How to Effectively Engage on Offense - VALORANT Gameplay Guide
Thu 23rd Jul 2020 - 10:51pm
Pushing and engaging your opponent is a mechanic as old as time itself. In any video game - regardless of genre - engaging your opponent efficiently is the mark of a great offensive player. In VALORANT, the way you charge into battle is key game after game. Mastering the skill behind a successful engagement will usually make or break a round as the offense will often determine the tempo and pace at which rounds are played.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything it takes to everything it takes to master the most pivotal piece of VALORANT’s offensive portion. From choosing where on a specific map to engage, how to turn corners and approach angles advantageously, and of course, which characters have the right tools for the job, we’ll be sure to go over everything it takes to engage correctly and safely round and round.
How and When to Engage
Choosing how, when, and where to engage when on offense is a process that unfolds over the course of a round. From the pre-round decision making process, to the push to site, and finally in the rotation process, engaging your opponent is something that develops and adapts to the given situation - just like you must as a player.
Let’s start at the beginning of the round. At the top of each round when you’re on offense, you should always be choosing a site where you think the enemy won’t be. Playing a guessing game is obviously not something you want to be doing, so you should use context clues based on the defending team’s tactics in previous rounds to help you make a decision on where you want to push and engage. Successfully engaging and winning a gunfight starts in the pre-round phase, before a shot is even fired. If you’re able to successfully plan out your attack, you’ll have a stronger engagement to be sure.
However, once you finally reach the choke or the site which you’re pursuing, you need to make an effort to approach smartly. If you simply run into a choke with the expectation to win a gunfight outright, you’ll be neglecting the countless tools that VALORANT throws your ways in terms of engagement assistance.
Most offensively-minded characters have tools and abilities to get them in an advantageous spot before they engage. Whether it’s something like Phoenix’s Curveball, which blinds all enemies around a wall or angle, or even Raze’s Boom Bot, which allows her to roughly scout out the area before her, a strong majority of the characters in VALORANT have abilities that allow them to get a feel for the situation around them - subsequently placing you in an advantageous position - before you even come face to face with your opponent. There is no reason in any given situation why you should be running into a gunfight with nothing but your ability to aim, especially when VALORANT gives you so many more resources and chances at a leg up than other tactical shooters.
Ideally, you want to try and engage once you have mental confirmation of your opponent’s location. If you know that only one defender is going to be holding down a site, you want to try and pinpoint their location with a scouting ability from either you or your teammate. If there’s multiple defenders, then do what you can to confirm both of their locations. Since the defending team usually has the advantage over a given angle, you never want to be caught out of position and trying to guess your opponent’s location in real-time.
The Science of Angles
Speaking of angles, the way you approach an angle on a site is going to make or break most pushes. Although they seem to be inlaid into the environment, every piece of a map is supplemented by an angle that players, their weapons, and abilities interact with. Everything in VALORANT has to work its way around an angle. From something as intense as a large-scale ability to a single shot from a Vandal, the game’s pillars, walls, and chokes are the ever-present mechanic that determines every outcome.
When you’re pushing, angles are everything, and chances are, you’re going to be at a disadvantage on offense most of the time. The way angles operate in VALORANT comes down to the core principle that the player that’s further away from the angle or corner in question will have an advantage over the player that’s closer to the angle.
To put this in perspective, if you’re peeking around a corner and there’s a player further down the impending choke with a rifle just waiting to pick you off, they’ll have the advantage over you because they’re further away from the angle in question. By the time you peek around the corner - even if you fire at the exact same precise moment - the game’s mechanics naturally favor the player who’s further away from the angle. This of course implies there is some sort of natural angle between you and your opponent - which 99.9% of the time will be the case considering it’s incredibly rare to be perfectly head-on, pixel-for-pixel, with another player.
With the concept that every angle plays by the same rules in mind, it’s important to think back to the fact that certain agents have the ability to manipulate angles and shape a situation to their need. Even though the game’s rules will always be the same, some characters - and experienced players - can make the most of each opportunity.
Engaging with the Right Agents
Agent choice is something that propels VALORANT into an entirely different sector than most tactical shooters. Selecting the right agent for any given situation is going to be a practical part of your gameplay. Not only are you able to develop patterns in your playstyle with the right agents for your tendencies, but you’ll also have the ability to get used to the way your favorite characters are affected - and conversely, affect - the game around them.
In terms of making the most out of engaging, characters with an offensive-minded playstyle are going to be your best bet when forming a plan of attack. As you push onto site, those with strong utility abilities such as smokescreens, walls, and flashbangs, are going to have a strong advantage over characters without those sorts of tools. Ideally, characters with a mix of different tools at their disposal are going to have an easier time engaging than someone like Cypher or Sage.
When dropping into an offensive mindset, you’ll want to focus on playmakers with expansive kits. Namely, Raze, Breach, and Brimstone are going to be some of the strongest agents you can engage with. They’re able to manipulate angles and sightlines with abilities that can go through walls, as well as control certain areas of a site or choke with AoE effects. Characters like the aforementioned ones - or agents who can be played in a similar vein - are going to naturally place an emphasis on attacking effectively and efficiently. With the tools at their disposal, engaging onto a site or into a choke should be easier for them than most agents.
If you’re looking for a true hyper-offensive character, though, Phoenix and Jett are situational picks with a little less utility but a lot more flair and options on their table. With movement abilities and sight manipulation mechanics in mind, their ability to shift an engagement situation towards their favor is also pretty reasonable, albeit a bit riskier.
Regardless of which character you choose to master in order to become more proficient at engaging, it’s important to remember that VALORANT will always play by the same set of rules. It’s only a matter of which agents you use to give you a slight upper hand.
As you progress through your journey up the VALORANT ladder, it’s going to always be imperative to keep the prospect in mind that engaging is only half the battle when on offense. Rotating from position to position, as well as playing around the spike are also core mechanics that make up the foundation of a round. However, if you’re able to get off to a good start, the tides can easily be shifted in your favor.