Phantom vs. Vandal: Which is the best rifle in VALORANT?

The Phantom and Vandal are bound to divide opinions.

Screengrab via Riot Games

Picture this scenario in VALORANT: You load into the buy phase with just the right amount of Creds for heavy armor, a couple of abilities, and, most importantly, a rifle. But which gun do you choose: Phantom or 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, 29, 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 at 15 to 30m mark
  • Damage reduced again at 30 to 50m range

Vandal

Image via Riot Games

Stats

  • Cost: 2,900
  • Fire mode: Fully automatic
  • Head damage: 160
  • Body damage: 40
  • Leg damage: 34
  • Range: 50 meters
  • Magazine size: 25
  • Fire rate: 9.75
  • 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 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.

Its lack of bullet tracers also gives it a clear advantage. It easily wins out when spraying through smokes or when running and gunning.

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 Vandal suits maps like Ascent and Breeze, which are wide and open, and the Phantom fits on smaller maps such as Icebox and Split.

The recovery times on rifles were updated in VALORANT’s Patch 0.50, released in May 2020, 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 somewhat.

Vandal’s 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.

At VCT Masters Reykjavík, VALORANT’s first international LAN event, players only slightly favored the Vandal, with 26 out of 50 players choosing it above the Phantom over the course of the tournament. Some players swore by the Vandal, while others picked and chose between the two rifles on a map-to-map basis.

But the numbers don’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of the tournament. The North American teams preferred using the Phantom over the Vandal, which could have potentially given them the edge at the event. NA’s Sentinels—with the exception of TenZ—heavily favored the Phantom, while Europe’s Fnatic and Team Liquid generally prioritized the Vandal. 

Interestingly though, as the tournament progressed, finalists Fnatic slowly switched to the Phantom. In the opening game of the upper bracket, Fnatic had a 16 percent Phantom pick rate, and in the grand finals, they had a 57 percent pick rate.

In other words, the choice is yours. The Phantom and the Vandal have their strengths and weaknesses, benefiting different circumstances. The map, site, position, and playstyle should all be taken into account when choosing between the two guns.

Preferring getting up close and personal with your opponents? Choose the Phantom. Rather sit back in a site? Considering picking the Vandal.