Valorant Round Economy Tips and Guide

by Pontiflakes

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

With a small yet growing playerbase, Valorant matchmaking is volatile and is just as likely to team me with brand new players as it is CS vets. The most egregious mistake I see new players making is spending all of their cash every round. In an effort to raise the baseline economy knowledge, I’m sharing my recommendations on how to manage your team economy during the game.

I’m going to assume you understand the basics:

  • How credits are earned
  • Weapon and ability prices

PISTOL ROUND

The first round, or pistol round, of each half has everyone start with 800 credits. I don’t believe a clear meta has developed for the pistol round yet, but here are some popular options. I’m not going in-depth on them because this is more about managing your money than theorycrafting team strats.

  • Light armor + Frenzy, if you plan to play up-close or be the entry fragger
  • Light armor + Abilities, if you plan to provide more utility and pick up someone else’s Frenzy or Ghost
  • Ghost + Abilities, if you plan to play long-range
  • Sheriff

Bottom line: Spend all your credits in the pistol round.

WHEN TO FULL BUY

A full buy costs 3900+ credits and includes:

  • Rifle (Phantom/Vandal/Operator, 2900+ credits)
  • Heavy armor (1000 credits)
  • Abilities (0-500 credits)

Full buy after your team wins a round, no questions asked. If any team members can’t afford to full buy after a win, other team members should buy guns for them. If no one can afford to help out, then the team members who can’t afford to buy need to either settle for fewer abilities or for one of the budget rifles (just depends on your playstyle and whether you’re hitting your shots or need more utility).

Full buy after your team loses a round and your team members have an average of 3900+ credits. If three or more members don’t have 3900+ credits, don’t commit to a full buy. Two people full-buying and three people saving or buying budget rifles sets your team up for at least two lost rounds in a row.

If you win the pistol round, your buy options on round 2 depend on how many kills you got and whether you planted/defused the spike during the pistol round. It’s unlikely that you have 3900 credits in the second round unless you popped off, so most round 2 buys include either an SMG, budget rifle, or Marshall.

13narwhalsFTW recommends saving 1500 in round 2 so you have enough cash to buy proper rifles for round 3, which makes a lot of sense! I’m a fan of the round 2 Marshall because it’s effective against eco and doesn’t set you back too much.

WHEN TO SAVE/ECO

Saving or ecoing involves spending little enough money that you will have at least 3900 credits the following round, and generally does not include more than:

  • A pistol (up to 500 credits)
  • Abilities (0-500 credits)

Eco after a loss and your team members average below 3900 credits. Be careful that you don’t overspend on pistols and abilities. In your buy menu, you can see the minimum credits you will have next round. Make sure you will have at least 3900.

Exceptions: If you believe in the juan-deag and want to invest 800 credits in a deagle, you’re essentially gambling that you will get at least 1 kill, lowering the effective cost of the deagle to 600 credits. If you aren’t confident, don’t bother.

WHEN TO FORCE BUY

A force buy involves spending all of your money, even though you don’t have the 3900 credits for heavy armor + rifle. It probably includes:

  • Specter or budget rifle (1600-2100 credits)
  • Heavy armor (1000 credits)
  • Abilities (0-500 credits)

4Bongin added a great comment about sacrificing some armor instead of sacrificing rifles or abilities during force buys:

Biggest thing I see people doing wrong with their buys is neglecting utilization of half armor. Half armor phantom/vandal is a viable buy in this game if you are strapped for cash.

If one person on team is just short of full buy they should half armor and phantom/vandal. I find it to be much more effective than specter/full armor.

I don’t recommend you force buy in PUGs unless it’s a crucial round to win (last round of the half or match point). Premade groups may want to force buy as a surprise change-up tactic against opponents who assume that you’re on an eco round, because people tend to get cocky when they think they’re up against an ecoing team.

WHEN TO HALF BUY

A half buy is a strategy only meant for premade teams, and consists of:

  • 1-3 team members full buy (3900+ credits)
    • Rifle (2900+ credits)
    • Heavy armor (1000 credits)
    • Abilities (0-500 credits)
  • Remaining team members force buy
    • Pistol (0-800 credits)
    • Heavy armor (1000 credits)
    • Abilities (0-500 credits)

The idea with this strategy is that the high fraggers prioritize rifles, while the rest focus on supporting the fraggers via utility abilities. The utility members should also plan to pick up the rifles of opponents or teammates.

Just trust me and don’t bother trying to do this with PUGs.

ASSUME THAT A SAVE ROUND IS A LOST ROUND

Accept this hard truth: Rifles are the best guns. If Team A has 4 rifles and 1 SMG and Team B has 5 rifles, Team B has the higher odds of winning.

Don’t waste money on save rounds. Your goal on a save round is not to win. Your goals are:

  • Damage the enemy team’s economy by getting kills
  • Steal an enemy’s rifle and either use it to damage their economy further or save it for the following round
  • Secure extra money for your team by planting the spike

This isn’t to say that you should just rush mindlessly and throw away every save round – but don’t invest your money into a save round if it prevents you from buying a rifle and heavy armor during the next buy round. A good strategy is to hold a surprise off-angle with the sawed-off or the Frenzy, steal a rifle, and go for another kill or two. This requires minimal investment and has a high success rate even though you’re still likely to lose the round.

BUY OR SAVE AS A TEAM WHEN YOU’RE IN A PUG

If you can personally afford to buy, but your team can’t afford to, don’t waste your money on the disadvantaged round. When you lose, you’ll be the one who can’t buy the following round, and your team will have had 2 disadvantaged rounds in a row instead of just 1. Only invest your money into a round you have good odds of winning (meaning the whole team can buy). Use the buy/save communication buttons in the buy menu to communicate to your teammates your intentions for each round.

You will sometimes see pros force buy or half buy. This is a calculated risk that will shatter your team’s economy on a loss or swing the momentum in your favor on a win. Don’t bother trying to do this with a PUG.

CHECK THE ENEMY TEAM’S ECONOMY EVERY ROUND

Form the habit of checking your opponents’ economy on the scoreboard every round, so you know whether they’re in a position where they are saving or buying. This will give you certain advantages, like knowing whether opponents are likely to have all of their abilities. Check their ult statuses while you’re at it. :)

IN SUMMARY

If you lose a buy round, unless you had tons of credits saved up, that means you’re probably going to have to save (and lose) the following round. Expect the rounds to go this way. It’s totally normal!

If you force buy instead of saving and you lose, you’re now pretty much guaranteeing 3+ losses in a row. At this point, your economy is borked, and you are probably going to have to rely on the loss streak bonus to get you to a point that you can buy again.

I hope this helps people understand how their buy decisions affect the team, and how the team economy shapes the game. Please offer additional insights you guys have. I didn’t go into much detail on which guns to use during force buys, which guns to use after winning the pistol round, etc. because I was trying to keep a high-level focus for this post – but I’m hoping to discuss these in the comments.

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