It’s a brand new season of SMITE, which means the Battleground of the Gods has seen a lot of changes. From a revamped Conquest map to new item options, Season 5 has taken some adjusting to for most players — and there’s a lot of talk about what’s still viable for each role after Update 5.2.
That’s why we’ve reached out to some our most renowned SPL players to get their insight on what works and what doesn’t in Season 5. Today, we’ll be looking at the jungler role and bringing you some pro insight into how all the recent jungle changes are shifting the meta. These SMITE veterans also have some advice to offer to new or returning players who want to try their hands at roving the jungle on the new Conquest map. Check it out!
Ideal Gods & Skill Advice for New Players
Before asking our pros to break down some of the more complex aspects of the jungler role, we had them tell us which gods they believe are the easiest to pick up when you’re first starting out and how to level those gods properly.
Which junglers are good for a new player to use?
QvoFred: “Thor, Mercury, and Nemesis.”
Homiefe: “Nemesis, Hun Batz, and Thor are all fairly simply and good gods to play if you’re just starting off.”
Adapting: “I’d recommend Nemesis, Serqet, and Ratatoskr to newer players. They have relatively simple kits [and] they offer some variety in playstyle, which in turn will help expand the player’s game sense, which will translate when picking other characters.”
Iceicebaby: “Three good gods for new players that are easy for the jungle role are Nemesis, Bastet, and Hun Batz.”
Screammmmm: “Thor, Bastet, Awilix.”
CaptainTwig: “For new players, I’d recommend Ratatoskr, Hun Batz, and Mercury.”
Weak3n: “Nemesis, Thanatos, Da Ji. Serqet would be top but more difficult to play.”
What do these beginner-friendly gods bring to the table, and what’s the best order for maxing their abilities?
QvoFred: “Thor: 1 > 3 > 4 > 2. Mercury: 1 > 2 > 4 > 3. Nemesis: 2 > 4 > 3 > 1.”
Homiefe: “Nemesis brings guaranteed damage, while also having the versatility to engage on any target with her ultimate. On Nemesis, my skill order would be 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. Hun Batz gives your team a potent team fight and skirmish ultimate, and has multiple ways of engaging fights with his 3, 1, or a blink ult. On Hun Batz, my skill order would be 2 > 3 > 4 > 1. Thor brings a high amount of crowd control and a semi-global engage ultimate. On Thor my skill order would be 3 > 1 > 2 > 4.”
Adapting: “Nemesis: 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. Serqet: 4 > 1 > 2 > 3. Ratatoskr…either 2 > 4 > 3 > 1 or 2 > 4 > 1 > 3. (Depending on how aggressively you can use the 1, it offers a larger slow for the trade off of DPS from the 3.)”
Iceicebaby: “Starting off with Nemesis, she’s an all-around very strong god with the potential to go both on squishy backliners or frontliners if need be. Her abilities are easy to hit, so it’s easy for new players to not completely miss their skills and be of use to the team in fights. The general playstyle you should aim for on this goddess is to flank the enemy backliners in most scenarios and try to take out the ADC/hunter player. If you catch someone off-guard or in rotation and you have all your abilities up, you can go for the kill as long as you know that they are indeed alone. Her skill priority should be 4 > 2 > 3 > 1, starting with your 2 at Level 1 and followed up by the 1 on Level 2.
On Bastet, skill order should be 2 > 3 > 1 > 4. The idea behind that order is the 2 does the most damage so it’s handy to max it, following up with the 3 because it’s a ranged ability and you don’t have to put yourself in danger to poke, and then the 1 so that you don’t feel like you need to jump in to poke since it is your only form of escape. Cats are mainly used to slow down a person rather than DPS them or just tank a tower. Playstyle-wise starting from early to late game — and this kinda applies for all gods in the jungle currently — you’d want to farm as fast and efficiently as possible. Meaning go from camp to camp on cooldown and clear it; if nothing is up, then share a wave with the mid laner or solo laner. Once you reach Level 5 you can be more proactive on the map and look for ganks. Solo laners are usually easiest to kill, but ganks in the mid and duo (if that’s where you find yourself to be) are also viable. Again, your priority should be farming — so don’t go out of your way if you’re on speed or blue to make a rotation to duo lane and gank, just because someone is complaining and wants a gank. As far as teamfights go, your main targets should be backliners, and the playstyle is similar to Nemesis. The only difference is you can do AOE ability damage, while Nem is more oriented around AAs and chopping down the targets. You’d want to jump in on the backliners in a flanking fashion with your first ability, use your 2 and 3, and jump out. Use your ult only if the midlaner and ADC are not stacked, since it’s really easy to kill them and they can also use them as a way to heal back since most ADCs go lifesteal.
Going into Hun Batz…start with your 2 on Level 1 and going into 3 on Level 2, then your 1. If you feel like the enemy jungler is looking for a fight and wants to pressure you out, you’d want to have your escape up — otherwise, get another point into your 2 for faster buff clear and mana efficiency. Maxing abilities should be in this order: 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. [Hun Batz is] similar to Bastet, with the one difference being your ult is really important in teamfights and it’s a must to level it. Playstyle wise, again look for flanks. Hun Batz’s best teamfight ability is his ult, and it’s really easy to hit someone because of his large radius. He’s a bit more difficult to play in terms of where to focus in teamfights compared to Bastet, since you have more options. Using the ult to separate backliners from frontliners is a very smart way to dislocate enemies and collapse on their frontline with your team. Another way is if you know their backliners do not have Beads, you can safely ult just them and go for the kill using your 2 and your 3 with autoattacks in between so you can utilize the crit chance your passive gives and a Deathbringer in case you have it in your build. The most common way of getting into fights is via Blink, but walking in is another option — just try to avoid jumping in since late game you are very squishy and by the time you try to ult you might already be dead.”
Screammmmm: “[Thor, Bastet, and Awilix] are easier for new players because they are pretty straightforward and don’t have the intricacies that most other assassins do. Thor: 3 > 1 > 4 > 2. Bastet: 2 > 4 > 1 > 3. Awilix: 2 > 3 > 4 > 1.”
CaptainTwig: “With Rat I’d max 2 > 4 > 3 > 1. With Batz I’d recommend 4 > 2 > 3 > 1. And with Mercury…4 > 1 > 2 > 3. Rat brings a ton of early pressure to the team, while having a ton of mobility. He also has the ability to slow, stun, and shred the opponent’s protections. Hun Batz is a fantastic late game team fight character who can farm up during the early game and has a huge AOE ult that can change the direction of a teamfight completely. Mercury has quick clear and great ganks while also having high enough damage throughout the game.”
Weak3n: “[Nemesis, Thanatos, and Da Ji have] the potential to do extremely well in team fights, but also have the ability to 1v1 and stomp with a lead. Nemesis: 2 > 4 > 3 > 1. Thanatos: 1 > 4 > 3 > 2. Da Ji: 2 > 1 > 3 > 4.”
Which gods would you say are the strongest overall in the jungler role right now?
QvoFred: “Nemesis, Da Ji, and Hun Batz are doing really well in the jungle at the given time.”
Homiefe: “I believe Serqet is probably the strongest jungler right now. She provides the ability to invade deep jungle without getting punished, she has the fastest clear time in the jungle, and she can out-duel every assassin in the jungle.”
Adapting: “The overall strongest god in jungle right now is up for debate. And with the SPL coming up there’s no way I’m telling you.”
Iceicebaby: “He Bo is definitely the strongest jungler currently. However, if we consider this to be for new players or beginners, you have to be really aware of your positioning as He Bo. So I’d say Nemesis is the strongest god for a beginner. You have a dash, an ult that takes away protections and health, and a shield that reflects damage and heals you back up so getting in bad positions doesn’t mean certain death. Also she’s a really easy god given her kit, and the hardest thing to do is probably AA-cancel with the 3.”
Screammmmm: “Not sure on the best god yet, but most of them feel viable to an extent.”
CaptainTwig: “The strongest overall I’d say would be Serqet. Her jungle clear and gank potential are unrivaled.”
Weak3n: “Serqet or Nemesis are the strongest right now.”
Heads up, new players! Our pros agree that Nemesis is a great pick whether you’re looking for a beginner-friendly god or a very viable jungle pick. You might also want to consider someone like Hun Batz or Serqet if you want a bit more of a challenge. For more recommendations, check out our Season 5 jungler tierlist to see a few other gods who our resident SMITE analysts think will be a good fit for your team.
Ideal Item Builds for Junglers
With an idea of who our pros believe are the most powerful and easiest to learn junglers, let’s dig into what builds they suggest for clearing those camps and ganking your unsuspecting opponents.
What’s a solid starting build to run in the jungler role?
Homiefe: “Right now, a good starting build would be Assassin’s Blessing, Mace, two health pots, and one mana pot. This start gives you the best Level 1 clear and helps you build into Crusher after you get boots. If the god you’re playing isn’t great with Crusher, you can start Katana instead of Mace with one less pot.”
Adapting: “For starter items I would recommend Assassin’s Blessing paired with either Transcendence part one and three health/two mana potions, or boots part one with four health/two mana potions.”
Screammmmm: “A solid starting build for jungle usually is Assassin’s Blessing and Transcendence on junglers that need the mana/CDR. But if that’s not the case, usually Crusher/Jotunn’s are the other pickups.”
CaptainTwig: “As a jungler, I’d always recommend starting Assassin’s Blessing with either Morningstar, Katana, or Mace depending on what you’d want to build later. Also a health potion and a multipotion.”
Weak3n: “Starting build is Assassin’s Blessing, rank 1 Heartseeker, and two health pots.”
What’s a safe build choice at the moment for junglers (first three core items)?
QvoFred: “Warrior Tabi, Transcendence, and Jotunn’s Wrath give a lot of power and cooldown reduction, which greatly benefits ability-based junglers.”
Homiefe: “The most standard first three items right now are Warrior Tabi, Crusher, and Heartseeker. Those three items combined give you a lot of burst damage to fully kill a carry with your entire kit.”
Adapting: “A safe build when playing assassin is to generally look at the penetration tree. Always start off with finishing your boots (I’d recommend Warrior Tabi 99% of the time), then build into either Transcendence, Hydra’s, Crusher, Brawler’s, Jotunn’s, or Heartseeker. I personally like to build Transcendence and Heartseeker for the mana sustain paired with movement speed, plus the poke/burst potential of Heartseeker. Crusher is a very strong option if you feel like you don’t need the mana, or a Brawler’s if the enemies have gods with healing. There’s no ‘set build’ so don’t be afraid to try different orders on the items. If you back and have enough to finish an item (example: Hydra’s over Transcendence) that can be more beneficial as you will get your power spike earlier on instead of delaying it.”
Screammmmm: “Any build is usually solid with a combo of Mace tree and Katana tree for assassins, any maybe a defense item somewhere in there.”
CaptainTwig: “A build you can’t go wrong with would be Warrior Tabi into completing a Transcendence followed by a Jotunn’s Wrath.”
Weak3n: “Finish boots first, then Heartseeker, then Crusher.”
Iceicebaby: “[For a god like Nemesis], considering the crit meta will potentially go away from next patch, I’d give a more standard penetration/AA-oriented build working in pretty much all situations regardless of enemy team comps, with a few replacements in certain scenarios. So starting off you’d want to have Assassin’s Blessing with a Mace, which will later turn into Jotunn’s. Two health pots and one mana. Before finishing the Jotunn’s, get power boots. Once you finish your boots you can proactively look for ganks but still be mainly focused on farming — with the current way buffs spawn and the speed it takes to clear them, you’d want to do them on cooldown. [After Jotunn’s], transition into a Stone-Cutting Sword and Hastened Katana. Executioner and Bloodforge should be the last two items. Once fully built, you’ll be killing backliners in no time. Also front liners won’t take too long before dying as well. Relic choices should be Blink and Beads on Nemesis almost every scenario they’re viable. If there’s not a lot of CC on the enemy team, you can safely start with Blink to give you that extra mobility to gank or even use it to farm efficiently — blinking from one camp to another, which not many players utilize.
[Building a god like Bastet], Assassin’s Blessing and Mace is the best DPS option early on. Pots should be two health and one mana. Later on you should continue into full boots before finishing off the Mace into Jotunn’s, then go into Transcendence. This would be the core 3 items you need on Bastet. Later on you’d want more pen and power on her since her scaling is really good at 100% on all three abilities…So you’d want in most scenarios a Heartseeker, Brawler’s and Titan’s. This way you’d do a lot of damage to backliners and frontliners with all that pen and power.
Starting build and overall build [for a god like Hun Batz] should be similar to Bastet, with one difference being instead of getting Brawler’s or Titan’s you can swap one out for a Deathbringer, since his passive does give an extra crit chance you can utilize and give yourself a big damage boost if the dice roll in your favor. So a simulation build would be full boots, Jotunn’s, Transcendence, Heartseeker, Titan’s Bane, Deathbringer. Another viable option is Hydra’s, but it’s better to have that extra pen in my opinion since pretty much Transcendence this season takes the role of Hydra’s and gives you that extra CDR.”
The consensus is clear — power and penetration are the name of the game when it comes to jungling in Season 5. Items like Jotunn’s Wrath, Heartseeker, and Transcendence are popular right now for helping you sustain yourself while you shred through enemies. If you want some other suggestions on what items you should consider in the jungle role, check out our guide to building assassins in Season 5 for even more info!
Strategy & Meta Insights for Junglers
You know what gods our pros are favoring, and you know how to build them. But what else should you be aware of when it comes to strategy and playstyle as a jungler? Let’s dive into some meta-focused tips and tricks that these seasoned SMITE vets were willing to share.
What are three quick tips for what players should focus on in the jungler role?
QvoFred: “It is very situational whether to gank or farm. It’s important hitting power spikes, but also trying to build leads in lanes or help them catch up.”
Homiefe: “Some quick tips for jungle I have are: farm your jungle efficiently, understand your character and what it does best, and also understand other roles as well. You, as the jungler, decide who can get a lead and who can be put behind, so understanding which lane would be the most valuable to put ahead is important.”
Adapting: “My biggest tips for jungling are learn how to farm well, keep track of what the enemy jungler is doing, and try to figure out the best way to counter that (invade, counter-gank, counter-invade).”
Iceicebaby: “So three quick tips for jungle. In the current meta and new map, buffs are cleared really easy — so the most important thing you want to do and keep track of is buff timers and clearing buffs on respawn. As a jungler you don’t have a lane to constantly leash from and with the S5 updates it’s less effective to two-man share, [so buffs are] your main source of EXP and gold.
Second tip: be mana efficient. A lot of times people don’t realize how much damage their skills do and overuse abilities, which translates into a lack of mana which will hurt your farming efficiency. This tip is mostly centered around early game, since most junglers do get Transcendence or are AA-based so they don’t need to use abilities that much.
Tip 3: map awareness. As a jungler it’s really important to know who is where at all times. This knowledge will give you the general idea and direction of where you need to be and if it’s safe. I recommend to all players, experienced or starter (and not just junglers, this is general advice) go to your HUD and put the minimap as close to the center of your screen as possible so you can pay attention to it without having to look away from what’s happening. Being aware of who is where will give you the opportunity to see if it’s possible to gank or invade buffs, since those are things you want to look for to get ahead of the enemy jungler or put the enemy team behind. This is in a way connected to Tip 1, but more oriented towards the general flow of the game and not just the farming part.”
Screammmmm: “Learn a good early pathing for EXP efficiency. Know that EXP is more valuable than gold early game because of the way assassins scale. And keeping track of timers and tracking the other jungler.”
CaptainTwig: “My best tip as a new jungler would be to focus on farming. If you can really work out how to best farm in a way that doesn’t take too much farm from your lanes while also staying even or ahead, you’re on the right track. Try to have jungle on cooldown as much as possible while also sharing when jungle isn’t up yet. Focus on securing mid camps most importantly, as that is the neutral farm. Ganking should be mostly done out of opportunity rather than forced.”
Weak3n: “Farm your jungle. Don’t focus on splitting waves. Gank anytime the other team is down on health, actives, or overextending in a lane.”
Is it better to gank or farm? Or is it very situational?
QvoFred: “It is very situational whether to gank or farm.”
Adapting: “It’s important to try to farm and gank as much as possible. If there’s a lane you want to gank, make sure there are farming possibilities around that area. It’s like a safety net. If you go for a gank and it fails and there’s no farm around (a wave to leech, a small/buff camp up or spawning), you will start falling behind the enemy players/jungler.”
Iceicebaby: “I’d say it’s god-dependent when you want to start prioritizing ganks over farm. But definitely early game (pre-level 13) your focus should be farming. Even further on up until you’re 5 [items] into your build, you should look to farm unless your team wants to group up so you can do objectives — be it pushing towers, Gold Fury, Pyromancer, or Fire Giant.”
CaptainTwig: “Ganking should mostly be done out of opportunity rather than forced.”
Weak3n: “It’s never better to only focus on ganking or only focus on farming. The balance of the two is what makes you a jungler.”
If you want to dominate the jungle as an assassin in SMITE Season 5, take the advice of these pros with you. Whether you want to know which gods are viable and beginner-friendly, how to build your role, or how to strategize, these guys have plenty of tips you can try out in your next match.
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!