Season 5 is here, and there have been a lot of changes. The Conquest map is bigger, splitting experience is different, and the support role is getting tougher. Whether you’re keeping your carry alive with one HP or perfectly zoning the enemy from an objective, you’re making all the plays when you pilot a guardian on the Battleground of the Gods.
We’ve already given you a few recommendations for the best supports in Season 5. But with everything changing so much in Update 5.1, you’re probably wondering if your go-to guardian build is still up to par. Don’t worry, though — we’ve done the hard part for you and endured all the feeding to find out what does and doesn’t work for guardians in Season 5. No matter who you bring into the support role, trying out these item paths should help you focus on keeping your team alive (even if you never get your due recognition).
Traditional Support Build
Support builds, perhaps more than any other, shift according to how the other team is building, playing and strategizing. But if you’re shouldering a fairly traditional support role, this build is a good place to start.
- Guardian’s Blessing
- Traveler’s Shoes
- Gauntlet of Thebes
- Heartward Amulet
- Mantle of Discord
This build starts you off with Guardian’s Blessing for a little extra sustain, tankiness, and a good bump in GP5. Traveler’s Shoes are a strong follow-up option because of the 25% base movement speed boost — a significant bump up from the traditional 18%. You also gain even more movement speed when leaving the fountain to help you get back to fights faster. You no longer get the additional gold gain off hitting gods, but rotating is such a big deal on this bigger map that these shoes will still work.
Next in this item path is Gauntlet of Thebes, which is perhaps the only must-buy in the build. It’s so efficient! With 10 physical and magical protections in one aura, it makes both you and your nearby teammates tankier at that point in the game where you’ll start taking a little more damage than you’d like.
Once you’ve picked up Gauntlet, you have a little bit of flexibility in your next item. Right now, Sovereignty and Heartward Amulet are the best picks for this next slot. This train of aura items makes you and your allies tougher so you can keep them alive. But when deciding which one to pick up first, you’ll want to go with whichever one protects your team from the biggest enemy threat. If they have an additional mage in solo or mid — or your team is getting wrecked by magical damage — go with Heartward first. If you’re facing a lot of physical power or the enemy ADC got off to a strong start, pick up Sovereignty first.
However, if the enemy team has a lot of lifesteal, healers, or sustain, consider putting Pestilence in this slot. It’s a little more selfish protections-wise, but the anti-heal can be invaluable.
Last on the list is Mantle of Discord — another sort of catch-all item. It provides physical and magical protection, but it’s passive is more important. When you fall below 30% health, you stun all enemies in a small radius around you and gain CC immunity for a moment. This makes it a strong tool for escaping, setting up your own team if the enemy commits too hard, and even intentionally disrupting the enemy backline.
Picking up all these items will leave you with the option to pick up one final item, which you’ll have to choose based on your team’s situation. Taking a lot of magical damage and have a couple of auto-attackers? Go for Shogun’s Kasari. Didn’t pick up Pestilence earlier but need the anti-heal? It’ll fit here. Having trouble defending or finishing sieges? Emperor’s Armor can be the difference maker. You can even look and see who’s the top damage or who’s causing the most problems for your team, then pick a totally different item to try and slow them down.
Aggressive Support Starting Build
If you’re playing a damage-dealing or aggressive support, then you’ll want a build that helps you pressure your opponent. (Or even straight up kill them then take their stuff.) Here’s a suggestion for how to start:
- Mage’s Blessing
- Traveler’s Shoes
- Gauntlet of Thebes
- Mantle of Discord
This works well with gods like Ymir, Bacchus, Ares, and Athena, who want to make their opponents afraid to approach the minion wave. The idea behind picking up Mage’s Blessing is that the additional ability damage gives you surprise burst and improved clear against your lane opponents. This works especially well if your opponents picked gods who are a little low on clear like Geb, Terra, and Fafnir.
You’ll still want to pick up Traveler’s Shoes, but this time you want to use your additional movement speed and clear ability to steal away the enemy jungle. Stay at the enemy’s purple buff on respawn — or if your mid is doing well, have them rotate and help you steal their red. The name of the game is pressure, and you’re the catalyst.
With this build, you can rush Mantle of Discord a little early. You’ll need the extra protections, and the passive can be used aggressively, or to catch your opponents off guard when they try to collapse on you.
After you’ve finish up these initial items, you have to read the battlefield to know where to go next. If your early lead is fading, then default back to the traditional support build above. But if you’re ahead, press your lead with aggressive items like Void Stone for additional damage.
Season 5 of SMITE can be fun for supports. You should always be thinking about where you spend your time, who’s ahead, and what everyone is building if you want to win. You may not always have the kills or the stats to show it, but you can make an impact and win games for your team if you build and strategize properly. And should you need some extra advice direct from the competitive players who know the game best, check out some pro advice for the support role that you can take with you to the Battleground.
If you’re still struggling with the mechanics of the new map, check out our guide to dominating the S5 Conquest map to make sure you’re aware of all the major changes and can adjust your strategy accordingly. While you’re here, you can also check out our guides to building other roles so you’re prepared for anything the game throws at you:
As always, the guardian builds suggested here are subject to change as future updates come through. Are there any items you love that weren’t mentioned here? What’s been working for your supports in Season 5 so far? Let us know on Twitter (@SmitePro). And stay tuned for more guides, tierlists, and other SMITE esports content throughout the new season!