While FPS games may seem simple to the eye, each game comes with its own set of unique mechanics that aim to elevate the overall skill ceiling of the gaming experience. Valorant is one such first-person shooter that includes in its arsenal a bulk of assistive features. An important one of the lot is that of counter strafing.
What is counter strafing, and how do you get a hold of it? In this article, we will address these questions and some more. With that, let’s understand the nuances of how to counter strafe in Valorant.
But first, let’s begin with the basics.
What is Counter Strafe?
Before we discuss how to counter strafe in Valorant, let’s first understand what the deal about “counter strafing” is. Picture this: you are trying to shoot while moving, and to increase your accuracy, you press D to move to your right, quickly followed by pressing A to move to the left. It might seem like you can switch directions seamlessly while in movement, but that’s not quite the case.
Manually clicking on the left and right movement keys one after the other will do the job, but only after some loss of velocity in between. With counter strafing, you simply use those small stoppages to your advantage to land some accurate shots. When you think about it, counter strafing is by far the most efficient way to put Valorant’s first-shot accuracy to good use.
Now, as for what is first-shot accuracy, it refers to the fact that the first bullet you fire will inevitably land exactly where you are aiming, provided you are standing still. A feature shared by CS:GO as well, counter strafing allows you to shoot 100% accurate shots back to back without costing you time. Without the option to strafe, you’ll make yourself an easy target by being motionless, even if for a little while.
Why is Counter Strafe Important?
Now that we know what counter strafing is, what follows is its importance in a match. Why should you counter strafe at all? Does it actually give you the winning edge, or is it a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo? The answer to that is simple- it most definitely adds to your gaming experience and makes you more skilled at the game.
The most important point in favor of counter strafing is definitely the fact that it amps up your accuracy to a maximum without leaving you exposed awaiting motionless to be targeted by the next unlucky bullet. You can keep moving in opposing directions without the split seconds in between both actions being used to your disadvantage.
Counter strafing is especially helpful in the peeking angles, and once mastered, can go a long way in maneuvering challenging situations. With counter strafing, you take up your overall win and kill rate a few notches. By offering a clear headshot, this feature lets your shot accuracy shoot up.
How to Counter Strafe in Valorant?
Now that we know the theoretical aspects of counter strafing, it’s time to understand how to implement it without a hitch. The good part is that the way to do it is not extremely complicated so much as it is dependent on practice and patience. Anything, when done enough times, becomes a habit- the same rings true for counter strafing in Valorant.
Now, as for how to counter strafe, you need to press D to strafe or move right (assuming your action keys are at par with the general standard), followed by the A key to strafe or move left. In gaming terms, “strafing” means moving sideways. That should clear out the concept for you. Naturally, counter strafing means moving in the direction opposite to the enemy.
Every time you strafe left to right, and vice versa, you lose velocity for a split second. That’s when you need to aim the perfect fatal shot. You have to make good use of the little time provided in between counter strafing. Sounds tough? That’s the good part- you can always improve your counter strafing skills.
How to improve Counter Strafing in Valorant?
There are ways to get better at counter strafing. Pro gamers prefer keeping their movement error (a crosshair setting) turned off, it’s highly advised that beginners keep these options on to better grasp the nuances of gun behavior. With the movement error option, you allow the crosshair to widen while you remain in motion, narrowing down only when you become still.
The best way to know when first-shot accuracy is active is to check if your crosshair is tight. For that, practice plays an integral role. Go to the practice range, pick up an automatic gun, move briefly in a direction, and stop to shoot. You’ll gauge the accuracy of your shot.
Practice by moving towards one way and stopping without pressing any movement keys, before moving in the opposite direction sideways. Avoid taking too long to take a shot, and gradually aim to bring down the time taken. Try aiming at the same spot while moving to improve counter strafing.
Press on the opposite movement key as and when you wish to move, and as soon as you press it, aim at the same spot to take a shot. Real mastery requires understanding when to take the shot exactly, without making yourself a target by standing still for way too long. Try focusing on only one side (either left to right or right to left) to bring down the workload in the beginning.
Note that the 100% accuracy holds only for the first bullet you shoot, so spraying is useless. If you are trying to peek corners, the ADAD counter strafing is the best way to go (though definitely not the only way).
You can counter strafe even while moving in the same direction, for moving in an opposing direction might not always be possible in Valorant. Simply put, keep spamming the movement key you wish to press with as low intervals in between as possible. This way, you will keep moving in the same direction by taking your fingers off the key you are smashing.
Imagine doing an ADAD counter strafe and casually throwing in a unidirectional strafe in between. That’s the easiest recipe to confuse your enemies!
How to Shoot Faster While Counter Strafing?
You might wonder how to shoot faster and more accurate shots while trying to counter strafe. The secret to an impressive fire rate is in how fast you strafe. Since counter strafing needs players to tap the shooting button only once for that 100% accurate first shot, spraying is a bad idea.
While hiding deep or peeking corners, it might seem challenging to shoot fast. In dual player face-offs, you can counter strafe with fewer intervals to amp up your fire rate to greatness. Needless to mention, mastering this requires hours of practice. Remember, a single misaligned shot can cost your rhythm.
The trick is in spamming the movement keys in a way that it doesn’t look like your character is in movement, though you can surely feel the motion. The movement error crosshair should be a cherry on top, providing an estimate of when to take your shot.
Note that counter strafing is by no means a mandatory skill, but being adept at it has never harmed anyone. Once you get used to it, counter strafing becomes second nature. You instinctively err towards it, in turn leading to satisfying and effective gameplay.
It’s all about patience and perseverance till you get a hang of it. If you wish to be a competitive gamer in Valorant, it will pay off to know counter strafing before you face some mighty challenges.