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|
|4||Split||Sage||26||14||5||7387||13||9||Yes||Yes||No||Silver 2||Silver 3|
|6||Split||Sage||14||17||11||5066||13||10||Yes||No||No||Silver 3||Gold 1|
|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|
|32||Split||Sage||18||5||8||4647||13||2||Yes||No||No||Gold 3||Platinum 2|
|40||Bind||Sage||14||12||5||4287||13||6||Yes||No||No||Platinum 2||Platinum 3|
|42||Split||Sage||4||18||11||2122||8||13||No||No||No||Platinum 3||Platinum 2|
|45||Bind||Sage||8||13||3||2706||2||13||No||No||No||Platinum 2||Platinum 1|
|57||Bind||Phoenix||25||17||6||7029||13||10||Yes||No||No||Platinum 1||Platinum 2|
|60||Split||Sage||20||12||7||5687||13||6||Yes||Yes||Yes||Platinum 2||Platinum 3|
|63||Split||Brimstone||22||11||7||6534||13||5||Yes||Yes||Yes||Platinum 3||Diamond 1|
|70||Bind||Sage||22||14||14||5739||13||9||Yes||No||No||Diamond 1||Diamond 2|
|79||Split||Sage||12||11||5||3312||13||6||Yes||No||No||Diamond 2||Diamond 3|
|81||Bind||Sage||7||15||10||2101||13||5||Yes||No||No||Diamond 3||Immortal 1|