Five Physical Supports For Snowballing the Early Game
Sat 4th Jan 2020 - 8:22pm
Physical Supports are very strong in Smite right now. The early game is important, and physical supports are able to dominate this stage and snowball a match. Assassins and Warriors are early game bullies and flex picks. They can be in the jungle or be a support that harasses the opposing jungler. Below, we have listed five physical supports to play. Each have their own strengths, but all can run out guns blazing from the very start of a game. Physical supports are in a good place and learning how to play them can win you games.
Warriors and Assassins tend to be strong in the early game and this is still true when they are played in the support role. A strategy has evolved this season that involves the support pressuring the opposing jungler at their speed buff at level one and then following them around for the next couple of camps too. The support can build boots 2, a Chalice of Healing, and then more health potions. This build means that the support gets insane health sustain and denies the healing from Assassin’s Blessing if they secure buffs and jungle monsters. All the while, the opposing jungler is taking damage from the camp in addition to the harass from the support. The support just needs to auto attack the jungler and save their ability for securing the buff. If the jungler doesn’t feel like pulling more camps, they will fall behind in XP by idling around. They way to play around this invade strategy requires communication and coordination, which can be hard to get in casual and ranked environments.
Physical supports are great at this play because they have high damage abilities with a chance to steal the buff. It is okay to risk being behind or even dying as a support because it means they can set the opposing jungler far behind in XP and gold by just slowing down his farming speed. Smite also has a catchup mechanic, so if the support isn’t successful, they can spilt some waves and try to get back into the game. Stealing the buff is even better and it crushes the spirit of your opponent, especially in casual games that can snowball off of the jungler getting tilted.
Supports can start the game with boots and potions to help with invades.
Most of the physical supports are flex picks. They can be played in the jungle or solo roles, or sometimes both. This draft flexibility allows you to pick one of these characters and still draft a support later if you can get a better composition or matchup. Your opponent is never 100% sure where picks are going until other gods are locked in, and you can pivot to generate advantages in the drafting phase.
Having a physical support pushes your team’s damage profile towards physical. This could be good or bad, depending on the rest of your team composition and strategy. Physical supports are great in double Mage compositions because they have high damage in the early and mid games. However, physical supports may not be as valued in double Hunter compositions unless there is a magical carry in the jungle or solo role. Four physical compositions can work in Smite, and many physical supports bring protection shred to complement the comp, but they are harder to play.
Serqet is one the best supports in Smite. She is one of the best gods in Smite, period. Serqet is a natural fit in the support role because she can excel in the jungle role without building any damage items. The Goddess of Venom combines high base damage with protection shred, percent health damage, moderate crowd control, and true damage. Serqet also has two movement abilities if she ever gets in trouble.
Deathbane is just a disgusting ability, especially at level one. It deals 180 damage over three hits and shreds the protections of those hit by it by 10%. Deathbane should secure buffs over the jungler Serqet is harassing, but there is a possibility the jungler gets the securing hit in between hits of Deathbane. Serqet should also be able to hit that jungler with Deathbane, potentially securing the buff and doing major player damage at the same time.
Serqet can kill a squishy in the early stages of the game with just her base kit and a couple autos, so she is an aggressive support and looks for picks. In the late game, Serqet can initiate with Cobra’s Kiss and Deathbane to hold enemies in place and take off some of their protections. Maybe she pops a Catalyst when she is there for 10% of someone’s hp. Last Breath can be used to throw a priority target into Serqet’s team, or to toss a low health enemy back into their team to detonate the poison onto more people. Serqet’s ultimate can also be used as an execute, as it deals 660 true damage to the target at max rank and prevents healing for its duration. Serqet is just ridiculous and should be the go-to god for playing a physical support.
Serqet is in the running for the best god in Smite.
Hercules is very much a bully. He is bigger than you, shoves you around, and gets angry when you fight back. Hercules’ passive, Strength From Pain, gives him power based on how many enemies are attacking him. This power helps make Hercules a support that deals tons of damage. Even at level one, fighting back against a Hercules means he smacks you even harder with his club. Driving Strike is a strong ability to contest junglers with because it does good damage as well as stuns and knocks back all enemies hit, including the buff and the jungler. The ability is easy enough to hit that Hercules should be able to get both the buff and enemy jungler. If timed slightly off, Hercules can auto attack the buff while his opponent is stunned and secure it anyway.
In addition to the push from Driving Strike, Hercules can pull enemies into him with Earthbreaker. Combining the abilities keeps enemies vulnerable and controlled for an uncomfortable amount of time. If Hercules is able to launch an enemy with Earthbreaker, the follow up Driving Strike is practically guaranteed.
In the mid game, Hercules is pretty much immortal. He is a Warrior with protection items, mobility, crowd control, and a heal that also gives him more protections. Mitigate Wounds allows Hercules to eat large amounts of damage and continue charging into the enemy team. Anti-heal is required when facing a Hercules or he won’t die outside of being horribly out of position. The self-healing from Mitigate Wounds also lets Hercules build a Shield of Regrowth, a health and CDR item that gives a 40% movement speed boost when self-healing. This item lets Hercules pop Mitigate Wounds, speed into or out of a fight, and then heal up damage taken. Hercules is a monster early to mid game that still has his crowd control spells to and damage contribute to fights in the later stages of a match.
Hercules brings tons of displacement and survivability.
Erlang Shen is an aggressive Warrior that is played in multiple roles. His passive, Howling Celestial Dog, causes Erlang Shen’s auto attacks to hit again for 15% of his basic attack power plus 1% of a target god’s max HP. This effect adds up over time, especially against tanky targets. Erlang Shen is able to stick on a god by using 72 Transformations to turn into a Mink. This makes Erlang Shen move quickly and then, upon hitting a god, increases his attack speed for four seconds.
Erlang Shen also comes with incredible crowd control. He can utilize 72 Transformations to turn into a turtle, which knocks up all enemies he comes in contact with and gives him a health shield. Pin is a ranged attack that roots enemies hit by the center of the attack. Erlang’s ultimate, 9 Turns Blessing, taunts enemies in front of him and then heals the Warrior for a flat amount plus 15% of his maximum health. Erlang Shen can combine these abilities in pretty much any order to lock down an enemy, or even several enemies, for a long time.
Erlang Shen is able to solo kill enemies in the early game. Erlang Shen can start boots 2 in the jungle or support role and kill a mid laner at level two or three. A combo of Blink, turtle knock up, and a few auto attacks is all that is needed to get a kill credit. If you really don’t want to support, but also don’t want to get reported for not playing your role, some pros were picking up Stone Cutting Sword on Erlang Shen support. This item provides movement speed and causes auto attacks to shred physical protection while increasing the user’s own defense. This strategy leaves Erlang vulnerable and should only be used by those experienced or confident in their abilities.
Erlang Shen’s kit is full of utility to help himself and his team secure kills.
Fenrir is the second Assassin to appear in this article. As an Assassin, Fenrir is great at killing squishy characters in the early game and the hound has two jumps that allow him to close gaps and chase down prey. Unchained gives Fenrir a stun when his runes are maxed out and is the ability often taken at level one. Similarly to Driving Strike, if Unchained does not finish off a buff that Fenrir is contesting, he can auto attack it while the enemy is unable to act. Unchained also keeps enemies in place for follow up damage.
Fenrir’s most iconic ability is Ragnarok. Fenrir grows to a massive size and at max runes, his protections double, giving tank builds extra value. Fenrir can then chase down and bite an enemy god, keeping them in his mouth and letting him carry them away. The Season 5 Smite World Championship was in part won off of Fenrir support targeting the enemy support and letting his team blow them up. A Fenrir played this way makes the enemy support and team play differently. Either Fenrir dives in, ults, and fetches a tank, or Fenrir can react to a support initiation and pick him up. This means that supports have to play further back or maybe pick up a Purification Beads instead of a teamfight relic. Either response means that the support is less capable of helping his team, but failure to adapt means he just gets dragged around the map by a giant dog.
Fenrir support specializes in isolating the enemy support and letting his team blow them up.
Horus is a Warrior that was designed for the support role. He has the most supportive kit on this list. Horus has an AoE heal and a team-wide teleport that shields his allies. To The Skies! lets Horus join an ally from across the map while knocking up enemies at the destination, or it can be used to teleport Horus’s whole team into the enemy base.
Like the others in this article, Horus is great in the early game. He can actually solo kill a squishy at level one or two. Fracture stuns an enemy and reduces their protection. Horus can follow this up with a few basic attacks for great early game damage. At level two, Horus gains updraft and the ability to lock someone down for a long time with two abilities. Horus’ allies can make use of this crowd control to kill a single target.
Horus is very supportive and can still solo kill a Mage in the first couple minutes.
The gods above are not the only physical gods that see success in the support role. Ne Zha is a popular god that saw a lot of play in the support role in Season 6 before receiving a pretty big nerf in the mid-season patch. Ne Zha is still viable in the support role as he still brings team-wide protection shred and Wind Fire Wheels to take an enemy out of the fight.
A collection of Warriors can also be played in the support role but are not the preferred physical support gods. Achilles has all the strengths listed above and an execute, but he is much better when played in the jungle or solo positions. Amaterasu, Guan Yu, and Odin are all warriors that have seen success in the support role in the past, but are not favored at the moment.
If you are feeling really adventurous, there are some other Assassins that you can play in the support role. Ravana and Thor have crowd control, early pressure, and initiation. Both of these gods are much better in the jungle and solo roles, but in a pinch you can play them as a support with the intention of killing squishies and ending the game early.
You really shouldn’t play some Assassins in support, but if your team is okay with it . . .
Physical supports are popular and strong in the current Smite meta. A variety of Warriors and Assassins can slot into the support role and perform well. Physical supports are strong early game and can go toe to toe with junglers while invading buffs at level one. Gods such as Serqet, Hercules, Erlang Shen, Fenrir, and Horus are great choices to play in the support role. The developers are looking to tone down invades in Season 7, so it will be interesting to see how the future unfolds for physical gods in the support role.
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