Riot Games’ VALORANT is a once-in-a-generation experience. It brings together elements from wildly disparate genres in a way that satisfies everyone.
Whether you hail from Counter-Strike, Overwatch, League of Legends, or some other distant gaming shore, we’re all here for the same reasons: to plant spikes and click heads. To do that, you’ll be adopting the role of an Agent in the VALORANT universe — someone equipped with supernatural powers as well as high-caliber hardware. A foe as likely to stun you with a concussive wave as they are to pump you full of copper and lead.
Although inspired by various gaming genres, VALORANT stands on its own. It demands much, and offers incredible strategic depths and adrenaline highs in return. For those willing to make the climb, learn the ropes, and roll with the cluster bomb blasts, you’re in for the ride of your life. Welcome to VALORANT, Agent.
Finding Common Ground
To meaningfully discuss the Agents available in VALORANT, we must find some common ground concerning roles and terminology. Below are the most prolific types of characters found in VALORANT and the genres that influence it. You’ll find a fair bit of overlap, making it relatively simple to transfer knowledge from one game or genre over to VALORANT.
- Initiator – Initiators challenge angles by setting up their team to enter contested ground and push defenders away.
- Controller – Controllers are experts in slicing up dangerous territory to set their team up for success.
- Sentinel – Sentinels are defensive experts who can lock down areas and watch flanks, both on attacker and defender rounds.
- Duelist – Duelists are self-sufficient fraggers who their team expects, through abilities and skills, to get high frags and seek out engagements.
Hero Shooter (HS) Genre Roles
- Support – Heals team members and deals indirect damage through area control abilities.
- DPS – Deals direct damage and focuses on clearing out enemies through high DPS.
- Tank – Focuses on damage mitigation by soaking damage for the team and using abilities for crowd control.
Tactical Shooter (TS) Genre Roles
- Entryfrag – Serves as pointman or first into an engagement; tries to get a pick and disrupt the defense.
- AWPer – Sniper or long-distance shooter who sits back and lets the enemy come to him.
- Rifler – Strong with the core weapons; usually follows the Entryfrag into engagements.
- IGL (In-Game Leader) – Strategist who coordinates the team by calling strats to adjust to the changing situation on the map
- Lurker – Remains on the periphery of an engagement, ready to pick off stragglers or flank the enemy for an advantage
Battle Arena (MOBA) Genre Roles
- Marksman/AD Carry – Main source of direct damage for the team, expected to maintain the upper hand in an engagement.
- Support – Supports the AD Carry; offers crowd control abilities and map vision.
- Jungler – Levels in the shadows, roams the map to support other heroes and surprise the enemy with a gank.
- Tank – Soaks up damage and uses stun and snare abilities to disrupt the enemy.
- AP Carry – Deals damage with abilities and trades survivability for massive burst/spell damage.
Other Key Terms
- AoE – Area of effect
- DoT – Damage over time
- DPS – Damage per second
- RoF – Rate of fire
- Spike – Bomb-like apparatus
Already, it’s easy to see some parallels between the different types of games. When evaluating each VALORANT Agent, their given classification will be listed along with the three corresponding types from other games — or at least as close as can be estimated — to help players of any background make sense of their role.
It’s important to remember, however, that VALORANT remains firmly rooted in the same tactical shooter realm as Counter-Strike. While abilities are integral to the experience, proper gunplay and team coordination remain the fundamental elements that win and lose games. Abilities are the icing on the cake, adding unique flavors and opening up more opportunities for plays and counter-plays. Aim remains king over all.
An Agent for Every Season
Now that we have some common ground, let’s talk Agents. As of VALORANT v1.0, there are eleven Agents to choose from. Each one brings something different to the table in terms of the ability toolkit available to you, as well as an implicit role for you to play. In addition to their core abilities, each Agent has an ultimate ability that requires seven charges to use.
You earn charges via kills, gathering orbs scattered around the maps, defusing the spike, or as a consolation prize for dying. It can be a bit staggering to process for someone transitioning from a pure shooter like Counter-Strike — but don’t despair. We’re going to take some time to get to know each Agent, what makes them tick, and how you can leverage their abilities to win rounds.
VALORANT Role: Initiator | HS Role: Tank | TS Role: Rifler | MOBA Role: Tank
Breach is a monster in the right hands. Walls are of little consequence to him. He’s meant to be right behind the entryfrags, leveraging his wall-penetrating Flashpoint ability to blind opponents. Once your team has control, Breach’s other skills come into play, allowing him to stun opponents with the chargeable Fault Line and force them out of defensible positions with Aftershock, a potentially lethal concussive blast. His ultimate, Rolling Thunder, sends out a cone of earth-shattering force that throws those caught into the air and stuns them.
He should always be with the group ready to push a site, and ideally, he should have reliable aim to make good on his Rifler role. On defense, he should use his abilities to slow the advance of the enemy team, rocking them on their heels and creating opportunities for his team to weed out the attackers.
- Flashpoint – Blinds enemies with a fast-action charge.
- Fault Line – Stuns opponents with a seismic blast.
- Aftershock – Creates a concussive blast that causes high DPS to those standing in it.
- Rolling Thunder (Ultimate) – Sends out a cone of force that stuns and tosses Agents into the air.
VALORANT Role: Controller | HS Role: Support | TS Role: IGL | MOBA Role: Support
Brimstone is the man with a plan. He shouldn’t be the first to a site, but he should be the first to use his abilities to create an opening. Because of this, he meshes well with the in-game leader role, as his talents will be critical in most play-making strategies. His Incendiary grenade launcher allows him to bounce a flaming grenade into a formerly safe corner, flushing out any would-be ambushers with DoT. Using his wrist-mounted holopad, he can summon Sky Smokes within a certain radius of himself to control lines of sight on the approach. His Stim Beacon grants a rate of fire buff to those within its AoE, offsetting the reduced rate of fire when aiming down the sights of your weapons. And for that extra special something, his ultimate allows him to call down an Orbital Strike, which blasts a large area with a thoroughly lethal cascade of fire and — dare I say it —b rimstone.
His abilities are crucial for cracking the best-defended sites wide open on attack. And on defense, his smokes and incendiary grenades are excellent at disrupting the enemy’s best-laid plans.
- Incendiary – Fires a grenade that bounces off walls and produces a circle of fire for DoT.
- Sky Smoke – Equips a tactical map, allowing you to place and release smoke grenades within a certain radius.
- Stim Beacon – Releases a stim beacon that creates an AoE buff for RoF.
- Orbital Strike (Ultimate) – Equips a tactical map, allowing you to call down a fiery blast within a certain radius. The blast has a large AoE and high DPS.
VALORANT Role: Sentinel | HS Role: Support | TS Role: Lurker | MOBA Role: Jungler
Wherever you’re hiding, Cypher knows you’re there. And he has a half-dozen different plans for dealing with you. Ideally, Cypher won’t ever be in the thick of an engagement. He’s best suited to the sidelines, where he can use his abilities to full effect and provide his team with crucial intel. His Cyber Cage is like a specialized smoke, blocking line of sight and — perhaps more importantly — slowing enemies that pass through it while emitting a telltale electronic chirp. His Spycam can be placed on a wall to provide vision anywhere on the map, allowing Cypher to shift his gaze to the camera by pressing the button again. It also offers the ability to fire tracking darts with the secondary fire, which highlights the location of any unwary enemy struck by it. Take note, however, as the camera can be destroyed.
Meanwhile, Cypher’s Trapwires are tripwires that can be strung between two adjacent surfaces. Any enemy who fails to notice it in time is dramatically slowed and highlighted as they stumble through, becoming stunned if they fail to eliminate the wire in time. His ultimate ability, Neural Theft, allows him to use any relatively fresh corpse to reveal the locations of all remaining living opponents.
Cypher has the unique ability to turn even a disadvantageous situation around in an instant with good intelligence. Whether on offense or defense, he should be planting cages and tripwires around the map to hamper enemy movement, using his camera to keep an eye on rotations, and leveraging his ultimate to give his team the upper hand needed to close out the round.
- Cyber Cage – A cage that blocks line of sight. Enemies passing through are slowed and made known by a sound effect.
- Spycam – Placed on a surface to provide line of sight. Has invisibility when not in use. Alternate fire allows the camera to fire tracking darts that can highlight enemies.
- Trapwire – Ensnares unwary enemies. Only visible/audible when an enemy is close. Slows enemies caught by it, highlighting them for your team, and eventually stuns the enemy if they don’t eliminate it in time.
- Neural Theft (Ultimate) – Highlights every living enemy for your entire team. Requires an enemy body that was killed less than 30 seconds prior to activation.
VALORANT Role: Duelist | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Entryfrag | MOBA Role: AD Carry
Jett’s focus is on getting into the fray as fast as possible, eliminating the opposition, and disappearing as quickly as she arrived. She has a strong vertical component, turning any potential perch into a vantage point from which to rain down death and destruction on her enemies. Her Updraft launches her into the air, allowing her to vault obstacles and find new angles. By holding spacebar, Jett can also drift around on gusts of air, granting her mobility and unique opportunities. She can dash in and out of battle using Tailwind, which boosts her in the direction she’s moving — but be advised, as there’s a cooldown before you can use your weapons again. It’s meant as an escape, not for initiation. She can summon short-term smokes with Cloudburst to create windows of opportunity. And her ultimate, Blade Storm, produces five precise and lethal throwing knives which can eviscerate the opposition. And they replenish when you get a kill with them.
Jett should be the first one out the door, once other Agents have softened up the site with their abilities. As an entryfrag, playing her requires top-tier aim and split-second decision making. Her sole role on offense is to get kills — as many as possible. On defense, she should use her smokes and vertical movement to catch the enemy off-guard.
- Updraft – A super-jump.
- Tailwind – A super dash followed by a brief cooldown during which you can’t use your weapons.
- Cloudburst – Short-lived smoke grenades.
- Blade Storm (Ultimate) – Produces five throwing knives in place of your primary weapon. They are laser-accurate and deal excellent damage.
VALORANT Role: Controller | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Lurker | MOBA Role: Jungler
Omen is — well, something else entirely. A terror spawned from the depths of an energy drink infused nightmare. He brings some novel tools to the table, able to blind enemies through walls and teleport around the map. Nowhere is safe as long as Omen is on the field. But his abilities mean he’s best suited to the periphery instead of the thick of combat. His Paranoia launches a bolt of living shadow forward, passing through walls and robbing enemies it touches of the gift of sight. Dark Cover summons shadowy smoke grenades, which he’s able to place wherever he wants — and they can pass through walls, as well.
Like another spectral assassin from Overwatch, he can use Shrouded Step to teleport to a position he can see within a certain range of himself, giving off a sound cue at the source. And his ultimate From the Shadows makes the entire map his playground, as he can teleport anywhere. He briefly appears as an apparition at the destination, slowly gaining vision as he materializes, giving him a moment to plan his attack — or giving opponents a chance to send him back to the foul pit which spawned him.
Omen is best suited to roaming the map and disrupting the enemy on both offense and defense. His smokes can open up sites, and only Breach shares his ability to blind opponents through walls. His teleports give him some lethal mobility and can make the enemy team quake in their boots when they hear him call out his ultimate. Omen is the master of the “flank-and-spank.”
- Paranoia – A shadow bolt that blinds players it contacts.
- Dark Cover – A smoke grenade. Aim is important, as the smoke can fall into place or end up under the desired location.
- Shrouded Step – Short-range teleport that produces a sound cue. Must be able to see destination.
- From the Shadows (Ultimate) – Map-wide teleport. Teleport takes time, during which you’ll be materializing at the destination. Enemies can shoot your materializing body, which will not hurt you but interrupt the teleport. Slowly gain vision at the destination. Produces a sound cue at the destination.
VALORANT Role: Duelist | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Entryfrag | MOBA Role: AP Carry
Phoenix, like Jett, is a bundle of destruction just waiting to happen. A literal firebrand. But rather than mobility, his abilities offer the opportunity to disrupt and damage opponents. Flames are his lifeblood, healing him as powerfully as they hurt his enemies. His Curveball allows him to create a flare that curves around corners and blinds opponents. Hot Hands produces a fireball that splashes an area with flame, restoring Phoenix’s health while he stands in it or damaging enemies that pass through. He can create a wall of flame with Blaze, blocking line of sight and carrying the same healing/damaging properties as his fireball. Finally, his ultimate Run it Back creates a time-limited copy of himself that’s every bit as lethal as the original.
Phoenix should be the tip of the spear for your team when attacking, following up on support abilities, and leveraging his own to burst through any defenses, leaving bodies in his wake. On defense, he’s able to slow down the flow of combat with his fireball and flame wall, and scout out the enemy safely with his clone.
- Curveball – A flare orb that blinds opponents who see it burst.
- Hot Hands – A fireball that creates a burning AoE where it lands. Standing in it will restore Phoenix’s health, and will damage enemies.
- Blaze – A flame wall that damages enemies in its wake.
- Run it Back (Ultimate) – Places a marker at Phoenix’s location and creates a time-limited clone. When the clone is killed, or the timer runs out, the clone disappears, and Phoenix returns to the marker with full health. There is a cooldown on return where he is not able to use weapons.
VALORANT Role: Duelist | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Rifler | MOBA Role: AP Carry
Raze has an explosive personality. Suffice it to say, she’s a demolitions expert. All of her abilities bring the boom to the party. Her Blast Pack is a satchel charge that sticks to surfaces, damaging anything in its radius when it detonates — except for Raze, who can use it to super-jump. Her Paint Shells are cluster bombs, detonating once for a good bit of damage, while the grenades it spawns spread out to finish the job. She even has a robot companion — Boom Bot is the little bot that could, seeking out targets before jumping into the air and blowing them into next week. And when all else fails, she busts out her ultimate: the Showstopper rocket launcher flies across the map to obliterate anyone there — and the person behind them too.
Raze is a lethal DPS Agent who is flexible enough to fill multiple roles. She can be the first one out when attacking the site, or she could be close behind, mopping up any stragglers with her explosives. On defense, she can use her cluster bombs to make the attackers think twice before pushing, or use her robot to gather intel by listening for the “target acquired” sound cue. Whatever her role, the sound of her ultimate activating is bound to strike fear into even the most hardened opponent.
- Blast Pack – A remote-detonated satchel charge that can stick to surfaces. Deals some damage to enemies nearby, and can be used to propel Raze into the air.
- Paint Shells – A cluster grenade that emits ever-smaller explosions for maximum damage.
- Boom Bot – Releases a small robot that travels in a straight line and rebounds off obstacles. If an enemy enters its field-of-view, it will emit a sound cue and chase them, detonating for lethal damage once it gets close enough.
- Showstopper (Ultimate) – Launches a rocket that travels in a straight line until it contacts an obstacle or a player, then explodes for lethal damage in a large AoE.
VALORANT Role: Sentinel | HS Role: Support | TS Role: IGL | MOBA Role: Support
Want to keep your team in the fight? Sage’s abilities can heal the wounded — and even raise the dead. As one of the only healer-focused Agents, she’s a must-have on just about any team. But before she gets to healing, she might want to use her Slow Orb — which creates an area of ice that slows opponents and offers a sound cue if they try to run through it. Her Healing Orb offers healing-over-time on either a teammate or herself, and has a sizeable cooldown to prevent overuse. She can make a wall using her Barrier Orb to block off routes around the map and control the flow of combat. Thanks to her Resurrection, even death is just a minor inconvenience — at least for one of her teammates.
Due to her team-centric abilities, and how she can slow or completely stop enemy maneuvers, Sage is an ideal candidate for the in-game leader position. She’s best suited to sticking near the rear of the battle, watching the flank, healing up the damage-dealers, and reviving the fallen. Her slow and her wall allow her to secure a site after taking it on attack, or disrupt an assault on defense.
- Slow Orb – A slowing orb that creates an AoE slow, affecting friends and foes alike.
- Healing Orb – A healing orb that regens you or friendlies in your crosshairs.
- Barrier Orb – A barrier orb that places a wall within a certain range.
- Resurrection (Ultimate) – Resurrects any dead friendly player within your crosshairs. There’s a brief cooldown and animation for them, after which they will be alive again with full health.
VALORANT Role: Initiator | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: AWPer | MOBA Role: AD Carry
Sova is a hunter in the classic sense. And he won’t let you forget it. He’s all about tracking his prey across the map before swooping in for the kill. His Shock Bolt nocks an explosive arrow to his bow, which can bounce around corners and deal a good bit of AoE damage where it lands. Like his explosive arrow, his Recon Bolt is an arrow that can bounce into position, where it sends out pulses that highlight enemies caught out in the open. His Owl Drone is manually controlled by Sova to scout around corners and fire a marking dart to track his victims. Once he finds where his prey is hiding, he can use his Hunter’s Fury ultimate ability to fire massive blasts of energy straight through the walls of their hiding place. It also highlights the enemies it doesn’t kill, making finishing them off a simple affair.
Sova has a vast collection of intel-gathering abilities that can win rounds on both attack and defense. Since a good Sova player is used to keeping enemies at range, he lends himself well to a dedicated sniping role, lingering in the wings to pick off the enemies he’s tracking one by one.
- Shock Bolt – An arrow with an explosive payload. Can bounce off walls, and detonates on landing, dealing AoE damage.
- Recon Bolt – An arrow with an intelligence payload. Can bounce off walls and sends out pulses which highlight any enemies with direct line-of-sight to the arrow.
- Owl Drone – A drone that can fire marking dart, highlights any enemy it hits.
- Hunter’s Fury (Ultimate) – Equips a bow with three high-powered bolts of energy. The fire button starts a small cooldown, telegraphing the path of the arrow briefly before it launches. Any enemy caught within takes damage and is highlighted for your team if they survive.
VALORANT Role: Controller | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Rifler | MOBA Role: AP Carry
Viper is a tough Agent to classify, as her abilities offer a lot of flexibility in how they’re applied. She can effectively slice up the map and block lines of sight, deal damage, and force enemies out of comfortable positions using her toxin-fueled toolkit. But be careful; you only have a limited reserve of toxin to work with, and it takes time to recharge. Her Poison Cloud is a grenade that emits a cloud-like smoke that also damages players moving through it. She can put up a wall with her Toxic Screen, creating opportunities to enter sites or block off an attack in an instant. Her Snake Bite grenades create pools of toxin that damage and slow enemies. And when all else fails, her Viper’s Pit ultimate creates a massive sea of toxin that remains as long as she’s within — covering entire sites in green smoke and making any retake a risky proposition.
As mentioned above, Viper is an Agent that can serve many purposes. On attack, you can use your grenades and toxin wall to deny the enemy intel and pull them out into the open. Or you could lurk around the outskirts, strategically applying your abilities to fake an assault and pick off the defenders that peek out to respond. On defense, you can cleanly lock down an entire site by yourself, popping in and out of the toxic clouds to click heads like a jack-in-the-box from hell. Or you could just use your abilities to strong-arm your way onto a site and lay waste. It all comes down to your personal playstyle.
- Poison Cloud – A reusable gas grenade that creates a poison cloud, draining your toxin reserves while active.
- Toxic Screen – A reusable gas chain launcher that creates a toxin wall, draining your toxin reserves while active.
- Snake Bite – A toxin grenade launcher. Releases a toxin grenade that deals AoE damage over time.
- Viper’s Pit (Ultimate) – A toxin emitter that creates a massive toxin cloud, similar to a smoke grenade. It damages enemies who enter and remains as long as you stay inside.
VALORANT Role: Duelist | HS Role: DPS | TS Role: Rifler/Lurker | MOBA Role: Jungler
With the release of v1.0, Valorant welcomes Reyna, the almost cyber-vampire from Mexico. Riot is showing us the true intent and skill level of Valorant with this first new champion. Going against most of the standards set in place, a majority of Reyna’s abilities require an expertise in combat already. That being said, her play-style can be as creative as the user. In order to best understand Reyna, let’s start with her ultimate. Empress as far as abilities goes is straightforward, you gain considerably higher movement, attack, and equip speeds and each kill renews the duration, potentially leading to the oft dreamed of 1v5 pentakill. Coming straight from the rulebooks of vampires, Devour is both a passive and active ability that makes Soul Orbs with each of her kills and allows her to, on activation, consume a Soul Orb to gain a massive amount of health. However, two things to note. Soul Orbs are only available for 3 seconds, and when Empress is active, you will automatically cast the ability without consuming the orb.
If that’s sounding delightful, remember we’ve still got two abilities to go through. Next up is Dismiss which also consumes an orb but provides you with intangibility for the duration. If Empress is still active, you also become invisible making you even more of a threat. Something to keep in mind here is that Dismiss and Devour both share the same usage slots, meaning you’ve got to strategize which abilities you want to use. Lastly, we have Leer which is a bit more effective than it’s Pokemon counterpart. With Leer you can cast a destructible eye a short distance from you that causes nearsightedness on all looking at it.
There seems to be no “best way” to play Reyna as your success is only limited by your capabilities. Able to charge in and disrupt an entire team, or sneak around the outskirts picking off any lingering foe, Reyna can do both and anything in between. If you’re playing her, plan out your Empress to last as long as you can. And if you’re against her, stop her ascent to the throne as best you can.
- Devour – Consume an orb for an incredible amount of healing. When ultimate is active, Devour is used automatically.
- Dismiss – Consume an orb and become intangible. When ultimate is active, Dismiss also provides invisibility.
- Leer – Cast a destructible eye a short distance away that causes shortsightedness when looked towards.
- Empress (Ultimate) – Provides a considerable boost in attack, movement, and equip speeds. Any kill made while Empress is up resets its duration.
Valorant Agents Tier List
What would a list of Agents be without ranking them by tier? While each Agent’s effectiveness largely remains in the hands of the player behind them, certain Agents are already assuming strong positions in the meta. Some abilities you simply can’t do without if you want that competitive edge. After watching several high-level VALORANT tournaments in the past two weeks and the updates made in v 1.0, here are the heroes that were most impactful in victory:
- Reyna – S+
- Sage – S
- Breach – S
- Brimstone – S
- Jett – A
- Omen – A
- Cypher – A
- Sova – A
- Viper – B
- Phoenix – C
- Raze – D
- Reyna – F
While you may not agree with the order (and its subject to change with every update), these are the facts based on actual in-game performance. We hope you find it useful as you climb the competitive ranks.
And there you have it! Stay tuned to High Ground Gaming for more VALORANT guides and coverage to come! Good luck, Agent.