Attack and Defense, two different playstyles
Valorant games are divided into two distinct phases for each team: Attack and Defense. You won’t be surprised to learn that Attack and Defense aren’t played the same way, but if you need to know more about the basics to respect on one side or the other, this guide is made for you!
Little reminder of the basics: in Valorant, one of the two roles (Attackers and Defendersà will be randomly assigned to your team. The opposing team will of course have the opposite role. The maps are not symmetrical and each side corresponds to one side of the map.
After 12 rounds, roles are reversed. Since you have to win 13 rounds to win the game, it’s mandatory to win at least one round on each side. No player should underestimate the importance of these two roles, or specialise in one. A Valorant player must be successful in both phases.
How to play in Attack
In Attack, your goal is to kill all Defenders, or to plant the Spike. Once the Spike is planted, the Attacker and Defender roles are somewhat reversed during the round.
Valorant rounds are very short (less than 2 minutes). If Attackers couldn’t plant the Spike within this period, Defenders with by default. This is why it’s up to Attackers to be the players who take the initiative and create the different game situations. The Attackers can’t afford to sit around and do nothing.
The Attackers’ advantage over the Defenders, however, is that they can decide on which bomb site the game will be played out. The Defenders are forced to separate their forces to cover each bomb site, but the Attackers can stay unite, as 5, if they wish. They may not have the field advantage, but they will certainly have the numerical advantage. It’s not uncommon for Attackers to stay with 4 players, while the 5th tries to distract or slow down the Defenders on another site.
It's mandatory to let the Spike to a player in the backline. In the event of a failed assault, it would be very difficult to recover the Spike from an overly defended bomb site, especially since the first fight will have pushed the Defenders from other bomb sites to back up their allies. At this point, you’ll have to decide whether you want to attack again with the little forces you have left, or try to speed up your opponents by going to another bomb site.
Be careful: as an Attacker, it’s very serious to lose control of the Spike. If your enemies kill the Spike carrier, they’ll all group to defend the place where it fell, even if it’s not a bomb site. The Spike is usually your only chance to win.
How to play in Defense
In Defense, your goal is to prevent the planting of the Spike during the allotted time. If your entire team dies, there’s nothing left to stop the Attackers from planting the Spike and they’ll prevail.
As seen earlier, it’s up to Attackers to take the initiative. The role of a Defender therefore requires more reactions than actions. Patience is essential, as is attention to the smallest detail and ambiant noises. The sooner you’re able to identify where an attack is going to take place, the more time you will have to prepare by warning your allies.
Since you won’t be able to know for sure where your opponents are going to attack, you will have to divide your forces around the different bomb sites. Generally, you opt for 2-3, 2-2-1, or 4-1 strategies. Agents as Cypher are rather competent to defend a bomb site alone, waiting for his allies’ backup.
In Defense, there are real notions of mind-game to apply. You must hide around the bomb sites in the most effective places, while being careful not to be in the most predictable places. To do so, it’s important to put yourself in the place of Attackers and identify in what order they’ll inspect the various corners in the area. A good defender can change position from one round to the next, to prevent attackers from developing automatisms.
However, as soon as the Spike is located, it’s mandatory for all the Defenders to gather around it. Without the Spike, Attackers have very little chance of winning.
In Attack as in Defense, there are different roles which must absolutely be assigned in your teams. They'll form the basis of your strategies. For more information, check our guide about teamplay and roles within a team.
Whether in Attack or in Defense, the initial compositions and the positions adopted are subject to change depending on how the game plays out. This is why communication is the key to success in Valorant. You should always make sure that your teammates know exactly what you’re doing, so that everyone is on the same wavelength. Take advantage of the buy phase to establish your strategies and update them constantly according to the evolution of the situation.
We strongly recommend that you base your strategies on the economy of the opposing team. In our guide on how to manage your economy, we list the different cases according to the credits of each team.