The best VALORANT agents for beginners

Start by learning these agents first!

A screenshot of three VALORANT agents, Brimstone, Neon, and Killjoy
Screenshot by Dot Esports

In a character-based first-person shooter like VALORANT, players must familiarize themselves with agents and their abilities. Though this can seem overwhelming at first, taking it one agent at a time makes it possible to get up to speed.

Beginners will need a lot of practice to catch up with others who have played the game from its inception, but once you get a hold of the abilities and standard gunplay mechanics, the learning curve becomes relatively straightforward.

Players will only have a handful of agents available while starting VALORANT. You will eventually unlock more by progressing in the game. While some characters are tough to master for beginners, others are easier to learn. 

Easiest VALORANT agents to play

The easiest VALORANT agents for beginners are Phoenix, Sage, and Brimstone. If you’re coming from CS:GO, we recommend picking up KAY/O as your first agent, and if you’re coming from Overwatch 2, we recommend Killjoy.

Phoenix, Sage, and Brimstone all offer the most straightforward versions of several types of utility in the game. Phoenix provides a great introduction to flashes and AOE abilities, while Sage’s utility can help teach new players the importance of controlling space on any of VALORANT’s maps. Brimstone has the most simple mechanics for deploying smokes and can help players learn how to be effective from a distance.

KAY/O’s flashes are the most similar to those used in CS:GO, so many mechanics from that game will transfer well to his play style. Killjoy is an agent heavily focused on externally-placed utility like turrets and other info-gathering robots, which will have Overwatch players feeling like they’re in familiar territory.

It is essential to understand the agent’s kit when starting as a beginner, and you will need to play several matches with the same agent before you feel comfortable with them. Since you may not get to pick your favorite agent all the time, it is best to learn a range of characters to have options available once you master your first character.


A close-up of Phoenix looking confused. He's holding a gun in his right hand.
Fiery. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Phoenix is one of the best VALORANT agents for beginners, and he is available right when you start the game. Classified as a Duelist, Phoenix’s role in the team is to provide a way in for teammates by landing eliminations and creating space. Phoenix’s kit is full of offensive abilities allowing players to move into an area quickly. 

You can use Phoenix’s Curveball to flash opponents and Hot Hands to throw a blazing fireball that damages enemies. Similarly, players can use Phoenix’s Blaze to create a wall of fire that blocks enemy vision and damages anyone touching it.

His ultimate ability basically gives him two lives, allowing you to take aggressive fights or save yourself if you’re low on health. It’s a great ultimate ability for beginners because you’ll never feel like you’ve wasted it or used it at a bad time.

Maybe the best part of Phoenix’s ability kit is that his Hot Hands and Blaze abilities both offer opportunities for the duelist to heal himself. If you make a mistake, as all beginners inevitably do, you can heal yourself back up without having to rely on your teammates. In combination with his flashes and quick-charging ultimate ability, this all allows for him to be very self-sufficient.

Phoenix is a perfect choice for beginners who know themselves as having an aggressive playstyle or tend to want to play in a more selfish way. Just make sure you’re entering the site before your teammates.


The splash art for Sage. She's holding a blue and green orb in one hand and a gun in the other.
Healing is important in VALORANT. Image via Riot Games

Sage is a healer and is also one of the unlocked agents that players will get to choose from when starting VALORANT. Classified as a Sentinel, Sage’s abilities revolve around healing teammates and creating barriers to prevent others from entering certain areas on the map.

Sage can use the Barrier Orb to create a fortified wall that closes down areas. Likewise, the Slow Orb creates a lingering field that reduces the opponent’s movement speed. You can use Sage’s Healing Orb to heal yourself or your teammates. Unlike Phoenix, Sage’s role requires her to stick close to her squadmates. Sage’s ultimate, Resurrection, is one of the most powerful ultimates in a game without mid-round respawns. This ability allows the player to revive a fallen teammate at full health.

This healer is a great pick for new players who maybe aren’t as skilled with aiming or movement in shooters. You don’t necessarily have to get a ton of kills to be a useful teammate while playing as Sage if you can consistently heal your squad and set up effective walls. Since her kit requires you to stay relatively close to your teammates, playing with this agent can also help you practice your team play if you’re used to playing games solo.

Sage is a great agent for learning each of VALORANT’s maps, because you’re constantly going to be thinking about where to use your orbs to get the best value out of them. Her wall is a very powerful tool, so make sure you use it in some way every round you play.


The splash art for Brimstone. He's holding a gun over his shoulder and looking very serious.
Smoke ’em out. Image via Riot Games

Brimstone is another unlocked agent players will get to select while beginning the game. Brimstone is classified as a Controller, and his abilities revolve around protecting teammates by deploying smokes and deploying other AOE abilities. His abilities include Sky Smoke, Orbital Strike, Incendiary, and Stim Beacon.

In general, the Controller is known as perhaps the most difficult role to play in VALORANT. So in most cases starting off on a Controller agent for your very first game is not advised. As a controller, you’re expected to not only know the map you’re playing on but also understand how to carefully place your utility to not accidentally give the other team an advantage. However, if you’re determined to become a Controller main, Brimstone is your best bet to start off with.

Brimstone’s Incendiary shoots a grenade that creates a burst of fire upon landing, which will damage enemies that touch it. While Sky Smokes can be deployed on the map to obscure the opponent’s vision, Stim Beacon gives teammates a rapid-fire buff with a slight speed boost. His ultimate ability, Orbital Strike, allows Brimstone to call in an aerial laser beam that heavily damages enemies caught in its radius.

Brimstone is the stock “old white guy with a beard” character that every FPS game has as a starter character for new players. He’s meant to help you learn the basics of this game, from smokes to mollies, to basic shooting and positioning. Learning to use all of his utility well will help you gain a foundation for how the game is played in general, and will allow you to support your teammates even if you’re not the best fragger out there. 


A close-up of KAYO shooting a massive machine gun.
Transform. Screenshot by Dot Esports

KAY/O is a character you will need to unlock in VALORANT by activating his agent contract. Classified as an Initiator, KAY/O’s role is to identify where on the map enemies are located. This agent’s kit consists of FRAG/Ment, FLASH/Drive, ZERO/Point, and NULL/Cmd.

The FLASH/Drive ability is a classic flashbang that blinds enemies but can also blind your teammates if you don’t make sure they’re out of the way. Players transitioning from CS:GO will love this ability as it is quite similar to the flashbang grenade. KAY/O’s flash is the most similar to the flashes in CS:GO, which overall makes his playstyle familiar to those who have many hours in that title.

The FRAG/Ment ability throws an explosive that sticks to the floor and damages opponents stuck in its radius. The ZERO/Point ability is a suppression blade that sticks to the surface of a wall, ceiling, or floor and suppresses all of the opponent’s abilities for a short duration. Similarly, NULL/Cmd suppresses the opponent caught in its radius for a short duration, and KAY/O gains enhanced movement speed and fire rate.

As an early initiator, KAY/O is a great choice because his utility translates so well to other games in this genre. Anyone who’s used to flashbangs in other games will have an easier time using this robot’s kit more effectively. His util is also more geared towards gathering information and suppressing enemies easily than an agent like Skye, making him a great choice for newbies looking to learn this role.

Using KAY/O’s ZERO/Point knife at the beginning of a round will give your team a great idea of where the enemy might be coming from. You can also combo a knife with a flash. By throwing the knife first, you can establish if an opponent is there and warn your teammate that you’re going to flash before they move, hopefully keeping everyone’s field of vision intact.


A close-up of Killjoy holding a gun.
Technical overload. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Killjoy is one of the agents you need to unlock after progressing in the game, which will cost you Kingdom credits in VALORANT’s new progression system. Classified as a Sentinel, like Sage, Killjoy is an expert at holding and locking down an area. Killjoy’s abilities include Nanoswarm, Alarmbot, Turret, and Lockdown.

Killjoy’s signature ability is her Turret, which you can place at a large variety of different locations. The Turret automatically fires at enemies in a 180-degree cone after spotting them. Nanoswarms can be placed on the ground and later activated manually to create a damaging swarm of nanobots. Killjoy’s Alarmbot becomes invisible once placed and activates when opponents enter its range, and the bot explodes, applying a vulnerable effect to enemies. Killjoy’s ultimate ability is Lockdown, which detains all enemies caught in its radius after a short timer. 

Because her bots can effectively serve as an extra player if positioned correctly, Killjoy is a great choice for new players. You may not be able to hit all of your shots, but you can use Killjoy’s kit to weaken your enemies enough for the Turret and your teammates to take them out if you can’t. 

Sometimes putting Killjoy’s Turret on the high ground for a nice vantage point can be a great idea, but finding sneaky corners to hide the bot in isn’t a bad choice either. More experienced players will have an idea of where Killjoy players like to put the Turret and will be on the lookout for those positions. So instead, try positioning it as your own little backup buddy to hit any shots I might miss.

About the author
Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty (he/him) is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for sports anime, and to a lesser degree, esports.