There are many weapons in VALORANT, the tactical first-person shooter made by Riot Games. In order to become a master of the game, it's pivotal that you learn to master the weapons in it. That's why we've made a series of weapon guides for VALORANT weapons discussing the weapon cost, the weapon damage, and controlling the weapon's recoil. In this guide, we'll be talking about the Judge shotgun.
The Judge costs 1500 credits, which is significantly more expensive than the Bucky, the other main firearm shotgun in VALORANT. You're not left with as much wiggle room to purchase abilities and/or a shield at the start of a round. Still, the Judge is far cheaper than the rifles in the game, which all cost more than 2000 credits. The weapon is a good purchase when you're ahead in money of your opponents. Use it to extend your lead further by punishing their limited purchase pool through buying mediocre weapons to save money yourself.
Like all shotguns, the Judge does a lot of damage at a close range. It's a fully automatic shotgun, meaning you just have to hold down your mouse button to have it unload its magazine onto the target. The Judge holds seven shells, which it fires at a 3.5 rounds per second rate. That's significantly faster than the Bucky fires, which shoots only once per 1.1 seconds. The tradeoff the Judge makes is its damage: each of the twelve pellets it fires per shell does less damage.
The table below shows the exact numbers for the damage the Judge does in VALORANT:
|Target:||0-10 meter range||10-15 meter range||15-50 meter range|
|Body||17 damage||13 damage||10 damage|
|Head||34 damage||26 damage||20 damage|
|Leg||14 damage||11 damage||9 damage|
While the Judge is obviously meant for close-range combat, its damage doesn't drop off as rapidly when the enemy is further away. At medium range, you can still chip away a decent amount of the opponent's health, though you shouldn't count on it delivering a finishing blow.
Recoil and bullet spread
Given that the Judge is fully automatic, it suffers from recoil in addition to the natural shotgun bullet spread. Up to ten meters, your initial shots will hit your target reliably enough. However, from ten meters on, you'll have to start taking the Judge's recoil into account. It slowly moves upward, either to the left or the right. Since the recoil pattern is slow, you should be able to counter the recoil relatively easily by moving your mouse in the opposite direction.
The shots of the Judge get more inaccurate as they progress. The first few shots are pretty condensed, but the pellets start to spread out over time. If you're targeting someone twenty meters away or further, it's best to not hold down your mouse button and fire automatically, but instead let the Judge shortly reset and then click to shoot again.
The Judge excels as a shotgun due to its fire rate for two reasons. Firstly, it allows players with suboptimal aim to battle opponents without having to care about a long reload time, like they would have with the Bucky. Secondly, it's vastly better when multiple opponents are running towards you. With a Bucky, you could take down one opponent and be taken down by their teammate during the Bucky's long reload time. The Judge has the potential to completely shred through an entire squad. Though it can do some damage at medium range, you still buy the Judge for close-quarter combat.
VALORANT weapon guides:
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Images via Riot Games
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