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How To Approach Clutch Situations

Have you ever been in a clutch situation and had no idea what to do? Same. When you're new to tactical shooters clutch situations can be stressful. Especially if you're not sure what you're doing and everyone's watching your point of view. If there's 1 thing I learned throughout my almost 20 years of playing games it's to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don't overthink what you're about to do, just come up with a game plan and execute on it.


Clutch situations are different on defense and attack. On attack, you're most likely going to try and plant the spike. You can win by killing all the defenders or wasting enough time for the spike to explode (45 seconds). On defense, you're going to be holding a site and if the enemies don't come to you then you're retaking. Clearing angles slowly and trying not to expose yourself to multiple locations will be key.


Regardless of the situation, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to determine your next move.


How much time is left?

This will determine how fast you need to move. The more time you have, the slower you can go. The less time you have, the faster you NEED to move. If you're on defense and the spike was planted on the other side of the map you can't walk the whole way to rotate, you need to run up until a certain point then start to walk. If you're on the attack and there's lots of time you can plan your next move, take your time, and even try to make your way to the other side of the map.


How many people are alive?

In general the more people alive the more time you will need to be successful, especially on defense when you have to clear all the angles and diffuse the spike.


What utility do I have?

On defense, utility is used to flush people out of certain spots if you have a suspicion they are there. On attack, utility is used to delay and buy you more time. Think about your agent's kit and what you can do to achieve these goals.


How Can I Isolate 1v1 Fights?

This is important. If you want the highest chance possible to clutch rounds you need to do your best to isolate 1v1 gunfights. This is the same on defense and attack. The better you are at isolating fights, the more clutch you will be.

 

Before I get into the ideas just know that a lot of clutch situations are very situational. There is no 1 size fits all for clutches but you can do things to increase your chances.


Defense Example

I'm mainly talking about clutches so I'm going to make up a hypothetical (but very possible) scenario.


The map is Ascent and you're playing Killjoy the A anchor. Your teammates died when the attackers did a middle / B split. They were able to trade out a couple of kills and left you in a 1v2 situation.


The spike is planted and you're in A Heaven.


Let's ask ourselves the questions I mentioned above.


How much time is left?

The spike timer is 45 seconds. Considering you are in A Heaven and the spike is planted at B you need to start moving. Which means you need to run up until a certain point. I timed it and running from where I have the KJ icon on the map to the CT entrance is about 10 seconds. That would leave you 35 seconds to find the last 2 attackers and diffuse the spike, which takes about 8 seconds.


If you walked the entire way to rotate it would take you 20 seconds from A Heaven to CT entrance. This means you would have to kill 2 enemies in 7 seconds then diffuse the spike. The chances of you being able to pull that off are very slim.


How Many People Are Alive?

In this scenario, 35 seconds is actually plenty of time to work with, in a 1v2. If it was a 1v3 or a 1v4 it starts to get tricky if the enemies are playing to waste time.


What utility do I have?

You're not going to have Nano Swarms (mollies). Most Killjoy's anchor sites and drop their utility in anticipation for the attackers to come. The only things you will have access to in terms of utility are your Alarm Bot and Turret. The Turret is actually great for 1vX situations because it can watch something for you so you don't have to worry about it or to get information.


How Can I Isolate 1v1 Fights?

In the video below watch how I run from A Heaven to CT. As soon as I stop I place the KJ Turret to watch B main and anyone trying to wrap me Lane as I go down the stairs. If someone is peeking dungeon the Turret will shoot and give me that information.


As I enter the site see how I am hugging the right wall? I'm not exposing my body to every angle as I start to make my way through the site. Isolating fights means making sure you can take a 1v1 fight and not get shot on the side or behind.


If you aren't getting any gunfights, or the attackers aren't peeking you. There are things you can do to try and bait people out of hiding such as tap the spike diffuse. If it's a 1v1 situation, tapping the spike is the best way to get someone to peek you. In my experiences, people don't generally peek on the first tap, so I would suggest getting the spike diffused halfway if you can. This will make it a lot easier to win the round. If it's 1v2 and no ones peeking, you can try shooting your gun to make it seem like you're focused on 1 position. A lot of times people will swing when they feel like you're taking a fight and they can shoot you in the side.

 

Attack Example

Going to start out with a pretty common scenario of a 1v2 situation on Haven. You're Sova and you just planted the spike and the defenders (Jett and Phoenix) are rotating from A to retake and diffuse.


How much time is left?

You planted the spike and you were able to get to C-Long successfully. The spike has been ticking for about 10 seconds as the 2 rotated from A. You have roughly 28 seconds left to waste before they can't diffuse. The biggest advantage you have right now is they don't know where you are. They will have to be cautious in clearing all the common angles. This takes an additional few seconds off depending on how fast they are moving.


What utility do I have?

The chances of you having Shock Darts in a post-plant clutch are pretty good. If you play Sova you should know Shock Dart lineups for the common plant spots. If you don't you can always have your team ping the spike and you can full charge shoot at ping. Being able to keep them off the spike with 2 Shock Darts will waste quite a bit of time.


If you play an agent that has a molly or damage ability I suggest finding lineups from common post-plant positions and using them. Some of my favorite lineups for Sova are the ones where you don't need to reveal yourself and you can Shock Dart the spike (see video below).


How Can I Isolate 1v1 Fights?

It's going to be hard to isolate 1v1 fights if you're playing a post-plant with your utility. If you wanted to take a different approach you could plant and then make a move towards the defenders to try and pick one off and run away. If you're playing a 1v1 or 1v2. It might be best to play your utility and have them run at you. If it's a 1v3, 1v4, or 1v5, you'll need to make moves to isolate gunfights. You won't win the round using your utility against that many people.


Here's an example of how I would play a 1v1 or 1v2 clutch on Haven with Sova.

There are a few things you should note.

  • Notice where I plant the spike. It's within my line of sight from my post-plant position. You always want to make sure your post-plant position compliments where the spike is planted.

  • I'm using my utility from a safe position. There's nothing worse than dying trying to shoot a dart or a molly when you didn't need to.

  • I'm jump spotting to make sure no one is diffusing the spike. If you don't know how to do this yet I suggest practicing it. It's a fundamental skill in a 1v1 situation. You get so much information with very little risk. I cover how in The VALORANT Peeking Guide.

There honestly isn't a right or wrong way to play a clutch but there are ways to increase your chances to win that clutch. If you ask yourself the 4 questions that I mentioned above you're already on the right path to winning the round.

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