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This Valorant Agent Just Got Buffed For The First Time

Valorant players will be interested to know that Sage, who was so well-known for her overpowered abilities that she started getting nerfed before the game even released, just got buffed for the first time since Valorant came out in June 2020. 

Sage might well be the most nerfed agent in Valorant. Developers at Riot Games first nerfed her in the .47 update, which came out two weeks after the release of Valorant's closed beta. She was additionally nerfed in the 1.01 update, in which her Barrier Orb lost 10 meters of range. Her healing powers, Slow Orb radius, and Barrier Orb wall were all targeted in the 1.07 update. Now, following the 1.14 update, Sage's Barrier Orb will stop losing health passively over time. The ice wall-creating object can still be destroyed, or it can disappear on its own, but waiting will no longer make it weaker.

The move puts a bit of power back in Sage's corner after she's been being played a lot less in matches, as noted in the 1.08 patch. In a Reddit post that came out after the 1.07 update notes, a Valorant developer named @rycoux said at the time that Sage still had a pick rate of 90 percent and "sat in the top 3 of highest win rates on attacking rounds," which resulted in the changes to the Barrier Orb wall. The changes were also meant to disincentivize players from using her self-healing powers and to "increase the decision making around Sage's abilities," which he called reliable in almost any context. 

"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," the game designer said. "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."  This looks to be a course correction along that vein, since many players have complained that maining Sage is no longer an option for them.

In addition to buffing Sage, the most recent update makes major changes to the "Icebox" map, a complicated area that has now been simplified and reduced in height to make fights safer and more predictable. Also, there's now a Snowball Fight game mode that goes live on Dec. 15 for two weeks, disappearing on Dec. 29. It's a 5v5 Team Deathmatch, in which the first team to get 50 kills wins, respawns are enabled, and infinite snowballs are in play. If you participate, you'll get a themed Gun Buddy later for your trouble. 

Another change to the game is that developers have added a mechanism to deter smurfing: In order to unlock Competitive Play, you now have to win ten Unrated matches rather than just play 20 Unrated matches. Beyond that, fans will see the usual bug fixes and optimizations.