Valorant is the latest hero shooter on the market, and mixes together shades of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch to combine into something unique, even if it sometimes feels like the worst of both worlds. CS:GO is all about the shooting, while Overwatch is heavily reliant on abilities. To get by in Valorant, you’ll need to be a crack shot, but those abilities can be game-changers too.
Because of this balance between the two competitive shooters, where you play is as important as who you play. Understanding the map and how you can use it to your advantage is absolutely crucial to gain an advantage.
Haven is one of four maps available right now, and it’s the largest, the least traditional, and seems to be the most popular too. If you want to reign supreme in Valorant, understanding Haven is an absolute must. Below, we offer some general tips on how to survive and thrive in Haven, as well as breaking down the key areas you’ll need to know about.
While Haven is the biggest map, it’s also the least spacious, due to the unique twists and turns the map presents you with. At times, it feels like it’s much better equipped for defending than for attacking, and if you hem your opponents in, you can also leave them feel like they’ve got nowhere to go. Perhaps more than any other map in the game, a numerical advantage can swing the momentum of a match in Haven.
It also has three spike sites, explored in more detail below. In general, this means that while the set up favours the defending side, there are more options available to the attacking side. Again, communication is key. Three sites leaves you with the option of either spreading yourselves thin, or committing more bodies to one site and trying to play the numbers. Due to the narrow nature of the map, gathering in one place can leave your opponents shooting fish in a barrel. Until the spike is planted, you’re probably better off trying to cover more ground, even if that means some of you going it alone.
Because the map is so winding, having a hero who can take advantage of that is a big plus too. Jett’s Cloudburst ability can close off corners with ease if you manage to reach a vantage point. Cypher’s ultimate ability Neural Theft, which highlights where all the enemies are on the map, is also handy if you can use it to close in on your foes.
Every map in Valorant has an important gimmick, and Haven's is probably the game's simplest, although the hardest for long-term competitive gamers to understand: there are three sites where the Spike can be planted, stretching defenders positioning more than ever other map.
Spike Site A
Site A is by far the easiest to defend, but it’s also the easiest site to take out defenders, so both teams should be mindful of how playing Site A can leave them open. The simplest way to defend Site A is from A Tower, right next to the defender spawn point. It’s one of the few elevated areas in the map, and gives a good vantage point for any attackers approaching. That is, as long as they approach from the attackers’ side. If a player makes their way through the map, using A-Link from B Site, for example, they can easily get the drop on the defender in A Tower from behind. Running a two player defence in A Tower is the best way to combat that.
Aside from cutting through B Site and A-Link, there are two main approaches: A Long and A Short. The guide for using A Long is very simple - don’t do it. It’s too exposed too early, anyone in A Tower will have a clean shot and they’ll see you before you see them. It’s only a good idea if you know for certain that A Tower is empty. A Short gives you a fighting chance, but still leaves you at a disadvantage against A Tower. However, if you hit it quickly and with a teammate, you should be able to reach the stacked boxes which both protect you from A Tower and allow you to plant the Spike. Aside from that though, it’s completely exposed to a ground level attack, so it definitely feels like Site A belongs to the defenders.
Spike Site B
Site B is situated in the middle of the map, and while at first it seems like it’s the most open, with good communication amongst the defenders it can be closed in on very quickly. Hold A Link or C Link, though A Link is probably your best bet for a defensive vantage point, as you will be better off with A defenders in the A Tower rather than at ground level. Back B isn’t a terrible option either, but it’s more exposed than a good defensive vantage point should be, and leaves you open to attacks from three approaches; A Link only leaves two, so long as the A Tower team does their job.
As for attacking it, however, you will need to take Back B, as you won’t be able to call upon defenders in a pincer move from A & C. Instead, you’ll need to take out any defender who might already be at Back B while your teammates guard A Link and C Link. An ability can be used to block one of them off too, if your numbers are a little light. Also, due to the fact defenders will likely be elsewhere pre-Spike, rushing B is a solid option too, if you’re in the mood to gamble.
Spike Site C
Spike Site C is the only area in the whole map which offers a passage long enough for a gifted sniper to shine, and that’s easily the most effective way to defend it. C Long isn’t angled, it doesn’t have much cover, any doorways or boxes… it’s just a straight shot from the spike site to the back of the map. The only cover at all is the Cubby, but even then, it’s risky. The defenders have enough of an upper hand on Haven already; don’t make their job any easier. Avoid C Long as an attacker.
Via C Short however, Site C is the easiest site to attack on the map, especially if you can rush it in a group. Defensively, the only area to worry about on the approach is C Window. This is very obviously built as a defensive outpost and even the most casual defender will probably understand the cue to guard there. An ability like Jett’s Cloudburst is a better bet than trying to take them out. After that, there’s a lot of cover available in Site C via stacked crates and map corners. If you can get to here, it just comes down to who has the numbers, and who’s the better shot. Get it planted before that point and you'll also have time on your side... tick tock.