Updated on February 1, 12:30 p.m. (GMT+8): Improved relevancy.

Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin is a top-ranked Valorant star who gave his two cents worth on which rifle could work best for you, the Phantom or Vandal.

The Valorant pro player reached new heights when he helped Gambit Esports win VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin, sweeping Team Envy in the grand final. The all-Russian squad also came in second place during Valorant Champions in 2021 after they lost to Acend in an epic best-of-five thriller.

With a reputation as one of the best sentinel players in the game, the talented Cypher and Viper main has released several helpful guides on how to step up your play, including a crosshair placement guide for improving your aim.

Now, he weighs in on one of the most hotly debated topics in Valorant – should you choose the Phantom or Vandal?

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NAts Valorant guide: Phantom or Vandal?

It all boils down to one simple thing for nAts: “Which gun will be more comfortable for you?”

The lurk specialist says that he is personally more comfortable with the Phantom, although it can be noted that both weapons have their strengths and weaknesses.

The Phantom is a great choice for mid-to-close-range fights, while the Vandal dominates long-range engagements with its ability to one-tap at any range.

Phantom (2,900 credits – 30 bullets)

Recon skin line, Phantom, weapon skins, Valorant
Screenshot by Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports


0-15 meters156 damage (instant-kill)
16-30 meters140 damage
31-50 meters124 damage

Body shots

0-15 meters39 damage
16-30 meters35 damage
31-50 meters31 damage

The Phantom has a lower recoil compared to other rifles, which means it is more forgiving. This makes it easier to control the weapon’s bullet spray pattern.

Since this particular rifle is also silenced, the bullet tracers are invisible, and this results in it being difficult for opponents to see or track where the bullets are coming from. For these reasons, the Phantom is a better pick for spraying through smokes.

Vandal (2,900 credits – 25 bullets)

Sentinels of Light Vandal, Valorant
Screenshot by Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports

The Vandal does not have any damage fall-off, so hitting a headshot means an instant kill with 156 damage from any range. All body shots will do 39 damage from any range as well.

The Vandal, however, is more difficult to control when spraying because of its higher recoil. Unlike the Phantom, it has no invisible bullet tracers, so opponents will be able to see where the shots are coming from through smokes. 

But the numbers aside, nAts stresses that players should commit to mastering either the Phantom or Vandal.

“In Valorant, it is better to focus on using one weapon,” said nAts. “However, you should sometimes still practice with the other rifle, because you might end up having to use it if you pick it up from the floor.”

Choosing between the Phantom or Vandal might likewise depend on which map you’re playing on. For those who are comfortable with either the Phantom or Vandal, nAts advises choosing the Vandal on Breeze and Icebox, because you’re more likely to take long-distance gunfights on these maps.

Additionally, players should take into account which agents they’re going to be playing. For example, nAts recommends the Phantom for controller agents because they use smokes and tend to hold close angles.

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