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Effectively using smokes in VALORANT

In competitive VALORANT, smokes can be the difference maker. But who has the best smokes and where should you be placing them?

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VALORANT Agents are divided into four main categories: duelists, controllers, sentinels, and initiators. The ability to drop ‘smokes’ stretches across almost all of these different roles but primarily falls to the controllers and sentinels. These agents may not have flashy abilities, but their contributions give their team map control and space. In competitive VALORANT, a well placed smoke can be the difference maker between a round win or loss. With some many smoke Agents, as well as places to smoke, using smokes effectively can be difficult.

Which Agents are the best smokers?

Every smoke Agent has their own unique take on the ability. Whether it be range, duration, or even color there is some distinction between all playable smokers. Brimstone is one of the best smokers in VALORANT and a great place to start for players looking to master controller Agents. Brimstone’s has three, fairly high ranged smokes that you can drop from above. The benefit of Brimstone is that his Sky Smoke gives an overhead perspective of the map, making his smokes some of the most precise in VALORANT.

Omen is another viable smoke Agent. Also a controller, Omen allows for a little more play-making ability. His teleport and blinding ability make him more self-sufficient though come at the cost of his smokes. Dark Cover has only two charges and has a slightly below average duration. Omen’s other abilities are useful in supplementing his smokes, making him more flexible in gaining ground.

Perhaps the most ‘complex’ smoker Agent is Astra. Astra’s star system may appear daunting at first, but after mastery can be the most effective among other smoker. The five star charges can guarantee a max of five smokes on the map, however her other two abilities are just as effective in gaining map control. Similar to Brimstone, her astral projection gives her a bird’s eye view of the map, but she has no range limits. Her incredible range and ability to lock down points on her own makes Astra the single best smoker in VALORANT.

Viper and Jett are also Agents outside the controller role with viable smokes. Jett’s Cloudburst has the lowest duration, as they are primarily meant to facilitate her personal play making ability. Viper’s Poison Cloud is an interesting alternative, as it has a range of 2-15 second duration. Viper alone is a poor mimic of a controller however, as her gas management is the sole decider of her effectiveness.

Where to place smokes

Knowing who is the best smoker is completely separate from knowing how to use smokes.  Every map is obviously different and have their own guides for smokers, however there are some generally applicable tips.

Chokepoints and entrances are the two best spots to smoke when on the defense. This will force attackers to make the first move with little information, leaving them more likely to misplay. Attackers should focus smokes on known defense points. This includes ‘heaven’ areas that overlook the bombsites, corners, and areas behind cover. Well-placed attacker smokes may even force defenders off the point as you move in, forcing them to play for the re-take.

There plenty of other specific smoke scenarios. Using a smoke to cloud your spike plant or deplant is a common strategy. Knowledge of your map is ultimately what makes a great smoker, but these tips can get you started.

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Image credit: Riot Games