VALORANT finally has a popular Controller in Clove—now players just have to learn to smoke

Clove has become a near-instant hit for VALORANT players after arriving as the newest Controller agent, but many are still struggling through the adjustment period.

As soon as Clove was revealed to be a more aggressive VALORANT agent that came armed with smokes, Controller mains were excited to take more duels and risks rather than simply having to hang back. Now that Clove has been out for about a week, however, Controller mains are facing a new issue—their role is being taken from them by instalock-Clove players who aren’t familiar with smokes, according to several fans on Reddit this week.

VALORANT agent Clove in the midst of casting their self-resurrection ultimate ability.

Everyone wants to play the newest Controller. Image via Riot Games

Typically, players instalock popular duelists like Reyna and Jett in ranked play because they obviously have the ability kits to help them top frag. This often left the Controller role open for someone to fill, whether they wanted to or not. Everything has changed with Clove though. Suddenly, everyone is instalocking VALORANT’s newest Controller, but not because of their smokes. Rather, many players are picking Clove because they have duelist-like abilities, and are therefore running it down like a Reyna or Phoenix. This becomes an issue when your team needs smokes and your Clove player can’t use them effectively.

I’ve played a fair amount of games with teammates who instalock Clove, and there are three big issues I’ve seen so far. The first is they’re not putting down enough smoke because they’re too busy taking fights, leaving the rest of the team exposed to angles that could’ve been smoked off beforehand. Yes, Clove is intended to be more aggressive, but if you die in a bad spot, your post-death smokes are useless—which brings me to my next point.

The non-Controller mains who play Clove might not be taking full advantage of their unique post-death smokes. Even if they die in a spot near the rest of their team, it might not be their first instinct to be thinking about where to put down their next smoke. To be fair, it’s easy to forget since Clove is the first-ever agent that can use abilities after dying, but it’s something Controller mains are more likely to be aware of than the duelist mains on Clove.

By far the biggest issue is when Clove players place their smokes in spots that help the enemy more than their teammates. I was on a team with an Immortal-ranked Clove who was placing one-way smokes closer to my teammates than the enemies. It should’ve been the opposite. This is a sign that even higher-ranked players can benefit greatly from learning the smoking basics if they aren’t already accustomed to the Controller role. And it just goes to show Controller mains require that extra bit of awareness, and they’ve been taken for granted for everything they do for their team.

On the bright side, the Clove-instalockers are also lifting weight off of Controller mains, and it’s allowing for more double Controller comps in ranked play. And, as players spend more time playing Clove and get more comfortable with smokes, they’ll no doubt be valuable agents on any team.


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