If you’re looking to improve your smoke placements or timing, or want to best use one of the smoker agents, you’ve come to the right place.
The Primary Smoker Agents of VALORANT
If the most recent wave of Challengers Finals across the world is any indication, Astra has risen to the top of the charts for Controller/smoker agent. Astra’s kit is so valuable that players using her will almost always hang back on sites rather than seek out duels. It’s hard to blame them considering what she can do.
Astra uses stars that she can place on any spot on the map using a tactical view within her astral form. She can place up to five of these stars on the map at once, at any time, and activate them at any time. Not only that, she can recall each star once as well, which creates a very short smoke that lasts for a second
With five stars available and a smoke duration of 15 seconds per charge, Astra could potentially smoke off a single point for 75 straight seconds. No other agent can deploy this quantity of smokes, and only Brimstone can do so from that range. No other agent can deliver such smoke duration and coverage or can use other abilities with such precision.
The shrouded, shadowy Omen is still a popular pick amongst the Controller agents, in both traditional ranked play and at the top tier of the competitive scene. Although his usage has dipped recently because of the introduction of Astra, Omen’s kit is still valuable.
Omen can throw his smokes to a marked location, and uses his ‘phaser vision’ to look through walls to see where he can place it. He can place his smokes at different elevations, which gives him the potential to throw useful one-way smokes that give him and his team an advantage. The ability recharges too, letting Omen provide cover at the beginning and end of rounds.
Aside from his smokes, Owen’s kit is designed to disorient the enemy players. His teleport can be used to get behind enemies, reach unreachable heights, and safely exit compromising positions. And a well-timed blind can break an opposing push before it begins, or open up an opportunity for a flanking/pushing ally.
While he’s the least popular of primary smoker agents, Brimstone still has viability. Brimstone uses the same kind of tactical view Astra uses for his smokes, and while he can deploy all his at once, he can only deploy three. However, his are less telegraphed considering opponents can see an Astra star once it’s placed.
But his real highlight is his ability kit comes via his incendiary grenade and his ultimate orbital strike. Similar to agents like Sova, Brimstone can defend a site post-plant at distance without exposing himself, and a well-placed Molotov can also do the trick.
How to use smokes in VALORANT on Attack
Smokes in VALORANT can be used in a variety of ways on the attacking side. But the primary goal for an attacking smoker should be to block off as many defensive spots as possible. When an attacking side enters a site, there are likely numerous spots for defenders to hide in or peek from. By smoking them off, attackers can limit the number of angles they can be shot from, forcing defenders to back off or risk being killed by aggressively pushing.
Let’s take a look at both sites on Ascent for example. On B, smoking off the connectors to both defender spawn and market takes away two of the most popular defensive angles on the site. Both angles allow defenders to easily retreat to safety, so taking away the angle reduces the risk of defenders taking shots with little trade opportunity.
The same tactics can be used on Ascent’s A site. There are several angles defenders can hold just beyond door alone, in addition to the numerous hide and peek spots all over the site. Smoking off the door and heaven will give the attackers more cover to get on the site, and also let an attacker reach the door control safely, better securing the site for post-plant.
This should be your primary objective as a smoker: smoking off the angles where defenders can see the site’s entry points. But smokes don’t have to exclusively be used there. If you’re playing Astra and you have five smokes, you likely don’t need all five to get on site. After the spike is planted, you can smoke off the same angles to slow down a potential retake. If you’re looking to have some fun, instead of smoking off chokepoints, you can create a smoke tunnel that you and your allies can run through onto the site.
Even the most basic smoke covers on the attacking side can increase your team’s chances of getting a spike plant down without too much loss of life.
How to use smokes in VALORANT on Defense
On the defensive side, smokes in VALORANT can be used primarily to slow down early pushes and create opportunities to take early peeks with a low risk of trades. They can also be used later in rounds, but smokes are typically less useful in retake scenarios.
Smokes on defense are best used in a preventative manner, either forcing attackers to push through with no vision, or to wait until it disappears with less time on the clock to get a plant down. Let’s take this spot on Bind, the short A connector next to the portal. Smoking this spot off allows the defenders to take peeks more safely, as there are less angles from which attackers can get trades. Additionally, whether the attackers want to take the site or run through portal, they’d have to push past the smoke. Also, a well-placed recon arrow from Sova can reveal the attackers hiding behind the smoke.
The greatest VALORANT smoker weapon: the one way smoke
The neatest trick in the book for any smoker agent is the one-way smoke. A one-way smoke is when a smoker uses objects or geometry on the map to create a smoke that lets them see an opponent, but hinders the ability for an opponent to see you. Typically, it involves the smoke being elevated slightly off the ground, letting a smoker see the opponent’s legs or body while the opponent can’t see anything.
While it’s possible to use one-ways with agents like Astra and Brimstone, and even non-primary smokers like Cypher, Viper, and Jett, one ways are easiest with Omen. The level of precision at which he can deploy smokes opens up several opportunities to deploy one-ways.