Valorant is making inescapable waves in the competitive scene, coming off the strength of its Closed Beta and the flurry of activity that surrounded its eventual free to play release. Check out our guide to upping your game.
Despite the almost dismissive ease with which this can often be directly compared to CS:GO, Valorant demands more of you than simply mastering its tight gunplay and revelling at its server side innovation. This is a game that gives you a broad set of tools that absolutely need to be utilised to their fullest extent; a keen eye for headshots won't be enough to get you by.
At its core, this is a meticulously balanced shooter that sets itself apart through a melding of genre. Tropes of the hero shooter and high stakes arena combat have been fused into a curious but ultimately successful hybrid, and make no mistake: you'll need to bring your best if you want to beat the learning curve.
There's value in restraint
It's incredibly enticing to wade into combat looking for a quick fix, but Valorant's high stakes single life rounds don't tend to cater for the more rambo-tastic players out there. Elevated overlooks tend to be popular stomping grounds, creating repetitive chokepoints that can see matches devolve into a mess of long range pot shots.
Your best bet is to bounce between different lanes; sticking to one route in a given round almost guarantees a flank or an ambush. And since most characters have some form of traversal or scouting esque ability at their disposal, take a minute. Survey the area before making a bold move.
Pheonix, Jett, Cypher, Sova, and Omen's respective talents cater best to this approach.
Don't sleep on Sage
We wanted to take a minute to big up Sage, the closest thing to a dedicated support class in a game with characters primarily geared to aggressive or recon playstyles. Her Resurrection Ultimate, where you can quite literally bring back a deceased player, can absolutely turn the tide in your favour.
It's generally speaking not an enticing role to play (drip feeding health or creating a rotatable wall) but in a game where dominating lanes of combat is intrinsic to victory, she can be a massive asset.
Consider for a moment your two objectives: plant a spike and / or eliminate opposing forces. She might not be geared toward run and gun manoeuvres, but there's huge potential in her contribution.
Hang back, cover the flank, and use her walls to shut down incoming pushes, which will ideally force enemies into backing off into other lanes covered by your buddies.
Focus on abilities over health
A potentially controversial suggestion to be sure, but when you're facing down the kind of quality aim being deployed by the dedicated players we've experienced, and you factor in the blazing time to kill speeds, shields are often a waste of green.
Wading into each round with a fully stocked inventory, regardless of who you've picked, is a much better utilisation of your hard earned cash than throwing a ton of dosh at insane weaponry and full shields every time you embark.
If you're indulging the somewhat restrained approach we've already suggested, this makes a world of sense. Double down on what makes your chosen hero valuable, and let their moveset help to partially define the outcome of each engagement.