Clove: Death Is Only The Beginning

Go behind the scenes with the Clove dev team.

What if you were able to come back from the grave? Or help your team out from the other side? Unless you’re Phoenix running it back, dying in VALORANT means sitting on the sidelines while your allies try to clutch the round without you.

With Clove, you’ll be able to defy the ultimate limit: death.


Clove’s abilities revolve around the concept of a beautiful death—dying in any given round can be just the beginning.

Though they’re a Controller, hanging out on the back lines isn’t an option with Clove. To unlock their kit, you’ll need to take those calculated risks and jump into the fray. There’s a fine line between playing it safe and risking it all—and Clove needs to walk it.

Let’s go through Clove’s abilities, along with some insights from game designer Dan “penguin” Hardison on the creation of each one. Then we’ll take a peek behind the scenes of Clove’s look, background, and personality.

Not Dead Yet (X): Clove defies death by activating their immortality essence. To stabilize their form, they must remove the life energy of an opponent.

How to use Not Dead Yet in game: After dying, ACTIVATE to resurrect. Once resurrected, Clove must earn a kill or a damaging assist within a set time or they will die.

Nothing says immortal like a reactive revive. VAL designers have been waiting for the right Agent to add this type of ability into the game, and Clove’s ultimate seemed like the perfect place to do it.

If you die and your ult is ready, you’ll have a couple seconds to resurrect yourself. But you’ll need to earn a kill or assist within a short time frame to stay alive. This ability can help you cover key areas after dying or recover from overheating. And sometimes ulting is simply the right move, even if you can’t secure a kill or assist.

“Sometimes it’s correct to ultimate even if you don’t think you’ll be able to get a kill and stay within the round if it’s an important enough round for the state of the game or economy that your team wins,” explains penguin.

Ruse (E): Clove’s mind projects a view of the battlefield from above. Using their essence, they manifest vision-obscuring clouds that change the flow of battle, even in death.

How to use Ruse in game: EQUIP to view the battlefield. FIRE to set the locations where Clove’s clouds (smoke) will settle. ALT FIRE to confirm, launching clouds that block vision in the chosen areas. Clove can use this ability after death.

Next up, post-death smokes. Knowing you’ll still have your smokes on the other side of death makes taking risks seem significantly less spooky. But where you die matters, which makes things a lot more interesting. Since Clove’s smoke range is restricted to near where you died, you can’t just stick to your tried-and-true choke points.

“Early iterations of the ability were global and it just turned into hyper-reliable smokes that you’d place in the same spot as every other Controller character. As soon as we limited the smoke range a bit, then suddenly Clove players were more likely to try to do something different to help out post-death, which helped improve the variety of throwing smokes.”

Meddle (Q): Clove focuses a fragment of immortality essence that, once thrown, deteriorates the life essence of those hit by the blast.

How to use Meddle in game: EQUIP a fragment of immortality essence. FIRE to throw the fragment, which erupts after a short delay and temporarily decays all targets caught inside.

Use this simple debuffing ability to fight for staging space or combo it with your ult to secure a kill or assist and stay in the round.

“Learning the ranges, spots, and timings where you can pop it on people feels perfectly satisfying,” says penguin.

Since Meddle detonates after a set time, it’s not meant for lineups or cross-map post plant—other Controllers in VALORANT have those strengths covered.

Plus, the decay debuff suits Clove perfectly. “We felt like it fit within the beautiful death thematic. And we wanted something that would clearly message to players that they wouldn’t get anything out of the buff if they didn’t capitalize on it.”

Pick-Me-Up (C): Clove absorbs the life energy of a fallen enemy, granting them a moment of increased agility and health.

How to use Pick-Me-Up in game: INSTANTLY absorb the life force of a fallen enemy that Clove damaged or killed, gaining haste and temporary health.

Like their other abilities, Pick-Me-Up’s power lies in Clove taking on the fights a Controller typically shouldn’t.

“You get nothing out of the ability if you don’t fight someone within a window, so it sends a pretty clear message to players that they should go fight someone.”

“On top of that, you can’t even cast it without either killing or getting a damaging assist on a player. Additionally, any time a player overheats on Clove and dies they get to cast smokes after death, so I wanted an excuse for Clove players to experience their post-death loop more often.”

Pick-Me-Up and Meddle are both essential to getting you into the scenarios where you can use your post-death abilities effectively. Like we mentioned earlier, where you die matters. So if you’re not using Meddle and Pick-Me-Up to get into the thick of combat, you won't be dying in places that allow you to use Clove’s post-death smokes in a meaningful way or follow up on a kill with Not Dead Yet. So take those risks, die for the squad (in the right spots), make the most of it from the other side, and repeat the process.


For those of us queuing up solo, being asked to fill often means playing Controller. But sometimes you just want to take a fight. Clove is for those of you who fill for the greater good, but their gameplay doesn’t hinge on your ability to stay alive. Even as a Controller, you’re meant to take on 1v1s.

“We hypothesized pretty early on that naturally aggressive players didn’t have enough varied options within the Controller role. Prior to Clove, it was almost all Omen from Controller players who felt like they wanted to be aggressive,” says penguin.

“Many of our players feel like they have to play too passively on the role compared to our other roles, so they opt out of the whole class.”

Before landing on the abilities we mentioned above, the team tried out other kinds of outputs, but post-death abilities that could stall or initiate ended up feeling unfair for opponents.

“Clove being able to flash you after death was extremely frustrating, and Clove being able to stall out chokes after dying was powerful, but not very engaging.”

Clove’s post-death loop unlocks a whole new style of Controller play. Instead of trying to survive and use your utility to help your allies, you need to be willing to die for the team.


“I hope Clove helps teach players the value of their own life within any given round,” says penguin. “It is important as a VALORANT player to understand when you should sacrifice yourself for your teammate to get the trade and to secure the round.”


After gameplay is sorted, the team digs into the rest of an Agent—their personality, background, look, voice, and more. They ask themselves questions like: What does it feel like to play Clove? What do they look like? Who are they as a person?

By now you know that Clove's gameplay is all about a beautiful, calculated death. When thinking about Clove’s personality, the Agents team wanted to build upon this core concept of surprising contrasts, Agents Lead John “RiotMEMEMEMEME” Goscicki explains:

“How do we create someone that is warm, but sharp? Someone with a little whimsy, that also has an edge? How can we make the core identity of post-death not dark and gritty? How can you make a beautiful death?”

Part of that was Clove’s visual style. Since Clove’s abilities dance around death, the look of their abilities took on a sense of organic decay. Concept artists drew inspiration from deteriorating fruits and vegetables when designing the ripples and lines that wave through their smokes. Add in clouds of iridescent butterflies and Clove’s abilities become a synthesis of rebirth and beauty.

The whirling pinks and purples of Clove’s abilities are pretty and playful... but don’t underestimate the immortality within. This element of great power underlying youthful playfulness translated well into Clove’s personality.

“With Clove, we knew early in the process that a component of mischief felt right for the kind of post-death battlefield manipulation that they brought to the fore,” explains narrative writer Ryan “Pwam” Clements. “They’re stirring up trouble for the enemy team as well as helping their friends succeed. As their art developed, that mischief shifted to make room for an even more important trait: their audacity. A willingness to be themselves, no matter what, and to take bold risks on and off the battlefield.”


Clove is fearless—in how they talk, in how they live, and in how they approach every round. That’s what sets them apart. But building a character that feels real requires more than just a bold persona—and for the Agents team, that means a mountain of research. For every Agent, seeking out and learning from experts is an essential part of the process. From Gekko’s LA-inspired fashion sense, to Fade’s connection to the roving cats of Istanbul, to Neon’s Bayanihan Spirit, the true essence of an Agent lies in the details.

“Yes they are highly skilled tactical Agents, but they are also people with backgrounds, culture, history, and nuance,” says RiotMEMEMEMEME. “While we always do our research, we are not the full experts in each space. For Clove, their Scottish culture and non-binary identity were big aspects of this. These take time and nuance to deeply understand so they manifest in authentic ways.”


When deciding where Clove would hail from, the team zeroed in on Scotland—Edinburgh, to be exact.

“Edinburgh is a remarkable collision of old and new,” says Pwam. “Generations-long traditions are being examined and explored by a bold group of young people that we admire.”

Clove’s Scottish roots and the history of their homeland informed their innate talent for storytelling—which you’ll hear in the way they speak, build relationships, and even in the games they play with their fellow Agents.

“Your party sets foot across a frigid expanse. Secrets long lost resurface through the shattered ice. The cold is relentless. Roll to avoid frostbite.”
Clove, starting a match on Icebox

    “It was an opportunity to enforce Clove’s connection to Scotland and Scottish tradition while also embracing their playful side,” Pwam explains. “We wanted to ensure that Clove was very much ‘from Edinburgh’ and knew the city, its people, and their place among them.”

    “But more than their penchant to spin a yarn or crack a joke, Clove’s connection to their community is both active and involved. They care about making space for others—be it in Scotland or elsewhere—and fighting for people too timid to fight for themselves.”