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DOMINATE VALORANT – The Ultimate Guide to Climbing the Ranks (2023)

Valorant is a 5v5 multiplayer tactical first-person shooter video game developed and published by Riot Games. It pits two teams against each other with the goal of attacking or defending bomb sites using sharp gunplay and specialized agent abilities.

Overview of the game

Valorant features competitive gameplay that rewards lethal precision and strategic thinking. Matches usually consist of 25 rounds with the first team to 13 round wins securing victory. It incorporates elements of games like Counter-Strike and Overwatch to create its own unique flavor.

VALORANT game

The core gameplay loop focuses on using teamwork and coordination to either plant or defuse a Spike (bomb) at one of two sites on a map. Gunfights are precise and lethal, with most weapons killing in just a bullet or two. This puts emphasis on precision aiming and strategic positioning.

In addition to gunplay, each agent or character has four unique abilities that recharge over time. These abilities range from healing teammates to revealing enemy locations on a map to launching explosives. Managing your abilities adds another layer of tactical consideration to Valorant’s gameplay.

Game modes

Valorant currently has three main game mode categories:

  • Unrated – Standard 5v5 play with more casual rulesets. No rankings are on the line.
  • Competitive – 5v5 play with skill-based ranks where stakes are higher. Has more strict rules and penalties for leaving matches early. Ranks carry over between seasons or Acts.
  • Spike Rush – Alternative casual mode that features faster-paced rounds and randomized weapon spawns. First to four round wins takes the match.

There are also limited-time special modes that come and go like replication (all players use the same agent) and Escalation (gun upgrades after kills).

Competitive play

Valorant emphasizes competitive team-based play. The main Competitive mode features skill-based matchmaking and visible skill ranks to drive progression. Performance in placement matches earns you a starting rank like Iron 1, Bronze 2, etc. Ranks shift up or down based on match performance each Act or season.

Ranked mode also qualifies players for Valorant’s Esports scene. Most major tournaments use some form of the Competitive ruleset for their events and qualifiers. The global Valorant Champions Tour pits regions against each other to crown the world’s best Valorant team.

Target audience

Valorant targets a competitive gaming audience seeking a fresh but familiar competitive shooter. Its bloodline shares DNA with tactical shooters like Counter-Strike while incorporating hero abilities that give it more variety. The result appeals to:

  • Competitive PC gamers
  • Fans of first-person shooter (FPS) esports
  • Those looking for something between CS:GO and Overwatch

Its high skill ceiling combined with regular content updates helps retain hardcore players invested in climbing the ranks. While more casual modes cater to those just looking to unwind without the stress of ranked.

As a fresh IP in the crowded FPS genre, Valorant stood out by:

  • Pedigree – Created by rising publisher Riot Games (League of Legends)
  • Accessibility – Lower system requirements than competitors
  • Gameplay – Tight shooting with abilities for more variety
  • Competition – Ranked mode and Esports ecosystem
  • Support – Regular updates, patches, agents, and maps

Riot’s involvement as an established force in PC gaming signaled Valorant was here to stay with developer support. Lower system requirements also opened its competitive portal to more aspiring gamers.

Most importantly, Valorant hit the mark on delivering a fresh competitive tactical shooter to build upon for years. Tight gunplay and abilities that complement instead of dominate give it a skill ceiling that dedicated players continue mastering. Combined with persistent ranks and progress unlocks, it scratches that competitive itch.

Ongoing content additions like new agents ensures the meta continues shifting while keeping gameplay novel. This combined formula has cemented Valorant as one of the top FPS games since launch.

Getting Started

System requirements

Valorant is designed to be accessible even on low-end systems by having relatively low system requirements compared to similar tactical shooters. Here are the official minimum and recommended specs:

Minimum

  • CPU: Intel i3-370M or equivalent
  • GPU: Intel HD 3000 equivalent
  • VRAM: 1GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 7GB free space

You can expect around 30-40fps average on minimum settings with these components. Competitive play is possible on this hardware, albeit more challenging.

  • CPU: Intel i5-4460 or equivalent
  • GPU: GTX 1050 Ti equivalent
  • VRAM: 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 7GB free space

Over 60+fps on decent settings is achievable with these components. You’ll have a smoother experience with the added graphics power. Consider this level for more serious competitive gaming in Valorant.

Riot has optimized Valorant to run on a wide range of hardware. However, meeting at least the minimum specs is important, especially for competitive play where performance matters. Upgrading to a discrete graphics card relieves pressure on the CPU.

Here are some general tips for improving performance based on your system:

  • Close unnecessary background processes
  • Disable anti-aliasing and ambient occlusion
  • Lower resolution scale below 100%
  • Limit your framerate cap to your average rate
  • Play with graphics drivers updated
  • Consider upgrading to a low-latency gaming mouse

Review advanced video settings like Multithreaded Rendering for finding optimization tradeoffs that work for your setup.

Installing and launching the game

Valorant is exclusively available on Windows PC via Riot’s proprietary launcher called Riot Client. Here are the steps to install and open Valorant for the first time:

  1. Go to the official website and click Play Free under the title splash image.
  2. Click Install VALORANT. This downloads Riot Client which manages updates and launches the game.
  3. Open and run the Riot Client once installed. Sign in or create a free Riot Account.
  4. Click install under Valorant’s icon in Riot Client. Wait for the ~7GB download to complete.
  5. Click Play once it finishes installing to launch Valorant for the first time.

The initial launch sets up your game settings based on your system hardware and internet connection strength. An intro video plays demonstrating Valorant’s various agents and abilities. You can skip this by clicking anywhere on the screen.

Before playing a match, you have the option to adjust critical game settings:

  • Video quality – Sets resolution, graphics levels, framerate
  • Mouse sensitivity – Precision aiming is vital so tune this properly
  • Crosshair – Customize crosshair design to your preference
  • Map keys – Bind maps like the minimap to keys fitting your play
  • Audio settings – Change master volume and adjust audio channels
  • Hotkeys – Set your universal ability casts keys if desired

Spend time adjusting these settings in the range before queues. Launching practice while queued lets you tune specific agents too. Once ready, click Play in the upper-right and select your preferred game mode queue.

Creating an account

Valorant requires a Riot Account to track progress and competitive rank status. Creating one is straightforward:

  1. During the first Riot Client install process, click Create Account at the sign-in screen.
  2. Enter your email and desired username.
  3. Create a secure password adhering to the account rules.
  4. Verify account creation through the confirmation email.
  5. Return to the Riot Client and sign in with your new credentials.

Your Riot ID serves as your gamertag across all Riot titles. Your tag combines it with a randomized # number like Player1293. Note you only get one free tag change without opting for a paid one.

New accounts start at account level 1 with basic access. As you gain account XP from games, you unlock additional options:

  • Level 2 – Chat communication
  • Level 5 – Competitive queue access
  • Level 10 – All agents unlocked

You earn account XP from completing daily/weekly challenges and playing matches. It’s separate from competitive rank standings tied to the Competitive queue.

User interface and controls

Valorant uses a standard FPS mouse and keyboard control scheme typical of PC shooters. Here is an overview of default keybindings:

  • WASD – Move your agent
  • Space – Jump
  • Shift – Walk to reduce movement sound
  • Ctrl – Crouch in place
  • Left click – Fire equipped weapon
  • Right click – Alternate fire like scoping, zooming
  • E – Use objects, defuse Spike as attacker
  • F – Equip Spike as attacker, plant Spike as defender
  • X – Ultimate ability
  • C – Standard ability 1
  • Q – Standard ability 2
  • Z/Mouse 4 – Review player loadouts
  • P – Team pause menu
  • I – Backpack shop
  • Esc – Game menu
  • M – Full map view

These can be rebound completely to your preference except the number keys for quick switching weapons. Spend time learning the controls against AI before playing PvP. Speed and precision comes from muscle memory.

The user interface provides critical game data for making informed decisions:

  • Map – Dynamic map of site layout with teammate positions
  • Health/armor – Current state of health and shield points
  • Economy – Team and player credit counts
  • Abilities – Status of your usable abilities and ultimate charge
  • Scoreboard – Breakdown of player standings across teams, K/D/A metrics
  • Kill feed – Display of real-time kills from all players
  • Timers – Bomb plant, defuse, round countdown timers

Learning to quickly parse this UI without compromising awareness takes practice. Focus on glancing only when safe or using your map more actively in the beginning. Audio cues also help track the flow of action.

With settings configured, an account ready, and basics of the interface & controls understood, you’ll have the groundwork necessary dive into your first matches. Expect a learning curve adjusting but the gameplay depth and thrill makes it rewarding.

Agents

Valorant’s agents serve as hero characters that use unique abilities to give teams an advantage. They have distinct playstyles and oblige different strategies. Teams compose 5 agents – learning multiple expands strategic options.

Here’s a high-level overview of the current 18 agents categorized across 4 roles:

Overview of Agent Roles

Duelists

Duelists specialize as self-sufficient fraggers taking space with mobility and firepower. Their aggressive, opening potential suits entering sites to crack defenses for follow-up teammates.

Examples: Jett, Phoenix, Raze, Yoru, Neon

Sentinels

Sentinels fill a defensive niche using abilities that fortify sites and watch flanks. Their focus helps lock down areas while gathering intel to support rotations.

Examples: Sage, Cypher, Killjoy, Chamber

Initiators

Initiators lead the pack with scouting abilities that safely scout angles and expose enemy positions. This reconnaissance sets up favorable engagements the team can leverage.

Examples: Sova, Breach, Skye, Fade, KAY/O

Controllers

Controllers manipulate zones on the battlefield through obscuring vision or area denial effects. Used strategically, these abilities funnel enemies into more predictable positions.

Examples: Omen, Brimstone, Viper, Astra

Understanding agent roles helps balance a team composition across needs like entry power and flank security. We’ll break down individual agents highlighting strengths to consider when picking.

Individual Agent Breakdowns

Below covers a handful of the most ubiquitous agents with summaries of their signature abilities:

Jett

Role – Duelist

Signature – Tailwind

Dash a short distance.

Jett’s agile toolkit makes her a slippery threat to pin down, able to quickly take off-angles like Operator nests to confirm early picks. Her Tailwind and Updraft movement tools enable repositioning with her rubberbanding playstyle. Clutch ultimates secure multi-kills from safety.

Phoenix

Role – Duelist

Signature – Hot Hands

Throw a fireball that explodes after a set amount. Heal from its flames.

Phoenix brings self-sufficiency through his health regeneration and hybrid tools that help clear angles, stall pushes, or boost him into contested positions. His signature Hot Hands simultaneously clear corners while replenishing health from its lingering flames.

Reyna

Role – Duelist

Signature – Devour/Dismiss

Eliminations restore health and make you intangible for a short duration.

Reyna lives by the sword and flips fights by living off momentum. Each elimination triggers orb pickups that either regenerate health or grant intangibility to reposition. In the hands of cracked aimers, she rapidly overwhelms before defenses can stabilize.

Sage

Role – Sentinel

Signature – Barrier Orb

Place a solid wall. Right-click to rotate.

Sage owns territory with slowing fields and solid walls that block line of sight. As Valorant’s sole healer, she enables injured teammates to keep fighting. Her post-plant revive has massive round implications, bringing a defender back to contest the defuse.

Sova

Role – Initiator

Signature – Recon Bolt

Fire an explosive bolt that deploys a sonar emitter on impact revealing nearby enemies.

Sova’s owl drone and recon bolt paint pictures of enemy positions to setup favorable engagements. His ultimate locks onto enemies in its line of sight through terrain – granting vision even past common hiding spots.

Breach

Role – Initiator

Signature – Aftershock

Launch an explosive charge that delays briefly before concussing all players nearby.

Breach overloads enemies with disruptive blasts blinding, concussing, and displacing anyone caught near their bursts. His area saturation earns space for his team to aggressively push sites weakened from his ability barrage.

Skye

Role – Initiator

Signature – Guiding Light

Send out a hawk trinket. Re-use while equipped to transform into a flash that dazes enemies.

Skye initiates with disruptive flashes while healing injured teammates to maintain momentum. Her hawk trinket scouts, flashes, or transforms into temporary healing. Used cleverly, Skye enables calculated explosive executions.

Viper

Role – Controller

Signature – Poison Cloud

Throw a gas emitter that you can reactivate to create a poisonous smoke cloud at the cost of fuel.

Viper specializes in area denial using toxic gas clouds that obscure vision while damaging players inside. Her toxin screen and emitters block paths and access through chokepoints. Planting the Spike in her ult creates a deadly haze making defuses extremely risky.

Omen

Role – Controller

Signature – Shadow Step

After a delay, teleport to any location on the map.

Omen exerts map pressure through instant teleportation to take advanced positions and pinch enemies from unexpected angles. His smokes blind hot zones to enable pushes onto site while his paranoia debuff forces defenders to spray erratically.

Killjoy

Role – Sentinel

Signature – Turret

Deploy a turret that fires at enemies in a 180 degree cone. Hold equip to recall the turret.

Killjoy secures territory with a combination of turrets that track and fire at enemies, alarming bots that reveal enemy locations when triggered, and Nanoswarm grenades that ignite grounded zones. Her lockdown ultimate cages entire sites to cement post-plant scenarios.

Cypher

Role – Sentinel

Signature – Trapwire

Place destructible traps that detect enemies who pass through their laser tripwire.

Cypher locks down flank routes and entry paths by wiring them up with Trapwires and Spycam surveillance tools. Tagging enemies caught by his tools marks their location temporarily for himself and allies. His Neural Theft ultimate extracts enemy intel exposing their positions.

The remaining agents offer additional tactical options from stealth infiltration (Yoru) to aggressive pushes (Raze) to area suppression (KAY/O). New agent additions arrive roughly every new Act refreshing strategies.

Carefully review agent ability tooltips to discover nuanced applications. Their potential shines most coordinating with allies over voice chat. Try them all to discover natural favorites suiting your playstyle. Riot balances them regularly so keep up with patch notes for the ever-evolving meta.

Weapons

Valorant’s arsenal covers close-quarters firefights all the way to pinpoint cross-map duels. Most fall under five categories – each with ideal situations spread across the two phases of offense and defense. Weapons also have upgrade skins with purely cosmetic finishes purchased via the in-game store.

VALORANT game weapons

Here’s an overview of weapon characteristics across categories:

Weapon Categories

Pistols

Price: Free to $600
Playstyle: Eco rounds, close engagements

Pistols serve as default secondary weapons when money runs dry. Their higher move accuracy helps win eco rounds taking close-range duels or spraying in emergencies.

Examples: Classic (free), Shorty, Frenzy, Ghost

SMGs

Price: $800 to $1600
Playstyle: Anti-eco rounds, close range

SMGs feature high magazine capacities with decent move accuracy for overwhelming opponents on save rounds without full buys. Useful for early-round skirmishes on defense or bonus round buys on offense.

Examples: Stinger, Spectre

Rifles

Price: $1700 to $3000
Playstyle: Core gunfights, versatility

Rifles are the most common primary buys offering reliability at all ranges with 1-tap headshot potential plus some scope options. Their balanced price and performance makes rifles mainstays for winning key gunfights.

Examples: Bulldog, Guardian, Phantom, Vandal

Snipers

Price: $1700 to $5000 Playstyle: Picking across long lines of sight

Snipers reward precise aim with instant kills from any distance with a bullet to the head. High risk, high reward for holding long angles or supportive overwatch.

Examples: Marshall (light sniper), Operator (heavy sniper)

Shotguns

Price: $900 to $1600
Playstyle: Extreme close range, ambushes

Shotguns shred anyone within spitting distance with a wide spread of pellets. Ideal for blasting enemies crossing tight spaces but limited beyond close quarters.

Examples: Bucky (semi-auto), Judge (full-auto)

Now let’s overview all available primary weapons with stats, tips, and roles across categories:

Individual Weapon Breakdowns

Classic (Free Pistol)

  • Damage: 78 body / 156 head
  • Fire Rate: 6.75/sec
  • Capacity: 12/36
  • Recoil: Moderate
  • Role: Default pistol

The free starter pistol. Low damage but high capacity. Crouch and tap fire at heads in emergencies.

Shorty

  • Damage: 15 x 12 pellets
  • Fire Rate: 1.1/sec
  • Capacity: 2/5
  • Recoil: Low
  • Role: Cheap shotgun ambushes

Right-click to toggle between wide short-range spread and longer narrow spread. Hold angles close up or lurk behind to blast attackers crossing.

Frenzy

  • Damage: 63 body / 126 head
  • Fire Rate: 10/sec
  • Capacity: 13/26
  • Recoil: Low initially, high later
  • Role: Spammable eco pistol

Great sidearm for bonus round buys. Spray transfers potential with high capacity and firerate. Crouch tap firing maximizes accuracy.

Ghost

  • Damage: 105 body / 150 head
  • Fire Rate: 6.75/sec
  • Capacity: 15/90
  • Recoil: Moderate
  • Role: Deagle alternative

High damage and accuracy makes Ghost an eco round rifle alternative if you can land heads. Favored by precise aimers on save rounds.

Sheriff

  • Damage: 160 body / 255 head
  • Fire Rate: 4/sec
  • Capacity: 6/24
  • Recoil: Moderate
  • Role: Hand cannon

SimilarRole to a Deagle from CSGO. Slow fire rate compensated by 1-shot headshot potential at all ranges. Rewarding weapon given proper crosshair placement. Requires a disciplined trigger finger to land accurate follow-up shots.

Spectre

  • Damage: 78 body / 156 head
  • Fire Rate: 13.33/sec
  • Capacity: 30/120
  • Recoil: Low initially, high later
  • Role: Mobile SMG

Excellent jumping accuracy while retaining good running precision. Ideal for aggressive entry fraggers who can leverage mobility and close engagements. Lacks long-range lethality.

Stinger

  • Damage: 67 body / 134 head
  • Fire Rate: 18/sec
  • Capacity: 20/160
  • Recoil: High
  • Role: Spray transfer SMG

Fully automatic avec high capacity for spamming through smokes or overwhelming riflemen during eco rounds. Lower accuracy demands closer engagements.

Bulldog

  • Damage: 116 body / 149 head
  • Fire Rate: 9.15/sec
  • Capacity: 24/96
  • Recoil: Low initially, high later
  • Role:¬†Budget rifle

Maps

Valorant’s selection of competitive maps provide the tactical playgrounds for teams to showcase their strategies. The multi-layered bomb sites feature a mix of open areas, tight chokepoints, flank routes, and elevation levels to tackle. Learning map layouts intimately expands your capability to outmaneuver opponents.

Here’s an overview of Valorant’s seven maps followed by detailed breakdowns:

Overview of Available Maps

Ascent

An open map combining a mid lane and two bomb sites with both high and low ground options to leverage. Flanking routes and field of view make Ascent very aim intensive.

Bind

A compact two-site map that forces close-quarter fights with teleporters allowing rapid redeployment between sites. Bind demands strategic ability usage to claim control.

Haven

A three-site map requiring extensive coordination to cover all angles of attack and rotation paths between sites. Mixes open areas with tight spaces.

Split

A map divided into two distinct halves with a mid connector. Attacking either site demands clearing multiple stacked angles at different elevations.

Icebox

An arctic map which features two bombsites joined by an open mid lane. Ziplines help traverse the height variance between upper and lower levels. Long angles test precise aim.

Breeze

A wide open map built on two large sites joined by a central bridge over open space. Prefers agents adept at covering long distances given the vast space between targets.

Fracture

An unstable facility map unlocked by an earthquake revealing radical interior spaces displaced in suspension. Features multi-layered zones which demand sharp individual playmaking.

Now let’s detail key areas and callouts for Valorant’s competitive map pool:

Individual Map Breakdowns

Ascent

Overview: European town open spaces
Key Traits: Long lines of sight, flanks, aim-focused

Bombsites:

  • A Main – Temple, Doors
  • A Screens – Tree, Tower, Catwalk
  • A Orb – Backsite
  • A Cave – Cubby
  • B Main – B Main
  • B Plat – Platform
  • B Tower – Mid Turret
  • B Site – Site, Nest
  • Mid Market – Top mid
  • Mid – Connector, Bottom mid
  • Defender spawn – Respawn area

Strategies:

  • Battle for Mid control to enable pinches
  • Take long A Main control before hitting A site
  • Use A cave for unconventional Tower flanks
  • B Tower & Ult orb area overlooks B approach
  • Watch your flanks moving between sites

Ascent mixes ranged aim duels up A Long with close-range fights inside Temple site and Mid Connector. The myriad angles suit Agents with recon abilities (Sova, Fade) while mobility (Omen, Jett) allows shifting pressure between sites rapidly.

Bind

Overview: Moroccan two-site urban map
Key Traits: Rotations, teleporters, ability usage

Bombsites:

  • A Short – Baths
  • A Main
  • A Showers
  • A Cubby
  • B Long
  • B CT – Defender spawn
  • B Site
  • B Platforms – Hookah
  • B Garden
  • Mid – Market
  • Teleporters – A and B links

Strategies:

  • Battle for control of Hookah and Short
  • Use flashes to burst onto dense sites
  • Check corners and clear vertical angles
  • Teleporters facilitate rapid site transitions
  • Ult orb positions reward map control

Bind’s compact design makes clearing claustrophobic sites challenging with many tight angles held by defenders. Teleporters enable unexpected flanks while hookah room overlooks a primary site approach.

Haven

Overview: Hidden island monastery
Key Traits: Three sites, many rotations, long range

Bombsites:

  • A Long
  • A Link
  • A Short
  • A Lobby
  • A Site
  • B Garage
  • B Long
  • B Site
  • C Site
  • C Long – Narrow corridor
  • C Link

Strategies:

  • Contest long lines of sight from A Lobby
  • Clear layered angles entering sites
  • Communicate across all points of contact
  • Mix of open (C Long) and tight (B Lobby) spaces
  • Many rotations across sites

Haven’s defining trait lies in its three bombsites allowing more inventive strategies around site hits. Long angles down A Lobby and C Long suit sharp aimers while its many rotations oblige adaptability and communication across around the large map.

Split

Overview: Vent labs facility
Key Traits: Multi-layered terrain, tense duels

Bombsites:

  • A Ramps
  • A Main
  • A Tower
  • A Screens
  • A Site
  • B Nest
  • B Main
  • B Site
  • B Heavens
  • Mid Mail
  • Vents – Under and Connector

Strategies:

  • Battle for control of Nest watching B Main
  • Multi-elevated terrain – clear high and low
  • A Rafters looks over Screens approach
  • Flank using lengthy Vents connectors
  • Map control opens split push options

Split separates A and B into distinct halves joined by their lengthy Vent connectors running underneath. Teams fight to take control of Nest overlooking the B entrance while A demands checking multiple heights. Map control enables pincer attacks from two fronts.

Icebox

Overview: Arctic shipping facilities
Key Traits: Verticality, long angles

Bombsites:

  • A Screen
  • A Ramp
  • A Main
  • B Pipe
  • **B Main
  • B Back**
  • B Site
  • Mid

Strategies:

  • Ziplines help quickly traverse tiered sites
  • Long angles down Mid lane for picks
  • Watch flank using Orange tubes
  • Take Main control before hitting sites
  • A Rafters overlooks approach below

Icebox’s multi-layered, glacial bombsites force teams to clear two levels when breaching sites. Ziplines help transition between higher platform layers for dynamic vertical playmaking. Long crisp aim duels decide Mid lane control while A sites feature smaller chokepoints.

Breeze

Overview: Slicing ocean breeze
Key Traits: Open spaces, long distance

Bombsites:

  • A Tunnel
  • A Main
  • A Site
  • B Cave
  • B Doors
  • B Entrance
  • B Tower
  • Mid Doors
  • Mid Bridge

Strategies:

  • Pick long angles holding W key
  • Battle for control of Bridge
  • Site hits require smoking cross entry
  • Support long pushes with suppressive fire
  • Few tight corners – aim focused

Breeze’s open layout leads to action at a distance – demanding precise aim to win ground duel by duel. Teams fight for control of Bridge joining the Central building between vast sites. Smokey executions help attackers access the exposed bombsites.

Fracture

Overview: Unstable facility
Key Traits: Multi-layered sites, adaptability

Bombsites:

  • A Arcade
  • A Main
  • A Pipes
  • A Site
  • B Sushi
  • B Main
  • B Site
  • B Tower
  • Defender Spawn
  • Attacker Spawn

Strategies:

  • Sudden Elevation changes
  • Site executions rely on taking Main control
  • Many tight corners and cubbies to clear
  • Adapt to evolving situations

Fracture’s knife-edge spaces suspended amidst massive rock formations require diligence clearing cubbies across the layered sites joined by Main corridors. Adaptability and sharp individual playmaking helps attackers successfully plant the Spike.

So there’s an overview of Valorant’s current competitive map pool. Now get in game and start learning callouts, angles of attack, defensive positions, and ability tactics unique to each location until they become second nature. Map knowledge is critical for outplaying opponents in Valorant.

Economy & Shop

Valorant’s economy system gates access to weapons based on money earned each round. Managing finances optimally gives your team firepower advantages to clinch rounds. The between-round shop phase equips your agent lethally based on budget.

Here’s an overview of Valorant’s economy flow across rounds followed by purchase strategies for different scenarios.

Understanding the Economy System

  • Each player earns 1000 credits minimum per round
  • You earn additional credits for kills (+200 per)
  • Bonuses added for spike plants (+300, partial for defuses)
  • Consecutive round losses give defending teams discounted guns
  • Deaths cause you to lose what you bought that round

This resource accrual powers your purchases round-to-round. Understanding optimal armament per money available determines often if you can anti-eco thrifty opponents or get aim dunked saving with pistols.

Practicing discipline saving with just shields or pistols when needed allows financing heavier buys after the next couple rounds earning credits again. Otherwise, continuing light buys to try clawing back one round might doom your economy long term if you keep losing them.

The tides of economy power shifts frequently so adapt purchases according to bank funds each shop phase, coordinating with allies.

Weapon and Ability Purchase Strategies

Here are some economic scenarios with optimal purchases:

Full Buy

When: Enough money for primary rifle, full shields/armor, and some abilities

Purchase: Rifles (Vandal/Phantom), Heavy shields, and your preferred abilities per agent

Investing fully nets you the most competitive gear to decisively win rounds. This lets teams who won the last round continue their momentum off economically fueling consecutive round streaks.

Half Buy

When: Around 3000 credits Purchase: Shields plus Spectre/Bulldog/Judge shotgun OR light shields and rifles

With moderate funds, make compromises to setup a purchase closer to full next round if you win. Judge shines shield shredding at close range while Spectre offers mobile spraying. Bulldogs provide discount rifle firepower.

Light Buy

When: Around 1500 to 2500 credits Purchase: Light shields plus Frenzy/Sheriff/Stinger

Minimize next round potential loss by keeping buy costs low with just a sidearm and light shields. Ideally you thin enemy ranks to farm credits for surviving teammates to finance the next round’s heftier purchases.

Eco round

When: Less than 1500 credits Purchase: Just abilities or basic pistol armor

No cash means minimizing expenditure to what’s essential like shields and your weaker free Classic pistol. Play to use abilities and aim punches to cause economic damage. Surviving teammates earn income to collectively bounce back next round.

Abilities

  • Signature (C) – Free each round
  • Two Standard (Q/E) – 200 credits per charge
  • Ultimate(X) – 7 ult points to activate

Note ultimate points don’t directly cost credits but are earned through performance each round. Blast packs are also free each round for Raze.

Adjust buys across economic situations accordingly. Having better weapons than opponents can certainly enable out-aiming them, but Valorant still favors strategy. Make smart plays and investments.

Gameplay Tips and Tricks

Maintaining composure during hectic rounds to outsmart and outshoot opponents takes experience. Steep your gameplay with these tips spanning aim mechanics, positioning wisdom, ability usage, and team coordination.

Aiming and Shooting Techniques

  • Crosshair placement – Keep crosshair head level when clearing and anticipating angles. Only affects first shot accuracy at that place. Allows quicker reactions.
  • Counter strafing – Tap opposite movement key when stopping to shoot. Eliminates movement penalty firing accurate shots instantly after counter strafing.
  • Bursting – Tap or burst fire with most weapons instead of spraying full auto. Resets recoil between clicks for consistent hits. Exceptions for Spectre and Judge at very close range.
  • Jiggle peek – Quickly counter strafe out from edges to spot opponents then back to safety. Gains intel on enemy positions without over-extending.
  • Prefiring – If awareness confirms enemy position, prefire as you peek to land damage first. Leverages reaction and internet latency.

Mastering aim fundamentals through deliberate practice determines combat effectiveness. Isolate aspects like spray control and counter strafing in the Range training mode.

Movement and Positioning

  • Limit exposure – Only peek as much as needed to take fights then return to cover limiting angles exposed. Jiggle peek common points of conflict and wait for pick opportunities.
  • Shoulder peek – Quickly lean out from cover masking your body to bait shots and gather intel on enemy aim directions rather than commit to a duel.
  • Slice the pie – Gradually clear tight spaces walking into unknown danger zones while keeping gun trained on the threat slice currently in view.
  • Use elevation – Take vertical positions using site props, boxes, or abilities over default aiming level when holding sites. Surprises enemies used to horizontal clears.
  • Play the clock – When defending sites on attack, time is against the enemy. Stay patient holding angles to catch impatient attackers as rounds wind down.

Sharp positioning primes you to claim first bloods in firefights – the ripple effects of early player advantages manifest strongly late round.

Ability Usage

  • Map-based lineups – Learn agent ability placements that land potent effects from common symbolic map locations. Lets you assist team from afar.
  • Combo with team – Coordinate stacking abilities like Phoenix flash and Skye wolf to overwhelm defenders as entry fraggers swing off it.
  • Save discipline
  • Resist temptation throwing extra abilities when saving money next round. Conserve charges for when your economy recovers later.
  • Default takedowns – When anticipating a peek from familiar spots, pre-place an ability there like Cypher cages or Killjoy turret to secure a free kill.
  • Ult tracking – Note which enemies used ultimates last round. Expect another next round and position carefully around those powerful agents.

Abilities multiply impact appropriately layered to support your agent’s role and complement allies. Perfect set plays through exploration.

Team Communication and Coordination

  • Quick coms – Use concise callout nicknames for locations and Enemy spotted, Spike planted, Need heal etc. Prevents communication clutter.
  • Morale support – Keep team mentality confident via reassuring words after lost rounds. Tilt costs matches – until the last round, comeback potential persists!
  • Ult economy – Request specific ultimates be used each round based on game state like securing entry onto site or defusing. Avoid overlapping too many per round.
  • Gear checks – Ask teammates for utility status like smokes or flashes remaining to plan takes relying on those cooldown refreshed abilities next round.
  • Mid-round calls – Adjust site hits and rotations mid-round conveying enemy actions or openings spotted across the map. Enables adaptive play.

Rallying the team maximizes collective firepower potential. Organize buff timings, weapon drops if needed, or focus fire calls onto weakened enemies. Call smart plays that seize map control advantages.

Sharpen these aspects in unrated games. Competitive mode then tests your tactical discipline executing them under pressure at your desired rank. Strive to be an asset teammates appreciate pairing with each match.

Competitive Play

Valorant competitive mode offers the defining test of players’ tactical skill and mental fortitude. Racking up match wins against similar-skilled opponents unlocks new tiers and visible skill ratings. Here’s an overview of ranked and strategies to climb divisions:

Ranked Mode Overview

Competitive queues feature attack and defend role swaps testing both sides of Valorant strategy. Ranks measure individual skill across seasonal Acts spanning roughly 2-3 months apiece.

Play a minimum 5 placement matches whenever jumping into a new Act’s ranked ladder. These seed your initial skill tier based on performance. Afterwards, ratings rise or fall per results of subsequent games.

Players qualify for tiered based on hidden matchmaking rating (MMR) numbers tracking aptitude. Visible badges also subdivide each main tier into 3 upward steps before hitting the next, ie: Gold 1 -> Gold 2 -> Gold 3 -> Platinum 1.

Here is the hierarchy of Valorant ranked skill tiers:

Unranked

The default tabula rasa status before completing placements into a seasonal tier. Ranks carry between Acts but everyone starts from scratch proving skill again after soft MMR resets and changes.

Rank Badges: Unrated

Iron

The initial tier earnable out of 5 placements matches. Tests basic mechanics against equally fresh competitors.

Rank Badges: Iron 1 -> Iron 2 -> Iron 3

Bronze

First tastes of strategy beyond aiming start materializing at this stage against somewhat organized teams. Crosshair placement and utility usage further separate combat viability.

Rank Badges: Bronze 1 -> Bronze 2 -> Bronze 3

Silver

Game sense and team coordination accelerate as concepts like ultimate tracking and default holds become common. Silver skill level expects competent grasp of agent ability usage.

Rank Badges: Silver 1 -> Silver 2 -> Silver 3

Gold

Pivoting tier where many dedicated players remain stuck at the brink, barred from further upper bounds. Successfully breaking past Gold games often requires strong mentality and consistency sidestepping tilt traps. Intelligent utility usage and economic strategy make larger impacts.

Rank Badges: Gold 1 -> Gold 2 -> Gold 3

Platinum

Reaching Platinum demands proficiency with several Agents and mature team-minded play. Individual mechanical skill gets amplified through proper squad combinations. Mind gaming and outmaneuvering opponents via ability sequencing separates Plats from Golds.

Rank Badges: Platinum 1 -> Platinum 2 -> Platinum 3

Diamond

The seasoned tactician’s grounds. Matchups pit your strategic wits against battle-hardened teams with developed chemistry. Precision aim and individual panache enabling clutch potential stay vital tools for securing round advantages via early picks or site entries when required. Map control reigns supreme.

Rank Badges: Diamond 1 -> Diamond 2 -> Diamond 3

Ascendant

Ascendants exhibit expert grasp of Agents with consistently impactful ability usage each round. Individual mechanics hit crisply under pressure. Teams leverage talent balancing aggression and discipline holding or contesting territory until conditions favor committing to site takes with a coordinated push. Introduction of select map bans.

Rank Badges: Ascendant 1 -> Ascendant 2 -> Ascendant 3

Immortal

The cream of the crop outside going professional. Immortals demonstrate advanced game sense with refined adaptability and explosiveness capitalizing on mid-round opportunities with precise utility support. Ultimate tracking also critical factoring elimination potential. Mistakes get instant punished as skill range tightens.

Rank Badges: Immortal 1 -> Immortal 2 -> Immortal 3

Radiant

The top 500 peak players of each region. Radiants thrive in chaotic scenarios via stellar individual mechanics and rapid strategic adjustments. Default strategies give way to innovation, feeling out incremental edges from agent ability manipulation, exotic angles, or mid-round calls. Lethal under direct pressure with rounds frequently decided by stellar or failed plays. True top level competition.

Tips for Climbing the Ranked Ladder

Success rising up divisions depends on consistency bringing well-rounded impact each match through:

  • Aim fundamentals: Pixel perfect crosshair placement for advantage securing first bloods when attacking or anchoring sites on defense. Develop variance spraying, bursting, and tapping for versatile threat ranges.
  • Agent pool depth: Comfort minimum 2 per role to adjust selections countering opponents and catering across squad needs for smoker, duelist etc. Master ability combos with allies.
  • Economy wisdom – Optimally adapt buys based on credit stock entering each shop phase. Discipline when ecoing prevents bonus round throwaways while full buys maintain decisive momentum off round streaks.
  • Mental fortitude – Margin between tiers is mentality, confidence, and adaptability as much as aim. Develop resilience against tilt. Review mistakes objectively.
  • Map mastery – Study common post-plant spots, one-way smokes, recon bolts. Granular site specifics widen strategic options for holds, attacks.
  • Team coordination – Habitual callouts tracking enemy efforts, requesting utility support timing executions, noting weakness to apply pressure and pace advantage keeps teammates united.

At high elo, individuals mechanics plateau relative to competitors. Cohesion and leadership thus multiply potency of collective firepower applied toward map objectives.

Internalize these well-rounded fundamentals as second nature and your capabilities will accumulate desired tier badges each Act refresh. Never stop striving to expand impact plausibly within your grasp at current ratings. The competitive journey continues…

Summary of Valorant’s Key Features

Since launching in 2020, Valorant swiftly cemented itself as a refreshing competitive tactical shooter thanks to key ingredients blending the best of CS:GO’s crisp gunplay with Overwatch-esque ability layers:

  • Gunplay – Weapons feature predictable spray patterns and lethal headshots rewarding disciplined crosshair placement
  • Agents – Varied characters with unique abilities open creative playmaking potential based on mixing potent combinations
  • Maps – Multi-layered bomb sites with open areas, chokepoints, and elevation levels allowing diverse attack and defense strategies
  • Competition – visible ranked skill tiers incentivize progression from iron up toward the vaunted radiant valor, sharpening your capabilities against similarly skilled opponents each tier
  • Esports – An emerging professional scene underscored by the global Valorant Champions Tour brackets regions against each other to crown the best team worldwide with a prestigious prize pool
  • Support – Riot’s consistent update cadence introduces new maps/agents every Act while carefully balancing the meta to sustain an evolving experience

These pillars retain a high skill ceiling pivotal for longevity while avoiding overcomplexity intimidating new players. This instant familiarity yet long-term depth caters to FPS veterans and newcomers alike.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Valorant continues ascending as a refreshing competitive shooter well worth investing time into mastering. Highly recommended for fans of tactically-demanding firefights accentuated by diverse agent abilities enabling creative solutions.

Approach with a growth mindset – focusing improvement across fundamentals from aim drills to utility choreography. Map knowledge, economic discipline, and team coordination stack as benefits over time. Future content updates ensure sustained novelty tweaking the meta.

Forge ahead tactically and fear no ranked tier – consistency applying your well-rounded polish will ascend the brackets toward Valorant greatness!

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