Sage was hit hard in VALORANT Patch 1.07.
Riot targeted the agent’s healing capabilities, reducing Sage’s overall output, cutting her self heal in half, and slashing down on her slow orb.
VALORANT game designer Rycoux detailed the nerfs in a recent Reddit post, shedding light on the thought process behind the agent’s changes.
Sage’s lowest pick rate has been 89.7 percent, hovering around a 54 percent win rate across all MMRs since VALORANT’s launch in June, according to Rycoux. That’s after receiving multiple nerfs in Patch 1.01 and again in 1.04. She’s had the highest win rate on attack and has only recently seen a drop from the No.1 spot.
“She has been on our radar for a long time now, and we have been very concerned about her game health,” Rycoux said. The goals of the recent changes focus on three areas: to “reduce Sage’s offensive efficacy, analyze and adjust healing on our characters where needed,” and “increase decision making as Sage.”
Sage has become an option choice across all MMRs on both attack and defense, and as a sentinel “this was a bit odd,” Rycoux said. “We wanted to ensure that she still had value on attack, while keeping the efficacy of the abilities subpar to other characters in the roster with similar tools.”
As for her heal, “Sage healing for 100 up to three times a round felt like it was going to start to crowd out future restoration characters and even duelists," Rycoux said. Sage should be focusing on healing others, while duelists should “feel unique in being able to heal themselves to get back into combat.”
To help make duelists feel more specialized with their self-healing, Riot "chose to disincentive Sage from healing herself by making it more costly."
The overall goal of the nerfs though is to “widen the gap between low vs. high skill Sage play.” All of Sage’s abilities have felt "very reliable in almost any context, even if placed sub-optimally.”
Her slow orbs cover multiple chokes points too easily and healing an ally any health amount felt “like a binary decision.” The changes to Sages should add a bit “more texture” to how rounds play out, “creating more dynamic experiences for Sage and her teammates,” Rycoux said.