How to Use Smoke Screens in Valorant

How to Use Smoke Screens in Valorant

Valorant players that choose characters with smoke screen abilities need to be players with excellent game sense, and knowledge of maps, entry points, and how to retake the site using their smoke abilities. These players aren’t out for the aggressive kills that a duelist will be seeking but are often able to clutch out rounds by giving themselves and their team an advantage due to smoke screens.

What are smoke screens?

Alternately nicknamed “smokes” by players in-game, smoke screens are round balls of visual disruptions to the players’ view of the map. Smoke players need to be careful to use the smokes to their own team’s advantage, which requires extensive knowledge of each map, where the enemy team will enter a site, as well as learning how to place smokes as “one-ways,” where a cloud of smoke is used as a partial block to visibility where the enemy team cannot see through but the player’s team can.

The View Inside Brimstone's Smokescreen
Inside Brimstone’s smokescreen

What agents in Valorant have smokes?

There are three main agents in Valorant with smoke abilities as their main equipment. Some other agents do have similar smoke abilities, but these smokes are not their main kit.

  • Astra – This agent has risen to the top of the list of smoke screen agents due to the sheer number of smokes available to the player. Astra has five stars that can be placed anywhere on the map and triggered no matter where the player is at the moment, making her an extremely powerful agent. Smokes are the main portion of Astra’s kit, but stars can also be triggered as concussion mines or gravity pulls. Astra also has the ability to pull a star back off the map if it hasn’t been used, and this triggers a smaller, shorter smoke when the star is recalled. This recall can be used to quickly cross choke points without even using an ability.
  • Brimstone – This agent is probably the least popular smoke agent, but can still be a good choice for smoke agent. Brimstone has 3 smokes available that he can deploy one at a time, or all at once, using a tactical view of the map. The ability is centered around him, so it does have limitations to how players can set off the smokes.
  • Omen is the classic choice for smoke agents, and his ability to place smokes through walls and place them at different elevations means players choosing Omen can create strong one-way smokes for their team to use. The ability recharges, making Omen strong at the beginning and end of rounds. Omen also has a blind ability that allows him to toss a smoke that creates a nearsighted effect on players that it hits.

Are there other agents with smoke abilities?

Other agents in Valorant have smoke abilities, but they are not typically considered smoke agents due to the smokes not being the main portion of their kit.

  • Cypher – His cage abilities are not technically smokes, but do act to reduce visibility and audio cues in a small radius. These cages can also be tossed up onto doorways, corners, and ledges and used as one-ways.
  • Jett – Her two small smokes can be curved around corners, thrown up as a one-way, or used to cross choke points. These smokes stop at the first surface they encounter, so can be used in interesting ways.
  • Viper – This agent has one smoke that can be placed on the ground and retrieved and moved after a cooldown. This ability uses Viper’s poison, which is monitored on a bar and runs out over time before needing to recharge. Viper can place this smoke at a key chokepoint and turn it off and on as needed.

How are smokes used on attack?

On attack, a smoke player’s goal is to block off as many defensive sightlines as possible as the team enters the site. Smoke players should seek to understand common defense positions on the maps, and the angles that the enemy will hold.

The In-game Sky Smoke Overlay
Agent Brimstone’s Sky Smoke Ability Overlay

Removing vision from these areas means that the enemy will either need to let the team push through and attempt a retake of the site, or they may have to push out into less desirable positions in order to get visibility on the team. Smoke players do need to be cautious not to handicap their own team by placing smokes in positions where it limits friendly visibility.

How are smokes used on defense?

Limiting visibility on entry points and slowing down the entry is the primary goal for smoke players on defense. Using the smokes to either force the enemy team to push through with no visibility or to force them to wait will slow down a push, and help run out the clock, forcing the enemy team to play without much knowledge of the defenders.

Running out the clock will also force the attacking team to play more recklessly, as they will need to rush to the site in order to plant the spike in time.

What exactly is a one-way smoke?

These smokes are placed utilizing the items on the map such as doorways, boxes, and more, and the levels of the map in order to place a smoke that the friendly team can see through, but leaves the enemy team at a disadvantage.

Two Smoke Screens
Two smoke screens were placed to breach the objective

Omen is able to place smokes at different levels, leaving a gap at the bottom of the smoke in order to spot enemy feet approaching. Astra can place stars on top of boxes and certain doorway locations, allowing for one-ways in key areas. Other characters with smoke abilities (or similar tech) are able to place one-ways as well, such as Viper, Jett, and Cypher.

How should a player learn to use smokes?

Each map has unique choke points, defensive positions, and one-ways that players can learn. There are many helpful guides that are tailored for individual agents and for each map, and good smoke screen players should put effort into learning how to use their agent’s abilities in the best possible way to give their team the advantage they need to win games.

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About Ghost

Ghost's passion for first person shooters dates back to the early days of Unreal Tournament, Counter Strike: Source and America's Army. He has played professionally as well as casually in a collection of FPS titles and still makes plenty of time to keep current in CS:GO, Overwatch and, of course, Valorant.

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