Vandal vs Phantom

Riot finally settles the Phantom vs Vandal debate in Valorant

By Fariha Bhatti


May 16, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

You no longer have to argue with your friends over the best rifle in Valorant. Riot Games has officially weighed in on the Vandal vs Phantom discussion with solid facts. 

The Vandal vs Phantom debate is as old as Valorant itself. Since 2020, players have been struggling to come to a conclusion about which weapon is the best. Vandal lovers think their weapon is superior, but Phantom users also have solid reasons. In any case, the debate remains unresolved, but Riot is finally giving its two cents. 

In a lengthy blog post, Riot explained picking a primary rifle is “all subjective,” but data shows that Vandal may have an edge. 

Here’s how Riot summarized their verdict: “If you’re consistently clickin’ heads, the Vandal might be for you. If you’re a little more spray and pray, try the Phantom.” 

But there’s more to it. 

Is Vandal the better rifle? 

Vandal skin in Valorant

Now that we have reliable data from Riot, we can say that Vandal may be a tad bit better than Phantom if not the best rifle in Valorant. 

For the number-averse, data presented by Riot says that Phantom is a superior weapon in close-range duels, but by a minimal margin. Vandal, conversely, delivers in both short and long-range duels. The one-tap potential and high damage warrant a kill against fully armored enemies in almost all scenarios, no exceptions.

“For the Vandal, the number of times a headshot doesn’t kill a target remains consistently 0%. But for the Phantom, the percentage of headshots that don’t kill their target rises dramatically at range,” Riot explained.

On the other hand, Phantom needs many “what-if” scenarios to work as well as Vandal does. What if the enemy isn’t wearing armor? What if they’re in close-range? What if the user is just bad at aiming for heads? Conversely, a good Vandal player can convert assists into kills in all scenarios, which is trickier to pull off with Phantom. 

Here’s some more what-if data. In close-range duels where the probability of getting into a chaotic duel is higher, Phantom can bag you multi-kills as compared to Vandal. This is because of the weapon’s high fire rate. But, this high fire rate comes with reduced accuracy, at least compared to Vandal.

So, even if we take close-range duels into account, where Phantom is more accurate, the disparity between the Vandal and Phantom multi-kills data isn’t that high. 

Valorant data

Still, in the words of Carson Dowhan, Valorant’s insights team researcher, it all “boils down to your playstyle and confidence as a player.” However, there’s a reason most successful Valorant players prefer Vandal. Now, with the data presented, the choice is all yours! What’s your poison?