The Sentinels player is the only one consistently using this class of weapon

19:00, 02 Aug 2020

When VALORANT came out, it looked and felt shockingly like Counter-Strike in a whole myriad of ways. One way aside from the obvious abilities in which it was decidedly and pointedly different is the notable omission of some guns - unlike CS, which has whole wheels full of SMGs and heavy weapons, VALORANT has just two SMGs, two shotguns, and two LMGs - and a complete lack of auto snipers. Now, most of this is easily explainable - only one or two SMGs are ever really used in pro CS at any given point in time, due to the fact that they all serve pretty much the same purpose and there’s generally just one that tends to be objectively better in any gun meta. Shotguns are more personal preference but a lot of them feel pretty similar once you lump them into categories of semi-auto and single fire, both of which VALORANT has covered with the Bucky and Judge, and it does make sense that they chose to not include auto snipers… but one ugly duckling remains.

Almost no one used LMGs in CS other than as a meme, mostly because they filled a niche that didn’t really have a practical purpose in the game, even as the devs tried to carve the role out deeper over the years, especially with the Negev going from laser-accurate, to a spraying mess, to its current form which starts out very inaccurate, but if you buy it dinner, show it a nice time, take it back to your place, get a call months later from a doctor’s office, keep firing, raise a child with it, build a life together with your Negev, then the bullets will eventually start heading in a straight line and it will become a laser again.

Both the Odin and the Ares in VALORANT behave instead like rifles, with fairly accurate first few bullets and harder recoil to control as you move along. The Ares will give you a higher fire rate over time, though, if you do decide to buy a house with it in the suburbs and just chill together for a while. Because of this rich meme history from CS, when VALORANT first came out, and indeed even today, these weapons are used as jokes. 12 - 3 against a team that never put up a fight? Whip out the Odins for the final round. Get trash-talked by some loser you know you’re better than? Whip out the Ares and show ‘em what’s what.

So when Sinatraa, the absolute best player in the world at Overwatch, enters a completely different game, rocking the same joke of a weapon, the Odin, almost every single round against the best players in the world - and wins? Well, now we have something to watch out for. What does he know that the rest of the world doesn't? For one, even the clickbait VALORANT highlight videos have in their titles that he’s “trolling” - the rest of the community hasn't started to take it seriously either. But a quick glance at his performance shows that he’s absolutely serious about this.

One notable aspect of Sinatraa’s Odin gameplay is that he doesn’t aim down sights as most other people do with LMGs. LMGs are the only fully automatic gun classes in VALORANT that don’t have a rate of fire penalty for aiming down their sights, so most players, who aren’t so comfortable and practised with the weapons, do choose to ADS when using them because of the much easier to control recoil. Spray patterns are hard to tame at the best of times, never mind when such a monster of a machine is kicking back up at you.

Sinatraa, however, with countless LMG hours under his belt already, does not care. A quick glance at a clip from the beta of the game shows that before all this practice, he too was ADS’ing with the Odin, but he seems to have grown out of it since. One common LMG thing that Sinatraa does often leverage is their incredible penetrative power. Often on Sova for Sentinels, Sinatraa’s Recon Darts frequently give him the intel to go for nutty wallbangs, such as the classic one on Ascent B site defence.

He has gone on record to say he doesn’t like Op-ing in the game and being a player coming at VALORANT with a totally different set of assumptions and preconceived notions to your average CS player, Sinatraa doesn’t feel constrained by your arbitrary rules about what gun is viable where. Sentinels are the only team running LMGs, and for a long time were the only team to not run Operators in a meta that most experts agree is very heavily Op-based, with many of the most successful teams running two. Sentinels, however, never cared, and for a long time, we laughed at them. Turns out all they needed was a sit-down and a strategy meeting or two, and they have now absolutely rinsed the North American competition and won the PAX Invitational with their unconventional gun buys. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from Sinatraa, our favourite heavy weapons guy- no, wait. Wrong game.

 

Images via Riot Games

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