How the Valorant Spike Works
Valorant’s core game mode revolves around the spike, the equivalent of the bomb in other tactical shooters like Counterstrike.
Since it’s the central catalyst that strategies are built around, it’s important to really understand how it works.
In this in-depth Valorant spike guide, we’ll cover its core mechanics and teach you how to effectively play around it whether you’re an attacker or defender.
Basic Mechanics: How to pick up, drop, plant, and defuse the spike
If you’re already familiar with the basics, feel free to skip below! If you’re a new player we recommend sticking around.
The spike spawns with the attackers at the beginning of every round.
It can be picked up by any attacker who walks over it.
The attacker who picks it up will hold onto it until they are killed or they choose to drop it.
To drop it, press the 4 key to equip the spike and then press G to drop it (the same way you’d drop a gun).
If you have the spike and drop it into a teammate’s character model, they will automatically have the spike attached to them, so be sure to tell them you’re giving it to them or they may not notice.
The spike can only be planted on a site within an area designated by white lines.
Below, you can clearly see the white site lines for C Site on Haven.
To plant the bomb, hold down the 4 key until your agent places it on the ground.
If you’re a defender, you also defuse the spike by holding down the 4 key.
If the spike explodes, all agents within its blast will die (except for Reyna who can survive by using her Dismiss ability).
Spike timings: How long does it take to explode?
Since Valorant rounds can be decided by split-second decisions it’s crucial to understand the spike’s various timings.
Here’s what you need to know:
It takes 4 seconds to plant the spike and it will explode after 45 seconds.
To fully defuse the spike, it takes 7 seconds.
While you’re defusing the spike, you’ll see a bar that measures your completion progress.
In the middle of the bar, you’ll see a halfway mark.
This point acts as a checkpoint so if you make it halfway but need to stop to defend yourself, it will start from there instead of the very beginning the next time you or an ally begin defusing again.
Naturally, it takes 3.5 seconds to defuse the spike from the halfway point.
So just to recap:
- 4 seconds to plant the spike
- 45 seconds for the spike to explode
- 7 seconds to fully defuse the spike
- 3.5 seconds to defuse it from the halfway mark
Visual and Audio Cues
The spike has unique visual and audio cues that will help you understand how to play around it.
As an attacker, you’ll be able to see the spike carrier in yellow on your minimap and below the carrier’s health bar in white.
If the carrier dies, the spike will also be displayed as yellow where it fell.
On defense, you’ll see the spike in orange when it’s on the ground as long as you have a line of sight on it.
When the bomb is planted, a red indicator will replace the match timer. It will start flashing as the spike beeps.
Since it can be hard to pay attention to these cues while you’re in the middle of fighting, here it is uninterrupted:
Here’s a quick recap:
- The first 25 seconds = 1 beep per second.
- Between 25-35 seconds = 2 beeps per second.
- Between 35-40 seconds = 4 beeps per second
- From 40 to explosion = 8 beeps per second
With time and experience, you’ll eventually internalize these timings and play around them naturally but it’s important to know the specific timings as you’re learning.
Valorant Spike Tips and Tricks
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s dive into the juicy stuff!
Use the circle around your agent to get out of the spike’s explosion range
In our Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Valorant, we explained that while you’re running, you’ll see a white circle around your agent that indicates the range which your enemies will be able to hear you.
You can use this circle to also help you stay out of range of the spike’s explosion and survive.
As long as you’re at least a half-circle away, you’ll be safe!
Keep your eyes up and stay alert
Note that you do not need to look down at the ground in order to plant the spike – you just need to be standing within the site’s planting area.
While you’re planting it, you can even look around for potential defenders trying to stop you as long as you’re holding down the 4 key.
The concept also applies when you’re a defender that’s trying to defuse the bomb – you don’t need to look directly at it, you just need to be standing within the white circle radius around the spike
Tap the spike to fake that you’re planting/defusing
Tactical shooters like Valorant can often feel like chess matches due to the number of mind games involved.
If you think an enemy is nearby before you plant or defuse, you can quickly tap the spike.
Doing so will make the same sound cue as it would if you were committing to holding down the 4 key.
This can be effective for drawing enemies out of hiding and allow you to kill them since you’ll have your gun ready.
Just be sure to take into account how much time you have left and whether or not it’s better for you to just commit to planting or defusing.
Some opponents may call your bluff and wait before peeking to waste your time so there is definitely some risk involved in faking.
Plant the spike towards areas that your team has under control
When you have time, you can make life easier for you and your teammates by planting toward areas that you have under control.
If you don’t do this, you can sometimes end up in situations where the bomb defuser is actually protected by cover and your team has to wrap around to try to see the spike.
As an example, let’s say that your team is attacking on the Bind map and choose to execute on Site B.
You have the spike and you have a teammate behind you in hookah, one covering B Long near the teleporter, and one at the elbow. Where do you plant?
Unfortunately, many new players will simply plant inside of the metal box structure thinking that they will be safest there.
The correct answer is to plant somewhere around here:
By planting on this side of the metal box, the enemies will have to fight their way either through the elbow or expose themselves by wrapping around the metal box since your team has control of hookah.
If the defenders somehow make it to the spike and begin to defuse, your ally inside hookah will have an easy shot on them through the window.
If you had planted inside the metal box instead, the defenders would have control of the site and your teammate would be forced to jump out of hookah to contest them.
Clear the site (if you have time)
If your team makes their way onto a site, be sure to check as many usual defensive positions as you can before you place the spike.
This is important because committing to planting the spike means that you have one less gun available for your team.
This may take a few extra seconds but can allow you to better prepare against the retake since you’ll limit the number of places the defenders will approach from.
For example, if your team is planting on Ascent’s B site, make sure that you clear out the Boathouse arches before you attempt to plant.
This seems obvious but you’d be surprised by how often players will forget to do this and get punished for it.
When possible, allow allies that don’t have their ultimate to plant/defuse
Since planting or defusing the spike will grant one ultimate point, you can optimize your rounds by allowing an ally that needs more points to do so.
Of course, only do this if it’s safe and you’re in complete control of the site, such as when it’s a 4 vs 1 situation. It isn’t worth throwing a round over.
You can see if your allies have their ultimate by whether or not they have a white background behind their agent’s portrait – in the image below, Phoenix and Jett have their ultimates.
By pressing Tab, you can also check the scoreboard and see how many ultimate orbs they have.
If the bomb carrier overextends, try to reposition around the spike
As a defender, there may be times where the attacker carrying the spike dies away from their team.
In these situations, adjust your gameplan and try to reposition around the spike so the attackers can’t retrieve it.
Remember that it will remain on your minimap as long as someone from your team has line of sight on it, so do your best to keep an eye on it.
On the flipside, if you’re an attacker, do your best to keep your spike carrier protected and near enough to allies to not have the spike get isolated if they die.
If you haven’t decided where to execute, keep the spike nearby and hidden
During rounds where your team is trying to gather information or play for picks, consider placing the spike on the ground nearby and out of sight.
This will allow your team to keep the location of the spike concealed and keep the defenders guessing.
For example, let’s say your team is attacking on Ascent.
By placing the spike in the corner between the garage and entrance to mid, your team can work both sides and will have more flexibility before committing to either.
If your team makes a pick, your team can easily rotate and grab the spike as you move toward that direction.
In comparison, let’s say that your team was playing for picks and the spike carrier died near the entrance to mid.
The enemy team would then have the information of where the spike is and would have time to rotate accordingly.
Maximize agent abilities to deny plants and defusals
Although gunplay is certainly incredibly important in Valorant, it’s crucial that you understand how to get the most out of your agent abilities when it comes to playing around the spike.
The first step is to avoid wasting all of your utility at the beginning of a round, this is something that new players often do.
Instead, try to only expend the abilities that you really need throughout a round and try to have something for playing around the spike.
For example, when you’re attacking as Brimstone, you could use your Incendiary grenade offensively by shooting it toward a location where a defender may be.
This may do some damage, but it’s very unlikely that it will kill an enemy since it’s easy to jump out of molotov abilties.
Instead, if you save the Incendiary, you can outright win a round because of it by preventing the defenders from defusing it.
In the image below, Skadoodle’s Sage walls off the B site to try to make cover for his team to defuse the spike.
Unfortunately, Subroza’s Brimstone places a well-timed Incendiary that kills Skadoodle’s teammate Crashies, who was trying to defuse the spike, and discourages Skadoodle from doing so as well.
Sova’s Shock Bolt arrows are another great tool for protecting the spike.
In this video by ohJoyz, you can see how a well-timed Shock Bolt that’s bounced toward the ground can deny a defusal even after Sova dies.
Most agents have abilities that can help them play around the spike, here are some examples:
Did your spike carrier die and you’re trying to retrieve it?
Did you plant the spike and now you’re setting up to defend against the retake?
Set up Cypher Trapwires, Viper’s Pit, or Sage’s Wall.
Is the enemy team attempting to defuse?
Use molotov abilities (Brimstone, Phoenix, and Viper), damage abilities like Breach’s Aftershock, Raze’s Paintshells, or Sova’s Shock Bolt, or ultimates like Brimstone’s Orbital Strike or Breach’s Rolling Thunder.
These are just a few examples and there are many other possibilities, so be creative!
Do note, however, that Sage’s wall cannot block the spike and will automatically break if you try to do so.
We recommend using custom games to practice ability lineups and angles to help prep you for these different situations.
We hope you found this guide helpful! Use the fundamentals we provided as a foundation but be sure to always adapt to the circumstances of your matches.
If you have any questions or want to suggest at tip related to playing around the spike, please do so in the comment section below. GLHF!