In a tweet from Riot, the developers promised changes to the overpowered and underpriced Stinger with patch 6.02

The Stinger force meta has arrived in Challengers League: North America - Split 1. The powerful semi-automatic has taken the VALORANT professional scene by force. Teams are half-buying in the VCT at an unprecedented rate, causing Riot to nerf the weapon in the upcoming 6.02 patch. 

In the six Challenger League games, 36% of the eco rounds after losing the pistol, are being filled with Stinger buys. Outside of the Phantom and Vandal, the Stinger has shot up to the third most used gun, according to THESPIKE.GG. With 315 Stinger buys, the gun has usurped the Spectre as the defacto second-round buy. Efficient from short, mid and long range. 

Stats courtesy of THESPIKE.GG
Stats courtesy of THESPIKE.GG

Stinger Changes Coming in patch 6.02

After patch 5.06 dropped, players immediately recognized the benefit of a 950-credit gun that had little recoil. Riot lowered the Stinger’s firing error rate for both its primary and secondary fire without increasing the price. The run-and-gun playstyle and cost-efficient early-round investment allow teams to utilize unique strategies. The chances of winning an eco-round improve dramatically. 

“The gun’s a little bit too cheap, a little bit too strong. It’s throwing everything out of whack. The pistol rounds don’t matter anymore. It’s all on the second round and who wins the second round,” said Connor "Sliggy" Blomfield on The Wiseman podcast

With the Stinger stock rapidly gaining, Riot quickly released a tweet stating the gun will be nerfed in the next patch. At its current price point, the Stinger has proven to be powerful enough to compete even after losing the pistol round. Along with increasing the price, the damage will now fall off at specific distances.  

“We feel the Stinger is over-performing at its price point, especially in the early rounds, and lacks the right economic tradeoffs,” Riot posted in a tweet.

Moreover, the price will be increased from 950 to 1100, which makes it less viable in early rounds. Teams will be taking on more of an economic risk on a gun with less damage. At 0-15 meters, the gun does 27 damage and then falls off to 23 damage past 15 meters. It retains its effectiveness at close range, but these changes will weaken the force buy.

Professional Coaches and Players react

With legendary esports personality Rod "Slasher" Breslau jumping back into the podcast game with The Wiseman, he’s assembled a group of current and former professional players and coaches to talk VALORANT. Sean Gares, previously of 100 Thieves, a guest on the show, spoke to the need to balance force buys. 

“I don’t even think the key problem is the gun, but I don’t think the Stinger should have a burst ADS,” said Sean Gares. “It should be a close-range fucking gun and I feel like it’s still too cheap. It’s a problem in several ways. I feel like if you see a force-buy on the second round, you should see a mixed bag of weapons based on what fight you have. But instead, you see Stingers across the board.”

Thankfully, Riot moved fast and will get the Stinger changes on Riot servers on February 7th, patch 6.02