After Valorant's release, it took a little time for the masses to warm up to Sage
as an Agent. As one of the few Agents with an almost entirely selfless kit, players were naturally more drawn to the flashy, frag-heavy style of other options. However, those early adopters of Sage's unparalleled defensive excellence were probably laughing all the way to the MMR bank. Even after several rounds of nerfs and adjustments, Sage is a staple of many pro compositions and still one of the best Agents in the game. It turns out that when everyone else is focused on rushing in to pad their KDA, directly countering this style of play is quite valuable.
This ability to completely shut down aggression is good at ruining what little coordination a ranked team can muster. This is one of the reasons Sage is so successful and popular in public matchmaking. Despite her popularity, it seems like many players are still struggling to overcome her stalling tactics.
If you’re one of these players tired of running your head into an ice-cold wall every game, here are a few things you can do to minimize Sage’s impact:
The wall is a great place to start when talking about Sage. The wall’s main purpose is to stop a push through a choke point or at least provide early information when the opposing team shoots their way through it. So many rounds just completely stall out because the wall pops up and then fortifies in front of an attacking squad. Remember, this thing spawns with only 400 HP and takes less than a second to break if two or three people shoot it at once. Even after the wall fortifies to 800 HP, it’s worth breaking a section or two even if you don’t plan on pushing through that area. Not only does this give false information that you might be pushing through but it will deny information later if you back up and then lurk through the broken wall later.
Breaking the wall might even force out further utility from Sage in the form of Slow Orbs which makes pushing somewhere else much easier. It might sound a bit simple to it’s astounding how often you’ll see a full team let Sage place a wall and then just let it fortify in front of their eyes. Just shoot it.
Next, let’s talk about Slow Orb. The slightly less powerful stalling utility gets a lot of value from the same situations as the wall does. Like the wall, one of the best ways to deal with it is to bait Sage to use it and then go somewhere else on the map or wait for it to time out. There are also quite a few Agent specific counters that work well against Slow Orb. Mobility Agents like Omen, Jett, Raze, and Yoru can easily bypass a Slow Orb and catch a retreating Sage off guard. You can also use your own Sage to place a straight wall over the slowed area and avoid it as well.
The other part of Sage’s game that gets a lot of attention is her supportive healing and resurrecting abilities. Both are tools to swing advantage back in the favor of her team through resetting team damage or entirely restoring a player advantage. Sage’s healing is not nearly as good as it used to be but still provides enough value that it’s important not to assume players are low enough to kill with body shots. Hitting more headshots or using the Operator can fully negate the efficacy of the heal. Additionally, any damage done to the healing Agent so spraying through smokes or lobbing in some utility after a retreating player can nullify Sage’s impact quite a bit.
Resurrect is one of those abilities that can change the momentum of a round. It costs seven ultimate points to activate so Sage players will often be given the Spike to plant and also look to collect Orbs. Challenging her for the Orbs is extremely important to do against Sage because she is not great at getting the Orb herself. Either she will need to use her wall, a critical piece of utility, or bring allies. This can give your team crucial information about where players are and ensure you make it as expensive as possible for Sage to build up her ultimate. When Resurrect is online, getting an early pick-off is huge because you can for Sage to use Resurrect early in the round instead of for a momentum swing later.
If possible you can also establish map control around the corpse and use it as bait to trap Sage. In the best-case scenario, you can even kill Sage and her Resurrecting target again to completely waste the ability. A Resurrecting target is immobile while the animation plays which can also set up for damage-dealing abilities like molotovs, Raze’s Paint Shells, or a Brimstone Orbital Strike.
One final thought to keep in mind when playing against Sage is this. If her stalling tactics are really giving your team a ton of trouble, just do your best to avoid her entirely. Sage’s utility is not nearly as potent when she is the one attacking into a site to retake.