Valorant is the kind of game built from the ground-up to allow for hype moments. Unlike most other competitive games, any player can clutch a round. More than half of Valorant’s weapons are capable of a one-shot kill (depending on Armor and whether you hit the head), and most weapons have an extremely fast time to kill even if they can’t one-shot. This is true even at the highest levels of play in Valorant: we’ve seen one player take out the entire enemy team in tournament play, and it’s not uncommon. How are these pros clutching rounds against their contemporaries, and what can we learn from their victories?
Patience and Positioning
These two Ps are the most important part of taking a round on your own. There’s a very low margin of error when you’re the last man alive, so taking the most advantageous fights possible is the best way to guarantee victory. Coming from an angle the enemy team doesn’t expect is important, but the element of surprise only lasts for so long. Getting into a fight and securing a position that keeps tight and narrow sightlines is the best way to give yourself a series of 1v1s rather than a 1v2 or 1v3.
C9 Blue’s Tyson “TenZ” Ngo snatches a round away from TSM due to positioning, map awareness, and intelligent use of the tools available to him. After TenZ takes out the enemy Jett in Hookah, he jumps out of the window and uses the strength of Jett’s ultimate and gets the drop on Omen while in full sprint. Then, he gets on B site and waits out Sova’s Recon Bolt to take him by surprise. Finally, TenZ decides to hold an angle with the Operator rather than trying to rush Breach with his knives out. Could TenZ have rushed Breach and still gotten the kill? Sure. But why risk it when you’ve got a weapon that excels at a quick and easy 1-shot kill?
Quick and Calculated
Don’t mistake being patient for being slow; quick and confident aggression is a fantastic way to catch the enemy team slipping up when it matters most. Most of the time, teams will defend a bomb site or dropped spike by taking different lines of sight. It’s rare that two players will purposely group just to watch one angle. Quickly dispatching a spread-out team is one of the best ways to take out an entire enemy team without walking into a firing squad.
Han-kyu "Harry" Kim, a player for T1 Korea, pulls off a 1v4 during the A.W Extreme Masters Asia Invitational. He mixed calculated aggression and patience similar to that of TenZ from the first clip. It might look like Harry takes on three people at once, but it’s actually a series of extremely brief 1v1s. At no point is Harry in more than one player’s sightline throughout this clip. After a quick three kills, Harry takes his time dealing with the last player on the enemy team. You can see by his crosshair placement that he expects Breach to be holding Hookah (which is a fair assessment), but a disgustingly fast flick gives Harry a well-deserved win.
Work With Your Team (Even When They’re Dead)
Just because your entire team is dead doesn’t mean you can’t work off the foundation they set for you. Working around a planted bomb is the most common instance of using what your team has given you. Someone on the enemy team has to defuse it, and there’s a lot of abilities in Valorant that can deny enemies a defuse by threatening death. Even if you aren’t playing an Agent that can do that, bullets are just as deadly if you hold a sightline. Another way to clutch is using any teammates you have to your advantage. If it’s a 2v4 or 2v5, don’t let your teammate die in vain. If they go down, use their death as a way in.
100 Thieves’ Spencer “Hiko” Martin works off of the foundation his team gave him and manages to keep his squad in the game during double overtime in a nail-biting match. Hiko goes in just after his teammate dies, ensuring that he won’t have to fight a 1v4. After finding two lightning-fast kills, Hiko finds the opposing Sova on the bomb site and then waits out Moon Raccoons’ last player. Instead of rushing into Reyna, Hiko pulls out his ultimate and lies in wait. Even if Hiko’s use of Sova’s ultimate hadn’t killed Reyna, it’s likely she wouldn’t have had time to defuse the bomb.
Ultimately, if we go by how the pros play, the best way to clutch rounds is to take initiative. Giving the enemy team time to think and position will give them an inherent advantage. Beyond that, positioning is essential. Working around bomb sites/dropped spikes is a great strategy, and forcing the opposing team to come to you is always preferable to walking into their line of sight. There’s no way to guarantee a clutch 100% of the time, but following what the pros do is a great way to give yourself a better chance of pulling out a seemingly impossible victory.