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How to Choose Your Main in Valorant

It’s time for you to choose your fate. Are you going to become a dedicated Raina main, or are you going to become a Pokemon Master? The choice is really yours, and it is an important one because this decision could be the difference between you ranking up quickly in Valorant or being left in the dust.

Choosing Your Fate

Now, if you choose the wrong agent for yourself, you might be able to force yourself into the play style, but it’ll take you a very long time to master the role. Many players might not even realize that they’re playing the wrong agent right away. They’ll be queuing game after game, embarking on a streak of losses, and not even realize that they’re playing the completely wrong role.

That’s what we’re here to prevent today. In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about selecting your new main in Valorant.

Today’s Guide: Mastering Agent Roles

Every agent class has roles to play in Valorant. Sure, just because you’re on a certain class, it doesn’t mean you have to play that role the entire game. But generally, with a mix of Duelists, Initiators, Controllers, and Sentinels, every class has their specific role that they should try and stick to throughout the match.

Understanding Attack Order

This also means that every role has a certain order when attacking, and we’re going to talk about that slightly here before we actually get into the guide and decide on how to choose a main, as this is pretty important information. Entry pathing order is a highly disregarded topic in the Valorant community; there are not many guides that touch on this, so we’d like to briefly cover it before the meat and potatoes of this article today.

Simply put, here in a dream world where you have the whole team together and working well, an execute with no ultimate abilities should look like this: the controller smokes off the main angles you’ll be seen from, your initiator gathers information from the close angles to determine if it’s safe to walk through the choke. From here, the initiator will generally flash onto site, and the duelist will use their mobility, if they have any, to get onto site.

The Sentinel will usually be playing in the back due to the fact that they have valuable flank watch utility, and it would be wise to have them kept alive.

Executing the Attack

From this point, the Duelist is on the site; we’re going to use Jett for an example here. Once Jett’s on the site, they’ll proceed to clear every angle as quickly and as precisely as possible. While Jett is doing this, the team is running onto site in this order: usually less mobile Duelist is second man in, initiator is generally the third or fourth man in depending on what utility the controller has left. If the controller has expanded all their utility, then the controller should be next in line after the Duelist, and the Sentinel can decide to stay back and hold flank or play back and trade teammates if they need it.

Strategic Movement and Utility Use

While walking onto site, it’s important to note here that any player that has no utility remaining has forfeited most of their value to the round. This means that this player should play more aggressively in order to take the load off and protect more valuable teammates. For example, I’m a Phoenix main. If I’ve expanded all of my utility and I’m in a very good position to lurk, I’ll let my team know. Same goes on the flip side; if I’m with my team and have no utility, I’ll generally follow the mobility Duelist and play slightly more aggressively since.

Understanding Agent Utility and Value

I don’t have as much round value or utility to play around. Note also that just because you’re out of utility doesn’t mean that you have to play more aggressive. You can also peek in favor of your Brimstone on the first tap, ensuring that he won’t have to expose himself too early, or even play the more risky role in a bait setup where you’re the player more likely to die. Utility determines agent classes, and utility also determines round value.

Outside of kills, utility is the main factor in a round. When it comes down to it all, if a player gets more than one kill, they’ve typically exceeded their round value anyway. Okay, moving past this topic, now that we have in mind why agent roles are a thing and what they mean, let’s look more in-depth as to what each class’s role should be on a round-by-round basis.

Roles of Agent Classes

We’ll cover their roles on the attacker side as well as the defender side, so you all understand each role in a more broad perspective. Duelists, you typically hate to see auto-locking Duelists; maybe you’re an auto-locking Duelist yourself. Either way, Duelists, along with every other agent class, have a certain role that they excel in—keyword: Excel. This means you don’t have to play each role in any set way; it just means that the class you’re playing has a toolkit wired specifically for performing a certain role better than the other classes.

Duelist Roles Explained

So, what do Duelists excel in? Duelists particularly outperform other classes in a few main areas: fragging potential, 1v1 potential, and mobility. This means Duelists are perfectly set up for a few things: taking aggressive 1v1s to balance out the round or turn it around in your favor is one of the biggest here. Entry fragging or going in first to spike a site is another one of their biggest roles as a class. The Duelist’s main role when executing a site on attack is taking space or finding an open pick. This doesn’t mean a Duelist will always find an opening pick; in fact.

Duelist Roles on Attack and Defense

It’s actually quite common that Duelists will get no kill, but they usually make it pretty easy for the next person to get the trade. On defense, the Duelist’s main role is finding picks in synergy with initiators or controllers. Duelists come in two forms: Mobility Duelists, agents like Jett, Raze, and Neon, who excel particularly in taking space, and 1v1 Duelists, whose utility make it much easier to secure a one-versus-one situation and give them an advantage in a fight. A few to name are Phoenix, Yoru, and Reyna. Now, that goes without saying that Mobility Duelists are great for 1v1s also, but the 1v1 Duelists typically have a better toolkit for winning those isolated duels, whereas Mobility Duelists take space and have a kit where they can put themselves in risky situations and get out easily.

Controller Roles on Defense

Controllers—well, everyone typically hates to play them, except the rare few that actually main them. And when people main them, it’s usually done in a pretty impressive and intuitive way. Controllers’ main role on defense is to deter the attackers from pushing onto the site. They do this by using an array of utility, most notably their vision-blocking utility. On retakes, the defending controller will usually take up the role they play on the attack side. Mollies and such are also a huge part of most controllers’ kits and can shut down a push fairly easily.

Controller Roles on Attack

And that brings us to attack. On attack, the main role of the controllers is to do just that: control chokes and shut down angles in order to make it easier for the team to get onto the spike site. Controllers generally come with some piece of extra utility outside of their vision-blocking to make their playstyles vary between controllers.

Controllers can have more of a team-play-oriented kit or a self-sufficient kit. Team play controllers are agents like Astra, Brimstone, and Harbor, all of whom have abilities that can stimulate team play very easily. Harbor’s push wall makes it very easy for Duelists to use as a moving cover. Once the wall stops, they’re able to flash through and use it as a piece of combination utility.

Controller and Initiator Roles

The stun is also great for stunning certain areas the Duelists are running up on. Brimstone has a stim beacon that speeds up the actions and movements of his entire team. This can be a great addition to any fast-paced attack or even rotations.

Viper and Omen are classed as more of a self-sufficient controller; they still provide a major role to their team but they can excel particularly well in playing for themselves. Viper’s snake bite and wall, or even orb, applies the vulnerability effect. This makes it easier for her to hide in off angles and clean up easy kills.

Omen is literally a mobility controller, and we’ve all seen it; the flash TP combo is amazing when it’s done successfully. Omen is great at taking fights and repositioning. Omen smokes are also a great addition to any team comp.

Initiator Varieties

Initiators are easily one of the most fun agent classes to play as, and they can be interchanged with Duelists occasionally, depending on the agent. They’re usually split into three different types: flashing initiators, info initiators, and hybrid initiators. For flashing initiators, you’ll see the likes of Skye and Breach. For informational, you’ll see agents such as Sova and Fade. And finally, for the hybrid initiator, you’ll witness Gekko and KAY/O taking the stage. All initiators are crucial in a team-play setting, and we’ve noticed that a lot of maps tend to lean towards certain types of initiator play.

Choosing the Right Initiator

If you look at Split, with all its tight corners and angles, you want an agent like KAY/O who can gather info and fly for his team, or even a Skye who can clear those close angles with her dog and help your team take space in those closer angles.

Now, when you look at maps like Icebox, though, you’d much rather have a Sova than a KAY/O if you had to pick one initiator. This is due to the fact that the map is so open that without an informational initiator, it’s very hard to fight against an operator on attack.

I’ve noticed these slight nuances pretty often while playing at Immortal 3 and Radiant. Certain initiators excel in areas where other initiators lack, so think about the map before сhoosing which initiator you choose to play.

Roles of Initiators on Attack and Defense

As initiators, the main role on attack is simply to initiate a push onto the spike site. They gather information or provide quick flashes that your team can quickly capitalize on. Initiator utility in tandem with Duelist mobility is one of the most deadly combos that we can see in mid to high-level Valorant gameplay.

Now, the initiator’s role on defense is fairly simple. Their two main jobs are to gather intel from areas of the map using their information-gathering utility, such as Skye’s bird, Sova’s dart, Fade’s eye, or KAY/O’s knife, for just a few examples. But they also have quite an important role of assisting their team with defender-sided aggression. They do this by taking space from the attackers using their flashes and stuns in order to gain map control.

In my personal opinion, as a high-level player, initiators are easily the most flexible role, and anyone looking to learn another agent class outside of their usual main class should definitely start with initiators.

Sentinels’ Impact on the Game

Sentinels can absolutely demolish a push when they’re played correctly. They’re hailed as one of the most laid-back agents to play, and some people tend to enjoy that fact.

Now, it’s a little hard to split the four Sentinels up into different types of Sentinel play, but generally, you have lethal Sentinels and informational Sentinels. Now, keep in mind, both types of these Sentinels perform both of these roles typically, except Sage, who doesn’t really provide info well.

But Cypher and Killjoy do a great job at providing excessive information and are amazing at locking down their respective sites. Sage’s wall is a great piece of erectable cover, and her slows, heal, and revive are all amazing pieces of utility that, when used correctly, can turn her into a very lethal Sentinel.

Understanding Sentinel Types

Chamber, oh, Chamber. He’s definitely classed as a lethal Sentinel. He’s not the greatest at locking down his site, but he’s great at getting a kill and getting away quickly. Now, he can be somewhat informational in the sense of pushing up and having the ability to teleport out.

Sentinels and Their Roles

If needed, but with the nerf of his tripwire, his informational aspects are pretty low. Sentinels are amazing at a few roles, most notably their flank watch potential. On agents like Killjoy, Chamber, and Cypher, all allow the team to stick more together and ignore one side of the map on attack if they please.

Sentinels are great at shutting down pushes on defense extremely quickly through the use of Cypher tripwires, Sage slows, and Killjoy’s swarms and turret. Sentinels are also great at lurking, generally on the attack side. Once a Sentinel has expended a portion of their utility, it’s not a bad idea to have them lurk as their round value isn’t extremely high without that utility.

Now, this doesn’t mean lurk every single round. Lurking, especially against high-level players, only works if the enemy is at least expecting it. So, play with your team. If your team is struggling slightly, you could be the difference of a whole game by deciding to not lurk for a few rounds.

Hybrid Agents: Chamber’s Unique Role

That leads us into the hybrid agents. Chamber truly can’t be classified fully as a Sentinel. He’s easily the weakest Sentinel in terms of how easily he can shut down a push. He’s very reliant on aim and positioning, making him very easy to play. Chamber, in our opinion, should fit into a hybrid playstyle due to the fact that he fits the criteria of Duelists aggressively taking or holding space and doing so using similar mobility tactics to that of a Jett dash.

Understanding Hybrid Agents

Hybrid agents are simply agents that have an assigned role yet can perform other roles fairly easily due to the utility at their disposal. Omen could perform the roles of a Duelist fairly easily to some extent, although not fully, through the use of his repositioning abilities. Omen is extremely capable of repositioning fast after getting picks, enabling him to be unpredictable and move quickly to new positions and out of harm’s way.

Yoru could also be classed as an initiator-duelist, as could Phoenix, through the use of their flashes and other various utility pieces. Yoru could be a good initiator because his flashes can be thrown from anywhere and hit any area that the player decides upon.

Versatility in Valorant: Exploring the Hybrid Roles of Phoenix and KAY/O

Phoenix could also fit the initiator role fairly decently, and by that, we mean initiating a push for himself. Phoenix can use his wall to create cover for his team, and in using this, he can help initiate a push onto site. Through the use of Phoenix’s flashes, he can blindside and fight alongside his teammates.

If you look at Phoenix and KAY/O, their kits are extremely similar to each other. The only notable difference is the KAY/O knife and Phoenix wall. Even their ultimate abilities perform similar roles. Hiko once said, “If Asuna were to play Sova, he’d play him like a Duelist, just as.”

Flexibility in Agent Roles and Playstyles

If I were to play Raze, I’d probably be baiting. Personally, I believe just because an agent has a kit built for a specific role, it doesn’t necessarily mean that said agent has to be played in that particular way. Playstyles exist for a reason.

Now, I believe that within every single agent class, there will always exist certain types of playstyles that each individual player will adopt over time, whether it be more reserved and team-oriented Omen or an Omen that relies more on personal skill and position and ends up blending into more of a Duelist-Controller hybrid player.

Now, it’s fair to say that just because you’re placed onto a certain role doesn’t mean you have to play that role in a cookie-cutter way. Experiment and find your own playstyle, but also be very cognizant of the way you are playing the agent. Are you truly benefiting your team by playing Brimstone as a stim beacon and rage Duelist? Are you really helping your team by playing Skye’s specifically into a self-sufficient Fragger playstyle?

Understanding the Impact of Your Playstyle

Understand that while yes, you can conform to other roles, you will always have the utility that can be used for both team play and self-sufficient ways. Make sure you’re not spending all of your initiator utilities specifically for yourself, as your team will be wondering why they’ve not been flashed in or droned in a single time on attack.

Understand your role here. Understand that there is a lot of wiggle room for each playstyle in each and every agent class, and also grasp that your utility, while can be used for only yourself, could also be extremely useful when used for your team. Try and determine which is more important in every situation that you find yourself in.

Encouragement to Explore Different Roles

Trying different roles is extremely important, too. Please don’t listen when people say all you need to do to get good at Valorant is master one agent. Yes, this may ring true for a very specific set of players, but generally, it’s an amazing idea to know how to play each role. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be an expert for every single role in Valorant, but by playing each role for a little bit of time, not only does it open yourself up to be a more flexible player in terms of filling for.

Expanding Game Understanding through Role Versatility

Understanding every role not only benefits your team but also means that you’ll understand what the enemy team is doing and why they’re doing it. Once you understand how to play each role properly, your game sense will improve at a much more rapid rate due to the fact that you have a much more rounded and fluent understanding of every piece of the game. Knowing every role is not a determinant and will not take away from your skill on your main role. The purpose of knowing every role serves is to get a general grasp on everything that’s happening during a round and why. With trying every role, you may find out that you’re much better in the role of Sentinel than you are as a Duelist, so it’s worth it to at least attempt it. Also, it’s fun to fill sometimes, seriously.

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