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Valorant Beginner’s Guide – Everything You Need to Know About Riot Games’ Competitive Shooter

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Valorant is a competitive shooter that borrows elements from Counter-Strike and casual hero-shooters. The game released on PC last year and has quickly risen in popularity, instantly giving tired CS:GO players something new to master. Here’s everything a player new to the world of Valorant needs to know.

Valorant Basics – CS:GO With a Twist

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When Riot Games first revealed Valorant, it looked like their take on the classic 5v5 bomb defusal mode from Counter-Strike, and it is essentially the same with its own spin on it. Like CS:GO, two teams of 5 players each play multiple rounds on opposing forces, with one’s goal being to plant a bomb and the opposing team’s goal being to defuse it in time. The maps also take inspiration from CS:GO’s level design, although here certain maps can contain more than two bomb spots.

However, Valorant’s secret formula lies in its addition of hero-shooter mechanics. Before each match starts, players can choose to play as one of the 16 playable agents, each with their own unique abilities. This is where the game differs from CS:GO, where instead of individual items like smokes or grenades, each agent has their own alternative that can be used.

At the start of each round, players can buy weapons and throwables from a buy menu with a limited amount of in-game points and credits that vary depending upon wins or losses. Each agent has 3 abilities which are broken as follows:

  • One Ultimate ability – This is each agents most unique ability which can be used sparingly per match, and requires collecting charges throughout each round to use.
  • One signature ability – This secondary ability is also unique to the agents, and
  • Extra throwables – These can be purchased at the start of each round and generally consist of grenades, smokes and flashes.

Valorant Agents List

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As of the time of writing, there are 16 agents in Valorant, each with their own unique abilities. Here are all of the agents in Valorant:

  • Astra
  • Breach
  • Brimstone
  • Cypher
  • Jett
  • Omen
  • Killjoy
  • Reyna
  • Raze
  • Skye
  • Sova
  • Viper
  • Kay/O
  • Yoru
  • Phoenix
  • Sage

Five agents are available for all players at the start, with the newer agents being unlockable through the battle pass.

Valorant Game Modes Explained

Like CS:GO, Valorant includes multiple game modes under the standard ranked and unranked pools. Valorant currently has three different game modes, all of which can be played in either pool.

Plant/Defuse Mode

  • Plant/Defuse (Ranked): the classic 5v5 bomb (called ‘spike’) defusal mode, where 2 teams battle each other for 25 rounds, with the first to win 13 rounds winning the match. Each round lasts for about 2 minutes.

  • Plant/Defuse (Unranked): this is the same as the competitive mode, but it doesn’t affect a players official rank within the game. Unrated is usually played as a way to practice and learn the maps and abilities, and new players are required to win 10 unrated matches before they can play in the competitive pool.

Spike Rush

A shorter and faster paced version of Plant/Defuse, Spike Rush is a 5v5 mode lasting 7 rounds in total and sees all 5 attackers carry one spike each, instead of just one spike carrier in the team like in Plant/Defuse. Orbs can be found at random throughout the maps, which when picked up can apply buffs to the player’s abilities.

Replication

A 5v5 mode which lasts for 9 rounds, the Replication mode sees all players in one team playing as the same agent who is selected in a pre-match vote.

Deathmatch (free-for-all)

A classic free-for-all 14-player mode where there are no limits to which weapons a player can select. The mode is generally used by players for practicing their aim or learning new maps and new agents’ abilities.

Escalation (team deathmatch)

This is a 5v5 team deathmatch mode where the first team to reach level 12, or have more round wins before the 10 minute timer runs out, wins.

Snowball Fight

Another 5v5 deathmatch mode where the first team to get a total of 50 kills using their snowball launcher wins the match.

The last three modes – replication, escalation, and snowball fight are all part of a rotating queue. Aside from these, there is also a practice mode where players can move around ts maps freely without worry of losing their rank status and just trying out different weapons, or perfecting their angles for shootouts.

Weapons, Maps and Gameplay Tips

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Valorant, like CS:GO, favours accurate movement while aiming and shooting. While the addition of abilities is a welcome change, you won’t be winning any matches if you don’t have a good control on your aim and an ever evolving game-sense to go with it.

While the game has a variety of weapons, each of them act very differently and need to be mastered over time. The same can be said of the five maps currently available in the game, since all of them follow the same basic rules but have different layouts. As a beginner, getting into a map with three bomb sites can be overwhelming. If you’re new to the game, we suggest practising in the deathmatch modes to get a feel for each weapon and agent. For starters, just stick to a few agents to learn their play styles, and then you can move on to the newer agents.

Valorant is available as a free-to-play title on PC via its own stand-alone client by Riot Games. A mobile version of the game is officially in development and is expected to release later this year, along with a rumoured battle royale mode, which makes sense for a market like India.


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