If you have played competitive FPS in the past (such as CS:GO) then you’ll likely be familiar with the core gun mechanics in Valorant. Still, Valorant has plenty of its own unique mechanics, and a lot of that comes down to Agent abilities.
Know Your Agent
In Valorant, you control characters called Agents. They each have special abilities that make them unique and give them advantages in certain combat situations.
There are four types of Agents:
- Sentinel: Defensive experts who specialize in protecting the teams flanks and supporting team fights
- Initiator: Specialize in challenging the angles of gunfights and giving your team the advantage when pushing positions on the battlefield
- Controller: Controls the battlefield by blocking lines of sight and locking down areas for the team
- Duelist: Main damage dealers on the team. They should focus on using abilities to frag enemies in groups and get early eliminations
There is plenty of utility in the 10 Agents currently available, so knowing their abilities and what roles they specialize in will put you in the best position to succeed.
Here is the full list of Agents and some tips for using them in combat.(Bold = Starting Agent):
- Brimstone – Controller
- Use his Sky Smoke to drop multiple smokes in the way of common lines of sight. This is excellent to use when trying to dominate corners; enemies can’t hit what they cant see.
- The Stim beacon should be used mainly when you are attacking and defending the spike. This will give anyone in the area of effect increased rate of fire, making them excellent defenders.
- Cypher – Sentinel
- Use Cypher’s spy cameras on key hallways and flanks to spot any enemies trying to get the jump on you or your teammates.
- Cypher is one of the few Agents that can watch a point on his own. You shouldn’t engage a large group solo, but with his cameras and trip wires, it will be hard for any enemy to sneak past, letting you spot enemy positions for teammates.
- Raze – Duelist
- Raze’s ultimate Showstopper should be your go-to for clearing out points and snipers nests when available. Its large AoE explosion will kill most caught in its blast, especially those when it explodes in a small room.
- Boom Bot is great for forcing enemies to show their position. It may not get you a kill every time, but the boom bot racing towards them is a distraction they must deal with, opening you up for an easier kill. Use it around corners and long hallways.
- Jett – Duelist
- Jett can traverse the battlefield like no other agent. Use this to your advantage and always stay moving. Her updraft ability can let you jump up to vantage points that are unreachable by other agents.
- Use Cloudburst to cover lines of sight and tailwind ability to get in close while they are blinded. Jett’s kit pairs incredibly well with shotguns since she can quickly close the distance between her and her enemies
- Omen – Controller
- Like Brimstone’s Sky Smoke or Jett’s Cloudburst, Omen also has an ability that creates a smoke orb to obscure vision. His, however, can be used through walls. It will drop down slowly if dropped from above and it will always reach the ground. Use this to your advantage! Drop it in front of snipers and move with the cover, shoot it through a wall, and make an enemy think you are coming from one direction when you are really coming from another.
- Since Omen can teleport both with his ultimate and one of his buyable abilities, this allows him to cover a lot of ground of the map quickly.
- As a Defender, don’t be afraid to try and watch areas away from your team. If the action breaks out in another area, you can always use your teleport to get back to your team.
- Breach – Initiator
- Breach is all about stunning the enemy and keeping them off balance so you or your team can get in some easy shots. The best time to use most of breaches abilities is while defending a planted spike or defusing one.
- All of his abilities can be fired through walls or ignore walls completely, making him the ideal agent to lead the way when infiltrating a spike point or trying to defuse one.
- Each of Breach’s abilities take time to charge before you can just fire them, so it’s actually always a good idea to try and keep a wall or two between you and the target of your ability.
- Viper – Controller
- Viper starts every round with 50 toxin ready to use. Once the gates drop, her toxin will recharge the remaining of the game whenever not in use. Proper toxin management is key to success with Viper. Unlike other agents with wall abilities, Viper can actually control when her wall is up or down, giving her control of the area it’s laid in. Use this to your advantage – drop the screen when enemies aren’t ready and punish them.
- Her Snakebite is great for denying enemies from entering an area, especially when defending. If a group of enemies start to push you, throw a Snakebite in their direction. They will likely avoid walking through it, giving you and your team a chance to position yourselves better.
- Don’t be afraid to retreat sometimes, it could be the difference between a win or a loss.
- Phoenix – Duelist
- Hot hands should be used similar to Vipers snakebite, the only difference being hot hands doesn’t last as long and deals MUCH more damage. With those differences, you’ll want to use Hot hands more aggressively, setting you up for kills rather than using it to retreat.
- His ultimate ability, Run it Back, is the ultimate clutch ability. Use it when you are out gunned or out manned and you may have a chance. Since it allows you to teleport back to the location it was activated at after death, this lets you check out the battlefield with little consequence, giving your team the best chance to win. Use it to spot enemies for your teammates then rush in together for the kills once you know their positions.
- Sage- Sentinel
- PICK SAGE. She is a great starter agent. Not only can you heal yourself and teammates, but her ultimate is a revive. This can help your team so much when games are close. A good Sage could be the deciding factor in a win or loss.
- Keep an eye on teammate health levels, chances are you will only get one or two heals a round, so use them wisely. If a teammate has barely lost any health, maybe save the heal for deeper in the round when it could be more effective.
- Use Sage’s Ice Wall ability to not only cut off flanks from enemy attacks, but lift up teammates and give them a vantage point on enemies. If you have a teammate sniping and you chose Sage, ask if they’d like a lift on your wall sometime. This can set up easy headshots for your teammates and make you very popular. Promise. Unless you do the opposite and raise an unsuspecting teammate, so be careful!
- Sova – Initiator
- Sova plays much like Hanzo from Overwatch; his signature ability is a recon bolt that can mark enemies. There is a catch, though. The recon bolt will only mark enemies within line of sight. The best time to use his recon bolt is when a Brimstone, Jett, or Omen drop a smoke to block a corner. If you tag an enemy with your recon bolt, you or a teammate will then be able to see them through the smoke, setting up a shot they never saw coming.
- Sova’s ultimate ability, Hunter’s Fury, can be shot through any surface. It will spot and damage any enemy caught in it’s path. If you look at the mini map you will actually see the blue line of how wide and far your Hunter’s Fury will go. Use this to plan your shots out, try to hit choke points in the map and make sure to spread out your shots. If you use it quick enough, each use of Hunter’s Fury will let you fire 3 arrows that can be spread across the map.
Know Your Arsenal
Like CS:GO, each round will begin with a buy period where you can purchase weapons. Knowing what each weapon does and where they can be useful will help inform you between rounds when stocking up.
For example, the Phantom is an excellent assault rifle for mid to long range combat. Its alternate fire (default Right Mouse Button) will let you ADS for higher accuracy, at the cost of some fire rate.
The buy screen will give you very detailed specifics about the damage, fire rate, and range of the weapon your mouse is hovering over. Which brings us to the next point…
Try Out the Practice Range
There are several ways to practice the ins and outs of Valorant outside of the initial tutorial. The shooting test will let you mess with your weapon sensitivity on the fly, but the open range is access to every single tutorial Valorant has to offer in one nice hub area.
It is highly recommended you check out the Open Range before diving into a game of Valorant! The open range gives you unlimited funds to try out the weapons and Agent abilities.
This will let you figure out which weapons you do and don’t like for your playstyle. You can also try out any Agent here – even the ones you don’t have unlocked. Go nuts!
Save Your Agent Unlocks
Valorant will start you with 5 Agents: Brimstone, Jett, Phoenix, Sova, and Sage. There are two duelist to chose from (Jett and Phoenix) while the rest fall into the other 3 categories of Agents ( Brimstone – Controller, Sova – Initiator, and Sage – Sentinel). While playing the Beta, you will get 2 agent unlocks for free: One at 10,000 XP earned and one at 25,000 XP earned. Save them!
Since they give you such a variety of Agents to start with, sit back and use them for awhile before you jump right into unlocking a new one. This will give you some time to figure out which type of Agent fits how you play the game best.
Remember: When you do decide you are ready to unlock a new agent, Why not hop into the Open Range and try out their abilities before you commit. Once you unlock the Agent there is no going back!
Dominate the Corners
Valorant is all about getting the right angles in gunfights. The best way to get the drop on your enemies is to hug the corners! Peaking corners will let you find the best line of sight to either drop an ability or check on an enemy.
Agents like Brimstone specialize in dominating enemy lines of sight, using smoke bombs (pictured above) to block anyone trying to peak corners. If you found a spot with a perfect line of sight, chances are the enemies know it’s there too. Always approach corners and new areas with caution, you never know what may be on the other side!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
At the end of the day, Valorant is a team game. It doesn’t matter how good you do on your own. You will need everyone working together to succeed.
Obviously, the best way is always going to be with a headset and using call-outs to let your teammates know enemy positions, but the reality is that isn’t always an option. Luckily, Valorant has an excellent Ping System. Default Key locked to Z (easily changed in settings) will automatically ping the area highlighted by your crosshair. Like Apex, it will call out whatever you are looking at, so if you ping an enemy or the Spike, everyone on your team will be made aware of their location.
Use this to ping things like enemy locations, possible flanks incoming, or a dropped spike (if playing Defense). This will help your team position themselves and take the proper angles.
Another sweet team-focused feature in Valorant is the ability to request guns during the buy phase and being able to purchase requested guns for teammates.
During the Buy phase, on the right side of the screen when you have the shop open, you will see the list of teammates and their current kits. If they have requested a weapon you will see it here. If you have spent a few rounds without dying or racking up kills, chances are you have some extra cash. Use that cash to purchase weapons for teammates if they need them – a kitted team is a winning team!
On the flip side, if you have spent a few rounds without kills and need a weapon because you spent what little cash you had on armor and abilities, right clicking a weapon on the buy screen will let your team know you need some help finishing your kit.
You should purchase a weapon for your teammates if requested whenever you can. You’ll never know when you might be down on your luck and karma works in mysterious ways.
Try Editing Your Crosshair
One of the coolest personalization options that Valorant offers to you is the ability to customize your crosshair.
This is INCREDIBLY in depth, including the ability to change the color, opacity, width, length, and more! Take a second to change around the crosshair, or take it away completely. Whatever you want – it’s your game!
Play it Slow
The stakes are high in Valorant; you aren’t playing Call of Duty anymore. One wrong move can lead to your untimely death, leaving your team with one less gun on the battlefield. Running at normal speed is loud, giving away your position to enemies in the area, especially to those with a good headset. Unless planned before hand, there is no reason to rush into a fight in Valorant!
Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but more often then not taking it slow and always checking your corners will benefit you in the long run. Sometimes taking the Loss in a round, but staying alive so you can keep your equipment may be the best option for future success.
This is also where communicating comes in, If you know the general positioning of the enemy, this will give you the situational awareness to know when running is (and isn’t) an option. Don’t be afraid to ping and call out positions to your teammates, they will thank you in the long run.
There are two types of armor available for purchase between rounds in Valorant:
- Light Armor ($400): Gives you 25 extra hit points of protection
- Heavy Armor ($1000): Gives you 50 extra hit points of protection
Armor should always be one of the first thing you buy between rounds, since armor and character abilities are the only things your teammates can’t buy for you. Which armor to buy however, depends on the situation.
Light armor is usually your best option early, it will save you money while still offering some protection. Focus on heavy armor in the later rounds, when everyone starts to be kitted out more fully.
Know When to Buy or Save
Money isn’t infinite in Valorant. Between rounds you will get cash based on your performance in the previous round. Sometimes, it may be a good idea to buy the bare minimum in order to have a more complete kit next round. Headshots are devastating no matter the weapon, so if you know you can land them, there might not always be a need to spend all your money, every round.
However, after round 12, there will be a side swap and the game will restart (other than the score). This means you will lose all your money, ability charges, and ultimate if it is ready.
USE EVERYTHING BEFORE THE END OF ROUND 12. Anything not used will be lost forever, so don’t waste it!
Like any Free to Play game, Valorant is going to have plenty of cosmetic options. Right now in the beta, some skins can be purchased through the store using real money, but there are also a few skins that can be earned through gameplay.
Remember the Free Agent Unlocks mentioned in the tips above? Well after you have unlocked both of those, the remaining 3 agents you haven’t unlocked can be earned through their Agent Contracts.
You will only have access to activate Agent Contracts once you unlock the two free Agent Unlocks. You can then start grinding out Agent Contracts.
As Valorant evolves, so will its customization options. Be sure to earn whatever skins you are looking for. There is no guarantee they will be there for the full launch in summer 2020.
Even skins purchased with real money will be taken away once the beta period ends BUT Riot has confirmed in a blog post that any VP (Valorant Points) Purchased for Valorant during the beta period will be granted to your account along with a 20% bonus at launch.
- First round buying (whether at the start or after switching sides) doesn’t need to be elaborate. The Classic is actually a pretty decent starting weapon if you aim for the head and can get clean headshots. Your main focus round one should be buying abilities that will give your team the advantage when everyone will have a pistol of some variety.
- Have Fun! Valorant is a tough game, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t playing great. The learning curve in this game is STEEP so just focus on learning the flow of each round when you start out. No need to stress about your K/D ratio until you decide you are ready for competitive.Plus, all progress resets once the closed beta is over.
- Don’t stick to one agent/type of agent. When you’re playing a hero based shooter, the best kind of teammate to be is one who can help fill in the gaps. Not only will this force you to learn other Agents, it will also make you popular with your teammates. Filling needed roles sounds like a simple thing, but most people refuse to go outside their comfort zones in this type of game, so being one that does will give you plenty of utility.
- If you’re coming to Valorant from a game like Call of Duty, this next tip might hurt. Sit down for this one….ready? Please….whatever you do in this game DO NOT RUN AND SHOOT AT THE SAME TIME. Look I know it will be hard to break that habit, but it is pointless in Valorant. You will miss 90% of the time, and the other 10% that hits probably wouldn’t kill them anyway. Fire slow, burst the weapon for the highest accuracy, and always aim for the chest/head. Run and Gun is not a viable play style in Valorant…please don’t try it.
- Be ready for a long match. Games of Valorant are competitive and LONG, even the shortest match will go AT LEAST 13 rounds. Be prepared to adjust your game plan on the fly with teammates as the game evolves. It is very rare a strategy that works in one game will ALWAYS work. Adapting on the fly to enemy playstyles will be essential, and best of 25 means there is plenty of time for enemy teams to figure out your strategies if you don’t switch them up.
- ADS (aim down sights) isn’t necessary, so don’t force it. Guns are very accurate when used right in Valorant, so while some weapons have ADS as their secondary fire, you don’t always need to use it. ADS usually comes with a big disadvantage, such as limited view, slower rate of fire, and slower aiming. Knowing when to ADS could be the difference between a headshot and death.
- Learn every inch of maps. Since there are currently only two maps in Valorant, this is the best time to do it. If you dominate lines of sight, you dominate the game. Learning the maps and figuring out the best angles and flanks will give you an advantage when navigating gun fights during matches. If you know where the enemy can come from, then you know which lines of sights to keep tabs on.
- It’s tempting to save ultimate abilities for big multikill plays, but the reality is Valorant isn’t about the big plays – it’s about the small victories. Sometimes your ultimate may kill no one, and that’s okay! Using an ultimate to push enemies off a point, buy time for a spike defuse, or kill the top Agent are all successful uses in their own way. Ultimate’s are made to be used, so use them!
For more strategies and encyclopedic information for Valorant, be sure to check back soon.