If you boil Valorant down to one simple goal, it is to control the Spike. The Spike is Valorant’s equivalent of the bomb in most shooters with a similar mode. The attackers carry the Spike, trying to get it to a bomb site, while the defenders try to stop them.
The early game revolves around trying to make predictions about where the other team will go, or attempts to mislead and distract. If the attackers can plant the Spike and protect it until it detonates, they win. If they can take out all the defenders, they win. If the defenders can take out all attacks, or deactivate the Spike if it is planted, they win.
How the Spike works
At the beginning of each round, the Spike will be given to a random member of the attacking team. If they do not want to carry the Spike, they can drop it by hitting the G key.
It’s a good idea to decide who is carrying the Spike before the round starts, then swap quickly when it begins. Who exactly carries the Spike will depend on loadouts, tactics, and player skill.
You can only plant the spike on the bomb sites, which will be outlined in yellow on the map, and it can be planted by hitting the number 4 key. Once planted, it takes 45 seconds to explode, and it must be defended during this time. It is important to place the spike somewhere that allows you to defend it well, so having intimate knowledge of all bombs sites in the game, and firing angels into and out of them is a good idea.
When dropped, the Spike will appear on the minimap and can be pinged with the Z button.
If a defender can get to a planted Spike, it will take them seven of the longest seconds of their life to disarm it. During this time, they are vulnerable to enemies, so ideally, they will know where those enemies are or have friendlies to offer them covering fire.