A General Guide to Arena (March 2014)
January 2, 2014
Howdy there, Smiter! I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you probably came to this guide in the hopes of becoming a better Arena player. Well, you came to the right place! I’m by no means the best Smite, or even Arena, player that you’ll ever meet, but my 800+ wins in Arena have certainly given me enough knowledge and insight as to what, generally, should be done in order to achieve victory.
You know what? I’m not even going to go over the rules of Arena until I get this stuck in your head. Minions are an extremely important aspect of Arena. Why, you ask? Well, a point is deducted from the enemy team’s ticket count for each enemy minion that your team last hits* or for each allied minion that reaches the enemy team’s base. Each wave consists of seven minions, meaning seven tickets. Meanwhile, the death of a god deducts five points from his/her team. As I’m sure you’re aware, seven is greater than five. Furthermore, not only will your team lose seven tickets for each minion wave that enters the portal, but you’ll also lose out on an opportunity of deducting seven tickets from the enemy team – a net loss of fourteen tickets. In addition, it’s inconceivable to fail at killing minions, meaning you’re guaranteed to deduct enemy tickets. Chasing enemy gods, on the other hand, is not always a fruitful endeavor. A guaranteed opportunity of deducting seven tickets is almost always better than a chance at deducting five tickets.
So what have we learned? Simple: if you ever leave a sight like this to chase an enemy down, please report yourself for incompetence.
Also, an important note about how the ticket deduction changes regarding minions when a team reaches ten tickets will be explained in the next chapter.
*if your minions kill an enemy minion, no tickets will be deducted from the enemy team. The same goes for them, so you can use this to your advantage.
To clarify some ambiguous or unmentioned information listed above:
1. Minions spawn in waves of seven (three swordsmen, three archers, and one “juggernaut”) every twenty seconds from alternating sides of each base and head directly towards the enemy team’s portals, passing through the center along the way.
2. The buff camps spawn along the sides when the game starts, and each camp respawns four minutes after its cyclops has been killed. Your team should have sufficient time to gather at the buff camps and clear them before making your way to the center.* Typically, supports get the blue buff, magi get the first red buff, and assassins and hunters get the first orange buff. If your team decides to kill the buff camps at the start of the game, try to be as efficient as possible. Standing in certain locations and casting a select few spells will bring two camps together for easy AoE damage. If you know the enemy is not coming to gank at the start, it is best to start at the orange buff and work towards the blue buff, as you will be less extended.
3. When a team’s tickets are reduced to ten, the six smaller minions will no longer deduct points by being killed. The singular, large minion will still deduct one point from the team if killed, and any minion that reaches their portal will also deduct a point. In addition, the death of a god deducts five points throughout the entire game.
Note that even if one team drops to ten tickets, the team with more tickets will still lose points for every minion killed until they, themselves, reach ten tickets. Because of this, do not turtle if your team has more than ten tickets and the enemy team does not. You will lose tickets at a rate of seven every twenty seconds while the enemy team will only lose them at a rate of one every twenty seconds. Scores can easily go from 50 – 10 to 9 – 4 if your team sits idle. At the same time, do not be reckless. Use the buffer you have to wait for your ultimates to come off cooldown, group up, and force a tremendous push for the victory** – all it takes is two kills.
4. Don’t chase enemies into their base, as unavoidable, invisible damage will kill you within seconds while you watch their health regenerate at ungodly (teehee) speeds. On a similar note, do not attempt to kill the two towers on either side of their base unless it’s a complete stomp. In that case, you just do it further lessen their morale (plus an extra thirty tickets combined off the enemy’s count can’t hurt either).
*Don’t leave the center completely abandoned, as another common strategy is for the whole team to haul *** towards the first minion wave and disintegrate it, hopefully forcing a wave or two in (seven to fourteen tickets off the bat) while the other team is breathing through their mouths at the buff camps. Just make sure to be aware of the enemy team’s actions, and respond accordingly if you see them rushing to the center.
**The best time to do this is as a new minion wave is pushing its way past the midway point, as the enemy team will have to divert an AoE spell or two onto them, greatly affecting the outcome of the final teamfight.
A New Arena Mode Enters the Battle…Er, What?
The new Arena map is mostly an artistic change, but there are two mechanical details that must be mentioned. Firstly, there are four additional pillars, which provide extra defense against basic attacks and any spells that cannot go through walls. Secondly, a “payload” will spawn each time a team racks up ten enemy kills, heading for the enemy portal. If it succeeds in entering, it deducts fifteen tickets from the enemy team; if it dies, no points will be deducted from the allied team.
It is best to be very offensive when your payload is out, as the enemy team will be forced to divert some of their attention to destroying it, giving your team an advantage in the teamfight. Even if it doesn’t make it in, the pressure you’ll exert on them will likely have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
The composition of a team has a significant impact on the outcome of a game – even pro teams would be stomped when playing against relatively competent players if they choose five assassins.*
As mentioned earlier, minions are an important aspect of Arena. It’s therefore necessary to have at least one god that can provide excellent waveclear, or you’re giving yourselves a tremendous disadvantage. Strong waveclear ensures that you squeeze out every ticket you can from the enemy team, while also having a presence in teamfights; a team without a god that can clear waves effectively is essentially going to have to fight a 4v5.
In addition, it’s mandatory to have ample amounts of crowd control in order to win teamfights. Locking enemies down ensures that your team avoids damage while also making the enemies easier to burst down. Typically, the best crowd control comes in the package of a tank, which is also important to have as a way to block and absorb damage directed towards less resilient teammates.
Due to the frequent recalls and short distance between the bases and the battlefield in Arena, sustain loses a lot of its importance. However, heals can still be useful for turning teamfights or even baiting enemy gods to their deaths.
Anyone with a leap or dash is also arguably at an advantage, as they can get you out of some pretty intense focus.
A typical setup will consist of a tank, a warrior, a mage or two, a hunter, and an assassin** if there is only one mage. These teams should always have reliable CC, good waveclear, high burst damage, and and two beefy characters to soak up damage for the squishy gods.
*Five tanks on the other hand, now that’s just fun.
**Note that while assassins can be great at picking off the enemy squishies, the inability to properly gank in Arena combined with definite peels makes the entire assassin class, generally, lackluster.
League Tier List
Important notice: I haven’t personally played Arena league since I was promoted to platinum in season four, so I guess you could say I’m “out of touch” with each god’s overall position in the tier list. In addition, this list is only updated to Vulcan’s rework, and I don’t intend to update it further – this was not meant to be the highlight of the guide, but rather simply show some of the better choices out there.
As a game with almost fifty different gods, think of Smite as a convoluted game of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock. There are many variables that contribute to how effective/powerful a god is, transcending abilities to include a variety of factors such as the environment (closeness of walls or quantity of pathways) and composition, where the effects of one or more skills complement another skill when used in conjunction, thereby magnifying the god’s potential danger. However, certain gods undeniably perform better than others in the majority of compositions, which is why it’s important to select them first in league due to its draft-pick style of god selection. This list should mostly be disregarded for casual play – play who you enjoy, silly.
As mentioned previously, the environment and overall goal of the game mode also contributes to how effective gods are. Therefore, the tier list for Arena is different than that of Conquest.
While gods will be classified into S, A, B, C, and D tiers, they will be categorized under roles to reinforce the notion that just because a god is a strong pick does not mean that they fit into the team’s composition.* Also please note that this is my personal tier list and it is made under the impression that players are relatively close to each god’s skill ceiling combined with fair team coordination, so it is somewhat open for debate.
S Tier – These gods should be banned or chosen under first pick. Fear them!
A Tier – These gods are almost always solid picks, especially under experienced hands.
B Tier – These gods can perform well under experienced hands, but never take as a first pick.
C Tier – These gods are simply handicaps that even experienced players should refrain from choosing.
D Tier – These gods offer very little to the team and signify, in league, that you’re there to troll.
Please note that each tier is categorized in alphabetical order rather than under gradation of threat.
In addition, just because a god is ranked lowly does not mean someone cannot perform well with him/her. But in most cases, someone very skilled with a god that isn’t good will still perform better with a good god that they are competent with.
*Just because you have three S tier gods on your team does not mean it’s a good composition, and a B tier of a needed role is better than an A tier of a redundant one.
There’s little fun in ten people standing idle for twenty minutes, farming waves while staring each other down. Not only is good ol’ fashioned initiation more fun, but if your team can pull it off well, it will lead to victory. Proper initiation leads to near instantaneous death of one or more of the squishier enemy players.
So, what is the proper way to initiate?
Well, for starters, the team needs to be within close enough vicinity to follow up to the initiation. For instance, a Ymir using Blink to teleport far beyond his team in order to freeze a target will almost always end in failure. The result will usually be one of the strongest CC’s in the game being on cooldown while the rest of the enemy team passes the now-useless Ymir to wreck his team.
For the second point, I need to start by saying that different crowd control spells should be used differently; I can’t just say CC the squishies, because certain CC spells, like Banish, are counterintuitive to bursting down, yet great to use for defense. That aside, it is best to use stuns and knockups against the enemy team’s squishier gods, preventing them from action while simultaneously making them easily target-able. If your team can eliminate the enemy squishies before the enemy team does, no amount of CC from their tank or warriors will be enough to kill you. However, they post a significant threat if the enemy squishies are up – make sure that they will not be able to react to your initiation, or else it will result in failure.
It also needs to be regular and reliable – as nice as it would be to get a penta kill every time Ares casts No Escape, that’s just not going to happen. Being able to lock down several enemy gods on a regular basis is much better than relying on a long-cooldown wombo combo.
It’s also worth noting that it is okay for the tank to take some damage as he’s setting up for the initiation, provided he’s not weakened so much that he won’t be able to absorb enough damage when the fight actually starts.
Location/map-awareness is an extremely important aspect of initiation as well, which is covered in the next segment.
I often see people say that you should not fight near the enemy base because of how quickly the enemy team can regroup and how slowly your team can regroup. There is certainly validity in this statement, but I disagree with the notion that you should never fight by the enemy base. If your minions have passed the center of the Arena, the likelihood that you will be able to force minions through the enemy team’s portal upon a victorious teamfight greatly increases. Provided your team does not lallygag near the enemy’s base, you will have a signficant advantage by pushing on the enemy team.
It’s best to fight just past the center until you’re ready to push. The close proximity of their base often encourages the enemy team to make a “quick trip back” to replinish health/mana. This turns it into a 5v4 or even 5v3, making it incredibly easy to score some kills and push your way to the enemy team’s base. At that point, there are two choices:
1. Stay in front of either of the two entrances of the enemy base, doing your best to prevent the remaining enemies from clearing the incoming minion wave.
2. Retreat as a team in order to not lose any points from the small victory you just had.
The first choice is best done against gods that cannot leap through the base walls and have slow/short ranged waveclear. If only one or two enemy gods are alive at their base, the only thing they can do it protect the portal. If you can successfully deny their clear, you gain a tremendous lead. On the other hand, if they can clear the wave against your team, you’re just asking to get counter pushed. It is therefore best to retreat after a successful teamfight if the enemy team has remaining gods that can safely clear the waves and respawn timer is low.
It is generally unsafe to fight by your own base for the very reasons stated above. Even the smallest of errors will result in minion waves getting through, and even if you do win a teamfight, there is no way you will be able to push a wave all the way across the map before the enemy team returns.
On another note, it also can be beneficial to occasionally fight on the sides. That is only if you have a strong waveclear god like Ao Kuang that can defend middle lane while simultaneously being a strong presence in a teamfight. If the enemy team doesn’t not have powerful waveclear, you end up forcing the teams apart, dominating the teamfights while still preventing minions from reaching your portal.
That all said, I prefer spending the majority of the game fighting in the center during solo queue because I don’t trust my teammates to clear waves or push intelligently. Nothing is worse than four of your teammates dying near the enemy team’s guardians while you’re defending your portal as Bakasura.
Pillars – They’re There For a Reason
The original Arena has four pillars that form the general center of the Arena. They block everything that does not go through walls, making them very useful for warding off basic attacks or spells such as Sobek’s Charge Preyand Xbalanque’s Poison Darts. The new Arena has four additional “pillars” which have finally been updated into the minimap (I’ll have an updated picture soon), and provide the same defense that the original pillars give. In addition, the walls of the buff camps serve as protection as well.
Use these to your advantage.
Side Notes / Tips and Tricks
As of this patch, the two towers can no longer be killed. 🙁
Minions accept heals and speed boosts. Rushing the center at the start of the game with gods like Hel for her speed boost can increase the chances of the minions reaching the enemy portal if the enemy team starts at the buff camps and does not have good map awareness.
Use stationary camps to your advantage with spells like Restoration, and use for your defense when being chased; they do not aggro on vicinity, but rather upon taking damage. If you’re being chased by, say, Artemis, passing passing through the buff camps will make it harder for her to damage you. The same goes for using your minions as meat-shields, especially early game.
You can jump directly through the base wall into your base with a leap, such as Bacchus’s Belly Flop. Do it if you’re in a bind and will not be able to use one of the two entrances without dying you *****. Note that jumps, such as Neith’s Backflip, will not work – there must be a ground targeter for your exact, desired location.
If you’re in the middle of a teamfight and you see a minion wave passing by you, you must deem whether or not it is worth it. Remember, a wave is worth seven points (and in effect, fourteen). That’s more than an allied god. But if you leaving the teamfight will result in a pushing advantage for the enemy team, it could do more harm than good.
I don’t need to do it much anymore, but if you’re in a low level Arena against an enemy Loki, I would recommend setting a ward along both sides of the map near the red buff camp to help reduce the amount of teammates that die each second to him.
Conclusion, Credits, and Changelog
I hope this guide helped improve your performance in Arena, it was fun to write. Remember to thank your minions for being so persistent. It’s a shame so many of their dreams have been crushed.
Then again, the ones that don’t reach the portal are the lucky ones. I’ve seen what’s on the other side.
TormentedTurnip from smitefire.com