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VALORANT: What to do when playing Controller

Want to know what a Controller in VALORANT is and how to play it effectively? Let's run you through some basics and tips.

So, you load into a game of VALORANT and before you know it your favorite picks are gone. Sage? Gone. Jett? Instalocked. As your teammates lock in, someone asks if you know how to play a ‘smoker’. Congratulations, you’re probably going to be playing the Controller role in that game.

Which agents are Controllers?

Currently, there are four agents that fall under this category: Brimstone, Viper, Omen and Astra. All four are equipped with smokes, which means that this is the defining feature of the agent, but make no mistake: while they are definitely more utility focused than a duelist for example, they can be equally if not more deadly.

How to play Controller?

When playing the Controller, your role is essentially to create space for your team members to execute their strategy. It’s up to you to ‘slice up’ key areas, as the description of the role helpfully reminds you, and you do this by skillfully using your utility. As Brimstone and Omen, this means that you will be tasked with smoking off chokepoints. With Viper, you’re more likely to completely cut up a section of the map through the use of your wall. Astra fills both roles.

That means that as a Controller, you’re supposed to be playing safer. You can’t run into a site by yourself first, because you hold within your hands the utility to expertly carve out a piece of the map and make it possible for your duelists to enter the site and only having to focus on one part of the map. If you die, all that utility goes to waste. The same goes for retakes. If you lose the bombsite, it’s crucial to have smokes and utility that you can use to make the map smaller, to allow yourself the chance to successfully retake a site.

Tips for playing Controller

The best tip for both Viper and Brimstone is to learn your lineups. Both have Molotov abilities, which allows you to take a position far away from the site, and then either use a combination of your Molotov skill and your poison orb skill as Viper, or just a normal Molotov as Brimstone to defend the site from far away. Especially for these two agents, range is the name of the game.

Playing Viper.

Omen and Astra are a different breed of Controller. For Omen, as he also has a flash, but no damage ability, he’s more likely to push up with his team to flash them in, smoke off chokepoints and also use his teleporting ability to confuse his enemies – and probably his teammates. Due to his ultimate, he’s a fantastic bomb carrier, as he can storm a site with his teammates, and if things go awry, use his ultimate to teleport to the other bombsite.

Astra can put down her utility from long range, pull enemies out of position, and completely slice the map in half with her ultimate ability. Astra is one of those agents that can bait out teams with her global utility, as well as put down way more smokes, stuns and displacements than any other agent can. This made her a fan favorite during the VCT Masters 2 in Reykjavik.

Always remember though, be patient. You can make hero plays with Controller agents, but you have to always be tactically aware of what is going on. Playing a Controller means that you have to use your brain a lot, as it really puts the ‘tactical’ in Tactical Shooter. However, if you manage to engage your brain and outthink your opponent, the Controller can and will be just as lethal as any duelist can ever hope to be.

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