Get ready for Red Bull Campus Clutch with these Valorant map strategies
© Philipp Neubauer/Red Bull Content Pool
Ahead of the big tournament for university students, here’s everything your team need to know about map strategies, defenders and attackers and more.
Valorant may be a shooter at its core, but it’s all about strategies and tactics. In most cases, the team with the best strategy will win the map, it’s not all about reflexes and aim alone. In order to win a game of competitive Valorant, or go far in Red Bull Campus Clutch, in other words, you need a plan.
Of course, there are simple tactics. Like rushing a site or camping out in spawn and letting the enemy come to you. However, even these supposedly straightforward plans can get complicated very quickly in the fog of war. In every round, it’s vital to be unpredictable and keep the enemy players on their toes. Strategies and tactics need to be created in advance and every player needs to be on the same wavelength.
If you’re thinking about getting a team together for worldwide student Valorant tournament Red Bull Campus Clutch, we’re here to take your squad to the next level. In order to help you out with your gameplan and strategy, we’ve asked G2 Esports’ newest addition Aleksander ‘zeek’ Zygmunt and BIG’s Fatih ‘gob b’ Dayik for help. Read about their thoughts and theory on Valorant map strategies down below.
Recognising your weak spots
Valorant is an asymmetrical tactical shooter: teams that play each other have different win conditions. The T-side players have to plant on a site, or kill every CT player, while the CT players have to defuse or kill all the T-side players. While Valorant and Counter-strike: Global Offensive have a lot in common, a big difference that is often overlooked is the inclusion of three bomb-site maps.
Defending three bomb sites means that CT side players always have a small disadvantage (because you can’t hold every single angle). While zeek says that setting up well is very important, he goes on to explain that, “you will always have weaknesses no matter how you play, so it’s very important to gather cross-map information during the round and make really good rotations”. Losing three extra seconds could mean that your team-mate dies alone on the other side of the map.
We all know that professional players often pull off incredible smoke set-ups before a push, so that they can rush in at the perfect time. However, what happens if one of those smokes or flashes misses the mark? Is the round now doomed? gob b says that it happens sometimes and it’s not the end of the world when it does. However, it’s definitely important to learn the set-ups, even as a beginner player. If you’re able to pull off the smoke set-ups, “the opponent can't read what you are doing. You get harder to read and you can become a nightmare for them."
After the initial set-up comes the execute. However, in high-level Valorant you will often encounter anchors, where one player will lock down a site with one-way smokes or a massive amount of utility. Getting around that can be very tricky. In these situations, gob b says that you can’t give too much respect to the anchor, “otherwise he can hold the bomb site all the time alone. It gets very hard to play against.” In zeek’s eyes, there are multiple ways of dealing with it. If you know that there's an anchor, you can “bait out one-way cages/smokes and then make a proper execute towards another site.” Alternatively you can bait out the cages first and wait until the utility is down and then push the same site and try to overwhelm the anchor that way.
If you’re on the CT side of a T execute, you need to cover and hold the angles which the attackers use to come into a bomb site. Again, zeek says that it’s simply impossible to cover all the angles on a three-bomb-site map. With only five players in a team, it’s always a bit of a gamble to know where the enemy will be coming from. “That’s why we see retakes in almost every round on Haven,” he adds.
For his part, gob B says that changing up your defensive set-up often is the way to go. “You need to understand which site is weak and you need to have a good retake strategy for when your initial plan fails. That's sometimes hard, but you need to talk with your team about rotations when certain scenarios happen.”
Split up for split
As the name suggests, Split is one of the most controversial maps in the map pool. Players either love it or hate it. It used to favour defenders, but some recent changes have made the map a little more even for both sides. Now, zeek says, the key to winning a round as T-side on Split is having mid control: “When you have mid control, it opens a lot of space on the map and the CTs need to hold four or five angles."
Once you have mid control, it opens up a lot of opportunities for the Ts, so it’s very important to always prioritise. This is something gob b agrees with; he says that T players on the map have two options: “Either you force a bomb site with flashes and a Jett dash or you go very slow and try to get map control.”
- Asymmetrical tactical shooter: A game in which two opposing teams have to meet different conditions to win the game.
- T-side players: Attacking players, tasked with planting a bomb (named a ‘spike’) on a bomb/spike site, or kill all the opposing players.
- CT players: Defending players, tasked with defusing the spike or killing all the T-side players.
- Bomb/spike sites: There are four playable maps on Valorant: Haven, Split, Blind and Icebox. Split, Blind and Icebox each have two sites for attacking players to plant the spike. Haven is the exception, with three spike sites.
- Mid control: Each map has different avenues of attack. Mid control refers to players aiming to seek an advantage by dominating the middle part of a map.
- Anchor: Players select different Agents before each round. Each Agent comes equipped with different strengths, weaknesses and a special ability. Sentinels, for example, excel at defence and can be used as an ‘anchor’ at spike sites (someone who sits on a site to slow down opponents).
- Utilities: This refers to the abilities of the Agents. These can range from the incredibly powerful, to more simple ‘utilities’ like smoke grenades.
- Smoke set-ups: Certain Agents have access to ‘smokes’ – incredibly useful abilities with a number of benefits, not least of which is obscuring enemy sight lines. Brimstone, for example, is an Agent with the ability to call down smoke grenades, which are often used at key moments of the game. Tactics involving smokes are referred to as ‘smoke set-ups’.
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With a yet-undefined meta, there are a lot of options for creativity. New plays and strategies are invented in every single tournament. Learning maps and seeing what professionals do is often the best way to learn yourself. Of course, playing in Red Bull Campus Clutch is also a good way to train yourself while playing in a competitive environment; sign up now and get ready to compete with other students around the world.