As you might expect for a game that is aiming at the competitive shooter scene, Valorant has a reasonably small, but very focused set of guns which players are about to purchase during the buy phase of a round. Almost all of them have their uses, and picking the right time to take a certain gun can make the difference between a successful and a failed round.
That said, there is always going to be a set of weapons that, from a meta standpoint, will be essential picks. Much like the game that Valorant is taking aim at, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there are guns that are essential picks as everyone in the team has money to spend as well as those that are the best bang for your buck when you’re looking after your team’s economy. And some will feel very familiar once you pick it up too.
Here are the best guns that you can pick for your team in Valorant.
In Counter-Strike, you do not have access to all of the game’s guns. Instead, you have a set weapon list to choose from based on whether you are attacking (as the Terrorists) or defending (as the Counter-terrorist). However, the two guns that have stood the test of time for pretty much the entire series is the AK47 and the M4A1 on each team, respectively. They are the premier assault rifles.
Valorant has two rifles that play similar roles, and feel very familiar to their Counter-Strike counterparts in the Vandal and the Phantom. The Vandal has more power but has a bigger kick, while the Phantom isn’t as powerful, especially at range, but has a faster fire rate, a bigger ammo magazine, and a silencer.
But much like Counter-Strike, where the AK47 is almost certainly the better gun in the right hands, the Vandal’s higher damage puts it just ahead here. With the game’s shooting mechanics working with realistic hitscan, where the first one or two bullets are usually highly accurate on the crosshair, that extra damage from the Vandal, with a guaranteed kill at any range to the head, means you should make it your weapon of choice.
The second most iconic in Counter-Strike after the AK47 is the Magnum Sniper Rifle, better known as the AWP. A gun that is a one-hit kill across almost any body part is a powerful weapon, which is why it is one of the most expensive in the game, and teams typically only see one member take one to cover a large area, though particularly skilled players can use it at closer range.
The Operator is almost identical to this. It’s the game’s premier sniper rifle, and a shot to anything other than limbs is a one-hit kill. It’s costly, but in the right hands, it’s devastating. Getting a kill early can set the tone of a round very early, with teams lacking vital utility skills of each character that goes down.
The maps as it stands are more heavily orientated to close quarters and mid-range, but as the game development progresses, the Operator will become more important, so learning to use the Operator effectively now will hold you in good stead later on.
SMGs tend to be secondary to rifles when it comes to more serious shooting games. They are cheap, have a high rate of fire, and are fairly consistent in how much you can expect when spraying with them, but don’t carry the same amount of damage that the rifles do, and lose accuracy much faster after the first shot.
That said, the Spectre SMG is a great option early in the game when teams have not yet earned enough cash to get the bigger guns. You shouldn’t rely on the Spectre at long range, but it can still be effective at mid-range and can be used to great effect in close quarters. They also make for a good choice if you are trying to rush a site or position.
The Vandal and Phantom are likely to take the limelight when it comes to the assault rifle section due to their automatic fire and good damage. However, the Guardian shouldn’t be slept on because it’s one of the best guns in the game.
Not only does it pack enough damage to kill someone with a headshot regardless of range, but the thing that puts many players off it, it’s semi-automatic fire, actually has the added benefit of encouraging short, burst firing instead of relying on guns that you can spray. Spraying is the absolute last option you should consider. The Guardian will help you to kick the habit of other, more arcadey shooters and help you hone your aim.
Learning to use one pistol will be pivotal to making a good start to a half. You won’t be able to afford any more than a sidearm in the first round. The Classic pistol is not accurate enough to use consistently, and the Shorty and Frenzy are both poor choices to spend your credits. With the skills in the game that you also have to buy, you have a choice to make. Take a Ghost and some skills, or go for the Sheriff Revolver.
Except here, the Ghost is arguably the best choice regardless. Decent accuracy even from range, and good damage help to elevate it, but the wild kick on the Sheriff means that if you pick the Revolver, you have to be sure that you’re going to get a good shot on the enemy while also being without your skills. The Ghost only loses out to the Sheriff on straight damage, but in truth, the pros of the Ghost outweigh the Sheriff heavily, so you should make it your sidearm of choice.
Like SMGs, Shotguns are more of a novelty act to the assault rifle’s main event. Their presence in some genres of the first-person shooter is beneficial, but when it comes to a game that uses hitscan for registering shots at players with guns, they are probably the least useful guns at anything beyond directly in front of you.
That’s no different in Valorant, but thankfully, if you are at close range, the Judge is a great gun to have. A semi-automatic shotgun means you won’t be manually loading shells or pumping after each shot. It’s pointless taking it for anything other than going in close, but what it can do, it does incredibly well.