How to Play Valorant: Beginner’s Guide

We take an in-depth look at one of esports most popular games and explain just how Valorant works.

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Earlier in the year, we covered League of Legends and CS:GO, with Valorant we have the creator of the first going after the crown of the latter. When Riot Games announced it was coming into the shooter space, it’s safe to say that it sent shockwaves through the esports and gaming community. Having been dominant for years in the gaming space with LoL, Riot Games wanted to push for gaming’s most popular genre, the FPS.

What is Valorant?

Valorant is a team-based first-person shooter at its core. Similar in structure to CS:GO, Valorant is a round-based, 5v5, hero-shooter. That last part, the hero shooter part, is what gives Valorant its unique selling point in the space. While we’ve had hero-shooters before (Overwatch), having a hero-shooter inside a bomb planting, limited round structure like CS:GO was a game-changer.

Valorant is a free-to-play game, though the game is only available on PC it’s seen a massive rise in popularity since its release in 2020. The core of Valorant is all about blowing up the bomb site for Attackers, or defending/defusing the Spike (bomb) for Defenders. Valorant follows other “search and destroy” shooters in that if the Spike blows up, the attacking side wins, however, if the Spike is planted, and defused, the defenders win.

Each team has 12 rounds on each side, however, the game is a first-to-thirteen, so once that’s achieved the game is over.

Champions and Roles in Valorant

While the game is focused on the hero you pick, those all fit into one of four classes: Dualist, Initiator, Sentinel, and Controller.

Dualist: The primary attacking class in Valorant. These heroes are the ones you’ll want in a gunfight, helped by their aggressive abilities and complementary weapons. Here you’ll find the more traditional “entry fragger” and “lurker” play styles. Dualists are ideal for players that like to live on the edge, at the front of the action.

Initiator: The closest thing to a tank that you’ll find in Valorant. Perfect for breaking through a defensive line, or acting as a shield around the point if you’re defending. Often not required for a team comp, you’ll find Initiators have their use, and will be best used in the hands of players who like to sit back and absorb the action.

Sentinel: While Valorant doesn’t really have a support class, the Sentinel is the closest thing you’ll find. Mostly acting as a rear-line defensive class, these can be ideal to counter hyper aggression or allow your team to chip away at a side holding a tight defence.

Controller: Lastly, the Controller class is used to force enemy heroes into an area of the map you want. Controllers are best used when working with their team, they can also fill the role of a “smoker” that we’ve seen in other shooters. Useful on both attack and defence, the Controller might not save you in a clutch situation, but they’ll give your side the edge at the start of a fight.

How do you Play

Valorant, much like other shooters in this genre, start with a “buy phase”. This time is used to purchase weapons and equipment for the round ahead. If you survive the round, you’ll keep anything you ended the round with.

The very first round is known as the “pistol round”. Each team has 800 credits and a pistol. Some might choose some utility, other’s might go for a stronger pistol. Winning that round is key, however, as it sets you up for a stronger second round due to earning more money for winning the previous round. The losing team will also earn money, though they’ll receive less than the winning side. If the losing side continues to lose, however, they’ll get an additional influx of credits to help them come back.

Rounds and won (and lost) based on a number of conditions. The easiest way to win is by eliminating the enemy team. However, if the attacking team has planted the Spike, killing them all isn’t enough, and you’ll need to defuse the Spike as well. Defenders have one extra win condition, and that’s by simply causing the round timer to end. The is normally done by downing the Spike Carrier, and then defending the Spike. Each round is 100 seconds long, with “overtime” happening if the bomb is planting and the timer is near ending.


Valorant has a relatively small selection of weapons, they’re split into six categories:

Sidearm – The starting weapon, and “off-hand” weapon for anyone. Sidearms can be carried alongside any of the other weapons as a backup.

SMG – Ideal for close quarters, rapid-fire encounters. SMGs lose a lot of their power over longer distances, however, they excel around tight corners.

Rifle – The opposite of the SMG, while both rapid-fire, the Rifle class of weapons is ideal over longer ranges. Though, it’s important to control your rate of fire over longer distances, as weapon recoil will see your shots miss.

Sniper –  Snipers can be the long-range, slow firing weapon of the game. While they have a lot of range, Snipers are bolt action, and can only be fired one shot at a time.

Heavy – Heavy weapons replace accuracy, with their increased firing speed and high ammo capacity. Great for firing into smoke, or suppressing a location.

Shotgun – Shotguns are like the SMG, but lack the rapid-fire nature. They’re slow-firing and very loud, but they’re ideal for people who want to hold tight angles.

Where to Play Valorant

Right now, Valorant is only available to people on PC and is on the Epic Games launcher or via the dedicated Riot Games launcher. A console release has been rumoured since the game was released, alongside a mobile release, however, at this time nothing official has come out of Riot Games.

David Hollingsworth has written for games media and esports outlets for the last seven years. His work has appeared in websites such as Esports Insider, ESTNN, Red Bull and Esports News UK. His focus is mostly on League of Legends and World of Warcraft, the latter of which he’s an advisor for with the British Esports Association. David shares his League of Legends betting tips with readers of the MansionBet blog every week.
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