Valorant, the new game from Riot, the makers of League of Legends, launches this Tuesday. I’ve been lucky enough to play it in advance thanks to my partnership with Riot, so I wanted to give everybody a preview of what you can expect.

I had to get used to it, but I’ve really come to enjoy it, and I think everybody is going to love it when it comes out. A lot of people who play League and other games like it have been excited about Valorant for a while.

For people who don’t know what it is, it’s essentially the game Counter-Strike, but you have abilities.

Personally, Counter-Strike was a game that I never really got into. Honestly, I didn’t even give it much of a chance because it’s so different from most FPS games. It’s a style that I was unfamiliar with, so it was just a game I never played or took the time to learn to play.

So with Valorant having that Counter-Strike style of play, I’ll admit it was a learning experience.

In fact, when I first got Valorant, I played it for a day and I uninstalled the game.

It was so frustrating I was like, “I’m not playing this game. I can’t do it.” I was done.

But some friends persuaded me to keep playing it and give it a chance. So I did.

Initially, I just wasn’t very good at it because I hadn’t really played that style. With most games, if you suck at it, it’s not very much fun. With Valorant in particular, the time to kill is so little that if you’re not good, you don’t get kills and you die fast. And that just sucks.

But games that come really easy aren’t necessarily that fun either. You want a challenge. That just means you’ve got to put in the time and the effort. So I started to get better, and suddenly, I was the one getting all the kills.

One of the things that took some getting used to was that the pace is a little slower than some of the other games I enjoy most. But when the action happens, it’s super quick and super intense.

Now I’m obsessed with the game. I think it’s amazing.

There’s something about the feeling in this game when you get a kill, or multiple kills in a round and you clutch the round out.

It’s just this adrenaline rush that you get. It keeps you coming back.

THE TEAM

The game is set up as 5-on-5, so you’ve got a team with you and everybody has their role.

I have a group of 5-6 friends that play, and we’ve been playing almost every night. A lot of them are just friends I’ve grown up with. A couple of them were in high school with me.

Anyway, I spend a lot of my time when I’m blogging about basketball talking about my teammates and the value they bring, so I wanted to take some time to give a little scouting report of our team. Our team usually consists of some combination of me, Nitrideee, Fbach, Riku, Ryu and Thunderkitty.

We’ll start with Nitrideee. He’s another guy, like me, who is newer to this style of game and he’s continuing to get better. He’s somebody who has taken my motto of “Improve Every Day” to heart. He started at the bottom, but now he’s here, making his way to the top. Usually, he likes to play as Phoenix or Sage.

Riku, on the other hand, is a one-trick pony. He only plays Sova. But he’s pretty good as Sova. He’s found out all the arrows and gives us a lot of intel on where the other team is at.

Ryu likes to have abilities that can damage the other team, so he’s best with Raze. He also gets super intense during the games and is a major competitor. He really wants to win and that’s always somebody you want to have on your team.

Fbach is the one who really persuaded me to give this game a chance. (He’s also the one who got me into Fortnite originally.) He has some experience with Counter-Strike. But as a player, he’s a coin-flip. One game he gets four or five kills, aces the whole other team, and the next game he whiffs on somebody whose back is turned to him and they turn around and kill him. His famous quote is, “I’m either the MVP or I’m not.” We give him a bunch of crap for that all time. But he’s versatile and has filled a lot.

Thunderkitty is a guy I met through streaming about five years ago, and he’s actually come to a couple of basketball games, so I was able to meet him in real life. He has the most hours in Counter-Strike out of all of us, so he’s used to the style, and probably has the most hours in all video games. He’s one of the best gamers I know, and is pretty good at all the games we play. So he’s the vet and has kind of taken the lead in terms of coaching us up in Valorant, teaching us different Counter-Strike methods that have helped us in this game. He’s also filled a lot.

As for me, I’ve mainly played as Breach and Brimstone. I have kind of a hybrid style. Sometimes I push in first before everyone and entry frag, sometimes I hang back and play it smart. Peek me if you want to.

I also want to give a special shoutout to Turbo. He’s a guy that we kind of just met randomly playing the game and he’s become part of our group. Turns out he is a radiologist from Washington D.C., so that’s pretty cool.

I’ve made a few new friends from being online and streaming it, so that’s been cool to kind of branch out a little bit. It’s been a great way to pass the time in between workouts and family time while we’re all stuck at home.

I’m excited for the game to finally launch to the public. Tune in to my stream to catch all the action, and who knows, maybe you’ll be part of the group!