VALORANT is no longer an unknown game! Even though it’s been around for less than two years, it has already established itself as one of the most popular FPS esports out there. Developed by Riot Games, the folks behind League of Legends and several other competitive titles, VALORANT was always going to be a critically successful title. But, only a few expected it to grow as much as it has… and none could’ve predicted the boom it would create on the esports industry and esports betting markets.
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VALORANT Gameplay Basics
Today, though, we’re not here to talk about VALORANT’s growing popularity. That’s a complex topic that demands a comprehensive piece of its own. Instead, we’ll be focusing on the main aspect that makes VALORANT different to its direct competitor CSGO – agents.
But, to understand the importance of agents, you first need to know the core gameplay mechanics. That said, let’s kick things off with the basics!
VALORANT is a tactical first-person shooter with close-quarter combat, relatively small map, and is played in a 5v5 manner. Riot Games’ FPS jewel was meant to be a big name in the esports industry from ground up. In other words, everything about the game was catered to adhere to certain esports standards and unwritten rules. So yeah, it’s no surprise that VALORANT is among the most popular esports titles out there.
For that reason, the game is in many ways similar to CSGO, but still features enough notable discrepancies which allow users to have a completely different gameplay experience. Allow us to elaborate:
VALORANT Maps 101
VALORANT’s maps are similar to CSGO’s maps. They’re (relatively) small, packed with narrow passageways and plenty of cover options to work in favor of the game’s short TTK (time to kill) mechanics. The gameplay setup in both games is identical – one team has to plant the bomb/spike at one of two/three locations and the other team has to either take down the opponents before planting the bomb/spike, or defuse it before the explosion.
Today, we're pushing our new “deterministic” map system out to all regions. This should increase the variety of maps in your queue based on a system we tested at the start of Patch 4.04. You can read how it all works in our most recent patch notes, under Competitive Updates. https://t.co/VbuQOQauSI
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) March 4, 2022
VALORANT maps have unique twists, though. For instance, one map doesn’t have two but three bomb sites. Another has a big zipline in the center that allows for numerous lurking maneuvers… and there’s one with two portals for quick flanks or contact plays. These unique twists combined with abilities of unique playable characters make for a much different experience than CSGO’s conventional approach.
VALORANT Agents 101
Perhaps the biggest difference between CSGO and VALORANT lies in the latter’s playable characters and their unique abilities. At the time of writing this piece, there are eighteen VALORANT agents, each with its own arsenal of abilities.
All VALORANT agents are divided into four main categories, but we’ll talk more about that later on. For now, let’s just say VALORANT agents are what makes the game so unique and, we’ll dare to say, fun to play.
VALORANT Agents | Who Are They?
All VALORANT agents have a backstory. The main part of it, however, is that they all come from different countries, sort of like Rainbow Six operators. For example, Killjoy is from Germany, Sova is from Russia, Phoenix is from the United Kingdom – at the moment, VALORANT agents come from fifteen different countries. Two agents are from the United States (Brimstone and Viper), while two come from unknown locations (Omen and KAY/O).
Here’s the list of all VALORANT agents currently available in the game:
The names of all #VALORANT Agents! (That we know)
Sage- Ling Ying Wei
Brimstone- Liam Byrne
Viper- Sabine Callas
Raze- Tayane Alves
Omen- Doesn’t have one😳
Chamber- Vincent Fabron
(Rest in thread) pic.twitter.com/hMt0w4jxg8
— Esportscenter (@_esportscenter) March 6, 2022
- Q – Incendiary
- W – Sky Smoke
- E – Stim Beacon
- X – Orbital Strike
Brimstone’s arsenal includes an incendiary grenade, three pinpoint-accurate smoke grenades, attack speed buff, and lethal orbital strike that can annihilate entire teams. He’s great for both offense and defense, though he’s typically used for contact plays thanks to the aforementioned smokes.
- Q – Poison Cloud
- W – Toxic Screen
- E – Snake Bite
- X – Viper’s Pit
Viper is phenomenal in post-plant situations, with or without her ultimate ability. The toxic queen’s unique playstyle differentiates her from the rest of the bunch and toxic mechanics perfectly fit the way she’s supposed to play.
- Q – Paranoia
- W – Dark Cover
- E – Shrouded Step
- X – From the Shadows
This shadowy figure can nearsight enemies, teleport across the map and make his opponents paranoid. He’s good at smoking off key locations too, making him viable for pushing and counter-pushing.
- Q – Nova Pulse
- W – Nebula
- E – Gravity Well
- X – Astral Form / Cosmic Divide
Don’t get it twisted – Astra is the most complicated VALORANT agent. Her Astral Form allows you to play around with her stars and control chokepoints on the map. Easier said than done, though, as properly executing plays with Astra is not that straightforward.
- Q – Curveball
- W – Hot Hands
- E – Blaze
- X – Run it Back
Even though Phoenix isn’t as popular as he used to be, the UK-based VALORANT agent has potent healing, sight blocking, and two effective flashes. His ultimate allows him to engage in fights and die without suffering the consequences.
- Q – Updraft
- W – Tailwind
- E – Cloudburst
- X – Blade Storm
Jett’s arsenal is all about agility and rushing. She can jump and hover, she can close gaps in an instance, and her ultimate ability allows her to be a one-hit killing machine without even buying a weapon. If you love playing duelists, she’s going to be your favorite VALORANT agent!
- Q – Devour
- W – Dismiss
- E – Leer
- X – Empress
Reyna is the go-to VALORANT agent for smurfs across all ranks. Even though she’s been nerfed, Reyna still offers second-to-none carrying potential. If you can constantly get kills with her, you’ll be rewarded with an inexhaustible amount of health points.
- Q – Blast Pack
- W – Paint Shells
- E – Boom Bot
- X – Showstopper
Raze is a great VALORANT agent for beginners. She has an awesome colour grenade, a cute boom bot that can wreak havoc on your opponents, and a rocket-jump-like grenade to help her reach elevated places. Her ultimate is a rocket launcher which can kill multiple enemies with a single hit.
- Q – Blindside
- W – Gatecrash
- E – Fakeout
- X – Dimensional Rift
Yoru’s recent rework has finally made him viable again. He’s now better at the things he was supposed to be good at all along, tricking the opposition and luring them into his mind games. If you’ve loved Yoru before the rework, you’ll now like him even more!
If you can’t see him, it’s because you have no vision. Take the enemy by surprise as Yoru, the newest Agent in VALORANT. pic.twitter.com/ej7KSi81U7
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) January 11, 2021
- Q – Shock Bolt
- W – Recon Bolt
- E – Owl Drone
- X – Hunter’s Fury
Sova’s role in VALORANT is to scout ahead, deal damage following successful scouting attempts, and deal lethal damage in post-plant situations. He’s a great initiator and can be a valuable asset to every team… if in the right hands, of course.
- Q – Flashpoint
- W – Fault Line
- E – Aftershock
- X – Rolling Thunder
Breach is one of the best initiators in the game. He has knock-ups, flashes, and corner clearance. His ultimate is a massive knock-up that can, if used correctly, easily knock up the entire opposing team.
- Q – Trailblazer
- W – Guiding Light
- E – Regrowth
- X – Seekers
A viable support VALORANT agent that can heal, flash, and initiate. Her ultimate ability sends out seekers which track three closest opponents and nearsights them. They can be destroyed, yes, but they’ll still cause chaos during hard pushes.
- Q – Flash/Drive
- W – Zero/Point
- E – Frag/Ment
- X – Null/CMD
KAY/O has a flash, ability blocker, and a fragment grenade. But, his ultimate ability is even crazier. When downed, KAY/O can be resurrected. When alive, activated ultimate fires pulses and the enemies they hit are suppressed.
- Q – Relay Bolt
- W – High Gear
- E – Fast Lane
- X – Overdrive
Neon is the newest duelist agent in VALORANT. Her arsenal is based on speed, precision, and isolation. She can create her own corridors, slide and attack with laser beams. She still has the novelty factor and many players aren’t used to playing against her. If you master her now, you’ll be set up for quite a few rank-ups.
We launched Neon, but you brought her to life.
This trailer is powered by fans worldwide, who electrified us with their stunning fan art, incredible cosplay, clutch gameplay and more. https://t.co/mCt8WxNP9k pic.twitter.com/4r5YMzAOUg
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) February 18, 2022
- Q – Alarmbot
- W – Turret
- E – Nanoswarm
- X – Lockdown
Killjoy’s arsenal can be used for both pushing and defending. Alarmbots, turrets, and nanoswarm are great for defending sites, even remotely, from a lurking position. As for the ulti, it can be used in several ways, both offensively and defensively, and even in post-plant situations.
- Q – Cyber Cage
- W – Spycam
- E – Trapwire
- X – Neural Theft
Cypher’s defensive equipment is second to none. Cameras for scouting remote locations, traps for incoming pushers, and cages to trap them in. Not to mention his ultimate ability which briefly shows and marks all opponents.
- Q – Slow Orb
- W – Healing Orb
- E – Barrier Orb
- X – Resurrection
Sage is the go-to support in the game. She’s one of the most popular VALORANT agents out there and all of her abilities are pretty self-explanatory. You can heal, you can block corridors, you can slow down enemy movement, and you can resurrect fallen allies. It doesn’t come any simpler than this.
- Q – Headhunter
- W – Rendezvous
- E – Trademark
- X – Tour de Force
Chamber’s skills include two weapons, a teleport mechanic, and a slow orb. This allows him to quickly change positions, save money by buying Headhunter bullets, and even opt for a double-rifle setup with ultimate serving as the Operator.
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Types of VALORANT Agents
As mentioned earlier, there are 18 VALORANT agents in the game, divided into four main categories. They are as follows:
Duelists are there to win rounds with their offensive, often damage-dealing and gap-closing, abilities and impeccable aim. They’re the frontrunners, coming in right after the initiators have done their part and the controllers have blocked off certain portions of the battlefield.
Here are the six currently available VALORANT duelist agents:
As their name suggests, initiators are there to initiate team fights and ensure their team has the upper hand in the ordeal. They do so by gathering information about opponents’ positioning, blocking off their abilities, or slowing them down and preventing vision.
Here are the four currently available initiators:
Sentinels are your typical supporting agents which aren’t that well-versed in the fragging department but bring a lot of good in other areas. Whether we’re talking about Killjoy’s defensive setups, Cypher’s traps and vision, Chamber’s quick rotations, or Sage’s healing and revival abilities, one thing is certain – you need at least one sentinel in every team!
Controllers’ abilities are all about… well, uhm, control. They’re there to set up offensive strikes or fortify defensive positions. Their arsenals offer unique abilities which include stuff like lengthy smokes, walls, blinds, area of effect damage, and other forms of crowd control.
Most Popular VALORANT Agents
Now that you’re familiar with all eighteen VALORANT agents, let’s check out the five most popular ones and see exactly why people love playing with them!
Reyna is still the most popular VALORANT agent! Her pick rate is at an astonishing 67.3% and she’s getting 13.5% first blood kills. However, her win rate isn’t the best. It’s at 46.6%, which is quite surprising considering she’s the go-to VALORANT agent for lower-tier smurfs.
That’s because her abilities, when coupled with superior aim and mechanics, are often enough to singlehandedly wipe out an entire team, match in and match out. But, that’s a double-edged sword for people who just can’t get kills. Without kills, there’s no healing… and without healing, the fragging potential falls drastically. The nerfs have done their job, that’s for sure!
Next up – Sage! She’s often labeled as the bread and butter of support agents in VALORANT. Her pick rate is just below Reyna’s at 67%, and her win rate is slightly higher at 47%. Why do people love to play Sage? Well, you’d think it’s because she’s the best support agent in VALORANT. And while that is the case in the VALORANT Champions Tour and higher levels of competitive play, lower ranks use it because of her healing ability… in scenarios where Reyna gets instalocked, that is.
Jett is the go-to choice for entry-level duelists. She’s a tough nut to crack for beginners, all thanks to her agility and jumping. Her ultimate is a dream come true for either smurfs or players who are joining in the lower ranks from another FPS game like CSGO. She can play Operator, she can play shotguns. At lower levels, she can do anything, really… even act as both pushing controller and initiator.
Neon is the newest VALORANT agent and, at least for the moment, the reason behind her popularity lies in her novelty factor. Her arsenal is thrilling, to say the least, giving the word duelist a whole new meaning. It’s still too early to judge her numbers, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Sova is picked in 34% matches and has just shy of 50% win rate. He’s not picked often in lower-tier matches, but he’s the bread and butter of top-level competitive play. His scouting ability coupled with his post-plant prowess is second to none. In the right hands, Sova can be an excellent addition to any team composition. He’s one of the most versatile VALORANT agents out there!
How to Unlock VALORANT Agents
Unfortunately, you won’t get direct access to all VALORANT agents the first time you boot up the game. You’ll only get a handful of them, but no worries, you’ll be able to unlock the first two agents in no time.
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What to do after the first two unlocks? Well, it’s simple – there are two main ways of unlocking VALORANT agents and they are as follows:
Leveling Agent Contracts
All VALORANT agents have their own contracts. You can level them up by playing the game and fulfilling daily/weekly challenges. You’ll get the agent after leveling up its contract to 5. You’ll get a special weapon skin after fully leveling up the contract (reaching level 10). On top of that, you’ll also get a bunch of smaller rewards like player cards, titles, sprays, and gunbuddies in between levels 1 and 10.
Buying Agent Contracts
Of course, if your pockets are deep enough and you don’t want to wait to manually level up your agents’ contracts, you can always buy VALORANT points. The prices vary from country to country so we won’t go into further details here.
VALORANT Agent Tier List
Creating tier lists featuring the best VALORANT agents is not easy. It’s because there are no clear-cut measuring tools for their overall contribution. That said, take all the tier lists you see with a pinch of salt, including this one:
VALORANT Agent FAQs
How to unlock agents in VALORANT?
VALORANT agents can be unlocked by leveling up their contracts, either by playing the game and completing missions or buying VALORANT Points.
Which are the best VALORANT agents?
According to Valorbuff meta stats: Killjoy, Viper, and Chamber are the only three VALORANT agents with above 50% win rate. As for the worst agents, Yoru, KAY/O and Phoenix have the lowest win rates. Please keep in mind that these numbers are powered by stats coming from all of the game’s game modes, maps, and ranks. They don’t solely reflect on the esports side of things.
How many VALORANT agents are there?
At the time of writing this piece about the most popular VALORANT agents, the game featured eighteen agents with Neon being the newest one. No worries, at least one or two more VALORANT agents will be released by the end of the year.
What are VALORANT agent contracts?
VALORANT agent contracts can be leveled up to earn numerous prizes including the actual agents. Each agent contract has ten levels. Upon reaching level five, you’ll automatically get the agent. On fully leveling up an agent’s contract, you’ll get a special weapon skin too.
How to level up agent contracts in VALORANT?
There are two ways you can level up contracts to get new VALORANT agents. The first way is to just play the game and complete all available daily and weekly challenges. The second way is to put your credit card to good use and buy VALORANT Points which you can then use to automatically unlock the next contract level.