Understanding Valorant Terminology
Valorant has grown into a wildly successful tactical shooter since it launched years ago. It is a first-person shooter which offers a roster of characters, each having their unique abilities. The game rewards mechanical prowess and working as a team.
You can use programs like KovaaK to improve your aim, but it isn’t easy to have effective team comms without knowing some Valorant-specific terminology. Knowledge is power and providing useful information to the squad can be the difference between a win and a loss.
I won’t cover the basics like “ADS” since this post will be geared toward gamers who have already played a shooting game in the past. In as logical of an order as possible, here are the words and phrases you should know in Valorant!
Agents are the playable characters in Valorant. Each has its own unique abilities and playstyle.
The attacking team tries to win a round by planting and successfully detonating the bomb or eliminating all players on the opposing team.
Not surprisingly, the defending team can win a round by successfully defusing the bomb or eliminating all attacking players.
This includes items like flashes, smokes, and other gadgets which are used to control the flow of a round. Some utility must be purchased, while others are automatically recharged for free after each round. You may hear the team ‘utility line’ used to describe a known path that utility can be thrown along to catch enemies off guard. For example, a ‘smoke line up’ is a specific way to throw a smoke grenade to block the vision of a specific angle.
Flashbang (aka Flash)
Any utility that blinds and deafens enemies who look at it when it explodes. This is a great tool for clearing corners and safely pushing the enemy.
Grenade (aka Nade)
Utility that is thrown and deals damage, typically with a fuse that determines how soon it will detonate.
Utility that creates a cloud of smoke. This blocks vision and can be a great way to rotate around the map without taking direct enemy fire.
Having a good understanding of where an enemy may come from and keeping your crosshairs lined up with where the enemy’s head will be. Aim Prediction is also known as crosshair placement, and it enables you to make as few adjustments as possible when locking onto an enemy. Use this in conjunction with Aim Skill to get more kills.
The mechanical skill of being able to flick between targets in an open gunfight by moving your crosshairs quickly. You’ll sometimes hear people refer to this as “flicking”, but the general concept is being able to shift your aim between enemies in a fast, accurate manner. Use in conjunction with Aim Prediction to get more kills.
LOS is an abbreviation for “line of sight”. This is the viewable area that you see on your screen, which is effectively the place where you can fire bullets at. If you are in an enemy LOS, they can shoot at you. Assuming no major differences in ping, you will also be able to see the enemy in this instance.
An in-game system for marking locations on the map. Players use the ping system to mark and communicate positions, objectives, and other important information to their team without using voice chat.
A sustained burst of gunfire from a weapon. This is often used as suppression fire to force enemies to retreat or if you are trying to take down an armored target.
A direct hit to the head part of an enemy hitbox. These do increased damage vs body shots.
A running list of deaths that is shown in the top-right corner of the screen during a match.
This phrase comes from CS: GO and stands for Counter-Terrorist. This is the defending team in a given round. It can also be used as a callout on certain Valorant maps such as the B hallway on Bind.
The amount of time you need to wait in between using an agent’s ability. Sage has a pretty long cooldown on her healing ability, which means you have to be mindful about when you use it in a round. Learn the cooldowns of your most frequently played agents to get a better understanding of how they should be played.
This is a round where your team doesn’t buy rifles or abilities. In most cases, this means using your base pistol for one round to save money to purchase your full loadout in the subsequent round. The two most common types of eco rounds are a hard-eco and a semi-eco. In a “hard-eco”, you don’t buy anything, saving your entire cash reserve. For a “semi-eco”, you might buy an upgraded pistol and light armor to slightly increase your power level.
A round where you buy a rifle and all your abilities. This will be your strongest kit but is also the most expensive. In Valorant, you’ll want to have a full buy as often as possible to give your team the best chance of winning the match.
A round where a player opts not to spend much money so that they can full-buy the following round. This is often paired with an ‘Eco’ round, but a player can also save individually when the rest of the team is buying full kits. You’ll usually want to avoid this by having the player on your team “drop” a weapon for you.
To keep the team economy balanced, sometimes it makes sense for one player to buy another player a weapon. The player with less money will request a weapon from the buy screen, and the player with more money can “drop them that weapon”. This way, your entire team fights at full strength, and you redistribute the wealth among the squad.
This is a bomb that the attacking team in Valorant needs to Plant at a designated location. The player holding the Spike is called the ‘Spike carrier’. If this player dies, the Spike will be dropped in the location of the death, and another player on the attacking team can pick it up. You can also manually drop the Spike using whatever key you’ve assigned to ‘Drop Equipment’. The default to drop the Spike is ‘G’.
The process of planting the spike at a bomb site. After planting the spike, there is a “post plant” period before it is defused or it explodes.
When a team attempts to take back control of a site that has been lost to the enemy team.
Faking (aka Fake Plant)
Pretending to plant the spike, often to get a defender to peek out of cover.
One of the bomb-planting sites on a map. It is typically the site closest to the attacking team’s spawn.
Another bomb-planting site on a map. It is typically the site furthest from the attacking team’s spawn.
To move to another part of the map. You’ll usually hear teammates saying they are rotating toward a bomb site.
When a player leaves the bomb site to rotate to a different position on the map.
Separating your team into two or more groups to attack from different routes. A “split push” means attacking different bomb sites simultaneously.
In-game Leader (Aka IGL)
This role is common in many competitive games. this player calls the strategy and makes tactical decisions for the team, both during the round and in between rounds.
This role on the squad is responsible for leading the charge when on attack. Typically, the goal is to create openings for the rest of the team by initiating the fight and orchestrating the flow of combat.
A player who holds a specific location on the map, typically playing defensively to deny space from the enemy team.
A player who plays defensively and waits for opportunities to pick of enemies. This is often known as ‘camping’.
Killing an opponent in exchange for losing one of your team members. You will sometimes look to force a trade when you know your team has more agents at a bomb site than the opponents.
The act of activating the countdown for the Spike. If your team plants the Spike and it detonates, your team will win that round. It takes 4 seconds to plant the spike and there is an audio cue when a player is planting. The Spike will detonate after 45 seconds.
The act of deactivating the Spike. There’s a midway marker for defusing which acts as a checkpoint. If you defuse to the midway point, you can stop the defuse and restart from the halfway point. It takes 7 seconds to Defuse the Spike.
Named locations around the map that allow you to convey information to your team about where actions are occurring. Each map has named locations from the developers, but you’ll also hear Call Outs from the community when more intuitive names are found.
Looking down a lane to spot enemies. You can slow peek by either walking or crouch-walking (low impact on bullet spread) or fast peek by sprint-strafing (high bullet spread but makes it harder for an enemy to hit you).
These are deep corners around the map that are good to peek from. They’ll usually give you access to several lanes that an enemy could walk through as they rotate around the map.
The high ground on a map where players look down from. These are great areas for sniping and provide a tactical advantage because you can hide most of your character model while aiming from these locations.
This is the area right below Heaven. Players sometimes position themselves in these locations depending on where they expect the enemy to approach. On certain maps, there’s a zipline to get you up to Heaven from Hell.
Often used as an abbreviation for teleporter in the middle and sides of the Bind map.
The longest lane that leads to a plant site. These are usually straight hallways, and you’ll find players sniping from either end to take advantage of the lack of cover.
The shortest lane that leads to a plant site. Defenders typically hold this pathway with close-quarters weapons and abilities that have AOE effects.
Spherical balls scattered around the Valorant maps that, when collected, add one point to your Ultimate ability charge. These respawn in the same spot every round. The second use of the term Orb is for some agent abilities (ie. Sage’s slow orb).
Each agent has an ultimate ability that charges up throughout a match. You gain charge by collecting orbs, getting kills, and planting/defusing the spike. These are very powerful abilities and should be used carefully.
Using utility to gain an advantage in visibility or positioning. Oftentimes, this means elevating your character to a high point on the map that isn’t accessible by using the normal jump mechanic.
Stepping in the opposite direction of your initial sprint-strafe to stop your moment and get a high-precision shot off on an enemy. This is best used when peaking around a corner because it will throw off the enemy’s aim prediction abilities.
Tricking an enemy by faking movement in one direction and then moving in another. This is often used in 1v1 battles out in the open when you don’t have any cover nearby.
In Valorant, the closer you are to a corner, the earlier an enemy watching that location will see you. As such, you should stay as far away from a corner when approaching as possible. Always clear every corner unless you know the entire team is at a different location. Do this through an entire walkway path.
Shooting through a surface that allows bullets to pass through. Valorant’s game mechanics allow players to Wall Bang walls, boxes, doors, and more. This technique can be used to kill enemies who are hiding behind cover.
Operator (aka Op or Awp)
This is the most powerful sniper rifle in the game. It can one-shot kill at any range regardless of where you hit the enemy.
Rush (aka Hard Push)
Your team sprints toward the enemy team to overwhelm them with speed, bullets, and abilities. Typically, your entire team would rush one site on attack. The opposite of this strategy would be to “slow play”, where your team may wait in a location to catch the enemy rotating towards you.
The process of eliminating any remaining enemies after the spike has been planted.
When the last player alive wins the round for the team. This can be done by wiping out the remaining enemy agents or defusing the bomb.
A round where no agent on the winning team dies.
A round where one agent kills the entire team. The default Ace is five kills in a round. I’ve also seen a six-kill Ace where the opposing team’s Sage revived a player and my teammate still managed to get all the kills. Additionally, there’s also a Team Ace where each player on a team kills 1 player on the enemy team.
A team achieves this status when they win the round after spending less money than the opposing team. All things being equal, a team that has a more expensive set of equipment should have an advantage in that round. Getting a Thrifty win usually means you outplayed the opponents.
Building out the Valorant Glossary
These are the Valorant terms I’ve picked up so far, and I hope to add more to this list as I learn. I hope that it will be helpful for new players who want to get up to speed faster.
By understanding the common words in the game, you can improve how you communicate with the squad and win more games.
Did I capture all the relevant info you need? Let me know what phrases I missed so I can make this the most complete Valorant glossary ever!