Two of the most popular guns in VALORANT are the Vandal and the Phantom. These two guns are VALORANT’s version of the very popular AK-47 and M4A1-S from CS:GO. Both the Vandal and the Phantom possess qualities that closely resemble their CS:GO counterparts as well.
A long-standing debate about which one of these two polarizing guns is better has been around since VALORANT’s inception. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both guns, what situations they excel in most and why you should use one more often than the other.
Buying Guns In VALORANT vs CS:GO
VALORANT offers all of the guns available for purchase regardless of whether your team is attacking or defending. Whereas in CS:GO, you can only buy the AK-47, for example, when you’re on T-side. Players have no choice but to buy the rifle that’s available for their side of the map unless they manage to pick up the opponent’s gun post-round.
This makes gun-play in VALORANT more interesting since players naturally gravitate towards the gun they feel gives them the most advantages in-game. With VALORANT offering both of these rifles regardless of team side, players can now spam-buy whichever gun they prefer between the Phantom and the Vandal.
Many players will argue that T-side has the better weapons in CS:GO. The AK-47 is arguably the better gun vs the M4A1-S. In CS:GO, the AK-47 can one-shot headshot anyone from any part of the map regardless of armor, whereas the M4A1-S will only tag enemies for 90 damage when they have armor.
This same story continues in VALORANT.
The Vandal will one-shot headshot anyone at any part of the map, regardless of distance and armor since it does 160 damage to the head.
Players who prefer one-shot headshots will also prefer the Vandal. It is a gun that rewards precise crosshair placement and good mechanical aim. Anybody who plays both CS:GO and VALORANT will know that one-taps are the most satisfying feeling ever.
Another good thing about the Vandal is the absence of damage drop-off on the body and leg shots. The Vandal will deal the same damage to enemies hit on the body regardless of distance. The Vandal deals 40 damage per bullet on body shots and 34 damage on leg shots.
It’s not all good things for the Vandal, though.
For one, the Vandal has fewer bullets per magazine than the Phantom at 25 rounds/magazine. While not entirely a dealbreaker, those five fewer bullets could be the difference between you clutching the round or choking.
Another aspect the Vandal is worse at compared to the Phantom is the rate of fire. Vandal’s fire rate is slower than the Phantom at only 9.75 rounds/second. The Phantom shoots one bullet more per second versus the Vandal at 11 rounds/second. The Vandal is at a disadvantage when it comes down to spraying bullets.
Bullet spread is also another thing the Vandal is worse at versus the Phantom at 0.25 and 0.2, respectively. While bursting, the Vandal also feels slower on recoil reset. Using the Vandal could take you longer to start shooting again when faced with multiple targets. Not to mention the less controllable recoil that the Vandal has versus the Phantom.
Lastly, the Vandal has bullet tracers. Enemies will be able to see approximately where your bullets are coming from whenever you’re trying to spam smokes. They will be able to guess where you are and shoot back. Hopefully, they don’t land a lucky headshot on you.
Oh, and the gun is very loud, which also helps enemies pinpoint where you are.
- One-shot headshot capability
- No damage drop-off
- Slower rate of fire
- Greater bullet spread
- Fewer bullets per clip
- Slower reset time
- Less controllable recoil vs Phantom
- Bullet tracers
Except for one-tap headshots, the Phantom seems to be the better gun versus the Vandal. It is worth noting, though, that at closer ranges (0-15m), the Phantom only needs one bullet to kill enemies since it deals 156 damage on the head regardless of armor.
Aim punch is another very important aspect of the Phantom. Whenever a player lands a headshot on an enemy using the Phantom, the enemies are aim-punched which causes their crosshair to shoot up the screen. This makes it harder for enemies to follow up their shot since their crosshair is sent flying off the center of the screen. This characteristic might balance out the one-shot headshot capability of the Vandal.
The Phantom fires bullets faster than the Vandal at 11 rounds/second for the Phantom versus 9.75 rounds/second for the Vandal. It is shooting at least one more round per second versus the Vandal, which means the Phantom has the upper hand when it boils down to a spray battle between players.
The Phantom has a larger capacity magazine with five more bullets per magazine at 30 rounds/magazine versus the Vandal’s 25 rounds/magazine capacity.
The Phantom also has a better bullet spread and a more controllable recoil versus the Vandal.
The highlight of the Phantom is the built-in Silencer. The built-in silencer helps the Phantom mask most of its sound footprint, leaving enemies flicking around looking for the source of the volleys of fire. By the time they find you, though, they would already be dead from the rapid-fire of the Phantom.
Another upside to the built-in silencer is that you will have zero bullet tracers. You can spam smokes and get cheeky kills through smokes safely since the enemies will not be alerted of your position.
Many players will have a love-hate relationship with the Phantom.
Almost any VALORANT player has gotten one-tapped with the Vandal, while they only managed to dink the enemy for 140 damage. This is an extremely infuriating predicament that prompts players to immediately switch to using the Vandal next round.
Another downside to using the Phantom is the damage drop-off. The damage dealt towards the enemies’ bodies and legs is reduced the farther away they are.
Other than that, the downsides of the Phantom are really minor. It is the safer choice every time and far more forgiving than the Vandal in terms of recoil.
- Fast rate of fire
- Aim punch on headshots
- Small bullet spread
- More bullets per clip
- Fast reset time
- More controllable recoil vs Vandal
- No Bullet tracers
- No one-shot headshot capability
- Damage drop-off
VALORANT Maps and Nuances
Following the release of the maps Icebox and Breeze, players realize now more than ever the situational viability of the Phantom and the Vandal.
These maps feature some of the longest sightlines of any map in the game. In these situations, the Vandal will be the better choice. This is because the Vandal does not have damage reduction regardless of range. The one-shot headshot from any range will also be very rewarding for mechanically gifted players with insane aim.
The Phantom is better suited for maps with tighter corners where multiple enemies might emerge from. This is because the faster fire rate and larger magazine of the Phantom can be beneficial when switching from one target to another, and the closer corners will enable the Phantom’s short-range one-shot headshot capability.
Vandalize Your Opponents With the Phantom
The Vandal has only one major thing going for it at this point: One-shot headshots. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, the Vandal is still an insanely good gun, capable of jaw-dropping plays. Players who can effectively harness its plusses while keeping its cons to a minimum will definitely reap the rewards and satisfaction associated with this gun.
But this is VALORANT. Other players’ characters are not the only targets in-game.
Players can use projectile abilities which you have to spray down or shoot to destroy. Utilities such as Sova’s Owl Drone and Recon Bolt. Raze’s Boom Bot. Killjoy’s Lockdown. These are only some of many Agent Abilities that players will need to shoot down quickly with three or more bullets to render them ineffective.
With this in mind, the Phantom is, practically speaking, the far better all-around choice.
The Phantom can unload bullets at a faster rate, which means that players can destroy the enemy’s utility faster. Players can also stay relatively stealthy due to the Phantom’s lack of bullet tracers and the reduced sound cues thanks to the built-in Silencer. The Phantom can spam more bullets since it carries five more bullets per magazine which can be helpful for destroying Sage Walls and Reyna Flashes.
Sure, the Phantom can’t one-shot enemies in the head but makes up for it with insane aim punch and its fast fire rate.
The Phantom just has too many pros that work well with how a game of VALORANT works. That is why the Phantom takes the cake here.