Valorant Beginner’s Guide and Tips
Hello! I’m Rose, and I was only an iron 3 before patch 1.14. I wanted to share some of the things that I learned about Valorant that no one told me when I started, along with some more common knowledge. I have spent hours researching how to improve in Valorant, and finding the information I need is not always easy. I’ve been playing for 3 months now, and I am a solo queue Killjoy main.
All of the tips here are based off of a mix of my own experiences and research done on pro gameplay. It is entirely up to you if you should choose to listen to what an iron 3 has to say LOL.
This post will be lengthy, so I will make important points bold as to save time for impatient readers.
THIS IS NOT AN OPPORTUNITY TO BASH INEXPERIENCED PLAYERS. Just because you figured it out quicker than someone else, it does not make you better. We all start somewhere :P
- It takes 4 seconds to plant the spike, and 7 seconds to defuse
- To ping somewhere, point your crosshair and press “Z”. To ping the map, press “Caps Lock” and hover the spot you want. Click to mark it.
- Look at a weapon while pressing to see what gun it is, helpful for checking a gun that’s out of your reach. You can also ping the spike to highlight it on the map.
- Press “.” to open your voice commands. If you can’t use voice chat, I recommend at least trying to use some of these in game callouts. Don’t spend too much time searching for which button says what when the round has started though! You’re extremely vulnerable.
- Play Spike Rush to learn about different weapons. Sometimes you just gotta pick up that Spectre from the ground, even if you wouldn’t choose it for yourself. It’ll prepare you for future situations, and it’s better to run an unfamiliar enemy gun than a pistol on those first few rounds (as long as you are confident you can). You can always drop it to a teammate.
- The range is a fantastic way to warm up. Spike defuse is a good way to practice flicking and crosshair placement, while Spike plant can aid in aim and pressure warmup. I wouldn’t completely substitute it for a game of Deathmatch or SR, but it’ll help you perform better in your warmup games too!
- Nobody told me this when I started, and I wish they had LOL. You can unlock the other agents by activating their contract. Yes, you’d think that’d be common knowledge. It took me at least a couple weeks to a month to learn this. Don’t make the mistakes I did my friends.
- Don’t obsess over eco, it’s okay to request from your teammates every once in a while. Now I’m not saying you should full buy 2nd round or anything, but if you have a stinger and 2.5k credits left over, consider buying a better gun or buying all of your abilities. It might help you later, and no matter what you will earn some credits back at the end of the round. Just make sure you can afford something next round.
- You can rebind your abilities and commands. Personally, I prefer to defuse with my F key, however sometimes a weapon gets in the way so I would not recommend that LOL. If your mouse has buttons, consider binding your abilities to those.
- You can make your map not rotate. I was shocked to find out that my silver friends didn’t know about this, considering they’ve been playing a lot longer than I have. Go to General > Map and there should be a “fixed” option. I do not use this, but some pros recommend it. Don’t feel bad if you prefer the moving map, Wardell among many other talented players use the rotation option!
- Here’s the big one, work on crosshair placement. I know you are probably so tired of hearing this, but I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes to just look up a little. The worst that can happen is you hit their chest instead, which can still be lethal, especially in low ranks.
- Focus 2 agents, one to main and a second to use if you first choice isn’t available. It’s very important to do this so that you can be consistent. It makes life so much more difficult to have to learn a new agent’s abilities every time you play, while still learning how to play the game. Trust me, stick to one or two! Look up guides/montages of the agents you’re interested in to see more ways to play them.
- Sniper scopes show a red dot when you are perfectly accurate. In the very center of the scope you may see a red dot when you are perfectly still. This means you will have no movement inaccuracy. Moving now will make your shot scatter. (Thanks to Thoth_the_5th_of_Tho and dexerto.com)
- Please don’t start off with Reyna. This is mainly a suggestion, very optional, but hear me out. The role of a duelist is to entry-frag. Usually they should be the first one on site, and hopefully, getting picks when possible. These characters are built for taking on duels and getting kills with confidence. Reyna’s whole kit is based around getting kills, and usually at a beginner level, that will be very difficult. If you want to play a duelist, please start with someone else. You can always come back to her later!
- The amount of kills you have does NOT equal your worth. There’s a very common misconception that the higher you are on the leaderboard, the better you are at the game. Aim is important, kills are important, but if you are helping bring your team to a win that is much more valuable than out-fragging the enemy team IMO, especially when playing as support.
- Don’t be unnecessarily aggressive. A very common issue in the lower ranks, especially by duelists. Yes, the kits you are given are to help you get kills, but that doesn’t mean you have to go itching for a fight when the round is won. I promise you, you can get revenge the next round!
- Buy the battlepass, even if you don’t like the skins all that much. I can’t tell you how much better it is to see some color on my gun. I didn’t really like this act’s guns when I first saw them, but after buying the battlepass and actually playing them, I really enjoy the designs and am glad I bought the battlepass. Plus, you get a lot of loot for $10-$15.
- Learn about recoil control. This one takes some practice, especially in-game experience. I’m still learning, but it’s a good guideline that I wish I had known about earlier!
- Posture can be important. I’ve only heard this mentioned a couple of times, but it is possible to be held back by your posture. Try adjusting your chair or how your arm is resting and see if that helps you. You might be doing something awkward to your arm that is holding back your movement.
- LOWER YOUR SENSITIVITY. One of the most common issues among new players. I’ve been there, had my sensitivity at 2-3 for a while there. For reference, it’s now at 0.7. It will seem incredibly awkward at first, but one day even 0.7 will seem fast.
- Use voice chat, don’t be afraid to mute trolls! You don’t have to engage in conversation or anything, and trust me, if anyone knows what it’s like to be shy in-game it’s me. Just give callouts, and even that can help a team a lot. Information is valuable! If someone is being an idiot, don’t be afraid to mute. Make sure you put “muted -name-, wont hear callouts” in chat so they know what they’ve done. A good quote I heard recently is “If you wouldn’t take their advice, why take their critique?”.
- Watch the minimap for information you are missing. Keep your eyes on the game of course, but do glance at the map every once in a while. Chances are that your teammates aren’t calling out everything they see, and sometimes the map can see things that you don’t. It’ll help you locate players later.
- In clutch situations, remember that you are the one alive, not your teammates. When you’re the last one alive, pressure starts to build up. Just remember that you made it this far for a reason. Lots of people like to backseat-game here, but do not feel obligated to listen to them. Don’t ignore their callouts though. They are likely hearing things you aren’t since you’re so focused. Just do you, you’ve got this.
- DON’T RUN AND GUN! There are some cases where people do it and succeed, somehow. Don’t do it, it’s really not worth it. Your gun will begin to spray in different directions and you wont hit like 95% of your shots. If someone is aiming for you and you want to fight back, just stay still and aim. Some guns will enable you to move with it. I mentioned it before, but play Spike Rush to learn more about each gun’s restrictions.
- Adding on to the last one, certain guns will allow you to do this. That doesn’t mean you should do it all the time, but you can use it to your advantage if you learn how the movement accuracy works.
- Learn how to counter-strafe. Again, one of those things I have not yet attempted myself, so I can’t quite write a description on it. It sounds silly to come from me, but do learn it. I can’t tell you how difficult I find it to fight people who strafe at my current level, and the sooner you learn it the better. Don’t push it aside early like I did lool.
- Listening to audio queues is almost imperative. I say almost because I have read of people who are hard of hearing getting very far in this game. They are at a huge disadvantage that way, which is so impressive that they can do so well without audio. That doesn’t mean you should turn your audio off, though. Footsteps, character voice lines, etc. etc. are very important. Pay attention to the direction of the footsteps coming towards you, and start memorizing what “fire in the hole” means before it’s too late…
- Keep a good mindset while playing. I’ll be honest with you, a lot of people like to complain about Valorant’s mechanics and system. It’s understandable to an extent, we all get frustrated and we all have our challenges in game. Some things really are out of our control. However, sometimes you just gotta say, “hey, it’s not worth sulking over. I’m just gonna keep trying my best.” In the end, it’ll make the success all that much more worth it and you’ll be proud you kept strong during the rough times.
- Always say nice try and praise your teammates, even if they are performing poorly. This encourages a positive mindset amongst your team, and can even invite people to use comms. It makes people feel safe. In some cases, it can even make them play better!
- Don’t backseat game. If someone is trying to clutch, it is much better to just let them play. Only speak if you’re confident they didn’t catch something or if you have some information from before your death. And please, do not scream at them to use their ult. Feel free, however, to mention that they have it if they feel they need it.
- Don’t use your ultimate unnecessarily. If you are in a 1v4 situation and you know there is no way to win (ex. 15 seconds on the clock, spike is across the map), don’t use your ultimate. You can save that for a push next round. Sometimes you just have to accept the loss.
- Take ownership of your actions. Never let yourself feel truly upset about your playing, but do take note of what you can improve. Untrustworthy teammates are a pain, we know. Don’t blame every mistake on them, though. Yes, your Sova teammate may not have called out that Reyna coming behind you, but did you pay attention to them dying from that direction? Not everything will be your fault, but some things will. It means a lot more to just say “my bad yall, shouldn’t have done that” than to start trashtalking. You are only responsible for yourself.
- Consider the options, and what I mean by that is to consider the actions of your opponents. If you’re not sure where the enemy is, think back to where you may have seen an ability come from, or perhaps where you last saw them on the map from your teammate’s vision. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but you’d be surprised how oblivious you can be to it while in game!
- Support/other can be just as fun as playing a duelist. I think that duelists are very fun, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing as satisfying as a nanoswarm kill or a full-team scan with a recon bolt. If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with the duelist playstyle, try someone like omen or cypher!
- If you can, record your gameplay. A lot of people claim that this is a waste of time or not helpful, but I watch a lot of VOD reviews in my freetime, and frankly I find them super helpful even if they aren’t my gameplay. Rewatch your clips, perhaps send them to some of the people offering to review clips on here, and critique yourself.
- Use external aim trainers! Optional of course, this is taking a whole other step. People often recommend Aimlab and Kovaks. I have tried to use Aimlab, but I get a max of 30FPS no matter what settings I put it on. I take the pros’ word on it, however!
- Random tip, read patch notes. Sometimes even just being updated on what changes are being made to the game can give you an advantage. It’s not like it can give you a game-changing piece of information, but agent updates and ability buffs/nerfs are good to know about.
- Listen to music while you play, if that helps. A lot of my friends claim music helps them focus on the game, and also keeps them in a good mood. Personally, it makes me nervous to have music on because I can’t hear quiet footsteps. Whatever floats your boat!
- Push someone who is reloading. Pull an Archer, bait their shots and peak when they run out of ammo. What are they gonna do, knife you? Seriously, if you get knifed doing this there is no coming back from it. Don’t be that guy who gets knifed.
- There are many, and I mean many, wallbang spots that you wouldn’t have guessed. Most of these spots you will see during 2/10 of your games under special conditions, but there are whole videos dedicated to areas no one utilizes in the lower ranks. Get an easy advantage by looking up some of these videos. Don’t be scared to pull out the odin every once in a while.
- HAVE FUN! If you don’t get in to that mindset early on, this game will become life or death to you. It is so difficult to get out of that once you’ve gotten there. Some people take this game so seriously, be proud of the little achievements you make in-game. You may have lost 7-13, but that ace was pretty sweet!
- Judge and Odin are dangerous choices for weapons. Commonly hated weapons by the community, you WILL get hate for using them. However, this whole thing is just for fun. If that’s what you enjoy, I say go for it. However, the rest of the guns can be just as if not more fun than those two!
- Friend nice/funny players in your games. Solo queue is almost never fun, it’s good to have a couple of people to queue with! Make sure you fill that notes space on their name with who they are/how you met.
- You can change the numbers in your name. You may have noticed players with custom # tags. I can’t quite remember how to do it exactly, but start by logging in to the Valorant/Riot website(s)!
- Don’t be too noisy on comms. If you’re still discussing last round when your teammates are trying to win the current one, wait until next buy phase. It’s very difficult to hear over someone talking. If you accidentally find yourself chatting during the game (when it’s not initiated by other teammates of course), just apologize and mute for a moment.
- Say something (2 seconds before at LEAST if you can) before you blind an area/use a possibly dangerous ability. I have seen so many people get screwed over by a teammate during a fight because they blinded them instead of the enemy. Make it clear you are blinding an area if you have a character that can affect their teammates. This goes for any ability, looking at you Phoenix mains. If you’re gonna heal in the corner I’m standing in, let me know, will you?
- THEORY WARNING: When playing competitive, remember that rank does not always reflect your skill level. Often times, your rank is reflective of your performance as a team towards a win, with kills as a secondary factor for consideration. At least in my experience, that is. What I’m saying is the following….Game loss = -X RatingGame win = +Y RatingKills = +Z Rating added (to X or Y rating from game)If you won the game 13 – 8, you may receive a base of 2 up arrows. If you top fragged you are subject to an extra arrow up, making your overall increase a greatly increased. All of this is in theory, please ignore my excuse for math variables lol. There is a rumor going around that kills do not reward as much as they should, however.
- FPS is very important. If you are running anything below 60fps you are at a serious disadvantage. I’m telling you this as someone who runs 30fps. You will not see things as quickly as the rest of the people you are playing against. Peaking angles is a pain, moving your crosshair from enemy to enemy is difficult. Acknowledge it, and consider upgrading if you want to take the game seriously.
- BE CONFIDENT! So much of this game revolves around confidence. Don’t be afraid to fail, you tried something and it didn’t work. There’s always next round!
- Be aware of the Vandal, but try the Phantom first. This is subjective, and it also depends on what games you are coming from. The Vandal is a powerful and viable weapon. For beginners it’s kind of an excuse to hit body shots, when that’s not what it’s for. The Vandal is built for headshots, quick and easy kills at both medium and long distances. The Phantom is good for spraying and leading up to headshots, but you can use it in a similar way to the Vandal. If you panic with the Phantom, you are still likely to hit your shots through spraying. The Vandal will not do the same for you. The amount of times I’ve seen people panic spray with the Vandal after missing their first shots is not great. Most new players prefer the Phantom for a variety of reasons anyway.
- Do not reload when you don’t have to! Oh it is so tempting, seeing those missing 5 bullets you shot at an angle no one was at. Don’t do it, you have enough to continue the fight, especially if you’re using something like a Phantom or Vandal. And please, don’t reload unnecessarily when you are exposed. It’s one thing if you’re away from the action and you’re down half a magazine, but if you’re on the battlefield in a 1v2 you probably don’t want to reload when you’re still at 80% capacity.
- Play with your team. You don’t always have to work alone to achieve something. Communicate what you’re about to do so that your teammates know, they might be able to bounce off you and help you get the win. ” It’s generally better to do the wrong thing with your team than the right thing on your own.” (Thanks to a user who commented but deleted rip!)
- Don’t crouch too often while shooting in lower ranks. At this rank, most people have not learned to put their crosshair higher than someone’s chest. If you crouch (especially early) you are lowering your head in to their crosshair, rather than out of it! (Thanks to black-JENGGOT*)*
- Phoenix’s ultimate will heal him to full HP when he returns, if used when he is at a low HP level. If he is killed using his ultimate, he will lose his shield. Something that somehow is not super common knowledge, but is important nonetheless.
- If you find yourself worrying about kills a lot, unbind the scoreboard! If you are stressing about your performances kill-wise, it might be time to force yourself to stop. Take yourself to rehab for a moment, and play the round without worrying how many people you didn’t get before. every round is a new chance to be better!
- If you stress under pressure, turn off the spectator count. This one actually helped me a LOT. I get very nervous when I have to clutch, but turning off the things that proved I was being watched really helped me focus.
- Don’t smoke entrances for your team. Common mistake, no worries. Easy fix! Before you place your smokes, pay attention to who that will affect the most. If it can somehow help your enemy, chances are that it wont be a good smoke. Try learning some one-ways by watching some guides on YouTube. A one-way is a smoke that prevents an enemy from seeing you, but lets you see part of them so that you may kill them from a safer position. (Thanks to multiple users in the comments…)
- Learn common callouts. A lot of the places on the map are called something different by the players (ex. tetris, u-haul, etc.)
Heaven – usually the highest point/window near the bombsite
CT – the entrance on to site coming from defender spawn
Long – usually the longest way to site
Short – usually the shortest way to site
Cubby – typically a box-shaped/corner spot nearest to you
Flank(ing us/you) – coming behind you
Flanking (them) – you or your teammate is coming behind the enemy
Rotate – come/coming to the opposite site
Of course, as a new player, your biggest goal is to just learn the game mechanics and how the game flows. These tips are mainly for after you’ve learned the basics of Valorant, so try not to feel overwhelmed. These aren’t rules, just suggestions. Play the game as you please, as long as it makes you happy and doesn’t interrupt the gameplay of others!
Do you, be proud! There are a lot of trashtalkers in Valorant, as there are in any free-for-all VC-based games. Just know you’re doing your best, you’re improving with every session. I’m rooting for you. Never get down about how you performed in your rounds. Do make sure to take breaks though, you don’t want to get upset. It affects your performance and overall mood, when games are really just for fun at the end of the day!
That’s all for now! Feel free to correct me and comment some of your own tips, let’s help new players enjoy Valorant as much as we do. :>>