In Season Five, some Assassins have been making big waves in the solo lane. The most obvious Assassin to come to mind would be Camazotz, the most picked Assassin solo. But he’s not alone: Nemesis and Ne Zha have both seen decent success in the solo lane this split.
But that doesn’t apply to all Assassins. In fact, most Assassins can’t compete with their Warrior and Guardian opponents in solo lane. So what makes these three Assassins special, and are there any other Assassins that could work in solo lane?
Winning lane in solo is all about getting positive health trades with your opponent. And in terms of trades, any healing you give to yourself is worth practically the same as damage to your opponent.
Thankfully for Camazotz and Ne Zha, they have some of the best health sustain in the game. Camazotz has some healing on nearly all of his abilities: his passive gives him healing and mana from his Essence Pools, he gets a lifesteal buff and a heal from his Vampire Bats, and Devour gives him yet another heal. All of this healing combines to let him out-trade nearly any God he goes up against.
Ne Zha may not have as many different sources of healing, but his heal is still incredibly powerful. Not only does it give him back 15% of his health, but it does so immediately, rather than over time like many other heals. And as long as his passive is stacked, he can use it to heal in-between waves.
The odd one out of this trio is Nemesis, who has no heal. But her shield can fill a similar role. While your shield is up, you win trades automatically since they aren’t dealing damage to your health.
Like any other lane, solos benefit from clearing minion waves quickly. If you can push further up than your opponent, you open up a lot of options for yourself. You can farm your jungle, zone them away from your minion wave, or even rotate to other lanes.
It’s also the area where most Assassins fall flat. With clear abilities designed to hit jungle camps, not full minion waves, it can be hard to compete with Warriors and Guardians.
Camazotz, however, can out-clear a lot of his competition. Camazotz’ Screech can hit the whole wave if not blocked by the enemy solo laner, and provides him with a valuable power buff. His Devour provides another AOE ability to damage the wave. He also has a cleave, giving every third basic attack he lands an AOE, and supplementing his clear.
Ne Zha might not have clear as good as Camazotz’, but his clear is nothing to laugh at. His Ring Toss can hit the whole wave and the enemy God after a few level ups. And just like Camazotz, the last hit of his basic attack chain is a cleave, even if his is a lot slower.
Nemesis, unfortunately, has trouble clearing. But she makes up for it with something else.
The biggest advantage of picking an Assassin in solo over their Warrior and Guardian counterparts is their damage. With a combination of their burst-oriented kits, and in many cases buffs and debuffs that give them power or penetration, these Gods can wreak havoc. This not only helps them win lane by bullying their Warrior and Guardian opposition, but also makes them terrifying to face late game in a team fight.
While this is a strength shared by all three of the mentioned Assassins, the one that stands out the most is Nemesis. Her passive gives her back some of the power she’s missing, and her shield reflects enemy damage the same regardless of her build. And with two slows and two dashes, it’s hard to get away from a Nemesis that wants you dead. But Nemesis’ real strength is her ultimate.
Dealing up to 30% of her target’s current health, this ability deals just as much damage when Nemesis is building defense as when she’s building offense. In addition, it gives a slew of buffs to Nemesis and debuffs to her opponent, including stealing 30% of their protections. While this ultimate is up, Nemesis can win practically any one on one fight, making her scary to fight against in lane. And in team fights, this ultimate lets her charge the enemy back-line and deal a massive amount of damage, even with her defensive build.
Ne Zha and Camazotz aren’t far behind. Each of them have plenty of highly damaging abilities, and enough mobility and CC to comfortably stick to enemy Gods. Ne Zha’s ultimate also serves as a great set-up for your allies’ abilities.
The Other Assassins
Now that we know what makes an Assassin viable in solo lane, are there any Assassins that fit the bill but aren’t often picked?
There are a few Assassins that might seem to have all the elements of a good Assassin solo, but just don’t pack enough punch. Kali might seem like a good pick on paper, with good sustain and a good penetration buff on her passive. But her late game depends on dealing a lot of damage, which means she can’t reasonably build defensively.
Thanatos is better than Kali, but still not quite good enough. He has some great sustain, okay clear, and his ultimate and Death Scythe let him be threatening while building defense. Unfortunately for him, while his kit is suited well to the solo lane, he just doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the more popular Assassin solos.
Ratatoskr has historically seen success in the solo lane, but has recently fallen out of favor. However, his kit is still perfectly suited to it, with good sustain, damage, and clear. The squirrel is likely to make a comeback in the solo lane at some point. For now, the only question is when.
It might seem like the only viable Assassin solos are the ones already being picked. But there is one Assassin rarely seen in the solo lane that seems to have the makings of a great solo pick.
Are there any other Assassins that you think could be the next big solo laner? Let me know in the comments, as long as you don’t say Loki.
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