With the stage set for Valorant VCT Lock In, the biggest competition in the FPS game‘s storied esports history, players have been buying up the Misericórdia knife bundle, which includes a stunning new melee weapon with colour variants inspired by the three new international regions. As the excitement builds, we caught up with Riot to talk about how the VCT Lock In capsule came to be.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, the Misericórdia knife is a crystalline masterpiece. Its body is an ebony tactical knife, but its blade is encrusted with glittering geodes that you can customise to show off your regional pride. North America is decked out in green, Pacific is blue, and EMEA is a particularly gorgeous violet – not that I’m in any way biased.
With a red variation representing Valorant esports as a whole, the knife will glow if you manage to top frag, mirroring the Champion’s Aura we’ve seen in previous VCT Champions skins. All in all, the bundle is spectacular; it looks amazing and it’s an innovative way to show off your regional pride until those rumoured VCT Valorant skins appear.
Following the reveal, I spoke to associate art director Sean Marino and lead producer for cosmetics Preeti Khanolkar about the thought process that went into designing these skins – especially because there’s essentially four of them.
“When brainstorming the best way to support the first event of our new
esports partner ecosystem, we wanted to give players a way to rep their
fandom through their choice of variant,” Khanolkar tells me. “We were so excited about this new tier of competition and wanted to memorialise this really special moment that will never happen again with an incredible collection.”
“This was our first time doing a bundle with just a knife as the only weapon, but we felt that the sleek design and animations, stylish VCT accents, and regional colours would make this feel very special, on top of the benefit of the revenue share with the partner esports teams.”
For me, it’s the colours that make the collection so striking – so why did Riot choose those specific colours and agents to represent each region? “While each league is based in a specific city, we wanted to be more
inclusive and consider all the regions that make up a league when picking an agent,” Marino tells PCGamesN.
“We looked for agents that resonated strongly (or embodied the region) within each of our territory leagues and specifically for agents that players would be proud to rep. We chose Viper/Green for VCT Americas, Yoru/Blue for VCT Pacific (this one is a bit of a stretch given Yoru isn’t meta in esports), and Astra/Purple for VCT. We chose the colour scheme based on the primary agent assigned to each territory’s league (Astra, Yoru, and Viper).”
What’s even more interesting, though, is that the colour of the each aura is more representative of what we can actually expect the regional colours to look like going forward. “The specific aura colour we chose more closely matches the colours that will represent each of our leagues in the future,” Marino tells us – and, boy, I am obsessed with that toxic green colour.
Looking to the future, though, given that Valorant esports skins with specific partners on them are in high demand, will this be the last line of sparkling crystal cosmetics?
“We’re always looking to push the envelope of how we represent esports within our game, so I can neither confirm nor deny if you’ll ever see the crystalline theme again,” Marino tells me. “And even if you do, it won’t feel exactly the same on a non-esports themed skin.”
I have a bad habit of buying up literally any crystalline Valorant skins – I have the Sentinels of Light Vandal, the Champions 2022 bundle, and, of course, now I have the purple Misericórdia knife. As the game continues to evolve I can’t wait to see how its esports skins do, too – after all, imagine a black and orange Fnatic vandal with glowing amber inlays. No pressure, Sean and Preeti – OK, maybe a little pressure.
As I contemplate with vague distress how much I’ve spent on Valorant, I’d advise that you check out our rundown of all of the best Valorant crosshairs and codes that the pros will be using at VCT Lock In – after all, having cool skins is only part of tearing up the Valorant ranks; you need to know how to pop heads, too.