Yoru, the newest agent added to “Valorant,” Riot Games’s tactical online shooter, hasn’t garnered much attention from professional players. The character, who was billed as a “lurker” when he was first released, has abilities that enable him to pull off individual plays by bamboozling opponents. He has a flash that is invisible until it bounces off a surface; decoy footsteps that can confuse opponents about the player’s true location; a beacon to which Yoru can teleport; and an ultimate ability that allows the player to run around the map, invisible and impervious to damage, for a limited period of time.

But there is one prominent pro who has been playtesting Yoru in scrimmage matches: Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik, who plays for TSM.

“That’s kind of a leak, or like a scoop,” jokes Taoufik. “I’ve tried him in scrims and I feel like there’s so much you can do.”

Many casual players follow the example set by pros, learning utility lineups and plays from watching matches in the competitive scene. But teams aren’t likely to run Yoru, at least not yet, Taoufik surmises; It would be too radical a departure from the standard team composition. They wouldn’t want to replace a character who has smoke utility, or a sentinel agent who is good for defense. TSM, on the other hand, is famous for using three duelists — the agents most equipped to start a fight — and Yoru, as a duelist, can slot easily into the team configuration.

The Post spoke with Taoufik about the potential for Yoru’s utility, the mistakes players make in their first sessions with the agent, and how to be a good teammate while lurking.

Give up on the flashy teleport plays

“First of all, definitely don’t make aggressive [teleport] plays,” said Taoufik. “At a high rank or just at a decent rank where people have sound, people just counter those plays and wait out the [teleport] and you kind of just look stupid doing it.”

Sorry. His words, not mine.

The way to be a good teammate as a Yoru player is to drag attention away from the rest of your team. Put pressure on one side of the map, send your teleport toward your teammates on the other side of the map. The ruckus you caused might peel attention away from your teammates, making their execution of a play just a smidge easier.

There’s another side to this smart repositioning — and I hesitate to even share it for fear of launching an insufferable new meta. As it turns out, Yoru and the Operator, “Valorant’s” most expensive and powerful gun, make a good pair.

“Yoru can be a really good Op agent, like a really, really good Op agent,” said Taoufik. “When you’re defaulting around the map, you’re mostly afraid of Op-ers. That’s your main fear when it comes to peeking angles. So as soon as the Op-er is spotted somewhere on the map, the rest of the map kind of goes, ‘Oh, the Op-er is A, I’m going to start peeking mid, I’m going to start peeking toward B.’ But what if he teleports B and he’s posted there now?”

So set up your teleport, get a kill at the start of the round, and then zip away to wherever your beacon is. If your opponents decide to aggress on your new location, they’ll likely be surprised to find themselves staring down the barrel of an Op. And if you miss a shot, Yoru’s long distance flash is perfect for re-peeking an angle.

Use footsteps to slow down diligent opponents

Of all the utilities in Yoru’s kit, the decoy footsteps may seem like the hardest to use right. If you know there’s a Yoru on the other team, and you hear loud, uninterrupted footsteps around a corner, you may just assume it’s a fake out. But there are other compelling ways to put the seemingly-obvious utility to good use, says Taoufik.

The fake steps are good at broadcasting noisy, fake info to other teams — and not in the ways you might expect. The steps trigger most utilities that track real players, such as Killjoy turrets and Cypher traps. So if your opponents are tricked by the combination of utility and footsteps into believing that there’s a player nearby, that might change how they play.

Here’s an example. By now, it’s common practice for Raze players to send a Boom Bot into hookah, a location on the map Bind. The fake steps trigger the Boom Bot. Thinking that there’s an agent around the corner, the opposing team might waste a lethal utility — shock darts, grenades, a Molotov — to finish them off. Except there’s nobody actually there.

It’s also good at pulling away agents when your teammates are attacking — even if it may seem really obvious.

“On Haven, what I was doing in scrims a lot is I was playing toward B,” said Taoufik. “Let’s say there’s three people on the other team working A. I would fake step down mid. It does sound obvious, but they kind of have to come back and clear it. Maybe they use a drone. They’re going to trade a drone for one of my fake steps, which is a really good trade, in my opinion.”

On defense, you can place your footsteps in deep corners, and set them off right before the other team executes onto the site. It may not be much, but any disciplined opponent will feel compelled to clear the corner, giving you an opportunity to kill them when they’re not looking.

Mix flashes with other flashes to execute

On its own, Yoru’s flash can be dodged. Its arc once it hits a wall is slow compared to some other flashes. The trick, says Taoufik, is to combine flashes so your opponent has nowhere to turn.

“Let’s say you’re taking garage on Haven. Your Phoenix can flash the entrance and you flash the back wall,” said Taoufik. “So no matter where the guy is looking to dodge the [flash], it still gets him.”

Yoru’s flash can also travel great distances, which can slow down retakes once you’ve planted the bomb. On A site on Ascent, for example, you can throw the flash behind the box that’s on the right side of heaven, and catch any defender who is trying to retake from there. But because the flash happens behind the box, your team will be safe.

“Most bomb sites will have those positions where you can just throw [flashes] in a corner and it gets most of the defenders but won’t get your teammates,” said Taoufik.

Flashes aren’t the only utility with which you can combine Yoru’s flash. If you time it right, you can send a flash ahead with a Sova recon dart, making it harder for the other team to destroy the dart and giving your team at least one ping of clear, uninterrupted location data.

Yoru’s ultimate is underrated — and not for hero plays

Lots of players have been using Yoru’s ultimate — which renders him invisible and invulnerable — to sneak behind the enemy team and pick off a few from behind. But just as players grew to anticipate Omen teleports into spawn, they’ll learn to watch their flank after a Yoru ult. It’s not a reliable play, says Taoufik.

The ultimate ability is most useful on attack, especially during bomb site hits. A Yoru player can ult into the site, clear every corner, and back out, giving the team a total informational advantage. In this regard, he pairs well with Breach players.

“When Yoru is using his ult and he’s running into a bombsite and he’s pinging where people are, well, Breach can just flash them,” said Taoufik. “So if I’m ult-ing somewhere and I say ‘one close left,’ well Breach flashes close left for your teammates, and they kill that guy.” Similarly, if you’re coming out of the Yoru ult and you see an opponent, Breach can concuss that player, giving you time to exit the ult animation and kill the enemy.

Just remember to ping players you see in your ult. They don’t show up on your teammates’ minimap while you’re ulting.

Last tip: Don’t wait for your team to do something to lurk

Especially at higher levels, don’t be afraid to set up plays for your team with Yoru.

“A lot of people think the lurker role is about just sitting in a corner, and then when your teammates do something, now you start doing something,” said Taoufik. But given his versatile kit, Yoru can be effective at any point in a match.

“I think a lot of people in ranked are scared of taking initiative because they don’t want to die. But I think with Yoru there are a lot of safe ways to flash off angles, put pressure, and then [teleport] back completely safely,” said Taoufik. “You should be the first point of contact.”

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