How to play Sova in VALORANT

Learn how to set up plays with this initiator in Riot's newest game.

Image via Riot Games

Riot Games’ newest entry into the FPS genre, VALORANT, is making waves on Twitch.

Sova is one of the free agents that you start off with on your account and he’s a wonderful character to get if you’re new to a first-person shooter like this one. Sova allows you to gather valuable information that can help split enemy forces before they even get to you.

Sova’s toolkit

Sova’s Q-ability is Shock Bolt, which you can buy two charges of during your buying phase each round for 100 Creds each. You can decide how far the bolt goes by holding down your left-click. You can also determine if it bounces by right-clicking, up to two times, while charging and aiming.

Even though the Shock Bolt provides you with a lot of potential damage around areas that would be impossible to shoot, like tight corridors next to corners, it isn’t enough damage to be lethal to healthy opponents. This ability is best used to finish off wounded players or softening up full-health targets for you to take down later. 

Sova’s E is his Signature Ability, Recon Bolt. In a similar fashion to Shock Bolt, holding your left-click decides how far the arrow shoots and you can tap your right-click to decide how many times it bounces. Once your shot lands, you emit a long-range sonar that can detect enemies within the line of sight of the sonar’s shot landing. 

Since this is your Signature Ability, it recharges after a 35-second cooldown. If you use it early enough in a round, there’s a chance you can use it again later if you need some last-minute information.

While the Recon Bolt provides you with a lot of knowledge of potential enemy positionings in quick fashion, the Recon Bolt can also be destroyed by enemies once it lands. Make sure to gather the information you need fast before it can be destroyed.

Sova’s C-ability is Owl Drone. You can only buy one charge in your shop each round for 300 Creds. Sova deploys his Owl Drone, which grants you full vision of the Drone’s POV. The Drone can fire a shot that will reveal any enemy hit for a couple of seconds.

While the Drone can provide you with a wealth of information, Sova can’t move during the time his Drone is deployed. You need to make sure you’re safe before using it, otherwise you’ll be a sitting duck. Similar to the Recon Bolt, the Drone can be destroyed by the enemy team, which makes the time it’s gathering intel crucial.

Sova’s Ultimate is Hunter’s Fury. Sova draws his bow and can fire up to three long-range shots, which can go through walls during a short time period. While the blast deals immense damage and goes across the entire map, you still need to make sure your aim is up to par to get those kills.

Additionally, if you’re having trouble getting hits with the arrow, remember the angle of where you shoot the arrow matters since each map has varying levels of elevation. If you don’t have ideas of where to shoot, the mini-map can provide you with intel of where you can expect the arrows to go and potentially where enemies might be if they’re seen by your allies.

Effective offensive tactics

While you shouldn’t abstain yourself from carrying the Spike, if an ally carries it, you can use the Drone early each round to clear a path for your team, providing them with the knowledge of whether there are enemies high, low, or around corners. If you bait the enemies into shooting the Drone, your team can potentially quickly follow up and hit them while it’s being targeted.

Additionally, after your Drone is finished, using your Recon Bolt when the map is silent can help you get an edge on your opponents. If you fail to reveal an enemy with your shot, then you have knowledge of where they aren’t and you can potentially push forward to a bombsite.

Effective defensive tactics

Since Sova can gather so much information when given the space or time, you can effectively hold a bombsite on your own and have your team protect other popular areas on each map. Your Owl Drones and Recon Arrows let you know if multiple enemies are trying to rush an area, and if they are, you can quickly call your team to rotate back to you to contest them.

When you know an enemy is coming to you, whether to place a Spike or disarm one you’ve planted, your Hunter’s Fury Ultimate ability can be used as a zone denial tool. Don’t be afraid to take shots knowing they can be dodged fairly easily. Buying valuable time can allow your team to get a flank or for a Spike to detonate.

Closing thoughts for Sova 

In early rounds where your economy of Creds is limited, it’s recommended to have at least your Owl Drone, one charge of your Shock Arrow, and at least some form of light armor. This allows you to be a potent early skirmisher who can also provide a lot of useful utility and information for your team.

If you have any downtime, take some time during a custom match to find creative angles for your Shock or Recon Arrow and practice them. While you can’t practically hit those angles each time during tense moments of a match, you can still have the knowledge to be able to use them during slower moments of a round, which will surprise your enemies.

More often than not, though, you’ll need to make sure you’re well acquainted with hitting quick Shock or Recon arrows since those will be the ones you’re required to be effective with.

Additionally, spending time to get more articulate with your calls will be beneficial since your intel abilities give you advanced knowledge that could help you get a jump on the enemy team.