VALORANT - Tips Of The Trade
Valorant is Riot Games’ newest shooter. Valorant is a tactical shooter, similar to Counter-Strike, unlike Call of Duty or Overwatch. As a result, accuracy is critical, teamwork is essential, and every bullet can be lethal. To help you get the most out of Valorant, we've provided a few tips to help you before diving in.
VALORANT BASIC MATCH RULES
There are two teams of five players in each match. Before a match begins, every player selects a character (called an Agent) who has a set of unique abilities. Each team can only have one of each Agent. There are 13 rounds in a match, and the team that wins the most rounds wins the match.
After 12 rounds, two teams switch sides. Initially, one team is the Attacker and the other is the Defender. The Attackers' goal is to plant a bomb near one of several bomb sites scattered around the map (called the Spike). To defuse the Spike after it's planted, or to prevent the Attackers from planting the Spike within the round's time limit, it's the Defenders' job to defend. A round can also be won by either team eliminating the other team, as there are no respawns during a round.
During a Buy Phase, each player gets money (known as Creds) that they can use to purchase weapons, armor, and abilities. Creds are awarded based on the performance of the player in the previous round. Planting the spike, getting kills, and winning or losing a round will all grant extra Creds.
TIP #1: WALK, DON’T RUN
When you run in Valorant (which is the default movement speed), your footsteps make noise, and anyone nearby can hear you. Running is so loud that a little circle appears on your minimap to show you how far the sound of your footsteps travels. The solution to all that noise is to walk instead of run by holding Shift. Although walking is slower, it also makes you more accurate when you need to shoot quickly before you run out of time can stop — and it makes you impossible to hear, letting you and the rest of your team sneak up to enemy positions.
The majority of the time, you should be walking in Valorant, unless (A) you know there are no enemies near you, (B) the enemy already knows where you are, or (C) you need to get somewhere quickly. When you are sure that there are no enemies around and you need to move quickly, switch to your knife. It is faster than running with a gun out.
Image: Riot Games via Polygon
TIP #2: DON’T RUN AND SHOOT
You should be aware that shooting accurately and running do not mix in Valorant, so you should try to avoid it at all costs. While running, if you see an enemy you want to shoot, try to stop moving entirely before firing. You'll get a better idea of when your shot will be accurate as you get used to it, but it takes a while to get used to it. It will even give you a hint as to your accuracy as the reticle grows and shrinks.
Can you walk and shoot? The first few shots will remain accurate while you walk, by default, by holding the Shift key if you were standing still. You can immediately start shooting if you see an enemy while you're walking. You will start to veer off target more aggressively after the first few shots than if you were standing still.
TIP #3: KNOW WHEN TO SAVE YOUR CREDS
You might want to buy weapons and abilities before every round when you're new to Valorant, spending whatever Creds you have. However, that's not a good idea. It's best to save your Creds for future purchases and team sync. It's unlikely that you will win a round if you're the only one on your team who bought a gun while everyone else is stuck with the basic pistol. But if you save for a round or two and let your teammates get some Creds as well, then the five of you with guns and armor will have a better chance of winning that round — and carrying that gear forward.
Whenever you survive a round, you get to keep the weapons you ended it with - so if someone drops a better weapon, grab it before the round ends. Whatever your team's result is, if you die, you'll have to buy a new weapon. Abilities will carry over from round to round if you don’t use them, and any armor that doesn’t get destroyed will also go with you to the next round (again, if you survive).
The first thing you need to think about when you start playing Valorant is the different types of rounds. You can let your teammates know what you’re planning to do in each round over voice chat, or you can use one of the helpful buttons that Riot included on the buy menu that say things like “Save,” or you can let your teammates know that you have plenty of money.
The goal of everyone is to save for the next Buy round by purchasing very little. This might mean you don’t buy anything at all, or that you only buy a pistol and one ability.
FULL BUY ROUNDS
Everyone on the team buys weapons — usually either rifles or sniper rifles — as well as armor and whatever abilities they need.
FORCE BUY ROUNDS
You don’t have enough for a Full Buy Round, but you and your team buy anyway, getting the best weapons and armor you can. You might do this to catch the enemy off guard, or because you need a win here to start a comeback and can’t afford to wait for more money.
PARTIAL BUY ROUNDS
This means that one or two people on the team might buy a weapon, but everyone makes sure they’ll have enough Creds for a Full Buy Round next time.
Image: Riot Games via Polygon
TIP #4: BUY ARMOR
Guns are the most exciting thing to buy in Valorant, but guns are only good if you’re alive to use them. That’s where armor comes in. Buying armor doesn’t feel like the cool thing to do, but it’s almost always the right decision. Without armor, your 100 hit points won’t last long — one or two bullets could kill you.
Armor should always be part of your Full Buy Rounds, and you should prioritize it over the best weapons if you can’t afford both. There are two types of armor: one that costs 400 Creds and gives you 25 extra health, and one that costs 1,000 Creds and gives you 50 extra health. Both types of armor absorb 70% of damage taken.
TIP #5: KEEP YOUR RETICLE AT HEAD HEIGHT
The less you have to move your mouse, the faster you can aim and shoot. When you’re walking, you should always try to keep your aim at the same height at which an enemy’s head would be. Most players — in all shooters, not just Valorant — have a tendency to keep their reticle pointed toward the ground. But if you run into someone while aiming down, you’ll have to shift your aim up. If your aim is already around their head, it’s a smaller movement to find the sweet spot, and therefore a lot faster.
A nice way to practice is to keep your gun at the head height of your allies before each round begins. This gives you a nice starting point to get used to.