Valorant tips and tricks for beginners

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If you have clicked onto this article, then there is a very high chance that you already know what Valorant is and therefore, the video game does not need any introduction. But on the off chance that you have not heard about the game, Valorant is a 5v5 tactical shooter and players have often drawn comparisons to CS:GO and Overwatch.

Teams must take turns at attempting to plant or defuse a bomb, or spike as it is dubbed in Valorant, and this depends on whether they are on the attacking or defending side of the map. Teams may also win rounds by eliminating everybody on the enemy team before the attackers get the chance to plant the spike and vice-versa.

Valorant plays under a first-person shooter style and if you are new to FPS games then the game can be quite challenging. Valorant has an advanced learning curve and high skill ceiling, but once you have learned some of the fundamental skills, we recommend that you head into the game and attempt to implement them in real practice.

(Image Credit: Riot Games)

Some of these fundamental skills involve precise aim, gun mechanics, superior movement, game sense/game knowledge and most importantly, strong and effective communication. Valorant is of course a team game and offers in-game communication via chat or microphones, so it is vital that you understand how to communicate with teammates.

Ultimately, having the knowledge of all of these pointers will inevitably benefit you, but often when you are left to think on the spot in a real time situation, your body and brain resort to subconsciously thinking and this manifests into the actions that follow. The aim with these tips is to indent them into your muscle memory so that you are able to react involuntarily once you are in game.

Any top tier player such as high rankers on the public ladder as well as pros will have these actions ingrained into their muscle memory, which is what makes them look robotic when they react to things in game with inhuman reactions - cue the CS:GO clip of Spencer “Hiko” Martin.

With enough dedication, you can teach your brain to develop these incredible reaction times and reflexes, but other skills such as raw aim will only ever come from experience on the battlefield and time spent using tools such as the practice range.

This tips and tricks guide is targeted towards beginners but even if you are at an intermediate level or simply a regular player, then this article could prove to be very useful for you. With that being said, let’s get on with the tips and tricks!

Tips and tricks

Use the practice range

This is one of the most overlooked ways to improve your gameplay, such as raw aim, gun mechanics and reaction times. The practice range is there for a reason and should always be used, especially if you want to test out different weapons.

You can select from a number of different settings and can practice shooting against bots, who blink and then disappear depending on which difficulty setting you have chosen. You are also able to roam anywhere around the range which can help you practice your shots from different angles, as well as helping your vision to locate enemies from different spots.

Additionally, you can select all Agents and practice their abilities even if you have not got them unlocked in your collection, and this is extremely helpful for you if you are deciding which contracts you want to activate. Overall, the shooting range is an excellent tool that should be utilized no matter what skill level you play at.

We recommend going into the practice range and testing out weapons, along with carrying out shooting exercises every day before you dive into your unrated or competitive games.

Clear your mouse space/check mouse settings

Whether you know it or not, your mouse space makes a huge difference to your gameplay and so it is important to try and optimize it to the best of your ability. It is always best to have a nice clear area for you to use for your mouse as this allows for fluid movements and frees up wrist space to prevent you from stiffening.

Once you have adequate mouse space, you can go into your settings and practice different sensitivities to work out which one is best for you. There is no correct sensitivity to use and it is entirely subjective; it all depends on what feels comfortable for you. 

You can also check your mouse DPI settings which influences the sensitivity of your cursor’s movements. Mouse DPI typically varies from mouse to mouse, so to check the settings, simply search “how to check DPI settings for *your mouse*” into Google or any other web browser. 

Steady your aim

This is a tip that is very easy in theory but a lot harder when it comes to a real time situation. It is more challenging to steady your aim when you are in a game because your brain usually reacts instinctively. 

As a general rule of thumb, the trick with keeping your aim steady is to always have your crosshair at around head height for where you may visualize or see an enemy on your screen. As you move your character, your crosshair will naturally follow with the direction of your movement so you must try and hold your crosshair in a central position. This helps to move and react at equal distances in a given direction.

A good way of doing this is to picture the silhouette of the enemy in your head every time your character moves an inch. When you are looking at a piece of terrain on the map for example, try and visualize where you think the enemy will be or move if they were actually there. If you do this and keep your crosshair at head height, the idea is that the enemy will walk into your crosshairs, allowing for you to click and execute.

The problem is that when you play against other humans, skill levels can drastically vary and movements are not always predictable. That is why it is important to stay active with your crosshair movement and always ensure that you are ready to jerk in a given direction if your enemy moves with speed. 

Walk around the map - do not run

When moving around the map, a lot of players like to carelessly run and they are not aware that the enemy can hear them coming before they do, so when a skirmish ensues, they are quick to die rendering them useless for that round.

When you press the W key, by default settings you will automatically be running and must press the Shift key to walk. As a standard, you should try to walk around the map as much as possible as this prevents the enemy from hearing your footsteps. So, they have to take a guess as to where they think you might be, which makes their job a lot harder.

Audio is a key factor in FPS games and tactical shooters, with footsteps being the biggest giveaway piece of information to the enemy team. We recommend that you walk around the map and use the Shift key to get into ideal positions. Once you have done so, you can release the key and burst out to surprise unexpecting enemies. 

Stop and shoot

One of the best natural ways to ensure you are hitting more shots than you are missing is to try and get into the habit of standing still when you are shooting. This is a common mistake that players make, as they tend to move around whilst trying to shoot and this simply does not work.

Even pro players who have mastered how to run and gun have a technique to do so and even then, unless you have good aim and understand the weapons to begin with, moving whilst shooting is a skill that comes with time and experience. 

For most players, the rule is that when you are aiming to shoot your target, try and release the movement keys and remain still. This will ensure that your shooting is now being influenced by nothing but your mouse aim and in turn, your aiming will be more accurate. Thus, you can land those headshots with greater ease! Once again, using the shooting range to make this an involuntary habit is helpful. 

Learn how to use weapons and abilities

Unlike in CS:GO where all players can only choose from the same selection of grenades, molotovs etc., Valorant is a game that has a plethora of different characters dubbed Agents, with each of these Agents offering the player several unique abilities to use in battle.

The best of players will not only have excellent weapon skills and raw aim, but they will also know how and when to use their abilities depending on the situation that presents itself. It is integral that you learn to master both so that you are able to adapt when you are in your matchmade games.

After all, there is a reason that Valorant includes this aspect of characters with unique abilities and Ultimates - they are there for the player to manipulate to their advantage. Sometimes, a round can be heavily swung in your favour from the simple click of a button, and that could be you using your abilities correctly!

Learn the maps and location callouts

If you are someone who likes to play competitive and you want to rank up, then this tip is a key for success. When you queue up for competitive matches, you should expect the majority of players you are facing, as well as those in your team, to be knowledgeable of the maps and their corresponding callouts.

Each location on a map will have a name given to it, whether it be officially on the map’s blueprint (that you can access by pressing Caps Lock by default) or colloquially, so it is important that you know your way around the different maps in the game and their locations. 

At the moment, as Valorant is still fairly fresh, there are only five maps in the game and so learning this knowledge will not be too much of a challenge if you invest the time. We recommend going into unrated game modes such as deathmatch or spike rush if you want to familiarize yourself with all of the different maps.

You can shoot through walls

If you see an enemy pop in and out of a room or behind a box on the map, do not be afraid to start shooting like a maniac through the terrain. A lot of the walls in Valorant are penetrable to bullets and so you can easily get a kill through the terrain, if you angle your spray correctly. You may have heard the term before as this is known as “wall banging”.

Choose the correct gun for your role

This is something that is also very beneficial for the player if they are smart with their decision making. If you are on the defending side, for example, and you are in a tight corner on the bombsite where the enemy could potentially rush through with force, then it could be useful for you to use an SMG or even a shotgun in some cases, if you are going to be fighting from short distances.

Assault rifles are not the best for close quarter combat as they are typically much better for clicking heads at longer distances. You could try to gain a vantage point and use the Phantom if you are an AR user as the Phantom has a quicker rate of fire than the Vandal, so it is typically better at closer range.

On the other hand, if you are watching a spot from across the map then it may be worth saving your credits and investing in a sniper rifle such as the Operator. This weapon is very helpful at locking down a position on the map and once you have mastered how to use it from long range, you can be a serious nuisance for the enemy team. 

Either way, in whatever situation you are in, take a second to analyze the circumstance and try to read how you think the play might go. Once you have done this, you can then choose your weapon accordingly. 

The spike

The spike takes 4 seconds to plant, 45 seconds to detonate, and 7 seconds to defuse. The final, fastest beeps start when you have 5 seconds left, the second fastest beeps start when there's 10 seconds left, so you need to start defusing within 2-3 seconds of the second-to-last beeping phase to have a chance of defusing it!

Additionally, you should always plant the spike - even if you have already won the round. The reason for this is that everyone on your team gains some extra credits for the successful planting of the spike and this will take effect even if the round is already won. Each member of your team will gain 300 extra credits for a successful plant.

Run from the bomb explosion if necessary

Particularly in a lot of low elo matches, players will often be seen dying to the spike explosion due to bad positioning or not getting their timings correct. Use the information above to calculate when and when you cannot get in and out, sparing your own life simultaneously. 

Remember, an unnecessary death will ruin your economy and so you will not retain as many credits as you should do if you die for no reason. Sometimes it is worth saving your weapons and armour in exchange for a round loss, as you may be the player who is needed to purchase another weapon for a teammate. 

Once the spike has been planted, this is the moment where you have limited seconds and each iota of time is valuable. You must be adept at thinking rationally and quickly whilst remaining cool under the pressure, so always try and calculate timings first before you attempt a defusal. 

Know when to spray and when to tap

This is actually a very simple trick to master and only relies on your aim, which you can always practice on in unranked games or the shooting range. 

The general rule is this: when using AR’s in particular, you should always tap from longer distances and hold your spray for shorter ones. Experienced players may bounce between the two but this is only feasible once you have learned how to manipulate the weapons effectively and have enough confidence in your aim.

Another useful tip when spraying your weapon is to crouch using the Ctrl key (by default, you can change this in settings) to “control” your spray. This will allow for your bullets to hit the target whilst preventing them from flying well above their head.

Keep the spike back

If you watch pro matches, you may sometimes notice or hear the spike being dropped by the attackers before the round even starts. The reason for this is because the objective as an attacker is ultimately to get the spike successfully planted at one of the bomb sites.

Lower skilled players will often pick up the spike obliviously and then proceed to charge into battle, only to be gunned down by the enemy. Then you may find yourself in a tricky scenario where your team is further back in position and the spike is in enemy territory, making the round 10x harder.

The way to prevent this is to either drop the spike in your own territory, try and get a kill on one site and then pick up the spike on rotation to the other, or give the spike to a member of the team who is playing a supporting role or any other non-duelist. Remember, duelists are there to seek engages first for your team and should look to gain entry frags.

Communicate with your team!

The importance of this tip cannot be stressed enough. Communication is the key to winning rounds and in turn, matches. If a team is effectively communicating with one another more than the other, then there is a much higher chance of this team coming out on top.

The reason for this is because Valorant is a team game, and unless your team is full of Radiant smurfs who are all ridiculously talented individuals with cracked aim, then you will need to liaise with your teammates to win rounds.

Effective communication includes warning your teammates before using flashes or blinds, indicating which site you would like to attack/defend, pointing out where you hear footsteps on the map, using pings when necessary to show where enemies or enemy utilities could be and communicating where and exactly how many enemies are in the area after you die, to name a few.

Another helpful thing to know is when to stop communicating - wait, when would you not need to communicate? The only situation where you should refrain from bombarding your teammates with information is when you have one teammate alive and they are left in a clutch situation.

At this point, it is always best to allow the player to make their own decisions as they will usually react accordingly and a clutch situation only requires the player to be in sync with themselves. Another bonus is that they cannot blame you for distracting them if the enemy comes out on top.

Conclusion

That wraps up our list of helpful tips and tricks that we feel will help you improve at the game, if you implement them into your gameplay. This is the most difficult part; it is good to have the knowledge but putting it into practice is where most players fail.

That is why it is wholly necessary for you to keep regularly practicing in order to improve on what you already know and maintain the skill level that you are at. We recommend utilizing the unranked game modes such as unrated and deathmatch before you go into competitive matches, as this helps set up your aim for the day.

Another thing to note is that it is ok to have bad games! We are all human and completely whiffing a shot or bottom fragging is totally normal - it even happens to the best of pro players. 

Lastly and at all times, try not to flame or be toxic towards anybody in game and always remember, no matter how competitive you are, Valorant is a game and the one true purpose of video games is to have fun!

 

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