Just one day before VALORANT Episode Four: Disruption kicks off, it looks like the biggest change to the game's meta is not the introduction of the new duelist Neon, but the reappearance of Ares.
Chapter Four kicked off with the introduction of Patch 4.0, which includes major nerfs for the widely used Specter and improved fire rate for Ares. Nerfs in Specter include an earlier ignition failure during a spray and increased recoil when running/jumping, making long range sprays and melee sprays more inaccurate.
The Ares was already a good weapon for its price, with a high rate of fire, good damage output, high wall penetration and a large magazine size. Now, however, the rate of fire is even higher, and the removal of the recoil cycle means the kill time is significantly reduced.
The entire VALORANT community is talking about Ares' popularity right now, but it's not all positive. Take a look at VALORANT and you'll see a few posts from players unhappy that Ares' kill time speed is now faster than either Phantom or Vandal, each of which costs twice the price. Ares' presence turns the second round into a buy round for both sides, regardless of the outcome of the pistol round.
The pros are speaking too, many saying that Ares is now too strong. Just search for “Ares” on Twitter and you will see a stream of all the pros commenting on it. TSM Academy IG Payen shared a screenshot from their team's match in an NSG tournament, showing nine Ares used in the third round.
The rise of Ares brings back memories of the Stinger meta from early 2021. Eventually, the Stinger's rate of fire and recoil were significantly nerfed in Patch 2.03 and then again in Patch 3.0, and the weapon was no longer effectively overused. If and when nerfs come and do for Ares, ideally Riot can find that sweet spot where Ares hasn't always trusted but also been rendered useless.