How DeathWalker and Team Rival Pulled Off Ares Solo
Mon 31st Jul 2017 - 10:06am
At the recent Smite Pro League Summer Finals LAN at DreamHack Valencia, Team Rival pulled out a unique strategy when down 0-2 in the final set against Team Dignitas. Their solo laner, DeathWalker, played Ares. The pick was a success and Team Rival won the game. Ares solo is not a plug-and-play selection. Many factors had to be just right for it to work. This article will cover how Team Rival pulled off Ares solo.
Team Rival did not just decide to slot Ares into their solo lane like you can with Osiris or Bellona, they designed the composition around the pick which was coupled by their opponent having a draft that was weak to Ares.
Besides Ares, the most important part of Team Rival’s composition was Athena. The Athena support actually started in the solo lane with Ares. Together, they could clear the lane 2v1. After Athena left the solo lane, she could support Ares if he was struggling at any point due to her global ultimate. The support was able to start in the short lane because Cernunnos is a hunter that can be fine left by himself. Cernnunos is also the late game dps threat of the composition. The jungler, Odin is a strong early game character that can bring his team to the mid game where he transitions into a utility role. Ra is the final piece of the team composition. He can heal his tanky frontline while dishing out massive burst damage.
Ares fits in as a control character in the mid game and solidifies the composition as a team fight lineup. The combination of Ares and Athena forces the enemy team to pick up Purification Beads and use them often. The ultimate of Ares, No Escape, is great at burning the beads of many enemies and then Athena can taunt a primary target or two, guaranteeing her crowd control due to beads being on cooldown and the follow up from Ra can kill just kill a squishy target. Athena can also scare the beads out of opponents and then Ares pulls them into his team. One of the easiest ways to get out of Odin’s cage is to jump over it. The chains from Ares cripples targets, preventing them from using mobility skills. The cripple from Ares, ring from Odin, spells from Cernunnos, and the multitude of slows limit the mobility and defensive options from the enemy team. The tanky frontline and healing from Ra make it difficult to kill this composition. The weakness of the draft is that if it falls behind or gets to the very late game, it lacks overall damage, relying mostly on Ra and Cernunnos as the damage of Odin and Ares falls off.
The composition that Team Dignitas had drafted was vulnerable to an Ares pick. Their support, Terra, has a dash that is very important in comboing with the rest of her kit and has no innate CC immunity. This makes her vulnerable to the chains and ultimate from Ares. Their midlaner was Janus and one of his biggest strengths is creating portals that allow him and his team to move through walls. Portals cannot be taken when crippled by an Ares chain. Ares can also prevent the dashes from Bellona and Jing Wei, although the latter was picked after the Ares selection.
Both teams drafted in a matter that allowed Ares solo to be picked on the side of Team Rival.
Despite playing the solo role, Deathwalker was not alone at the start of the game. Athena joined Ares clearing their blue buff at 30 seconds and walked to lane with him. The support then laned with Ares for 5 minutes, helping him clear the creeps and fight the opponent. Once Ares could be self-sufficient, Athena left but was always a Defender of Olympus away in case Ares needed help. At this point, Ares was comfortable for the rest of the laning phase.
During the early laning phase, Ares and Athena were able to fight Bellona and keep her under her tower. They often initiated with a taunt into triple chains to take a chunk of Bellona’s health and keep her wary. This could be done reliably because Bellona had no way of breaking Athena’s taunt in the laning phase. Ares and Athena were heavily pushed up doing this, so they had to back away if Team Dignitas rotated extra members towards the solo lane.
By himself, Ares struggled to clear the lane for the entirety of the laning phase. Recently, Ares received a buff making his chains deal extra damage to minions which certainly helped here. He would try to hit chains on Bellona through minions and hit secondary chains on just minions to clear. Ares would often finish clearing minions under tower because Bellona is a great laner even when behind.
DeathWalker’s build was part of his success on Ares solo. He started with Bumba’s Mask and Imperial Helmet, which provides physical protection and magical power. Bumba’s Mask was important because he started at his blue buff and the item gives Ares a source of sustain when he kills jungle camps. Shoes of the Magi was then built as a first item to give Ares a good damage boost. Imperial Helmet was upgraded to Jade Emperor’s Crown, a nice hybrid item with an aura that reduces the enemy’s physical power. This provides Ares with good stats in the matchup and an Aura to fuel his passive.
The build then proceeds with another synergistic aura, Void Stone. This item provides an aura reducing the enemy’s magical protection in addition to granting magical power and protection to the wearer. The aura increases the damage that Ares and Ra will do to nearby enemies. More penetration is built in the form of Spear of the Magus, which works best with damage over time effects, such are Ares’ chains and flames to reduces the enemy’s magical defense further. With a relatively squishy build, the defense is then built. In this case, Hide of the Urchin was purchased. The game ended before Bumba’s Mask could be sold, but it would likely be replaced with another defensive item to strengthen the frontline potential of Ares.
Deathwalker's Ares Solo Build
With their backs to the wall, Team Rival pulled out a surprise strategy in game 3 of the final set of the Summer Finals LAN. They brought out Ares solo and it worked. Several things had to be in place for their success, such as team composition and starting the support starting with Ares. The Ares solo is likely a one-time-only play because it won't be as surprising, but it was fun to watch and examine.