Phoenix was released in March 2020 during the Valorant beta as the 9th agent to join the squad. The British Duelist cherishes a very aggressive playstyle and thrives in entry fragging and leading his team onto bomb sites.
Phoenix was initially considered a decent Duelist option since his entry potential was extremely high. However, over time his kit became more and more outdated, as other Duelists such as Jett, Raze, Reyna, Neon, etc., were capable of providing more to the team.
After many months of being by far the worst Agent in the game, Riot finally buffed the poor guy. Although Phoenix still faces problems of simply not being Jett, Neon, or Raze, he is in a much healthier spot and is playable at the minimum.
Phoenix Ability Guide
Signature Ability - Hot Hands: Phoenix throws a fireball that explodes after a set amount of time or upon hitting the ground, creating a lingering fire zone that damages enemies, and heals Phoenix.
Q - Curveball: Phoenix equips a flare orb that takes a curving path and detonates shortly after throwing. Use a left mouse click to curve the flare orb to the left, detonating and blinding any player who sees the orb. Use the right click to curve the flare orb to the right.
C - Blaze: Phoenix throws a flame wall. Use the fire button to create a line of flame that moves forward, creating a wall of fire that blocks vision and damages players passing through it but heals Phoenix. Hold the fire button to bend the wall in the direction of your crosshair.
Ultimate Ability - Run it back: Instantly place a marker at Phoenix's location. While this ability is active, dying or allowing the timer to expire will end this ability and bring Phoenix back to this location with full health.
How to play Phoenix
As mentioned, Phoenix is a Duelist designed to enter bomb sites aggressively. Your main goal when playing the Agent is to buy as much time when entering the site and create space for your team to catch up.
While entering, your priority is to do as much damage as possible before you eventually die. When playing Phoenix, you have to play very aggressively, likely leading to a fair amount of deaths. However, that shouldn't discourage you because if you do enough damage, it is very worth it for your team.
On the other hand, Phoenix is self-sufficient, allowing him to make plenty of individual plays. For example, you can buy a lot of time for your team by making distractions on the other side of the map.
His playmaking ability gets another dimension when Phoenix has his Ultimate ready. It allows him to do the chaos on site entries as usual but then come back, reset, and join his team. Just be careful not to get predictable with his Ultimate ability and try to use it in a safe spot, so you don't become an easy target when spawning back.
You have many tools at your disposal when entering the site as Phoenix. His bendable wall is fantastic at splitting the site you are about to enter and synergizes perfectly with his almost undodgeable flashes. His molly can be used to clear tight corners but also to stop or delay enemy push on defense.
Due to the simplicity of his kit, Phoenix is an excellent pickup for beginners in Valorant and FPS genre in general. Having an easy-to-throw molly, simple flashes, ability to heal and revive is very helpful and fairly easy to understand and maneuver.
Team compositions and position in the meta
Phoenix buffs undoubtedly helped Phoenix, but is it enough? Statistics show that Phoenix has climbed a bit from the rock bottom he was for most of 2022, but he is still unable to contest the premier Duelists in the game.
In addition, the meta has moved away from multiple Duelists, especially in pro play. Teams value double Initiator or double Controller team compositions much more, and they usually play a maximum of one Duelist.
However, Phoenix is in a stable position, and picking him in your games isn't considered trolling anymore. Even pro players started experimenting with Phoenix since no one played him for so long, and just maybe we see his return to pro play during Valorant Champions.
Although Phoenix has a lot of setup in his kit, he still needs support from his team. So you should always play him in combination with at least one recon Initiator and a Controller that can support him with smokes.
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