Sage has been Valorant’s most problematic Agent. The Sentinel healer has been touted as the game’s most overpowered Agent, with insane healing and zone control. Riot gutted her in Patch 1.07, but there’s a good reason — they want more “restorative” Agents like her.
Sage’s nerfs on Valorant Patch 1.07 hit the Sentinel hard. They targeted her Heal, Slow Orb, and Barrier Orb wall, reducing her zone control power and her healing. Riot tried to tone down her power in the past, but this measure has all but killed Sage.
The nerfs were well received by the community, even if they were heavy-handed. The reduced heals meant Sage couldn’t just out-heal a Phoenix or Reyna — Duelists with healing intertwined in their kit. She can’t control post-plants and defense holds as well with the wall HP reduction.
Patch 1.07 has arrived with our first Killjoy update, changes to shotguns, a remake option, and those hit reg visual improvements you’ve been asking for. And those are just the highlights! Read the full patch notes here: https://t.co/i5JZBkPYPt pic.twitter.com/BDTl6uIbe9
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) September 1, 2020
She was meant to be a defender, but she ended up being the best on both sides, according to developer ‘rycoux’. It was, at the end of the day, stunting Riot’s plans for Valorant’s future.
“Sage had the highest win rate on attacker [side] and only recently has seen a drop but is still in the top 3 of attackers across the roster. She has been on our radar for a long time, now, and we have been very concerned about her game health,” he said in a September 1 Reddit post.
While they’ve made Sage a less of a jack-of-all-trades, it opens up the opportunities for more Agents to not only see play, but be developed. In fact, the Sage nerfs — which will hopefully bring down her play rate — will open up the window for new healing Agents to be added.
“Sage healing for 100 up to 3 times a round felt like it was going to start to crowd out future restoration characters and even duelists as she could self heal for 100. Sage, as a restoration character, should want to be healing others, while duelists should feel unique in being able to heal themselves to get back into combat.”
“Where it currently stands, Sage’s heal is a comparable and more reliable self-heal than Reyna and Phoenix, which should not be the case.”
The nerfs help this goal of potentially adding new “restoration” characters two-fold. It forces self-healing to be a key part of Agent kits. If they have self-healing, like Reyna and Phoenix, they should use that before coming to a Sage. If they don’t have self-healing, they shouldn’t be able to brush it off like nothing ever happened.
It also frees up the space for Riot to potentially develop another team healer down the line. They could have a different subset of utility to Sage to enable a different style of gameplay. The two could then co-exist together, as long as it’s not overbearing.
However, Riot is keeping an eye on Sage. They want her to be “one of the more [mechanically] forgiving characters.” If she plummets into obscurity after Patch 1.07, Riot will give her a leg up on the next update.
“There’s a chance we have hit Sage a bit hard so we will be keeping an eye on Sage for the next few patches. If we hit Sage too hard, trust that we will be working hard to ensure she finds the right tunings and finds the right balance on the roster.”