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

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, a couple of abilities, and, most importantly, a rifle. But which gun do you choose: Phantom or Vandal?

The decision between the two has been a divisive talking point since the game was released in 2020, with players on both sides rigorously defending their preferred rifle. The Vandal fans love it for the insta-kill headshot damage and long-range viability, while the Phantom lovers enjoy the recoil and spray stability.

Related: VALORANT players agree on which Vandal and Phantom skins ‘feel’ the best

But which rifle is truly the best? Decide for yourself. Here’s how the two guns stack up against each other.

Phantom vs. Vandal: Stats, pros, and cons

According to Riot, the Vandal is the more commonly used rifle between the two, used in over 70 percent of full buy rounds across players in both competitive and pro play. But the Phantom delivers more kills on average at shorter ranges (up to 20 meters) compared to the Vandal, while the Vandal delivers more kills at long range (20 meters and up).


Image via Riot Games

Phantom 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
  • Penetration: Medium

Phantom pros

  • Faster fire rate
  • Thrives in close to medium range encounters
  • Controllable spray
  • Larger magazine
  • Suppressed fire
  • No bullet tracers
  • Better spray transfer

Phantom cons

  • Damage falls off at 15 to 30m mark
  • Damage reduced again at 30 to 50m range
  • Headshot not an instant kill at 15+ meters


Image via Riot Games

Vandal 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
  • Penetration: Medium

Vandal pros

  • Better damage range with no damage falloff at longer ranges
  • One-shot, one-kill headshots up to 50m mark
  • Perfect for tapping

Vandal cons

  • Slow fire rate
  • Erratic spray
  • More difficult to control
  • Smaller magazine
  • Unsuppressed
  • Worse spray transfer

Is the Phantom or Vandal better?

Image via Riot Games

If not accounting for personal preference, neither the Phantom nor Vandal is overall better than the other, but each is certainly more preferable in certain situations.

For longer-range encounters and for players with pinpoint headshot accuracy, the Vandal is the superior option. While the spray control and transfer control of a Vandal are less superior than the Phantom, these aren’t as important when it comes to long-range head taps.

Related: TenZ explains why he thinks Phantom is better than Vandal in VALORANT

But for close encounters and smoke sprays, the Phantom is the more viable choice. The Phantom’s fast fire rate and five extra bullets add up to a great deal of damage. The Phantom’s lack of bullet tracers also gives it an advantage. It easily wins out when spraying through smokes or when running and gunning. It’s also better for spray transfers. Even after those frustrating 140 damage headshots, Phantom users still win those duels 78 percent of the time, according to Riot.

About the author
Jerome Heath

Associate Editor. Brit stranded thousands of miles from home on a tiny little island that looks like a sweet potato. League of Legends? He's aware of it. VALORANT? Might have heard of it. Counter-Strike? Sounds vaguely familiar.