So you are thinking about picking up Valorant. Maybe you already know what this game is and just want to get to playing or your friend just told you about Valorant and you stumbled upon this article when trying to learn more about it.
One way or another, we got you covered with a complete Valorant beginner’s guide. We are about to teach you the basics of the game, how to get better at it + some tips and tricks. So buckle up, you are in for a long ride.
Disclaimer: As in every new game you play a lot of things like maps, playable characters, and weapons will confuse you. We will not discuss every map or character in detail but don’t get put off by this. You will learn all of that the longer you play the game. I have been playing for a few months and I still don’t know half of the abilities in the game.
What is Valorant
This section is about the Valorant itself. We’ll be going through the game format, objectives, agents, weapons, etc. So if you are a complete beginner in Valorant make sure to read it otherwise feel free to skip to the next section in which we will get you all set for your first game.
Valorant is a 5v5 competitive, tactial FPS game. That means a lot of focus will be put into the tactics and precise execution. As mentioned, the game is in a 5v5 format, so you will be grouped up with 4 more people on your team.
The match is played on one of the 7 maps (at least at the moment of writing) – Bind, Haven, Split, Ascent, Icebox, Breeze, and Fracture. Each map has a team of Defenders and Attackers. The game is played until 13 won rounds and the teams are switched halfway through. If you are wondering how long the game is, it averages around 30-40 minutes.
Attackers’ mission, should they choose to accept it, is to plant the Spike (aka bomb) on one of the sites and wait until it detonates and Defenders have to stop them by defusing the Spike. An alternative option is to eliminate the enemy team. Success equals one won round. And that keeps going until one team wins 13 (or goes into overtime but that’s a spoiler).
Before the game starts you will be greeted by the agent select screen. Here you and your team pick a character you will play for the entire match. There can be no doppelgangers on the same team.
Each agent has different abilities that provide unique input to your team. There are many agents and take your time exploring them. But to make your life easier, those characters are grouped into classes (by Riot, not us). Each class has a bit different gameplay so that should be a good starting point for you.
At the beginning of each round, you will be offered to buy yourself abilities and weapons. Unlike the abilities that are unique to every agent, weapons are the same for everyone.
There are guns for every occasion. You got expensive guns, cheap guns, long-range, short-range, high damage, high fire rate, everything.
It is a matter of time when you find a perfect fit for yourself but let me tell you a standard that you will most likely end up using. Because there is always the most optimal choice.
If you are not saving money this round the choice lands between 3 guns – Vandal, Phantom, and Operator. Vandal and Phantom are both close to mid-range weapons the difference is the damage and the recoil. Vandal has more recoil but deals more damage and vice versa. The Operator is a sniper rifle that will one-shot an enemy when killed in a body.
All the other guns are mostly for cases when you don’t have enough money for Vandal, Phantom, or Operator. And that is important to know because you might like Spectre’s low recoil and fast fire rate but it will be impossible to outgun someone armed with a Vandal.
Getting Prepared – Settings
Now we got you covered with the basics let’s prepare for your first game. What we are going to do might seem like a boring hustle but trust me it is important so you can get the best experience out of playing.
In short, we will go through the game’s settings and make sure that everything fits your playstyle. Then we will test the settings and go through the tutorial missions.
Now it can be very controversial whether to set up the graphics settings on maximum for it to look good or on the minimum to try and make it clearer to see the enemies without all the post effects. I will leave it up to you and how you want to play the game – casually or competitively.
What you gotta do though is make sure that the VSync and FPS Limit is OFF. That of course can be subject to change based on your setup and how the game will perform when you actually play it. Feel free to change those if needed but leave them OFF if they don’t cause you trouble.
Another setting worth switching on is Nvidia Reflex (if you have an Nvidia graphics card). Reflex reduces the latency of the game. To put it simply, latency is a delay between a mouse click and a gunshot, so we want to keep it low. As for whether you want to put it on ON or ON + Boost is based on your setup. Boost will use more resources so might just leave it at ON.
Moving on to something almost every competitive gamer does when launching a new game – setting up keybinds. You might not be as competitive but there are a few keybinds you might consider changing. By default plant/defuse is bonded to 4 which is very unusual and may screw up a few of your first games. Communication binds like push-to-talk is also something you can make more comfortable.
Speaking of communication, default settings will have your VC on at all times, might want to change it to push-to-talk and the same goes for party voice chat.
Crosshair and Sensitivity
Last but not least, crosshair. The default crosshair in Valorant is not that bad as in CS:GO but you may need something custom. We have prepared a list of the best crosshairs in Valorant that will be a good starting point for you.
Your mouse’s sensitivity is also crucial. Make sure to tweak it to perfection. Of course, you will have to test all that to get the feel if they fit. You can do that on the practice range which is our next stop.
The practice range is a good place to get familiar with weapons and agents’ abilities. You can use this space for warmup, training, or both. While you are here test out all the settings changes you’ve made to make sure everything works for you.
When that’s done, try out the Spike plant and defuse scenarios. That will give you a good impression of what to expect in-game. And now you are finally ready to head to the actual multiplayer!
Improving Your Gameplay
You played a few games and I hoped you enjoyed them. Now it’s time to go beyond the basic training. And get better. Here are the aspects you have to learn to get better at the game and become a better teammate. Gladly Valorant is well optimized with features that will make your life easier.
We already spoke about weapons but you gotta get good at shooting. There are two things to practice to do that: learning the recoil and training your aim. You can do both in the practice range in the game. Aim for the head to train your aim or spray the body to learn the recoil.
If you want to go more advanced there are a few apps I can recommend. AimLab is a great game available on Steam that can import your Valorant settings to train aim in different modes. Highly recommended.
This one is simple – keep an eye on your creds and know when to save. Don’t go all out every round, you will end up broke and outgunned. Valorant has a nice feature that shows you the minimum amount of money you will have next round (that excluding any kills or a round win). Use it to your advantage.
Learning agent abilities is huge. It is the point of agents and difference from CS after all. Take some time to read the descriptions and effects of your skills. When going more advanced, look up specific guides for Omen’s smokes for example, or Sova’s Recon bolts. Knowing how to use them on each map can turn the tables of the match.
I can’t describe to you how communication is a game-changer. When you communicate with your team, you quickly receive info, coordinate attacks. With a good team, you get a feeling that you know everything and nothing can stop you. Yes, a good team is a rarity but still try your best to communicate with your teammates.
Preferably use voice chat for communication. If you are not comfortable with using voice, use pings instead. Pings may not be as efficient but it’s a start.
As we mentioned communication it’s worth talking about callouts. Just like you learn the agents, you will eventually have to learn maps. And not just angles and positioning which comes mostly with experience. I’m talking about names of the map parts that you can yell into voice chat to give info.
In a premade lobby with your friends, you can have your own callouts. But there is a common language when solo queuing. Luckily, Valorant has you covered. When in-game press “M” and you will see a full map with all the names. Don’t learn them all obviously. Just the main areas and those that are used the most.
Here are some quick tips for Valorant beginners. These tips didn’t really fit anywhere in this guide or otherwise, the guide will be probably twice as long. So here they are in a handy bullet-point format. Make sure to read them as they will have an impact on your gameplay.
- When approaching enemy position, hold “Shift” so they can’t hear you coming
- Everyone can hear your reload sounds. Don’t leave yourself exposed
- Running while shooting will destroy your recoil and you will not be landing hits consistently
- Crouching does increase accuracy. But on lower ranks people shoot in the body and if you crouch you will get shot in the head
- Holding a weapon affects your running speed. Running with the knife is the fastest but is also dangerous.
- Some guns have sights but don’t rush to use them. You may find that weapons like Vandal can be more comfortable to use without aiming down sights.
We are Valorant
And here you are, ready to become a part of Valorant. I hope this beginner’s guide gave you a headstart. If not, I did a terrible job. Don’t get discouraged if some things don’t work out in the beginning. Getting good is a matter of practice after all.
Come back if you ever feel like you are missing something or if you want to go more advanced, I recommend YouTube channels like ProGuides that are filled with cool tips, tricks, and strats for you to evolve as a player. Good luck!