Phantom vs. Vandal: What’s the best rifle in VALORANT?

Cousins of Counter-Strike's M4A1 and AK-47, the Phantom and Vandal are bound to divide opinions.

Image via Riot Games

Picture this scenario in VALORANT: You load into the buy phase with just the right amount of Creds for heavy armor and a rifle. But which gun do you choose: the Phantom or the Vandal?

Here’s how the two guns stack up against each other.

Phantom

Image via Riot Games

Stats

  • Cost: 2,900
  • Fire mode: Fully automatic
  • Head damage: 156, 140, 124
  • Body damage: 39, 35, 31
  • Leg damage: 33, 30, 26
  • Range: 15/30/50 meters
  • Magazine size: 30
  • Fire rate: 11
  • Tap Efficiency: 4
  • Penetration: Medium

Pros of the Phantom

  • Fast fire rate
  • Silenced
  • Thrives in close to medium range encounters
  • Controllable spray pattern
  • Large magazine
  • Suppressed fire
  • No bullet tracers
  • Better spray transfer

Cons of the Phantom

  • Damage falls off by 16 at the 15 to 30m mark.
  • Damage reduced by an additional 16 at 30 to 50m.

Vandal

Image via Riot Games

Stats

  • Cost: 2,900
  • Fire mode: Fully automatic
  • Head damage: 156
  • Body damage: 39
  • Leg damage: 33
  • Range: 50 meters
  • Magazine size: 25
  • Fire rate: 9.25
  • Tap Efficiency: 6
  • Penetration: Medium

Pros of the Vandal

  • The better of the two guns in terms of range
  • One-shot, one-kill at the 50m mark
  • Perfect for tapping

Cons of the Vandal

  • Slow fire rate
  • Erratic spray pattern
  • Difficult to control
  • Small magazine
  • Unsuppressed
  • Worse spray transfer

The verdict

In terms of stats, the Vandal edges slightly over the Phantom. Its one-shot, one-kill potential means it’s a reliable gun when tapping. In a long corridor or on an open site, the Vandal will almost certainly be the better choice when it comes to rifles.

But due to the nature of VALORANT’s close-quarters maps, the Phantom shouldn’t be underestimated. In a long-range gun battle, the Vandal is favored. But up close and personal, the Phantom is king.

The Phantom’s fast fire rate and its five extra bullets add up to a great deal of damage. It might not be the best gun for tapping, but spraying is an entirely different story. It’s easy to control and its spray pattern is much more consistent than the Vandal.

The Vandal struggles with its erratic spray control and is inconsistent in close-range skirmishes. But a well-timed tap to the head will still average a kill.

The recovery times on all rifles were updated in VALORANT’s Patch 0.50, released on May 13, making tap and burst fire more efficient. This favored the Vandal, particularly at long range. Walk-spraying with rifles was also adjusted, nerfing the Phantom.

Vandal horizontal recoil was reduced by 15 percent while crouched, gun recovery time was reduced from 0.4 seconds to 0.375 seconds, and tap efficiency increased from four to six. Altogether, this was a considerable buff for the Vandal.

But, in summary, choosing between the two guns is still all about your playstyle. If you like to lurk, sneak behind your opponents, push through chokepoints, or entry-frag, buy a Phantom. If you prefer to take the methodical approach to the game, sit patiently on a bombsite, and bide your time for the enemy to emerge in your crosshairs, buy a Vandal.