Well, the answer to whether you should play Phantom or Vandal will never be clear. Phantom players will always bring up their "multi-kills" and brag that they killed an opponent by moving side to side. On the other hand, Vandal players will laugh at those "140 damage headshots" etc., you know the way it goes.
However, usually, the Phantom was the weapon that was considered better by the professional players. After all, it shoots much faster than Vandal, has less chaotic recoil, and you cannot see its bullets through the smoke. And Vandal, well, the one shot = one kill situations are cool, but I guess that's all it is.... but is it really?
Vandal At VCT Stage 1
As it turns out, Vandal was a much more frequently picked weapon during VCT 2022 Challengers Stage 1 for almost all regions. Moreover, there was no single region that would favor Phantom; the only regions that have not decided which weapon is better are North America and Brazil.
Does this close the debate once and for all? Absolutely not. In fact, we think we have a good idea what could make Vandal so popular now.
Why Is Vandal More Popular Now?
It's all a matter of metagame. First, Vandal is better in long-range encounters, and just look at the last maps we got (Breeze and Fracture); long-range encounters are just the "bread and butter" of these maps. Moreover, Phantom is fantastic with aggressive strategies; however, nowadays, rushing is not a very popular strategy for competitive play.
Despite all the drawbacks that come with using Vandal, such as chaotic recoil, smaller magazine capacity, and louder firing, this weapon currently gives you a better chance of winning a gun fight. And well, we want to do everything to maximize our chances of triumphing over the enemy team and rank up, right?
So, Is Phantom Unplayable?
Phantom is still a good weapon, and you can absolutely still climb to Radiant with it. If you play with the right Agent, on the right map, in the right position, then we see no argument against using this weapon. At the end of the day, it's a matter of preference – treat these weapons as "tools" to be used in appropriate situations, and don't count on one always getting you more frags than the other. Still, if you dream of becoming a pro player, you have to learn both weapons anyway, and you can't escape it. However, if you are a new player, we suggest you see which playstyle suits you better (defensive/aggressive) and then adjust your weapon choice accordingly.
And which one is your pick? We invite you to debate with us on it on our Discord channel!