How to climb the leaderboards with Valorant's do it all healer, Sage
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Struggling to keep bad situations from getting worse? Here are some tips to help bring your team, and your stat line, back from the dead with Valorant’s ice queen, Sage.
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Sage is a sentinel, a defensively classed character, specializing in locking down parts of the map and playing to support her teammates. She won’t be playing at the front or the first traded in a fight, so don’t play to bait your teammates but to trade off them while looking for plays to heal and resurrect your teammates to turn the tables mid round. Also, save your Econ.
Barrier orb (C ability)
The most expensive ability in the game, Ice Wall, costs 500 credits and summons a wall of ice that can block off areas of the map. The barrier is made up of three segments, with a total of 800 health. Each is destroyed after receiving enough damage and also disappears after a 40 second uptime. It can be rotated 90 degrees by pressing C again or, if you want a custom fit, hold RMB and it will let you pivot the wall to block off whatever area you want.
Sage has multiple avenues to explore with Ice Wall. It can be used as a gamble early in the round on defense, blocking off a garage entry point to force or disadvantage the pushing enemy team. Another play Sage can do, is to block off a secondary entry point, using her wall to elevate herself with it, she can wait behind cover and peak out at an angle that players won't expect, at least initially.
This is called wall boosting and you will find dozens of spots to take advantage of this utility. On certain maps, like Ascent middle, she can place her ice wall down in a way that allows defenders in heaven to jump on and off the wall to check safely, unless the attackers take a risky angle. While it won’t always work, it’s a great way to win a battle quickly and with a lot less risk than normal.
When you’ve been found out, just drop off and set up somewhere new if they try and push you. Once on point, Sage’s wall can change how you defend post-plant. Bind A is a great example. Sage can use her wall to block off anyone from Heaven and Shower locations on the map, forcing them to either go on a full flank or go through the trailer: Taking the enemy team’s entry options from 5 down to 2. There is no guaranteed way to use Ice Wall and you should be smart when deploying it, due to its cost. If it doesn’t have a use every round, so don’t force it. Spending 500 credits every round will not be in your best interest.
Slow orb (Q ability)
Sage equips a slow orb that she can launch in the direction of enemies. It will bounce off walls and ceilings before detonating after impacting the ground, covering an area in ice that slows anyone walking in it (for both friend and foe). Stackable to two charges, and costing 200 credits, it will be a good ability to buy on most rounds.
Sometimes used as an inconvenience to attackers or to stall a push, slow orb is great at setting up your teammates to make plays off of their abilities. A well timed Sage slow orb can keep the enemy stuck in an area long enough for a Brimstone Molly or Raze grenade to land among them and steal a quick double kill. While it slows everyone, only your teammates make noise while traversing the iced off area: Giving off a crunching audio cue.
Enemies can walk quietly across it, so be mindful and keep an eye out. While they may still risk crossing the area, they’ll be far easier to shoot at. Find areas where you can maximize slow orb, either in a high traffic zone or once your team can confirm that there is a push coming your way. Since it does not damage, getting value out of this ability will be tricky but not impossible.
Heal orb (E ability)
Sage’s signature ability is heal orb. Equipping this orb and using it on yourself or an ally will bring them back up to full health over a short burst. The bread and butter of her kit, no one will be picking Sage without this ability and the next one on the list in mind, as few other heroes can help out their struggling teammates quite like Sage.
On a 45 second cooldown between casts, don’t be afraid to use it early on in a round. Either to heal a defender who is waiting for your team to group up for a retake, or to heal up your duelist who took the brunt of the focus fire as your team made their way onto site. Getting your full team, or whoever’s left, up to a full health pool can make or break fights.
Always check the top menu to see who is alive and how badly they are hurting. Weighing the risk and reward for healing yourself over a teammate will come down to round to round judgement. But, if you choose yourself over a low health friend, make sure you manage to trade them when they die. Otherwise you’ll be wasting this ability’s potential.
The ability that once made Sage a must pick, is still as good as it was before. Resurrection is exactly what it sounds like, allowing Sage to revive a fallen ally with full health mid round. The audio cue is unmistakable and the revived player will hover above the ground an icy blue colour before dropping back into the map, ready to frag.
Resurrection is a great ultimate that can single-handedly shape the outcome of a round and match if used correctly. Caught in a 2 vs 1 and you need to defuse the bomb? Why not Rez and ally. In a 3v3 and you need to push onto the bombsite? Why not bring back a dead friend to give you a numbers advantage. Rez will open new opportunities for your team in rounds where it might have originally seemed safer to save. Weighing that risk/reward will be crucial since Resurrection can be very easily punished.
Oftentimes, your recently fragged ally will just happen to be in the middle of a high danger line of sight that one or multiple enemies are watching. Resurrecting an ally in this situation better be to use them as a bait in a trade, otherwise you’re just ruining their KD ratio for your own amusement.
Her ultimate is by no means subtle, so either make sure you are safe from enemy fire or have allies watching the sightlines you are walking into for the Rez. Having an allied Omen, Jett or Brimstone use a smoke to cover you while you do this can help out your chances of pulling off a rez in a tight spot, as will using Sage’s barrier orb to wall off the enemy fire altogether.
Buy light with Sage early on. Her abilities have use, but not enough to warrant being purchased over a ghost. With 400 cost for barrier and 200 each for slow orbs, they are expensive enough to set your econ back a few rounds if you buy the abilities as frivolously as you use them.
You have the option to heal, so a light shield isn’t a huge priority unless you plan to heal an ally with your ability instead. As you get into the later rounds, buy abilities and the weapons you find comfortable. As a sentinel, Sage will rarely frontline so buy for range. Though, if you plan to use your barrier to make a CQB scenario, the odd shotgun mix up can pay dividends, just don’t try it every round.
You will be nowhere near the frontlines with Sage, and should be the last one peeking to gain information. Heal orb and Resurrection are too valuable to be overextending. That said, look for areas of the map where you will get the most utility out of her abilities. Defense sites like B on ascent, whether on the middle/highground area or low near the choke point known as garage.
Both spots allow Sage to stop pushes by herself for a short time. Either with a Barrier or Slow orb. You won't often see enemy teams break barrier to push through on narrower sights and want to both stall them from pushing or waste enough of their time in having to change plans.
This won’t work as well on areas with teleporters or wider lines of sight where it is easier for the attackers to see point without risking a trade. A on bind for example is one of those points. While you can use both slow and barrier, enemies can quickly rotate with the teleporter or use the nearby crates to peek for their allies as they destroy the barrier. While there is no hard set rule for where to deploy her, it will come down to your judgement and your foes’ tendencies as the game develops.