In a tactical FPS such as Valorant, pure individual skill is important, however, it will only get you so far. Good coordination and communication with your teammates are crucial parts of Valorant gameplay.
To maximize your chances of winning, the entire team must be on the same page from the Agent select all the way to the (hopefully)Victory screen. In order to do that it is important that you are familiar with the map, you're playing.
Since you can't control which map you'll be playing the next time you queue up, you have to be comfortable playing all of them. That is why we are launching a series of guides where we will help you master all maps in Valorant.
In each guide, we will go through the best team compositions and meta Agents. We will cover the best and most common setups and strategies high-Elo players and top professional teams use in their games.
We will start with one of the most popular and straightforward maps in the pool, Ascent.
Ascent has a classic tactical FPS layout with two bomb sites, each with two entrances, one from A or B Main and one from the Mid area. The map is full of tight angles and corners on most parts of the map; however, it's got a large and open Mid, so using an Operator is recommended on buy rounds.
Ascent is designed to be a bit more defensive-sided map. That is why ultimate orbs are slightly easier to take as attackers since it requires deep control from defenders to safely take them.
Both A and B main entrances are pretty tight and easy for defenders to hold with utility, which highlights the importance of Mid on this map. Control over Mid gives attackers an extra entrance for both sites and splits up the defense. It forces defenders to spread their utility and change their setup.
A and B site doors are unique to Ascent and can be your enemy and an ally depending on how you use them. Once they break into the site, Attackers love to close the doors to slow down the rotation from defenders coming from the other bomb site.
That is why defenders often preemptively break the doors at the start of the round to force the attackers to keep using smokes and other utility when defending a retake.
Attacking on Ascent
As we already mentioned, Ascent is all about Mid control. As an attacker, it gives you options to strike both sites through Market or A link. Smoking Catwalk and Arch can be very helpful when obtaining it since it allows you to safely push up mid. Use Sova darts or KAY/O's knife to gain information on enemies that might contest your push.
Once in control, you have the option to split into A through Catwalk and Tree or to B through Market. Still, you don't want to overload mid too much as you still want teammates to be ready to hit from A or B main.
If you're attacking from A main, smoke Heaven and Door and use info abilities from Agents such as Sova, KAY/O, and Fade. Once you have info on enemies on site, use flashes to create space for your duelist to enter the site. Also, make sure to have someone close the door to isolate enemies on site. If you have Mid control, smoke off Garden and simultaneously push from Tree and A main.
Once you clear the site and plant the Spike, try to spread around, and don't just stack multiple people in Hell. Use molly's, Sova darts, and other utility to stall the retake as much as possible.
When executing B site through B Main, make sure to smoke off CT and Market and Sova dart back site. When rushing in, try to have your duelist close the Market door to slow down the Market rotation. Molly-ing stairs and CT is a good option to isolate enemies on the site, but always save some utility for the post-plant.
It is a good idea to keep one player in B Main since it is very hard to clear. It will create a much bigger problem for defenders who will need to spend more time clearing multiple angles before fighting the players on-site and in the Boathouse.
Defending on Ascent
Since the main goal for Attackers is to split the Defense by taking Mid control, your job as Defenders is to stop them or at least delay them. However, you still have to cover the sites themselves, so the most common setup is 2 players A, 2 players B, and one player Mid(Operator user).
Your main goal early on in the round is to gain as much intel as possible. Use utility to stall out any early rushes and try to buy time for your teammates to rotate over from the other bomb site.
Contesting Mid control and forcing the enemy to walk through tight A and B main entries and your utility will make your life easier. In some cases, though, it is fine to give up the map control and play retake; however, don't shy away from aggressive plays with utility to catch the enemy off guard.
Agents and Team Compositions
If we look at the VCT Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik, we see that the most popular team comp consists of Jett, Sova, KAY/O, Omen, and Killjoy, with Jett and Sova having a 100% pick rate on Ascent. However, Jett and Sova nerfs on 4.08 might encourage people to find alternatives such as Chamber or Fade.
Jett's ability to safely contest Mid with the Operator on defense makes her a crucial part of every team comp on Ascent. In addition, Jett is the best duelist in the game for fast executes and getting out of A or B main onto the site with her dash into smoke combo.
Alternatives to Jett as a primary Op-er are Agents capable of quick repositioning, such as Chamber and Omen, while the best duelists outside Jett are Reyna and Raze.
For the longest time Sova was the uncontested king of Ascent when it comes to the primary initiator role. His intel-gathering ability is undisputed on Ascent and can clear most of both sites. However, his nerfs were significant, so we might see other Agents like Fade replace Sova and cause a huge meta shift.
Most pro teams love to go double initiator setup on Ascent due to a lot of tight chokes when entering sites. While Skye and Breach can be decent options, KAY/O's kit provides much more on Ascent. He is great at clearing angles with his abilities, as well as "turning off" enemy utility stopping you from taking a site.
While Chamber is hands down the best sentinel in the game, Killjoy is still the number one option for top teams when it comes to Ascent. Her kit is perfect for locking down tight chokes on A and B entrances. Her Ultimate can clear the whole site on both attack and defense, while her turret can gather information way deeper than any other sentinel.
Finally, the Controller role previously dominated by Astra, is now up for grabs. Omen and Brimstone are both great options that bring unique things to the team. Brimstone is a good all-around option, while Omen allows more creativity with his teleports.
Keep in mind that if a certain Agent is "OP" on some map, it doesn't mean you will instantly win if you pick him. In a lot of cases, it is more important that you are comfortable with the Agent you are playing, especially in the mid to lower tier of play.
However, it becomes increasingly more important for you to be familiar with setups and team compositions the more you climb the ladder. As competition gets tougher, it makes your game much easier and more enjoyable if the entire team is on the same page, and everyone knows their role round in and round out.