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A deep dive into the pros and cons of VALORANT's knifing system

Written By    maksst  -  share on

Dealing a finishing blow with a Tactical Knife in VALORANT is no easy job. It’s a high risk kill - low reward call, but feels extremely satisfying when it happens. There is no reward at all for making this kind of kill and it feels like there is a room to make them more rewarding. On top of that, players are reporting that knifing in general feels uncomfortable and very unforgiving.

First of all, let’s explain exactly how knifing works in VALORANT.

Left click (primary fire):

  • 50 damage or 100 damage if it’s dealt from the side or back

Right click (secondary fire):

  • 75 damage or 150 damage if it’s dealt from the side or back

However it’s important to note that right clicking animation is longer than left clicking. How much longer? After recording and separating every knife animation, here are the results:

  • The left click animation takes about 50 milliseconds

  • The right click animation takes about 150 milliseconds

The length of animations makes sense, since right click can be an instant kill, but players think that knifing in general feels clunky. As reddit user u/Khronys says, “you can see the delay between the sound, the animation, and the knife hit landing. It's a pretty crazy difference between them”. After making more tests, it seems that this is partially true. If a player is strafing next to a wall, the frame that registers a hit on the wall is not where the crosshair actually is, as you can see on the picture below. It really feels like it’s delayed and something is out of sync.

There is no audio delay - it starts every time perfectly in the same frame where the hit mark appears - but when I compared audio cues with CS:GO, there was one big difference. In both games knifing has two sound cues: a swing and a hit. In CS:GO, swing audio volume is very low compared to hit sound, while in VALORANT both sounds are on more or less the same volume. This might throw off players' thinking when a knife should hit based on a first audio cue. That’s not everything, in CS:GO, both sounds are way closer to each other, but more on that later. After making some tests on the knife's hitbox, things got interesting. It looks like there is only one frame, maybe two, where the knife's hit is registered. It feels similar to using a Marshal or Operator, but in melee range. What I mean by this is that the best way to use a knife is to flick with it, instead of tracking enemies. It came as a big surprise for me, since for example in Overwatch, melee attack has so many frames that you can make a full spin and hit everything around you.

Timing is also extremely crucial: after checking footage, it takes about 20 milliseconds after a start of swing sound cue for a hit to get registered, while in CS:GO it’s about 10 milliseconds. I had the most success with knifing poor robots when I was doing a flick after hearing a swing sound cue, rather than at the same time. It doesn’t feel natural, but after some practice, it’s easy to get used to. Everything combined together might give an impression of knives not being accurate and very unforgiving. At the end, I think that knife swing sound cue volume should be lowered and put closer to a hit sound cue, because this is making it very confusing. Maybe there should also be more frames for the hit to be registered. I still can’t explain why the situation like in the picture above happens though.

Lastly, reddit user u/Novamosaqui made an interesting proposition of making knifing more rewarding - “Make knife kills DENY ULT CHARGE” - he suggests. The ability of removing an enemy ult charge sounds like a very cool idea that got even Riot Aeneia commenting in the thread. She is not a fan of rewarding one player while punishing the other, but when another reddit user suggested “What about two ult charges instead of 1?” she really liked it. On the other hand, like I said at the beginning, it’s a high risk - low reward call. If you can knife somebody in the back, it means that you could also just shoot them in the head in the first place. It could cause a problem for competitive games, where players would be even more tempted to risk throwing a round just for a BM knife kill, since they would be justified as “I only tried to get two ult charges!”. However, putting it in unrated, spike rush, or all upcoming games modes would increase the fun of the art of knifing.

What do you think about knifing? Does it feel clunky? Did you have more success after following my tips? And should rewards for knife kills be added? Like always, we want to hear your opinion in the comment section below!


Zellsis | Kimfa
Knife is terrible in valorant. Definitely needs a fix
2020-07-18 17:42
The current knifing system makes knife fight an absolute pain
2020-07-18 18:55
just make it 400 credits for a kill instead of 200
2020-07-18 22:21
i like the idea of taking away ult points for a successful knife kill.
the way knifing works is still awful though
2020-07-19 08:50
Knifing in valorant feels so bad they could have just copied from CS and would be much much better
2020-07-19 19:11

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