It’s no secret that Valorant’s esports scene is thriving. Valorant is practically built for esports, and the NA First Strike tournament last year showed us the heights Valorant pro play can reach. Putting some of the best players in the world in one tournament is bound to create some tense matches. While watching these matches is very entertaining, observant Valorant players will pick up on what pro players do differently.
Every player has exceptional mechanics at this level of play. As a result, positioning, map knowledge, effective use of abilities, and efficient economy end up deciding many of Valorant’s highest level matches. However, this information isn’t covered in the highlight moments. As a viewer, it can be hard to keep track of the smaller decisions pro players make as a viewer, especially if you’re not familiar with Valorant’s decision making at a high level. Don’t worry, though. That’s what the casters are for.
What are pro players thinking?
Valorant, on its surface, can look like a game that values mechanical skill above all else. This may be the case in competitive Valorant matches up to Diamond, but pro play is in a different league entirely. On top of all the decisions the lone player has to make, playing intelligently with your team is an essential part of taking the W. Caster Daniel “ddk” Kapadia tries to give some insight while casting Game 4 of the Valorant First Strike Grand Final between TSM and 100 Thieves.
It’s always a treat to hear ddk talk through a teamfight. There’s so much to take away from this short clip. He talks about how it’s hard for TSM to retake the B bombsite because they’ve got three duelists alive, which gives TSM a marked lack of utility. We then get to see Taylor “drone” Johnson do his best to grab the win for TSM by getting the bomb halfway defused and giving himself a better chance of not getting timed out. Unfortunately, 100 Thieves managed to work together and box him in on both sides due to Spencer “Hiko” Martin’s timely and effective usage of his drone. 100 Thieves’ two remaining members could have attempted to walk at drone, but they opted to play in a way that almost guaranteed the win.
Downtime is the best time
Outside of expertly casted engagements like the one previously mentioned, the best times to absorb information about strategy are typically during lulls and downtime. Naturally, casters try to fill the space by discussing the game. That’s casting 101 right there. That’s casting 101 right there. That said, the best casters in the business fill the space with their best analysis of the situation for both sides during downtime. This info can be the most important part to listen to if you’re trying to improve as a player outside of your mechanics.
Ddk is back in this second clip, and he amps up the hype for the explosive firefight between TSM and 100 Thieves. He amps up the hype as both sides take heavy casualties, but then we get treated to a solid minute of ddk and his co-caster Sean “sgares” Gares discussing Hiko’s strategy. They establish the storyline that Hiko knows how to clutch rounds and then talk through how he might manage to pull it off. It all builds to one moment where Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik peeks Hiko at the exact same time as James “hazed” Cobb. The casters then point out that Subroza traded, which is arguably the most effective way to take advantage of a 2v1 situation.
Keep all this in mind the next time you watch Valorant pro play. Yes, it’s entertaining too, but lending the casters your ear can be one of the most effective ways to immerse yourself in Valorant’s highest level of play. They establish who these players are, what they’re thinking at any given time, and try to keep us from getting dizzy through Valorant’s incredibly quick pace during hectic team fights. Ddk and sgares did a fantastic job on the cast for this set, and we shouldn’t expect any less out of Valorant’s excellent set of casters for pro play.