also force Sova players to play more aggressively to maximize these two pings.
Shifting the Spotlight
Nothing about the nerfs between Sova and Jett are random, though, as the two Agents are the only Agents with above 70% pick rate in Competitive Matches. (Sova takes the cake with a whopping sub-75% all-time pick rate). With that much real estate under the belts of just two Agents, Riot is taking considerable steps to give other Agents in the VALORANT roster a chance to shine.
This move seems like an attempt to accentuate Fade’s impact upon her release. After all, without the Sova Nerf, it would be excruciatingly awkward if Sova would still be the better Initiator Agent than a completely new Agent.
Either way, this news makes us more excited about the upcoming Patch 4.08 update. We’re sure you’re excited about it too. Visit the PlayerAssist website for more Gaming Guides, Gaming News, Game Codes, and other gaming-related content.