VALORANT Phantom and Vandal
© Riot Games

Phantom or Vandal: Which to Use in VALORANT and When

Phantom or Vandal? It’s an age-old question for VALORANT, even if the game is only a few years old. You need to pick one, but which one is right for you?
By By Akshon Esports & Jeff Yabumoto
4 min readPublished on
Once you’re past the first few rounds in a standard game of VALORANT, you’ll start using the rifles. While there are technically four rifles—Bulldog, Guardian, Phantom, and Vandal—only the Phantom and Vandal really matter. Yes, the Bulldog and Guardian have their uses, but they’re more for if you’re behind on economy. The majority of players are going to be picking Phantoms or Vandals for every single rifle round.
The two rifles are very similar in playstyle and damage, and they cost the same amount, 2900 credits. So how exactly do you decide which one to pick if they’re so similar? Well, there are a few key differences that you should consider.


First up is the damage and range of the weapons. Rifles are excellent at all ranges but excel at the 30 – 50 and 50+ meter range. You’ll notice that this is the major difference between the two weapons. The Vandal does the same amount of damage at all ranges while the Phantom doesn’t.
What does this mean for gameplay? Basically, if you’re holding a long angle the Vandal is going to be your better option. If you hit the enemy at 30 meters or more in the head, they will die instantly and give your team an advantage. If you take the exact same fight with a Phantom, though, a headshot won’t instantly end the enemy unless they’re within 15 meters.
If you’re going to use a rifle at close range for the entire round, then a Phantom might be the better choice. You’ll still get a one-shot between 0-15 meters with a headshot, the same as a Vandal, so you’re not losing damage in a fight.

Fire Rate and Spread

Fire rate is the second major difference between the two weapons. As you can see from the images, the Phantom has a slightly faster fire rate of 11 rounds/second versus the 9.75 rounds/second of the Vandal. With headshots, fire rate doesn’t matter, but if you’re spraying the Phantom at close range, it’s going to be the better option. You’ll be sending out more bullets, and faster, than the Vandal player.
Plus, the Phantom has a smaller spread after the first shot, meaning more of your shots will likely hit when you’re spraying. That lower spread on the Phantom means it’s a bit easier to control for players who aren’t used to tactical shooters.

Smoke Counterplay/Tracers

The last thing you should consider, though your mileage on this may vary depending on your elo, is that the Phantom is a silenced gun. In VALORANT, that means enemy players won’t see your bullet tracers. This can be very helpful when the enemy team has a lot of smokes or walls and you need to shoot through them. With the Vandal, enemy players will see the bullet tracers and have an easier time pinpointing your position through the smoke. With the Phantom being silenced, it’s a lot harder for them to pinpoint you through your gunfire.
If you need a rule of thumb, default to the Vandal. Most players will default to a Vandal no matter what the situation is purely due to the headshot being an instant kill at all ranges. The differences between the two weapons are negligible to new players. You can even see the strong preference for the Vandal over the Phantom in this official chart from the VALORANT team that looked at competitive and pro play use.

Example Situations

Phantom Weapon Stats

Phantom Weapon Stats

© Riot Games

Neon, Phantom Preference
Say you’re playing Neon on Lotus. Neon likes to get up close and personal a lot of the time due to her ability to close the gap safely with her sprinting and wall abilities. On Lotus A site, a defender will often be at the breakable wall at A Link to defend a push. If Neon sprints out of A Lobby and to that spot, she can catch a defender off guard. You’ll then be at close range <15 meters, and a Phantom is an excellent choice. You’ll get your shots off faster and you won’t have any damage falloff due to the range you’re fighting at.
Vandal Weapon Stats

Vandal Weapon Stats

© Riot Games

Killjoy, Vandal Preference
If you’re Killjoy on Ascent defending A site by yourself, a Vandal is the better option. Why? It’s because of how Killjoy generally plays. She likes to set up her utility and use that to scout and distract the enemy. If you’re up close and personal with the enemy like Neon likes to be, you’re not getting the most out of your utility. KJ will peak from a distance, fire off a few shots, and return to cover while her turret also engages the enemy. You’ll likely be at >30 meters out, so you want a Vandal that will guarantee those one-shot kills.