Phoenix is one of the most loved agents in Valorant because of his personality and playstyle. He is also one of the first agents to be revealed when Valorant was first announced. The agent who had the ability to self-revive was nerfed ages ago and the developers decided to show him some love and brought him back into the meta recently. However, the new set of buffs he received may have gone a bit too far and he may get nerfed for the umpteenth time.
Riot Games shares how Phoenix was conceptualized
Valorant Game Designer Bobby “excal” Prochnow revealed in a that Phoenix was designed years before Valorant was released. He stated, “Phoenix started with this idea of a back-against-the-wall, last-man-standing character who could fight against all odds. We were trying to capture that essence of what we now call the VALORANT moment. And the ability we were thinking about was his ultimate.”
The ultimate was considered to be overpowered because players could push in aggressively and take control of an area even if they died as a self-revive was imminent in three seconds. His kit was eventually reworked and Phoenix received a flash, which is where the problems in balancing lie.
Game Designer Dan “penguin” Hardison revealed that the new flash may be too overtuned at the moment and we can expect some tweaks soon. He said, “According to the data in the competitive queue, Phoenix is quite strong after the buff. He’s still a bit more range-gated with his flash than someone like Skye, but that’s a good thing. For a Duelist, his flash is very hard to dodge now, debatably too hard to dodge.”
Phoenix’s Curveball has seen a number of changes over the months. Unlike other agents, his flash was not as versatile as someone like KAY/O’s or Skye’s. However, recent tweaks have pushed him heavily up the meta. While he might not be as popular in competitive play, he is popular among solo queue players. Riot Games wants to strike the perfect balance between solo queue and coordinated play and considering how polarizing Phoenix has been over the past years, it might be tricky to get his power level right.