Riot Games has been stirring up the hype for their upcoming blockbuster release of VALORANT, a multiplayer tactical shooter that is expected to drop this summer. Combining the reserved momentum of Counter Strike: Global Offensive with the colorful, flashier-than-life aesthetic of Overwatch, the game presents itself as a prominent contender in the currently stacked FPS market.
Much of the buzz around this game has been perpetuated through it’s open invitation beta testing platform. In order to participate, interested gamers must first spectate over certain streamers playing VALORANT in order to be granted a “key” into the exclusive community.
This accomplished two things: The first, is placing many gamer’s first impressions on the backs of streamers who have become acquainted with the tense, strategic pace of play. These promoters can fluidly demonstrate an arresting command of the 10 available “agents” in VALORANT and their signature, battle-ready set of abilities.
The other thing accomplished by choosing experienced streamers to be the VALORANT gatekeepers is setting a high expectation for in-game performance for the common FPS plebeian. With that being said, below you can find some strong intel on necessary in-game strategy when first dropping into the colorful, raucous team rumble that is VALORANT.
10. Walk Slowly and Carefully
Battle Royale is all the rage within the current FPS industry, citing the popularity of Fortnite, Apex Legends and the recent release of Warzone within Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This style of play is characterized by wide open space counter sniping operations with occasional face to face duels indoors. Running and gunning is often rewarded, and utilizing cover isn’t totally necessary.
If you drop into VALORANT with this mindset, the walls of all the maps will soon be painted a double coat of your cell-shaded blood and gore. Instead, emulate the tiger, slowly stalking your prey and only striking when a kill is near-guaranteed. Running really shouldn’t be done unless the enemy already knows your position or you are absolutely certain you can get the jump on another.
9. Do Not Move While Shooting
This tip is paramount for beginners. Despite how often streamers can rely upon killing enemies while strafing, VALORANT newcomers, especially those unacquainted with the punishing speed at which one can die in a tactical FPS, need to pump the brakes. Absorbing attacks is simply not an option because, for the most part, it only takes a few bullets to die. Every shot counts, accuracy is King. Battles are more dependent on your ability to hit the enemy with your attacks, rather than your ability to dodge theirs.
8. Keep Crosshairs at Head Level
This simple technique might be the most effective way, besides stationary shooting, to improve your shots on target in VALORANT. This seems eye-rollingly obvious to be stated in an article, but the fact is new players often forget it within the rush of dodging gunfire, dashing through the opposing team’s walls of flame or choosing a good angle to let loose a recon arrow. The millisecond it takes to readjust your weapon’s reticle for a headshot is more than enough time for your adversary to give you a lead-based haircut.
7. Crouch and ADS for Improved Accuracy
On the topic of accuracy, Aiming Down Sights (ADS) is an upstart VALORANT player’s best friend. Crouching while using ADS also improves a firearm’s accuracy, with the added bonus of making yourself a smaller target. This technique does slow down the rate of fire on all rifles, heavies and sub-machine guns, but this concentrated fire is far more effective at dispatching foes when compared to the alternative of spraying and praying. There is a case to be made that ADS is not as advantageous when it comes to short- to mid-range conflicts where speed is the deciding factor. However, most beginners tense up and lose their composure in these scenarios. Best to start off on the ADS training wheels.
6. Use Abilities for Support
Abilities are by far the coolest aspect of VALORANT. Each of the 10 memorable agents in the game have 4 abilities that aid in supporting your team and stifling the enemy. SOVA, the lithe, platinum-blonde hunter is a popular choice because he can easily use his abilities “Owl Drone” and “Recon” to highlight enemy positions. Both Phoenix and Viper can conjure elemental walls obstructing an enemy’s line of sight, while someone playing as Jett can quickly dash around the commotion outflanking the unwary. Each agent’s abilities have a specific function that is best used in conjunction with the rest of your team, depending on the circumstances of a gunfight.
Abilities must be utilized correctly to win rounds. Regular abilities either recharge after the round is over or must be purchased with Creds, the in-game currency, before a round begins. Besides their regular abilities, all 10 characters have a game-changing “Super” ability that can be used after killing enough opponents or absorbing orbs. These abilities are not to be underestimated. For a detailed look at all abilities in the game click here!
5. Always Buy Armor
Purchasing weapons and abilities in VALORANT, because of the limited budget of Creds, is something that should be done strategically with the rest of your team. However, unless a player is especially hard up for cash, armor should always be purchased before a match. This is particularly true for beginners who soon learn that the default 100 health points dissipates after taking minimal fire. Armor keeps a player in the game for a longer period of time, which means more time to learn the ropes.
4. Sound is Important
To hearken back to tip #10, walking is an especially better alternative to running because walking is a much quieter choice of motion. The more noise you make, the greater chances that an enemy can pick up your position on the map and kill you and your friends. The keen eyed will notice that a small ring expands around a player on the minimap while they run.
Running isn’t the only offender, either. Shooting, jumping, using certain abilities, even diffusing a bomb can be picked up by enemy ears and capitalized on. VALORANT is in many ways a game of stealth. Choices to disturb the ambience should be made deliberately.
Pro tip: Pull out the knife if you want to move faster while still maintaining a cover of silence.
3. Defuse Fake-Outs
This technique is a bit more advanced, but is still a commonplace maneuver in any contentious VALORANT match. Once a bomb is placed, the defense can defuse a bomb to 50%, then scurry off into a nearby defensible position to fake out the other team.
The offense, alerted to the defusing, may heroically sprint to the bomb zone to save the day. They will arrive just in time to notice that no one is defusing the bomb. From there it is a race to see which hits their brain first: The realization they’ve been duped, or the speeding bullet released from the grinning duper.
The best part of this technique is the defuse counter on the bomb does not diminish. It remains at whatever percentage the defensive trickster left it in. Keep this in mind when you find yourself deactivating the bomb, or on the other side when you first receive notice your bomb is being tampered with.
2. Learn Recoil Patterns
This tip relates to shot accuracy, a pretty standard recognition by any veteran FPS gamer. Submachine guns have a tendency to climb in rapid fire, while snipers have a considerable kickback after each shot. Rifles can hover between these extremes, depending on the damage it deals and how effective it is at shooting through walls and debris.
Typically, players choose a few guns to cozy up with that suit their personal playing style. Try out as many guns as you can during the beginning stages to become aware of your choices, then choose a few to get dialed in on (or you can just check out our Top 10 Best Weapons in Valorant guide!). For a detailed video on all spray patterns in the game click here!
1. Team Play!
Victory in VALORANT is ultimately decided by how cohesive a team of five agents can coordinate to outmaneuver the other team. This strategy is obvious to see on the battlefield, communicating enemy positions to others or using abilities in tandem to confuse and eradicate the other team.
Not so apparent is how much selfish decisions buying weapons, armor and abilities can impact the game. For example, say you buy the baddest, highest caliber weaponry in the first round, but everyone else saves their money. If you are a beginner, you will probably die anyway, but your chances are further solidified because your teammates are packing pistols and nothing else. You now have no money; you lost your gun after dying and all this equates to the fact that you are somehow more useless than before.
There are three main types of decisions a team can make together when purchasing goods in the pre-round store: Save Round, Full Buy Round, and Partial Buy Round.
Save Rounds are a collective decision to decline on spending Creds on weapons, higher tier armor and abilities to save for other rounds. This is useful because in later rounds, a team can execute a more deadly Full Buy Round which is where a team buys the best equipment they can afford. The coordinated Full Buy Round is especially effective because a fully stacked team can decrease friendly casualties which in turn allows teammates to carry their equipment into the next round.
Partial Buy is best reserved for a counterattack measure, when a morale boosting comeback is necessary or if a final push is required to win the match. Less powerful weapons may not be an assured equalizer, but they are still a hell of a lot better than trying to rally the troops with only pistols.
From first impressions, 2020 could be the year of VALORANT for FPS gamers globally. The unique dynamic of careful movement tactics and imaginative abilities may prove enough to hook the market Follow these tips, and you’ll be locked and loaded when the real action begins this summer when VALORANT hits the PC market.