The first choice that faces new Valorant players is a daunting one: What Agents do you first choose? The game’s first couple of introductory missions gives players two free Agents, essentially, with the others after that needing to be earned via their contracts or purchased outright. This means that, unless you’re willing to pay the literal price then you’ll want to stick with your chosen Agents while learning the ropes. Let’s talk about which two Agents are best suited for new players, and a third to potentially start earning XP towards as you become more comfortable with Valorant and its mechanics.
Fire and Brimstone
Not to make too obvious a comparison, but Brimstone
functions similarly to Overwatch’s Soldier 76 in regards to being an introductory character. Both have obvious point-and-click abilities with a focus on damage, as well as some support built into their kits. Where Brimstone differs, and why he’s an excellent starting Agent, is that his abilities do a great job of teaching the fundamentals of Valorant.
Stim Beacon, while not always the most effective ability, is one that allows Brimstone to augment teammates and provide some rare support. It’s an ability that makes the player think about placement and positioning on a point, and whether its best to preemptively set up a position with Stim Beacon or wait for a team fight to initiate.
Likewise, Sky Smoke is the easiest of the game’s smoke-based abilities to deploy, even providing a map to the player in case they aren’t familiar with the layout of a specific environment. Sky Smoke is also an ability that allows a fair bit of creativity in its deployment, meaning a new player can grow into it and find fun, new ways to obstruct vision.
Incendiary is also a very look-and-shoot type of ability, usable as both a decoy or as a flanking safety measure. Its ability to bounce off walls and ceilings makes it tough to master, but it also doesn’t get as obvious as “shoot a thing that makes the floor into lava.”
Orbital Strike sometimes feels like a bit, dumb, and ultimately easily avoidable ability. That said, its power cannot be ignored when Brimstone is outnumbered and attempting to make a play at a comeback or scare enemies from a point. Like Sky Smoke, its “look at the map and then blow it up” nature makes it easy to understand and can accelerate the player’s in-game IQ after only a few games. For new players, I’ll offer this tip: Orbital Strike is fantastic defusion denial when there’s only a matter of seconds between winning the round or letting the defenders barely squeak one out.
Cypher’s one-man surveillance
The defensive expert Sentinel Cypher
may seem like a curious choice when there are more attack-offensive Agents such as Raze available, but hear me out. One of the most important skills to learn early on in Valorant is map awareness and sensing the ebb and flow of a round. No Agent is able to swim those currents or change the tide of battle completely than Cypher and his ability to cover a point all on his own or lockdown his team’s flank when attacking.
Learning Cypher means you’re also learning the ins and outs of each map, as well as when it's best to leave a point or lay down a spider’s web.
Trap Wire and Spy Cam can work in tandem to either scare off a potential enemy rush when playing defense or to decoy a favored area while attacking. Both abilities are able to be picked up and redeployed, which means he's far less punishing in bad or accidental ability usages than Agents like Viper. Better yet, the two abilities can completely stop a potential diffusion by turning the bombsite into a McDonald’s Play Place of wires, cameras, and cages. His abilities force enemies into a position where they know that you know that they know… ya know?
Cyber Cage can play into those shenanigans, but it also serves an underrated purpose as a get-away button. Using Cage to cover your tracks or potentially catch an overeager enemy coming around a corner is a great way to get your momentum back if you’ve lost and survived a shootout or are attempting to provide support to a pinned-down friendly.
And Neural Theft might just be the most obvious ability in Valorant. I don’t need to explain why and how knowing where all of your enemies are is an amazing Ultimate. That said, overeagerness can be your downfall when it comes to deployment. New players should think about the value of saving Neural Theft for when your team gets a numbers advantage or if Cypher finds himself in a lopsided but winnable situation.
…and one to grow on: Sage advice
After your two free Agents, it's time to start working through a new contract and unlocking someone else. This is a daunting choice but at the moment no Agent feels more like one that should be in the back pocket of every player than Sage
. The only true healer currently in the game, each of Sage’s abilities could be an ultimate in their own regard, which should speak to just how powerful she is, but also to her ease of use.
Even so, Sage requires map awareness and a developing sixth sense about the flow of a round. Otherwise, you end up blocking off your own team with bad walls and using Resurrection on a teammate only to watch them immediately get shot with an Operator. Still, she’s worth the effort to unlock and is one of the few Agents that are always a good choice, no matter the map or team.