When should you buy a Sniper in Valorant?

By Carver FisherOctober 14, 2020
When should you buy a Sniper in Valorant?
Snipers in Valorant are a very specialized weapon type. They do one thing, and they do that one thing well. If you’re trying to kill 1 target in 1 hit at long range, then a Sniper Rifle is the pickup. However, Snipers pale in comparison to any other weapon category in Valorant at anything other than long-range. Unlike most other weapon categories, both of Valorant’s Snipers have a few big pros and a laundry list of cons. The Operator is a dominant weapon despite some recent nerfs. When thinking about whether a Sniper is the right purchase, the Operator is what comes to mind. However, the Marshall shouldn’t be entirely written off.

Marshall

Pros:

  • One-shot headshot at any range
  • Great economy option at 1,100 Creds

Cons:

  • Body shots only one-shot non-armored targets
  • Slow fire rate
  • Bad at close range
  • Engaging multiple targets almost guarantees death
  • Requires a high level of mechanical skill
The Marshall is a Hail Mary weapon. It’s not the kind of gun you buy because you want to. This Sniper exists for the sole purpose of trying to come back from a severe deficit, and it’s a high risk/high reward pick up. Using the Marshall goes one of two ways: you hit the opponent in the head and get a satisfying kill, or you miss/body shot and get killed immediately. It’s far and away inferior to the Operator, but the Marshall can be a good option when you’re in a rough spot.

Operator

Pros:

  • One-shot kill at any range (excluding leg shots)
  • Best weapon in Valorant — in the right hands
  • One hit kill with body shots make the Operator much better than the Marshall if you have to fight up close

Cons:

  • Most expensive weapon in Valorant at 5,000 creds
  • Requires good positioning and patient play
  • Aggressing with the Operator is difficult
  • Dying with this weapon can throw a game
  • Buying the Operator puts a target on your head; enemies will devote vision obstruction and planned aggression to take you out
This is the gun most of you are here for. The Marshall is a Sniper, but the Operator is The Sniper. It’s so strong that hearing a shot ring throughout the map puts every player on their guard. There’s a reason that, despite being the most expensive weapon in Valorant by a mile, this weapon remains in the top five weapons used in competitive play.
Top five weapons by total kill % in competitive matches in Patch 1.09.
Top five weapons by total kill % in competitive matches in Patch 1.09.
The top two Rifles are outliers, which makes the Operator seem more popular than it is. It’s likely you’ll never see the Operator’s kill percentage go over 5%. While it’s a strong weapon, the Operator lacks the flexibility of Rifles like the Vandal and Phantom. A high price tag and excruciating low fire rate force this weapon into a niche. Having a whole team filled with Snipers wouldn’t work, and you’re best off having one or two Snipers on a team at most.
The Operator is meant to cover sightlines and outrange the opponent. It can kill at close range, but engaging up close is not ideal. Not only that, but moving with this weapon wildly decreases your accuracy. Shift walking with a Vandal, for instance, hurts your accuracy a little. Snipers, however, feel like they can’t hit the broad side of a barn. The Marshall has all the same drawbacks, but losing a Marshall is much better than losing an Operator. Dying with this weapon and putting it in enemy hands is a swing of 10,000 Creds. You lose 5,000 for your buy, and they gain a weapon worth 5,000 Creds. An economic swing this large can decide games.

When is a Sniper the best option?

If you know how to use either of these Snipers, then you can be an absolute menace for the enemy team. Getting killed from 30 meters away without having a chance to return fire is rough, especially if it’s from a cheeky headshot with the Marshall. However, Snipers aren’t meant for aggressive players. Taking fights from a distance and picking enemies off one at a time is an essential part of success with Snipers. Only purchase a Sniper if you’re confident enough to land shots while playing around the drawbacks that come with this niche weapon type.
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