With 23 agents, nearly a hundred abilities, and 10 maps in rotation, the amount of tactics players can devise in a 5v5 tactical shooter like VALORANT is immeasurable. But luckily, you don’t have to learn every single interaction to start winning because there are a few tried-and-true paths to victory. One of them is called lurking, and when done correctly, it can make even the strongest and most organized crews stumble.
Lurking is when a player positions himself away from the team, aiming to cut off enemy team rotations/flanks and support his teammates by feeding them info to prepare for potential engagements. In this article, we’ll take a closer look into this strategy and provide tips and agent picks to help you better apply it in your game. Stick around!
What makes a good lurker?
There are three key elements to becoming a good lurker:
- Good ears and excellent comms: By deciding to split up, you’re effectively lessening the team’s firepower, so you need to have your ear to the ground and feed your team as much information as you can. Audio cues from another side of the map can help your team deduce and make well-informed decisions, allowing for more devastating hits.
- Impeccable game sense: Once your team attacks, the enemy team will likely flock towards one side of the map. This short rotation window often exposes weak spots in the enemy defence, and it’s up to you to leverage the chaos. As a lurker, you can pick gunfights to prevent reinforcements from supporting their team or guard your team from flankers.
- The ability to regroup with/support your team from afar: Picking agents who can deploy skills from across the map, like Astra and Omen, means you can still directly assist your teammates while lurking. You can also use this to block off commonly contested areas to confuse the enemy team. When things go south, regrouping with your team with Yoru’s Gatecrash (E) or Omen’s From the Shadows (X) may help you turn the tide of battle.
Best agents for lurking
Omen’s kit is designed to spread paranoia. There’s no way to know where an expert Omen main strikes next and this uncertainty affects how fast reinforcements can back their teammates up. His Shrouded Step (C) and Paranoia (Q) also help him get a few easy picks and punch a hole in the opponents’ defences, securing map control for the team.
If you want to double down on taking control of key areas as a lurker, Astra is your best bet. Enemy agents immediately back off at the sight of her Stars to avoid getting caught by her strong AOE crowd control abilities. She can also take control of contested areas by denying sight briefly with her Nebula/Dissipate (E). Her abilities can also be placed from anywhere on the map, making her an instrumental member of any team. Just make sure you’re in a safe position before entering Astral Form.
The defender side is Killjoy’s turf, as her kit is the perfect recipe for locking down sites. On attacker, however, she can also find great use of her abilities. Killjoy’s Turret (E) alone can cover the team’s back, while Alarmbot (Q) and Nanoswarm (C) give you the upper hand when contesting choke points. When lurking as KJ, it is recommended to stray not too far from the team as her abilities have a limited range. This is also so that you can quickly deploy Lockdown (X) at the site when needed.
Like Killjoy, Cypher is also a master of defence. But his abilities allow him to be a deadlier lurker. His Spycam (E) and Neural Theft (X) ensure safety when taking over critical areas. And once he takes control of it, he turns it into a death trap with Trapwires (C) and Cyber Cages (Q), like a spider waiting for its prey. Playing as Cypher takes a lot of patience, not only for timing your hits but also for creating setups with his C and Q. Spending time on custom lobbies to discover creative uses for his abilities is a must.
As a Duelist, Yoru is expected to break through the enemies’ first line of defence and take space so his teammates can take the site. However, Yoru can also lurk effectively if you have two Duelists or are running out of options as attackers. In some maps and with the right lineups, Yoru can teleport straight to the enemy spawn with Gatecrash (E) and cut off rotations unexpectedly. You can also use this to regroup with the team or get out of risky duels. Bait enemies into engaging with Fakeout (C) and secure picks with Blindside (Q) if they overextend.
With their unique abilities and play styles, these five agents embody the essence of lurking, sowing chaos among their opponents when they least expect it. As the game continues to evolve and new agents are introduced, the role of the lurker remains a critical and dynamic part of any winning team’s strategy. Players who can master these agents and the art of lurking become invaluable assets on the battlefield, capable of turning the hardest match-ups on its head.