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VALORANT key terms and phrases

Jalen Lopez

VALORANT is one of the most popular tactical FPS titles on the market. Thousands of players enjoy the intense and exciting gameplay, and hundreds of new players join the fun daily. VALORANT also has a growing esports scene with dozens of teams from regions worldwide. Watching professional VALORANT can be just as fun as playing the game, but some terms and concepts might confuse newcomers.


Learning these terms will get you up to speed. (Image via Riot Games.)

While a significant portion of the player base is already familiar with the common terms and phrases in VALORANT, new players might have a tough time keeping up. This list of VALORANT key terms and phrases should get you up to date on the lingo and ready to be a contributing member of your team.


Ace- When a player manages to kill the entire enemy team singlehandedly. This is a tough accomplishment as a player needs to kill five enemies without dying, which does not often occur for most players. If you manage to get an ace, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Bait- Using a teammate to lure enemies into an engagement. This is an excellent tactic when coordinated, but avoid baiting your teammate for easy kills that do not help the team.

Buy round- Purchasing rifles, abilities, and armor as a team. This is the preferred scenario in almost every round.

Carry- VALORANT players use the term carry when one player does most of the work for their team to win a match. This typically means they get the most kills or clutches. If you have a bad game and a teammate led you to victory, make sure to thank them for the carry.

Camping- When a player sits in one spot for an extended period. This specifically refers to a player who does not move from a specific spot. Defenders are required to defend sites from attackers, but a camper takes it to another level.

Clutch- The dream of every VALORANT player. This refers to a situation where a player beats the odds and wins the round for their team. For example, winning a one vs. five or defusing the spike at the last second are clutch situations.

Collateral- Killing two enemies with one shot. This only happens with powerful weapons like the Operator or Sheriff.

CT- Counter-Terrorist spawn, which refers to the defenders’ spawn in VALORANT. This is a term carried over from CS:GO as it has similar mechanics.

Default- Playing standard positions to control as much of the map as possible. Teams will typically use this strategy to capitalize on an opponent’s mistake. This also refers to the standard spot where most players plant the spike.

Dink- Shooting an enemy in the head without killing them. This means that they are significantly damaged and are confirmed to have suffered a headshot.

Eco round- When a team decides to save their credits for the next round. Most teams will not buy any weapons, armor, or abilities to ensure they have enough for a full buy in the following round.

Fake defuse- Pretending to defuse the Spike to draw out hiding attackers. The attackers must check the bomb or risk a defender fully defusing the spike.

Flank- Pushing behind an enemy team. Lurking players can change the outcome of a round if they successfully flank an unsuspecting team or secure a few kills.

Flash- When an Agent uses their abilities to blind enemies. Only certain Agents can flash opponents and are a crucial part of team compositions.

Force buy- Spending all available credits even if you cannot afford a full loadout. This is the best choice at the end of a half or match.

Full save- Saving all credits for the next round to afford a full loadout. Teams will usually rush in this scenario.

Heaven- An elevated position. Several areas on multiple maps are referred to as Heaven, and players typically refer to any second-story area as Heaven.

Hell- A generic name for the area beneath Heaven. There are often other names for specific spots on maps, but many players use Hell as a general term in the heat of the moment.

Light buy- Purchasing a few abilities or cheap weapons but saving enough to fully buy in the following round.

Lit- When an enemy is significantly damaged. Only use this term when you are positive that an enemy has received extensive damage and is close to death.

Lurk- When a player separates from their team to potentially kill unsuspecting opponents. Defenders can lurk to prevent attackers from rotating, and attackers can lurk to catch rotating defenders moving between sites.

Ninja defuse- Defusing the spike without alerting the enemy team. Sneaky players can win the round without alerting the enemy if they can get close to the Spike undetected.

No scope- Killing an enemy without aiming down sights with a scoped rifle. This can only be done with the Marshal or Operator and is a tough feat to accomplish. Just remember that it is possible to kill enemies at close range without using your scope.

Pick- Killing an enemy player. Some players will tell their team to “play for picks” or “what for a pick.” This means they want the enemy to expose themselves and capitalize on an easy kill.

Ping- Marking an area or location on the map for your team. Players will often ask their dead teammate to ping a location.

Rotate- Moving between sites in response to enemy movement. A quick rotation can help counter an enemy push and prevent them from overwhelming outnumbered players.

Rush- An aggressive and fast push towards a site or area. A well-coordinated rush can easily overpower defenders and secure a site. Just make sure every player commits to the rush to make it a worthy strategy.

Save- Hiding from the enemy to survive the round without losing a weapon. This is a smart decision if significantly outnumbered or out of time in a round.

Smoke- Any ability that conceals the view of players. Most players use this as a generic term for certain abilities.

Smurf- A high-ranked player using an alternate account to play lower-skilled players. These accounts are referred to as Smurf accounts.

Spawn- The location where each team starts a round. Usually refers to the closest path connecting to a team’s spawn area.

Spike- One of the most important mechanics in VALORANT. Attackers must plant the Spike within a site and defend it for a short period until it explodes to win the round. The defending team must prevent the attackers from planting the spike or defuse it before it explodes. Remember that you can drop the spike and give it to a teammate if needed. Just don’t leave it out in the open and create an issue for your team later in a round.

Split- Pushing a site from two different angles or paths to overwhelm the enemy team. A successful split can pressure a team from two different directions simultaneously and make it much more difficult to hold a site or area.

Stacking- When an entire team holds one site. This is an excellent strategy if a team repeatedly pushes the same site or cannot afford a full buy.

Strat- The plan a team follows in a round, short for strategy.

Trade- Killing an enemy immediately after they kill your teammate. This is the preferred outcome of a gunfight and keeps your team in a competitive state.

Ultimate- The ability that each Agent unlocks after accumulating a specific amount of ultimate points.

Wallbang- Shooting an enemy through an object or wall. Only weapons with high penetration like the Operator or Guardian can perform wall bangs.

Jalen Lopez

Jalen Lopez

Jalen has been destroying noobs for almost as long as he could read. When not working full time in marketing, Jalen is combining his passions of gaming and writing as an esports writer.

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