Valkyrie in the Middle: Playing Freya Mid in Smite
Tue 29th Aug 2017 - 11:31am
Freya has had a turbulent history in Smite. She is a god with no defined place and has been played in every role in a competitive game except for support. Freya started off primarily as a jungler before transitioning into the Hunter role with cameos in other lanes from time to time. In this article, we will go over Freya mid, which has been talked about recently and seen minor play between splits. We will cover Freya’s kit as well as her strengths and weaknesses in the middle lane.
Freya is unique god in Smite. She is an in-hand-based mage with melee basic attacks and a couple steroids in her kit. As an in-hand god, most of Freya's damage comes from her basic attacks and her kit revolves around making them stronger. Freya’s passive, Brisingamen's Blessing, grants her a flat 15% lifesteal, which helps her with sustain. AoE spells inherit 1/3 of this value, but Freya has strong single target attacks that take full benefit of the lifesteal.
Freya’s first ability. Irradiate, causes her each of her basic attacks for the next five seconds to deal additional damage. Pulse is Freya’s next ability. Pulse is a six-second-long buff that makes her basic attacks ranged and deal AoE splash damage in addition to slowing every target hit. When Pulse and Irradiate are both active, the resulting basic attacks deal the combined bonus damage from both abilities while losing the slow and AoE from Pulse but keeping the ranged shots. This results in a very high damage single target stream of “gumball” basic attacks. Because Freya’s steroids are based on duration and not number of attacks, the amount of shots Freya can send scales with her attack speed, making that stat very valuable to her.
Freya also has access to the Banish skill, which will Banish targets in a small radius, suspending them above the battleground, untargetable and unable to take action. After 1.5 seconds, the targets will fall, vulnerable to damage before they can hit the ground and move. Lastly, Freya’s ultimate is Valkyrie's Discretion. Using this ability throws Freya in the air, untargetable, while she can shoot up to four attacks that damage enemies in a small area on the ground. This ability can be used defensively to avoid attacks or aggressively to chase down enemies just out of reach or to deal massive damage in a team fight.
Freya is a late game god. She has a decent early game but only gets better as the game goes on, scaling to the point that she is considered a hypercarry. Freya is one of, if not the, best god at a 1v1 skirmish in the late game, able to quickly eliminate a squishy god and chunk out tanks with her combo attacks at the cost of being very vulnerable in the window where her steroids are down and on cooldown. Freya has to be protected in a team fight because she can be CCed and bursted down, but does have self-peel in the form of her Banish and ultimate abilities. Freya is a strong god in the right circumstances and we are going to see how those criteria can be met in the mid lane.
Rumblings of Freya mid have been around since the start of Season 4. The pick was known as a favorite of Team Dignitas’ own midlaner Zyrhoes, along with the other magical in-hand gods Sol and Chronos. We have not seen Freya played by Zyrhoes yet, but it was pulled out in the mid lane by Yammyn of NRG Esports at the NRG Invitational.
Traditionally, Freya builds a lot of attack speed to generate additional suped-up basic attacks during her steroids. However, Yammyn built her more as a traditional burst mage, similar to what Zyrhoes innovated with Sol earlier this split. Yammyn started with Soul Stone and Tiny Trinket. Soul Stone is a starter item that synergizes well with Freya, buffing her ability damage after a few basic attacks and stacking that counter during her steroids. Tiny Trinket is a tier 1 item that provides some damage and lifesteal while building into a strong item later.
He then built Shoes of the Magi, the penetration option. These boots provide the highest DPS out of any other boots option. Tiny Trinket was then upgraded into Book of the Dead, a costly item that provides a high amount of power, some health, and a health shield that scales with your maximum health. The penetration item of choice was Obsidian Shard and Rod of Tahuti was picked up fourth for a large power spike. Yammyn used this build in all of his Freya games. The games never got late enough to build a fifth or sixth item, but we can speculate on how the build would be finished. The build was likely to either advance like a traditional Mage build with more high power items, or with attack speed items such as Hastened Ring to resemble a typical Freya build.
The power-focused build means that Freya shoots out less empowered shots per rotation, but each one hits harder. This also increases her tower damage because Irradiate and Pulse do not damage towers, but the increased power and Obsidian Shard allow her basic attacks to deal more damage to structures. In addition, Valkyrie's Discretion deals 960 + 140% power damage at max rank if every shot connects. This is a lot of damage and the power build amplifies the ult more than an attack speed build can. A power-focused Freya can be scary because each instance of damage is a large number.
The build Yammyn built on Freya mid at the NRG Invitational
Freya has some aspects that promote her being played in the middle lane. As a Mage, Freya does not disrupt the damage profile of a team when in the mid lane while still providing amazing late game DPS. Freya also is not that bad early. Even at level one, Freya’s Pulse chunks out the enemy Mage and the splash damage does a good job clearing the wave. Banish is a great tool for setting up your team or forcing Purification Beads from the opponent. Freya also provides late game tank busting that a lot of Mages lack. Once Freya gets a few items online, she has very high dps and can take out a target with ease.
Freya mid can fit into compositions and have compositions built around her. A team with a lot of global abilities can protect her and a comp with an earlier focused Hunter, such as Neith, can use a hypercarry mid. When Freya is run in the Hunter position, the team often has low tower push, but when Freya can be run alongside a Hunter, this is not an issue.
There are also factors that detract from Freya being a staple midlaner. While she is not weak early, she can be pushed in by an early game character such as Neith and needs to be babysat against aggressive early compositions. A Freya that gets far behind will not provide much to a fight. The mid role often gets less farm than the side lanes, so a Freya mid will take longer to get online than one played in the Hunter position. Freya’s damage is also telegraphed and the enemy team can disengage while her steroids are active and then reengage while Freya has no aggressive options. Outside of Pulse, Freya is a melee character and can be kited or bullied in lane or in fights.
Freya mid does not fit into every composition. Sometimes you want a big Mage ult to secure objectives and the damage of Valkyrie's Discretion comes in individual shots instead of all at once, which increases the chance of an enemy stealing the objective under it. Too many basic attack gods on a team can be an issue when countered and sometimes a composition needs a character with more early control in the mid lane so their jungle doesn’t get invaded and they get snowballed on. In addition, Freya has a playstyle that most mid players would need a lot practice with because they aren’t used to her.
Freya has had an interesting history in Smite. She has been played in many roles over the years. Currently, Freya has potential in the middle lane and has been played in mid at the recent NRG Invitational tournament. There are factors that promote and some that discourage Freya being played mid, which makes her a situational pick that could see some play in the regular season of the Smite Pro League.
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