How to VALORANT: Advanced tips for climbing players

·Yahoo Esports & Gaming SEA team
·8-min read

The "How to" series is aimed at players who enjoy competitive gaming and are looking to improve their experience, whether through gameplay tips or advice. The information is provided at the time of publishing, and does not account for changes to the game or meta over a longer period of time.

VALORANT is a team game at its core. Besides learning how to frag, teamplay is also extremely important to ensure victory in competitive games. You may have immaculate aim, but abandoning your team for personal glory is likely to be detrimental to winning rounds. You may win fights, but you may not win the war (in this case, your competitive games).

Here are a few tips that are often overlooked at lower levels that can help you as a player to play better with your team in VALORANT as you're making your way through the ranks.

1. Having game sense - Understanding positioning

This tip is perhaps one of the hardest to teach a climbing player. Game sense is just like common sense. For example; if you know that you are in a situation where it is a one vs two, the most sensible thing to do is to back off till a teammate is able to back you up. 

The best-case scenario is that you’ll be able to kill off both the enemies, but always assume that they are on your skill level or better than you. 

There is a high chance that you will be outgunned in a firefight, so just back off till you have reinforcements. You are in this game to win it, not to get the highest number of frags.

One way to improve your game sense is to keep playing the game, and be critical about yourself. Always question yourself on how YOU can do better, and not blame your teammates for everything. Were you out of position? Was that a good place to stand? Should you have checked that corner? Should you have backed off or made full use of your skills and utility? 

If you do have teammates that cost you the rounds, always question yourself on what you can do to back your teammates up.

Part of having game sense is also understanding positioning. Always try to put yourself in a position that is advantageous to you. For example; you may have amazing aim, but if you are someone that runs out in the open to attempt to frag, there is a high chance that you will be murdered by someone who is just peeking from a corner because they can see you, while you can’t see them. 

Always try to make sure you are positioning yourself at angles where you can cover yourself and retreat safely if you realise that there are multiple enemies pushing to your position. 

You may also take off-angle positions (positions where the enemies may not expect you to be), but positions like these are usually only suited for 1-on-1 fights, because off-angles are usually out in the open and dangerous if the enemy has backup.

Basically, try your best to learn some common sense in VALORANT to win rounds.

2. Do not play for the kills - Always play to win

Take a look at your match history. You were Match MVP with 40 kills in one of those games. But it’s red. You lost the game, together with some precious competitive points.

That’s right, being the top fragger for your team or the game means absolutely nothing if you lose the match. Your opposing team’s bottom fragger may have had 0 kills and 20 deaths, but he/she still has 20 competitive points more than you now.

Always try your best to play with the team. DO NOT take unnecessary fights unless if you have to. Understand what your role is in the team and work together with them. 

When attacking a site, strength in numbers is always the best option, if you are able to trade kills for your teammates. When defending a site, knowing when to back out and play for a site retake is also important in winning the match. 

There is no glory in trying to fend off five people that are pushing into the site to plant the spike if you are outnumbered. Back off, wait for reinforcements and then attempt to retake the site for the defuse.

Fun fact, you can still absolutely win a round without anyone dying in the process. While most games end up with a team getting eliminated, there are still instances where teams can win a round by stopping the attackers from planting the spike, or stopping the defenders from defusing the spike. 

We cannot iterate enough, the objective of the game is to win rounds, not being the top frag.

3. Economy management - Eco with the team

In the lower ranks, players tend to buy whatever they want, whenever they want. Part of VALORANT is also knowing how to save your money to afford your agent’s skills and the strongest gun that you can handle to get the win.

If the opponent has Vandals and Phantoms in their possession, and if you can only afford a Spectre each round, there is a high chance that you will be outgunned if you do get into a firefight.

Economy management is something that each player needs to learn to get the best out of your agent and skills. If you know that you are going to be being outgunned by a Phantom or a Vandal, buying a Spectre for the current round may not be worth it. You can save your credits for the next round (unless it’s the final round) to be able to purchase a more powerful gun.

Know how much each skill costs for your selected agent as well and know if the skill is worth using in a round. If Sage’s wall costs 400 credits to purchase, think about the next round; do you have enough money to buy it again (and also weapons if you die) if you do use it? Are your teammates able to subsidise a gun if you absolutely have to use the wall?

Knowing how to manage your finances in game will help you have fairer fights against your opponents, and you won’t feel like you are constantly out of credits to fully realise your potential.

If you do know how to manage them, the next step is to figure out how to manage it with your team. If you are the only person in the team that can afford a rifle while your teammates are in the slums, you might want to choose to save with your team. 

Having only one rifle in the team while the other four are not being able to purchase anything will most certainly end in a bad round, unless your team manages to pull off a good play. Save the money and save with your team, so that your whole team will be able to buy rifles for a more evenly matched game the next round.

If you have funds to subsidise a gun for your teammates as well, do consider purchasing it for them, especially if there are only one or two in your team that can’t afford one. It’s better to have the whole team equipped with the best guns to have a fighting chance.

New VALORANT agent KAY/O (Screenshot: Riot Games)
New VALORANT agent KAY/O (Screenshot: Riot Games)

4. Have multiple agents in your pocket – You will not get your pick every time

One common thing that you see in VALORANT, no matter what the skill level, is the instant locking of a character. Your main character may be Jett, but there will always be someone in the competitive queue that has faster fingers than you at the character selection screen.

Also, choosing five Duelists for a competitive game may not be the smartest idea, since you do not have agents that can constantly acquire information for you on every round.

Our advice for competitive is to have at least one agent from each category in your bag of tricks. Yes, have a Duelist, an Initiator, a Sentinel, and a Controller in your arsenal. This will also help balance out your team composition a little more, and will help your team when it comes to utility usage. Remember, you are playing to win. Not only that, you are also able to fill in for your team to plug the gaps of disadvantage that your team composition has.

This can also train you as a player to watch out for different things that your opponents can do, especially if they do play one of your main characters.

5. Communicate – Keep your cool

One of the most annoying things that players face in the competitive queue is the lack of communication from their team members.

Remember, letting your teammates know where the enemy is and what they’re doing is extremely important, especially in a tactical shooter like VALORANT. Knowledge is key, and in a frantic situation in a match, knowing where the enemy is positioned and how much health they have left is extremely vital. 

If you do not have a mic, try your best to purchase one. If you do not have any avenue to get a mic, try your best to communicate via text chat. And make sure you are able to type as fast as possible to deliver that information to your teammates.

Also, refrain from tilting and scolding your teammates for “not doing their job”. This is a team game. If you lost the round due to mistakes, rectify it and try not to make the same mistakes again, or cover your teammates’ disadvantages. 

Work as a team, do not be toxic and do not drag the team’s morale down. Remember, you are here to win, not to impose any negativity that will ruin someone else’s performance further.

If you face anyone that is being extremely negative or toxic via voice/text chat, you could opt to report the player to Riot. Reporting them is free, and you are doing your due diligence to eradicate these toxic players from the game.

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