How to play Cypher in VALORANT

April 12 2022

How to play Cypher in VALORANT
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Cypher is one of the 13 original VALORANT Agents introduced in the beta. The mysterious man from Morocco is the game's first master of intel and still holds that distinction in the current meta.

His abilities cater to gathering enemy locations and other information to help his team stay one step ahead. While it isn't the most exciting style, it's incredibly efficient. There was once a time when it was essential for a team to include Cypher in their comp on virtually every map. That has changed a bit with the arrival of more and more Agents, but he remains one of the best options at all levels of play. 

Role

Cypher close up

Image source: Riot Games

Among the four Sentinels in VALORANT, Cypher is a defensive Agent that should be played passively with little aggression. He excels at gathering intel through various means to scout out the opposition. He can also daze enemies with a trap that reveals locations and even has a vision blocker that can aid in attacking situations. Each of Cypher's standard abilities offers great utility while obtaining information all at once. 

Cypher spent most of VALORANT's lifespan as a top-tier option and the game's best Sentinel. However, he was recently dethroned by Chamber, who was added last November. Cypher is still strong but leans heavily on playing passive and isn't as flexible as other Agents. Furthermore, playing him requires a willingness to engage and cooperate with your squad, even in casual matches. If you stay within your role and work together with teammates, then Cypher's slow but steady style will translate to fast results. 

Abilities

Cypher selection Valorant

Image source: Riot Games

Basic Abilities

Trapwire

  • Cost: 200 Credits

  • Command Key: C

  • Function: Autonomous Deployable Intel, Concussive

  • Charges: 2 

Aim and FIRE to place a hidden tripwire at a specific location. The trap will create a line that extends wall to wall. Any enemies that pass through will be tethered and concussed unless they can destroy the tripwire in time. 

Cyber Cage

  • Cost: 100 Credits

  • Command Key: Q

  • Function: Vision Blocker

  • Charges: 2

  • Duration: 7.25 seconds

Instantly toss a Vision Blocker that stays invisible until activated. A tall, white cylinder will spring into the air that plays an audio cue whenever an enemy walks through Cyber Cage.  

Signature Ability

Spycam

  • Cost: Free

  • Command Key: E

  • Function: Controlled Deployable Intel

  • Charges: 1

  • Restock time: 45 seconds (destroyed), 15 seconds (recalled)

Equips a hidden camera that can be placed on a viable surface, typically a vertical wall. Reusing the ability will take control of the camera from its point of view. FIRE to shoot a marking dart, which reveals the location of any tagged targets. 

Ultimate Ability

Neural Theft

  • Cost: 6 Ultimate Points

  • Command Key: X

  • Function: Intel

Using this ability with a dead enemy's body in your crosshairs will reveal the locations of all remaining players on the opposite team. 

Strategies

Cypher is best played passively with an emphasis on teamwork. He is one of the rare intel specialist Agents who doesn't have to flank out on his own to scout out enemies. His abilities are very assistive and don't fare well in 1-on-1 fights. Grouping up with a few teammates is always wise since Cypher has no defensive abilities he can use in panic situations. Players will also get a huge benefit from using comms, though it's not absolutely necessary. Cypher is not exactly beginner-friendly, but he can be a good choice for newcomers because he doesn't have to be aggressive to be effective. However, his kit often relies on him to play one way without much ability to adapt to other playstyles. 

Even after plenty of nerfs, Spycam is one of the best Signature Abilities in the game. Once it's placed on a wall, the camera turns invisible but will reappear whenever Cypher takes control. It can be easily destroyed, so try to find a decent hiding spot for it anyway. The camera turns left and right to alter its field of vision. When an enemy is in sight, tag them with a tracking dart; try to do so when their back is to the camera so they do not catch a glimpse after it becomes visible again. A dart provides one reveal tick every two seconds until it is removed. They have a cooldown of 6 seconds, so focus on tagging just one enemy at a time. 

Mix up where you plant Spycam to keep enemies from guessing its location and avoiding that area. Even if the camera is never spotted, still switch up your placement for new vantage points. Cypher is unable to move when controlling the camera, leaving himself highly vulnerable. Always make sure to find a secluded hiding spot or have some teammates backing you up before accessing the camera. If Cypher is damaged while using Spycam, the ability will end and give him a chance to fight back. Spycam deactivates when Cypher is eliminated during a round. 

Trapwire is another covert tool that incapacitates unsuspecting enemies. The trap must be placed across a pair of surfaces, either between two walls or a floor and ceiling. If the distance between them is too great, then Trapwire cannot be cast. Once the trap is deployed, the line will become invisible. Any enemies that cross the wire are hooked by a tether that prevents them from escaping. If they don't destroy the trap fast enough, it will concuss them for a few seconds. 

This ability is helpful in defending situations such as shutting down a plant site. Look for choke points and other entryways where enemies might look to approach from. Place Trapwire near these locations but not directly on them. Enemies are able to hear a visual cue just before walking into the wire, giving them an opportunity to destroy the trap or avoid the area. Try to place it so that one will walk into it just after the teamfight starts. The noise from the gunfire will block out Trapwire's alert. They will divert their attention to the trap or become confused in the frenzy and concussed. Either way, pick off the hapless victim first and then follow suit with their cohorts. 

Cyber Cage works in the same manner as most Smoke abilities. The main difference is that this Vision Blocker is hollow, allowing enemies to see inside and over the top. Cypher will hear an audio cue any time an enemy passes through Cyber Cage. Use it at entryways and choke points to sniff out approaches from the opposing team. Cyber Cage also works above and below ground. It is possible for it to cover several different levels at once when activated near stairs, slopes, nests, etc.

There isn't much to Cypher's Ultimate Ability. Simply hover your crosshairs over a fallen enemy to reveal the locations of their remaining allies. Enemies will be highlighted with a stagnant yellow outline that will not follow their movements. Therefore reveals often reflect a general area and not a specific location. The only trick to Neural Theft is knowing when to use it. It works best at the end of rounds, whether you are looking to take out the last few foes or in need of a come-from-behind clutch. 

Counters

Like all agents specializing in intel, the best way to counter Cypher is to eliminate him as early as possible. Since he can no longer use Spycam and Trapwire after dying, he cannot help his team from beyond the grave. Taking out an opposing Cypher early in a round gives your team a significant advantage. 

If you ever see Spycam appear while Cypher is in control, be sure to destroy it. The HUD will let you know that your location has been revealed if you are tagged. To rid yourself of the tracking dart, hold down the corresponding key that pops up with the message. As previously mentioned, Trapwire will let out an audio cue just before you walk into it. Tread cautiously near choke points and stay alert for the sound the trap makes. If you're able to stop in time, you can try and destroy the invisible device, but it's probably best to just turn around and find another path.  

Conclusion

If you're looking for something a little different from the usual run-and-gun, Cypher may well be a great choice for you. Make sure to track your stats with G-Loot while you play, to see how you perform with this agent.

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Author Zach Snoddy

Zach
Zach

Midwest Marauder. Wiz with words. Fighting game enthusiast and FPS newb. Not bad at video games but wishes he was better.

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