Duelists are one of the most desired roles in Valorant. These agents are your team’s entry fragger, who can take fights at will.
They consistently get top frags if you use them right. Since Valorant’s ranking system benefits players who frag more, they’ll get more rating points.
Some players alter their gameplay to get more frags by picking duelists. Most of them, who just want to frag out, don’t know how to play duelists correctly.
Here are all the tips you need to know before playing the duelist role.
Communicate With Your Teammates
This is the biggest tip for everyone wishing to climb the ranks. Synchronizing your abilities requires communication. You won’t fight enemies at an advantage if you can’t coordinate with someone else’s ability.
The perfect example would be playing with an agent with a blind. Even if you are using Reyna or Phoenix, a perfectly-timed flash from a teammate as you peek a corner is still faster.
This isn’t only for flashes too. You can ask for Skye’s Trailblazer, Sova’s Owl Drone, Fade’s Prowler, or even Gekko’s ultimate.
These abilities give information, stun, blind, or even tank a few bullets for you. You have to be well-mannered when you order people around like this. It can break your team’s morale, especially when you are playing solo.
Learn to Play Against Utilities
As the duelist, you’ll be the one entering the site for your team. In a way, you are the team’s strongest weapon.
You’ll start to notice how your enemies play with their utilities. If they try to throw utilities once they hear footsteps, you can bait it first.
For the sentinel traps, you have to be aware of all the abilities. If you don’t know any of these, you should start practicing with a friend on custom games and learn about them.
Once you have the knowledge of how their abilities work, you also need to learn how they use them. There are a lot of guides out there that teach players unique ability usage and tactics.
These include post-plant lineups from Viper or any agent with mollys. Sova and Fade lineups for Recon Bolts and Haunts are also popular.
As a duelist, it’ll help you win more games if you know where these lineups come from or where to shoot these recons and haunts.
This comes with experience and how well you analyze and learn from your games. The faster you grasp these tactics, the better your performance.
If you have ever heard of teammates saying, “they’re going B” or “they’re going A,” it means they are trying to grasp the tendencies of the enemies during the game.
They can be right or wrong, but imagine if they were wrong most of the time. You want to be unpredictable with your play. Even going for a specific site seven times in a row can be unpredictable.
As a duelist, you want to mix it up. If you are always with the team, they’ll know an incoming ‘commital’ attack once they see you.
Another way to be unpredictable is how you enter a site. If you are playing Jett and you Cloudburst and dash to the same location over and over, they’ll pick up on it.
Even doing it twice in a row can be read by the opponents. Cypher can adjust his traps for it.
Picking Off Valuable Agents
On attacking, controllers and sentinels are the best targets. If you see these enemies, you want to make plays to pick them off.
For example, by picking off their sentinel, you’ll know one site is going to be weak. Defenders usually stack away from their sentinel. If their Killjoy defends the B Site, they’ll position their team as one B, one mid, and three A.
It depends on which site or which map you are playing, but this is usually how random ranked lobbies go.
Pick off an agent, and you’ll have less pressure entering a site. You can even ask KA/YO to try and suppress the sentinel before entering.
If you get a pick-off on a controller, you’ll have more freedom to take space on the map because they wouldn’t be able to smoke entrances to pressure attackers from entering.
Getting picks on agents with ultimates is also good for obvious reasons.
In cases where you get a 5v3 or 5v4 advantage, you want to play together, literally. When someone finds an enemy, make sure you are within ‘trading distance.’
With simple math, you’ll eventually end up winning. It is unlikely players can win a 2v1 when the 2 players peek together.
You want to clear every inch so that you don’t end up giving the advantage back. Play the numbers game.
There is more emphasis on this tip for attackers. There is no way defenders can hold a site if they are down in numbers and still spread around the map.
Learn More Agents
This tip is almost the same as the ‘learn to play against utilities’ tip. When you play other agents, you try to learn the best way to play them.
You’ll know how to support your duelist on entries as an initiator. You’ll know where to set your traps as a sentinel. Even knowledge as deep as knowing where someone would position themselves can be learned when you play other agents.
The best example of this would be playing Killjoy. You’ll know Killjoy would position herself near her turret and alarm bot. You also want to cover two areas with those traps. In Haven’s C Site, Killjoy can cover C Long, B Site, and garage.
A turret looks over C Long – an alarm bot in the garage – Killjoy positions in B Site. Killjoy can swap places with any of those utilities too.
Fnatic used this strategy against Sentinels in Haven. Fnatic always has a read on when Sentinels would try to take A Site. They leave their Killjoy holding B Site and C Site while they stack four people on A Site.
When you play these agents, you’ll also grasp their tendencies. Once you get back to playing duelists, you’ll have a better grasp of their positioning.
The same goes for learning lineups for other agents. You can start clearing the post-plant lineup positions first before retaking as a duelist.
Before playing ranked, you want to have a warmup routine first. It could either be playing Aimlabs or playing deathmatch.
You wouldn’t how well you played if your mind and aim weren’t warmed up yet. Most pro players don’t want to warm up on deathmatch. Players just peek everywhere without trying to mask their footsteps.
In a real game, this wouldn’t help you much other than reaction time. You can still play deathmatch if it helps. As long as it gets your engine running, you’ll know eventually when you know you performed your best.
When you play as a duelist, the team expects you to enter for the team. Each duelist is designed to take fights.
Reyna can blind and escape with a dismiss. Phoenix has a fast blind to enter first. Jett can Cloudburst and dash into a site, putting on defenders to look at your smoke or your other teammates entering.
You want to communicate with your team to ask for support when you enter. It doesn’t matter if you die instantly. As long as you entered and tried to win a duel, you have done your job. For your teammates, you should expect them to trade you.
Here is a short but concise version of the tips. These tips are gathered from most of the competitive pro players as well as Derke’s thoughts on how to play the duelist role.