In Defiance, Lifeline maintained a moderate pick rate that suggested she was neither too weak nor too strong. All the while, it remained no secret that, at least in higher levels of play, the Combat Medic is far from a viable pick. Flash forward to Apex Legends: Saviors, however, and it appears that Lifeline's pick rate has reached an all-time low across all ranks.
According to Apex Legends Status, six days into Season 13, Lifeline's pick rate dropped to a personal all-time low at 3.756%.
At the time of publication, she's the 10th most popular character to pick, which is three spots down from her No. 7 ranking in Season 12 (5%). According to Apex Legends Status, this data was taken using a 12.8 million player sample in their API database. This includes data from players who are unranked, all the way to those who've reached Apex Predator.
During a Q&A press event for Apex Legends: Saviors, Respawn Entertainment senior game designer Devan McGuire revealed that "no Lifeline changes are coming in Season 13."
McGuire also addressed the concerns over Lifeline being replaced by Newcastle, maintaining that the two serve different roles: the Combat Medic has the ability to remotely revive two teammates simultaneously, while the Heroic Defender drags downed allies and protects them with a shield while they're being picked up.
Lifeline has been a frequent target of criticism among those unsatisfied with her kit over the seasons, with complaints specifically targeting her Combat Medic passive ability and her Care Package ultimate ability. By far, the strongest version of Lifeline seen in-game was when her D.O.C Heal Drone had the ability to revive players with an unbreakable shield, which forced enemy teams to push her even though she could continue to provide covering fire for her shielded and reviving teammates.
Respawn eventually landed on the current version of Lifeline, which still allows her to use her drone to revive players and protect them, but without a shield. It works rather well, and most seem to believe Lifeline is in a good spot with her revive, but that her other abilities could use some work.
In the past, Respawn developers have mentioned that they would continue to evaluate and assess her kit, and have been less inclined to prioritize reworking Lifeline because of her overall healthy pick rate. With her pick rate seemingly declining at the moment, however, it's possible the balance team will take another look at her.