Valorant competitive guide 2022: 10 things beginners should avoid doing in ranked matchmaking

Valorant beginner’s guide for competitive matchmaking (Image via Riot Games)
Valorant beginner’s guide for competitive matchmaking (Image via Riot Games)

As with every other competitive game, Riot's tactical shooter Valorant has a considerable learning curve, especially for players that haven’t played any tactical shooters before. If they truly want to master a game, they must avoid making certain mistakes that newcomers make.

Valorant has plenty of Agents, guns, maps and abilities. This might overwhelm new players who have to learn a lot of fundamentals in order to get better at the game. By the end of this guide, beginners will have the knowledge to avoid mistakes that new players make when starting out.

10 mistakes beginners should avoid in Valorant

1) Not compensating for recoil


Valorant isn’t a run of the mill shooter game where players can run and gun. Some FPS titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty are a bit on the casual side when it comes to gun handling, but Valorant’s gun mechanics are based on the OG competitive game known as Counter Strike. Every gun feels unique when it comes to recoil patterns, bullet spreads, weapon damage, etc.

Recoil control in Valorant is minimal although it is present. Players need to learn the specific recoil patterns for every weapon. All of these things need to be kept in mind while using a weapon.

The primary mistake that new players make is not compensating for a weapon's recoil. While spraying-and-praying helps in lower ranks, as players start climbing, they’ll find that their kill-death ratio will start diminishing if they keep doing the same thing over and over again.

It is recommended to learn the spray patterns of the weapon and compensate for it by pulling down the mouse in the opposite direction of the recoil to hit the target.

2) Mismanaging economy


New players might find it difficult to get a grip on their spending when they are low on creds (Valorant’s in-game currency). It is important to buy guns and abilities that are useful on Eco rounds instead of splurging on unnecessary things.

Teams with Vandals and Phantoms will almost always manage to overpower a team with Spectres and Bulldogs. Since a Valorant match consists of many rounds, it is important for players to understand the importance of managing the economy throughout the game.

New players might think it makes sense to buy the best guns, armor, and abilities available with the economy. However, it is advisable to save on rounds where the economy is in a crunch and buy according to the state of the game.

3) Incorrect crosshair placement


Crosshair placement in a competitive FPS game like Valorant is almost a no-brainer. It is one of the core fundamentals of any tactical shooter that takes itself seriously. This is because unlike other FPS games like Apex Legends or Call of Duty Warzone, there are no rechargeable shields here.

A clash between players often ends in the blink of an eye, and because of this it’s important to place the crosshairs at the head level as players move around the map. The distance that players need to move the crosshairs in order to get a kill decreases and so does the reaction time, which brings a clear advantage to the table.

4) Unnecessarily reloading


It is one of those guilty players that players in Valorant at most skill levels fall into the trap of doing so from time to time.

It’s more of a reflex than anything else to reload as soon as a player gets a kill, even though there are plenty of bullets remaining in the magazine. This practice can often be fatal as players can be caught off guard by enemies who are close by.

Players should always fall back to cover or wait a bit to see if any enemies are nearby. Another reason to not reload is to avoid giving up the position of the player through the reload sound. This practice can be very easily avoided if a player consciously decides not to do this over and over again.

5) Not having any map knowledge


One of the most crucial aspects of a tactical shooter like Valorant is map knowledge. Players need to be familiar with the surroundings of every map. Enemies can be hidden in some spots and it's quite useful to pre-aim at a known spot when peeking out of a corner.

For certain Agent types like Controller and Sentinel, map knowledge is even more crucial as players can use their abilities more effectively at specific locations of a map. Viper mains need to know good spots to use her Poison Wall, and Sage mains need to be aware of spots to use her Ice Wall effectively.

6) Bad team composition


Valorant is a team game and players who opt for solo-play can only go so far without coordinating with the rest of the team. Players need to figure out how to create a balanced team. It’s also advisable that they play with friends or others whose playstyle they are familiar with.

A proper team needs to have a good balance between Duelists, Intitators, Sentinels, and Controlle Agents. A good example of a balanced team can be using Omen for smokes, Sova for recon, Reyna and Jett for attacking, and Sage for healing and blocking.

7) Not using sound cues


Sound cues are crucial in Valorant and as such it is important to listen as well as not give away position to the opposition. Sound is a resource in itself and playing around it is important in Valorant.

It forms an important part of Valorant's core gameplay. Using abilities, running, gunning, falling from a height, and even reloading all make noise, so players need to know this.

Walking is what does not give away the position of a player as it is completely silent. Although walking can make pushes a bit slower, it is advisable to use it in certain instances, like when getting at an enemy. It’s completely inappropriate when rushing to a site though.

8) Not warming up before competitive matches


A surprising number of new players don’t warm up before getting into the competitive lobby. This usually results in subpar aiming skills when getting into the first match of the day. A lot depends on the aiming skills of the player in Valorant and hence it's important to warm those muscles up.

A player should focus their practice on the guns that they use the most in a game. Players must also use Agents abilities in warm-up matches to get a feel for them. Most improvements come down to muscle memory and practice, simply warming the motor neurons up before a match goes a long way.

9) Inefficient usage of abilities


The ability of the Agents allows players and teams to control the flow of the round and even make game-winning plays. Newer players might misfire or misuse them when they're not necessary, letting them go to waste.

Other than this, beginners tend to use their abilities inefficiently. Players must rely on information from teammates and themselves to use their abilities to maximum potential. There are certain abilities like Brimstone’s Incendiary which are much more effective in a post-plant scenario.

10) Rushing into ranked matches with minimal practice


For players who want to get to the Radiant rank, or even the Diamond or the Platinum rank in Valorant, there needs to be some dedication in order to rank up.

Radiant players have a lot more hours of practice than Diamond players and so on. Even an hour of aim training per day can go a long way in helping players improve their aim and flicking skills.

Valorant has a practice mode with a training range where players can try out different modes in order to improve upon the basics. Players can also play unranked or custom matches with teammates in order to level up their skills.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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