Destructive force: VALORANT devs and pros agree on the game’s best gun

All hail the top rifle.

Image via Riot Games

The debate between Vandal and Phantom usage will dominate VALORANT forever. But for the leaders of the development team and the world-class players competing at Champions, the argument is pretty one-sided.

In a Q&A posted on the Riot Games blog, the leaders of the VALORANT dev team expressed their thoughts about the game’s current state, its community, and its future. But before they dove into the deep stuff, they made the tough choice: Vandal or Phantom.

Three of the five developers that answered chose Vandal, one chose the Phantom, and one said that they loved both, electing to switch it up if they were “feeling hot or cold with one of them.” It’s worth mentioning that one of the devs that said Vandal wrote “my brain says Vandal but my spray pattern behavior says Phantom,” though.

Chase Swanson, director of game operations, provided additional insight into their feelings on Vandal superiority. “I am constantly trying to improve my aim and how intentional I am with firing,” they wrote. “The Vandal helps me focus on building that skill. That one tap headshot is just too satisfying.”

The lean toward the Vandal isn’t just reflected by the VALORANT dev leaders’ preferences, it’s represented at the professional too in a decisive split. At VCT Champions 2022, the Vandal was used by players in individual rounds just over 8,000 times, compared to the 3,255 times the Phantom was used, more than doubling its main rifle competitor. Its popularity has led to pro players like ScreaM and Derke using crosshairs with just a basic dot that are more conducive to getting headshots.

The Phantom is certainly not without its uses. It’s a popular choice for controller players who want controlled spam sprays through smokes and utility, especially when trying to deny defuses while on the attack side.