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The "How to" series is aimed at players who enjoy competitive gaming and are looking to improve their experience, whether through gameplay tips or advice. The information is provided at the time of publishing, and does not account for changes to the game or meta over a longer period of time.
The Guardian is a semi-automatic (single shot) rifle in VALORANT that costs 2,250 credits and deals extremely damaging shots.
A single shot to the head deals a whopping 195 damage points, while it deals 65 and 49 damage points to the body and leg respectively, regardless of distance.
There's also the fact that the Guardian has only a potential 0.1 degree offset for the first shot of the gun, making it the most accurate rifle in the game. The offset further reduces to 0 when using Aim Down Sights (ADS), which means it will ALWAYS hit at the centre of your crosshair for your first shot (and if you are not moving).
So, why is this gun not being used a little more often in games?
The Guardian is perhaps one of the most underutilised guns in VALORANT. A lot of new and seasoned players alike may sometimes avoid it for various reasons.
The thought process:
On eco rounds (rounds when you're trying to save credits for the next), buying this gun makes absolutely no sense because of its price, when guns like the Sheriff and the Marshal could essentially do the same job for less, since both of these guns have pretty damaging high accuracy single shot bullets.
While the Sheriff may not kill a fully-armoured enemy with a headshot (145 damage) from distances above 30m in-game, the aim punch of a headshot should give you enough time to land a second shot on the body with the Sheriff to finish them off.
The Marshal on the other hand, can also one-shot enemies in the head regardless of distance, and is currently 1,300 credits cheaper than the Guardian.
The few things that the Guardian excels over the Marshal are its fire rate, reload speed, and the amount of bullets per clip, which would matter in a scramble, but if you are getting in too close to an enemy very often with any of these guns, you are probably playing the game wrong.
On the other hand, when a player has enough money to purchase a Vandal, the Guardian is always forgotten because in theory, something like the Vandal does exactly what the Guardian does, but better, because it is an automatic rifle with more bullets. It still one-shots people with a headshot, and you don’t need to tap your mouse button rapidly to fire more bullets.
Beginners to the game may also find it absolutely tough to use the Guardian because of the skill needed to make use of the gun.
You will need to land consistent headshots and have extremely accurate aim to get the most value out of the Guardian, not to mention, knowing how to control the Guardian’s rapid fire recoil tendencies.
So, when is it “right” to purchase a Guardian? We’re here to help.
When you are always engaging in long-distance fights
If you are finding yourself engaging in long-distance battles very often (for example, in Breeze), using a Guardian has more benefits than using a Vandal.
Sure, it is all fine and dandy if you land your shots, but the Vandal has a first shot spread of 0.25 degrees as opposed to the Guardian’s 0.1 degrees. This means that first shot bullets are highly likely to stray away from the middle of the crosshair more often on the Vandal than the Guardian.
To offset this, a lot of players would use the ADS to reduce the first shot bullet spread, but lo and behold, the Guardian actually has a better ADS than the Vandal. Besides having absolutely no first bullet spread, the Guardian zooms in at 1.5x versus the Vandal’s 1.25x. This means that the Guardian zooms in a little more to the enemy, and generally it makes the enemy easier to see if you are targeting someone that’s pretty far away.
When you are always holding an angle
Even though it is classified as a rifle, the Guardian can and should mostly be played like a sniper rifle. Sniper rifles are king for holding angles where you think the enemy is going to show up at without expecting you there.
Since the Guardian’s ADS has absolutely no first shot bullet spread, your shots will always hit at the centre of your crosshair.
What The Guardian excels at versus actual sniper rifles like the Operator and the Marshal is its ability to fire without the need to rechamber your next shot. Even if you miss that first headshot, you are still able to reposition your crosshair to fire the second shot without backing off.
The Guardian can also give you an advantage over sniper rifles, even if you are shooting at an enemy with just body shots. While the Guardian's single body shot does not do as much damage as the sniper rifles, since you are able to quickly refire, there is a chance that you will be able to take an enemy out before they flick to your head.
Your role during rounds with not enough credits
Sometimes, there are situations where you would need to buy guns regardless of your team’s economy, like a round at the end of a half or the entire game.
Always consider your role in the team before setting out to purchase a gun.
If you are pushing with your team into a very claustrophobic area, a Guardian may not be the weapon of choice. You may want to purchase a Spectre or a Bulldog instead.
However, if you know that you will need to watch some long sights, the Guardian is probably the best replacement for a sniper rifle or even a Vandal, due to its one-tap capabilities.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.