How to succeed with Killjoy in Valorant
© Riot Games
How to lock down your defense and climb the leaderboards with Valorant’s newest (as of Act II) hero, Killjoy.
Killjoy was introduced at the beginning of Valorant’s act 2 and has found a solid place among its cast of agents. As a sentinel, she thrives on defense, where she can lock down a site single-handedly and provide her team with crucial information to help during rounds. No smokes and dueling potential mean you will need to rely on your teammates more than with some of the higher flying heroes but, with the ability to force enemies off of bomb sites and her utility while fighting soft pushes, Killjoy is a great addition to any team comp and to your hero pool.
Nanoswarm (C ability)
Killjoy’s own version of Brimstone’s molly, has her toss a grenade, either underhand or overhand that unleashes an area effect stalling pushes and denying both bomb plants and defuses. Killing in 3 seconds of sustained damage, it won’t always net you kills by itself, but it will keep your enemies on their toes. Similar to tripwire with Cypher, you need to vary your placements for nanoswarm since enemies will have the chance to destroy it if they come upon it before you choose to detonate it.
Nanoswarm can be used to stall a defuse. Deploying on a bomb site is used to get a kill or stall on a planter by detonating as they are planting. Nanoswarm takes 3 seconds to kill, so a well timed and well placed grenade wields devastating effects. It’s a great way to deny soft pushes by barring entry long enough for a switch, forcing people off of the bomb site but be mindful when you place them: predictable spots can fool an enemy once or twice but, to get value out of nanoswarm and all of Killjoy’s abilities, you will have to find a number of nooks and crannies to hide your traps for the unsuspecting Raze.
Alarm Bot (Q ability)
Killjoy sets down a small robot that will lay in wait for an unsuspecting enemy to come by. When triggered, the Alarm Bot will notify you that an enemy has triggered it and then close the distance and detonate on whoever triggered it and who is near them, applying the vulnerable effect which gives you double damage for a short time. Pair it with nanoswarm and it can delete an enemy before they can curse Riot for adding Killjoy to the game.
Similarly, you can set an alarm bot to trigger in an area close to your turret, allowing it to do a significant amount of damage for very little risk and trade off to you. On defense, use this to lock down unwatched lines of sight, or to pair with devastating combos. On offense you can use Alarm Bot to keep yourself and the team from being flanked or two further secure a sight after your team has planted. Remember, your skills are only as good as your placement. Mix up the placing and look for new spots that might catch different players if you notice their tendencies in a game. If you can, always try and punish the unlucky soul who triggered your little robot friend. Alarm Bot can be picked up, followed by a 20 second cooldown, so don’t hesitate picking it up and changing your plans as you go.
Turret (E ability)
Turret is Killjoy’s signature ability, shooting in three round bursts of 8 damage per shot under 20 metres, 6 per shot between 20 to 35 metres and 4 per shot on anything over 35 metres. Equating to anywhere between 12-24 damage for one burst, before adding the nice vulnerable effect we talked about earlier. This emplacement comes firing in a 180 degree field of vision and rocking a mean 125 hp. It will take some concentrated fire from the enemy to take down your turret.
Even if opponents don’t trigger your turret, the gunfire will still give them away. In the grand scheme of things, whether it be 12 or 24, it really isn’t a lot of damage so you should not be relying on your turret to do any of the heavy lifting for you. When enemies are hit by your turret, they become slowed and easier to hit, which leads to how you should play around your turret. On offense,it will protect your flank and let you know if anyone is creeping on your six. On defense, there are a few ways to play around it.
Information is still king in Valorant and knowing where your enemies are, without giving away your position is huge. Waiting out how your turret reacts to an offensive push is a viable option. Your turret will begin to shoot at the enemy and you can turn to focus them as they deal with your turret. You can hold down the same line of sight as your turret and prepare to clean up anyone slowed by your turret. As your E ability, it's on a quick recharge so don’t feel bad about wasting your turret because it keeps getting destroyed.
Just like Alarm Bot, you can pick up the turret to shorten its cooldown to 20 seconds. While turret will never have the same utility on offense, it can be used as a safe way to peak point and to clear points if they are smoked. Since it will detect any enemy, it will start shooting into the smoke if that pesky Omen is trying to add another clip to their reel.
Killjoy plants a spike on the ground and a dome expands outward on a timer. Any enemies caught within are stunned and can’t draw or use their weapon for 8 seconds. A great site locking ability, it can buy all the time you need most times to plant and detonate the bomb on site. Lockdown also does a great job of flushing enemies out of cover. Since the stun effect lasts so long, it will either force enemies away from you and your lockdown net, or it will force a confrontation so the enemy can try to get some value before they are hunted down.
With a coordinated team, you can get immense value out of this ability and, on defense, if you think the team is pushing your spot hard, you can use your ult to stall out long enough for your team to flank or for the enemy to be dissuaded enough to choose a new approach. Another play is to use lockdown as your team is about to push a point. The combination of a full team push with the hesitation that comes from a player deciding how to play your ult can be enough to get the win. Whether to push the point, defend a bomb plant or deter the enemies from camping bomb, as you rush to defuse.
Offense and defense
On defense, you can play Killjoy similarly to how you would play Cypher. Once her abilities are down, all you have to worry about is playing around them. Place your alarm bot in an easy to trigger and hard to see spot (in view of your turret) and wait for one of your abilities to notify you of the team's push onto the point you hold.
On defense, it’s always a good idea to play conservatively when you're not a duelist, and KillJoy is no duelist. Staying alive and having access to her ultimate late in rounds can be the difference between having a clean entry to point or if the enemy team was able to set up their own shooting gallery.
On offense, Killjoy will find herself with less to do at the start of rounds than on defense. Here you can dedicate your abilities to one of two options. Option one is protecting your flank from the player who always prowls through the backline once you give away which site you're pushing. Sometimes you will have enough to kill the flanker outright but, more often than not, you’ll gain positional knowledge on the enemy which can turn the tide for you..
Your other option comes after a point take, after the bomb has been planted. This time, if you find you still have abilities to burn, you can really shine. An Alarm Bot at the doorway that leads to enemy spawn, your turret to cover your flank, and your nanaswarms all serve to displace enemies from vantages. That alone can help your team immensely, before even considering her ultimate. Place your lockdown spike and push on a point as it traps the enemy. No matter the situation, engaging the enemy team with lockdown in use will set up you and your team for easy round wins.
Unlike most heroes, Killjoy has no budget ability you can stock up on in the early rounds. Nanoswarm and Alarm Bot both come in at a hefty 200 credits, so choosing which to buy in the early phases of offense and defense can be as tough as it is situational.
A ghost will always be a strong option on opening points. It’s headshot potential is worth losing an ability or a light shield, and that fact won't change with killjoy. As for abilities, try and optimize them for whether or not you are attacking or defending. On defense, an Alarm Bot in the early round can net you an easy pick and cover a sightline you don't have anyone on. On offense, flanking will not likely be an issue in the first round so you can be more aggressive and take your Nanoswarm.
Both are strong deterrents for defense, so there is no wrong answer. What is most comfortable for your playstyle and how the enemy is playing will be the biggest factor as Killjoy can punish aggressive pushes with a well timed nanoswarm. Overall her playstyle is more aggressive than Cypher, which is not saying much, but she thrives on bursting down enemies caught within her abilities. For later rounds, look to the Vandal, Phantom, Spectre or the LMG'S to maximize Killjoy’s kit value.