A screenshot of the video game Valorant.
© Riot Games

12 tips for Valorant beginners from India’s best squad, Team Mahi

The members of Team Mahi (formerly known as Velocity Gaming) list out a few unique tips for those who want to get a front foot in Valorant this year.
Written by Ricarlus Aguiar
6 min readPublished on
Valorant is one of the biggest first-person shooter (FPS) titles in the world right now.
And Team Mahi are the top-ranked Indian team in Valorant at the moment.
Founded by Manoj ‘Sentinal’ Kashyap as Velocity Gaming, the squad now known as Team Mahi comprises Anuj 'Amaterasu' Sharma, Tejas 'rite2ace' Sawant, Karan 'Excali' Mhaswadkar, Sabyasachi 'Antidote' Bose, Vibhor 'Vibhor' Vaid and Sagnik ‘Hellff’ Roy.
They were the Indian representatives at the PVP Esports Valorant Open Championships Regional Finals, set to take place in Singapore in December 2020. The tournament was eventually held as an online event and Team Mahi finished the tournament in third position, proving that they are one of the better Valorant teams in Asia and certainly one of the best in India.
We caught up with the athletes to understand their approach to the game and share their tips for upcoming Valorant gamers.

1. Always communicate with your teammates

Talk with your teammates before the match to discuss planning and strategy, and during the match to call out enemy locations, in-game movements and item drop locations. And it also helps to talk after the match to discuss if the tactics worked well.
When calling out locations during the game, be as specific as possible. Miscommunication can cause problems for your team and hand the opponents the victory.

2. Practice shooting as much as possible

“Practice is very important and should not be skipped,” says Amaterasu.
Anuj 'Amaterasu' Sharma of Team Mahi, an Indian Valorant team.

Anuj 'Amaterasu' Sharma of Team Mahi

© Team Mahi

Remember that aim is acquired through muscle memory, and muscle memory improves with regular practice. One way of doing this is to keep track of your score when practicing and set a benchmark for yourself to improve.
Spend at least 15 minutes of practice in The Range before beginning competitive matches.

3. In the beginning, avoid movement while shooting

“If you are a beginner, stand still and shoot. Try to not move while shooting until you get used to the controls and more importantly, the gun's recoil,” says rite2ace.
Tejas 'rite2ace' Sawant of Team Mahi, an Indian Valorant team.

Tejas 'rite2ace' Sawant of Team Mahi

© Team Mahi

If you are an absolute beginner to FPS games, you will need to learn the basics of shooting. Practice hitting targets before you can incorporate movement with your character.

4. Get familiar with gun recoil

No matter which gun you pick, stick with it until you understand the gun's recoil and rate of fire. Once you’ve learnt these two components, you will get faster with your shooting and have definite kills.
One important thing to remember in gun recoil is that with the first nine bullets, the gun will pull downwards, so adjust by pushing your mouse in the opposite direction. From bullet 10 onwards, the gun moves left to right; so you will need to make an adjustment again.

5. Use strafe movements in a head-on battle

If you are facing your opponent head-on, without any cover, use strafe shooting to win the battle. Strafe shooting is an oscillating left-right-left movement of your character which is done by pressing the ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys very quickly. It is difficult to perfect but very effective in a one-to-one battle once you’ve learnt how to do it.
When strafing, you will notice that at the end of moving left, just before you reverse your direction to right, your character will be standing still for less than a second. This is when you should burst fire and then quickly move.
Another tip for moving and shooting is to press the 'Shift' key while moving up and down ropes as it increases your aim's accuracy.

6. Adjust your crosshairs

Crosshair adjustments are vital in any FPS game. There is no fixed pattern, type or colour that works for everyone; it is always down to personal preference. Once you get a hang of the game you will be able to discern your own crosshair requirements and Valorant allows you to modify, tweak and adjust crosshairs to different levels.

7. Adjust your mouse sensitivity

Another critical tip for any FPS game is your mouse sensitivity. Team Mahi suggests that your mouse sensitivity should be such that you can turn 180° in a single swipe of the mouse. To test this, keep your mouse on the far left side of your mouse pad and slide it over in a straight line to the right side of the pad. Once you’ve figured out how much the mouse sensitivity needs to be adjusted go to Control Panel >> Mouse >> Pointer Options and make the adjustments.
If you aren’t certain on mouse sensitivity, practice on the 6th mark in Pointer Options and uncheck the 'enhanced pointer precision'. This will make it a little difficult while sniping from a distance but you can practice on these settings until you are sure of your personal preferences.

8. Have a favourite gun but pick according to situations

When asked about their favourite guns, the members of Team Mahi said their main picks are between the Phantom (M4A1), the Vandal (AK47) and the Operator (AWP). These can be great to try for a beginner as well. However, they advised that gun picks need to be situational sometimes. For example, Duellist Jett is a highly mobile agent in the game and usually performs well if equipped with a shotgun.

9. Always crouch, never jump when shooting

Crouch if the fight lasts long as it helps in controlling recoil. If you're able to crouch and strafe simultaneously, you have the best chance of winning a one-vs-one battle. Don't ever jump and shoot or you will definitely miss your target.
Jumping is most useful when you want to avoid giving your opponent an accurate shot while you are trying to get to cover. In such a situation, jump in an irregular pattern.

10. Use a knife while running

Remember, you run faster with a knife in hand instead of a gun. When you are trying to get across the map, equip with a knife to move faster.

11. Don’t waste the time between rounds

If you’ve just won a round, don’t stand around waiting for the next round to begin. Use these precious few seconds to look around for better guns and/or equipment.
Valorant's character Phoenix.

Valorant hero Phoenix

© Riot Games

12. Play to your agent’s strengths

Every agent in the game has unique strengths that can help you get an edge. Practice with these agents and learn how best to use their abilities. Here are a few tips from Team Mahi:
  • Phoenix's flames damage opponents but can also be used to heal him when he's standing in them.
  • Raze has a unique ability called Boom Bot which travels along the ground scouting enemies and dealing damage on impact. Remember that if the Boom Bot doesn’t take fire, there is no enemy in that area.
  • Omen has a teleport. This can be best used when he is trying to diffuse a bomb but there isn’t enough time; teleport to a safe location just before the bomb explodes to save your gear.
Sabyasachi 'Antidote' Bose of Team Mahi, an Indian Valorant team.

Sabyasachi 'Antidote' Bose

© Team Mahi

Additionally, Antidote has a bit of advice for those unsure of what position they should play. “I wouldn’t suggest beginners starting out in the sniper role. A sniper's mentality is very different from normal players; you need a lot of patience as there is a lot of waiting, watching and preparing for that one shot. It is a high risk-high reward position on the team,” says Antidote, who is Team Mahi’s sniper.