How to rank up fast in Valorant's Rated mode - Dexerto

How to rank up fast in Valorant’s Rated: Competitive survival guide

Published: 22/Jun/2020 14:20 Updated: 22/Jun/2020 20:49

by Andy Williams


Valorant’s Rated mode is set to go live with Patch 1.02, but if you’re transitioning from Unrated to the competitive mode for the first time, there’s a few things you’ll want to learn before diving into the deep end.

Valorant is a competitive shooter at its core. Introducing a Rated mode – which rewards players for their grind against equally skilled opponents – is only a natural step forward for a title that is destined to flourish as an esport.

While both Unrated and Rated share the same Spike Defusal mode, Rated matches will play entirely different to its more casual counterpart. So here’s everything you need to know to hit the ground running and soar through the ranks in competitive Valorant.

Moving from Unrated to Rated: What to expect

Player defusing Spike on Ascent.
Riot Games
Rated games will play in an entirely different way to Unrated matches.

Providing you’ve played your 20 Unrated matches, you will have access to Rated once it goes live. Valorant’s competitive mode is made up of eight ranks ranging from Iron to Radiant, each with three tiers of progression (aside from the highest rank).

You can queue with a party of up to five members, but each must be within a two ranks range of yourself. So if you want to play with a friend whose rank is considerably higher than yours, you’ll have to grind your way there.

Team composition is the biggest change that you’ll notice in your transition to Rated. A team stacked with Duelists might work in Unrated, but in Rated you will be punished for doing so.

While we’ll touch on this in a little more depth later, just know that for now, you’ll want a healthy balance of Agents — those Sentinels really come into their own in Rated!

Aside from that, you’ll notice that teams will be a lot more structured as you progress through the ranks. Proper utilization of abilities (at the right time) can often dictate the outcome of a round. Before we delve into how to get you one step closer to that coveted Radiant rank, let’s first take a look at the Matchmaking Ration (MMR) system.

Understanding the Rated MMR system

Riot Games
Progressing from rank to rank can be a tricky affair.

You will have to play five placement matches when dipping your toes into Rated for the first time. During those matches, Riot’s algorithm will take a number of variables into account to place you among equally skilled players.

While top fragging your way through every match is great, that will only get you so far in Future Earth. Valorant will reward winning over anything else… So that means you want to maximize your chances of clinching a victory.

So if the biggest metric in the algorithm is winning, then the easiest way to securing your win is consistently playing with the same teammates. As it stands, there is no dedicated solo queue — meaning that you have a good chance of coming up against a premade squad, which will immediately put you on the back foot and lessen your chances of ranking up.

If you haven’t come across any teammates in-game yet, there’s plenty of forums where you can find like-minded players looking to rank-up… Try the ‘Looking for Group’ channels in the official Valorant Discord for your specific region.

Which Agents to use in Rated

Valorant's Agents filtered by type.
Riot Games / Dexerto
Which Agent best suits you?

So now that you understand how Rated’s MMR system works, let’s take a deep look into team composition. As you’ll probably already know, Agents are split into four categories (highlighted above). If you haven’t yet found your groove with a specific Agent, our beginner’s guide and Agent guides will help you do just that.

While there is no specific formula for the perfect composition, having a healthy balance is the general rule of thumb. Duelists and Initiators will come into their own on Attack, whereas Controllers and Sentinels will prosper on Defense.

Within the current meta, Sage is a must-have Agent for any team. Her healing capabilities prove invaluable as the rounds progress on Attack, while her Barrier and Slow Orbs can single-handedly bring the most aggressive of enemy pushes to a halt.

Agent selection is also dependent on the map being played. Some maps favor Attack more, and you’ll therefore want to capitalize on that by leaning more towards Duelists and Initiators, who’ll aid your ability to win key duels and push a Reactor Site.

Map knowledge and economy

Valorant's four maps at launch.
Blitz / Dexerto
Taking the time to learn each map will better help your understanding of the dynamics.

After playing a minimum of 20 Unrated matches, you’ll already have a pretty good grasp of each map and how they work. What really sets players apart from others, though, is their knack of understanding map dynamics.

Having the game sense of when and where to push comes with experience. For example, using your utility effectively (both in terms of placement and timing) to isolate areas of the map, plays a huge role in how well you can take control of the map.

Playing to the clock and using time relative to your map positioning is a great habit to pick up on, as it will improve your play tenfold in the long run. Be sure to brush up on our map guides to ensure you know callouts and important map features like the back of your hand.

To complement map knowledge, you’ll want to really get to grips with how your economy works and how it can impact not only the imminent round, but also future rounds. Keeping tabs on both your team’s and opponent’s economy will better inform your buys when entering rounds.

If you want to get a better understanding of how Creds work in Valorant, deep-dive into our economy guide which covers everything from the basics right through to the intricacies of ability usage.


10 players to watch during Valorant’s First Strike Global Finals

Published: 26/Nov/2020 16:58

by Lauren Bergin


With the Valorant First Strike qualifiers coming to a close all across the globe, some players have risen to the top of the pack — but who are they? 

It’s safe to say that Riot Games’ first global tournament, First Strike, has left its mark in FPS history. There’s been upsets, shocking results and, of course, some absolutely wild plays. Some of the top tier teams fell at the final hurdle, and others powered up by friendship have emerged triumphant.

One of the positives about having the tournament be played online is that it lets smaller teams shine, highlighting players who maybe never would have made it onto the big stage.

Every region is going to see some fierce competition for their regional title, and it’s going to be exciting to watch who prevails and who falters. Below is our list of players who can shift the First Strike tides, so let’s dive right in.

European players to watch

Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom (Team Liquid)

When Team Liquid picked up former CS:GO pro ScreaM, Valorant fans were beyond excited, and for good reason. Renowned for being the “headshot machine” of CS:GO, it was pretty obvious that ScreaM joining the Valorant scene heralded even more head-popping chaos.

From start to finish ScreaM has dominated the First Strike qualifiers on his signature Jett, scoring an ace against Prodigy Esports that will go down in Valorant history as one of the cleanest. Are you ready to scream for Liquid? Well, get ready to watch the man himself obliterate the competition in the First Strike Regional Finals.

Ardis ‘ardiis’ Svarenieks (G2 Esports)

One of the most formidable players on this list is Ardiis, G2 Esports’ sniper extraordinaire. With a KD of 1.24 and a whole host of Agents available in his pool, Ardiis has quite rightly been dubbed by many casters, analysts, and other professionals as one of the game’s best players.

He’s proven that his skill matches up to the hype. One of the key carries in G2’s series against Ninjas in Pyjamas, Ardiis’ Sova was a force to be reckoned with. Sneaking behind enemy lines, shooting out devastating shock darts left, right and center, G2 couldn’t have done it without him. It’ll be interesting to see how he steps up in the regional final, especially when the title of First Strike Europe champion is on the line.

Pontus ‘Zyppan’ Eek (FPX)

When FunPlus Phoenix entered the Valorant scene we knew the sparks would fly, but we never knew that Zyppan would be the reason. The ex-Fortnite player’s Raze has become a true force on Future Earth, demolishing every team he’s been put up against.

With a KD of 1.32, his aggressive style is one we’d love to see more of in Valorant. His performance against The Opportunists is the perfect example of why he’s on such a highly respected roster, and it’ll be exciting to see how he shapes up against Ardiis and FunPlus’ arch nemesis, G2.

Domagoj ‘doma’ Fancev (SUMN FC)

SUMN FC aren’t a team that many people expected to be playing with the big guns, but doma is one of the reasons that the team are up there. The young Croatian has led SUMN to countless victories in past tournaments, with his Raze plays being explosive as the agent herself.

Doma has become one of the team’s most dominant forces, scoring headshot after headshot against eXiLe eSports in their qualifying match. Will he be able to outwit foes such as ScreaM and Zyppan? Maybe so, but what’s for sure is that he’s going to give them a fight to remember.

North American players to watch

Jake ‘kaboose’ McDonald (Team Envy)

Kaboose might not get as much recognition on Envy as his teammates like FNS, Crashies, and food, but he’s proven to be the player this roster needs to fly right to the top. The duelist specialist was the star of the Envy lineup that ended up winning the First Strike NA NSG Qualifier, topping the Average Combat Score (ACS) charts and styling on the likes of T1 and 100 Thieves.

While he was a CS:GO veteran of five years, he never really got his chance in the spotlight while playing in MDL. Now, in Valorant First Strike, he really has the chance to get the breakout he’s been grinding for years.

Quan ‘dicey’ Tran (100 Thieves)

If there was any doubts about Dicey’s skill before he joined 100 Thieves, they’ve surely been silenced by now. The young star is on the rise in Valorant, spearheading an incredibly talented and experienced roster. He might not have the name value of his teammates like Hiko and nitr0, but give him six months and he will.

His Jett put Wardell to shame in the NSG Qualifier for First Strike, but he’s also shown he can pick up other roles like Sova as well while on Prospects. He also has the brain to match the aim: one can’t forget his insane 1v4 ace against Sentinels on Bind back in Pop Flash. Now in his biggest competition yet, Dicey really has the chance to cement himself as a household name in Valorant.

Jay ‘sinatraa’ Won (Sentinels)

Sinatraa has a real chance to become an undisputed GOAT in two titles. The Overwatch League MVP has made a splash in Valorant with Sentinels, and is widely considered to be the best player in NA. His ability to flex between Agents is testament to his versatility. Across just two series against 100 Thieves and T1 in the NSG Qualifier, he played four Agents in Raze, Sova, Jett, and Phoenix.

His uncanny ability to top the score charts, all while playing a more supportive role on Sova (most of the time) is incredible. There was a reason why he’s considered one of the best Overwatch players of all time, and now he’s living up to that GOAT title in Valorant.

Noah ‘jcStani’ Smith (Immortals)

Immortals have been through a lot of changes, but jcStani has been a rock for the squad. He’s filled in every possible role no matter who leaves, and although he more often than not finds himself on support, he still manages to frag out like a duelist.

jcStani’s leadership of the Immortals roster that has been in flux, even during First Strike with ShoT_Up’s illness, has steered them to where they are today. Now with things starting to stabilize, it’s only a matter of time until the best of Immortals and jcStani really gets to shine.

Notable mentions

Goo ‘Rb’ Sang-min (Vision Strikers)

Rb is probably the best Valorant player you’ve never heard of. The Vision Strikers star is the King of Korean Valorant. There’s a reason why his team are on an undefeated 43-0 streak, and a lot of it has to do with Rb. His incredible fragging ability allows his squad to execute the most well-coordinated strats seen across the globe.

Rb boasts a career ACS of 245. To put that in perspective, Sinatraa has a career ACS of 241, Ardiis has 245, and the only player who really beats him is ScreaM on 258. The level of competition in Korea is fierce as well between T1 Korea, C9 Korea, and more, but Rb manages to consistently come out on top on Jett, making him one of the most exciting prospects once international play gets going.

Chris ‘pl1xx’ Li (EXO Clan)

To round out our list, it’s time to take a trip down under to chat about EXO Clan’s pl1xx. Is there anything pl1xx can’t play? Probably not. He is an incredibly flexible player for Oceania’s number one team, and while he calls himself a Sova main, he can basically play anything his team needs, including Reyna and Raze.

A once-budding Counter-Strike prodigy, the Australian has found himself a new home in Valorant. Widely touted as Oceania’s best player – with maybe a bit of debate between his teammates – pl1xx’s flexibility and keen aim makes him one of the most versatile players not just in his home region, but across the globe.

So that’s it for our list of players to watch going into the global First Strike finals. There are a hundred different ways this list could have went, but these players are certainly standouts and we can wait to see how they perform.