Each agent in VALORANT has their own unique flair, which is part of what makes the game so special. Yet, with so many characters to choose from, some abilities are bound to end up overlapping or having a similar function.
One of the game’s newest agents, Gekko, carries special sidekicks with him to battle, but some of his abilities have gotten criticism for not adhering to basic standards set by the other agents—and it’s a topic that has flared up in the VALORANT community again this week, with many questioning his ultimate ability.
Gekko’s ultimate, Thrash, is a shark that is guided by the player into an area and can jump to detain enemies it finds. The issue, players say, is once the ultimate runs out, you and your teammates don’t have any signal about how many enemies are detained.
“Yesterday I was playing a match and I thought I landed in between two people,” one player said in a Reddit post on July 20. “I heard the detain sound queue yet only one of them was detained. Yes, this could be a skill issue, but in reality, it looked like I would have detained both. So I told my team that I detained both.”
This particular player went on to suggest this miscommunication ended up getting one of their VALORANT teammates killed.
The main problem with Gekko’s ultimate, players agree, is unlike the abilities of other agents, there is no clear indicator from the game’s UI about how many enemies have been affected by the ability. Other abilities, like Killjoy’s Lockdown ultimate, give a clear indicator to not only the player to deployed it but also their teammates and enemies about how many people have been detained in the area. Similarly, KAY/O’s knife goes one step further and even tells your teammates which enemies have been suppressed.
So why does Gekko’s Thrash ultimate not follow these standard VALORANT conventions that seem to adhere to most other agents’ abilities?
First, unlike Killjoy’s Lockdown or KAY/O’s signature knife ability, Thrash is actually guided by the player. Whereas with a Lockdown or knife, the player sets it on the ground or throws it and walks away, when Thrash is activated, the player loses control of Gekko’s body and instead pilots the shark toward her target.
The actual mechanics of this ability resemble Skye’s Trailblazer, known more commonly as her dog, whom she sends outward and similarly guides. The Trailblazer ability also does not have any UI element that states which enemies have been stunned, but Skye has a voiceline immediately after using the ability that confirms if she has acquired targets.
Gekko does have a voiceline when he uses Thrash, but he simply says “Thrash got ’em!” if she hits any enemy, whether that is one or five.
Some players may argue that, since Gekko’s ultimate is self-piloted, the player theoretically should be able to tell which enemies they have successfully detained. Many players in the Reddit thread argued that explicit information about the number of agents detained would be an unnecessary buff to the ability.
This isn’t the first time Thrash has received criticism. The shark is the only VALORANT ultimate that can actually be picked up and used twice in one round. While there are other abilities, like Jett’s knives, that reward success by regenerating, Thrash can be used again regardless of if enemies are hit. All the Gekko player has to do is pick her up.
Other players in the thread argued, rather than a huge buff to the ability, an explicit counter would be a welcome quality-of-life change.
“If not a visual marker even an audio queue like “Thrash got three” would be soooo helpful,” another VALORANT player commented. “And it’s not like Gekko is crazy broken or anything so I wouldn’t call it a buff.”
At the end of the day, Gekko is one of the Initiators with the lowest pick rate. He was locked in just four times at Masters Tokyo, compared to Skye, who was picked 15 times.
Either way, this isn’t the first time players have questioned inconsistencies between agents, or even the UI in general. Like everything in VALORANT, making changes to ability, UI, and other accessibility concerns is a balancing act for the Riot developers.
About the author
Nadine is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers VALORANT and Overwatch with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and marginalized genders in esports. Before joining Dot Esports as a freelance writer, she interned at Gen.G Esports and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her favorite Pokémon is Quagsire.