In VALORANT the economy system plays a vital role in creating a balance between the Attackers and Defenders. It aims to prevent teams from suffering consecutive round losses due to the lack of credits ensuring both sides remain competitive.
Why is the economy important in VALORANT?
The economy in VALORANT is based on a number of factors that influence the tactical play and decision making of teams as they compete to win 13 rounds, and subsequently the match.
Making informed decisions on the economy, especially in a competitive setting, is a major factor in whether or not a team is able to maximise their opportunities to win especially in VALORANT where the utilisation of abilities is an integral part of the game.
The basic structure of the VALORANT economy
In VALORANT players use credits to purchase weapons, abilities and shields. Credits are awarded to players on Kills, Spike plants, Spike Defuses, Round wins and Round losses.
At the start of the match each player is given 800 credits to spend in the pistol round with 200 credits earnt by individuals on each kill, 300 for a Spike plant or defuse, and 3000 credits for a round win. The losing team is awarded 1900 credits for the first round loss, 2400 credits for the second round loss, and 2900 credits for the third and any consecutive rounds lost.
Similar to CS:GO, the loss bonus in VALORANT is a crucial feature that allows for teams that fall behind the opportunity to remain competitive in a match. The increasing amount aims to provide teams with a safety net of credits to ensure that they can purchase a rifle, shield and a full set of abilities.
VALORANT economy: The importance of Round 1 and 3
Whilst we’re yet to see extensive competitive play in VALORANT, there are clear periods in a match that can be considered more important than others.
Losing the pistol round could result in a team losing an additional two rounds before having enough credits to purchase a full set of equipment.
Round 1 or the pistol round is the first instance a team has to establish their economy beyond the credits that players start with. A Round 1 win for a Team A means the ability to buy an SMG or Rifle, a heavy shield and abilities for Round 2.
On the opposite end, the Team B with their 1900 credit round loss bonus have very little purchasing power to match their opponents with just enough credits to buy a pistol or shotgun, light shield and abilities or perhaps forego any purchase altogether making a consecutive round loss highly likely.
Assuming team B has lost the first two rounds, Round 3 now becomes the point of contention as both sides will have enough credits to have a full purchase of equipment. Given the equilibrium of the economy, team B should now have ample opportunity to win a round given there is no skill disparity and the game should continue within this tit-for-tat state until Team A and Team B swap sides on Round 13.
The Defender-sided bias of VALORANT
When dissecting the economy within VALORANT, it is important to consider how map design can influence how the economy evolves. While official statistics haven’t been made available by Riot for the game, community run aggregation has indicated an inherent Defender-sided bias.
Of 1200 rounds analysed by cyphercam.org for Split, 54.08% of the rounds have been won by Defenders. This 4.08% margin above the median amplifies how important it is to win the pistol round especially as an Attacker, because not being able to do so could mean suffering two rounds in an economic deficit in addition to battling the inherent bias some maps have.
Whilst not as extreme as Split, Haven sits at 52.84% for Defender-sided rounds won and Bind sits closest to the median at 49.93%.
The economic effectiveness of abilities in VALORANT
Unlike CS:GO, VALORANT has a lethal cast of agents that have a unique array of abilities that set it apart at the gameplay level. Generally, these abilities are low cost and are no more than a few hundred credits a round. All agents have access to one ability by default and gain an ultimate ability over time.
Abilities play a crucial role within the game, making them a highly efficent use of credits.
In some situations, the effective use of abilities vastly outweighs the amount of credits spent on getting a rifle or armour, with ‘Raze’ exemplifying this case as all four of her abilities are able to inflict huge amounts of damage.
Subsequently, purchasing abilities over equipment becomes a viable strategy for teams that are in an economic deficit against their opponent and can be an effective counter-measure that may even result in round wins.
Conversely, deciding to forego purchasing abilities can seriously impair the effectiveness of a team to either Attack or Defend a bombsite in addition to being a suboptimal use of credits given how impactful some abilities can be.
Find out more about VALORANT
Want to find out more about VALORANT? Head over to our "What is VALORANT?" article where we break-down the fundumentals of the game.