A Mid Lane Guide to Hera, The Queen of the Gods
Sun 2nd Jun 2019 - 1:56pm
The release of Hera has been highly anticipated since Smite’s inception. Being the Queen of the Gods comes with high expectations, and her kit doesn’t disappoint. With her high damage output and unique crowd control options, she’s an extremely strong pick to carry your ranked games! Let’s go over her abilities, builds, and playstyle.
Abilities & Passive
I usually wouldn’t start with a god’s ultimate ability, but Hera’s is so integral to her kit that’s where we’re starting.
Argus, the Defender is Hera's ultimate and it's one of the coolest and most impactful ones in the game. She summons a giant protector named Argus from the sky, and he crashes down knocking up and damaging any enemies in the area. After the initial drop, Argus can be controlled similarly to Kaldr (Skadi’s Dog) and will attack anyone that you choose to target. This includes towers, objectives, and minions. Just like Kaldr with Skadi, Argus will follow Hera if he isn’t targeting an enemy. This means that the other team can follow Argus to find you if you are retreating, so be mindful of that.
Argus starts off squishy, but as you level up the ability, he gains protections and health. This makes him ideal for tanking objectives like the Fire Giant or Gold Fury. Argus has a time limit, so either his time expires or he dies from damage. To make sure you have this ability up as fast as possible, you can send him under an enemy tower for an untimely death. While this may seem a little cruel, it is the best way to get his cooldown back up as fast as possible!
Positioning is always important, but with Hera and Argus it is especially so. Argus has a leash range when pursuing enemies. This means that if an enemy gets far enough from Argus, he will run back to Hera. It is a balancing act of staying close enough to your target so Argus can reach them, while simultaneously staying at a safe distance from the other team. This is one of the trickier parts of her kit but the skill will develop with experience playing her. You’ll want to level this ability whenever it is available.
Damage – 100/150/200/250/200 (+55% of your Magical Power)
Argus Health – 700/1400/2100/2800/3500
Argus Movement Speed – 440/455/470/485/500
Argus Lifetime – 40s
Argus Protections (Magical & Physical) – 25/30/35/40/45
Royal Assault, Hera's first ability, is her primary way of clearing minions, and the ability you will want to level first. It has two parts; the first part is a cone in front of Hera. This cone knocks back any minions into the second part of the ability. The second part is a decently sized rectangle, similar to Discordia Strife, where two Argus fists collide. If you hit it right in the middle, it does 15% extra damage. The cone will always knock minions into the fists, no matter where you position it, so to clear the wave efficiently, place the fists on the archers and knockback the melee minions. It doesn’t have the longest range, so like I said previously, be careful of your positioning. Royal Assault is Hera’s primary damage source, and it really packs a punch.
Cone Damage – 30/40/50/60/70 (+15% of your Magical Power)
Fist Damage – 80/120/180/230/280 (+80% of your Magical Power)
Hera’s second ability is called Polymorph and it is Hera's best Crowd Control. It is a line ability, and as the name suggests, hitting it will Polymorph the enemy. If you are unfamiliar with Polymorph, it turns the enemy into a random jungle monster, and they are unable to use abilities or auto attack. The only other ability that can do that in the game is Cernunnos ultimate. Now, this ability has a slight wind-up, so predicting where your target will be after that time is vital. Hitting it will also cause the enemy to be slowed by 20%. A great combo is using Polymorph then Royal Assault, and if the enemy is still alive, dropping Argus. This will easily 100 to 0 enemy carries and do a considerable amount of damage to tankier gods. Look to level this ability second in most situations, as it helps with wave clear early and the duration of the polymorph increases with levels.
Damage – 60/105/150/195/240 (+75% of your Magical Power)
Slow – 20%
Polymorph Duration – 1.2/1.4/1.6/1.8/2s
Hera’s third, and in my opinion her most powerful ability late game outside of Argus, is Divine Shroud. Hera creates a temporary shield that lasts 5 seconds and gives her 15% movement speed. This shield is massive once you get a few points in it, and it is insane at keeping her alive during teamfights or if you get ganked. Not only do you get a gigantic shield, if Argus is active, he gains 50% increased movement speed and emits an aura that deals damage in a circle around him. It has a long cooldown, so if you're planning on dropping Argus, wait for it to come back up, or try to save it until after Argus starts smashing. You’ll want to level this ability third, except in situations where you are dying a lot, where you would level it second for higher survivability.
Shield Health – 50/100/150/200/250 (+20 per Hera’s Level)
Movement Speed – 15%
Argus Speed – 50%
Shield Duration – 5s
Argus Aura Damage – 7/11/15/19/23 (+7.5% of your Magical Power)
Passive: Commanding Presence
Hera’s passive is interconnected with Argus heavily. Every time she does damage to a god with her abilities or basic attacks, Argus’s cooldown is lowered by 1 second and Divine Shroud's is reduced by 0.33 seconds. If Argus is active, instead of cooldown reduction, Argus is healed. This is a very interesting passive as it allows you to slot less cooldown reduction in favor for other items or just have insane cooldown!
Hera’s build is similar to many other mages at the moment, but let’s go over a common build that’ll work in most situations. You’re going to want to rush Book of Thoth on Hera. Start with Book of Souls (Book tier 2) and two health potions and a mana potion. Finish Book of Thoth and then go into Shoes of Focus. The mana from Shoes of Focus synergizes with Book of Thoth's passive well, and the cooldown is extremely nice early. You’ll want to get some penetration online after this, so purchase Spear of Desolation or Divine Ruin if they have healing. Next item is where the build path can diverge. If you expect to be under a lot of pressure or you're dying frequently, picking up a Book of the Dead will ensure you can stay alive longer. Otherwise, pick up a Soul Reaver. The fifth item is what I like to call the Shard Slot because I am almost always buying Obsidian Shard in this spot no matter what mage I am playing. The reasoning behind this is that by the time you are buying your fifth item it is usually later in the game, and the percent penetration on Obsidian Shard is irreplaceable. Lastly, rounding out the build with a Chronos Pendant will ensure all your abilities are up frequently, and Argus is always ready for battle! If you make it late enough in the game to sell boots for Speed Potion, buy a Rod of Tahuti if you’re the aggressor, or a defensive option like Mantle of Discord if you’re on the backfoot.
Early Game/Mid Game
Early game is Hera’s weakest and most vulnerable point in the game. She lacks damage early, lacks a proper escape, and Argus isn’t there to bail her out. Playing passively and farming as much of the map as you can will lead to the best results. Once she hits level 5, things start to ramp up. Don’t be afraid to drop Argus on your mid lane opponent as her passive will make sure that he is up in no time. Making your opponent return to base simply because they let Argus wail on them a little too long will generate a nice lead. Once you get to mid game, continue farming while rotating to team fights and helping out any lanes that need it if possible.
This is where Hera truly shines. Her damage is incredible at the later stages of the game, and Argus is almost always causing havoc. Look to initiate fights around objectives by dropping Argus. This tends to send teams into chaos, which your team should be able to capitalize off of.
Hera should be a mid-lane mage you add to your ranked god pool. She can easily carry games single handedly, and she’s just plain fun to play. Her mix of crazy damage and crowd control along with the teamfight presence of Argus is worthy of the title Queen of the Gods.
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