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With HRX around the corner, the pros who have qualified for the SMITE World Championship are focused on trying to develop new and innovative strategies that they believe will help them gain a competitive edge over their opponents.

Typically, the public can rely on watching SPL matches to get an idea of the current meta(s) to utilize for their own casual or ranked games. But considering it’s been about a month since the last real SPL games at Super Regionals, and there have been a number of balance changes in the interim, we’re going to use our inside expertise to provide you a little insight on some of the items you can expect to see at this year’s HRX.

 

Stone of Gaia

 

This has probably been one of the more prevalent items in SMITE lately. After getting nerfed back in Patch 4.15, Stone of Gaia went relatively untouched until Super Regionals, where the item saw a resurgence in popularity. Before the nerf, Stone of Gaia allowed players to avoid knockups entirely (including ultimates from the likes of Ares, Fenrir, etc.). This caused massive amounts of frustration that ultimately resulted in a nerf that removed the knockup immunity and replaced it with a 10% max health regen over the next 10 seconds, which could be proc’d once every 90 seconds.

Initially, just about everyone put this item on the backburner and started to favor alternative defensive items like Hide of the Urchin or Spirit’s Robe. However, its resurrection in the hands of pros at Super Regionals quickly demonstrated how powerful that HP5 regen could actually be.

The flat +400 health and 25 HP5 boost, combined with the new passive, quickly popularized the Stone of Gaia again — primarily because the best way for guardians and warriors to combat the hyper-farm of hunters in the current meta is health. And this item lets them absorb large amounts of damage while also frontlining and peeling for their own carries. The best part? Players can get all this for the simple price tag of 2,000 gold.

Because it’s so flexible among god classes and fits perfectly into nearly every build, Stone of Gaia is an impossible item to pass up right now. So expect to see it prioritized on the World Championship stage.

 

Hydra’s Lament

 

Lately it’s felt as though guardians and warriors are the dominant classes in SMITE, and many players have complained about struggling make a scratch against frontline-heavy compositions. (And if the success that Team Elevate found with a two-hunter, three-guardian composition at Super Regionals is any indication, those complaints are valid.)

Hydra’s Lament, with its recent buff in Patch 4.23, is an excellent way to combat this issue. Its early power spike for assassins has made them more beneficial teammates as of late. For 1,200 gold, assassins can pick up +20 physical power and 5% CDR. At a glance, these stats might seem minimal — but considering that the average jungler/assassin should typically opt for this item in their second or third slot, it’s very cheap for how much power it gives early on. The upgrade is only 950 gold for the T2 version, which comes with another +20 physical power, another 5% CDR, and a passive that adds an extra 40% damage to your first auto-attack after any ability.

This item is particularly useful for assassins that already benefit from AA-canceling their kits (Susano, Awilix, Ne Zha, etc.). But even for those whose auto attacks aren’t required directly after their abilities, Hydra’s Lament can still be ideal thanks to the 10% CDR and +4- physical power for only 2,150 gold. This item can be very useful if you ever find yourself behind and unsure of where to go next in your build.

 

Warlock’s Sash

 

Throughout Season 4, many god classes have experienced their own unique series of ups and downs. Probably the most difficult class to play at the moment is mages, primarily because their builds tend to be more costly for core power items. In response to this, Warlock’s Sash actually received a slight cost reduction that moved the item price to a much more affordable 2,650 gold.

Though this is still on the more costly end of things, the price is quite reasonable given the strong stats that Warlock’s Sash contributes to most builds (+50 magical power, +300 health, and +400 mana). Normally this item becomes pretty effective after the first 50 or so stacks, because each stack (up to 100) permanently adds another +3 health and +.6 magical power to your god.

The health and mana are especially important in the current Conquest meta, because mages are accustomed to splitting their experience with at least one or two other teammates — meaning that they’re not as susceptible to ganks. The extra health that Warlock’s Sash grants players makes ganking a bit more difficult thanks to added survivability, and the massive mana boost means mages are able to stay in lane longer and help their teammates secure buffs or global objectives.

Another strong point for Warlock’s Sash is that pretty much every mage can benefit from picking it up. The main determining factor in whether or not player build this item usually boils down to enemy team composition (i.e. how likely you are to die to burst damage) and whether you need more mana sustain to help with farming in the laning phase or in mid-to-late game.

All in all, Warlock’s Sash is definitely a top-notch item that offers a lot of bang for your buck, and one that pros are guaranteed to keep in mind as they find themselves piloting mages at the SMITE World Championship.

 

 

Which items do you expect to see the most of at HRX 2018? Are there any we missed that you think will make or break these World Championship matches? Let us know in the comments, or tweet to us @SmitePro and tell us your thoughts! To see how these predictions shake out, be sure to watch your favorite teams battle it out at the SMITE World Championship from January 4-7. Tune in to the official HiRezTV Twitch channel and catch all the action.

We’ll see you there!