Even if it borrows heavily from other popular games across both genres, Valorant’s hero-meets-tactical shooter gameplay is a pretty unique experience. There isn’t too much else out there offering that same coming together of the two, which means it’s likely to attract a bunch of newcomers to the FPS genre in addition to Counter-Strike veterans looking for something novel. And that’s exactly who this Valorant tips & tricks guide for beginners is targeted at. So, if you’ve just started playing as a newbie, here’s hoping this will help.
Tips & Tricks for Valorant Beginners
If you’ve played Counter-Strike even at all then you’ll be familiar with Valorant’s bomb plant/defuse gameplay loop. For everyone else, here’s a quick reminder that in Valorant, each match is divided into two halves: attackers, and defenders. You are essentially playing a best of 24, with the first team to hit 13 rounds declared the winner.
In addition to some basic dos and don’ts, we’re going to break this guide down into two sections that cover both attacker and defender tips.
The Basics – Valorant Tips & Tricks
Tweaking Your Set up
Before we dive into actually playing Valorant, let’s take a second to consider how we can best optimize our setup from the main menu.
Valorant offers a fantastic level of customization from its settings menu, from audio and graphical tweaks to the ability to optimize the HUD. How you set the game up will ultimately come down to preference, but here are a few key areas to be aware of and consider:
Sensitivity – Do yourself a favor and spend 10 minutes in the shooting range in an attempt to discover a sensitivity you are comfortable with. Professional players typically with anything from 0.4 – 1.5 with 400 to 800 DPI. DPI is the dots per inch that your cursor moves across the screen. Use this calculator to find your DPI if your mouse does tell you as standard.
Also, remember that Windows has Enhanced Pointer Precision on by default and you may find turning this off helps since it reduces mouse acceleration (search Mouse Settings from your Windows taskbar, advanced, unlock Enhanced Pointer Precision).
Crosshair – Find a crosshair that offers you good visibility against background colors and isn’t too distracting. We prefer green, default size, no outline, and movement error switched off. Keep in mind that some colors fade into the background more easily than others. For example, white, which all but disappear when overlaid on any bright surface in the game.
Mini-Map – By default, Valorant’s mini-map will spin around and follow the player’s direction when they are moving. This can be quite disorientating, especially when you don’t know Valorant’s maps. Consider switching it off until you learn each map.
Graphical optimization – In tactical shooters such as Valorant, performance is everything. If you’re struggling with framerates, one can easily display their FPS by accessing the game’s video options. From here, you can get an idea of how your PC is coping with running the game. If you can’t hold a constant 60 FPS, lower your graphical settings. Ideally, you want to have at least 99 FPS.
Walking and Movement
For newcomers to the tactical shooting genre and Valorant itself, remember that this is not a twitch shooter like Doom, Halo, and even Overwatch. That is to say, you are not expected to run around the map attacking enemies wildly. In fact, most of the game you are going to be walking and keeping very silent.
Any time that you run should be a calculated decision. Why? Because surprise is your biggest advantage in a game like Valorant and any time the enemy can hear you –running, reloading, picking up weapons, using utility, etc– you are giving away that advantage and opening yourself up for being taken out.
One easy way to keep yourself in check is quickly looking at the mini-map as you run and notice the white ring around your avatar. This highlights how far the sound of your footsteps is traveling.
Aiming, Shooting, and Controlling Recoil
Valorant’s recoil system isn’t as punishing as Counter-Strike, but it still requires players to treat shooting in a somewhat realistic fashion. As in, you can’t just hold down the trigger and expect bullets to track to the target like a laser beam. Instead, you’ll need to control your shooting with short burts.
As a general rule, 3-round bursts are what you should be going for when standing or crouching as you shoot at a target from a medium or long distance.
Spraying is something you must learn to limit to all but the closest ranges, and it is advisable to crouch when doing so to further contain recoil.
Another entry-level tip we would suggest is to learn to drag your crosshair down as you spray, or even during longer bursts. You may have noticed that bullets start tracking upward when you hold the trigger down, and this is a practice you’ll see Counter-Strike players use to compensate. It works in Valorant, too.
Playing the Objective
As we’ve mentioned above, Valorant is a game about planting or defusing the bomb (spike). So, play that objective! Winning the game is achieved by winning rounds, which you won’t do by frag-hunting and ignoring the spike. Make sure that if you have the spike you’re being responsible and sticking with your team, and planting when you all enter a bomb site.
Further, make sure you’re keeping the status of the spike on your mind at all times, regardless of being an attacker or defender. By that, we mean keeping an eye on the timer, the location of your teammates, and listening for movement to gain situational awareness to assist you in determining the status of the objective.
Let’s say, for example, you’re the last player on the defending team and you know the opposition is running to plant the spike. Do they have enough time to actually get it down? If it’s unlikely then make sure you run and hide to win the round rather than frag-hunting.
Economy & Buying the Correct Weapons
In another similar mechanic borrowed from Counter-Strike, Valorant has an in-match economy that determines what you can buy at the start of each round. The more you win and the more players you kill, the more you will have to spend. But there is a fairly predictable ebb and flow to the economy that you’ll want to try and learn.
If your team loses the pistol round, for example, you will likely want to “save” or “eco” the next round so that you have plenty of money for round 3.
Our top entry-level tip for the game’s economy is to appreciate that Valorant has a system that allows players to request guns they cannot afford. Simply right-click on the weapon, and, if you’re lucky, a teammate might purchase the gun for you. It’s often a good idea to purchase weapons for others so that everyone is well-equipped for the round, rather than hoarding money for yourself.
Using Hero “Utility” (Abilities)
Valorant’s hero play is what sets it apart from tactical shooters like Counter-Strike. Understanding how to use your hero’s “utility” correctly is a big part of the game and something you’ll need to practice in order to improve.
That isn’t always easy for newcomers when playing a standard game, though, so we recommend hopping into its more casual Spike Rush mode to experiment.
Each hero posses abilities designed to help teams control a given map as both an attacker and defender, but some are better at one than the other. Learn to appreciate which is which and how their utility benefits the team in different situations.
One basic but important thing to keep in mind is that hero play in Valorant is a compliment to your gunplay, not a replacement. By that we mean, shooting your gun is first and foremost the most effective offense in most cases. Hero abilities are just there to help gain you an edge in using your weapon.
For example, Phoenix’s flash is designed to blind enemies before rushing them, while Sova’s surveillance darts illuminate targets so that you and your team can move in to shoot them.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule such as Raze’s grenades and Viper’s Snake Bite, but you shouldn’t be looking to kill enemies specifically with your abilities as you might in other hero shooters. In Valorant, it’s more of a situational occurrence.
Valorant is a game that really demands coordination and communication with your teammates. Of course, this isn’t always possible or viable to the extent you’d like with other random players on the internet. But you should at least try.
Even if you’re doing the bare minimum –say, informing the team via team chat that there are no enemies in a certain bombsite after having pushed into the area– is a huge benefit to everyone. Hopefully, you’ll get some intel from your teammates in return that will also prove useful.
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