The latest patch for Valorant took aim at a few wrinkles, but one in particular stuck out. The chilly healer Sage has long been a strong pick for offense and defense, and Riot Games reeled in her kit on a few fronts with today's closed beta patch.
"We all know Sage is OP," writes Riot Comms Associate Jeff Landa in the patch notes. "We've decided to try and reduce some of her stopping power while still allowing her to fulfill her role as the premier staller in Valorant."
To that end, her Slow Orb—which drops a field of ice that crunches and slows enemies that try to move over it—has had its duration reduced from nine to seven seconds, as well as had its slow decreased by 15%. The cost of Sage's Barrier Orb, which creates her ice walls that are key for blocking paths and lifting up higher, also rose from 300 to 400 credits.
As Landa notes in the patch foreword, changes to Sage, as well as others like Cypher and Phoenix, are meant to "better align them with their intended roles," as well as keep them from being too powerful all-around. Between a healing ability, a wall, a slowing field, and a resurrection ultimate, Sage's arsenal of abilities is easily one of the strongest on paper. It's not too surprising to see these changes given her overall popularity.
Riot Games' counter to Counter-Strike has been in closed beta for a while now, after being in development for quite a while. Players have been waiting out in Twitch channels for key drops and dropping into matches, though the larger pool of players and general popularity of the game has been an open invitation to cheaters. Riot has offered a bounty for security vulnerabilities discovered in Valorant, and today, over 8,000 cheaters were reportedly banned from Valorant.
Still, Valorant provides a fairly compelling alternative to Counter-Strike. As Riot Games grows into a multi-game studio, it'll be interesting to see how the League of Legends developer handles several evolving games at once.