Apparently, Viper is one of the least-picked characters in Valorant because, apparently, her kit wasn't very strong. She's near the bottom of a lot of tier lists, yet here I am thinking she was pretty good. She has a big wall thing and a good smoke that both decay enemy health, as well as smelly little floor grenades that damage enemies. But that just wasn't enough to make her more viable than other agents, I suppose. Not any more, though, because Riot Games have given her some beefy buffs in the most recent patch to up that decay damage, and bring down the cost of her toxic fuel.
So, the first thing we have in the patch notes for update 1.04 are the changes to Viper's Pit. That's her ultimate ability where she creates a big cloud of green gas that only she can properly see through. Any enemies that walk into it have reduced sight, and take decay damage. This ability stays up indefinitely as long as Viper is inside it, and when she leaves there's a cooldown for it starting to reduce - which has now been upped from 5 seconds to 15 seconds. She can also now hold down that ability's key to drop it immediately, see enemies glowing brighter red when she's inside it, and enemies will now have their minimap obscured if they venture into it.
Here's a video that shows how her ult works if you're curious (this is an old one, but the way her abilities deploy haven't really changed):
As for her other abilities, nothing is changing about how her smoke (Poison Cloud) or wall (Toxic Screen) is deployed, but the damage enemies take from their decay effect has increased from 10 to 15. Decay now also takes a bit longer to start fading, so Viper can better capitalise on enemies trying to leave the smoke. Having both of these abilities active will no longer take up double the amount of fuel, either. This is probably my favourite part of the changes as it means you can more easily use both at the same time to block sight lines.
Viper isn't the only one with changes, however. Both Raze and Brimstone have been nerfed a bit, with their ultimate abilities now costing an extra ult point to use. Brim's Stim Beacon doesn't buff enemies anymore, though, and Riot have made his arms nicer to look at. Silver linings and all that.
The last notable point about the agents in the patch notes is that Cypher is now able to pick up his Cyber Cage during the buy phase. It's notable purely because I can't count the number of times I've watched teammates fat-finger their abilities and waste one of those.
There are some balance changes to a few weapons as well, and you can check those out for yourself in the link above. Or, if you fancy jumping straight into a game to practice your Viper strats, we have a Valorant guide with loads of tips and tricks on how to play her.
In other Valorant news, it seems some fancy upcoming gun skins have leaked. It's a Japanese-themed Oni set for the Bucky, Phantom, Shorty, Guardian and knife. You can catch them all laid out in the Tweet below, and there are already videos on Reddit that show them in action.
Alas, they're not quite as cool as the wiggly animated dragons, but very pretty nonetheless.https://www.reddit.com/r/VALORANT/comments/hvgcqs/new_phantom_skin_oni_phanton_in_game_with_all/ https://www.reddit.com/r/VALORANT/comments/hvhp7g/new_guardian_bucky_and_knife_skin_from_the_oni/
No news yet on when we might be getting these, but keep an eye on Valorant's website for more updates.