Valorant: Sage Nerfs Meant To “Widen The Gap” Between Low And High Level Play
A Valorant developer recently shed some light on the recent Sage nerfs, helping fans understand why the agent was altered in the latest patch.
Prior to patch 1.07, players agreed that Sage was a must pick, regardless of map or rank. Her wall and slow orbs alone provided too much utility to pass up, not to mention her heal and resurrection abilities. Now, Riot has taken her down a notch with the most recent patch, but many question whether or not the changes are justified.
Valorant game designer, Rycoux, elaborated on the topic in a Reddit post. He stated, “The two big goals of these changes are 1) to reduce Sage’s offensive efficacy and 2) analyze and adjust healing on our characters, where needed, to ensure that we weren’t setting an unhealthy standard for healing across the roster 3) Increase decision making as Sage.” Within the post, he detailed the reasoning behind each of the three points.
Beginning with Sage’s offensive efficacy, the development team found an issue with the fact that Sage sat in the top three of the highest win rates on attacking rounds. Rycoux revealed that by weakening the versatility of agent’s wall, they hope to level the statistical imbalance. “The changes to the wall will require a bit more planning and strategy than previously to secure a fortified wall. Wall+Res, which has mainly been one of the key pieces of turning around an attacker round, is now riskier and requires more resources to execute.”
Sage’s healing was heavily nerfed in the most recent patch as well, with her self-heal being hit the hardest. Players have become all too familiar with the Battle-Sage. Her ability to heal herself three times in a round is comparable to self-healing duelists like Reyna. Rycoux continued, “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.” Riot hopes that by disincentivizing Sage mains from healing themselves, it will result in more thoughtful usage of the ability.
All of these nerfs make Sage significantly more difficult to play efficiently. Riot hopes that the nerfs will force Sage players to think a little bit more before using abilities. Rycoux wrote, “We wanted to increase the decision making around Sage’s abilities and hoped that we could widen the gap between low vs high skill Sage play.” The last statement seems strange considering how heavy the nerfs are. High skill Sage play may not exist after the nerfs because high-rank players will ignore the agent entirely. Her healing and utility feel extremely unimpactful after the changes, which will likely affect the competitive meta. The release of Killjoy – another agent that exceeds at slowing down enemy pushes – drops Sage’s pick-priority down even lower. Hopefully the developers didn’t take things too far this time around, because Sage has always been a fan-favorite.
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