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Beginner’s Guide To Valorant For N00bs Who Still Have No Idea What's Going On

Valorant game guide


Valorant hit the ground running during its release in June 2020, clocking in millions of players at launch. This 5v5 Tactical First Person Shooter – aka Tac FPS – is a game that requires fast reflexes and focus to get to victory, so if you’re looking for a relaxing game to unwind after a long day, you’re knocking on the wrong door.

Its base game is completely free to play, so if you’re considering giving it a shot, look no further than this guide to get you up to speed on the ins and outs of the game. Oh and P.S., it’s only available on PC, so sorry console peeps.


Premise & game modes


There are 4 different game modes available – but for this guide, we’re going to focus more on the most commonly played modes: Unrated, Competitive, and Deathmatch.

Valorant - RanksAll competitive ranks in Valorant.Image credit: Riot Games

Think of Unrated and Competitive as your “default” modes. Gameplay for both is exactly the same, except that in Competitive mode, your wins or losses attribute to your Competitive rank. The higher your rank, the more bragging rights you get.

Deathmatch is usually played as a warm-up or to practise weapon mechanics. This is a free-for-all battle where everyone you see is your enemy. This mode doesn’t contribute to your Competitive rank.

Valorant - MapMap interface of BindImage credit: Reddit

The premise of the game revolve around bomb sites, which are marked A and B in the various maps you’ll be playing with. Maps in Valorant can have up to 3 bomb sites, and each team will take turns playing the Attackers and Defenders. The first team to win 13 rounds will be crowned victorious. Simple, right?

Teams are made up of 5 players – you can choose to play solo and be matched with other players in the system, or with a group of friends. Either way, you’ll be matched against actual players as opposed to bots.


Attackers

An attacker’s job is to plant a “spike” – essentially a bomb – on a bomb site of your choice, and eliminate all defending players (i.e. the opposing team) before the time limit of 1 minute 40 seconds expires. 

However, the round doesn’t just end there; attackers must then prevent any surviving defenders from defusing the spike until it eventually goes boom.


Defenders 

The job of a defender does not get any more self-explanatory. Win the round by either eliminating all attackers or by defusing the planted spike within the time limit. 


Other game modes 


Other modes in Valorant also include Spike Rush, where only 4 rounds are required to win and all players are given the same random weapons each round. There’s also Replication, where everyone on each team plays the same character. These modes are fun and less intense as compared to a competitive round. 


Maps in Valorant


Now that you’ve been introduced to the game modes, let’s dive into the maps available in the game. The universe of Valorant takes place in the future version of Earth – every map even has coordinates that correspond to their real-life counterparts, which adds to the immersiveness of the game. 

Avid gamers may notice that Valorant has more of a “cartoony” art style as compared to other hyper-realistic FPS games. Despite its beautiful graphics, the game doesn’t take a NASA supercomputer to run either, making it a good option for beginners getting into the world of shooter games. 

To make life easier for you, we’ve included the recommended OS requirements to play:

CPU: Core i3-4150 / Ryzen 3 1200RAM: 4 GBOS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bitVideo card: GeForce GT 730 / Radeon R7 240Pixel Shader: 5.0Vertex Shader: 5.0Dedicated Video RAM: 1024 MB

Pro tip: If you feel like your PC is struggling, lower the graphics and resolution to achieve a stable gaming experience.


1. Pearl – Lisbon, Portugal


Valorant - PearlImage credit: Valorant Lore Wiki

The newest addition to Valorant’s map pool is Pearl. This map is set in Lisbon, albeit in an alternate universe called Omega Earth. When it comes to the map layout, nothing beats the basics. With no fancy bells and whistles, Pearl encourages team play and out-skilling your opponents in order to get the dub.

Communication is key here as you’ll need to rely on the information given to you by your teammates across the map. 

Pro tip: Try tricking your enemy when attacking. The good ol’ bait n’ switch works well here – make it seem like you’re hitting one site by leading them in the wrong direction, and make a beeline to the other at the last minute for an easy bamboozle.


2. Breeze – The Bermuda Triangle


Valorant - BreezeImage credit: Valorant Wiki

Being the largest map in Valorant, Breeze leaves attacking players spoilt for choice when deciding where to launch their attack from. That said, the size of this map is also the downfall of defenders who are usually stretched thin trying to cover the many angles attackers could come from. 


3. Fracture – Santa Fe, New Mexico


Valorant - FractureImage credit: Valorant Wiki

Fracture is set in a research facility-turned-battleground. As compared to Breeze, Fracture promotes close quarter fighting that’ll have you up close and personal with your foes. This map is also located in another alternate version of our planet called Alpha Earth. 


4. Bind – Rabat, Morocco


Valorant - BindImage credit: Valorant Wiki

Despite being located in the desert, Bind is the only map in Valorant to feature high-tech teleporters. These teleporters are a game-changing mechanic as it allows teams to transport themselves to other sides of the map without running around or dodging sneak attacks. 

Just take note that these are one-way and make a loud noise when being used, which can alert defenders of any looming attacker’s whereabouts. 


5. Haven – Thimphu, Bhutan


Valorant - HavenImage credit: Valorant Wiki

With its unique monastery-inspired design, I’d have to say that this is the best looking map in the game. The only location to feature 3 bomb sites, Haven is an OG map that has been in the game since its beta version, making this a one of the most recognisable maps amongst older players. 


6. Ascent – San Marco, Italy


Valorant - AscentImage credit: Valorant Wiki

Ascent was added to the game during its official launch back in 2020. Sharing similarities with one of the most beloved maps in gaming history – ahem Counter-Strike’s Dust 2 ahem – Ascent brings familiarity to FPS players everywhere.


7. Icebox – Bennett Island, Russia 


Valorant - IceboxImage credit: Valorant Wiki

As its name suggests, Icebox is located somewhere in the icecaps of Russia. Playing here isn’t going to be chill though – while it looks simple at first glance, the map features narrow bomb sites that are harder to access. This means enemy players can easily freeze attacks. Good news if you’re a defender, however, as choke points (aka entrances) are a lot easier to defend.

Pro tip: Try to win as many rounds as you can as a defender to get a better chance at ranking up.


8. Split – Shinjuku, Japan


Valorant - SplitSplit’s layout gives defenders a natural advantage while still allowing attackers to exploit their enemies’ weaknesses.Image credit: Valorant Wiki

Making its long-awaited comeback is Split, which to the surprise of Valorant’s fanbase was taken out of the rotational pool of playable maps in June last year. As a player myself, I’d recommend Split as one of the most balanced maps in the game that provides equal opportunities to both attackers and defenders. 


Character types & their roles 


Valorant - AgentsImage adapted from: Valorant

Being a character-based shooter game, Valorant introduces players to a wide range of playable characters known as Agents. These are made up of Duelists, Controllers, Initiators, and Sentinels, each with unique abilities and different roles across various difficulty levels. 


1. Duelists


PhoenixImage adapted from: Riot Games

Duelists do exactly what their name suggests. Their job is to essentially duel other players, and they’re usually the first ones through the door – all of you Infantry bois know exactly what I’m talking about. Although they’re often the first to die, a good duelist provides value by gaining pockets of control for their team around the map. 

Beginner recommendation: Phoenix


2. Controllers


 ViperImage adapted from: Riot Games

Controllers are a must-have for every team. Their abilities are steered towards retaining control of an area in the map for their team. This can be a big deterrence for the enemy, as they’ll receive less information of where each opposing team member is. 

They’re also great at tricking enemies by setting up “traps” in the form of fake utility. Controllers can then make enemies leave the targeted bomb site in an attempt to reinforce another, giving their team free rein.

Beginner recommendation: Viper


3. Initiators


Valorant - FadeImage adapted from: Riot Games

If you love starting fights, Initiators are for you. These agents excel at making the first offensive move against the enemy. Initiators’ abilities are designed to gain entry into an area and disorient the enemy in hopes that their fellow Duelists can deal the finishing blow. 

Beginner recommendation: Fade


4. Sentinels


Valorant - SageImage adapted from: Riot Games

The true unsung heroes of Valorant, Sentinels are commonly known as supports as their playstyles are usually defensive in nature. Don’t let the term “support” fool you – Sentinels are capable of slowing down or completely shutting down an entire team’s attack with abilities such as slowing orbs or tripwires. 

Beginner recommendation: Sage 


Weapons & training options


Of course, a shooter game isn’t much of a shooter without the big guns. Understanding the weapons in Valorant is probably worthy of a university degree in itself, but here are the absolute basics to get you up and running. 

Valorant - WeaponsWeapons and abilities are bought via in-game currency that you earn each round or by killing your opponents.Image adapted from: Riot Games

Weapons can transfer between rounds as long as you stay alive. But keep in mind that enemies can also pick up whatever you drop when you’re eliminated. That said, if you notice that the round is unwinnable, it’s better to hold on to your items for the next round instead.


1. Vandal


If you’re good at aiming, you’re gonna absolutely love the Vandal, which only takes 1 shot to the head to kill enemies at medium distance. However, it takes practice to be able to use it efficiently, so it’s recommended to use this once you’re more familiar with the game. 


2. Phantom


The Phantom is a beginner-friendly option among the main rifles. Although it’s not a one-hit kill like the Vandal, its recoil is way easier to control. It is also equipped with a suppressor which makes your shots harder for enemies to hear, if you’re sneaky like that.


3. Operator


In every game, there is always a big boi sniper rifle. Being a one-hit kill anywhere above the waist, the Operator has a place in every game of Valorant. Its power doesn’t come for free; this gun is one of the most expensive investments in the game. 

That also means that in the hands of an incompetent player, the Operator is more of a liability as enemies can pick it up from the dead player. 


4. Sheriff


If you’re a player who ain’t afraid to get all up close and personal, then the Sheriff is the perfect weapon to add to your arsenal. Think of this sidearm as a mini Vandal – it shares the same headshot capabilities, though at a slower fire rate and at a reduced range. This is a great choice for those rounds where you don’t have enough money to kit yourself out with a full loadout.


The Range & 3rd party aim trainers


Valorant - RangeThe Range in Valorant.Image credit: Reddit

Practice is necessary if you want to git gud with these weapons. And no, that doesn’t mean just grinding game after game. The best way to clock some training in is to practise technical skills like your aim and mouse movements.

The Range is an in-game function where you can try out all the weapons and practise your aim by just shooting targets as they pop up.

Valorant - AimlabAim Lab Image credit: Steam Community

If you’d rather explore other avenues of aim training, 3rd party programmes such as Aim Lab (Free) and KovaaK’s (S$10) provide a more in-depth experience of aim training. 

These programmes even have training exercise playlists made for its users – you can think of them as personal trainers to help you level up quicker. 


Valorant tips to get you started


valorant - gameplayImage credit: IGN Southeast Asia

When starting anything new in life, tips and tricks are always welcomed. Here are 5 tips to get you in the loop.


1. Always aim for the head


This might seem like a no-brainer, but in the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to just dump your ammo onto the enemy without properly aiming. Instead, train yourself to automatically aim for the head as it is the most efficient way to eliminate your opponents.


2. Practise communicating with your team even if they don’t talk back


Communication is key, especially in a team-based game like Valorant. If you see an enemy or get eliminated, make sure your team knows their location, or where you got shot from. Not only does this help your chances of winning a round, but it also fosters a “bond” with other players.

If you’re playing solo, you’ll be matched with 4 random players to form a team, with whom you can communicate using the in-game voice comms system. It may be intimidating to play with strangers at first, but you can start small by giving them or requesting simple information as you’re playing to get used to the overall gameplay.


3. No toxicity, good vibes only 


Whether playing with strangers or friends, you might notice that your teammates aren’t always going to make the right moves. That said, no one enjoys having someone barking at them over a mistake they made 3 rounds ago. Take this from my personal experience – teams perform better when the vibes are right.

Plus, this is also going to make it easier for you to make friends within the community – and hey, it might even be your chance to form your very own Valorant dream team for future games. 

So the next time your buddies make a mistake, try a simple “nice try” instead of “you &@$%##!”


4. Get your timings right


This is an often overlooked part of the game, but you have to take note of the time it takes to perform certain actions. For example, it takes 4 seconds to plant a spike and 7 seconds to defuse it. Being aware of these little details could mean the difference between winning the round, or losing because you failed to plant the spike within the time limit.


5. Focus on learning 1 role first


We get it, being a beginner means newfound excitement when it comes to wanting to learn the ropes. However, in the case of roles and agents, it’s better to focus on picking 2 characters and getting a good grasp over abilities and weapon control. Everyone on the team will have to play a different character, so it’s always good to have a backup.

If you’re 100% confident at playing a specific role or agent, you will be more valuable to your team as compared to someone who can play all roles at 25%. A jack of all trades is a master of none, after all.  


How to play Valorant for new players


For the newbies out there, I hope that this article has helped you find your bearings in Valorant. Just remember that if you think you suck in the beginning, that’s just part of the learning journey. Just keep practising and GLHF. That’s “Good Luck, Have Fun” for the true noobs.😉

Download Valorant for free

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Cover image adapted from: Valorant Wiki, IGN Southeast Asia, Valorant

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