Becoming an Esports professional works a lot like any other pro sport. Millions of Valorant players dream of making it as a pro, but there are very few who have the necessary mindset and insider knowledge to make it. Although skill plays a huge part in the journey, the insight from professionals – teams, coaches and players – is what you truly need to succeed.
This guide will hopefully answer a lot of your questions and help you plan a route to success in playing Valorant professionally. We’ll look at the routes pros themselves took, and how they rose to the top from playing as an amateur. We’ll also include first hand advice from our good friend, Jacob “Mini” Harris, Head Valorant Coach at Fnatic.
In this guide:
- Communication Is Key
- Train Like A Professional
- Chillblast x Fnatic Official Gear
- Recommended Valorant Specification
- Get Ranked As Radiant
- Show Off Your Skills
- Never Give Up
Communication Is Key
One thing all professionals agree on is that communication plays the biggest role in progression and going beyond amateur level. The most important skill you can have is good communication – and not just in-game.
A lot of websites that offer advice on becoming pro will tell you that you should network with other players. The problem is, that is a very vague piece of advice, and does not provide a practical way to actually do it. Networking = communication. Conversation between you and other people. That’s all it is. If you think networking is a business phrase, you are only partially correct. Networking starts at a much more basic level, and it is the way you project and convey your personality with other humans, first and foremost. There are rewards to communicating with other players and influencers, of course. But if you boil it down to the most basic function, it really is just communicating in a positive way.
Q. What is the best way to reach out to other pro players and communicate with them? How should you engage in social media?
“It really depends on the context, if you’re an upcoming player looking for advice or help then I’d stick to asking questions in streams. If you’re mutually acquainted then sliding into DMs is appropriate. The best piece of general advice I’d give to anyone cold emailing/DMing someone is to be polite and ask whatever you want up front instead of asking “Can I ask you a question?” — you might seem polite asking but it’s actually more annoying!“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
The biggest problem people have with advice seen on Esports blogs, is telling an amateur to “network with people in the industry” is not detailed advice or a plan of attack. For instance – Who should you talk to? What should you say? What are your goals? These are just a few of the questions you might have, and maybe just the thought of ‘networking’ might worry you if you don’t have an outgoing personality.
Don’t worry. It really is quite simple, and something you will feel good about doing. You probably already do it daily, on Discord, Twitter, Instagram and Twitch.
It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.
Ending a game by berating players for poorly timed frags or posting social media memes that call out players as cheats are great examples of doing things the wrong way. Instead, remaining professional throughout and congratulating teams, singling out players who performed well and publicly acknowledging them will stand you in incredibly good stead.
If you want to be a professional, you have to act like a professional. Being courteous, kind and remaining humble is what gets you ahead in this industry. Although there are a lot of huge personalities, having these traits will get you noticed. Being magnanimous in defeat, or telling someone they played well goes a long way with people on a personal level – and it will ensure people remember you (and talk about you).
It’s rewarding for everyone.
Communicating on social media is a two-way thing. You will receive responses from other players, and this will grow your following. When fans of opposing teams see how professional you are in public, they will be interested in you as a player, and your progression.
Being kind to other players is infectious, and positivity is one of the biggest aspects of Esports in general, promoting good mental health and relationships. You are absolutely more likely to be introduced to people, games and pathways to progression if you are kind & courteous to all your fellow players.
Take the Twitter post below, for example.
@EmperorGaming01 has a mere 104 followers, but gained 35 Likes and 4 RTs from a tweet that spoke mostly about the opposing team, congratulating them and being modest about their own plays.
People like to be part of positivity, and it shows in the stats of this tweet.
Compare the above to a less than modest tweet:
@xxsidelinezxx has a following of over 2,300 people, but managed only 3 Likes on this tweet. This post – although not uncommon – speaks only about the skills of the team who won, and does not promote positivity. It’s doubtful there was any animosity in this tweet, but the stats don’t lie. People are less likely to engage with a post of this nature, generally speaking.
Of course, it is extremely important to have great teamwork in Valorant. At the risk of sounding like Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, great teamwork only happens with great communication. Listen to how teams communicate with each other in high pressure moments in tournaments. Watch streams on Twitch and see how teams progress by playing their part, listening and speaking when required.
When you are playing in a regular team, you will figure out your own shorthand, and have your own terminology for things that would normally take too long to say. That said, Valorant, like most games, already has its own slang and terms which you’ll hear in chat. Learning this new language will help you play better, and develop good comms with your team.
Communicating your strategies before a game is just as important. You will often see pro teams discussing strategies and tactics using tools such as Valoplant.gg. Tools such as this enable you to run sequences and tactics as a team, and build out your game plan based on the map and agents you choose.
Valoplant is a free tool, but also offers some pro features for a small fee. As you progress with your team, these features will become extremely useful – just as they are for players like Fnatic Boaster.
Q. What are some tools that Valorant pro gamers use?
“There are several tools out there but we mostly just use Valoplant for theory-crafting, we used to use Stratrat which is now Critbase which is also good. We don’t use any VOD Reviewing tools, we just stream our praccs to a private YouTube account (which I highly recommend anyone looking to improve on their game to do!) and review via Discord as a team.“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
Train Like A Professional
To progress as a player, you will need to dedicate yourself to a strategic way of learning and improving your game. You’re going to have to stay frosty 24/7. Just as with any other sports, you will need to set aside time that is specifically devoted to improving a specific skill. Not a range of skills, or how you play an entire game. Just specific aspects.
Let’s imagine a football training session with a professional team in the FA Premiership. Their abilities increase in very specific areas over time, making up an entire skillset. Strikers take shots at goal over and over again, aiming at very specific areas of the net. Midfielders run lines that involve passing and moving the ball up the field. Corners and set pieces are run over and over again until the ball is placed exactly where it is needed. As a former FA youth coach myself, I never focused on the entire game until the very end of the session. This allowed the learned skills to be used in a real situation.
Q. What is a good training schedule that reduces player fatigue but increases skill level?
“It depends on your goals as a player and your responsibilities outside of game. Anyone wanting to become a pro should be focussing on playing as much as possible in a team environment. Supplemented with a standard warmup/deathmatch routine before praccs and a VOD review after praccs (this can be solo or as a team).“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
In the very same way, pro gamers will practice headshots over and over again with teammates. They will practice getting from one area of the map to the other with the most cover available. They will repeatedly practice as a team, pushing the opponents into a kill box of their choosing. This type of focused practice increases the likelihood of you reacting instinctively in a game, and this is exactly what sets you apart: instinct. The faster your reactions, and the more confident your actions, the better player you become.
There are many ways you can practice and train yourself in the more tactical aspects of Valorant. All you need are willing friends who will take it in turns to hone their skillset.
Remember to switch it up.
As with all things humans do, with constant practice comes a plateau. You will eventually reach the pinnacle of performing a specific aspect of Valorant, and be unable to get any better at it; you may even get worse. There’s also a chance you could also become disinterested practicing headshots for two hours, so your training can never be boring. Find a balance and stick to it.
It is for this reason that you should have a varied practice regime, where you can spread your time over different parts of your play. With repetition also comes fatigue and injuries, so this should also be taken into consideration.
Maintain a healthy mind & body.
Humans are not designed to sit at a desk and play video games for untold amounts of time. No matter how comfortable your chair, keyboard and mouse is, your body will reject it and often break down because of it.
Q. How important is mental and physical health at a professional level?
“Mental and physical health is something we deem really important at FNATIC and is why we have a dedicated performance coach in Marcus Askildsen. Personally I think that mental health is one of the most underrated aspects of a team’s performance: there’s a lot of pressure and stress for very young people involved in Esports. As for the physical side, often it’s related to the mental — if you’re healthy physically that can help mentally. But specifically I think that looking after your wrists is important for gamers!“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
The best way to combat this fatigue (both mental and physical) is to get up out of your chair and do something else. Go for a walk, ride a bike, fly a kite – whatever it is, you need to break up the monotonous routine with something you enjoy. It is absolutely necessary to eat and drink healthily, but actual physical fitness is paramount for gaming athletes.
I would imagine this is not something you want to hear. We all wish we could sit in our chairs and play games all day. But if you do that, just know professional gaming is not going to be for you. The very best pro teams focus on physical wellbeing, which in turn has a huge effect on mental health. The average age of an Esports athlete is around 25 years old, with most players starting in pro gaming around 16/17 years of age. This is a critical time for body development, and should not be ignored.
“I think in the beginning of my career, I just thought if I played 16 hours every day for a whole year, I’d be the best player. But I think these days that’s one of the worst things you can do.”– Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Karmine Corp
“The NHS advises 5- to 18-year-olds to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day (for example cycling, running, playing sport), and exercise muscles and bones three days a week (like push-ups, jumping and running).
For adults aged 19 to 64 , the NHS recommends carrying out strength exercises for 2+ days a week that work all the major muscles, plus one of the following:
- 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (around 20-30 per day), such as cycling or brisk walking, OR
- 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, such as running or a game of tennis, OR
- A mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity per week, for example two half-hour runs plus half an hour of brisk walking
When playing esports, try and take a 5 minute break every hour.
Regular breaks are important, and can help improve your overall concentration. Try and squeeze in some exercises, a walk or a healthy snack in if you can.”
Hire a coach.
Is this you? From the first time you booted up Valorant, you have been teaching yourself based on your own instincts. You never watched a single video or listened to anyone who plays Valorant, and certainly didn’t need any tips on improving your game.
Of course not. You, like most gamers, want to improve your game by learning from others. If you’re serious about turning pro, then you will have no doubt studied the pro moves and plays, figuring out how you can increase your own skills. Knowledge is readily available on the internet, and a few searches on YouTube can allow you to exponentially increase your skillset and insight in a game.
Q. Is it worth paying for coaching?
“I mean it would be hard for me to say no! But seriously if we are talking about the 1on1 services people provide I think they could be useful if you find the right person, I would maybe find a couple of highly reviewed people and see what you could learn. Long-term I would focus on playing in a team environment and finding a coach that works with the team.“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
That’s why, to take things to the next level, you should consider hiring a Valorant coach. Why?
- It’s faster. You are going to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to improve your skills
- You remove bad habits. Learning bad habits is really easy. Spotting them yourself is almost impossible. A coach can identify where you are going wrong, and give you tips on how to correct it.
- You need to get used to it. If you’re going to play at a pro level, then you need to be coachable. Every team has a coach that will help players improve and correct their game.
- It’s not expensive (often free). Free Valorant coaching is always available on Reddit, and you can request it yourself in the r/Valorant subreddit. If you want to pay for coaching, you can find great coaches there too, or on the Valorant Discord (which also has free coaching available in certain channels). Gamer Sensei also has a rigorous standard, and is a trusted source for gaming coaches.
Get The Right Gear
Obviously, when you want to be professional, you need professional gear. Valorant is not a hugely demanding game on the specifications side, but at a pro level, you need to have the hardware that gives you an edge.
The Choice of Champions
Chillblast Fnatic Strike Specification
- Exclusive Fnatic Customised Case Livery
- CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F
- GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3060 12GB
- RAM: 16GB 3200Mhz Corsair Vengeance RGB
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H AX D4
- CPU Cooler: Fractal Lumen RGB 240mm
- Case: Game Max Commando M-ATX
- PSU: Corsair RM650 80 Plus Gold 650W
- M.2: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO PLUS
- Connectivity: 2.5Gb Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth 5.2
The powerhouse 12th-Gen Alder Lake processor and RTX 3060 combo, backed by 16GB 3200MHz memory will have you owning the map in any multiplayer first-person shooter or Esports titles like Rainbow Six Siege, DOTA 2, League of Legends or CS:GO to name a few.
Designed with and influenced by the Fnatic team specifically for the competitive gamer, the Chillblast Fnatic Strike is going to enable you to stomp opponents and hit triple-digit framerates as you take home the victory.
Chillblast Fnatic Champion Specification
- Exclusive Fnatic Customised Case Livery
- CPU: Intel Core i7-12700k
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB
- RAM: 32GB 3200Mhz Corsair Vengeance RGB
- Motherboard: ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4
- CPU Cooler: Fractal Lumen RGB 240mm
- Case: Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
- PSU: Fractal Design ION Gold 850W
- M.2: 2TB Seagate Firecuda 520 M.2
- Connectivity: 2.5Gb Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
The RTX 3070 Ti rocks up boasting incredibly high framerates, and ensures crystal clear visuals even in the most chaotic matches. Paired with the Core i7-12700K, the Chillblast Fnatic Champion delivers unbridled performance in competitive & Esports play, and flexes in the most demanding AAA titles at 1440p and 4K resolutions.
This all-round pro system also allows you to deliver flawless Twitch and YouTube streams and create Full HD and Ultra HD (4K) videos with ease.
Again, designed alongside the Fnatic team, the Chillblast Fnatic Champion is designed for the true gamer who demands absolute peak performance in competitive, Esports and AAA titles.
Once you’ve got the hardware nailed down, you’re also going to need to use the best settings to enhance your gameplay, so you have the highest possible framerates, crisp & clean visuals, and never miss a single kill.
Get Ranked As Radiant
With plenty of practice and dedication, you will rank up to Radiant. To do this you will need a strategy with milestones and goals, and if you fall short on any of them, you need to focus on why it didn’t happen, and how you can make it happen. It is important to get the fundamentals sorted, such as your hardware and making sure you have the best settings for Valorant.
It is also helpful if you select an agent/team role you are most comfortable with and have a clear strategy on how to master their abilities on specific maps and your contribution to the team. Use guides such as our Skye/Bind Attack Guide & Pro Tips to zero in on specific tactics, agents and maps and improve your playstyle in ranked games.
There are eight tiers in the Valorant ranking system, which begins with Iron and ends with Radiant. The tiers are Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Immortal, and Radiant. Each of the rank tiers (except Radiant) contain 3x sub-ranks, from 1 – 3. So, in total, there are 22 Valorant ranks to climb.
If you get stuck on a tier for some time, it may be very difficult to break through. You are not alone. Valorant patches and changes in-game affect how you are able to level up, and only a very small percentage (around 0.1% of players) make Radiant.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel, however. Tier barring does happen, but you can combat it. If you are struggling to get higher than Silver 1, for example, then you need to look at what other players are doing to hit Silver 2 and beyond.
Different tiers have fairly specific types of players in them, as they rank up according to skill level and matchmaking. There are also smurfs at certain higher levels, who play only to rank up other players in lower tiers.
The best advice is to form a team and get to know them, and rank up as a duo or trio together. Whether you are stuck on Silver or Gold or any other tier, if you play consistently well as part of a team, you will begin to see progression.
Another way to improve beyond your tier is to be highly critical of your gameplay habits, and make sure you record not only your best games, but also your worst games. This will enable you to highlight where you’re going wrong, and correct the bad habit early.
Q. If a player gets stuck for a long time at a certain rank, what is the best advice for progression?
“Thinking about your rank is the first mistake usually, if the objective is to improve then you focus on becoming a better player and thus your rank will naturally increase. Every player has different strengths and weaknesses and doing some soul-searching over that is probably the first step. After that it’s about creating a structure + schedule to improve: the most general thing I can say is people often practice with very little reasoning — grinding 12 hours of ranked blind isn’t particularly useful. Broadly speaking, recording your games and reviewing yourself is vastly under-utilized and a great way to improve.“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
Show Off Your Skills
It is imperative that you show off your skills to the world, and stream your games every chance you get. Create clips and learn how to edit your videos for upload on social media and YouTube. Share your wins, your losses and your clutch plays until you get noticed.
The odds of becoming a pro gamer are slim, so the trick is to increase your odds as much as possible.
Once you have a following, your gameplay will start to get shared, and eventually you will have a professional see your content, just by the law of averages. If you gained a following of just 2000 – 5000 people, and have a decent share/engagement rate, you are already significantly increasing your odds of getting noticed, and shooting your shot.
Never Give Up
Most articles that talk about going pro will tell you that there is very, very little chance of you succeeding. However, if you are already researching how to do it, then you already have the mentality to do it. Learn as much as you can, study hard, and do your level best to hit your goals on the journey.
“The chance of becoming a pro gamer is, depending on the game, far below 0.01%. There are more professional teams and contracts in games with a big competitive scene, but the competition is also higher. Esports is growing rapidly, so the chances to get a sponsorship increase.“– RaiseYourSkillz.com
“We found that the percentage of players who go pro successfully is the highest in the CS:GO (0.1%), followed by Dota 2 (0.03%), Smite (0.02%), and Overwatch, RSS, PUBG, LoL, Fortnite(<0.01%). Therefore, only a handful of people successfully become professional gamers.“– HealthyGamer.gg
The odds are not in your favour. But as we’ve discussed above, there are ways to increase your odds, and rise above the other talent out there.
Q. For those who feel like giving up after trying for a long time, what is the best source of inspiration & motivation?
“I think stories like Boaster’s are quite inspiring. He wanted to become a pro gamer for a long time in different games but struggled to succeed. He didn’t give up and kept up a great work ethic and eventually it paid off in VALORANT. There are many examples like this outside of Esports: the current UFC Lightheavyweight Champion became champion at 42 years old and had fought for 20 years! As long as you can balance your adult responsibilities, “making it” can always happen — it’s easier said than done though.“MINI, VALORANT Head Coach
The one neutral piece of advice that makes the most sense, however, is that you should remember being a pro gamer is a job. An enjoyable and rewarding job at times, but a job nonetheless. There will be long hours and short weekends ahead, and you will always need to be progressing. Players are dropped and benched all the time, and they are at the pinnacle of their career, with the support of multi-million dollar teams, backed by sponsors that are household names. Playing against the best demands your best.
If you truly want to be the best, then don’t give up. There will be lots of times when you feel like you are never going to make it, but these are the moments where champions are made. In the worst moments of doubt, if you can pick up that controller or grab that MnK and start a game, you are doing something that gets you closer to your goal. Pay attention to the foundations above, and you are already on your way.