Vandal vs Phantom: Which is the best rifle in VALORANT 2021?

VALORANT as an FPS title features all the pros and cons of a typical competitive game. Phantom & Vandal are indisputably two of the most used weapons in the game, but there is a catch, they have a separate fanbase. 

Will a larger fanbase determine the ultimate winner? Or we must go through a plethora of statistics and logical procedures to find out the better weapon? In the midst of constant meta-changing updates from Riot Games, it’s hard to stay with a single meta or playstyle for too long. Every few months, the developers are bringing in new modifications to keep the playerbase wide awake. 

The Phantom vs Vandal debate has been around since the launch day of VALORANT. Actually, the debate started during the Beta version of the game when a limited number of people got their hands on Riot’s first-ever FPS title. Gradually, after release, the unsolvable mystery of Phantom Vs. Vandal was handed out to the general public to decide. As usual, there hasn’t been a clear answer even since. 

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Although similar in price and priority, these two guns have their own domains. If we take a look at the statistics and damage values of these guns, we can find out some important differences. Phantom allows for flexibility and more room for correcting your errors. Vandal, on the other hand, is kind of a hit-or-miss weapon. 

Damage Reports

Phantom

  • Headshot Damage:
    • 156 (0-15 meters)
    • 140 (15-30 meters)
    • 124 (30-50 meters)
  • Body Damage:
    • 39 (0-15 meters)
    • 35 (15-30 meters)
    • 31 (30-50 meters)
  • Leg Damage:
    • 33 (0-15 meters)
    • 29 (15-30 meters)
    • 26 (30-50 meters)
  • Fire Rate: 11 rounds per second
  • Magazine: 30 Rounds

Vandal

  • Headshot Damage: 160 (All range) 
  • Body Damage: 39 (All range)
  • Leg Damage: 33 (All range)
  • Fire Rate: 9.75 rounds per second
  • Magazine: 25 Rounds

Right off the back, we can see some differences. Phantom has variable damage rates at different ranges while Vandal delivers the same damage in all ranges. Although difficult, hitting a headshot should mean instant elimination, but this is where Vandal provides a slight upper hand. In all ranges, one shot from Vandal will eliminate a player with 160 damage to the head. While Phantom lags behind with 156 max headshot damage within 0-15 meters of range. 

When to Pick Phantom?

Since Phantom has a faster rate of fire, less recoil, an easily adjustable spray pattern, and a pretty accurate spray transfer, Phantom will give you an edge in close-quarter combats. Aside from the close-quarter, Phantom is also suitable for Medium-range combats too. Phantom’s silencer makes you almost undetectable in certain situations. 

So, during a close or medium-range gunfight, Phantom’s superiority is definitely proven. Although the gun suffers from a significant drawback in long-range gunfights due to its variable damage rates, for most maps in Valorant, Phantom is a decent pick. 

When to Pick Vandal?

Vandal thrives in long-range combats and damage rates. The gun is designed to deliver the same lethal damage to the opponent regardless of the range. However, the weapon is unforgiving in most cases. For example, missing your shots with Vandal means giving away your position, which could mean instant death. On top of that, Vandal’s Spray Transfer, recoil & fire rate are not its strongest suit. Even after that, players are favoring Vandal in maps like Breeze & Icebox since most of the gunfights are taken place in long distances. 

Vandal works better for players who are less concerned about things like spray transfer, recoil & spray patterns. If you are not likely to spend more than a bullet to neutralize your enemy, then Vandal should be your default pick.   

Tournament Pick Rates 

Before the Masters 3 Berlin took place, not picking Phantom in Tier-1 Tournaments was considered a disadvantage. Shroud, a strong advocate of the weapon, repeatedly mentioned that Vandal simply just can’t provide all the advantages that Phantom has to offer. During the whole tournament, both Phantom and Vandal had similar appearances. 

However, interesting statistics made by Redditor Ominous___ gives us a whole new perspective about the pick rates of Phantom and Vandal during Masters 3 Berlin. Star players like TenZ, cNed & Asuna have used Phantom and Vandal with a similar pick rate. Prior to Masters 3 Berlin, Phantom always had the superior pickrate among North American teams whereas Vandal was favored by the European teams. 

This sudden change in pick rate might have something to do with the imposed penalty given on movement accuracy. At the same time, larger maps like Breeze & Icebox are somewhat forcing players to pick Vandal to ensure better chances of winning at long-range encounters. So it’s safe to say that, Riot hasn’t been idle about the pick rates of Phantom in Tier-1 tournaments and they are clearly players more reasons to pick the Vandal.  

Since regions like EMEA, Japan & Latin America still prefers the Vandal over Phantom, it’s tough to come to a conclusion on this matter since Phantom’s pick rate is generally higher in the rest of the regions. 

Read More: How to play VALORANT Fracture map: A Complete Guide

The Final Verdict 

While Phantom and Vandal will have their moments, in general, starting your VALORANT journey with Phantom should be the ideal choice. Except for Long-range encounters and damage rates, Phantom just provides way too many upper hands over the Vandal. Aside from these advantages, Phantom also has a larger magazine, trace-free bullets & better recoil adjustments, making it easier for the players to settle on this gun. 

In conclusion, Phantom’s superiority is still visible in most cases. While Vandal is slowly catching up, it’ll surely take time for Riot to make Vandal an equally worthy pick.  

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