VALORANT's Brimstone is extremely skilled at blocking off approaches
© Riot Games

Deny the enemy with VALORANT’s smoke expert, Brimstone.

Grab your Stim Beacons and get those Mollys ready. Here’s everything you need to know about playing Brimstone, one of VALORANT’s best controllers.
By Mitchell Newton
9 min readPublished on
Brimstone is a former spec ops soldier who’s brought some old tricks to the new gig. He can cover the map in smokes with one swift motion, or block off choke points and bottlenecks to get kills while holding off the attacking team. His ultimate, Orbital Bombardment, is more of the same but on a bigger scale, stealing you enough time for the bomb to go off or netting you a few kills on overextending flankers. A key part of any team composition, Brimstone blends support skills with controller abilities as good as any other agent in the game.
Blended together, his kit makes him excellent at blocking sightlines and stalling enemy pushes. His sky smokes can be devastating if used quickly while on attack, helping grant your team some safe pushes. Every good team right now needs at least one person to play a controller.
While flashes are annoying and get kills, smokes win games. WIth so much value from his utilities, Brimstone is a character who you’ll want to keep alive as long as possible. He sets up plays for initiators but, by no means, should he be the first one through the door. Hold your angles, gather intel, and take shots when you can, but remember to block lines of sight and enable teammates to make plays with Stim Beacon.

Stim Beacon (C ability)

Steam Beacon is a purchasable ability that stacks twice. When used, Brimstone drops an AOE beacon that buffs any player who stands in it, boosting their reload speed, weapon swap speed and recoil recovery by 10 percent. A great tool to give Brimstone the advantage in any one on one, it works best when used to push into an area while boosting multiple allies at once.
Be careful not to throw it down too hastily and give the enemy the chance to use it as well, since its effects will linger on a player for about 4 seconds after leaving Stim Beacon’s AOE. It lasts 15 seconds and can spread around barriers and walls. An underrated part of Brimstone’s kit compared to his other abilities, don’t underestimate stim beacon. For 100 credits, it’s a worthwhile purchase. By the way, Stim Beacon is indestructible, so please don’t bother wasting shots on trying to take it out.

Molly/Incendiary (Q ability)

Brimstone loads up a grenade launcher and fires off an incendiary that will skitter along the ground once, or bouncing off the walls twice, before exploding. Just like Phoenix’s hot hands, it lights a patch of the ground on fire with enough flame to block some entire doors and hallways.
Unlike hot hands, Molly lasts for 8 seconds before dissipating, doing about 60 damage per second. With one charge, Molly is as straight forward an ability you can get in Valorant but, just like any other cookie cutter ability, you can break the mold to find some creative usage. With a long arc and initial launch speed, you can hit people from different sites, even finding specific lineups so that you can drop a Molly onto the bomb, like a budget version of stalling with your ultimate.

Sky Smoke (E ability)

Brim’s signature ability lets him drop 3 smokes on the map, but only one of them is free. He can pop them within a limited distance from his location to precisely where he wants them placed. The ability takes around 3 seconds to appear, and boasts an up time of 15 seconds, so don’t rush too early and don’t get too comfortable waiting out his longer than average smoke duration. When deploying the smokes, you go into a simple map of the area where you can choose precise locations to smoke off. Always look for your typical spots ( Heaven, off angles, etc) and make sure they’re covered.
Typically an announcement of your team’s impending arrival, you can use your smokes as effective feints. Smoking off one bombsite across the map often draws the defenders’ attention, forcing them to choose carefully when picking an area of focus.
Smokes are the absolute best part of his kit, offering a huge amount of intel for your team. Every player will react slightly differently to the hall they’re pushing getting smoked off. Some will wait it out, refusing to take on a disadvantaged fight, while others will push through quietly and hope to catch you off guard. What you learn from this exchange will affect how you adapt to the game.
You can choose to smoke off the same three spots every game, but that’s lazy. Changing your tactics and forcing different interactions with your smokes is huge. It isn’t a Sage wall and teams can push through it, but it makes them wary and, since you can deploy them quickly and safely, they are useful in almost every situation: Attacking, defending, planting, post-plant and when trying to defuse. Once you know the team's strategy towards your smokes, take advantage of it. Vary ability usage with a Molly or a Stim Beacon here and there while mixing up your positioning to try and punish the opposition.

Ultimate: Death from Above

Also known as Orbital Bombardment, Brimstone pulls up the map once more and chooses a location to be nuked from orbit. While it’s a fast acting ability, a large red marker appears where you’ve chosen to drop the hammer and make it rain. An attentive player can get out of even the center of the strike if they switch to a knife and turn tail, but it is never guaranteed.
A well-timed orbital strike can catch players off guard, in the middle of movements or trapped off from safety. You should be netting odd kills, or at least good damage, if it’s used in conjunction with your team (and some educated guesses) but, at the end of the day, it is not meant to get picks. It's meant to deny the enemy the area.
Orbital strike has another perk as well. The blast itself is not instant death, it whittles down your health bar doing 20 damage per tick and blocks off entire pathways easily for 10 seconds. If you, and a few friends, find yourselves down in a gunfight while you are defending a ticking bomb, a common strategy with Brimstone is to tuck them away somewhere safe,letting your allies stall for time (and inevitably lose the 5 on 2). Once the play is set, you drop Orbital Strike on the bomb itself to stall out longer, not letting the defenders defuse.

Buy strategies

None of Brimstone’s skills will break your bank, incendiaries go for 200 credits these days. Meanwhile, Sky Smoke and Stim Beacon will cost 100 a piece. Sky Smokes are your bread and butter, always being a worthwhile investment on attack. Your sole responsibility on a team will be to block off sightlines since there are rarely two controllers on a team. If you’re able to successfully boost your team, Stim can turn rounds fast. There’s rarely a bad time to purchase Stims, just use them responsibly if it’s a save round.

Map Strategies

Brimstone’s map strategies vary only in where the lines of sight are and where the chokes lie, so let's just look at how he differs from attacking and defending.
On attack, Brim can use his smokes to block off sightlines that look on your team as they enter the site like Heaven on numerous maps, Elbow on Bind, and middle on Split. There are dozens of angles and it mostly comes down to judgement. Where would you typically look at the attacker entryway? Smoke it. Did that work? No, then change it up. Yes? Then change it up anyways, because you don't want to become predictable. If you suspect they will use the same spot, don’t hesitate to smoke it off again, but be wary of how easy you are to read. Some areas are too good to not have someone using them.
Don’t forget about using your smokes as a feint. This is better if you have a second controller, so they can still smoke off the actual approach, but is still useful even without the help. Drop a smoke on B or C (depending on the map), draw multiple eyes to where you smoked, and profit. Your friends should push onto a (hopefully) vacant or now poorly defended site.
Results will vary. Sometimes it draws one player, sometimes it draws many. Typically, the team will adapt to how you are using the smokes. If you push through quick and aggressive, seeing the smokes will cause more of the other team to reinforce the supposed push. If you play slow and don’t give anything away, it might only draw one player off as they may suspect your motive and proceed to investigate.
You may absolutely unload the ability in some situations, or you may throw out only a single sky smoke. While it seems unnecessary, his abilities get stronger the more the round plays out, since players tend to respect smoke and play differently around it more than any other type of ability in the game.
On defense, Brim serves as well as any controller can. Look for entry points and choke points that you can use a single smoke on to get the most value. One that forces enemies to wait or push through your smoke, rather than merely go around it. A few rounds in, you’ll get a feel for how the enemy is treating your smokes. If they push into them, throw a Molly in it as a deterrent. If they don’t, perhaps wait it out, or peek into the smokey void if you are feeling bold.
You may even notice that, by smoking off one point, the enemy will just leave it alone, knowing there are better options and not even looking to see if you still smoke it every round. Just be mindful to not throw them out in a frivolous manner. If another site is taken and you have to retake to defuse the bomb, you’ll be missing those smokes something fierce while you struggle to get on site.