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How to Manage the VALORANT Economy

Scott Robertson

Riot’s competitive shooter VALORANT has attracted players from a variety of other titles. The player bases from games such as Overwatch, PUBG, Apex Legends, and even League of Legends have taken a gander at the new tactical shooter. Obviously, VALORANT has attracted a massive following of current and former Counter-Strike players as well. Counter-Strike players will be well versed in the art of managing the round-to-round in-game economy that’s central to VALORANT’s gameplay flow. But fans of other titles just now taking a look may take some time getting used to the VALORANT economy.

VALORANT economy jett phoenix

At least the VALORANT economy is easier to understand than the actual one. (Image via Riot Games)

Whether you’re a fresh face trying to understand the basics, or an experienced player just looking for a refresher, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to manage the VALORANT economy.

Understanding the Basics

For those who are brand new, a game of VALORANT is split into rounds. At the beginning of each round, each player is responsible for buying their own armor, guns, and abilities. To do this, they use an individual balance of credits they earn during the match.

Half armor is worth 400 credits, while full armor is worth 1000. The pistols range from 200 credits up to 800, except for the basic Classic pistol that each player has access to every round. The abilities of each agent range from 100 to 400 credits, but each agent has a basic ability they get for free each round. The primary guns range from as low as 1000 credits for an SMG or basic shotgun, up to 5000 for the Operator sniper.

VALORANT buy menu

The full VALORANT in-game buy menu. (Image via Riot Games)

If you die the previous round, you will lose any purchased weapons and armor, but you will keep purchased unused abilities. Even if you survive, you may still have to repurchase armor if you took damage. If you survived and have extra credits, you can buy weapons for teammates (but not abilities or armor).

Players will earn credits at the beginning of each round. They will earn 3000 credits for a previously won round, and 1900 for a loss. However, a player will earn an additional 500 credits for a 2x loss streak, an additional 1000 for a +3x loss streak. Kills reward 200 credits, and spike plants reward 300 credits.

All Purchasable Abilities by Agent

Every agent has purchasable abilities. The only abilities that cannot be purchased are your Ultimate ability, and your Signature ability that comes free. If you purchase an ability and don’t use it that round, you will keep it the next round even if you die.

Here’s a list of all the purchasable abilities for each agent. If a number is next to the ability name, that indicates you can hold more than one.

  • Astra: Stars – two free, each additional is 200, up to five max
  • Breach: Aftershock – 100, Flashpoint x2 – 200 each, Fault Line – free
  • Brimstone: Incendiary – 200, Stim Beacon x2 – 100 each, Sky Smoke x3 – one free per round, each additional is 100
  • Cypher: Trapwire x2 – 200 each, Cyber Cage x2 – 100 each, Spycam – free
  • Jett: Cloudburst x3 – 100 each, Updraft x2 – 100 each, Tailwind – free
  • Killjoy: Alarmbot – 200, Nanoswarm x2 – 200 each, Turret – free
  • Omen: Shrouded Step x2 – 100 each, Paranoia – 400, Dark Cover x2 – free
  • Phoenix: Blaze – 200, Curveball x2 – 200 each, Hot Hands – free
  • Raze: Boom Bot – 200, Blast Pack x2 – 200 each, Paint Shells – free
  • Reyna: Leer x2 – 200 each, Devour/Dismiss x2 – one free per round, additional is 200
  • Sage: Barrier Orb – 400, Slow Orb x2 – 100 each, Healing Orb – free
  • Skye: Regrowth – 200, Trailblazer – 200, Guiding Light x3 – one free, each additional is 100
  • Sova: Shock Bolt x2 – 100 each, Owl Drone – 400, Recon Bolt – free
  • Viper: Snake Bite x2 – 100 each, Poison Cloud – 200, Toxic Screen – free
  • Yoru: Fakeout x2 – 100 each, Blindside x2 – 200 each, Gatecrash – free

The Pistol Round

Okay, now that we’ve got the basics, let’s put our new knowledge of the VALORANT economy into practice. The first round of the game is known as the pistol round; you’ve got 800 credits and some decisions to make.

If you want a pistol with some range, but still want to purchase a few abilities, you might consider the Ghost at 500 credits. For Counter-Strike veterans, you’ll find the Ghost familiar in how it’s similar to the default counter-terrorist pistol, the USP-S. If you’re feeling really good about your aim, you could spend all 800 credits on the Sheriff pistol.

valorant sheriff

Feeling lucky, punk? Give the Sheriff a spin. (Image via Riot Games)

With its recent price increase, you can no longer afford the Frenzy and half-armor combo. This combination had been very popular as of late, with teams deciding to equip all five players with it and rushing into sites. You can achieve a half-version of this with some teammate coordination, as two players could buy Frenzy’s for two other players who buy armor, but it just doesn’t pack the same punch. If you want to rush in a pistol round, then buy the half-armor, and use the rest on your abilities.

Like all things VALORANT, the most important thing is communication. The real key to buying in pistol rounds is knowing what the rest of the team is doing. Knowing which site you’ll be defending or attacking will be the biggest influence on whatever combination of pistol/armor/abilities you decide.

Buying, Saving, and Forcing

Now that we’re past the pistol round and into the swing of things, we need to distinguish between the three kinds of rounds in the VALORANT economy. These are buy rounds, save rounds, and forced rounds.

Let’s start with buy rounds. These are rounds where you and your teammates have enough credits to buy a proper rifle, full armor, and most of or all your abilities. By “proper rifle,” we’re referring to the Vandal or Phantom rifle, which are each 2900 credits. For a full buy round, each player should need at most 4400 credits, but this can be reduced by a few hundred if you’ve saved some abilities. If you have all your abilities at the start of a round, a preferred rifle and full armor costs 3900. You can reduce this a bit if you’re happy using a Bulldog or Guardian rifle instead. If you’re a dedicated sniper and want an Operator, that with full armor costs 6000 credits plus abilities.

valorant buy menu

You have no excuse not to use this feature. (Image via Riot Games)

If your team has nowhere near the amount of money needed to buy rifles and armor you’ll need to save. When you open the buy menu, you can click under your portrait to tell your teammates to save. There, you can also see how many credits you’ll have available the next round. If you’ll have credits in the high 4000s or low 5000s next round, you could afford a better pistol, half-armor or some abilities during a save. You could potentially earn more credits than the menu tells you you’ll have, if you get a kill or a spike plant during the save round.

Lastly, there’s a force round. A force round occurs when you don’t have enough for a full buy, but you have to or choose to buy anyway. This could be because the half or the game itself is about to end, or you want to catch opponents off guard when they think you’re saving. In a force, you’ll have to decide what to sacrifice. This could mean using an SMG or shotgun instead of a proper rifle. This could be buying half or no armor instead of full armor, or skimping on abilities. The most important thing about forcing is doing so in consensus with your team. Nothing is more tilting than half a team forcing for a round, and ruining the full buy for the next round.

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If you have aspirations for climbing the VALORANT ranks, you don’t need to know extensive strategies. You don’t even need to be constantly on top of the meta. If you have an agent you’re comfortable with, you can communicate, and you understand the basics of the VALORANT economy, you’ll be fine. Now go push that rank rating of yours to the moon. And be on the lookout for more VALORANT guides from Hotspawn.

Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson

Freelance writer primarily focused on CS:GO and VALORANT. Big dreams and bigger memes. Too embarrassed to reveal his VALORANT rank.

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