Bad romance: Why I can’t quit the worst gun in VALORANT cover image

Bad romance: Why I can’t quit the worst gun in VALORANT

Sometimes you just can’t give up the things that are the worst for you. In this case, it’s the Shorty: The worst gun VALORANT has.

"This is just reinforcing bad behavior" says Noah, my friend and VALORANT teammate. He isn't wrong. After all, I've just done the thing I love to do more than anything in the game: Force an ill-timed 3k finisher with the worst gun in VALORANT. My guiding star. The chocolate to my peanut butter. That friend you're drunk with at three a.m. at a Waffle House parking lot, telling you that now is definitely the time to go to Wal-Mart.

It's the Shorty. Worst gun in the game. Best gun in the game. It's Schrodinger's gun.

Two shots, a slow reload, non-existent range, and a low-cost. The Shorty shotgun is equal parts a joke and a serious threat. And somehow, I can't help myself but to buy one as my pistol replacement on almost every round. What started as a joke to get a rise out of my friends turned into a real need to make this Island of Lost Toys weapon a viable option.

Is this healthy? Probably not. Do I genuinely feel bad every time I wantonly turn a corner with a Shorty when I should be using a real gun? Sometimes. Will I do it again?

Oh, absolutely. After all: "I want your love and all your lover's revenge; You and me could write a bad romance."

The worst gun in VALORANT?

<em>Credit: Dexerto</em>
Credit: Dexerto

Saying the Shorty is the worst gun VALORANT has to offer may be unfair. After all, this 150 credit popgun isn't trying to be the meta. Really, it's not even attempting to be the best shotgun. This unassuming, two-barrel piece of action-movie detritus might as well be a knife with ammo. It's also gained a reputation as the VALORANT meme gun of choice. No range. Zero penetration. It's only real use comes if you're face-to-face with the poor sucker on its receiving-end.

Enter a normal lobby of players and you're likely to see someone doing that thing where they buy and throw Shortys over and over before the round. Likewise, it's hard to find a VALORANT player of any skill that won't groan in abject disappointment with themselves upon being greased by a Shorty-wielding opponent.

And I think that's where my fascination with the gun began. I've always had an obsession with the low-tier, no matter the video game. There's something visceral about beating a real, human opponent with a character or weapon or item considered to be "bad".

We also can't ignore the dynamic at work when playing with friends. Sometimes you do things just to get a reaction out of your buddies. Which is exactly what started happening when I began using the Shorty in earnest.

Shorty's like a melody in my head

Despite all of its negatives, there's still something compelling about the Shorty. Shotguns will always have a face-to-face advantage when fighting in close-quarters. Which is exactly how my use of the so-called worst gun in VALORANT kicked off. If we're being honest: I just got tired of losing pistol fights. Sure, the correct and mature response should have been to get better with the Classic.

But what good is a mature response in a game like VALORANT?

So, I started buying the Shorty exclusively as my sidearm weapon and in pistol round situations. Despite being a madman, I am well-aware of the gun's shortcomings. Long sightlines such as the center of Breeze becomes a fool's errand with a short-range weapon.

Or an opponent moving slightly to the left.

However, you know what feels real good? Camping the doorway entrance to B Main on Breeze and catching three people with Shorty headshots.

Responsible? Hardly. But I never said to be a pro-level player. I'm just a lunatic gamer boy looking for a good time and to show off my fully maxed-out Oni Shorty.

Therapy via gun choice

Maybe I'm about to psychoanalyze myself, but there are underlying reasons why I pick the worst gun VALORANT has to offer. In many ways, getting kills with this cheap, stubby, awful gun feels like getting away with something. Like a teenager shoplifting a candy bar, there's a vicarious, cheap thrill involved.

And maybe part of that is inflicting that face-palming agony of being killed by a Shorty-wielder upon others.

After all, I know the gun isn't optimal. But we also don't live in an optimal world. If we spend all of our time trying to min/max the minutiae of our lives then all we really end up doing is choking the joy out of the thing. This is especially true in esports-based games, where more and more it feels like the base experience is aggressively attempting to weed out anyone just looking to play the game.

It's important to note that I'm not out here trying to make a use case for the Shorty. This isn't a declaration in a Buzzfeed-esque style of "Here's one weird gun trick in VALORANT the pros don't want you to know!" I'm fully aware of the gun's many drawbacks.

That said, I also think it shores up some of my worst tendencies as a player. Dare I say, it fills a hole in my game while also being endlessly funny.

So, no: I will not be giving up the Shorty any time soon.

With a little help from my friends

These days my applications of the Shorty tend to fall in tight-quarters where it's possible to get the jump on opponents. After all, few at my rank expect to turn a corner on Pearl and meet the barrel-end of the worst gun in VALORANT. It's also a surprisingly-strong compliment to buying the Operator. After all, we've all flailed about trying to hit someone with the Op at close range at least once, only to fail.

It's far more satisfying to pull out the Shorty and win that fight than lament about the loss of 5,000 credits.

It also appears as though my friends begrudgingly accept that I'm not going to change course any time soon. On occasion they even support this bad behavior with an errant Viper cloud or offensive smoke in a doorway.

Friends helping friends. Even when they make terrible decisions. Truly, that is what VALORANT is all about. So I'll keep buying the Shorty, its skins, and the Radianite needed for its delicious visual effects.

After all, it's all worth the price if some poor schmuck is on the receiving end of the worst gun in VALORANT and asks themselves "Did I really just let that happen?"

You did. Wasn't it great?

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