The Ignition Series is well underway, and we’ve had the chance to see the best teams Valorant has to offer across the world. While some teams have signature styles and strategies that give them an edge, there’s also concepts and skills every player on every team has mastered. Mastering these five concepts should make everything from the ranked climb to casual games with the squad much easier.
1. Know Your Weapon
It’s good to know what weapons are the “best” in any situation. Most players know not to rush a long sightline with a shotgun, for instance. That’s a pretty obvious example. However, having personal preferences is completely okay. You’ll end up seeing most of Valorant’s weapon roster in any given tournament set, and players have their own preferences that they’ve found through hundreds of in-game hours. Being confident with the weapon in your hands is more important than buying what’s meta. Don’t buy an Operator if you don’t like sniping. It’s ok to stick with a Rifle if that’s what wins rounds for you.
One of my favorite examples of weapon mastery is from Map 1 of the Bonk vs G2 set during the LVL Clash 2 event. The Phantom is heavily favored in pro play due to its fire rate and magazine size in comparison to the Vandal. However, G2’s Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski stuck with his Vandal for most of the game. He was confident in his ability to get consistent headshots with the weapon, and he performed well despite being at a slight disadvantage with the slower firing weapon. This example doesn’t have a “right” weapon, nor do most situations in Valorant. While some weapons perform much better than others in certain situations, all that matters is the result.
If you’re curious as to why the Phantom is so favored in pro play (and why you might want to spend some time using the weapon), then read our article on it here.
2. Know The Maps
Almost every decision made in Valorant revolves around which map you’re on. When loading into a game, there’s a lot to consider based on the map selection alone:
Which Operators work best on this map?
Where should vision obstructing abilities be placed? Should I drop them at the beginning of the round, or should I wait?
Which weapons should I purchase?
How many options are there for pathing? Should I be watching flanks/should I be flanking the enemy team?
How many sightlines are there in any given position? Will I be punished for positioning aggressively, or can I get away with that approach?
These are just a few examples of productive thinking that can be applied to any Valorant match. Outside of callouts (which are definitely worth investing the time to learn), all of these questions are much easier to answer when you’ve spent time on each map.
3. Know Where Your Crosshair Should Be
Crosshair placement is one of the most important mechanics to learn in Valorant, and a large part of what separates decent players from great ones. Once again, this is also something that takes time. Ideally, you’d want to have your crosshair hovered around where an enemy player’s head would be. That is, unless you’re using a Shotgun or other inaccurate weapon. I suspect this is a large part of why Shotguns do so well in lower levels of play.
However, there’s much more to crosshair placement than figuring out where to place your crosshair on a flat plane. Many of Valorant’s maps have verticality, and you need to account for that as well. For instance, if you’re trying to peek around a corner into a sightline that goes down a flight of stairs, you have to account for that. So now, not only do you have to learn crosshair placement on a flat surface, but also for different elevations. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. But that’s ok! Valorant is a game that’s all about feeling things out.
Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik gives us a perfect example of what good crosshair placement looks like during the grand finals of the Faze Clan Valorant Invitational. It’s not the flashiest clip, but pay close attention to the crosshair placement. Subroza’s crosshair is always trained exactly where someone’s head would be. It almost seems like his vertical aim is magnetized to that specific point. This seemingly small timesaver can mean the difference between life and death.
4. Know When to Rotate
What does it mean to rotate in Valorant? Essentially, it means being in the right place at the right time. For example, if you’re defending and the entire enemy team rushes A, being at B won’t do you much good. However, rotating as an attacker and as a defender are very different.
Rotating as a Defender
When trying to mount a successful defense in Valorant, your best bet is to spread out and cover options at the beginning of the round. In higher level games, attacking teams will change their plan of attack every round. An entire team rushing a bomb site is a very black and white example of when you should rotate to help your team, and not every situation will be so simple. Let’s say that you’re holding A with one other teammate, and two teammates die at B. Logic would dictate that you should rush straight to B site, right?
That’s not exactly right. It’s the right idea, sure, but you have to respect that your opponent will own much of the map if your team is at a disadvantage. Rotating through your spawn is always a safe option. Flanking can be an appealing option as well, but this depends on how much time you have. If the bomb’s already planted, keeping your footsteps quiet enough to remain unnoticed will take too long. However, if the enemy team is held up at a choke point, then flanking could win the round for your team. Rotating as a defender is all about weighing your options and figuring out where you’ll be the most useful.
Rotating as an Attacker
It’s much easier to plan from the attacking side, so rotations are more of an act of desperation than anything else. If the enemy team has an iron grip on a bomb site, rotating to another bomb site can be much better than trying to ram into a brick wall. Also, if your team decides to rush a particular point, having one person be an anchor is essential. An anchor functions as a way to counter out flanks/rotations from the other team onto the side of the map you’re pressuring. That said, having someone cover flanks and high-traffic areas is a good idea on attack. It isn’t that hard to get onto a bomb site if your team already carved a path through. Just make sure that your team doesn’t lose the game while you sit near the back of the map.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
I know, I know. Any article about improving will likely point out how important practicing is, but it’s especially pertinent when talking about professional players. They’re all mechanically talented and knowledgeable on the game, but the most important part of getting better is playing the game. This applies to teams as well. If you’ve got a group of friends that you play with consistently, getting everyone together and learning how to play around each other will mean more Ws. Try some of these strategies with your friends, too! Playing with your friends is always fun, but personally, I have a lot more fun when I’m winning games.