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Valorant’s latest patch buffs Sage for the first time ever

This patch also adds a Snowball Fight mode in-case you want a break from the regular shooting

Cypher, Brimstone, and Sage from Valorant stand side by side Image: Riot Games

Sage has been getting nerfs since before Valorant was even released, but in the game’s latest patch she’s finally getting some power back. The new update also brings some big changes to Icebox, Valorant’s newest map, and a for-fun Snowball Fight mode.

Sage’s ability to slow down her enemies, cut off choke points with a wall, heal her allies, and even bring them back from the dead makes her one of Valorant’s strongest characters on raw abilities alone. And that’s exactly why she’s gotten so many nerfs since the game debuted. But thanks to all these nerfs, she’s finally spent a few weeks out of the meta, and was only rarely played at last weekend’s First Strike tournament. Riot has decided it’s time to put a little power back in her kit.

Sage’s Barrier Orb ability in Valorant
Sage’s ice barrier in action
Image: Riot Games via Polygon

After this update, Sage’s Barrier Orb, which creates an ice wall on the map, will no longer lose health passively over time. Players can still destroy it or wait for it to disappear on its own, but destroying it won’t get any easier the longer they wait.

This patch’s other major change is an update to the Icebox map. Icebox’s A bomb site was one of the most complicated areas on any Valorant map, so Riot is toning things back there to make the environment a little more clear and the approach paths a little more predictable. This should lead to more interesting fights in the area, and a better chance for the defending team to predict their opponents’ movements.

Patch 1.14 also adds a new Snowball Fight mode to give players a winter-themed break from the action of regular matches. This mode will act like Team Deathmatch with two teams of five facing off against each other. But instead of weapons, everyone will have a special snowball launcher instead. Maps will also have power ups scattered around them that will let you shoot or run faster, or even shoot a snowball that grows in size the longer it’s in the air.

For a look at all the changes coming to Valorant with this patch you can check out the full patch notes.


Valorant patch 1.14 notes

Sage

Barrier Orb

  • Barrier Orb can’t be placed during Buy Phase
  • Once fortified, Barrier no longer loses health over time—Barrier only starts to deteriorate a few seconds before it expires

Overall, we’ve been happy with how the fortified barrier has been playing but wanted to make some changes to prevent the mitigation of the fortifying counterplay, while rewarding Sage players that successfully fortify their walls.

Map Updates

Icebox

The changes to Icebox in this update are centered around simplifying the A Site and reducing the height of some of the most vertical areas on the map.

Valorant’s Icebox map changes to the ramp area Image: Riot Games

Reduced the height of the A Belt area and connected it via a ramp to the platform below

  • This puts the upper A Belt area more in line with the rest of the verticality in the site
  • Acquiring targets up top also requires less vertical movement of the crosshair
Changes to Valorant’s A bomb site on Icebox Image: Riot Games

Added a see-through gate here that can’t be passed from the ground level

  • Pathing should hopefully be more predictable from attackers approaching the site and defenders retaking the site
Valorant Icebox map changes Image: Riot Games
Valorant Icebox map changes Image: Riot Games

Sloped the wall (first image) and replaced the double stack of Radianite crates in the site with a smaller object (second image)

  • This should allow attackers to approach the site more safely, and a quicker retake of the site for defenders
Valorant Icebox map changes Image: Riot Games

Reduced the height of the yellow container.

  • This allows the top of the container to be fully cleared from several angles as well as reduces the amount of crosshair displacement required when aiming at targets on top of the container

Mode Updates

Ready to have a Snowball Fight with your friends (and likely your foes)? The limited mode goes live on Dec.15 and will last for two weeks, on Dec. 29. Play a match of Snowball Fight and you’ll also nab a themed Gun Buddy, delivered at a later date.

5v5: Team Deathmatch

  • The first team to 50 kills wins
  • Respawns are enabled, so get back in there

The snowball launcher is your weapon of choice

  • Killjoy has rigged a custom version of Brimstone’s molotov launcher
  • Projectile based snowballs have travel time and an arc (make sure to lead that shot!)
  • Infinite snowballs—don’t stop shooting!

The gift that keeps on giving: Power ups!

  • Gifts spawn around the map, sometimes a portal appears and gifts come pouring out
  • Each gift contains a power up when opened (shoot to open)
  • You can only have one of each power up at a time, so make sure to share with your teammates
  • If you die, you drop your power ups and someone else can snag them

Gift types

  • Rapid Fire: fire even faster
  • Growball: grows over time while traveling in the air
  • Ricochet: for all those snowball trick shots off the ground and walls
  • Skates: skate around quickly and in style. Jump higher!

Maps

  • Week 1: Check out the festivities on the newly updated holiday version of Icebox (Snowball Fight only!)
  • Week 2: Snowball Fight can be played on all current maps

Progression

  • Get 750 XP for each game completed, and 150 bonus XP for a win
  • Snowball mode does not progress missions

Competitive Updates

  • Act Rank Badge display has been re-enabled on in-game player cards.
  • Performance issues, such as hitches, have been fixed along with on death performance optimizations
  • Career page: Match History and Act Ranks have been split out into their own specific sections.
  • You can still view both your friends Match History and Act Rank progress

Store Updates

Check out our newest feature with the introduction of the Night.Market

  • Each player will get 6 chances to receive a random Select, Deluxe, or Premium weapon skin at a discount
  • Opens December 10th

Social Updates

Requirements to unlock Competitive play have been changed from Play 20 Unrated matches >>> Win 10 Unrated matches

  • We hope this will lessen the amount of AFKs and INTing we see in Unrated games caused by smurfs just trying to unlock Competitive mode.

A text field has been added to VALORANT in-game reports so players can provide more information and the reason for their report, if they choose to.

Players can now add friends via the in-game escape menu.

  • Go forth adding teammates and opposing players to your friends list for future games if you enjoyed playing with/against them!

Changes to the social panel sorting logic when in parties so you are always sorted at the top of your own group

Game System Updates

Manual Game State Recovery

  • In cases where tournament organizers need to roll back or replay from a given round, they can now remake any tournament match from that point with our manual recovery tool.

Cinematic Cameras

  • We have added cinematic camera locations across all maps for observers to use.
  • Observers can press Shift + player number to jump to the best cinematic camera to capture the action.
  • Observers can immediately leave a Cinematic Camera to move to Free camera
  • We have a lot more ideas for additional functionality, so stay tuned for that in the future.

Projectile Follow

  • Observers can now follow a projectile fired by a player character (Default keybind is F).
  • Observer camera will remain at the destination of the projectile and will transition to a free camera from this point.

Minimal Broadcast HUD

  • Observer perspectives that are meant to be used for broadcasting can turn on Minimal Broadcast HUD from the custom game lobby to retain as clean of a HUD experience as possible for custom overlays

Observer Follower

  • Observers can now lock their view to match another observer (Be the passenger instead of the driver)
  • Default keybinds for following previous / next observer: ‘[‘ and ‘]’

Observers can use player numbers on the minimap to jump directly to a specific player

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where Killjoy’s turret could be placed underneath the ground in some maps
  • Fixed an issue where Omen could teleport past the Buy phase barrier
  • Fixed a bug where pressing a push-to-talk key while typing in chat would trigger voice chat
  • Fixed a bug where queue restrictions would keep resetting for some players