Ares Jungle and the Mid-Season Update
Wed 28th Aug 2019 - 10:05pm
Ares is one of the oldest gods in Smite and has traditionally been played in the support role. In the Season 6 Mid-Season Update patch, Searing Flesh received a humongous buff that allowed Ares to become a strong jungler. As a jungler, can make use out of a variety of builds with different levels of defense. In this article, we will look at how the Mid-Season patch and a few weeks of innovations turned Ares into a strong jungler in Smite.
Ares only received one change from the Mid-Season patch, but this one change greatly impacted the power level of the god. Searing Flesh now deals bonus damage equal to 5% of the max health of minions and jungle monsters it hits every tick. The extra damage does not scale on ability rank and does not hit boss monsters like the Fire Giant. Searing Flesh still deals 1-3% max health damage to gods.
Searing Flesh saw a major buff in the Mid-Season Update
Searing Flesh ticks every .5 seconds for 4 seconds, meaning it can hit a target up to 8 times. For minions, this means that the flames deal 40% of their max health from this buff. Searing Flesh also deals 15-35 damage with 7% power scaling every tick. At rank 1, Searing Flesh does 120 damage plus 56% of Ares’ magical power, plus 40% of a camp’s health, plus bonuses from Assassin’s Blessing and other items. Even after taking protections and damage reductions into account, Ares now deals much more damage to minions and monsters than ever before.
The buff to Searing Flesh means Ares is a much stronger laner than before. He can still be played in the solo and support roles and now has wave clear in addition to his classic kill potential. However, the Searing Flesh buff has allowed Ares to also take up the mantle of jungler. Many professional and Minor League junglers have added Ares to their arsenal.
The buff to Searing Flesh has allowed Ares to become a strong jungler.
At the start of the game, Ares jungle picks up Assassin’s Blessing, Blink Rune, and either Shoes or Imperial Helmet. With the Mid-Season Update, Searing Flesh does a good job of killing jungle camps and is skilled up first. However, Shackles is the skill maxed first. The damage goes up a lot per rank and gives Ares more kill threat than maxing Searing Flesh does. Searing Flesh can clear most of the jungle when kept at rank 1 and the percent health damage to minions does not scale with rank. Larger monsters and buff holders may live through a cast of Searing Flesh, but a couple basic attacks or a Shackle should finish them off.
Ares is a jungler that is good at ganking lanes, especially after level five when he has access to his ultimate. Ares can Blink in and try to force resources such as ultimates or Purification Beads with some Shackles or a No Escape. Blink has a lower cooldown than Beads, so Ares can repeat gank a god without built-in CC immunity in the window between Blink and Beads coming off cooldown. Ares is also good at fighting gods in the early game. With a couple points in Shackles, the flames and chains of Ares can just melt enemy gods. Ares does have to worry about getting caught out in his jungle after just clearing a camp because his cooldowns will be down, and he just has Guardian basic attacks to fight back with. When he’s the initiator, Ares has a scary amount of damage while being difficult to kill.
In team compositions, Ares is a high crowd control frontliner. Ares is great in team fights when he has teammates to force Beads, Magi’s Blessing, and other immunities. Gods such as Athena can coordinate with Ares to burn such resources before Ares comes in with a No Escape backed up by burst from the rest of the team. Ares can also be the person to Blink in, pull Beads, and have his teammate’s crown control set up for the likes of a Kraken. In the jungle, Ares has a higher level and more damage than he does when he's the support. Ares does not have the burst of an Assassin, but he can control multiple enemy gods or focus out a single target for annihilation. Ares also has potential to punish other team compositions when drafted late. Ares can be oppressive when he's picked against teams with high mobility, but low CC immunity, drafts.
Ares still has strong crowd control and excels when paired with other high CC gods.
There are a couple styles of builds that are being used on Ares jungle. One popular core consists of Jade Emperor’s Helm and Void Stone. Together, these items cover protections for both damage types and their auras provide Ares with 60 power from his passive, Blessed Presence. Jade Emperor’s Helm acts to reduce the damage done by opposing physical threats, while Void Stone increases the damage of Ares and his magical teammates. This bruiser core sets up Ares to have a strong mid game with good amounts of both damage and mitigation.
Jade Emperor's Helm and Void Stone are a strong core for a magical bruiser in the jungle.
The rest of the build is situational. Which items to buy depends on what you think you need. If you want to be tanky, you can pick up Pridwen, Midguardian Mail, Pestilence, or whatever situational defense you want. Utility selections include items such as Relic Dagger, Stone of Binding, and Pythagorem's Piece. Remember, aura items provide Ares with 30 power each.
Aggressive item selections also come in a couple flavors. Ethereal Staff comes with offensive and defensive stats. Many pros have been slotting Ethereal Staff somewhere in their Ares builds. In the same tree, Gem of Isolation allows the DoTs from Ares to be very annoying. Spear of the Magus is also a great paring with ticking spells and is an aggressive item to build on Ares.
There is also a full tank build being ran in the Jungle. Instead of Jade Emperor’s Crown, Ares can grab a Sovereignty. This build deals much less damage, but a couple aura items still give Ares some power and utility. The Ares can build like a support and be a tanky, roaming, frontliner.
Ares can build a variety of items in the jungle.
Over just a couple of professional games, junglers have built every type of shoe on Ares. Shoes of the Magi has the most power and provides penetration for more damage. Shoes of Focus is built for its mana and cooldown reduction. Traveler’s Shoes is the option for when you want a lot of movement speed and MP5. Lastly, Reinforced Shoes is picked up in pure tank builds. All forms of footwear are viable on Ares jungle.
Every type of upgraded Shoe can be build on jungle Ares.
Ares is a strong jungler, but he does not come without his flaws. Ares has decent clear, but he is still vulnerable to be invaded in the very early game. One strategy in pro play is for supports to annoy and harass junglers at their buffs at the start of the game. Ares is a great target for this as his last hit potential is poor and single-hit spells can often secure camps and buffs from under him.
Ares jungle also keeps the issues he has in support role. If Ares dies too often or gets denied too much gold and experience, he can die in the channel time of his ult and pull nobody. If Ares does not have a full tank build in the ultra late game, he can also just die trying to cast No Escape and do nothing besides giving his opponents a bit of gold.
Ares is also reliant on Blink Rune to get into range to use No Escape. If Ares is not able to start a fight or the Relic is on cooldown, Ares has to risk wading into a good position to ult. No Escape is a really strong ultimate, but if Ares cannot hit the right people, his teamfight power is greatly diminished.
Ares is a strong jungler, but he has low mobility and long periods of vulnerability.
The Mid-Season Update brought many changes to Smite and buffed several gods. Ares is one of the gods that received some love. His Searing Flesh ability gained bonus damage to minions to the point where he became a good jungler. Ares has a lot of kill threat and brings another frontlining Beads burner to a team composition. Ares can build full tank or more bruisery, adding hybrid and damage items when needed. Ares is still vulnerable when behind and sometimes can just be blown up before his ult gets off. Ares is not new to Smite, but he is new to the jungle role and it will be fun to watch the God of War burn all those who oppose him.
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