Nerfs to Sage and Cypher, Killjoy counters discussed by Valorant dev

Olivia R. August 1, 2020

Valorant character design lead Ryan "Morello" Scott went on Twitch yesterday to answer fan questions. 

One agent on everyone's mind was Cypher, who had a 92% pick rate at a recent tournament and continues to be ranked S-tier. One fan asked Morello if anything would be done about Cypher after such a strong showing at the PAX Arena Invitational. 

"We're going to have to do something. We've been backed up on Sage and Breach stuff, but he's a good point of conversation here. I'd like to find ways to shift some of that power, or do more clever nerfs, you know?" Morello said. 

That preempted fans' questions about Sage as well. She's another agent that is almost a must-have for most team compositions due to her healing capabilities, resurrection ultimate, and ability to slow down the enemy team. 

Morello said that a Sage nerf is still being planned. Similar to Cypher, developers don't want to completely slash her numbers but instead bring her in line with other agents by taking power away from specific aspects of her kit. 

On the other hand, some Valorant players felt that the recent Viper buffs weren't enough to make her a viable agent in the current meta. 

"We don't think they were enough and she will probably be buffed more, but we knew that during testing. We'd rather buff slowly instead of buffing and making the agent over the top," Morello said. 

Other Valorant fans are concerned about the newest agent Killjoy, including coach Spencer "Hiko" Martin. He expressed concern that the addition of turrets may mean shields will be added to Valorant. 

"I think Hiko is a good player and a really smart dude. Once in a while though, Hiko says some bone-headed shit...This is an example. That's some scientology level conspiracy theory stuff," Morello joked. 

He then went on to explain why shields would not be needed in a game like Valorant, as opposed to Overwatch, which has heroes like Pharah and Soldier: 76 that do an extreme amount of damage to the enemy team. 

Morello reassured Valorant fans that shields are not necesary. He also said that they tested shield agents in the past but that the gameplay it created didn't fit well with the rest of the game, removing tension and consequence. Morello also noted that Killjoy will be nothing like Overwatch's Torbjorn and that she will be hard to attack, forcing players to find different tactics to deal with her. 

He then gave some pointers for dealing with Killjoy's ultimate, saying it's "easy to avoid" and it's ideal to push and destroy it within 13 seconds. 

While Morello explained that Killjoy is the only new addition to the game come Act 2, with no other agents or maps set to launch, there will also be another healer coming to Valorant in the future. 

All of this talk of healing, shields, abilities, and turrets has turned some FPS fans away from Valorant but Morello noted that "hardcore purist Counter-Strike players" that only want to see gun play are not Valorant's target audience.