How to Play Late Game In Smite as a Solo Laner - Tips & Tricks by Variety
Fri 28th Sep 2018 - 7:30pm
Transitioning to the lategame is a difficult process for any role but is the toughest is probably for the solo lane. Due to the fairly solitary playstyle of the solo in the early and mid game, the change to being a team player can be hard. Therefore, we got in touched with our star solo laner Harry "Variety" Cummings and asked him about this tricky and very important process.
Variety highlighted three of the most important challenges/things you need to master to make a smooth transition into the lategame.
Variety says, "One of the biggest challenges when shifting from mid to late game is keeping up consistent ward vision around Fire and knowing when to back to maintain the vision. Backing at an incorrect time can lead to the enemy team being able to get the objective or win a fight 4v5."
As a solo laner, warding the right side of the map is a crucial part of your role and this doesn't change as you progress into the lategame. In fact, it can be said that it could get even more important, as making sure your team isn't outflanked or caught by surprise is key to winning the game. Furthermore, keeping good and strategic sentry wards allows your team to control vital objectives and, as a solo laner in the frontline, you are in prime position to keep the sentries up to date.
Sentry wards are one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, as denying enemies control of vital map sectors is key to ensuring your victory.
Variety notes, "Another challenge is being able to manage waves correctly so the enemy creeps don't push into your own tower/phoenix when grouping around Fire. If you're able to manage the waves correctly, you essentially have a 6th man in the team with the creeps being able to split push for you."
While the laning phase is most definitely over, your responsibility towards your and other lanes doesn't stop. Maintaining lane presence is important in making sure that your team is constantly applying pressure everywhere that they can. Without good pressure, you lose access to important objectives because you can't risk letting powerful waves reach your phoenixes/base.
The Season 5 map very handily has a distinct line through the middle of it. Use this lane as a ruler and try to always keep your waves over the line.
He adds, "Finally, knowing when to start grouping is probably the most difficult since if you group too early and you can't start forcing objectives, you can give up free towers or even Gold Furies and Pyros."
Choosing the right time to group is perhaps the most important aspect of this entire topic. Too early and, as Variety says, you end up forcing it and could throw the entire game. Too late, and the enemy team beats you to it with disastrous consequences. The timing is something that changes from game to game and depends a lot on the team compositions, the balance in earlier phases of the game, and the relative skill of both teams.
These three points are the most challenging things about the transition, but once mastered will make you infinitely better. However, there is more finesse to transitioning to the late game as a solo laner and some of the more detailed points can be found below.
Variety explains, "As a solo laner your responsibilities change from being around your own lane (e.g. being able to invade blue) to being able to out-rotate or TP the enemy solo in order to win a fight or take an objective."
The change in responsibilities is a big part of what makes this transition particularly painful if you get caught off-guard, as your area of focus shifts from just your lane to the entire map. This is especially true if your support is less tanky/focused on peeling instead of frontlining. As your team's main/only frontliner, you will be tasked with making sure your team keeps control of all areas of the map which they need to and also ensuring that the enemy keeps their distance and is sufficiently punished if they don't.
The blue buff tends to be your only responsibility for most of the game, so adapting to bigger responsibilities can be daunting.
As mentioned above, a big part of playing the lategame is peeling for your team. But should you do it as a solo laner? According to Variety, "As a solo, especially when playing a warrior I don't think you should ever peel for your team. Of course, there are certain situations when you do peel but when a 5v5 breaks out, I think it's your own responsibility to try and keep the enemy mid and ADC out of the teamfights. The longer you do so without dying, the greater chances you have of winning the fight."
Solo laners excel at blocking out high damage enemies through zoning but also through using the wide variety of crowd control and displacement abilities available to them. As Variety says, when push comes to shove, peeling for your team might be necessary, especially in a losing situation, but overall your skillset and expertise is a lot more suited to taking the fight to the enemy squishies and keeping them out. If you can effectively block out the enemy team's damage, it doesn't matter how hard they dive or push you, they won't gain anything from it.
It's worth noting that keeping the enemy damage dealers out does not necessarily mean doing damage. As Variety says, "There are some gods like Cu Chulainn and Achilles where you are able to do damage and solo out the other team's backline, but the majority of time you just let your carries do the damage while you keep their damage dealers out the fight."
While the damage you can do is important in the slapfights in the solo lane, once you get to lategame, the attrition-style damage that warriors can do often means very little. In this phase, your crowd control and zoning abilities are way more important than doing damage to the enemy team.
Obviously, the first active for most solo laners is going to be Teleport, as the advantage it gives you in maintaining lane presence is hard to beat. However, you do have a lot of choice for your second one.
Variety explains, "Your second active usually dictates if you're going to be initiating/flanking or if you're sitting back with your carries. For example, if you're playing Sobek with Blink you're going to be the initiating the fight whereas a Terra with Shell is going to be peeling for the carries."
The choice in secondary actives very often comes down to if you want to be aggressive or defensive in your play. This often depends on the choice you have made in the god you're playing. However, even if you're playing an aggressive god, if the situation demands it, you might be forced to take a more defensive role and therefore a defensive active item.
The Teleport/Blink combo tends to be the most common for solo laners, as it lets you get across the map rapidly in 2 different ways.
Speaking of, god choice is another important factor. According to Variety, "The strongest gods in the lategame for solo are probably Sobek, Bellona and Cu Chulainn since they're all relatively hard to lock down, do decent amounts of damage, and also initiate the fights."
While picking for lategame might seem like playing for too far into the future, in the current meta almost all games hit the lategame state and it happens faster than ever before. Therefore, preparing for it even during the picking phase can make a huge impact. All the gods that variety mentioned are strong in the lategame because of their tankiness and ability to control entire enemy teams with their crowd control and zoning abilities. At the same time, they all also work well in both other phases of the game so they will have no problems getting to the lategame.
Playing with the Team
One of the most difficult situations to manage is lategame when your team is behind. However, this isn't a completely lost situation. As Variety says, "When behind, you're most likely never going to initiate a fight or an objective and instead play reactively to what the other team is doing. Letting them initiate and kiting back is probably the best way to play. This allows you to poke the frontline without taking poke yourself."
Playing on your own side of the map is extremely important when behind as it lets you have more control over the possible fights. Furthermore, a big mistake is thinking that you can go it alone, a mindset that being alone for 15 levels in the solo lane often fosters.
Variety says, "The main mistake and the costliest mistake I see from other solos is not being aware of their own team. For example, they're too far forward in their positioning, meaning they can get picked for free and lose the game."
If your team loses its frontline, especially when its behind, it can be disastrous for your team. With no one to hold the enemies back, they can push into your side of the map and easily mop up your team with the positioning and numbers advantage they just gained. Understanding your role and playing with your team is vitally important to making sure you stay alive and stay useful.
I hope this guide was useful and has helped you become a better player! Thank you to Variety for his valuable insight and help in creating this guide!