Welcome, as you may have seen on Twitter, in Discord, on just in the lobby, Fanduel is officially introducing Valorant DFS. Hopefully this means Draftkings will be next, but even if they aren’t it’s exciting to see Valorant DFS offered at all. This of course begs the question, what exactly is Valorant?
Valorant at its core is a very similar game to CS:GO. That’s part of the reason so many Valorant pros are former CS:GO pros. It’s a 5v5 search and destroy style game where 1 team is attacking and the other is defending. The attacking team has 2 (3 on one map) sites that they are trying to blow up with the “spike” aka the bomb. There are two twelve round halves, with the teams swapping offense and defense at halftime. The game ends when one team gets to 13 round wins. If the game is tied 12-12 after 24 rounds, you go to overtime, in which you alternate sides every round and play to win by 2.
The economy works in a similar fashion to CS:GO, although unlike CS:GO, both attacking and defending teams have access to the same equipment. Round win and loss bonuses are slightly different, and in general it’s a bit cheaper to be able to full buy in Valorant, leading to fewer rounds that are full saves. Saving is slightly different, as you get a partial loss bonus on both offense (only if you don’t plant the bomb, if you plant and survive the enemy defuse you get full loss bonus) and defense. The guns have different names, but are roughly the same. The Vandal is the equivalent of the AK while the phantom is the equivalent of the M4. The AWP becomes the Operator…so still an “Op”.
The biggest difference between the two games is how utility works. In CS:GO, anyone can buy smokes, flashes, grenades, and Molotov cocktails. In Valorant, each player selects an individual agent (limit of the same agent once per team, the same agent can be on both teams) before the match starts. Each player then plays that agent for the entire map, there is no swapping agents mid game.
Each agent in Valorant has unique skills and abilities. Many of them are effectively smoke, flash, grenade, or Molotov equivalents, but each has their own unique spin. There are also some abilities that are completely unique to Valorant, including healing. There are several agents that can heal, some only themselves, some only teammates, and some both teammates and enemies. I won’t go through each individual agent, but they are grouped into several types. Those types are:
Sentinels are your defensive specialists. Their abilities allow them to safely gain information about enemy pushes, slow enemy entry to site through chokepoints, or both. On offense Sentinels can use those same abilities to protect flanks, allowing the team to not have to dedicate an entire player to watching their collective back.
Controllers are your smokers. They typically have several smokes that can be dropped at great distance (and with great precision, no need for pesky lineups) across the map. On offense these smokes are used to execute onto sites, on defense they’re used to prevent entry to sites or to set up for retakes. Two out of the three controllers currently in the game also have Molitovs (the 3rd has effectively a flash), all tools to either flush enemies out or prevent them from rushing onto site.
Initiators are information gathers, and flashers. They have abilities that allow them to safely scout sites ahead of the team entering on attack, or tell where enemy attackers are when on defense. The flashes are typically used to set up for teammates to peak corners and initiate onto sites.
These are your fraggers. Their skills either directly damage enemy players (grenade’s, Molitov’s, etc.), or set themselves up for kills (close range flashes). Two have self-heals. The abilities are mostly selfish, helping only the duelist themselves instead of the team.
Every agent also has an ultimate ability. These range from shooting a rocket launcher, to teleporting across the map, to even reviving a dead teammate. Agents “charge” their ultimate by getting kills, dying, planting or defusing the spike, or picking up ultimate orbs that spawn at different parts of the map (usually in neutral territory). Once the agent has enough ultimate points, they can use their ultimate at any time.
There are a few more differences between CS:GO and Valorant that are worth mentioning. One is that there is only teammate damage from abilities. You can shoot your teammates with bullets and do 0 damage, but grenades, Molotov’s and other damaging abilities do (reduced) damage to teammates. Another is spawn/preround. Unlike CS:GO, where players randomly spawn in the spawn zone and cannot move until the round starts, in Valorant there is a very large spawn area that players are free to move around in before the round starts. This eliminates spawn RNG, and since the spawn areas are pretty big opposing teams can end up fairly close to each other, often leading to engagements only a couple seconds after the round starts. Finally, players retain their unused abilities through death, unlike in CS:GO where a dead player drops unused utility, this is part of the reason why full buying often doesn’t cost as much in Valorant (guns and abilities are generally a bit cheaper as well).
One last minor difference is that when defusing the spike, A) there’s no such thing as a kit, it’s a 5 second defuse for everyone, and B) Once you get the defuse to halfway it stays there, even if you come off of it and start again. This makes it a bit easier for defenders to defuse when compared to CS:GO.
To be honest I’ve played so little CS:GO on Fanduel that I’m not 100% sure what their scoring is to compare it with Valorant, and there aren’t any CS:GO contests in the lobby currently. The Valorant scoring (for individuals) is:
Sweep Bonus: +15
This scoring rewards players who are more involved in the action more heavily than DK CS:GO scoring does, where kills are 1.5 and deaths -1. Plus you get a bonus for 3k’s, which you don’t get on DK. Plant/defuse points are somewhat unpredictable, most teams will have a designated bomb carrier or two but they don’t always plant and the defuser will be totally random. Plus a lot of the time the person who finishes the defuse is whoever needs ult points. I look forward to tilting when my player defuses halfway before letting a teammate get their ult points.
Be on the lookout for slate analysis and projections (projections will need a couple slates before coming out), and best of luck in the Valorant lobbies!