In Season 5 SMITE, Jungle players have to make do without the classic Bumba’s mask. Instead, Junglers have Assassin’s Blessing as their defacto starting item. Assassin’s Blessing only costs 700 gold, which leaves Junglers with 800 leftover. Which SMITE Jungle starting item should you take with your 800 gold? Today, we’ll go over this dilemma in detail to decide the pound-for-pound KING OF THE JUNGLE…for SMITE Jungle starting items.
This guide assumes that you are playing a traditional Assassin in this role. That means this info is still fairly useful if you are taking a Hunter or Warrior into the Jungle, but take it with a grain of salt if you’re playing a Mage like Ao Kuang. Or a Guardian, like Ganesha.
What? Ganesha Jungle makes complete sense. He’s an elephant, for one thing, and elephants live near jungles. Plus, he never steals kills or last hits when he’s in a lane. Finally, he’s an elephant, which means he never forgets…TO GANK!
OK, OK, don’t play Ganesha Jungle in a serious game. On to the guide!
When you start a game of SMITE, you will usually have a little small change after buying Assassin’s Blessing and your favored tier one item. You should use this change to buy potions, wards, or chalices. What you buy is up to you, but don’t forget: Assassin’s Blessing will refund 60 mana per cleared camp (20 per monster, three monsters per camp). That means that if you use only one ability on a camp, you will recover most or all of the mana you spent.
I recommend that you buy health potions and mana potions to start. The health potions keep you safe, because Assassin’s Blessing doesn’t quite refund the health you lose clearing a camp early on. The mana potions are important because if you gank a lane, you will burn a lot of mana with abilities. After a gank, the mana potion will guarantee that you have enough resources to quickly farm again after ganking.
Starting Item Option One: Boots
With this start, you get plenty of potions to keep you healthy early on. You also get to rush your boots, because you’ll only need 1,100 gold to finish them. If your opponent chooses a different start, they will need at least 1,550 gold. That means you have a 450 gold head-start on them, which is at least four jungle camps worth of gold! If your opponent takes ten seconds to clear a camp, then you get your boots 45 seconds sooner than them.
Taking Boots first also gives you faster movement speed, which will allow you to rotate more quickly to different parts of the map. Tier one Boots only provide 6% more movement speed, but over a long distance that may still make you a second or so faster.
Unfortunately, your faster movement speed may be lost by slower clear time. Tier one Boots provide no power, which means that Junglers who take other items will probably move on to their next camp before you do. Your lower power also will make your ganks slightly less dangerous.
Starting Item Option Two: Morningstar
This start is well-balanced between risk and reward. Since Morningstar only costs 550 gold, you can still get a decent stock of potions to help you through the early game. You can’t have a Chalice, but if you desperately need vision in the first three minutes you could afford some Wards if you wish.
With this start, you get a lot of build options with pros and cons. You can keep the Morningstar around, and save up money for a pair of Boots. Warrior Tabi costs 1,600 gold, which isn’t very much, but may be more than you can safely farm before you have to back for health or mana.
You could also choose to rush Transcendence or Hydra’s Lament, and buy your Boots as your second item. However, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to farm enough to buy Transcendence outright before you’re forced to back due to a lack of mana or health. Also, Hydra’s Lament is not a great first item for most Gods because its passive relies on already having a lot of physical power.
Finally, rushing either Transcendence or Hydra’s Lament means that you will be noticeably slower than Gods who rush Boots. This can make your rotations slow, make your ganks less impactful, and could even lead to you losing farm from enemy Jungle invasions. This difference will be most pronounced when your enemy has completely finished their Boots.
However, the best upside to this start is your improved Jungle clear in the early game. Morningstar provides ten physical power. Ten power is just enough so that you can clear a camp in two-to-three less total basic attacks. That could be as much as three seconds of time saved over someone using Boots!
Starting Option Three: Katana
This start is the all-in, risky choice. Katana costs 700 gold, making it one of the most expensive starter items in SMITE. Together with Assassin’s Blessing, this start leaves you with only 100 gold left over. You will almost certainly need a health potion and either a mana or multi-potion. If you need wards right away, this might not work for you.
With this start, you have relatively fast access to the four tier three Katanas: Stonecutting Sword, Masamune, Heartseeker, and Hastened Katana. All of them are quite powerful, and certain Assassins consider at least one or several of them to be core choices. Since the entire tree provides movement speed as well as power, you don’t have the same dilemma that the Morningstar start forces on you. Whether you rush a tier three Katana, or just build tier three Boots, you’ll have the strength and speed to rotate effectively.
Compared to an enemy who chooses starting option one or two, you have a tremendous time advantage by picking option three. You have the clearing speed of a Morningstar with almost the same movement speed as Boots. That means anyone who didn’t make your choice will be left in the dust early game. You should have no problem doing your first three camps, then racing to midlane to gobble up the mid harpies. You could even steal their Red buff if you’re feeling frisky!
All that upside has a big downside: you have low sustain and no safety net. If you take a bad gank, you may burn your limited potions too soon and need to back early. You could even get killed if enemies invade your jungle or a fight happens around you.
Honorable Mention One: No Blessing
A very limited number of Gods with great natural sustain could, maybe, skip Assassins Blessing. If you choose to do this, your options for starting builds goes through the roof. However, Assassin’s Blessing provides a ton of sustain and also helps you clear camps quickly. Most of the time, this start will be a gimmick, so don’t try it in your next ranked game.
Honorable Mention Two: No Starter
If you just want a pile of consumables, this starter option might work for you. Taking no tier 1 item means you could buy a couple Chalices instead. That would save you a lot of money in the long run, at the cost of a weaker (but safe) early game. You could even buy a couple Wards, place them, then back and buy Chalices. This tactic would help your team be safe against early invasions or ganks.
This start is most viable on Gods with excellent clear. For the most part, however, it’s like honorable mention one: a gimmick.
Honorable Mention Three: The Ratatoskr Special
Ratatoskr doesn’t have Boots. Ratatoskr doesn’t need Boots. That’s because the Rat has his amazing Acorn of Yggdrasil.
At tier three, Rat’s Acorn provides 50 power, more than Warrior Tabi. It provides 20% movement speed, more than ordinary boots and only a little less than Talaria Boots. Whenever Rataoskr damages an enemy with an ability, the Acorn of Yggdrasil heals him. Finally, Ratatoskr can upgrade his Acorn anywhere on the map; no need to back!
That last special power gives Rat more starting item options than other Assassins in SMITE. Because Ratatoskr can upgrade his acorn in the field, he may take whatever starting suite of items he likes.
My personal favorite start is Assassin’s Blessing, three each of health and mana potions, then pocketing the 500 remaining gold. This makes my first three camps feel like I took a tier 1 boots start. Then, I upgrade my Magic Acorn to an Acorn of Swiftness. Acorn of Swiftness provides 10 power and 10% movement speed. Suddenly, I have all the upside of a Katana start with none of the drawbacks.
Ratatoskr can also choose a Morningstar or a Katana. His Magic Acorn gives him a “free” 8% movement speed increase, so he can get quite a lot from these starts. Whatever you choose, take advantage of Rat’s incredibly strong early game. It’s all thanks to his big nut!
The King of the Jungle Is…
Each SMITE Jungle starting item build has its strengths and weaknesses. As you improve at the game, you will start to perceive that no build is always right. Therefore, there is no true King of the Jungle. Pick the correct starting loadout for the game at hand.
However, you came here for a recommendation, and there is an answer. The King of the Jungle, most of the time, is the Katana start.
Although it can be scary to have so few potions early on, the Katana start provides more opportunities than the other options do. If your team is coordinated well enough, they can help you clear some camps. If they do so, you will spend fewer resources, which means you don’t need your potions as much. The Katana start can let you clear and move quickly, quickly enough that you can set your team up for invasions or ganks. If you get your team a kill, but have to back, you overall got more than if you got no kill and kept farming.
What Else Is There?
There are other tier one items in SMITE for Junglers to pick. Do you have a favorite that I didn’t cover today? Do you disagree with my choice for King of the Jungle? Or, do you agree completely and just want to tell somebody? Perhaps you want to know about other SMITE starting item builds for other roles. Leave a comment so I hear you; I love to write follow-ups, or even whole new pieces, based on what readers want to read.
All images courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com.
Written by Sam Boyer. Find me on XBOX LIVE, Thanatos1342. Also, check out this podcast by Hi Rez Studio’s “The Caster” competitors, YoungLink and Unexceptional!