Exploring Hades in Smite After Patch 5.23
Wed 2nd Jan 2019 - 10:31pm
Hades is one of Smite’s oldest gods. He started out as a Guardian, but later got reclassified as a Mage and has since been trying to find his identity. For years, he has been a lower tier character that was only played in niche situations or by specialists. Hades has been periodically buffed throughout Season 5 and Patch 5.23 saw his most recent changes, making him faster and tankier. In this article, we will provide some tips for aspiring or returning players of the King of the Underworld.
Patch 5.23 gave Hades two buffs. The first increased his movement speed by 10, from 355 to 365. Ten movement speed, while it doesn’t seem like much, can be felt in-game. This movement speed increase allows Hades to not only rotate around the map quicker, but maneuver around a fight slightly better. Every moment matters in Smite, and for a point-blank-focused Mage like Hades, getting in position that much sooner can be game-changing.
In addition, Pillar of Agony gained additional bonus protections, from 60/70/60/90/100 to 60/85/110/135/160. There is no change in the first rank, but by rank 5, Hades gets 60 additional protections during his ult. This buff allows Hades to survive a little more while he's stationary and channeling his ultimate. The 60 additional all-prots equates to about another defensive item keeping Hades safe during Pillar of Agony.
Over the last couple of seasons, Hades has received buffs to his passive, Blight. Blight is a debuff that is applied to targets hit by Hades’ basic attacks, Death From Below, and Shroud of Darkness. Targets hit by Blight have their power reduced by 5% for eight seconds. Each of Hades’ abilities gain an additional effect from hitting a target with blight. In the past, some spells consumed the debuff but didn’t reapply it, leading to instances of awkward game play. Now, none of Hades’ abilities remove Blight, allowing follow up spells access to their secondary effects.
Death From Below is Hades’ first spell. It is a jump that travels underground and damages enemies where he emerges. Death From Below slows Blighted enemies and applies a new instance of Blight to anyone hit. Death From Below can be used to engage a fight, chase down a target, or to get out of a precarious situation.
Shroud of Darkness is a good control spell. It silences enemies in a cone in front of Hades and applies Blight. If a target is already debuffed by Blight, Shroud of Darkness then also fears the them. Shroud of Darkness can be used to interrupt channeled spells and initiations, or fear enemies into the rest of Hades’ kit. When used unexpectedly, enemies may take a little longer to find their bearings, allowing Hades more time to take them down.
Devour Souls is Hades’ primary wave clear ability. This spell deals damage to nearby enemies. The fun starts when enemies are infected with Blight. Each Blighted enemy hit by Devour Souls produce their own small explosion that damages enemies and heals Hades and his allies. Enemies can be hit by multiple explosions per cast. If a whole minion wave is Blighted and hit by Devour Souls, each explosion will hit nearby minions and quickly clear the creeps. Gods only take half the damage from Blight-caused explosions. However, if an enemy god stands in the middle of their wave, Devour Souls can deal a ton of damage.
Auto attacking each minion in the wave is not an efficient way to apply Blight to the entire wave. Both Death From Below and Shroud of Darkness can Blight the full wave. Using Death From Below allows Hades to clear the wave a little earlier, but leaves him vulnerable to ganks. Shroud of Darkness is a safer way to Blight the wave, and should be used as the Blight applicator as soon as Devour Souls clears the wave on its own. Either way, it takes Hades two abilities to quickly clear the wave and doing so leaves him without one of his defensive tools. Auto attacking some minions and then casting Devour Souls can be used to clear the wave and may be enough depending on the game state and matchups. If Devour Souls misses a minion, it takes what feels like an eternity for Hades to basic attack it down.
Pillar of Agony is the ultimate ability of Hades. He roots himself for up to four seconds and gains protections while damaging and vertexing nearby enemies. It also strips the protections of Blighted enemies. This ability does a ton of damage, up 840 + 240% scaling, but comes with great costs. The damage is dealt over time and Hades is immobile during the channel.
Even though he gains a lot of protections, Hades is a sitting duck during his ult and teams can often turn and burn him. Pillar of Agony can be used on solitary enemies whose movement abilities are on cooldown or to start up a teamfight backed by artillery. A sufficiently ahead Hades can open an engage with Pillar of Agony to pull actives and abilities or just kill people.
When used to his fullest potential, Hades provides a lot of crowd control and burst. In team fights, Hades can engage with Blink or Death From Below and silence/fear a group before pulling them in with Pillar of Agony. Once enemies are grouped together and Blighted, Devour Souls can destroy them while leaving Hades nice and healthy. These plays can scatter and disorganize the enemy team. Hades can also use any of these skills by themselves to surprise and disrupt opponents.
Hades has a lot of build options. In the mid lane, he can build full burst and aim to nuke people. He can build health items like Warlock’s Staff for some survivability, but that is an unfavorable start right now. There is also the opportunity for items like Void Stone and Ethereal Staff for defensive utility.
In the solo lane, Hades can build more bruisery. He can build protection and health items along with some offensive flair if the player wants. With items like Void Stone, a tanky Hades still does great damage while having the potential to live for a while.
Hades has several build options.
Hades is a character that can be played as a bruiser or tank. Because he is a Mage, Hades has access to Lono’s Mask. Lono’s Mask lowers the user’s damage but increases their survivability. Hades does have access to a lot of damage, but in games where he needs to be more of a front liner with control and tankiness, he can buy Lono’s Mask.
Lono's Mask allows squishier classes to take on a more tanky play style.
Hades is by no means a perfect god and has several weaknesses. Hades has a very predictable play pattern in the early game and can be played around. He can also struggle with solo clearing buffs after Devour Souls kills the small jungle monsters, so he can get invaded and pushed behind if his jungler is not on the ball.
Hades has short-range spells with long cast times, so he has the potential to be kited and gods with moderate mobility can dodge Hades’ kit if he isn’t played carefully. Hades is also stationary during Pillar of Agony, making him an easy target.
Hades is supposed to be a Mage with high burst damage and survivability, but when he’s behind, Hades cannot burst a squishy or survive casting Pillar of Agony. Hades still has his crowd control, but his short-ranged spells handicap him when he is lacking in resources. The additional protections in Pillar of Agony from Patch 5.23 helps Hades deal more damage in his ultimate, but he can still be melted. Hades is a god that needs to be even or ahead, or he’ll jump into the enemy team and just die.
Hades got buffed in Patch 5.23. His movement speed is higher and he’s tankier during Pillar of Agony. These are just the most recent in a string of buffs Hades has gotten throughout Season 5. The Blight passive adds effects to each of his abilities, allowing Hades to be rewarded for smart plays. Hades can be built as a mage, magical bruiser, or tank. Hades is near useless if behind, but can be an absolute terror in team fights and when given a lead. Hades is one of Smite’s oldest gods and may be preparing a renaissance of his own.
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