VALORANT devs admit Viper’s smoke nerf was ‘unintentionally shipped’ 5 months early

Riot Games might be one of the biggest video game companies in the world with a massive developer team, but they aren’t invincible when it comes to making mistakes.

With VALORANT, for example, the developers recently admitted to making a pretty big blunder over five months ago when they accidentally shipped changes to Viper’s smoke duration and cooldown in Patch 7.09, which was released on Oct. 31, 2023.

Viper in VALORANT, wearing a blueish suit and mask, with short cropped dark hair
Sorry about that, Viper. Image via Riot Games

These hidden nerfs were not, however, immediately noticed by the player base, especially with how dominant Viper has been in the current meta—even with the release of the game’s newest Controller, Clove. Whether you’re watching professional players or playing in solo queue, she has been one of the best picks for almost any team composition.

Viper and Omen are the de facto top-two agents in the role for solo queue in almost every ranked distribution, and she even held the highest pick rate at VCT Masters Madrid 2024, according to Overall, her ability set makes her relatively easy to pick up, while also being perfect for any players who master lineups and other tactics.

Viper can split apart sites with her Toxic Screen to give her team an easy way to block enemy vision as her team rushes into an area for a quick spike plant, while also holding individual angles by throwing her Poison Cloud for more specific area coverage. She can also close off popular choke points with her Snake Bite molly, making her one of the best choices for Controllers on almost any map.

Even though the changes haven’t really affected her play, Riot is still trying to keep itself accountable, since they don’t want to shadow drop nerfs or buffs to any agents, by their own admission. They are also keeping the changes in play while they prepare for upcoming updates, especially with the Viper changes being a “rough preview of some upcoming updates we now have set for Patch 8.08.”

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