According to Shroud any players who are trying to make it big in any competitive tactical shooter like VALORANT should try to avoid ranked matchmaking altogether.
The main reason behind this statement from Shroud was that people learn way quicker in custom matchmaking while they are playing against actual good players. Although he did clarify that ranked mode is certainly good enough if you are just trying to have fun. However, if you are really trying to stand out you have to practice against really good players in custom lobbies to hone your skills.
You can learn way faster in custom matches
Shroud further explained his stance on custom lobbies as he thinks that you can learn way faster you are playing with competent players in a custom lobby. When players from both attackers and defenders side know exactly what they are doing it’s going to be a constructive learning experience for both teams.
In public matchmaking, most of the time players are going to be either toxic or they just don’t know how to communicate well with each other. Furthermore, there will always be players who will intentionally throw a match just for the sake of it. Despite all the steps Riot Games have taken to create a more team play focused game, players are not going to always respect the rules.
Casual AFKs, intentional throwing, not using your microphone, etc are always going to hinder your ranked experiences. Usually, in a custom lobby, you can avoid all those shortcomings of ranked matchmaking. It is not that you won’t actually learn anything while playing ranked matches. The main problem is that you will learn at a slower pace while playing in ranked matches.
One of the ways to get better in games like VALORANT, CSGO, etc is to find a group of people that have the same interest in going pro or to climb that competitive ladder. After that one should just practice all the different smoke lineups and different agent combinations to get better at the game at a faster pace than others. At the end of the day, practicing a lot with other really good players will help you better at the game.