Guides

CASE STUDY: My Journey to Immortal from Silver (81 total matches)

For some reference on my background, I played a ton of Counter-Strike: Source back in the day (CAL/CEVO), but never really got too much into competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I was briefly Global Elite in 2016, but not for longer than a couple of weeks.

Since work and travel got the best of me, I largely didn’t play too many games in the past 3-4 years besides the occasional game of PUBG with my friends. The combination of COVID-19 and the announcement of VALORANT’s beta and subsequently ranked play, I wanted to try to get in as early as I could.

If you have any questions or find this useful, please consider following me on Twitch. I would be more than happy to help out other VALORANT players.

Summary of games

As a Sage main, it took me a total of 81 ranked games to reach Immortal 1. I went 2-3 in the placement matches and I got assigned to Silver 2 on the first day that the ranked competitive mode became available.

  • In those games, I went 48-33 (roughly 60% winning percentage)
  • Map breakdowns included 29 matches on Bind, 35 on Split, and 17 on Haven.
  • Luckily, my most successful map was Split, where I went 21-14 record-wise.
  • I was Team MVP for 24 games and I was the Match MVP in half of those games (12 times).
  • I selected Sage in 63 games, and the rest of the games I primarily split between Phoenix and Brimstone.
  • My unimpressive averages per game included
    • 16.8 kills
    • 16.3 deaths
    • 8.0 assists
    • 5,308 performance score

Some interesting insights I gathered

  • It’s not that important to be a big time fragger: You can kind of see from my game breakdown that it wasn’t too important to be the biggest fragger in the game. With me being extremely rusty, I was a bit worried that if I didn’t top frag, I would not be as successful climbing VALORANT ranks but that’s not the case. There really is an emphasis on number of rounds won versus number of rounds lost.
  • Transitioning from Vandal to Phantom and then back to Vandal: It was a combination of Patch 0.50 where the Vandal spray got a bit of a buff and also my ranking to Diamond+ that convinced me to go back to the Vandal. When playing with the Phantom, I relied too heavily on spraying, so I wanted to get back to forcing myself to aim for the head. The swap back to Vandal and the “forced” practice help me improve. At higher ranks, frankly, you won’t have enough time to spray down in a gun fight in many scenarios.
  • Personally, I did not run into a single hacker, which may largely be due to the fact that I have not yet hit the higher Immortal/VALORANT ranks.
  • Game is much more fun and less toxic at higher ranks: This might be contrarily to what’s out there in the Twitter-verse and Reddit-verse, but I do think players are a lot more willing to work as a team and they are a lot more flexible during Agent selection. Players actually take the time to consider the Agent composition before locking.
  • I need left handed models! I do really miss having Counter-Strike’s ability to change the gun model to be held in the left hand. I don’t think it will improve my game by any means, but I still feel a little bit of unease peaking since I am so used to having my gun models on the left (10+ years).
  • Fragging to reduce loss impact: There was really not a correlation for when I was the MVP of my team relative to winning. It felt like most of the times when I was the MVP, I ended up losing the match overall. I do think I was able to reduce the impact of some of the match losses by getting MVP in those games. So even if the game is shot, don’t give up and still try to frag and snag a few rounds.

My tips for other ranked climbers

  • Economy management is critically important: This is where you’ll get the most headache in the lower ranks; however, one key element of VALORANT is to learn and manage your team’s economy. Some direct tips include ensuring the team buys and saves together. Buying for teammates when someone is close to the max cap. Unless I earn enough money in the pistol round for a Vandal + Armor, I have been opting to go Sheriff in the second round if I win the pistol round. This is always true on the Attacker side.
  • Invest in 30 minutes to find good utility placements: Reddit and YouTube have been awesome sources of the latest game meta. Invest the time to understand a few basic placements of smokes/flashes/cameras/walls and you will help your team tremendously. Most of my games ended in 13-9, so those extra two or three rounds could mean the difference between a win or lost match.
  • Your aim needs to be only good enough so that you can hold angles: Generally speaking, VALORANT is a slow-paced tactical shooter and you are not rewarded for crazy intensive weapon fights like in Overwatch. The game is based on isolating angles with other individual players so honestly your aim only needs to be good enough for you to win one-on-one gunfights. You can compensate aim with game IQ.
  • Sticking with the Classic on pistol round to buy light armor or utility: Since the Ghost also requires two headshots against armored opponents, the Classic seems to be just as functional in the pistol round. I get that many CS:GO players will try to use the Ghost to mimic a silenced USP, but getting utility and/or armor may be the better usage of the dollars. No hard evidence, but I prefer to go that route even with updated Sage ability costs.
  • Learn one of Sage/Brimstone/Breach: The amount of utility that these three Agents provide in particular is tremendous. Ideally, the composition of your team should have three or more utility agents (these plus Sova, Cypher and maybe Viper). The others I would consider as more of the fragging agents (Jet, Raze, Phoenix, and Omen).
  • Warm-up routine: Not as consistent as I probably should have been, but I primarily practiced flickshots on “Speed: Hard” settings with armor on. I rotated through with Vandal / Phantom / Sheriff. The other warm up routine involved creating a Sage wall in front of the bots on “Practice” mode. That helped me work on peaking from both the left and right sides.
  • Using your ultimate ability earlier: I used to have the mentality to save the ultimate altogether for a single round, but I think my general emphasis is to maximize the number of ultimates per game. As a result, that may mean to use Resurrection for econ purposes, even when you have a numbers advantage. This is still an are that I am tweaking and playing around.

Full breakdown of 81 games

# Map Agent Kills Death Assists Score Rounds Won Rounds Lost Won Match? Team MVP Match MVP Rank New Rank
1 Split Sage 21 20 9 6214 10 13 No Yes No Silver 2 No
2 Bind Phoenix 18 18 7 6131 9 13 No Yes No Silver 2 No
3 Haven Sage 17 17 3 5318 6 13 No Yes No Silver 2 No
4 Split Sage 26 14 5 7387 13 9 Yes Yes No Silver 2 Silver 3
5 Bind Sage 22 18 9 6624 13 11 Yes Yes Yes Silver 3 No
6 Split Sage 14 17 11 5066 13 10 Yes No No Silver 3 Gold 1
7 Split Sage 15 11 8 4089 13 4 Yes No No Gold 1 No
8 Split Sage 20 15 10 5707 13 9 Yes No No Gold 1 No
9 Bind Phoenix 22 20 3 6515 10 13 No Yes Yes Gold 1 No
10 Bind Sage 16 13 14 5175 13 7 Yes No No Gold 1 No
11 Haven Sage 7 14 7 2280 4 13 No No No Gold 1 No
12 Split Sage 18 10 10 5310 13 7 Yes No No Gold 1 No
13 Split Sage 10 17 9 3340 9 13 No No No Gold 1 No
14 Haven Sage 17 17 12 5138 13 11 Yes No No Gold 1 No
15 Split Brimstone 17 18 6 4799 13 10 Yes No No Gold 1 No
16 Haven Sage 10 17 8 3289 6 13 No No No Gold 1 No
17 Bind Sage 20 17 9 5396 13 10 Yes No No Gold 1 No
18 Split Sage 20 16 11 6069 13 7 Yes Yes No Gold 1 Gold 2
19 Bind Sage 18 13 12 5070 13 7 Yes No No Gold 2 Gold 3
20 Split Sage 13 18 11 4673 10 13 No No No Gold 3 No
21 Split Sage 18 20 11 5867 10 13 No No No Gold 3 No
22 Split Sage 17 22 13 5649 13 11 Yes No No Gold 3 No
23 Bind Sage 12 15 4 3665 7 13 No No No Gold 3 No
24 Split Sage 20 18 15 6395 13 12 Yes No No Gold 3 No
25 Split Sage 20 19 10 6073 11 13 No No No Gold 3 No
26 Bind Sage 24 15 11 7356 9 13 No Yes No Gold 3 No
27 Bind Sage 22 19 9 6847 10 13 No Yes Yes Gold 3 No
28 Split Sage 19 19 11 5210 8 13 No Yes No Gold 3 No
29 Haven Sage 15 20 10 4865 12 13 No No No Gold 3 No
30 Split Sage 23 15 7 6273 13 7 Yes No No Gold 3 No
31 Split Sage 26 19 4 7183 11 13 No Yes No Gold 3 No
32 Split Sage 18 5 8 4647 13 2 Yes No No Gold 3 Platinum 2
33 Haven Sage 26 17 13 7875 13 9 Yes Yes Yes Platinum 2 No
34 Bind Cypher 18 17 5 4928 13 11 Yes No No Platinum 2 No
35 Split Sage 13 17 6 4645 6 13 No Yes No Platinum 2 No
36 Bind Phoenix 11 18 6 4156 13 9 Yes No No Platinum 2 No
37 Bind Sage 22 18 9 6933 9 13 No Yes Yes Platinum 2 No
38 Bind Sage 23 15 6 6729 13 9 Yes Yes No Platinum 2 No
39 Split Sage 25 15 6 6435 13 11 Yes No No Platinum 2 No
40 Bind Sage 14 12 5 4287 13 6 Yes No No Platinum 2 Platinum 3
41 Haven Sage 9 16 6 3130 3 13 No No No Platinum 3 No
42 Split Sage 4 18 11 2122 8 13 No No No Platinum 3 Platinum 2
43 Haven Sage 19 21 13 5815 13 11 Yes No No Platinum 2 No
44 Bind Sage 25 20 6 7012 11 13 No Yes No Platinum 2 No
45 Bind Sage 8 13 3 2706 2 13 No No No Platinum 2 Platinum 1
46 Bind Sage 15 16 6 4518 13 6 Yes No No Platinum 1 No
47 Bind Phoenix 15 19 3 4309 10 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
48 Bind Sage 15 18 6 4263 9 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
49 Bind Sage 17 16 11 5386 13 8 Yes No No Platinum 1 No
50 Haven Sage 6 21 15 2694 9 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
51 Haven Sage 17 18 11 4865 8 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
52 Bind Sage 24 15 8 6982 13 10 Yes Yes Yes Platinum 1 No
53 Haven Sage 13 20 11 4655 11 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
54 Split Raze 22 19 6 6822 13 10 Yes Yes Yes Platinum 1 No
55 Split Phoenix 23 18 8 7021 8 13 No Yes Yes Platinum 1 No
56 Split Phoenix 15 20 2 4566 12 13 No No No Platinum 1 No
57 Bind Phoenix 25 17 6 7029 13 10 Yes No No Platinum 1 Platinum 2
58 Split Phoenix 13 20 3 4005 13 9 Yes No No Platinum 2 No
59 Split Phoenix 16 16 9 5164 12 13 No No No Platinum 2 No
60 Split Sage 20 12 7 5687 13 6 Yes Yes Yes Platinum 2 Platinum 3
61 Bind Sage 20 16 4 5342 13 9 Yes No No Platinum 3 No
62 Split Sage 14 17 13 4464 13 9 Yes No No Platinum 3 No
63 Split Brimstone 22 11 7 6534 13 5 Yes Yes Yes Platinum 3 Diamond 1
64 Bind Brimstone 27 19 8 7836 13 12 Yes Yes Yes Diamond 1 No
65 Split Phoenix 16 15 3 4421 13 9 Yes No No Diamond 1 No
66 Haven Sage 14 20 8 4680 13 11 Yes No No Diamond 1 No
67 Haven Sage 9 18 6 2792 13 9 Yes No No Diamond 1 No
68 Split Brimstone 14 18 2 4373 6 13 No No No Diamond 1 No
69 Haven Sage 10 15 9 2617 13 4 Yes No No Diamond 1 No
70 Bind Sage 22 14 14 5739 13 9 Yes No No Diamond 1 Diamond 2
71 Haven Sage 16 19 14 4346 13 11 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
72 Bind Sage 18 9 10 4917 13 6 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
73 Split Sage 13 13 6 3863 2 13 No Yes Yes Diamond 2 No
74 Bind Sage 13 13 2 3602 2 13 No Yes No Diamond 2 No
75 Haven Sage 12 19 7 4198 13 11 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
76 Bind Brimstone 12 11 5 3537 13 5 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
77 Split Phoenix 13 11 3 3250 13 3 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
78 Split Sage 11 18 10 3430 13 9 Yes No No Diamond 2 No
79 Split Sage 12 11 5 3312 13 6 Yes No No Diamond 2 Diamond 3
80 Haven Sage 15 13 7 4336 13 6 Yes No No Diamond 3 No
81 Bind Sage 7 15 10 2101 13 5 Yes No No Diamond 3 Immortal 1
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2 Comments

  1. Hey I wanted to thank you for writing your experience they way you did and as a case study. I think these are very valuable information and no one else did what you did. I hope a lot of people appreciate this as you really deserve it. You mentioned very good points in your case study that could really help a lot of players.

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