Rifles play an extremely large role in Valorant, as they are the most commonly used weapon type in most games. The Phantom and the Vandal are especially deadly and can kill an entire enemy team when in the right hands. However, rifles are generally only bought after either winning a round or after saving for a round. Rifles are a type of weapon that is quite expensive, requiring more credits than many other weapons.
Rifles should almost always be bought with full armor unless you absolutely must buy it without armor. Buying full armor with rifles allows you the best possible chance to win gun-fights and survive the round. Since the Vandal and Phantom are both 2900 credits, this means you’ll want at least 3900 credits just for armor and your rifle. However, 3900 credits does not account for abilities. The Bulldog or Guardian are also options if you’re just short on credits for a buy round.
The Bulldog (2100 Credits – Rifle):
The Bulldog is the cheapest of all of the rifles, often making it a budget buy for players with not enough credits. This weapon can one-shot headshot enemies with no armor, making it a pretty good buy when you know your enemies have little to no money. However, the Bulldog takes two headshots to kill on enemies that have full armor. It’s worth noting that there is a three round-burst when holding down right-click. This method of firing the Bulldog is good when firing at longer ranges, but takes longer to shoot in-between bursts.
The Bulldog has less range than all three of the other rifles, meaning you should attempt to only take fights with enemies that are close-to-medium range from you. With that being said, the Bulldog can still be extremely deadly. One-shot to the head and one shot to the chest is all it takes to kill enemy players with full armor, allowing the Bulldog to quickly kill many enemies with decent aim.
The Guardian (2500 Credits – Rifle):
The Guardian is the next most expensive weapon, after recently being buffed and receiving a 200 credit decrease to its price. The Guardian is definitely a step up from the Bulldog overall, but still slightly falls short to the Vandal and Phantom. It’s a semi-automatic rifle that one-shot headshots at any range, regardless of armor. It also fires much quicker after the 1.03 patch, and has a penetration level labeled as “heavy.” The first two to three shots with the Guardian are quite accurate. This means shooting in bursts of two or three shots is normally optimal at close to medium ranges. However, at long ranges, tapping one shot at a time is most optimal.
This rifle can catch enemies off guard due to how much range it has. It is also especially good now that Riot has opted to decrease the price from 2700 credits down to 2500 credits. Challenging enemies that have Phantoms or Vandals is usually fine, as long as you’re a good distance away from them. Remember not to shoot too fast with the Guardian, as your bullets will start to go all over the place and begin more and more unpredictable.
The Phantom (2900 Credits – Rifle):
The Phantom is one of what most players would consider to be the best rifles in Valorant. With a price-tag of 2900 credits, it’s the most expensive rifle tied with the Vandal. The Phantom is slightly different from the Vandal, having a couple of pros and cons. This weapon has 30 bullets per magazine and has a silencer which allows for quieter shots when shooting. When shooting the Phantom, the first five to six shots are accurate as long as you slightly pull down your mouse. Firing in two-to-three round bursts is also very effective at a medium-to-long-range.
The biggest down-side to the Phantom is that it can do 140 damage with a headshot if you’re too far from your targets. The Vandal can one-shot headshot any enemy no matter the range. However, the Phantom has five more shots per magazine and is overall better for spraying than the Vandal. Think twice before engaging in gunfights at long ranges, as enemies with Vandals will typically be able to kill you more quickly with a single headshot.
The Vandal (2900 Credits – Rifle):
The Vandal is the second rifle in Valorant that costs 2900 credits, making it quite a popular choice for full-buy rounds. Spraying with the Vandal is slightly less effective than the Phantom, but still works at a close-to-medium range with the first few shots. This weapon is best when used in bursts of two or three shots. Tapping is also very good with the Vandal at medium-to-long ranges, as it can one-shot headshot enemies at any range.
Since the Vandal relies quite heavily on landing headshots, making sure to keep your crosshair placed at head level is extra important when both attacking and defending. Also keep in mind that this weapon has 25 bullets per magazine, compared to the Phantom’s 30 per mag. This means you should think twice before spraying when you know there are multiple enemies in one area.
Rifles are an extremely important part of Valorant’s gun-play, as full buy rounds almost always consist exclusively of rifles. Learning both the spray patterns and recoil of each of the rifles is crucial to begin mastering them. Sticking to one rifle over the others is also generally a good idea since muscle memory will build better that way. Ultimately, master the rifles in Valorant, and you will begin to see improvement in your rank.
Valorant Weapons Wiki: https://valorant.fandom.com/wiki/weapons/