Agents Phoenix and Jett from Riot Games' VALORANT
© Riot Games

Level-up your VALORANT gameplay with this ultimate glossary

This is your chance to speak fluent VALORANT and seriously dominate the game in the process – here’s a comprehensive guide to the key terms and concepts that every player should know.
Written by Mitchell Newton
25 min readUpdated on
VALORANT, like any team-based shooter, has its fair share of secrets and terms that might leave the average gamer scratching their headset. What’s an entry fragger? Why is trading a good thing for some teams but not others? What’s economy and why can’t I ever afford an OP? What even is an OP?
It takes a little groundwork to really understand what’s going on in a game of VALORANT. While most with typical shooter experience will know the basics, this isn’t your typical game. It's time to brush up with our guide below – revisit some old terms, and add new ones to the ever expanding glossary so you can stay ahead of the game.

Ability trading

Every agent in VALORANT has their own unique set of abilities that fills a particular role or job in a team. Some abilities, however, can be used to counter, overcome, circumvent, block, or even destroy other abilities. Ability Trading means using an ability to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of an enemy’s ability or the advantage said ability creates.
In-game footage of Raze's one-shot ultimate ability

Every agent in VALORANT has their own unique set of abilities

© Riot Games

If an enemy agent summons a roaming or seeking damage ability, for example, your team might deploy a wall to prevent the enemy’s ability from reaching you. Another example could be that the enemy has deployed a smoke, to counter your intel gathering ability.

Ace (or Team Ace)

When one player gets all five kills in a round, they get an ace. Often you see the other teammates back off to let them get the ace, rather than let someone else get the kill. A Team Ace is when all of the players on a team each get a kill in during the round. Teamwork makes the dream work.


ADS is short for Aim Down Sights. Every modern first-person shooting game will use this term simply because aiming down the sights of a weapon typically allows for a better zoom in on the target, as well as a more accurate or tighter spread to hit your enemies.
However, there’s a tradeoff for aiming down sights too. It comes in the form of a limited point of view, a decrease in overall mobility, as well as slight changes in fire rate and other weapon properties depending on the weapon you’re aiming with. Of course, you’ll want to ADS with the Op, but ADSing with pistols is not usually advised. In fact, ADSing isn’t normal to see in VALORANT and shouldn’t be done for your average firefight with a rifle unless you’re holding a long range angle.


A player playing aggro will be giving away their position and drawing enemy attention Sometimes it's meant to open up a flanker for a play on an off angle, or to change the outcome of a drawn-out gunfight. If a player is playing aggro, most crosshairs will be on them.


'Anchor' is a role for players that like to hunker down and hold an angle, spot, or objective. Agents that can set up vision blockers such as walls, smokes, or intel abilities like trip wires or deployables are reliable anchors and have the appropriate tools to enhance such a playstyle.


Unlike Aggro, 'Bait' or the act of 'Baiting' is to poke, prefire, or use an ability or teammate to wear out your enemies and bait them into bringing the fight to you in a predictable way. Compared to playing aggro, it minimises your time in harm’s way and enables you to coerce your enemies to peek out from the angle or corner they're hiding in.
This puts THEM in danger, while letting you gain information on the enemy team, and might cause them to use their abilities to trade (or potentially waste abilities without a trade). It adds an extra layer of mind games in a match without a lot of risk, but comes at the cost of whatever you’re willing to commit – even your life.


'Bunnyhop' or 'Bhop' for short, is an intricate jumping technique that lets you hop around the map. Admittedly, you still move faster with your knife out and not jumping than when bhopping across the arena, so it shouldn't really be your go-to form of movement.
However, bhopping does provide a few lessons that will help your overall traversal. It can be used to improve your air strafing skills to help you smoothly jump over objects much better and will also help you strafe around a wall to bait the enemy or even escape while being shot since your movement doesn’t slow down when you’re in the air. All in all, it's a handy tool to have, but not a must-use.


While VALORANT isn’t a survival type game, doing your best to stay alive is important for winning (obviously), but also for at least preserving your weapons until the next round. Luckily, there's a universal option found in many games: camping.
Camping is sitting in an secluded or obscure spot to remain hidden from your enemy. An anchor player will often camp on the objective, but the practice isn't exclusive to them. Any player can choose to camp, even flankers or those who are baiting or playing aggro. Camping is more of a playstyle and less of a role, as essentially an entire team can technically choose to camp together!


Learning how to aim and strafe at the same time is a skill that players eventually develop as they play first person shooters. Some shooters place more emphasis on movement while others focus on aiming. In VALORANT, your most valuable shot is the first one, and anything after that requires calibration via strafing, changing the rate of fire or aiming down sights to become more accurate and get the kill.
A shootout in VALORANT isn't that simple, though. Your enemy isn’t going to stand still and let you kill them, what they will do is counterstrafe to avoid your shots and turn the tables on you. To counterstrafe is to dynamically change the direction in which you strafe or move to throw off your enemy’s aim towards you. This is usually done in the opposite direction, and it increases your chances of surviving and the likelihood of winning battles where you may not get the chance to shoot the first bullet.


Cooldowns prevent the constant spamming of an ability or utility. In essence, it needs to “cool” down before it can be used again. This feature grants balance between abilities with strength disparities.
The more powerful or valuable the ability, the longer the cooldown. If an ability is incredibly strong and has a very short cooldown, it is what some might consider 'OP' or over-powered. Although, VALORANT players might use 'OP' to mean 'operator', which you'll see explained further down this list.


A cut-out of a wall or small nook where someone can wait for an enemy to cross their path. There are usually multiple cubbies per site and map.


Finding the right strategy with a team takes time, coordination, and some knowledge, but sometimes the enemy team won’t afford you the chance to find out which strategies will work. If you and your team find yourselves struggling to employ the right tactics, you might just 'default' to a simpler gameplan.
Choosing a default strategy means that the team doesn’t have a committed or focused plan of attack or defence and will instead decide to extract as much knowledge and resources from the enemy without having to spend their own. Once enough information is accumulated, the team can choose which path of success they want to take.


A headshot. There's a noticeable 'dink' noise. Most times, it will be a one-shot kill, but shields and varying gun damage will play a factor.

Double set up/Double up

When two players, usually defenders, stack the exact same spot to try and overwhelm the enemy peeking. Often, when the team is double stacked, there will be a quick exit option so that one player can quickly rotate if needed, while still leaving one behind to hold the mid ground. When a team loads four or more players onto one side, it's called stacking the site.

Double swing

Done when playing aggressively, two players swing out from cover to try and get a pick or force a trade. You see this often on offence, as a first-peek strategy, or on defence, when defenders know they are facing down numbers and try to win in a quick burst.
Having two targets can cause some players to hesitate, wondering who to focus on, or it could result in all players focusing on one player in the double swing, giving their teammate enough time to force a trade or even pick off all the players who they turned on.
There are plenty of scenarios where econ comes into play.


There are times when your team is lagging behind you in credits and your teammates might ask you to kindly 'drop' a weapon for them. This is how you'll help them out. They probably really need it – or maybe they just want to see that fancy skin you unlocked for your weapon!

Eco (Econ/Economy)

The money (credits) a player has access to and how they distribute it. Kills, plants, assists and round wins all affect how much money a player will have to spend per round. Not spending it wisely can leave a player stuck, unable to use the highest tier of weapons.
Having good aim and game sense aren’t the only factors in VALORANT: there are plenty of scenarios where econ comes into play. Starting off a round with a pistol, but looting an Operator or Vandal from the enemy can drastically improve your team’s economy and a player’s specific econ rating. Economy can also be a cooperative effort, such as when a player upgrades from an SMG to a rifle, allowing a teammate to pick up their discarded weapon instead of buying their own, and saving credits.

Entry (Entry Fragger)

Typically a duelist character (Reyna, Jett, Phoenix) who leads the team in a fight by being the first one in. They won't always have the best stats, often having the most deaths, but a successful entry fragger is meant to open up space for their team as much as possible and try to get a kill or two before being traded.

Exit (Exit Fragger)

Exit fraggers are the clean up crew that pull up behind the entry fraggers, sometimes to pick up kills and get trades or, once the space has been cleared/opened up by the entry fragger, to play the objective and complete the round. With the information uncovered by the entry fraggers, the exit fraggers have the ability to adapt to the situation to get the win.
While exit fraggers are a role, it could also be a term used for a strategy as well. For example: the enemy team has successfully planted the spike and there isn’t really much in the way of saving or clutching the round. In this situation, you could exit frag by defeating as many opponents as possible while they leave the bombsite, causing economic damage to the enemy. That way, you're already taking steps towards securing the next round.

Fake defuse/Ninja defuse

Beginning to defuse a bomb while there are still enemies alive, to lure them from their hiding spots and force them to play out. Doing it only long enough to trigger the audio cue, the player turns aggressive, taking on the planters trying to stop the defusal attempt.
Defusing before the team defending the bomb site is aware of what is going on is known as a Ninja defuse.


Feeding is giving the enemy team free resources by either not contributing to your team or by constantly being killed by the enemy team as fodder. Hence 'feeding' them resources. This can result as not being as skilled as the rest of the lobby or just not making the right plays and losing battles too soon.


If a team has a double set up or an opponent is camping the bombsite at a really good angle, it’s not wise to simply attack from the direction they are facing. So what choice do you have? Flank the enemy.
Flanking means to attack from behind or the sides of an enemy’s location. Not only does this require really good timing and coordination, this strategy also demands map knowledge and shift walking to hide the sound of your footsteps.
Flanking can be done by one person or as a team to maximise the potential of success and minimise losses. Some agents even come equipped with abilities that can help for flanking or against flanking, so taking into account what agents are in play and still alive also shapes how dynamic your flanking strategy will be.


Flash is usually short for 'flashbang'. Most other FPSs might use an actual flashbang, but VALORANT has flashbang-like abilities. What’s important to focus on is the flash debuff specifically, as that is what flash translates to when a teammate uses the word to warn of or encourage its use. For example, Phoenix’s Curveball is the most widely known flash in the game. It whitens your screen making you blind and unable to see for a moment.
Some other agents with Flash abilities are Skye, KAY/O, Breach, and Yoru. Unlike other blinding debuffs, the flash debuff completely blinds your screen. To avoid getting blinded by such abilities, try to turn away or change your line of shift from them as quickly as possible. Anyone who has successfully turned away from a flash will only be slightly blinded or avoid it completely depending on their distance from the flash.


Typically, good aim has more to do with crosshair discipline and less with flicking. But sometimes an enemy pops out of the last place you would expect, requiring you to flick your mouse. Flick shots are tough to pull off, but look so good.

Force a rotate

Putting pressure in numbers on one of the bomb sites, forcing the other team to react to your play in order to draw pressure from another site. You will see this done as a feint play, early in a round with a possible smaller team planting on a soon-to-be-vacated site. This could also happen later in the round when time is running out and not much progress onto the first bomb site has been made.


A kill can also be called a frag or a pick, depending on the commentator's preference.

Full buy

Typically done with more than 4500 credits in the bank, a full buy means the player has enough for a late-round rifle, full shield and all of their abilities. The OP and assault rifles are 5000 and 2900 apiece, making them pricey and a risky purchase when lost to the enemy. You typically see full buys happen after the first three rounds, once teams have worked their way up from pistols to mid-price weapons before springing for the big guns.


Heaven is used to call out sniper’s nests or high ground that is usually situated in front of the bombsite. It’s a great place for defence, campers, flankers, and double set ups.
It is imperative to control the high ground as it makes it easy to rotate, maintain Line of Sight, and have an overall eagle eye of the surrounding area allowing you to see more than the opponent and have more information than they would.


Hell is the area either directly under in some maps or below Heaven in general. Anywhere Heaven is looking down on is Hell, and anyone on Heaven can rain down hell on any opponent stuck or finding themselves in Hell. However, players can sometimes use this disadvantage as an advantage to bait players from Heaven to come down or to peek and pick quickly.


The short side position near B site on the Bind map. It’s a small room across from the teleporter exit that allows attacks from the high ground on B site.

IGL (In-Game Leader)

Whether it’s the entry or exit fragger, the anchor or aggro player, every member of a team has a role, and an in-game leader or IGL is no different. Callouts are important in competitive shooters, constantly sharing new information, keeping everyone up to speed, and overall being attuned to the match and focusing on what to do, but who tells you what to do?
Here is where the in-game leader comes in. Like the captain of the team, their role is to prepare strategies, set up the players on the map, and provide adaptive callouts as the game develops every round. For example, deciding to full buy, play economically or double set up to push hell and leave the exit fragger to flank Heaven are just some of the dynamic callouts an IGL might make.

LOS (Line of Sight)

Anything that is within plain view. If it is on your screen and you can see it, then it is in your line of sight.


Long is a simplified term to describe long and narrow pathways on a map. Some of these maps might have corners and cubbies to hide in which makes it a perfect place to camp, peek, or double swing. An example of long is the long left lane of Heaven.


Campers will stay in one spot and hold an angle, Anchors will stay near the objective and protect the area, Lurkers roam around a certain area and look out for flankers. A lurker could also be a flanker as well. Sometimes they turn flanking from a strategy into a role and make it their job to either flank or lurk nearby the team to catch flankers.


A throwable ability, but unlike a grenade that has a quick detonation, a molly is a grenade that lingers. Killjoy’s nanoswarm is a molly, as is Brimstone’s Phoenix’s throwable fire. It’s a play on words for molotov, since they have the same kind of afterburn, space-clearing effect.
In-game VALORANT screenshot of Brimstone's kit

Brimstone – a VALORANT playable agent – has one of the straightforward kits

© Riot Games

Money in the bank

A team that has won a few rounds and has not needed to spend much to resupply themselves. The cap is 9000, so you will often see richer players buying for the ones who have died in previous rounds.
Building up money is done by buying cheap weapons, a light shield and only minimal abilities. When facing tougher odds, sometimes sacrificing a round to better equip later is necessary.

Ninja Defuse

Fake defusing is used to bait out an enemy that is in hiding waiting to peek on the spike while you attempt to defuse, but what if the enemy has no idea you’re even there? Ninja defusing is defusing the bomb, or in VALORANT’s case, the spike while the enemy team is still alive and perhaps even nearby without them even noticing that you’re defusing the spike.

One tap

When enough damage has been done to a player that they are literally one tap of someone else’s trigger/mouse away from being sent to the spectator screen.

One way

Despite both having a singular number, one way is not related to one tap at all. It’s closer to referencing a one way mirror in that it’s reflective on one side but transparent on the other. In VALORANT, One Way means a type of situation in which a player has line of sight against an enemy but the enemy cannot see them back. This could be due to blinding effects, vision blockers, etc.


The Operator, simply known as the OP, is a sniper rifle and the most expensive weapon in VALORANT. Able to one-shot most enemies, even those with full shields, it is deadly in the right hands, single-handedly locking down long lines of sight. You’ll hear about the OP a lot.


Ultimate orbs lie all over the maps. There are two near each team spawn, as well as some near the entry points to bomb sites. They boost the ult meter by one, at the cost of a sound cue and the risk of being an easy target for a few seconds. There are lots of reasons why it’s worth grabbing an orb. At certain times, you'll see teams letting one specific player take them more often, with the hopes of building up a higher-value Ultimate Ability.

Peek (Jiggle)

To quickly turn the corner and try to spot enemy positions, hopefully baiting out a shot with relatively low risk. Jiggle peeking is the same, but with faster and more fragmented peeks. The aim is to make yourself the smallest possible target with the intention of baiting out the enemy’s shots. Often used when facing an OP.
Peeking off a player is when the enemy is focusing on another aggro'd teammate, or you are in the middle of double swing. Doing this lets a teammate push with the knowledge that someone is watching their blindside. The person peeking off the other is meant to clean up the kills in any trade situation.


Pennable is short for penetrable. It’s a property that lots of objects, walls, doors, and abilities have that means they can be shot through, or in video game mechanic terms, are penetrable. In some cases during a gunfight where the enemy is constantly peeking behind a wall or is camping behind an object, if said obstacle is pennable then you don’t have to put yourself in any risk and can just shoot through the obstacle to eliminate your opponent.


Pinging is a system in VALORANT and prevalent in most of the modern shooters releasing today. It’s a communication system completely within the game and allows players to mark enemies, locations, abilities, as well as more team-orientated callouts such as grouping up, marking the objective, and calling for healing, support, etc.

Pistol round

At the start of the game and halftime after switching rounds, players are only able to play with their pistols. However, as the game goes on teams might conserve their credits, play econ rounds and not buy anything to the point of using only their pistols just like the rounds previously mentioned. These rounds are called pistol rounds because pistols are the only weapons used and purchased in these rounds. The goal of these rounds is to sometimes have an economical advantage and/or to take the opponents weapons for free.

Playing off-angle

Playing an uncommon spot or angle in hope of catching the enemy off guard, since usually they won’t be expecting to check that corner or angle. Jett can use her mobility to get up to high ground, and playing from up there constitutes an off angle.

Playing slow

Rounds can get long in VALORANT, and best-of-25 matches can lead to a lot of variance in strategy. Sometimes a team will wait for the defence to get bored or antsy, and push. Other times they scan for intel, or just wait in their backline, hoping to rush the point late and put pressure on the other team. Playing slow helps bait out any pesky abilities the other team might have.

Point Long or Short (A, B, or C)

When reaching a bombsite, each point will have two entries, subject to bomb site variance depending on map. The entries on the farther side of the map, with longer lines of sight and favourable defensive positions, are called long. A Long, B Long, and C Long. Short is the inside path to the point, which will be very close to the short path, running parallel to the opposite site with closer quarters.

Post plant

The phase in a round after the bomb has been planted and the attackers defend site and the defenders take the offensive to retake site and defuse the bomb. If there hasn’t been a lot of action in a round, this is typically when it begins.
In situations perceived as unwinnable, like being down between 1 to 5 and 1 to 3, the post-plant phase is where defenders might go for exit frags. You lie in wait near a bomb site for the enemy to flee its detonation – typically scoring a quick kill or two to hurt their economy.


A tactic used in first-person shooters that is especially prevalent in games like VALORANT, where time to kill is so low. A player shoots through a wall where an opponent is in hope of catching them as they peek. Sometimes it will be done while pushing, as it can be good to get you out of a 50/50 situation.


Retaking a bombsite or objective that has previously been lost to the enemy team. For example, the enemy team has planted the spike and has placed a few anchors and lurkers to defend the spike. Instead of going for an exit frag, your team could decide to retake the spike since you have a lot of time left or the resources including agents are in your favoor.
Playable agent Sage in VALORANT is one of the strongest Agents in the game

Sage is one of the strongest agents in VALORANT

© Riot Games


The ultimate ability of the agent Sage is called resurrection. Rez for short.


A term used in many competitive shooters or arena type games, rotating is a callout that tells your team that you're moving to a different part of the map or to a different site.


Playing aggro is usually used to describe when one player advances towards the enemy team guns blazing to direct attention away from their team, but what if an entire team goes aggro and invades a point? Rushing is a valid tactic and is used by teams when they usually have a life lead (more living players) and a lot of momentum.
The point of this tactic is to take advantage of the enemy team's momentary loss and instead of playing slow, you rush to a bombsite and overwhelm them completely.


This refers to the shift key: walking while holding (or toggling) the shift key keeps you quiet and your position unknown. This is the reason why so many rounds start off slowly. Unless a team is found out or makes an aggressive play, they'll probably be doing this.
Shift-walking is important because it will prevent your footsteps from making noise. Loud steps are an audio cue that will give the other team information like where you are, which direction you’re going and what site you are attacking. Players should run only when it’s not prudent to shift-walk, when they are going for an aggressive/quick push or when they are in the middle of a fight and their location is already known.

Smoke out

When Omen, Brimstone, Jett or Cypher toss their utility smokes onto the map and the area is obscured. Getting smokes out usually forces the team on the receiving side to play conservatively or retreat. Smoking out a site lets the attacker make a very safe push.

Spending strategy

Spending strategy differs from ultimate economy and weapon economy. Occasionally, some players will notice a Jett go into a round with a heavy shield and a Ghost, even though they have enough for an Operator. That same Jett will probably be planning to use the Bladestorm ability instead.
Similarly, different economies will affect strategy and how a team equips itself. Another example of this is a player who is top-fragging – spending all their money on abilities – with another teammate buying them a strong weapon, while light buying for themselves.


A Split tactic, or when a team is splitting, is when they separate into two or more and attack two different sites at the same time. This strategy is usually to disperse the enemy team’s cohesion, strength or attention either to bait them to a different site, or to split them up and allow them to be double swung, flanked, or baited into a disadvantageous situation.


If splitting was separating team members, then stacking is the exact opposite. It’s when all five, or at least four, team members come together to push on to a site. Just as how splitting opened up to unique sets of strategies, stacking also opens the door for different ones as well. Such as rushing, playing aggro, playing default, playing econ or even full buying, either way sticking together as a team could also make it difficult for enemies to pick any one player off which makes stacking just as viable, if not, more viable than splitting at times.


Stick is a callout a teammate makes when they are covering your back as you defuse the spike, or when the enemy has no chance to reach you in time to stop you from defusing the spike.

Tele (TP or Teleporter)

Some rooms in VALORANT maps get specific callouts that make them distinct from other sites or maps (earlier we described Heaven and Hell). Tele and TP are simply short forms for Teleporter, which is a room in some of VALORANT’s maps that have a teleporter such as Bind for example.


Winning the round by getting a kill with an enemy player’s weapon.


When one person on each team dies within the duration of a gunfight. Often the entry fragger will be one of the trades. Usually happens when the second enemy is killed by the second teammate in, while the attention is focused on the entry fragger.
Your ult, or ultimate, is the most powerful of your character’s abilities.


Your ult, or ultimate, is the most powerful of your character’s abilities. This requires kills, or orb pick-ups, to unlock instead of a purchase with credits. Good players will generate their ults at a quicker rate than bottom fraggers. Each character’s ult is unique to them and will open up the game in a different way.
Whether by flat-out killing people, revealing information or allowing for safe pushes into bad spots with the potential for follow-up kills, you will instantly know the difference between a regular ability and an ultimate.


Utility is another word that is used as a blanket term for any agent’s unique abilities that can be purchased at the beginning of every round. Tools such as armour and weapons are not considered utility as anyone can pick up or purchase any weapon or armour in the game.


Walls are a different type of vision blockers from smokes. Smokes are spherical, and quite literally walls are walls. Almost all walls are distinct from each other and can either deal damage, block bullets, and are transparent (which means you can throw your utility or shoot through them). Only one wall in the game so far is non-transparent and that is Sage’s wall, meaning you cannot walk through it and that it must be jumped over or destroyed.


Wallbang is the action of shooting through a pennable (penetrable) object. There are always enemies waiting around the next corner in VALORANT, so shoot through instead to try and hurt them this way. Some weapons can puncture far more easily than others, but it never hurts to try. Surprise kills on bomb campers often come from clever, big-brain wallbangs.

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