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Published: 28/Feb/2021 5:30 Updated: 17/Mar/2021 9:51by James Busby
Riot Games’ Valorant is still in its infancy compared with the likes of Overwatch and CS:GO, but there’s already a clear weapon meta forming. Here’s a full breakdown of the best weapons that you should be using to gain the competitive edge.
There are currently 17 guns to choose from in Valorant and each one brings something different to the table. From the lightning-fast rounds of the Spectre to the slow but deadly shots from the Operator, there’s a gun for every skill level and situation.
However, if you want to beat the competition and secure those all-important wins, you’ll want to spend your hard-earned Creds on the best guns.
Of course, knowing which gun to choose can be a little tricky at times, especially when some are much better than others. Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy tier list that covers all the current weapons available in Valorant, ranking them on their overall damage and usability.
You know the Operator just had to be number one. The sniper delivers the most single-shot damage in the entire game, giving sharpshooters the chance to send their opposite number to the sidelines in just one bullet.
Every defensive set-up in Valorant revolves around a couple of Operators holding key angles, and the gun is almost impossible to push through without proper utility usage. It costs 5,000 Creds for a reason, and that’s why it’s S-tier.
While the Vandal versus Phantom debate has raged on since Valorant’s closed beta, we believe the Vandal offers much greater kill potential thanks to its ability to delete opponents with just one shot to the head (with no drop-off distance).
The Vandal is extremely lethal in both close quarters and long-range engagements, making it one of – if not the most – versatile gun in the current meta. If you’re comfortable with tapping heads and can master this weapon’s spray pattern, this should be your go-to on all buy rounds.
The Phantom may not deal as much damage as the Vandal, but its overall accuracy and high fire rate can snuff the life out of even the hardiest of foes. Equipped with a silencer and 30-round magazine, the Phantom is an absolute laser in short to medium range firefights.
That being said, the battle between Phantom or Vandal often comes down to personal preference. They’re both great. The Phantom technically has a faster time-to-kill due to its fire rate, so if you need to spray down enemies in a pinch, you can easily do it with the silenced rifle.
The Spectre is the best of the SMGs, and one of the best all-round guns in Valorant. If the Vandal and Phantom are out of your price range, then buying up a Spectre can give you some extra firepower without breaking the bank.
In order to get the most out of this deadly SMGs rapid rounds, try to always look for flanking opportunities where you can get behind your foes, or hold tight angles where the fire rate will decimate enemies. It’s an absolute bullet hose up close, but be sure to tap lightly when pinging enemies from afar.
The Sheriff doesn’t come cheap — the 800 Creds pistol takes up all your cash on pistol rounds. However, the price tag is certainly fit for the power it brings. The initial cost of entry may put off a lot of players who might want some utility, but all it takes is one tap to get a rifle in your hands.
The one-shot kill of the Sheriff at 0-30 meters makes it great in eco rounds to try and scupper together a Thrifty victory. If you can deal with the high recoil, and have the aim to get those cheeky one-taps, you should look at picking up the Sheriff as your sidearm.
The Marshal is Valorant’s more nimble Sniper. Equipped with a 3.5x scope and five-round magazine, this gun should only be picked if you know that you can land headshots the vast majority of the time, as both body and leg hits won’t outright kill an armoured Agent.
The recent price decrease to 1,000 Creds has made it a viable buy when you force-up, or even on eco rounds. It’s also much faster now when scoped in after the patch. Much like the Sheriff, all it takes is one bullet to the head to get an upgrade to an even better gun.
Don’t be fooled by Bucky’s cheap price point of 900 Creds, as this shotgun packs a mean punch. The Bucky’s five-round clip may be lower than that of the Judge, but its overall damage is much higher, giving you plenty of opportunities to quickly drop close-range enemies before reloading.
If that wasn’t enough, the Bucky’s alternate fire also allows players to hit targets at medium range, giving it another damage option should you wish to poke your target from afar.
As the name suggests, the Ghost offers a more stealthy sidearm option for those looking to silently take down their foes. At face value, the Ghost may appear to be a lot weaker than the Sheriff, but its forgiving 15-round magazine and decent fire rate (6.75 rounds/sec) allow players to quickly fire off rounds when they need them the most.
This trusty pistol delivers high accuracy and consistent damage during early-game rounds, so be sure to add this spectral Sidearm to your arsenal if you’re looking to hold back your Creds for some utility.
The Frenzy dominated the Valorant meta for about two weeks before Riot nerfed it. While they didn’t change much, increasing its cost from 400 to 500 nipped most of its power in the bud. The fully-automatic pistol is still a great sidearm to pick up, but it’s no longer as flexible.
The fire rate of 10 rounds a second means you can explosively burst someone down before they react, although it means you’ll have to watch your ammo management with only 13 rounds in a clip. Nevertheless, it’s an upgrade on the Classic, but not as good as the Ghost now.
Much like the Frenzy, the Stinger was in vogue in Valorant for a few weeks early in 2021. The cheap SMG was lauded for its incredible firepower up close for only 1,000 Creds. You could rush a site, dump a mag in no time with its quick fire rate, and overwhelm the enemy.
However, the patch 2.03 nerfs really hit the Stinger hard. The price increase to 1,100 Creds, fire rate reduction to 16 rounds per second, and the recoil increase has made it a bit harder to use. It’s still decent though, so if you need to force up but are strapped for cash, it’s a good choice.
While the Bulldog may have the lowest damage profile in the Rifle category, it more than makes up for this with its overall ease of use. The Bulldog’s upwards kick can be a little tricky to control when used fully auto, so if you’re struggling to land shots, consider switching to the gun’s alternate burst mode.
This trusty underdog will only set you back a mere 2,100 Creds — so if you find yourself strapped for cash or just want to save the dollars for abilities, then you really can’t go wrong with Bulldog.
If you like the idea of mowing down and suppressing your enemies with a hail of bullets, then this beast will do just that. The Odin continues to wreak havoc on the battlefield, thanks to its high bullet penetration, decent damage, monstrous 100-round magazine, and blisteringly fast fire rate.
Being able to both clear out pesky campers and lockdown enemy positions is beneficial for any team, especially when you need to clutch out a close game. The Odin has become a Sova staple for this reason: Fire a Recon Bolt, and just spray.
However, you should use it with caution, as the Odin is the most clunky weapon available in Valorant. If agility is your thing, this might not be the one for you.
This fully-automatic shotgun is a great option for those that simply wish to rush onto the objective and plant the Spike as quickly as possible. While its damage may be lower than that of the Bucky, its high rate of fire and great spread allows you to consistently pepper targets without any real downtime.
The issue is the cost though. You can pick up an SMG or the Bucky for less and still do quite a bit of damage while maintaining your Creds. That’s why we think the Judge belongs in C-tier.
Valorant’s free sidearm used to be the best of the bunch — aside from the Sheriff. However, it’s been slowly nerfed back into its place. If used correctly, the Classic can be deadly, especially with its right click. It does a lot of burst damage, and can take down someone if you connect with the head.
Sure it doesn’t stand up to the raw power of the Sheriff or the Ghost now, but keep practicing with this little guy and eventually you’ll be popping heads in no time.
The Ares is the Odin’s younger brother, and it definitely serves its place on the battlefield. Its big magazine and decent damage makes it a decent buy for spamming through walls when you can’t afford an Odin (B on Ascent, anyone?).
However, the Ares is relatively inflexible. In every other situation, you may as well drop your 1,600 Creds into a Spectre to get a more mobile and better gun.
The Shorty is the most satisfying yet excruciatingly frustrating sidearms to use in Valoarnt. Due to its incredibly short-range, two-round magazine, the Shorty is best used as an ambush-style weapon.
This weapon is ideal if you’re looking to catch an enemy off-guard. Lurking in areas which promote close-quarters engagements will help you get the most out of this semi-automatic shotgun. However, it’s very inflexible, and if the enemy doesn’t come to you, you’re useless.
This semi-automatic Rifle packs a real punch, dealing a whopping 65 body shot damage and a skull-shattering 195 headshot damage. Unfortunately, it misses out on a high placing because it’s just out of place in the meta, and is outshone by cheaper guns.
If you have the aim the Guardian is good, but you may as well just pick up a Marshal instead. It does the same job of holding down angles, all while being half the price.
Dare we even include this on the list, but Valorant’s Knife serves two purposes; running around the map fast, and BM’ing enemies who get stuck in Killjoy’s Ultimate. The Knife has horrible hit registration, does barely any damage, and ultimately doesn’t even give you extra Creds for a kill.
Riot is looking at changing it up, but for now, it’s not even worth pulling out the Knife if you run out of ammo in a fight. Just reload and unload another clip if you live that long.
So there you have it. There’s the best weapons in Valorant, filtered by each category. While there are pros and cons to each weapon, this tier list will better inform your choices as you venture through Future Earth.