How to play Valorant—all the agents and their abilities
Catt / CopyCatt
Human Ranger/Bard. Horror enthusiast. Story-driven. I like games where you can harvest plants.
With new agents being added all the time (16 as of Episode 3, Act 1) it can be difficult to get your head around all the many strategies and team compositions. G-Loot is here to help. We've put together a handy guide to all of the different agents and their abilities.
Astra’s abilities revolve around a unique resource: stars. Each round, Astra gets 2 free stars while the others (up to 5 total) need to be purchased. Astra can place her stars around the map during the warm-up phase (they aren’t visible to enemies until 2 seconds before the round starts) and they can be recalled and placed during the round. Once the star is placed, Astra can hover on it to choose an ability to trigger.
C: Gravity well
Pulls all other characters (enemies and teammates) towards it. The ultimate anti-camper device. Drop it near your enemy’s hiding spot to pull them out of cover and into your team’s sights.
Q: Nova Pulse.
A concussive blast that affects all players in its area. Like all of Astra’s abilities, placing your stars to get the best effect takes foresight, good knowledge of the map, and clever predictions of how your enemies will behave.
A smoke similar to Omen’s Dark Cover but with a 14-second cooldown. Be careful not to let your enemies take advantage by using it to stay out of your line of sight. Get to know critical map areas well and place Nebula strategically to cover your allies.
X: Astral Form.
This move allows you to view the map from Astra’s astral form. This is used to move around the map placing stars in strategic locations.
X Ultimate: Cosmic Divide
Creates a wall that divides the map and blocks bullets, but not abilities. It also makes sounds from the other side of the wall quieter, which can help you use abilities and teleporters without alerting your enemy.
“Relax, my friends. Time and space are—(laughing)—they’re not what you think.”
“You can tell a person’s character by their first action. Check me then, eh?”
“Gold is in our hearts but empty your pockets, fools!”
An explosive that attaches to a wall. After a short delay, it sends an explosive blast out of the other side. Great for trapping your enemies and forcing them back into your team’s sights.
Basically, Aftershock but without the pain. This explosive charge blinds anyone who finds themselves in its zone.
E: Shock Line
Send out an earthquake in the direction of your choice, which dazes anyone it encounters. Just make sure you give it time to charge up.
X Ultimate: Rolling Thunder
A strong earthquake which spreads out in a cone shape. As well as dazing agents, it also knocks them up into the air. This ability is useful for forcing enemy teams to retreat but really comes into its own for clearing out large areas with many ambush points.
“Stand in my way. I dare you.”
"Guns in my face? Just another Tuesday.”
“In a fair fight, I’d still kill you.”
C: Stim beacon
Give yourself and your allies a Rapid Fire buff with this AoE ability. Rapid Fire increases the speed of fire, reload, recoil spread recovery, and weapon swap. You and your teammates don’t need line-of-site to get the buff, so drop this beacon behind a wall before pushing forward. Alternatively, use the beacon as a decoy to trick your enemies out into the open.
A grenade launcher that shoots flaming Molotovs, essentially. The incendiary devices will bounce off walls and will detonate when they hit the ground. This means you can line up some pretty cool trick shots to rain fire down on defending enemies.
E: Sky Smoke
It’s smoke. It comes from the sky. ‘Nuff said? Alright, so this ability lets you open up a tactical map and drop up to 3 smoke grenades from the sky. Unlike Omen’s Dark Cover or Astra’s Nebula—which are hollow inside—this smoke is opaque, making traveling through it very difficult.
X Ultimate: Orbital Strike
A genuinely devastating aerial laser strike. As this ability can go through ceilings, it’s pretty much unavoidable, so it can do some severe damage to grouped enemies (and, unfortunately, allies). The blast lasts for 4 seconds, and defusing a bomb takes about 7. Just saying.
“They think I’m an old dog? Heh, I’ll show ’em just how many tricks I know.”
“I can’t close the settings menu on my bracer. How do I...oh...got it.”
“Shoot the bad guys! How’s that for a plan?”
The Trapwire is invisible unless you’re very close to it. It tethers an enemy for 3 seconds when they touch it and reveals their location to you and your teammates. Trapwires can be destroyed, and enemies will be dazed if they fail to destroy one after tripping it. Trapwires also appear on your team’s minimap, so you can stake them out.
An invisible trap that causes a ring of smoke that slows enemies down. Enemies walking through smoke also make a sound. Cypher needs to manually trigger the trap, but he can do so from anywhere as long as he looks toward it.
See the world through digital eyes. This ability lets you throw a spycam onto a vertical surface and then look through it from wherever you are. While inactive, the camera is invisible but is revealed to enemies when you’re using it. This can be useful in its own way as you can use your camera to distract an enemy while your teammate gets closer or takes them down. Oh, and did we mention the dart? While you’re using the camera, you can use Fire to shoot a spydart at an enemy. If it hits, the dart will periodically reveal that enemy’s location until they stow their weapons and take it out.
X Ultimate: Neural theft
While this ult may not have the awesome power of Brimstone’s Orbital Strike, it can be a real win for your team. By throwing his hat onto the body of a recently killed enemy, Cypher reveals the current location of every enemy.
“Nothing stays hidden from me. Nothing.”
“Ah, okay, this is good! I’ve got new gadgets to try out...”
“Now remember, wipe the prints from your guns. It’s just good crime scene etiquette.”
Country: South Korea
A short-duration smoke grenade that can be curved once thrown. Throw it around corners to smoke out peekers or use it to make a quick getaway.
This jump boost doesn’t seem like a big deal compared to some of the other agents’ abilities, but Jett’s mobility makes her deadly in the right hands. Use Updraft to get a drop on enemies hiding behind walls or boxes, get up onto high-up hiding spots, or travel over barriers. You can also combine it with...
... Jett’s other movement ability. This is a fast dash in whichever direction Jett is facing or moving at the time. Great when you need to get out of a deadly situation, like, now or to avoid your opponents abilities or weapon fire.
X Ultimate: Blade Storm
Tiny and highly accurate throwing knives. You can either throw these one at a time (left-click) or all 6 at once (right-click.)
Passive - Glide
A bonus ability, Jett can also Glide while jumping by holding the jump button. Another great way of getting out of (or into) combat situations.
“I know I dash around a lot, but I promise I’m looking out for y’all. Take them out while they’re busy with me.”
“I hate to say it but...probably best to play as a team. So, uh, what’s the plan?”
“This is fun. Who needs training dummies when you have real dummies!”
Little is known about KAY/O yet. Here’s what we think so far based on what’s been released.
“EQUIP an explosive fragment. FIRE to throw. The fragment sticks to the floor and explodes multiple times, dealing near lethal damage at the center with each explosion.”
This sounds like it might be similar to Raze’s Paint Shells except maybe dealing more damage. If so it could be really powerful for forcing enemies to retreat or preventing the Spike from being defused.
“Equip a flash grenade. FIRE to throw. The flash grenade explodes after a short fuse, blinding anyone in line of sight. Right clicking the flashbang, throws a charged flash, causing it to only have to cook for 1 second, as opposed to left click throwing a flash that cooks in 1.6 seconds.”
A flash with variable detonation times. If there’s no cue as to what kind of charge it has, it could sow some real anxiety in enemies who see or hear it coming.
“EQUIP a suppression blade. FIRE to throw. The blade sticks to the first surface it hits, winds up, and suppresses anyone in the radius of the explosion.”
This has the potential to be really awesome. There are so many use-cases here. Stopping Jett, Reyna, or Raze from using their abilities to escape a fight when they’re on the back foot. Buying yourself extra seconds to defuse the Spike. Throwing off Astra’s carefully laid plans. We’ll have to wait and see.
X Ultimate: NULL/CMD
“INSTANTLY overload with polarized radianite energy that empowers KAY/O and causes large energy pulses to emit from his location. Enemies hit with these pulses are suppressed for a short duration. While overloaded, KAY/O gains combat stim. If KAY/O is killed while overloaded, he is downed and enters a destabilized state, allowing allies to stabilize his core and revive him.”
Have you ever seen the movie Ocean’s 11? (If you haven’t, go do it now because there’s mild spoilers ahead. You’ve had 20 years to catch up.) Anyway, in that, they use a device which sends out an electromagnetic wave and knocks out all the power in the area and that’s what I’m imagining NULL/CMD to be like. It really sounds like KAY/O is designed to absolutely wreck some well-planned strategies and classic team comps. It’ll be exciting to see how he develops.
This is essentially a grenade except that instead of exploding in a burst of damage, it deals sustained damage over 4 seconds unless the enemy leaves its area. It also doesn’t detonate automatically but instead needs to be triggered remotely. It’s invisible from a distance, but it can be destroyed like all of Killjoy’s gadgets.
This little invisible bot doesn’t deal any damage. Instead, it gives a debuff, causing enemies to take double-damage for 4 seconds. This means you’re going to want to pair it up with your Nanoswarm or your Turret or toss it somewhere that you and your allies can take advantage of it. Why is it called Alarmbot? That’s because when it’s triggered, you’ll be alerted
A cute—yes, it is—little turret that doesn’t do vast amounts of damage but is undoubtedly going to make your opponent think twice about running into the line of fire. Its primary purpose, according to the designers, is as a distraction. Use it to set up a crossfire situation to protect your team’s flanks or buy yourselves a few precious seconds of defusing time.
X Ultimate: Lockdown
Yep, you guessed it, it’s another gadget. Killjoy’s ult, Lockdown, creates a huge dome with the Lockdown device at the center. Enemies in this area have 13 seconds to get outta there or destroy the device before it goes off, or they’ll be Detained (slowed and weapons disabled) for 8 seconds. This usually forces your opponents to either retreat from an area you want to control or risk precious seconds hunting down your device (which, obviously, you’ll be keeping an eye on so you can destroy them first.)
“Relax. I’ve already thought of everything.”
“Trapped and zapped!”
“Okay, I put together some data on our last six combat missions. Did you read it? Did… anyone read it? Oh, God. Can anyone here read?”
C: Shrouded Step
A teleport ability with a short-range that allows Omen to slip past enemies or get into normally unreachable areas. The audio cue for this ability means using it to sneak up on enemies is a high-risk strategy. You’re better off using it as a way of slipping by them and bypassing dangerous spots.
A projectile ability that causes anyone it passes through to become nearsighted: only seeing a small area around them. While this ability slows you down while you cast it, it goes through walls and can travel around 30 meters, meaning you can use it on enemies before they even know you’re there.
E: Dark Cover
A hollow smoke grenade that can be targeted, fired through walls and above the ground and to a distance of about 80 meters, lasts for 15 seconds, and can be used multiple times in a round. Yeah. It’s pretty great. It’s often used in conjunction with Shrouded Step, either to give you cover when you teleport or to fake teleporting to one spot while you actually head somewhere else.
X Ultimate: From the Shadows
Omen’s ult lets you travel anywhere on the map almost instantly. (Take that, Jett.) It opens a tactical map that allows you to choose where you want to teleport to. You then briefly become a Shade in your new spot before completing the teleport. It’s pretty powerful stuff; great for gathering information about an enemy’s location or just throwing them off their game with distractions and paranoia. It’s not without its risks, though; for that brief moment before the teleport completes, you’re vulnerable to attacks that will cancel the ability and put you back where you were. It’s also loud, so any ideas you had about silently teleporting behind an enemy and striking them down are out. Nothing personal, kid.
“I am the beginning. I am the end.”
“They fear death. They should fear so much more than that.”
“Strike at their weak points. If one link breaks the rest will follow.”
Goodness gracious great walls of fire. This ability casts a long, blazing barricade that hurts anyone who stands in or walks through it. Not you, though. To Phoenix, this fiery furnace is a healing tool granting up to 69 hit points. Oh, and it can be curved. Did I forget to mention that? As well as helping to physically block or shepherd an enemy, Blaze also obscures vision. Use it to stop your enemy from seeing where your teammates are positioning themselves.
A flash that appears as an orb that curves around the corner to the left or the right, depending on whether you left-click or right-click. As a Londoner, I obviously have a soft spot for Phoenix, but I don’t love Curveball. It takes quite a bit of practice and finesses to use it well, especially in the heat of the moment. You can end up blinding yourself or your teammates or not blinding your enemy. Also, it can’t be fired through walls (like Breach’s Flashpoint), so you have to kind of awkwardly position yourself to curve it towards your target. However, it is handy for getting the drop on enemies that you hear approaching when used correctly.
E: Hot Hands
More healing fire for you here. This fireball is essentially a Molotov that hurts anyone who stands in its flames, except for you. This ability only lasts for 4 seconds but recharges when you get 2 kills, so utilize it well.
X Ultimate: Run It Back
Run It Back has similar vibes to Omen’s From the Shadows but in a more brash Phoenix style. Instead of teleporting across the map, you create a save point for yourself. If you die in the next 10 seconds, you instead respawn where you used the ult. If you don’t die, you teleport back to that spot once the 10 seconds run out. As long as you don’t use it somewhere stupid where you’re going to get killed on respawn, it’s a pretty effective ult for aggressive play. Get in, cause havoc or gather intel, get out again scot-free.
“Just take a seat; I got this.”
“Okay, fam, if any of you die, I’ll be vexed. So just keep alive, yeah?”
“Remember: stay out of the fire. Super high-level tactic. Remember that, yeah?”
C: Boom Bot
Imagine if Killjoy’s Turret hooked up with a Roomba and had puppies. This adorable tiny deathtrap will travel in a straight line, bouncing off of walls until it finds an enemy. When it spots one, it’ll chase them down and explode. Obviously, its bounciness means it doesn’t, uuh, always go in the direction you expect (like a Roomba). It’s also pretty expensive (like a Roomba) and can be destroyed (like a Roomba.) It’s a lot of fun to play with, though, and, like a Turret, can be handy for forcing your enemy to split their attention. Hopefully fatally.
Q: Blast Pack
While this little bomb does deal AoE damage to other agents, that’s not its primary use. Instead, stick the Blast Pack to a surface and detonate it to propel agents away from it, including Raze. Used well, this is super fun for accessing high spots and getting out of dodge in a hurry.
E: Paint Shells
Raze’s primary ability. These little grenades pack a hell of a punch. Each one explodes multiple times, dealing a lot of damage over a wide area, which means anyone who gets in their way must have a death wish. It’s useful in so many situations, so explore how best to use them with your team.
X Ultimate: Showstopper
It’s a rocket launcher. Simple as. That’s not to downplay this ability: it does enormous amounts of damage and can one-shot enemies. Moreover, it detonates on impact with a surface, so for super-fun-times, blast yourself into the air with your Blast Pack and send a rocket of death down onto your unsuspecting foes.
“You can take the girl out of Salvador, but you’ll never take the girl out of Salvador. Wait...”
“Paint? Check. Charges? Check. Brakes? (laughing) Nowhere in sight.”
“Ah. Smells like victory—and gunpowder.”
Most of Reyna’s abilities are self-buffs, but Leer is her equivalent to Omen’s Paranoia. Leer sends out a spooky purple eye that nearsights any opponent to sees it, meaning they can only see a short distance in front of themselves for the next 3 seconds. While it can be destroyed, it can also go through walls and doesn’t affect your teammates, which is handy.
Devour is a self-heal that feeds on the Soul Orbs of enemies Reyna has killed. Seriously, the idea of this weapon-wielding vampire stalking dark corners of the map waiting to eat your soul is enough to give you goosebumps.
This ability also uses Soul Orbs. Instead of healing, it temporarily turns Reyna into an intangible wraith who cannot be harmed and moves extra fast. Yep, that’s not horrifying at all. Luckily for everyone else, she also can’t use her weapons or abilities during this time.
X Ultimate: Empress
The most important thing to understand about Empress is how it combines with Reyna’s other abilities; otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting it. When Empress is active, Devour is cast automatically when you get a kill. So you can just go wild, hoovering up those souls and healing. When Empress is active, Dismiss doesn’t use Soul Orbs, and as well as making you intangible, it also makes you invisible. Oh, and Empress lets Reyna fire faster, reload faster, change weapons faster, and see enemies’ outlines.
“They have no idea how heartless I am.”
“Ah. What hope do these criaturas have? I almost pity them.”
“They’re starting to panic. I can feel their pulse quickening from here.”
C: Barrier Orb
Oh, were you going to run down this way? Whoops, forcefield. This ability throws up a destructible but strong barrier wall. It lasts for around 30 seconds if not destroyed, so place it tactically and force your enemies to waste a lot of time and bullets on it.
Q: Slow Orb
This orb creates a patch of ice on the ground that slows anyone (including teammates) who walks on it. (“Wait, wouldn’t ice usually be slippery and make you faster?” Yes, shhh, just go with it.) This is one of those abilities that you will want to use in tandem with other players to get the best out of it. For example, pull off a fire-and-ice combo by using it to trap enemies so your Brimstone can hit them with an Incendiary.
One thing to remember is that while your teammates make sounds walking across the ice, enemies don’t. So don’t leave yourself exposed to a sneak attack, okay?
E: Healing Orb
Oh, look, another orb. This one can be used to heal yourself (right-click) or your ally (left-click). It’s slow compared to Reyna’s Devour, so bear that in mind, but you can use it to heal teammates at a pretty decent distance.
To be a good Sage player, you’ve got to get your head around the tactical choices of who to heal when. Keep an eye on your teammates’ health and stay in communication with them at all times.
X Ultimate: Resurrection
Bring a fallen ally back to life with full health. It’s simple, but it’s sure as hell effective. It can even turn the tide of a round when used strategically. Make smart choices: don’t rez an ally when their killer is still aiming at them, okay? Instead, use your Barrier to wall off potential attackers or team up with Omen, Astra, or even Reyna, to shield yourself and your ally from view before bringing them back.
“I am both shield and sword.”
“My power does not ebb. Ask for aid, and you shall receive.”
“I will soothe this turmoil. With fire, if I must.”
An exciting alternative to the usual healing abilities: Regrowth draws from a predefined health pool to heal all allies in range and sight. Take advantage of this ability to turn the tide on opponents by giving all of your team more time to fight back. You can’t use it on yourself, though.
Have you ever seen a real Tasmanian Tiger? (Not a live one, obvs, they’re extinct. Or are they? 0_0 ) Skye’s Trailblazer trinket is sleek and smooth and shiny. It sort of looks like it might be the spirit of a tree or something rather than—you know—a fanged marsupial that wants to eat your face.
Anyway, this ability lets you take over your critter to scout around the map and uhh, yeah, explode in people’s faces. It comes with risks, though. Firstly, it can be destroyed fairly easily. Secondly, your real body is completely vulnerable while you’re in animal form. So make sure someone is there to protect you.
E: Guiding Light
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Oh, it’s a bird, and it’s coming to blind you. Skye’s flash hawk can be guided by holding fire and then detonated on command. It’s fun (if sometimes risky) to have your team run just behind it and turn away so it can blind your opponents and they can run in and clean up.
X Ultimate: Seekers
Send your seekers out to do the hard work of nearsighting your opponents for you. These little trinkets will hunt out the 3 nearest enemies, so pay attention because this will give you valuable info on where they are hiding.
“Alright! Where’s the fight?”
“Not used to working with humans. Usually just me and my pack. I guess it’s worse if you guys get shot, yeah?”
“Ahhhh. Now there’s some serenity.”
C: Owl Drone
An Owl (not a hawk this time) Drone that can be flown around the map to gather intel. This one carries a dart that you can fire to reveal an enemy’s location. It’s also a handy distraction; encourage your opponent to focus on it while your teammate gets a shot in or makes an escape.
Q: Shock Bolt
An arrow with a variable range and which can be bounced off of walls. Instead of piercing an individual enemy, it does AoE damage depending on how close the agent is to the blast. It’s worth taking some time to practise with this one because it can be really effective in skilled hands. Because it can be fired over walls, a well-aimed shot can take out a group of enemies who didn’t even know you were nearby.
E: Recon Bolt
This bolt doesn’t deal damage. Instead, it reveals the location of enemies within line of sight. Otherwise, it works very similarly to the Shock bolt. Bear in mind that the bold can be destroyed and is visible on the minimap.
X Ultimate: Hunter’s Fury
Not the biggest ult in the world, but it can still make a big difference to a round. Hunter’s Fury lets you fire off 3 arrows one after another, through walls or terrain. And these are no ordinary arrows; as well as dealing a decent chunk of damage, they also reveal the location of their target on impact. Use them in combo with your intel-gathering tools to discover and then destroy your opponents.
“Wherever they run, I will find them.”
“A bow and arrow is old-fashioned, but sometimes old ways are best.”
“My babushka told me not to brag, but for this, I make an exception!”
C: Snake Bite
You know, there are a lot of abilities in this game that are “kind of like a Molotov but…” Anyway, Snake Bite is kind of like Molotov but for poison instead of fire. The pool of poison slows agents who walk through it, as well as dealing damage. Enemies aren’t going to want to stand around in the poison for too long, so use it to flush them out of hiding spots.
Q: Poison Cloud
A toxic smoke that blocks vision and deals damage to anyone caught inside of it. The grenade sticks to horizontal surfaces, so don’t think you’ve always got to throw it down on the ground. Instead, find sneaky spots to hide it and surprise your opponents.
Poison Cloud runs on Fuel—Viper’s unique resource—and it will slowly use up your tank while it’s active. You can pick up the grenade and reuse it.
E: Toxic Screen
This ability creates a line of gas emitters (like the one used in Poison Cloud) to create a barrier of toxic smoke. Like Poison Cloud, it also runs on Fuel, so be sure to keep an eye on your reserves. Unlike other barrier abilities, this one can be thrown over walls, making it very effective for misdirecting enemies and denying them info.
X Ultimate: Viper’s Pit
A cozy den for this deadly agent. Viper’s Pit is like a gigantic smoke or an entire room made of poison gas that hurts anyone who enters it (except Viper, of course). The walls are opaque from both sides, making it difficult for enemies to guess where you might be about to pop out from or even if you’re in there at all. The pit stays active as long as Viper stays inside it, but she can pop in and out for short periods. While you have an advantage over your enemies while you’re in your Pit (they’re taking damage and you’re not, and they are outlined in red), you’re not invulnerable. Keep your eyes peeled to stop opponents from getting the drop on you.
“No one can hold their breath forever.”
“Only 5 of them? Pity. I brought enough poison for 50. You can’t say I’m not prepared...”
“If any of you die, I lose a bet with Brimstone. So don’t embarrass me like that, please.”
Decoy footsteps used to mislead your opponents for example by luring your enemies to the one site while you and your team push on the other. Fakeout can be deployed immediately or set in a dormant mode to be activated later.
Another flash but this time it’s blue. This projectile is triggered by being bounced off of a solid surface and blinds everyone in line of sight for 1 second. What makes Blindside stand out is that it’s fast, allowing you to quickly reposition yourself in (or away from) a duel.
A rift tether that allows Yoru to teleport to the tether’s location. It can be used immediately, placing it in front of Yoru to teleport forwards. Alternatively, the tether can be placed at the player’s location, allowing Yoru to teleport back there.
X Ultimate: Dimensional Drift.
Opens a rift to another dimension, allowing Yoru to travel invisibly and intangibly for up to 9 seconds. It’s important to remember that, even when intangible, Yoru can’t pass through walls and opponents. Get it wrong and you might just find yourself rematerializing at the wrong end of a weapon.
“I’ll fight anybody. I’ll fight everybody.”
“Don’t stop fighting. You must keep going, even if you are the only one.”
“A bunch of ざこ want to fight us. They must really want to die.”