Now, after the latest round of Sage nerfs, teams are beginning to challenge that idea with Sage-less compositions. Over in Europe, where teams tend to experiment more with agent picks or simply stick to agents that their specific players are best at, teams have already tested out Sage-less compositions in tournaments. They also made an appearance in the T1 x NSG Showdown.
Cloud9 and TSM were the two most high-profile teams really testing out running something other than Sage in groups, although Code 7 also went Sage-less, favoring Reyna in a Reyna, Sova, Omen, Jett and Cypher composition.
TSM had the most success, forgoing Sage on Ascent for a Brimstone/Sova/Omen/Phoenix/Cypher composition that destroys opponents with an excess amount of smokes and vision. Cloud9 tried to do something similar on Haven and Bind with a Jett/Brimstone/Breach/Cypher template and adding Raze on Bind or Phoenix on Haven, but they lost all three games.
While the jury is still out on going Sage-less if you look at the winrate, TSM’s insistence on running their smoke-heavy Ascent composition was one of the more interesting things at the T1 x NSG Showdown. They’re indisputably the best team in North America right now, so perhaps other teams will start giving these types of compositions a chance.
We’ll know that they’ve become more meta once teams become comfortable enough with them that they force a mirror matchup, at least on Ascent.