Have you ever missed a shot on Valorant map Ascent and muttered, “I’d have landed it if I had a Vandal?” If so, we’re the same. I shuffle between both weapons depending on the map. On Split, the Phantom is my best friend, and I don’t mind pulling out the Vandal on one of the FPS game‘s larger locations. Some days it depends on my mood and aim. But I’m no leaderboard demon. In order to climb through the Valorant ranks consistently, sticking to one weapon is crucial – but which rifle wins out?
The Vandal versus Phantom debate is as old as Valorant itself. While I use both weapons, I prefer Vandal for its accuracy. But you won’t see me arguing with Phantom-enthusiasts in ranked games. It would appear that there’s no solid way to argue that Vandal is just better when Riot markets both weapons at the same price and with similar features. But it’s about time we settle the debate with hard facts.
The best Valorant players in the world are using the Vandal, not Phantom. Who are these players, you may ask? Well, the upper Valorant ranks are crammed with incredible talent, and the top ten players worldwide equip Vandal. You may see a mix of both primary rifles in pro games, but let’s face it, Valorant ranked is more brutal and unforgiving. Stats say only Vandal-wielding soldiers make the cut for the Radiant leaderboard.
Top percentage of Valorant’s Radiant leaderboard is pro-Vandal
Stats don’t mean anything until you see the result. We are all grinding Valorant ranked to climb the ladder and get the coveted red badge, and it turns out Vandal is one of the many keys to achieving that.
Valorant’s crème of the crop have many things in common, but playing Jett, spamming rank games, and using the Vandal stand out the most. According to the global leaderboard, all top ten players religiously use the one-tap rifle, with the tenth player ‘Crazymojo’ sporting a whopping 2,539 kills on the Vandal despite occasionally equipping the Phantom. Valorant’s top player ‘N4rrate’ shares the same habit with 864 kills on Phantom and 1280 on Vandal. The rest of the upper echelon strictly stay away from Phantom.
Clearly, Phantom isn’t a bad rifle by any stretch, as it makes guest appearances here and there. But the best players swear by the Vandal, and it’s not surprising. When you are good enough to get on the upper end of the leaderboard, your aim is the least of your worries. Ace aimers find it easier to spot the head quickly and finish the enemy with a single Vandal bullet, while the Phantom, conversely, deals 124 damage to the head, which means more time and shots to knock out the enemy.
The Phantom is an excellent weapon for days you can’t land your taps, on maps that offer more close-range duels, or for those who instinctively spray. But, to compete with the best, you must be able to counter those Vandal one-taps, meaning you’re not getting past Immortal if your reaction time isn’t lightning-fast. You can’t give your opponent time to counter your attack, which is only possible if you can shut them out in one, at max, two bullets.
For all these reasons, breaking into Radiant is a tall order. The top ranks are guarded by Vandal masters, so if you’re aiming for the red badge, you might want to practice using your Phantom against Vandal. Or better yet, just give in to the Vandal gods and equip the better rifle.
Besides picking the right rifle, it’s crucial to have the best Valorant crosshair if you’re serious about your rank grind in episode 6. Things are heating up, and ranking up isn’t easy anymore!