VALORANT: What Agents to Learn first?

VALORANT is one of the biggest names in the competitive First-Person Shooters space and has gained massive popularity. So for those who are just jumping into the game, this guide will help you to know what agents you should learn first.

Just recently celebrating its second Anniversary and pulling off a successful year-round Championship known as Valorant Champions Tour 2021, VALORANT has had one of the most successful runs in the FPS eSports scene. Due to its massive popularity, it has attracted a vast player base, with the daily concurrent players coming in at 1.4million as of March 2022.

Those unfamiliar with FPS games or Tactical shooters might find it a bit difficult to get started in the game but do not fret. With this guide, you will be out there fragging in no time. In this game, you can play as unique characters called Agents. Each Agent comes with their own set of abilities and playstyles. The Agents in VALORANT are divided into certain classes depending on these abilities and their roles in the game; more on that later. This guide will mainly focus on a few of the most accessible Agents to learn from each role. But, they can also bring the most impact on the game.

The Objective of VALORANT

VALORANT is played in rounds consisting of two halves where teams switch between Attacking and Defending sides. Each half consists of 12 rounds each, and the first team to score 13 points wins the game. The game follows an in-game credit system with its own economy. Each team gets a fixed amount of credits at the start and earns credits for the next round depending on their performance and round result. Guns and abilities need to be purchased via these credits. VALORANT is a tactical shooter with each player properly fulfilling a specific role in the team, so you need to pick an Agent that is not only a good fit for the team but also someone you can play really well.

What are Agents?

Agents are unique characters, each with a different set of special and ultimate abilities. Based on this skillset and loadout, each Agent has a different role and playstyle in the team. A team cannot pick more than one of the same Agents, but opposite teams can pick the identical Agent. Every Agent has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are good at fragging out, while others are good at holding down a site or playing a support role.

Agents are classed into 4 roles depending on their abilities and playstyle. They are Controller, Duelist, Initiator, and Sentinel.

Controller: Their job is to gain map control by blocking the enemy’s line of sight and closing down angles creating safety for their allies.

Duelists: These agents have abilities that specifically enable them to get the highest number of kills.

Initiator: Their job is to use their abilities and gather intel on the enemies’ whereabouts. They also set their team up for entering and retaking a site.

Sentinel: Their job is to lock down the map with their defensive abilities as well as protect their team from flanks.

What Agents to learn first – Best beginner Agent

Now that you have a general idea about the objective of VALORANT Agents and their roles, it’s time to understand how they all tie in together to play the game effectively. Since VALORANT is a team-based game that requires contribution from all the roles to win the game, it is recommended to have a balanced team. Unless you’re always playing in a 5 man squad with fixed roles, it is a good idea to learn at least 1 agent from each role. So in no particular order, let’s get started on the agents you need to learn first in VALORANT.

Killjoy

Killjoy in the Agent Selection screen
Killjoy in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Sentinel

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Killjoy’s Agent Contract

Killjoy is a brilliant German Inventor, Scientist and plays the role of a Sentinel in VALORANT. Her abilities include an automated turret, alarm bot, and swarm grenade. These abilities enable her to effectively lock down a site and secure flanks.

Since these abilities do not require any advanced tactics and timing, they are extremely effective against other new players. Her ultimate is also easy to use and clears out an entire site while defending or retaking. With knowledge about some basic defensive setups, a new player can easily create an impregnable site while defending as well as protect from flanks while attacking.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Common site defensive setups can be learned through online guides. Set up your turret so it shoots at incoming enemies as well as distract them while you can take some shots. Your alarm bot will not only detect but also weaken enemies. The swarm grenade can deter or damage from entering a site. If you’re overrun, pull out your ultimate.

Basic Attack Playstyle: Set up your turret or alarm bot on flanks. Use your swarm grenade to clear enemies hiding in the corners, or use them on the planted spike and trigger them from a safe distance when the enemy tries to defuse. Use your ultimate to clear or hold a site.

Raze

Raze in the Agent Selection screen
Raze in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Duelist

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Raze’s Agent Contract

Next up is Raze, who is from Brazil with an “explosive” personality. She is a tinkerer by nature, creating destructive gadgets on her own, and plays the role of Duelist in VALORANT. Her abilities are Boom Bot, Blast pack, and Paint Shells. Boom Bot allows you to scout an area or create a distraction while you yourself are going in. Paint shells is a cluster bomb that can be thrown to deal huge damage in an enemy’s known position or where they are grouped up.

Blast packs can be tricky to use, but an easy way to get the most out of them is to perch up on the high ground on defense, dealing damage to unsuspecting enemies below. Her ultimate ability showstopper pulls out a rocket launcher that is extremely effective when the enemy’s position is known. Be mindful of your grenade and satchel, and make sure you do not hit friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Scout the area with your Boombot as you enter into a site and use your grenade on common enemy hiding positions.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Use your boombot to scout areas. When you know an enemy team is pushing, throw a grenade in their direction.

Brimstone

Brimstone in the Agent Selection screen
Brimstone in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Controller

How to unlock: Unlocked at the beginning

Liam Bryne was a Firefighter turned Agent who was the first to join VALORANT who also is the present commander of the squad. He is a Controller agent, making use of his orbital arsenal to make the playing field his own. His Sky Smoke ability can be placed from long distances in a very precise manner which is easy for the newer players. Brimstone’s molly is also pretty straightforward; he fires an incendiary shell that can bounce off surfaces and explodes into a flame when it stops. His stim beacon provides him and his team a movement speed and fire rate boost, ideal for rushing. With his ultimate, you can target a specific area that gets incinerated by his Orbital Strike. Be mindful of your molly, and make sure you do not hit friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Close off enemy sightlines with your sky smokes. While pushing in with your team, use your stim beacon to clear the choke fast and swarm the enemy site. You can use your molly to either clear a common enemy hiding spot or use it on the spike in post-plant situations to prevent enemies from defusing. You can use your ultimate in a known enemy position or on the spike in post-plant situations.

Basic Defense Playstyle: When you detect enemy presence at a site, use your sky smokes at the chokes to delay or disrupt their push. If they are rushing, your molly or ultimate will keep them at bay. You can use your stim beacon to take fights or while retaking a site.

Breach

Breach in the Agent Selection screen
Breach in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Initiator

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Breach’s Agent Contract

Breach is a Swedish criminal turned Agent who has bionic arms capable of dishing out heavy damage. Created and upgraded by Raze, these arms are the source of Breach’s abilities: Aftershock, Flashpoint, Fault line, and Rolling Thunder. Fault line is his basic ability that can be used to stun enemies in a straight line. Flashpoint is a strong flash ability that can be used through walls. Aftershock deals bursts of damage that can get enemies out of hiding spots or prevent a plant or defuse. Rolling thunder stuns and disorients enemies in a large area, perfect for attacking or retaking a site. Be mindful of your flashes and fault line, and make sure you do not hit friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Initiate pushes with your team with flashpoint. You can use fault line to stun and use aftershock on common enemy defending positions. If you have your ultimate, it can be perfect for clearing an entire site and rushing with your entire team.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Use your fault line and aftershock to stun and slow down enemy pushes. You can also peek with your flashes and get a cheeky kill or two. Aftershock can be used from a safe distance in the common planting positions to deny or delay a plant. Lastly, rolling thunder is one of the most powerful ultimates in the game while retaking a site.

Sage

Sage in the Agent Selection screen
Sage in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Sentinel

How to unlock: Unlocked at the beginning

The bastion of China, Sage creates safety for herself and her team wherever she goes.” Sage is a Sentinel and support agent in VALORANT. Her Radiant abilities allow her to have special abilities in making use of ice for defensive and healing purposes to the point that she has control over life itself.

Sage’s Barrier Orb creates a wall that blocks off enemy routes and can absorb heavy damage before breaking. Her Slow orb disrupts enemy movement making them easy pickings. The healing orb can heal allies as well as Sage herself. Finally, her ultimate can resurrect a dead ally. Be mindful of your sow orb, and make sure you slow down friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Play a passive role and push behind your teammates, supporting them in gunfights and healing them when necessary. After taking a site, use your wall to block enemies from retaking routes as well as slow orbs to delay their push. Your wall can also be used while pushing a site to get cover from enemy fires. Use your ultimate to balance or gain a numbers advantage. It’s better to use it when you have a higher chance of winning the round, so use it on that hard-carry jet.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Use your wall to block off chokes when you detect that the enemy is pushing. You can also just use your slow orbs after your wall breaks to slow down the enemy team even further. Heal and resurrect teammates as necessary.

Sova

Sova in the Agent Selection screen
Sova in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Initiator

How to unlock: Unlocked at the beginning

Raised in the harsh climates of the Russian Tundra, Sova is an Archer and Hunter who joined VALORANT as an agent. His class is the initiator, and his abilities focus on gathering intel. His Recon arrow can be shot anywhere on the map and upon landing sends out sonic waves that detect enemies in its line of sight. You can learn new lineups but don’t get too carried away as you only need a few basic and convenient lineups for each map. A good rule of thumb is to remember 2 arrow lineups for each site, one for attacking and one for defending, with 4-6 lineups per map.

Owl drone is a sophisticated piece of tech that can be sent out to safely scout an area and tag enemies. Be careful because Sova will remain stationary while using this ability and vulnerable to flanks. Shock dart deals damage on impact, so you can get clever with those as well. They can be used to damage enemies hiding in common spots, slow down enemy pushes, and prevent enemies from defusing the spike.

Basic Attack Playstyle: When just starting out, learn basic and actually useful lineups sticking to only 2 for each site of a map for attack and defense. Your recon arrows will reveal the enemy’s position, which your team can utilize to pick them off while attacking a site. The Owl drone, followed by a teammate, can scout out an area and tag enemies when found. You can use your shock darts on strategic map locations to damage or deter defenders. An effective combo is to use your ultimate right after tagging an enemy.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Use your recon arrow to learn enemy positions when they are attacking or rotating. Use your shock darts in choke points to damage and deter enemies from pushing in. Your owl drone can be used as an extra means of scouting and also comes especially handy during retakes. You can use your ultimate to dish out heavy damage and secure kills if a site is taken.

Reyna

Reyna in the Agent Selection screen
Reyna in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Duelist

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Reyna’s Agent Contract

“Forged in the heart of Mexico, Reyna dominates single combat, popping off with each kill she scores. Her capability is only limited by her raw skill, making her highly dependent on performance.”

Reyna is a Radiant being and plays the Duelist role in VALORANT. She is an agent whose performance relies heavily on aim so if you have any past experience in FPS shooters or have really good aim then Reyna is the Agent for you. But be mindful of the fact that she relies heavily on winning gunfights as most of her abilities trigger only on kills. She has a flash ability called leer that does not impair her or her allies’ vision making it extremely powerful for new player lobbies.

Upon getting a kill, enemies drop soul orbs which last for a short time. When a soul orb is in line of sight, Reyna can either choose to Devour or Dismiss. Devour absorbs the soul orb granting channeled healing which is really useful after a gunfight and when you’re low on health. Dismiss allows Reyna to turn invulnerable for a short time which is really helpful in escaping sticky situations. Her ultimate channels her Radiant energy to full capacity increasing her equip, reload speeds as well as fire rate. She also auto heals with each kill and gains infinite dismiss charges.

Basic Attack Playstyle: Be aggressive and take fights as a Duelist to open up a site for your team. Use your leer ability and push in with your team. Aim is key for a Reyna player as you need to secure frags or deal damage to be able to use your dismiss and devour abilities. Usually, you’ll be fine using your devour ability, but if you know there might be enemies nearby, it is better to use your dismiss. Your ultimate in conjunction with aggressive plays can make for a sick highlight reel.

Basic Defense Playstyle: As a Reyna player, your goal is to be as aggressive as possible, so it is not always a bad idea to push out even on the defensive side as a Reyna player. You can take aggressive fights and dismiss out of harm’s way or duke it out on longer 1v1 fights devouring HP after each kill. Use your flash, especially when you know you’re going against multiple enemies.

Neon

Neon in the Agent Selection screen
Neon in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Duelist

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Neon’s Agent Contract

Filipino Agent, Neon, surges forward at shocking speeds, discharging bursts of bioelectric radiance as fast as her body generates it.

Neon is a Duelist in VALORANT and dominates the battlefield with her electrifying speed. Her abilities are Fast lane, Relay bolt, High gear, and Overdrive. Fast lane creates two electric walls that block the enemy’s line of vision and allows Neon to tread into enemy territory. Relay bolt fires a projectile that bounces off a surface once and stuns enemies in both places in a small radius.

High gear is Neon’s signature ability which allows her to sprint as well as slide into action. Overdrive is a very powerful ultimate where Neon shoots electricity out of her hands which is extremely effective on eco rounds, similar to Jett’s daggers. Be mindful of your stun, and make sure you do not hit friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Use your Relay bolt to stun enemies holding aggressive angles. Then you can use Fast lane together with High Gear and rush into the site. If you have a slide available, use that to gain the advantage in your first gunfight. Her Ult is excellent for Eco rounds.

Basic Defense Playstyle: Use your stuns to slow down rushing enemies and pick them off one by one. You can also use your wall to cut off the enemy team and go in for kills with High gear.

Omen

Omen in the Agent Selection screen
Omen in the Agent Selection screen

Role: Controller

How to unlock: Complete Chapter 5 of Omen’s Agent Contract

A phantom of a memory, Omen hunts in the shadows.

Cursed with radiant power, Omen’s body goes through a constant state of decay and regeneration. He is a Controller Agent in VALORANT, and his abilities are Shrouded step, Paranoia, and Dark cover. Shrouded step is a teleport ability that allows Omen to traverse short distances or heights. Paranoia is a wide area of effect flash that engulfs and near sights enemies while disorienting their hearing. Dark cover is his smoke which can be precisely placed on the move across a long range. His ultimate ability is From the Shadows, enabling him to teleport to anywhere on the map. Be mindful of your flash, and make sure you do not hit friendlies!

Basic Attack Playstyle: Close off enemy sightlines with your smokes. While pushing in, coordinate your flashes with your team to capitalize on them. Other than that, stay behind and support in gunfights. You can also use your ultimate to secure important positions or quick rotate to the opposite site for planting the spike.

Basic Defense Playstyle: When you detect enemy presence at a site, use your smokes at the chokes to delay or disrupt their push. If they are rushing, your flash can disorient them while you can peek to get a kill or two. Also, at the start of the round, you can use your teleport to secure cheeky high grounds and surprise the enemy team.

So that’s it for the agents you should learn first if you’re new to the game. Remember, patience is key and you might not be able to get the hang of a specific agent right out of the gate. You can consult our agent guides for more in-depth information regarding a specific agent and their effective playstyles. Remember, VALORANT is a team game, so focus on your role and coordinate with the rest of your team.

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