Riot clarify how Valorant ranks are affected by KDA, wins, and losses

Published: 13/May/2020 20:09

by Bill Cooney


Riot Games developers have revealed the biggest factor for moving up and dropping down the ranks of Valorant’s competitive mode, and some players might be surprised to learn KDA is less important than they think.

Ranked play in Valorant was released at the end of April for Europe and North America, but since its launch, some players have been a bit confused about how things like kill/death ratio, wins, and losses affect their rank.

As with most other FPS games, Valorant fans treasure a high KDA, but Riot has revealed that a consistent, picture-perfect ratio might not help you rank up any quicker.

In an effort to clear things up, product manager of the Valorant competitive team, Ian Fielding, laid out the quickest way for players to rank up: winning games.

“We’ve heard some concerns from players who feel they need to maximize their KDA (kill-death ratio) to boost their performance evaluation,” Fielding said. “And how doing so is not always aligned with their team winning.”

Riot Games
Moving through the ranks of Valorant will take more than a nice KDA ratio.

“Let’s be clear: Winning or losing a match has the biggest effect on your rank,” he explained. “If you aim for something other than winning (like KDA), and you lose matches because of it, your rank will trend downward.”

FPS games, including Valorant, are way more fun when you’re playing with a group of friends, but some still feel that the real test of skill lies in solo play. However, Fielding also addressed how Riot is trying to keep solo and group queues on a level playing field.

“If you are playing solo or with smaller group sizes, we’ve worked to make it so our matchmaking will favor placing players against similar premade team sizes,” Fielding wrote. “Also, outside of playing at the highest rank, we’ve included measurement on a small degree of ‘performance’ in determining how your rank increases or decreases. So if you perform exceptionally well and have an outsized contribution to your team’s win, you‘ll rank up faster.”

Riot Games
Fragging out is definitely fun, but if you’re not working with your team, it won’t make ranking up any easier.

But Riot’s approach to ranked in Valorant, and the lack of a separate solo queue, has rubbed some top-level players the wrong way, including Daniel ‘dafran’ Francesca, who had to deal with a similar problem while he was a top-tier Overwatch star.

Dafran does have a point – a lack of a separate queue for solo players means that, at high ranks, you’ll inevitably have to go up against a full squad that’s more familiar with one another than a group of random single players could ever be.

The Overwatch community has had to deal with this issue since release, and a lot of veteran players from other games are disappointed that Riot seems to be taking a similar route. There’s plenty of time left in the beta, but whether or not the Valorant devs decide to change their mind on a separate solo queue remains to be seen.


Valorant Split map guide: Callouts, strategies, more

Published: 24/Jan/2021 5:30 Updated: 24/Jan/2021 6:12

by Bill Cooney


In Valorant, where you are and how you move around the map matters just about as much as your gunplay. So to help you in your quest for Radiant, we’ll be going over the ups and downs of Split in this guide.

Split has two Reactor Sites – just like Ascent and Bind – but what makes it special are the yellow ropes that let you move up and down from one level to another. You can actually hang out on the ropes and, with a little practice, pop up like a whack-a-mole to punish unsuspecting enemies.

As always, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the Reactor Site locations and callouts on the map below, since chances are you’ll be hearing at least a few per match.

Riot Games
Callouts for Valorant’s Split, according to the in-game map.

You don’t need to memorize every single callout, that would be a bit ridiculous, but getting the hang of what certain names like Tower, Rafters, Sewer, and Garage are referencing will definitely help you out in the long run.

Split can definitely lean towards favoring defenders over attackers, due to the bottlenecks you have to make your way through on offense, so let’s start out by looking at what you can do to make planting the spike a little easier before we move on to defense.

How to play Attack on Split

Reactor Site A

We’ll start with A, which can be tricky to take on as an attacker because defenders have plenty of places to hide and catch you as you move in. A Lobby, A Main, Ramp, Rafters, and Screens all the way in the back are all common spots you’ll see defenders posted up in as you push. 

Valorant Split A Tower
Riot Games
The changes to A Tower make it a must-take if you are attacking A Site.

To counter this, Omen’s smokes can work, but another option is to use Viper’s Toxic Screen to dissect the point and reduce the enemy’s line of sight.

When it comes to planting the Spike on A, you usually can’t go wrong by putting it on the side of the blue billboard — denying opponents that might rotate on high from having an easy shot.

This also allows you to keep an eye on enemies coming from A-Screens in the back, as they’ll have to come to where the Spike is, and where you’re posted up.

Valorant Split A site
Riot Games
Planting behind the blue billboard, or the big A on A Site is the way to go.

Reactor Site B

Next let’s look at the B-Site, which can be very tough as there’s only one main way to reach the point — through the bottleneck created by Garage. While this has been opened up somewhat, there’s still a lot of angles defenders can play from.

If you’re going to rush B, putting some kind of smoke up in B Towers to cut off the enemy line of sight is a solid plan. Omen is the best choice, as only one smoke can be used to cut off the entirety of Heaven. Brimstone and Viper can both do the job though.

When it comes to planting on B, it all depends on which side of the point you can/want to defend. The box in the middle of the point is your pivot, but if you have the control, planting under the big red B is the best — you can hold the site down from B Main, making it very hard to retake.

Valorant Split B Site
Riot Games
You can now plant from B Site and defend it from B Main if you plant under the big red B.

Conversely, if you control Towers and Rafters and want to defend from the high ground, putting the Spike on the other side will give you a clear view of any defuse attempts.

Mid Route

Mid on Split doesn’t have a direct point like Haven, but any team that controls the middle of the map early on has a much better chance of walking away with a round win. For Attackers, this means getting the Defense to move around and leave cover — which makes good ol’ Breach and his wallbangs perfectly suited for disrupting and pushing Mid.

Valorant Split Mid
Riot Games
Split Mid is still important to control, as it’s the primary rotate point between sites.

How to play Defense on Split

Reactor Site A

On A, you can either rush up as Defenders and occupy A Main to intercept Attackers, or if you want to play it safe, you can hang back around A Screens to peek out and hit them when they head onto the site and start to feel confident.

If you’re feeling cheeky, you can hide behind the large blue sign in the middle of A Site to surprise over-eager Spike carriers. But if they have a backup with them, the chances of you making it out alive are slim to none.

Valorant Split A Heaven
Riot Games
You can also hold this fine angle from A Heaven looking towards A Main.

As always, Cypher is a great choice on Defense, because he can basically keep tabs on the enemies as they move into the point… so you’ll know exactly when to strike. Omen can also do a decent job at holding things down with his smokes.

Reactor Site B

On B-Site, you really only need one Defender completely committed to the site, with others providing support from Mid. As the lone Defender, you can really set up anywhere you please, as long as you don’t play your hand and show yourself too early. There are simply too many angles and areas of cover for the Attackers to effectively neutralize them all.

Valorant Split B Heaven
Riot Games
There’s now a double-stack box in the way for defenders, but you can opt to play around it.

Good Agents to put on Split’s B-Site are of course Cypher; his Cypher Cam and Trapwire can will notify your teammates of an enemy push. Killjoy also works with her turret, Alarmbot, and Nanoswarms.

A Viper who knows what they’re doing can also do a fine job of keeping things clear, especially when you combine her Poison Cloud and Snake Bite abilities to slow down a push.

Mid Route

Mid might be the most important area to hold for either side of the Spike. If attackers are able to take control, they can effectively rotate to, and control either side of the map. If you’re tasked with holding Mid, the most important thing to remember is to just be patient and wait for the Attackers to peek, because they have to move up, while you can just hang out.

Mid-Vent and Mid-Mail are both good spots to hang out and wait for the offense to make their move. Raze and Breach are best suited to stalling out with their offensive utility, while Sage can drop a wall to really stop attackers in their tracks.

Valorant Split Vents
Riot Games
It’s no longer safe to hold the right hand side of the door on Vents due to recent map changes.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in Valorant, or similar games before, this can seem like a full semester of information to take in. But don’t worry, because as you play the map you’ll start to pick up on everything we’ve mentioned here from your teammates.

Communicating with your team is one of the most important things you can do in Valorant. So even if you don’t have every callout on the map memorized, working together and talking as a team can help make playing both Attack and Defense a bit simpler when Split comes up in the rotation.