Vandal leads the way in weapon pick rates at VCT LOCK//IN 2023

written by AashirAhmed March 14, 2023 at 9:40pm
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While the Agents in VALORANT each have their own unique utility kit, at its core, the game remains a competitive shooter. Weapons used and the player's raw aiming skill plays a significant role in determining the outcome of matches. This was particularly evident during LOCK IN, the first VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) event in 2023, where strategic weapon usage decisions became a key factor in the teams' success. Let’s break down the most used weapon in each class and some of the best plays that emerged from its usage.


Pistols, or more broadly categorized as sidearms, are an integral part of VALORANT not only due to their low economy but also their role in establishing momentum early on in the matchup. Choosing the right pistol can go a long way in providing an early head start or even just a reliable backup if your primary weapon doesn’t suit the current situation you are in.

At LOCK IN, Ghost and Sheriff led the way in pistol utility with Sheriff being chosen 1138 times and Ghost 830 times. Classic, the starting weapon, is not too bad either considering the eco savings it generates and therefore its 1091 use cases at the event are justified.


SMGs can be the best tradeoff between a low eco and decent damage capability at close range. Both of the weapons in this category received love at the event with Spectre being used more often (859 times) than Stinger (522 times). The Stinger can be most effective at short range, utilizing its semi-automatic burst mode. It also has a noticeable accuracy advantage over the other weapons when used on the move and given that the Stinger costs only 1100 credits, players are more than willing to settle for it.

On the other hand, the Spectre is notorious for its quiet operation, making it a perfect choice for sneaky players looking to catch the opposing team off-guard. While its statistics may be average compared to the Vandal and Phantom, its reigns supreme at mid-close range, taking down targets with exceptional accuracy and an impressive magazine capacity.


Rifles are responsible for most of the action that takes place in a VALORANT match, be it unranked or competitive, due to its versatility with range and a reasonable offensive capacity. For as long as the game has existed, a long-standing debate has ensued between the usage of Phantom and Vandal, two of the four rifles currently part of the arsenal.

While Bulldog and Guardian each have a couple of advantages that favor their selection, Phantom and Vandal are considerably more effective in gameplay as eminent with 5,979 use cases for Vandal and 3,764 for Phantom. Despite its higher cost, Vandal’s high usage rate is justified to its incredible efficacy even at longer ranges due to no limitations on having a damage falloff. Phantom, on the other hand, is better at close range encounters especially with a much easier recoil to control and retain consistent accuracy between shots, all while being masked with no tracers.


Snipers are a staple of shooter games, renowned for their high-risk, high-reward gameplay, and VALORANT doesn’t stray too far from this rule. With a total of 17 guns in its arsenal, VALORANT only has two Sniper rifles, both equipped with distinct features that make them valuable assets for players to consider during a match. LOCK//IN witnessed usage of both weapons, but the Operator was significantly more desirable being picked 618 times as opposed to 160 times for Marshal.

If you are familiar with the competitive scene, you can likely pinpoint the reason behind Operator’s success. Despite its notably steep cost, it has the capacity to eliminate opponents in single shot, armored or otherwise, and therefore landing more than a couple of shots during a round can swing the map’s momentum entirely as opposed to Marshal that provides a lesser margin for error and possesses inferior damage capacity.


Heavy weapons aren’t a preferred choice in the competitive scene with only 44 selections of Odin and 5 for Ares. Their stats don’t necessarily justify their selection except in a few instances where their fire rate or magazine capacity can outclass other primary weapons or simply catch the players by surprise due to its rare pick rate.


Like any shooter, Shotguns are best used in close proximity as their efficacy falters exponentially as the opponent moves farther. VALORANT being a tactical and strategy-based game, usually favors dealing opponents at longer ranges hence the limited usage of Shotguns.

Throughout the entire LOCK//IN event, Shotguns were only opted for 83 times, 71 of those being for Judge and 12 for Bucky. Players often are accepting to trade Judge’s higher fire rate and longer distance efficacy for Bucky’s magazine capacity and slightly higher damage.

Here's a summarized graphic to visualize the usage for each weapon category at the LOCK//IN event.

Weapon pick rates at VCT LOCK IN 2023
Weapon pick rates at VCT LOCK IN 2023

Remember to check out our VCT Hub for all information about the VCT 2023!

Featured image courtesy of Riot Games

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