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VALORANT has about 700,000 players a day, with new people picking up the game all the time. With so many players grinding the colorful shooter, you may be left wondering where you stack up against everyone else. If you’re looking to start taking competitive mode more seriously, there are some things to keep in mind as you begin your climb up the ladder.

Play Consistently

This might seem obvious, but if you want to improve at VALORANT you need to play the game consistently. This will help you get a deeper understanding of the agents, the map, the meta, and the strategies. Consider adding an aim trainer to your routine as well, which will give you improved mechanical capabilities on top of game knowledge:

  1. Aim training
  2. Casual matches
  3. Ranked matches

Implement a flexible gaming schedule into your daily routine. This will help you set aside a few hours a day to aim training and playing competitive matches. Pick a time of day where you won’t feel stressed or distracted — and make sure it won’t cut into things that are important to you, like family and work.

While you play consistently, you’ll start to build muscle memory as well. Remember to keep your gaming setup the same, including where you have your mouse and keyboard and how you sit in your gaming chair. The goal is to become as comfortable as possible while also ensuring that you get used to the way you’re gaming.

Pick A Small Pool of Agents

Figure out which role in VALORANT fits best with your natural playstyle. For example, if you like sticking to the backlines and supporting your team, you may want to focus on Initiator agents that allow you to gather important intel for your squad. If you like leading the charge, focus on damage-dealing Duelists. And if you prefer creating and implementing strategies, try Controllers that manipulate the map.

Pick a handful of agents that you find appealing and practice with them daily. You want to understand these agents and their abilities inside and out, becoming stronger as you learn when to use their abilities and how you can properly work with your team the most effectively.

If you’re unsure where to start, check out our guide on VALORANT agents for beginners. These impactful agents are easy to learn but will still take time to master.

Pay Attention to Individual Gameplay

While VALORANT is a team-based game, you will improve significantly if you closely monitor your individual performance. Watch VODs of yourself playing after matches to see what you could improve on, whether it be better positioning, faster reaction times, or bad habits that you seem to repeat.

Also focus on what you did right, taking note of your strengths. This can help you better understand your playstyle and how you can benefit your team the best.

Learn Maps and Callouts

You will need to practice on every map when you first start climbing the competitive ladder in VALORANT. Every map has a unique layout and gimmick that determines your team’s strategy and positioning — even how you should use your agent’s abilities. For example, some maps are more open than others, meaning snipers will have the upper-hand, while some maps are better for agents like Jett that can reach interesting locations.

Even more importantly, study the mini-map and learn callouts. Every VALORANT map has a set list of callouts, essentially names for each area of the map. Having a deep understanding of the map’s layout as well as knowing what each location is called will help you with strategy and communication.

Play With a Squad

Speaking of, you’re much better off climbing up the competitive ladder with a team. Having a set team to play with will help you practice your communication, teamwork, and strategy. Being able to work with a trusted group of players that grow with you means that you’ll climb a lot faster.

If you find yourself playing when none of your friends are online, make sure you have a microphone and practice communicating with your teammates. Even if they appear toxic or silent, make important callouts and work on adapting to whatever plays they make. This will improve your problem solving skills and allow you to make impactful moves in unexpected circumstances.

Change Up Your Playstyle

Being flexible in-game is super important when it comes to ranking up in VALORANT. Even if you are usually an aggressive player, you need to know when to play defensively. Analyze your opponents, their positioning, and their playstyle. Learn their techniques and start studying their patterns. If you take a step back from charging in, you may start to notice things that will give your team an upper-hand and completely turn the game around.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break

No matter how intense a game is, it’s never worth getting mad, yelling, or hitting your desk. Seriously.

If you feel yourself getting heated at crappy teammates or unfair outcomes, step away from the game. Grinding competitive for hours can be bad for your mental and physical health, leaving your heart rate elevated and your mind racing.

Take a step back and do some aim training. Or maybe play a more relaxing game if you want to keep your hands moving. You can also lay down and watch some YouTube videos (VALORANT tutorials or just random rants from MoistCr1TiKaL are both fine), grab a light snack, take a nap, or watch that show everyone keeps telling you to finally check out on Netflix.

This may sound insane… But maybe even step outside and touch grass. Go on a walk, head to the gym, simply sit outside and soak in the sun.

If you keep grinding, even when you’re feeling exhausted, you will burn yourself out. You will perform better when you are refreshed, excited, and feeling positive about the game. Stay positive in-game by supporting your teammates, making suggestions, and consoling them when a match doesn’t go as planned.

Ranking up in VALORANT is all about consistency, versatility, teamwork, and in-game knowledge. Once you have these mastered, you will be unstoppable each season. Always take time to think about your previous errors and upcoming strategies between each round and don’t be afraid to take a break when you start to feel heated. See you in the Premier open beta