SMITE is seeing a lot of changes in Season 5, which means there’s a lot of talk about what the revamped Conquest map, new items, and god balances mean for the meta. We wanted to get some insight on the subject from the ones who know SMITE better than anyone — the pros who compete in the SPL.
After speaking to our expert SPL hunters about their role changes, god recommendations, and build choices, we thought it best to speak to their duo lane partners — the supports — and get some advice for new or returning players who want to be the better half of the duo lane. If you’re going guardian on the Battleground of the Gods, here are some pro-level tips to take with you.
Ideal Gods & Skill Advice For New Players
Supports are under a lot of pressure to control the pace of fights and keep their carries alive, even when those carries seem to have a death wish. So before we dive too deep into the nuances of playing a support character, let’s take a look at which guardians our SPL players suggest you try out and how to level them properly.
Which support gods are good for a new player to use?
EmilZy: “Sobek, Geb, and Ganesha.”
PolarBearMike: “Geb, Fafnir, and Sobek would be the main 3 gods I’d recommend a new support learning.”
JeffHindla: “Geb, Athena, and Sobek.”
Neirumah: “Ganesha, Geb, and Sobek.”
Dardez: “Ganesha, Khepri, and Geb.”
KaLaS: “Geb, Athena, Sobek. All 3 of them don’t require too much effort to play, and all 3 of them are almost always good.”
Trixtank: “…Any new guardian players should start picking up the standard Sobek, Ymir, and geb. Very simple kits, quick to learn, and just great supports in S5.”
iRaffer: “Geb, Sobek, and Athena.”
What do these beginner-friendly gods bring to the table, and what’s the best order for maxing their abilities?
EmilZy: “Sobek brings a constant threat. You can never feel safe when there’s a Sobek on the enemy team. He also has great protection for defensive purposes to keep his carries alive. Geb brings a lot of peel in terms of great control. If you invest in the Blink relic, his initiation can be super strong too. Ganesha has protection shred that allows your carries to burst through the frontline. He also brings good control in team fights.
Sobek 4 > 3 > 2 > 1. Geb 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. Ganesha 4 > 1 > 2 > 3.”
PBM: “[Geb, Fafnir, and Sobek] all do well with different starts and have different points of the game they excel at. And they all have some pretty big learning curves and weaknesses.
Geb can max 2 or 3 first, but my preferred order is 2 > 3 > 4 > 1. Sobek is pretty much always 4 > 3 > 2 > 1. For Fafnir, 4 > 1 > 2 > 3.”
JeffHindla: “Geb has great initiation with Blink, amazing chained CC with his ult and knockup, and good peel for your carries with his shield. Athena has super straightforward initiation with dash taunt. Very easy to play and great rotations with her ult.
Sobek…this god is a jack of all trades. He can initiate, he can peel, he can burst carries, he can insta-win you the fight and insta-lose you the fight if you pluck or Tail Whip wrong. If you’re looking to learn support, you need to understand how this god works.”
Neirumah: “Ganesha, Geb, and Sobek revolve around stron team play, with all being able to protect your teammates with shields, silences, knockups, and more. All three bring a form of initiation as well — with both Geb and Ganesha’s ultimates being strong engage tools, while Sobek has his pluck to displace enemies.
Ganesha should prioritize leveling his 1 first, followed typically by his 3 unless there is an ability in lane he needs to silence (such as Guan Yu’s Taolao Assault), in which case you would need to level his 2. He prioritizes his 1 with a secondary focus on his 2, while leveling his ultimate every time he has the opportunity to.
Geb has more directions he can level depending on how you choose to play Geb, or depending on what your enemy team is comprised of. Generally, Geb will level his 2, 1, and 3 at Level 3 (with Shield or Rollout being interchanged depending on the situation). Afterwards you may prioritize leveling your 3 if the enemy has high burst and is committing to your team, or you can prioritize your own 2 if you are in need of extra damage and you are mainly using your shield to cleanse CC. Leveling the ult at every opportunity is a good idea as well, as it provides a longer stun and more % damage done to enemies.
Sobek has a very cookie-cutter skill prioritization, with most players first leveling the 2, followed by the 3 and then the 1 all by Level 3. In some situations, the 1 may be stronger to skill at Level 2 if there is kill potential — however, having two damaging abilities may be potent at Level 2 for clearing. After Level 3 with all skills leveled, you should prioritize leveling his 3 first, followed by his 2, as well as leveling up the ultimate when possible.”
Dardez: “Ganesha brings a lot of CC, one of the best peels in the game, and great wave clear. [His skill order is] 4 > 1 > 2 > 3. Khepri has decent peel, a great ultimate, great wave clear, and should give you early pressure in duo. [His skill order is] 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. Geb is probably the best guardian at the moment, with great CC, great rotation, an OP shield, decent wave clear, and great Blink engage. [His skill order is] 4 > 2 > 3 > 1.”
KaLaS: “Geb brings a lot of lockdown in teamfights. [He’s] one of the strongest initiation guardians out there, has very fast rotations, and the best stone if you want to keep people alive. Maxing his abilities are kind of situational between your 2 (Shockwave) and your 3 (Stone Shield). I mostly go for 2 > 4 > 3 > 1, but I think doing it with 3 > 4 > 2 > 1 is also good — depends on how aggressive the player wants to be with him.
Athena brings endless initiation, [and she’s] very strong with pretty much any comp. Her ultimate lets her be anywhere on the map, she can gank and counter-gank at pretty much the same time, her jungle clear rivals assassin jungle clear, and she has a decent amount of damage. Maxing her abilities is situational (just like with Geb) in between your 2 (Confound) and 3 (Shield Wall). I mostly get my 3 to Level 203 and then start putting points into 2. So the leveling order would be 2 > 3 > 4 > 1 or 3 > 2 > 4 > 1 depending on how much CC does your core have.
Sobek brings a lot of disruption into teamfights. He is very strong for picking people off with his Charge Prey ability, has a decent amount of damage. [He can be[ a very safe god if his Charge Prey and Lurking in the Waters are up. Leveling order would be 3 > 4 > 2 > 1.”
Trixtank: “Ymir brings great jungle control with his big walls and has a perfect support engage took if he has Blink, since his 3 is a massive AOE stun. I would level my spells on Ymir accordingly: 2-3-1-3-4-2-3-2-4-2-2-3-4-3-1-4-1-1-1-4.
Geb: Engaging a fight is crucial, and Geb has one of the best with the combination of Blink and his ultimate. On Geb I would…get all spells Level 1. Otherwise, level ult first but after it’s 2 > 3 > 1.
Sobek is a bit of a different support whom you usually don’t wanna engage with. But Sobek is without a doubt the best peeler in the game — no carries will die under your watch. Also his survivability is great with his CC-immune ultimate! His spells should be leveled like this: 4 > 3 > 2 > 1.”
iRaffer: “[When playing Geb], max your 2 if your team’s lacking burst damage, max your 3 if you’re happy with your team’s team fighting abilities. Other than that, it goes 2 or 3 > 4 > 1. [On Sobek], max your 2 if you feel like you’re going to have to contest buffs for the extra damage — otherwise max your 3! So the possibilities are 2 or 3 > 4 > 1. Put points into his ult, but you have to make sure you’re hitting it — possible start a heavenly to guarantee the hit onto targets with leaps!
[When playing Athena], put around 3 points into your 3 and then switch to your taunt Just give yourself enough points to clear the camps! If you’re not feeling your teammates, then maxing your 3 all the way would probably be the best route. Also note that your 1 can be better if you’re fighting at Level 1 for that extra block from your passive and also the slow + guaranteed damage! So the basic leveling would be 3 (3 points) > 2 > 1 > 4.”
Which gods would you say are the strongest overall in the Support role right now?
EmilZy: “I would be biased and say Hel, but no one is going to understand that. Probably Athena or Fafnir.”
PBM: “Not really sure since S5 is still young, but any high mobility god will probably feel very strong, especially as a new player. Athena/Geb/Ama/Sobek/Fafnir.”
JeffHindla: “No idea. That isn’t how support works — it’s all team comp and enemy team comp dependent.”
Neirumah: “It’s hard to saw who the strongest god is in my role right now, just because there is a lot I still need to learn and test. But I think a generally strong god right now is Athena. The map is bigger, making her ultimate stronger. And her clear is solid so she rarely feels like a weak pick. I do think, though, that most guardians feel strong in relation to other guardians, which is a really cool aspect of Season 5.”
Dardez: “It’s really weird to say who are the strongest gods in my role at the moment since I have tried more than 10 gods (I think) in support and 9 of them are not guardians — and they worked pretty well in my opinion. Geb, Athena, Ymir, and Sylvanus are the best guardians. Serqet, Ne Zha, and Thor are really great as well, especially Serqet who is insane. Mages like Nox, Discordia, Raijin, and others are good. I have tried hunters also and they look good.
Basically if the god has decent mobility, great backcamps clear, CC, and a solid lategame, they can be a potentially good support.”
KaLaS: “Overall strongest god in my role right now is kind of close but I think it’s Athena.”
Trixtank: “Right now the strongest support would be Geb, since Geb has one of the best lategames and snowball has been reduced heavily after the bigger map was released.”
iRaffer: “I don’t necessarily think there’s a strongest god in support right now, with so many different strengths and weaknesses — which is good for variety (not the player…)”
The consensus here is pretty clear. Whether you’re a new player or a veteran, picking up Geb or Athena should be on your shortlist of things to do when you head to the duo lane and play support. But if you want a little more of a challenge, you can try someone like Sobek, Fafnir, or Ganesha — or even be so bold as to pilot a non-guardian in the support role. You can also check out our Season 5 support tierlist for more recommendations!
Ideal Item Builds for Guardians
Now that we know which gods our pros have tagged as being powerful and easy to learn, let’s take a look at what builds they suggest for keeping your carries alive when you’re half of a duo dream team.
What’s a solid starting build to run in your role?
EmilZy: “Guardian’s Blessing, Health Chalice, Oracle Chalice.”
PBM: “Learn to use Guardian’s Blessing as efficiently as possible, try all types of boots, then just try to make your first 2 items give both types of protections. If you’re unsure, just go for the Thebes/Sovereignty/Heartward auras. Ideally, learning to counter-build as well as look at items like Void Stone when playing high-damage supports is the best.”
Neirumah: “A solid build that works on every guardian is to start Guardian’s Blessing with Health and Ward Chalice at Level 1, paired with an active of your choice (generally Meditation, Shell or Sprint). “
Dardez: “Solid start: Guardian’s Blessing + Rank 1 Thebes + health pots.”
KaLaS: “I feel like at the moment going for Warrior’s Blessing or Mage’s Blessing depending on the god, Glowing Emerald, 3 health potions, and 1 multi-potion is a good way to do it. Fighting in lane at the moment is very important, and taking less damage and getting healed 40 is really strong — or just straight up dealing more damage.”
Trixtank: “Guardian’s Blessing, boots, potions.”
iRaffer: “Starting build would be Guardian’s Blessing, T1 of Thebes, and HP + mana pots.”
What’s a safe build choice at the moment for supports (first three core items)?
EmilZy: “Guardian’s Blessing, Traveler’s, and Thebes.”
PBM: “Sovereignty, Heartward, and Spirit Robe is probably the safest build that can’t ever really be horrible. But again…learning to build situationally is best.”
JeffHindla: “A safe build right now is Guardian’s Blessing, boots (Reinforced or Talaria), Gauntlet of Thebes into Sovereignty or Pestilence. Builds change every game depending on team comps.”
Neirumah: “A safe build to go following this start is to finish Talaria or Traveler’s Boots, first building into Gauntlet of Thebes, then followed by Sovereignty and Heartward Amulet. Sovereignty/Heartward can be interchanged depending on the mix of damage you are taking. For instance, if they have Ao Kuang, Agni, and Ymir, it might be a good idea to get Heartward before Sovereignty, as you’ll most likely be taking lots of magic damage due to their team composition.”
Dardez: “Safe build for guardians is gonna have to be Guardian’s Blessing into boots (cooldown boots or Traveler’s), and then the classic Thebes, Sovereignty, and Heartward which are your three core items.”
KaLaS: “First three items…I will not count boots and starter item. Safest one would be Gauntlet, Sovereignty, and Heartward.”
Trixtank: “Guardian’s Blessing, boots, Thebes, Sovereignty, Heartward.”
iRaffer: “All I can say about builds is…build Guardian’s Blessing and an early Gauntlet of Thebes. Build Traveler’s Shoes for the extra mobility. But it is early in the meta and I’m still trying and testing this stuff and found this to be my most successful build. REMEMBER TO BUILD THEBES STACKS! (This is a note to myself.)”
The verdict is in! Gauntlet of Thebes, Heartward Amulet, and Sovereignty are still serving supports well like they have in the past. If you want more advice on what items to build for your support, check out our guide to building guardians in Season 5 for everything you need to know!
Strategy Advice & Meta Insight for Supports
Now that we know which items and gods our pros are favoring so far in the new season of SMITE, let’s dive into some tips and tricks they offered to players who are eyeing the support role.
What are three quick tips for what players should focus on in the support role?
EmilZy: “Make sure you have a good flow between engaging and peeling. Don’t be scared to die (for the greater good). Don’t be afraid to farm with your team — a lot of people have a tendency to start themselves for the good of the team.”
PBM: “1. Learn how to properly farm and rotate around the map. Pay attention to camp timers and plan ahead of time to be at enemy camps or neutral camps to help your team.
2. Learn to build situationally and to benefit different kinds of playstyles. For example, things like Void Stone and pen boots on Ares, or full defensive auras on Khepri.
3. Always focus on your own plays and be self-critical. Blaming poor play from teammates will never help, since the players will always be different. Think for yourself and plan how you need to play with your own team comp as well as versus the enemy’s.”
JeffHindla: “1. Do your best job to keep up in farm. It’s extremely easy — even moreso in Season 5 — to fall drastically behind and not be able to pace anyone in the game.
2. Use VGS to communicate with your team so they know when you’re going in and what the game plan is.
3. Always look at why plays worked and why they didn’t. Just because a play worked doesn’t mean it’s good. Just because it failed doesn’t mean it’s bad.”
Neirumah: “Make sure you are farming as not to fall behind. Think about how you can help your damage dealers do their job by protecting them. Talk to your team! Asking your teammates what you can do better in fights and where they need you on the map is important. You don’t always know what is best, and getting another player’s perspective on what’s going on is valuable.”
Dardez: “Be smart and patient with your CCs. Get as much farm as you can get. Peel and don’t be scared to die for your teammates.”
KaLaS: “1: Don’t forget wards. 2: Farm efficiently. 3: Be careful of your positioning before Gauntlet gets stacked.”
Trixtank: “Get Gauntlet of Thebes online ASAP, and for god’s sake build Ward Chalice to keep the jungle control in place. Other than that, use your support’s strength to help your team win the game. As you can read in the three supports to play when you’re new to SMITE, there’s a different role you have to fill compared to which support you play.”
iRaffer: “Always have a second nature to peel for your teammates. (If you don’t think that’s necessary, then play off-role mid Zeus until you want to rip your hair out.) Stack your Guardian’s Blessing and Gauntlet of Thebes in the most efficient way possible. To be a good support, you have to be ready to lose your ranked games. If you want to carry ranked games, it’s on a different role or with a different play style. It won’t work over 50% of the time in competitive.
Is double jungle viable from a support position?
EmilZy: “I haven’t tried it yet so I couldn’t answer.”
PBM: “No idea, but probably not. Having a tank and team utility is a necessity, especially at higher levels of play — and most assassins can’t bring as much as guardians can in that regard.”
JeffHindla: “Both double jungle and normal support have glaring obvious issues and ways to get abused. Both are subject to major punishment so I have no idea.”
Neirumah: “I think double jungle can be viable — however, if it becomes popularized it will probably be bad, as I think it’s only really strong if people don’t expect it. You can’t really get away with stealing the enemy’s jungle effectively. If teams know what you’re going to do and you try to solo jungle on the enemy’s side, it may backfire. There also isn’t a ton of jungle on your own side to split between yourself and your own jungler. It also might hurt your team if you are picking non-guardians because you may lack frontline in later stages.”
Dardez: “Yes double jungle is viable from a support position.”
KaLaS: “I think it’s definitely viable — that’s why I feel Athena is the strongest support. I feel like it’s viable if you play a god that can clear fast. If they are laning you will lose your purple, but your hunter gets solo farm and you get solo farm and secure the mid camps. In terms of assassin jungle, if they have a guardian and you got a Fenrir/Thor, you can easily clear red then go to purple and they either back off with nothing or they try to take the purple — risking it being stolen and then being locked into a fight they cannot win.”
If you’re heading into the duo lane as a support in SMITE Season 5, take the advice of these pros with you. Whether you’re looking for good gods to pick or how to build and play your role well, they’ve got plenty of tips you can try out for yourself!
Keep an eye out for more pro advice as we dive deeper into Season 5. But while you’re here, check out some of our other pro Q&As so you’re prepared for every role:
Keep an eye out for more pro advice as we dive deeper into Season 5, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @SmitePro for all things SMITE esports!