Valorant is one of the most popular shooters nowadays. It is a free-to-play title made by Riot Games. The company started open beta in April 2020 and was officially released on the 2nd of June 2020. Valorant mixes elements from MOBAs and shooters, creating an exciting mix. A player picks one of 20 available characters, known as agents, and goes into 5v5 combat.
You can choose between a plethora of weapons, including guns, shotguns, rifles, snipers, etc. What’s specific about Valorant is that every agent has a particular role, and they’re divided into controller, sentinel, duelist, and initiator classes.
Each one of them has at least two basic abilities, a signature ability and an ultimate ability, which is an homage to MOBAs such as Dota and League of Legends. Specific agents also have passives, on top of that. In this guide, I will talk about Valorant maps, agents, weapons, and other aspects of the game.
Key Info Up Front
Valorant is an online 5v5 shooter where one team tries to defend a bomb site while the other plants a bomb. The game borrows from Counter-Strike but also has numerous elements of MOBAs.
Most notably, all characters have a set of abilities that helps them perform a particular role. Although your weapon skill is crucial for winning games, it is also essential to use your abilities correctly. Like all other team shooters, Valorant is highly dependent on strategizing and communication.
Following the recipe of other tactical shooters, the creators made numerous modes and maps that would keep things fresh.
Unrated is the basic non-ranked mode. Two teams of five clash against each other where one assumes the role of defender and the second one the role of the attacker. The attacking team tries to place the Spike (bomb) at one of the several available bomb sites. The defenders try to prevent this.
Attackers win if the Spike activates after 45 seconds. Even if defenders kill all the attackers, they still need to find a bomb and disarm it. However, if they manage to kill all the attackers before the bomb is planted, the defenders automatically win the match (like in Counter-Strike).
Alternatively, defenders win after 100 seconds if the attackers don’t plant the Spike and if there are still defenders and attackers alive on the map. Attackers automatically win if all defenders are killed. The first team to win 13 rounds wins the match.
Competitive is the basic ranked mode. The game rules are the same as for the unrated mode with the only difference being that you can start competitive games after reaching level 20. Before you’re assigned a rank, you have to play five assessment games.
Spike Rush is a type of quick mode where you need 4 rounds to win the match. Everyone starts with charged abilities, except for their ultimates, and cooldowns are shorter. All attackers have a Spike, but you can activate only one.
All players get the same random gun at the start of the round, and you have access to power-up and ultimate orbs. Overall, it is a very hectic mode where your skills with certain weapons are tested.
Valorant Deathmatch is very similar to Deathmatch modes in other games. 14 players clash against each other in a match that lasts 9 minutes. The first player to reach 40 kills wins the game. Alternatively, you win by having the most frags at the end of 9 minutes.
What’s interesting about Valorant Deathmatch is that there aren’t abilities, and you get a full shield and random agent whenever you spawn. Upon killing an enemy, a green health pack appears, replenishing a player’s health and shields, and providing extra ammo.
In Replication mode, every player on a team votes for their favorite agent. After the vote, one of these five agents is selected, and everyone on the team plays as that character. The same happens for enemies. Winning five rounds wins you the match. Players buy weapons and shields at the start of a round, and both of them are reset at the end of a round.
In Escalation, every team is given a random set of 12 guns. You need to kill a certain number of enemies for the next weapon to unlock. You win the match by finishing the weapon cycle or if you’re ahead of the enemies after 10 minutes.
The abilities and you get a random agent at the beginning. However, it is worth noting that certain damage abilities are still available. Like Deathmatch, kills spawn green packs. I really like Escalation as the best mode to test your weapon skills.
Snowball Fight is a Christmas mode that plays like a team Deathmatch. The goal is to reach 50 kills, and all players carry the same weapon, the Snowball Launcher.
Valorant has a very complex strategy system that mostly revolves around agents and their abilities. It takes some time to get used to the basics, although Overwatch and Counter-Strike players will feel right at home.
The game features eight maps (nine if we include the practice map). Each one of the places is inspired by an actual city, which gives the game a global charm. When queuing for a match, the system analyzes all the maps that 10 players have previously played on and selects the least used.
Bind (Rabat, Morocco)
Bind has one left and one right bomb site. Unlike most other maps, there isn’t a mid-section, so if you want to travel quickly, you need to take a one-way teleporter. As you can presume, teleporter exits are an excellent place for an ambush.
Haven (Thimphu, Bhutan)
Haven has three Spike locations, but still only two ultimate orbs. The map is a bit larger, which often plays against defenders. However, there is a destructible panel on mid that slows down aggressive pushes through this section on the map.
Split (Tokyo, Japan)
On Split, you can use ascenders to access different areas. Four of them allow players to go through vents, and two are used to get from the sewer to the A lobby. The last ascender can be used to access B tower from B hell.
Ascent (Venice, Italy)
Ascent is all about capturing the middle section of the map. It is a rather large, open space that connects all other areas and provides strategic value to both teams. Bomb sites are protected by mechanical doors that you can open or close by pressing switches.
Icebox (Bennett Island, Russia)
Icebox has ziplines and is excellent for minor skirmishes and precise shooters. The Spike sites are elevated, so you need to use ropes to get to them and place a bomb.
Breeze (Bermuda Triangle, Atlantic Ocean)
The map has several ropes connecting strategic areas. Aside from that, there is also a vent that helps the attackers reach the mid-section. A site is guarded with mechanical doors that can be opened by pressing a switch.
Fracture (Santa Fe, USA)
Fracture also features ziplines, like Icebox. It has four quadrants on opposite parts of the map and a central area where defenders spawn. The most exciting thing about the map is that it spawns four ultimate orbs making it easier to charge ultimates.
Pearl (Lisbon, Portugal)
The map has two Spike sites that you can reach via the left, mid, or right lane. It is the simplest Valorant map, not having any unique mechanisms.
The game dynamic in Valorant is very different depending on the map and the side you’re playing on. As the name implies, defenders play cautiously, trying to take advantage of terrain features and specific hiding spots. On the other hand, attackers are forced to be more aggressive, often rushing the Spike locations as a team.
The attackers’ tactic is much more straightforward. It usually comes down to the default and execution parts of the plan. The default refers to the general plan pertaining to scouting an area to gain information, pushing into sites, or isolating an enemy and scoring a kill. During execution, you micromanage resources, consider the path to the Spike location, and hiding spots after planting the bomb.
On the other hand, defenders have to consider much more things including area control, push, bait, retake, etc. Like in similar tactical shooters, defenders have a much larger area to cover but have the advantage of picking their spots. Nevertheless, the defenders’ strategy is more reactionary than the attackers’ strategy, where you have to adapt to what the opponents’ team is doing.
Team Composition and Roles
Agents are divided into four roles: duelists, sentinels, controllers, and initiators. The general idea is to have each one of these roles within a team, but this also varies based on the map. Sometimes, a specific agent or role will have a stark advantage on certain maps.
Determining the best team composition and roles for Valorant is much more difficult for this game than for some other MOBAs. Due to the fact that there are so many maps, and the gunplay skill is a large factor, abilities are not as crucial in Valorant as in some other games. So, if we were to generalize, here are some team compositions that would work the best in the current patch:
- Astra, Chamber, Jett, Viper, and Sova
- KAY/O, Reyna, Sage, Astra, and Cypher
- Jett, Omen, KAY/O, Fade, and Chamber
- Jett, Viper, KAY/O, Sova, and Chamber
- Jett, Omen, Breach, Sova, Killjoy
In the current meta, Jett, Raze, Chamber, and KAY/O are considered the best picks. Just by having two or three of these agents on the map, you exponentially increase your chance of winning. However, this can easily change with the next patch.
As mentioned in the previous section, gunplay is still the biggest part of Valorant. Nevertheless, we cannot neglect the impact of abilities on the game. Ultimates are especially powerful, as it goes in all MOBAs, being able to turn the tide of a round within an instant.
Sentinel (Killjoy, Cypher, Sage, Chamber)
Sentinels are primarily defensive characters, but you can also use them for offensive purposes. They have abilities meant to control larger areas, whether by damaging the opponents or providing scouting information. Specific sentinel abilities are excellent for protecting teammates.
Duelist (Phoenix, Jett, Reyna, Raze, Yoru, Neon)
As the name implies, duelists are the best characters for one-on-one combat. They are very quick, which makes it easier to travel from one spot to another, but also escape or attack enemies. In many ways, they are the assassins of Valorant.
Duelists have a decisive advantage upon noticing the enemy. They can easily take out other roles, which is why they are commonly the first to enter an area or a bomb site. Overall, this class is great for giving their team a numbers advantage, but you can also use them for solo skirmishes.
Controller (Brimstone, Viper, Omen, Astra)
This role is excellent for crowd control and can affect large areas. They commonly have different types of bombs meant to damage or main opponents within an area. These abilities are especially great for initiating the combat (although controllers are rarely the ones that start the combat).
With their abilities, controllers can also create diversions. When playing controller as an attacker, they can flush out enemies from their hiding spots. As defenders, they can provide a cover deterring enemies from entering a specific area or Spike site.
Initiator (Sova, Breach, Skye, KAY/O, Fade)
Initiators’ primary role is to infiltrate or gather information about an area. They have abilities great for scouting but might also have blinding abilities. When defending, they are crucial for retaking positions, especially bomb sites.
Weapons in Valorant are very similar to those in other shooters. The game borrows the mechanics from Counter-Strike and similar titles, where you become less precise when moving or continuously shooting. There is also a shop that allows you to purchase new weapons (and abilities) at the start of the round).
Each player starts with a knife and a sidearm. There is also a large selection of primary weapons that you buy with creds, the game’s currency. You retain all the weapons throughout the rounds until you die. Alternatively, you can pick up any weapon that is left on the ground.
Tactical Knife (default)
Tactical Knife is the basic weapon that you have at all times. While equipped, it allows agents to run at the highest speed. The primary action performs a series of slashes, and the secondary does a slow but powerful stab. Tactical Knife does most damage against the opponent’s back and is excellent for sneaking.
This is your simplest, basic gun. The first action uses a single bullet attack, while the right-click creates a small shotgun blast in an area. Although many agents quickly throw away their Classics, these guns are actually excellent at different ranges. The gun is not that strong but is very precise.
Shorty (150 creds)
Shorty is a sawed-off shotgun that is fantastic for melee combat. It has a nice spread, short range, and immense power. Unfortunately, it fires one bullet at a time, which makes it less than ideal for firefights. Its primary use is to surprise enemies as they’re approaching from the corners.
Frenzy (450 creds)
If you’re looking for a weapon to spray and pray, it doesn’t get much better than Frenzy. It’s a gun-like SMG that can fire lots of bullets in a minute. The weapon’s biggest issues are its low range and small magazine. Although used to fire bullets in quick succession, you can quickly run out of ammo if you go overboard.
Ghost (500 creds)
Ghost is a sidearm silencer that works really well at a long range. The weapon has the same strength as the Classic, but its muffled sound can be fantastic if you’re trying to pick off targets from a distance without being noticed. It is also very good when shooting through vision obstacles.
Sheriff (800 creds)
Players who are confident in their shooting abilities should buy Sheriff. The gun is incredibly powerful, allowing you to kill most targets with one shot. It can also do enormous damage through walls and other obstacles. The weapon’s biggest drawbacks are its small magazine and powerful recoil. Missing a shot can cost you dearly in a close gunfight.
Stinger (950 creds)
This weapon has two modes. The first one is the regular semi-automatic fire, while the second one fires 4-bullet bursts. Interestingly enough, alternative fire is better at a distance. Like all SMGs, Stinger allows you to fire lots of bullets in quick succession. It is great in small spaces, but it quickly falls off at a medium distance.
Spectre (1,600 creds)
Spectre is an excellent, relatively-cheap weapon that gives you a bit of everything. It has a silencer that is great for ambushing enemies and medium wall penetration. Overall, Stinger is a much better choice in small spaces, while Spectre is better at a medium range, although still unreliable.
Bucky (850 creds)
Bucky is your usual low-tier shotgun with a very interesting alt-fire. The secondary action fires a canister at a mid-range, spraying pellets once it touches the ground. It is a great feature that slightly increases the weapon’s range. Like all shotguns, Bucky doesn’t do anything at a long range but can be great for close combat.
Judge (1,850 creds)
Unlike its predecessor, Judge can fire pellets at a relatively long range. Crutching reduces shotgun spread, thus increasing the agent’s precision. The weapon has a noticeably higher rate of fire compared to Bucky, making it an ideal choice when engaging several targets in a small space. However, due to the small magazine, you won’t be able to stay in a gunfight for too long.
Bulldog (2,050 creds)
Bulldog is the cheapest rifle in the game. Besides the regular semi-automatic mode, the weapon also has a 3-bullet barrage with a small spread. The secondary fire also reduces the usual recoil, and you can use a zoom for extra precision.
Guardian (2,250 creds)
If you’re confident in your aiming skills, and you don’t have enough creds for sniper rifles, you should go with Guardian. The weapon is less than ideal in close combat, but it shines on long range. Guardian does massive damage, can penetrate the walls, and has high accuracy but a very slow rate of fire.
Phantom (2,900 creds)
If you don’t know what to buy, and you have enough creds, Phantom is the best choice in the game. The rifle provides a little bit of everything while excelling at short and medium-range combat. The weapon is equipped with a silencer making it easy to ambush enemies from a distance. The only problem with the rifle is that its damage drops sharply at a long range.
Vandal (2,900 creds)
Vandal is Phantom’s counterpart that is more suited for long-range combat. Unlike the other rifle, you can use this weapon to pick off enemies at any distance with a headshot. There is no drop-off due to distance, and you can always count on Vandal’s damage to do the job. However, if you’re looking for a high rate of fire and improved accuracy, it is better to go with Phantom.
Marshal (950 creds)
This sniper rifle is great for skilled agents. Like any other weapon from this category, Marshal is very accurate and has a very long range. It has a much faster rate of fire compared to the other sniper, Operator, but can only instakill unshielded enemies.
Operator (4,700 creds)
When using Operator, it is presumed that the player will use its alt-fire zoom to pick off targets at a distance. Otherwise, the weapon’s left click is rather unreliable. Operator is a medium-risk, high-reward weapon. It has enormous damage that ensures a kill no matter where you hit a target. Even if the opponent is shielded, the bullet will go right through them. Operator’s main issue is that it’s incredibly slow.
Ares (1,600 creds)
A specific thing about Ares is that it becomes more accurate as you continue firing bullets. It is a great weapon for wallbanging, making it a perfect choice for initiators but also defenders hiding behind penetrable map elements. Regardless, the weapon is still not very precise especially as you start firing. It also significantly reduces an agent’s mobility.
Odin (3,200 creds)
This weapon slowly increases its firing rate the more you’re shooting. If you use the alternative fire, Odin will instantly reach its maximum fire rate. Basically, Odin is better than Ares in every sense except for Ares’ increased accuracy feature. Unfortunately, the machine gun is very expensive for the relatively limited function it performs.
Abilities are a major part of Valorant. They enhance agents, making them distinctly different from other characters. Abilities allow fine-tuning of a roster while adding to the game’s tactical complexity.
A cool thing about these skills is that most of them are locked at the start of a match. Each player has access to signature ability, while basic abilities and ultimates are unavailable and require points or credits to unlock. Upon using a consumable ability, you have to reacquire it.
To use an ability, you need to equip it first. This takes some time, which increases the odds of being ambushed. Damaging skills affect both allies and enemies.
Like in other games, passives are traits that provide additional boosts and are available at all times. In some cases, they could have a restrictive nature. Passive abilities are usually connected to other abilities and work well with an agent’s kit.
Unlike passives, all agents have basic abilities. The majority of them have two basics, but there are also cases where they have one or three. You can charge basic abilities by spending credits at the start of the game.
The great thing about basic abilities is that they work as a money dump of a sort. Unlike traditional shooters, where you no longer have use for money after a few successful rounds, abilities allow you to continuously spend resources, thus retaining an edge over the opponents throughout the rounds.
Signature abilities are available from the get-go and are recharged after every round. In certain cases, you might accrue more than one charge during a round. At the start of the round, you will have one charge per signature ability, whether you used them in the previous round or had a surplus.
Ultimate abilities are the strongest skills in the game that can completely change the outcome of a round. However, they are very hard to acquire. Each ultimate requires a set number of ult points. You get these by capturing ultimate orbs, killing enemies, dying, and planting or defusing bombs.
When you use an ultimate, there will be a sound cue that all players can hear. Depending on the line, you can quickly determine who used the ability.
Tips and Tricks for Getting Better at Valorant
Here are some tips and tricks that will make you better at the game but also improve your overall experience:
- Like any other team game, Valorant is much better when played with friends. Although every tactical shooter requires a certain level of coordination, this is especially true for Valorant due to classes and abilities.
- If you’re new to the game, go with agents that make the whole experience rewarding.
- Make sure to pick according to the current meta and team’s needs. Being selfish and getting another duelist will cost you a lot of games.
- If you have experience with Counter-Strike and similar titles, you will get used to Valorant’s gun mechanics rather quickly. Crouching when firing and using short bursts (or single bullets) are the best ways to increase accuracy.
- As this game is much more complex than some other tactical shooters, I suggest you practice every agent before starting matches. Even though the first games are unranked, this will save you frustration.
- Learn all agents. Certain characters are better in one-on-one situations, so it is much better to avoid such enemies when you encounter them. Furthermore, you should always look to play your agent according to its preferred role.
- Stick to the corners. Exposing yourself too much will earn you a bullet to the head.
- Use the terrain and its features to your advantage. Wallbanging is a valid strategy, especially if you have an appropriate weapon.
- There is no shame in asking your rich allies for a weapon.
- Although Valorant is meant to look like an arcade game, you get much better results when playing slowly.
- Use abilities whenever you have them available. Hoarding charges is the last thing you need as it can cost you valuable rounds. This is something that can cost you the match.
Question: Is Valorant for PC only?
Answer: One of the rare issues with Valorant is that this game is a PC exclusive. However, according to the latest news, the game will arrive on Xbox and PS4 in the near future.
Question: How to download Valorant?
Answer: Before you can download Valorant, you need to download Riot’s client. This also means that you will need an active account. Once you do that, you can go to Valorant’s official site to download the title.
Question: Is Valorant free on PC?
Answer: Like other Riot games, Valorant is completely free-to-play. There are no charges, subscriptions, or hidden fees, and you can enjoy the game as soon as you install it. The only problem is that you would initially have a limited pool of agents, but you can unlock them as you progress.
Question: How many GB is Valorant?
Answer: You need less than 4 gigabytes on your hard drive to download the game. However, you’ll need an extra 4 gigabytes for the installation process.
Valorant Game Overview: Conclusion
According to many critics, Valorant is the next evolution of tactical shooters. Made by a company famous for its free-to-play system, you can access the title at any time and enjoy it with friends.
I like the fact that the game takes the best elements from other team shooters and improves upon them. Valorant uses vivid colors and has innovative maps, each with something unique to offer. Although it feels like an arcade game, you need to be very patient to become good.
I would recommend the game to anyone who played Counter-Strike and Overwatch. I especially like the abilities system that rewards players who focus on objectives.