A Cascading Agent Pick

Riot Games will soon be testing a new method of selecting agents: the Cascade selection. Players will now have to choose their characters one after the other.

The selection of Agents is a short but essential step in every game of Valorant. Since it determines the course of the next 20 to 50 minutes of the game, it has become a source of great tension. Until now, everyone selected their Agent simultaneously and the first to arrive was the first to be served. The problem is that in trying to be the first to secure their Agents, some teams end up with characters that have no synergy.

It is mainly to address this issue that Riot Games wants to update their system with what they call the ' cascading Agent pick'. In concrete terms, when selecting Agents, only the first player in the team can choose a character. He or she has a relatively short time to do so. When the players selects an Agent, and if he doesn't select an Agent within the time limit, the hand passes to the next player who can in turn select an Agent. If a player has not selected an Agent, they must wait until it is their turn again to make their choice.

Beware, this system is quite different from those seen in competitive games like League of Legends. First of all, there is still no question banning Agents. But also, the timing of the selection does not depend on the opponent's team and it's impossible to known the opponents' choices before the game starts.

This cascade is part of an effort to make the Agents selection more pleasant on Valorant. During patch 3.12, the developers added the ability to report players during this stage. This system should allow players to create more consistent compositions, while encouraging trade and strategy.

However, Valorant developers claim that this system is there to solve the problem of instalocks (players who immediately lock an Agent without consulting the others). It's hard to see how this cascade can be really effective, as the problem with instalockers is not that they directly lock their character, but rather that they do no want to play another. Thus, a player determined to play a certain Agent should continue to rage or quit the game if they don't get what they want. The cascade system can, on the other hand, provide some legitimacy to the player who has priority in character selection.

This system is not expected to appear until Act 2, of event Act 3 of Episode 4. So we'll have to wait one to three months to try it out and even longer to judge its effectiveness.