Mastering Cypher featuring Dephh - VALORANT Agent Guide
Thu 22nd Oct 2020 - 2:00pm
Cypher might just be the strongest agent in the current VALORANT meta. He brings a combination of unrivaled information-gathering skills, incredible map control, and extreme versatility to every team composition he’s a part of. With the ability to completely hold down the map and know everything there is to know about the enemy team, Cypher is practically a staple of every VALORANT team comp.
In this guide, we’ll detail everything it takes to master the king of intel. With a little help from Dephh, longtime tactical FPS legend and Cypher player for Dignitas’ professional VALORANT roster, we’ll cover Cypher’s place in the meta, where and when he excels, and how to best use the character on different maps across the game.
The Versatility of Cypher
In almost every possible scenario you can think of, Cypher fits like a missing puzzle piece. Almost every composition in the game features a Cypher simply due to how valuable he is on the map. No agent is able to gather information quite like Cypher, and in a tactical FPS, information on the map is everything.
Dephh: “You don’t really know a Cypher is gone until you play without him.”
And perhaps what’s most useful about Cypher is the fact that he doesn’t necessarily rely on the defensive portion of the game to find success. On all four maps in the game, Cypher will be able to find a spot on both offense and defense where he can default to in order to gain the upper hand. On Haven, for example, Cypher can keep A-Site locked down with cameras and traps that give him control over Long, while he’s simultaneously watching Short. And that’s going to be the case on most maps. While Cypher can’t solo hold as well as a character like Killjoy, his ability to have literal “eyes in the back of his head” is something that makes him a strong choice for any team comp, regardless of whether you’re attacking or defending.
Dephh: “Cypher is one of the best characters in the game right now because people always think that he’s CT-sided, but really, he defaults on most maps. On Split, for example, Cypher will default A, where on Bind, he’ll default to Toilets and control most of the round.”
And with that strength in mind, it’s obvious as to why Cypher has uses on every map and in every team comp. With such a small roster of characters, Cypher is most definitely the premier intel-gatherer in VALORANT. His entire kit was designed around the concept of picking up info, and when he’s strong in that aspect during every round, it should be obvious as to why Cypher is in “must-pick” territory.
Going into each round, you should have a mindset that gathering information is your top priority as Cypher. The agent isn’t meant to be an engage-heavy, aggression-focused character. Instead, those sorts of responsibilities should be left to characters like flashy duelists like Jett and Phoenix. If anything, Cypher’s main goal is to scout out the map, learn all there is to know about the enemy team, and use that information to gain any possible advantages in a setup for any incoming skirmishes.
Dephh: “He’s talked about in almost every comp. If you’re not going to use him, you need to change your playstyle. Most teams are going to need a Cypher. I can’t see him moving around in the meta until Riot makes a large change to him.”
Perfecting Cypher’s Setups
Cypher’s Spycam is easily his most iconic ability — and perhaps the most iconic move in all of VALORANT. On defense, it’s a massively important tool that Cypher can use to set up his defenses on any given site. On offense, he can use it to stop a counterpush or even cover your tracks after claiming a site. Even when Cypher doesn’t have the time to perfect his setups, the camera is still a major weapon in his arsenal that can be used to gather immense info on the enemy team.
Ideally, you should be trying to get out in front of your enemy. You don’t want to stack your camera directly on top of your traps and wires, as bunching up Cypher’s abilities is counter-intuitive to what makes him strong. Instead, try and put all of your tools spread around one specific site in a staggering fashion so that enemy players who are pushing a site can’t help but continuously run into cages and wires after getting caught out with your cam.
Dephh: “On both attack and CT, Cypher is super valuable. Don’t always think that you have to stay in one spot sitting on your cam. He seems boring, but he’s actually a lot of fun if used well. Cypher is as good aggressively as he is passively.”
Don’t be afraid to mix things up on Cypher, either. From time to time, it’s not the worst thing in the world to go to a different site a few rounds into a half. If a Cypher player has been setting up his traps around one particular site, opposing players might not expect him to rotate before the round starts and set up cages and wires on the map’s other sites.
As a Cypher player, you should be taking advantage of your opponents’ complacency and look to catch out a team that’s been dedicating itself to one particular pushing strategy with a quick switch-up before a round begins on defense.
Dephh: “There’s going to be certain times where Cypher can put his cam and traps in a spot where someone isn’t expecting there to be a trap. He can catch people off every round.”
Winning with Cypher
Cypher is easily the most unique character in all of VALORANT. While some of the other agents on the roster can do what he does, nobody gathers information and pinpoints the locations of enemy players quite like Cypher. In order to win with the agent, you need to understand that flashy plays aren’t going to be the foundational part of your playstyle. Cypher isn’t about the hard engage or the cross-map snipe. Instead, he’s there to claim as much intel as he can and relay it back to his team in order for them to make the big play.
Dephh: “It’s not just his camera, it’s not just his traps. Cypher is crucial to how you default your map control. Every added benefit like passive information on CT is something that not many other characters can give.”
Additionally, aside from information about the enemy team, Cypher is the absolute king of map control. While other characters like Killjoy and Sova can hold sway over the pace of a round, Cypher is practically an omniscient presence that you can’t escape from. With a series of smokes and CC abilities that only increase the potency of his camera, Cypher can very easily lock down not only several sites on a map, but players as well.
While playing the character, you should make it a point to not only give your team as much information as possible, but also to leave the enemy team in the dark. Locking down a certain portion of the map can make your opponents uneasy, as it’s never truly confirmed if Cypher is watching them or not.
Also, Cypher can very easily keep entire sides of a map locked down. If there’s anything that makes him so incredibly strong in the current meta, and deserving of a “major change”, according to Dephh, it’s the fact that he can have entire teams playing on their tip-toes. Even when an enemy team destroys Cypher’s cam, they’re still going to walk straight into a set of wires and cages. That consistent combination of control and pressure is what makes Cypher stronger than any other information gatherer. More importantly, it’s what makes him the universally-recognized strongest character in the game.
Dephh: “His cages are great for map control. There’s certain spots on each map that Cypher can use his cages to gain ground. There’s a bit of a Cypher meta on Bind right now where you can trap and cage Toilets so that they have to shoot a trap and run through cages. On Split, for example, a character like Jett is always going to be a problem. Instead of defaulting A one round, you can also be mid to use cam.”