Here’s how you can effectively use the abilities of Valorant’s Duelist Iso to win games
Each Agent of Valorant has their own set of abilities, but Iso is pretty unique compared to the rest of the characters of his category. Iso is a Duelist, and the Agents of this role are expected to take duels for their team and seek out engagements first.
The Dead Lilac from China is not the easiest Agent to master, as using his abilities requires you to understand specific timings. In this guide, we will walk you through the basics of how to play Iso in your games and explain his utilities. Let’s get started –
- 1 Iso’s Abilities
- 2 How to Play Iso
Iso is not a dive Duelist (Agents with movement abilities that can perform fast entries into an area). Therefore, instead of movement abilities, his skillset allows him to follow a playstyle that is similar to Reyna's. Here are Iso’s abilities –
Double Tap (E)
The signature ability of this Agent is Double Tap, which allows him to activate a focus timer. When the countdown runs out, Iso obtains the power to collect energy orbs from adversaries he kills or assists in killing. These collected orbs can be shot, granting Agent 23 a shield capable of absorbing one instance of damage from any source.
When Iso’s shield is active, he can be invincible from a single pistol bullet or an Operator shot. The same goes for damaging abilities, as he can tank one tick of a molly or an entire Raze ultimate without any damage.
Undercut allows Iso to throw a molecular bolt that can pass through walls and barriers. When this bolt makes contact with an opponent, it applies the “FRAGILE” state, making the enemies more vulnerable to harm.
This ability can also make your teammates “FRAGILE” if it passes through them. The “FRAGILE” status means that your opponents will take double damage.
Iso's crowd management and area denial capability is called contingency. He can arrange prismatic energy into an unbreakable energy wall capable of stopping bullets. Similar to Harbor's Cascade, the wall advances as it is deployed. However, it cannot be stopped on command.
Kill Contract (X)
Iso's ultimate ability, Kill Contract, allows him to launch an energy column. When it hits an opponent, it transports both Iso and the first opponent struck to a separate interdimensional 1v1 arena. The winner of the duel leaves the arena, while the loser is killed.
If nobody wins the duel, both players die. Neither can use their abilities, except Iso can utilize his signature Double Tap since it does not give him an advantage in a duel. Moreover, both players are given total HP regardless of their health status before getting into the dimension.
How to Play Iso
Before we break down the essentials, it’s important to understand that Iso is not the best as a single Duelist player in the team. This is due to dive Duelists being far superior in entering a site. Iso is best when paired with a diving Agent like Raze or Jett, and he should be the second to enter a site. With that out of the way, here are some strategies to help you understand how to play Iso –
1. Activate Double Tap (E) Before Any Engagement
Credit: Riot Games
Whenever you are expecting to take a duel, make sure to activate your signature ability. When it is active, you will get an energy orb after killing an enemy. Shoot the orb to get the shield for your next engagement.
Follow these tips to make the best use of Double Tap:
- Try not to shoot the energy orb when the opposition’s teammate tries to trade-kill you, as it will move your crosshair elsewhere
- You can get multiple energy orbs from a single Double Tap utility as long as you shoot someone before the timer runs out
- Double Tap’s shield is not very effective against a Molotov but works excellent when tanking Raze’s ultimate or while swinging an enemy with an Operator
- You can use Double Tap inside your ultimate
2. Use Undercut (Q) Supportively
While a Duelist’s kit is meant to be selfish, as it is primarily meant for the Agents themselves to use, Iso’s Undercut is an excellent supportive utility. This, of course, does not mean that you should not use it for yourself whenever the need arises. However, in situations where you and your teammates are entering a site, use your Undercut for the primary Duelist player.
3. Use Contingency (C) to Take Areas
Contingency can help you enter or retake a site by giving you and your teammates a forward-moving wall that will block the vision and bullets of your enemies. This ability allows you to clear other angles while blocking one. Here are the best ways to use Iso’s Contingency –
- Deploy Contingency while entering a site, specifically towards an area where the opponents are likely to peek from
- Use the ability to defuse the Spike. Be mindful that you can only defuse half of the Spike since Contingency does not last very long
- Similar to Undercut (Q), you can use Contingency as a supportive ability for your team, particularly to help out a teammate whose site is being attacked on
4. Combo Undercut (Q) with Teammates’ Abilities
Undercut gives a double-damage debuff to your enemies for a short time. Therefore, you can use it as a combo with your teammates’ damaging ability to secure a kill. For example, suppose you are retaking the C site of Haven. In this scenario, you can use Undercut to double-damage the enemy who’s hiding behind the back site's Radianite boxes, and the Sova on your team can throw their Shock Dart. With enough precision, this can guarantee a kill.
Here are some examples of utilities that you can pair up with Iso’s Undercut (Q):
- Raze’s Paint Shells (E)
- Sova’s Shock Bolts (Q)
- Breach’s Aftershock (C)
Alongside these abilities, any damage-inflicting utility can be used alongside Undercut to take away vast chunks of enemy health, even killing them.
5. Be Creative with Kill Contract (X)
Iso’s ultimate is a very odd ability in a tactical FPS game since it ultimately relies on the gunplay skill, and the only advantage Iso has is the two barriers he gets in the dimension instead of one. Therefore, using a Kill Contract without any specific reason won’t be as effective.
Here are some examples of specific situations where using Iso’s ultimate provides the best outcome:
- Stopping Enemies from Using Their Ultimate: You can prevent Sova, Raze, Gekkon and Deadlock from using their ultimate abilities by catching them in your interdimensional 1v1 arena. This can also be applicable for Viper, assuming you can either kill or stall for long enough.
- Denying Opponents Spike Defuse: In many unfortunate circumstances, your teammates fail to plant the Spike in your line of sight, and it can be hard to stop the defuse in a 1v1 situation. In those specific instances, Kill Contractor can be the best ability to take advantage of instead of running towards the enemy.
- Using Kill Contract to Counter Eco Rounds: In regular rounds, you and your opponent will both likely going to have a rifle. However, in eco rounds, when the enemies don’t have a lot of cash to spend on weapons, you will have an advantage inside the ultimate as you will likely have a better gun. Therefore, using Kill Contract can be great to counter eco rounds and get an early advantage.
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