Assassins are back
During the second half of Season 4, Smite junglers was dominated by Warriors. Warriors Odin and Ravana receiving more bans than any other jungler in the Smite World Championship 2018. It seemed like Assassins couldn’t compete.
With the season 5 patch, players were hoping for a shift back to High Damage junglers. They were tired of the tanky front-liners that had been popular for months. And if the first couple of matches of the Smite Pro League are any indication, it’s official: High damage carries are back in the jungle.
Gods like Nemesis, Serqet, Camazotz and Da Ji are the rulers of the jungle in Season 5. The main reason for this shift is clear: item changes. Assassins received a huge damage buff in the form of a new item: The Crusher.
Well, it’s not exactly a new item; The Crusher has been in the game since Season 2. But with a brand new passive and new stats, it might as well be new. The season 5 patch changed its passive to deal an additional 30 damage, plus 15% of your physical power, over two seconds. For Assassins that aim to burst their target in as few abilities as possible, this extra damage is insane. And to back it up, the item has impressive stats for its price. Most notably, it provides a whopping 15 Flat Penetration. Combined with Heartseeker, Assassins can now deal an extreme amount of burst.
Some junglers have also found a new toy in the recently buffed Transcendence. Already one of the highest Physical Power items in the game, it now also gives 10% CDR. With that small buff, the item now has an enticing spread of stats for Assassins. While not as core to Season 5 Assassin builds as The Crusher is, Transcendence has certainly helped in putting Assassins back in the spotlight.
On the Magical side, Mages got a few new items to help them Jungle as well. Book of the Dead now gives a Shield when under 50% Health. Combined with the slightly buffed Warlock’s Staff (formerly Warlock’s Sash), Mages can boost their survivability without giving up much damage. Mages also got a new item shortly after Season 5’s release in Soul Gem, an item reminiscent of a magical Heartseeker. But instead of just dealing extra damage, Soul Gem heals you and any allies around as well. With these items, we’re seeing the return Mage junglers like He Bo, who was banned twice in the Rival vs NRG set on March 20th.
These changes have created a meta where the jungler is incredibly powerful. Even after a sizable nerf to Heartseeker, and nerfs to gods like Serqet and Nemesis, the jungle carry meta is still thriving. For competitive teams, this means having a strong jungler is more important than ever. With the amount of influence they have over the whole map, a strong jungler can now freely rotate, help struggling lanes, and get their whole team ahead. With the strength of Assassins, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a nerf to The Crusher, Soul Gem, or any of the Assassins and Mages that use these items.
He Bo and Nemesis art courtesy of scebiqu.deviantart.com, Serqet art courtesy of smite.wikia.com