The Valorant closed beta continues to be one of the most watched games online, and before Australians officially get access the community is already formulating the most optimal team compositions for Riot's shooter. If you're just getting into the game recently, or looking forward to it when Oceanic servers officially go online, here's the characters you'll want to consider using first.
The list will run from weakest - or most difficult/situational - to most versatile. So without further adieu, let's introduce the worst - or least useful - member of the Valorant squad.
Raze is one of those characters that seems more powerful than she is. Her rocket ultimate is capable of shutting down eco rushes with a single shot, can be a nightmare when trying to defuse a bomb, and her cluster grenade will straight up kill you if you're stuck in a corner.
But after a couple of patches, most people have realised that Raze just isn't that useful for the most part. It's relatively easy to dodge Raze's grenade. Her Boombot often just gives away your position to the enemy for free, without giving you any positional advantage in return like Sova's recon bolt or Cypher's camera might. Her satchel charges damage your teammates, so you can really only use them for boosting to a higher location given how short the throw range is.
That doesn't mean her abilities aren't handy, but that Raze just isn't as versatile as the other characters. She is one of the easiest to understand and immediately play, however, and is a good starting character for new players while you get accustomed to the maps and flow of the game.
A character for those who like charging in, Jett's main abilities revolve around dashing, large upward streams of mobility and throwing pinpoint accurate knives. Jett's dash is great for getting you out of trouble, or skipping past a Sage ice orb and catching defenders off guard. But she's a very high risk, high reward character. Her smoke grenades activate the quickest, but also dissipate the fastest. Their ability to curve in the direction of your crosshair gives them some utility for rushing bombsites or blocking off sight lines from safety, but it's not the easiest ability to nail immediately.
All in all, Jett's abilities are designed to help win individual duels. Her kit doesn't have any abilities for clearing a site or entering a site, and while they're relatively easy to understand, most new players will get a lot more purchase by starting out with a Brimstone, Breach, Sage, Phoenix or Cypher.
While Breach is becoming a staple in tournaments already, it's also probably one of the least rewarding characters to pick for newer players. All of Breach's abilities are best used in conjunction with a teammate following up, since Breach's flashes and wall charges are a great precursor to charging a chokepoint or retaking a site.
But if you're in solo queue trying to make something happen because you're dealing with four uncommunicative teammates, you'll get little joy from Breach. He's an essential part of any team right now because of the range on his flashbangs, and particularly for how good his ultimate can be in retakes or holding out defenders. But if you're by yourself, or just starting out, you might have more luck with one of the other characters on the roster.
Probably the most technical character in the list, Viper is one of those heroes that can be extremely powerful if you know what your doing. Valorant's lack of a skybox and the way Viper's poison works means she can be an essential tool on attack, throwing poison orbs and walls to lock off parts of a bombsite from miles away.
If you don't know where to throw your orbs, however, it can be really difficult to make full use of Viper. All of her abilities use fuel, which functions a little bit like mana would. It's worth taking some time to learn how Viper works, because her version of smoke grenades are the only ones that can properly zone characters out of areas, due to the damage done from Viper's poison.
Sova's main tool is the recon bolt, which gives you X-ray vision for a couple of seconds on any target within line of sight. There are a few caveats in that smokes and poison orbs will block the bolt's line of sight, and players have gotten good about shooting the recon bolt before or as soon as it lands.
That said, Sova's bolt is still great for initial enemy information. The lack of a skybox in the game means people have found creative places to fire bolts off at the start of a round, since the sooner you fire off the bolt, the quicker you'll be able to use it again in the round. It helps detect whether the enemy team has stacked a particular site, isn't rushing any place in particular, or is on the opposite side of the map.
Sova's ultimate and shock bolts are a lot more difficult to use. While the thought of killing people through walls with a Hanzo-style arrow sounds good, the visual and audio cues on it activating often give players plenty of time to react. Shock bolts do good damage - 75 a piece - but they can also be supremely hard to land properly. Still, with a bit of practice, Sova's recon information can be absolutely crucial at the start of a round.
Omen has some of the best smokes in the game, capable of going through walls and reaching ranges that even Brimstone can't directly target. But they're also some of the slowest, and Omen's equivalent of a flashbang - Paranoia - activates as soon as you press the ability button, unlike other flashbangs or grenades which give you the option to realign or cancel.
It's powerful when used correctly, but it's also one of the most difficult skills to use effectively because of how misunderstood it is. (Riot giving you the option to cancel out of the ability wouldn't hurt, either.) Omen's ultimate can also be hit or miss depending on how aggressive you want to be with it. Players have naturally used it as an opportunity to spawn behind the enemy, but it can also just be a great defensive tool to quickly switch bomb sites on defence.
Omen's a good character to have in a lineup, primarily for the range on Omen's smokes. The teleportation and ultimate are a little more situational, but it's not too difficult to throw the paranoia flashbang, teleport into the smoke and then charge through the other side while enemies are flashed. The teleport also gives Omen an easy way for reaching boost spots or getting to higher ground, which is always useful.
Phoenix is the aggressive flasher of the Valorant group, with close range flashbangs that curve around walls, a grenade and a flame wall that can heal you (but hurts allies and enemies). Phoenix's abilities are easy to understand, although the range and curve on his flashbangs can be easy to mess up at first.
Phoenix's ultimate is also very straightforward: it basically gives you a second life, allowing you to charge forward and take battles with enemies. If you die, you'll respawn where you activated the ultimate, so it's a great option for triggering as you try to retake a bombsite, or leading an attack to get information for your team.
Probably the simplest character to understand in Valorant, there is never a situation where Brimstone's smoke grenades or ultimate don't have some utility. Available for 100 a piece, Brimstone's smokes are essential for setting up attacks on a site. The smokes can be launched from the safety of cover thanks to Brimstone's orbital capacities, and his ultimate works just as well in aggressive or a defensive capacities to hold a site, retake a bombsite, or zone out areas of a map as your team advances forward.
Best of all is the cost: Brimstone's smokes cost only 100 a piece, meaning that you can get a full set of smokes from the first round. Even Brimstone's stimpack ability can be useful on eco rounds, giving your team some extra DPS before going against more firepower. There's basically no situation where Brimstone isn't useful, and if you're just playing Valorant for the first time, the ruffled controller should definitely be one of the first characters you try.
The best defensive character in the game with not one, not two, not three but four painfully annoying abilities. The ultimate brings a character back to life, which is so obviously helpful that it doesn't require much explanation. Sage's wall has great utility in zoning out an area in post-plant situations or on defence, but it can also be used aggressively to give players a boost when taking a pick. You can even use it on attack to get over a rival Sage wall, or to regain movement when stuck in a rival Sage ice orb.
Her orbs, incidentally, are a great way of trapping enemies in a corner or a location. The healing ability is also hugely helpful: it won't revive your armour, but it can take a hero from near zero HP back to full health in about five seconds.
There's really no situation where Sage's abilities aren't useful. That makes her one of the best characters in the game, although her stock has fallen slightly as professional teams start to lean towards characters with more active abilities for zoning out bombsites (like Omen, Viper, Brimstone and Breach). If you're just starting out, however, you can't go wrong with Sage - she's one of the few teammates that is never not useful.
Cypher's one of the more technical characters to play, but his cameras, cages and tripwires have become an essential defensive tool for players. The more information you have about where enemies are, the quicker you can rotate and better you can respond to enemy attacks.
Leaving cameras and tripwires behind gives a team the option of holding a site by retaking, rather than having to hold the site directly. This is especially helpful for Split, where mid control is essential to winning. And the best part is that the camera stays hidden until you use it, so if you're patient and don't constantly stay in camera mode, the camera can provide essential information for the entirety of a round.
The camera can be used offensively as well, or even as bait to give you an advantage in a quick duel. Throwing it around a corner can function like a cheap version of Sova's drone, giving you immediate information on an enemy's location (since if they don't shoot it, you'll hit them with a tracking dart, and then you'll have even more information on the enemy).
Cypher's ultimate is also supremely helpful in 1vx, 2vx or 3vx situations. His cage, meanwhile, slows enemies but not Cypher. It's also much faster to deploy than other characters' smokes, making it quite helpful for retaking a site or cutting off line of sight when entering an exposed area. The below video is a really great example of how brax, one of the better Valorant players in North America, uses Cypher's abilities to gain information in aggressive and dynamic situations.
So that's the Valorant lineup at the time of writing. If you're looking to get into the beta now, it's pretty serviceable on Australian pings - especially since a lot of non-US players are also playing on American servers, so sometimes you won't even be at a ping disadvantage. For more basic tips to get started, and for how Australians can get access to the closed beta, check out our advice below.
Australia hasn't been officially added to Riot's closed beta for Valorant. But does that mean Aussies can't gatecrash the party? Of course not. So if you're happy playing competitive shooters with a ping disadvantage, here's how to get into the beta.
Described as a mix of Overwatch ultimates with the mechanics of Counter-Strike, Valorant is currently one of the hottest games of the year. It's hugely technical, with lots of traps, mechanics and elements that you need to know before jumping in. So before the beta officially comes to Australia, here's all the things a new player needs to know.