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SMITE Izanami build guide: Izanami...It's You

I'm here with every tip and trick I could dig up that'll help you bury the opposition in SMITE's Season 3 with Izanami, the Matron of the Dead.

Halloween may be just around the corner, but SMITE Season 3 has decided to let loose one of its creepiest crawlies a bit early. She's dead, she's pissed, and the Matron of the Dead has clawed her way onto the Battleground of the Gods to settle an old Grudge. Playing Izanami in the dark may send Ju-On a hard losing streak, but stick with us and we'll teach you how to make the enemy ever regret stepping into The Ring with Izanami. 

The Info on Izanami

Izanami, SMITE's first Hunter (and fourth entry overall) in the Japanese pantheon is is a dangerous new addition that has all the elements of a classic carry. But, like your favorite song when it's playing backwards over a radio you don't remember turning on, everything is a little...off. All the pieces are there, but it's a little...distorted. Don't let that crooked stance or her strange mechanics fool you, though -- thanks to her incredibly powerful top-end damage, she makes good on one of the top rules of Horror monsters anywhere:

By the time you see Izanami, you're already dead. 

A bit of a Black Cat when it comes to the Hunter family, Izanami sports an incredibly potent mechanic - naturally piercing basic attacks. Even better, her kama sickles don't just pierce through enemies (minions and gods alike) on the way out, but also on the way back to her, giving her one of the more powerful Hunter wave clears available for free. While she's not as mobile as some of her counterparts, Izanami is an incredibly fearsome figure when it comes to dominating the laning phase early, and easily transitions late game into a pseudo-assassin/Hunter capable of reaching and quickly killing high priority enemy carries. 

We know you're dying to start your very own Tales of Terror on the Battleground, but it's going to take more than a little practice before you can navigate the Dark Waters of mastering Izanami, the Matron of the Dead. 

Abilities

 Death Draws Nigh

The closer Izanami gets to death, the more powerful she becomes. Izanami gains 4% Physical Penetration for each 15% of her health that is missing, up to a maximum of 20%

Her piercing basics aren't the only thing Izanami gets for free - Death Draws Nigh is an incredible protection shredding damage buff that can be nearly as potent as a free Executioner or Titan's Bane...if you're willing to play a little risky. While this may not be in the same class as other passive attack steroids (or even some other Hunter passives) thanks to how specific it's condition is, when its condition is met Death Draws Nigh certainly lives up to its name -- one way or another. 

 Sickle Storm

For 6s, Izanami throws her kama sickles even faster and more furiously. While active she gains attack speed, and her basic attacks no longer return to her - instead applying bonus damage in addition to 100% of her basic attack power per hit. 

Bonus attack speed: 55/60/65/70/75%

Bonus damage: 5/10/15/20/25

Cost: 60/65/70/75/80

Cooldown: 10 seconds

If massive passive bonuses aren't your speed, Izanami's primarily leveled skill Sickle Storm is exactly what those with Ichi trigger fingers love - a single button that turns your god or goddess into a stone cold Killer. While your basic attacks will no longer pierce enemies while Sickle Storm is running, the massive attack speed boost and bonus damage make Sickle Storm a perfect way to shred a single target in a matter of a few seconds, and is one of the more powerful damage buffs available to Hunters currently. 

What's going to make or break some Izanami games is the ability to flip this particular switch at the correct time -- while it massively increases your damage output, it also makes traditional countermeasures (i.e. sending a gigantic meat shield in front of your target, or weaving through minions) effective when they otherwise would not be. 

Generally, try to make sure you have at least a few basic attacks worth of a clear shot before you send the enemy through the Sickle Storm - but once you have an opening, let 'em RIP. 

As a final note, keep an eye on leading your shots - while Sickle Storm increases your attack speed and certainly helps, the missile speed of Izanami's basic attacks (whether Storming or not) take a bit of getting used to

 Spectral Projection

Izanami sends forth a demonic visage of herself to strike down her enemies, damaging and slowing all enemies in a line. 

If an enemy god is killed while slowed by this ability, future uses of the slow will be increased by 6% per kill up to twice, for a maximum slow of 30%. 

Damage: 65/115/165/215/265 (+90% of physical power)

Slow: 18%+6% per debuffed kill (max 30%)

Slow duration: 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds

Cost: 70 mana

Cooldown: 16/15/14/13/12

With an incredibly long range and a fair bit of power, Spectral Projection is fantastic at two things -- keeping enemy players moving slower than a teenager in a slasher flick, and clearing out enemy minions that are standing between them and the oncoming Sickle Storm. Luckily, much like her basic attacks, Spectral Projection also pierces through enemies -- meaning you can do both at once fairly easily, and making Spectral Projection the starter in your common combo (Spectral Projection -> Dark Portal -> Sickle Storm). 

While a little awkward to land at first, the damage output of the above three part combo is beyond Grotesque, and will quickly massacre anything that isn't a dedicated tank. Look to level Spectral Projection second, after Sickle Storm, in order to keep the damage relevant and extend the length of the slow, and try to score a debuffed kill or assist whenever you can in the early game -- you don't have to be the one to kill the debuffed enemy for the slow to increase, the cursed target only has to die. 

While primarily a damage and secure tool, don't be afraid to use this spooky shadow to save an ally if the situation calls for it - a well timed Spectral Projection can often force enemies away from low health teammates, or slow them too much for them to continue pursuit. 

Izinami is a vengeful, spiteful, maggot-riddled corpse woman with a burning hatred for an entire world - but that doesn't mean SMITE's Matron of the Dead can't be a team player when the situation calls for it. 

 Fade Away

Izanami descends into the underworld, becoming stealthed, and leaps away from her current position. Taking damage, or firing a damaging ability or basic attack breaks her stealth

Duration: 3/3.5/4/4.5/5 seconds

Cost: 90/85/80/75/70 mana

Cooldown: 20/19/18/17/16 seconds

Descends into the underworld indeed -- Fade Away is incredibly similar to Hades' Death from Below in both form and function. After a brief delay, Izanami will burrow/leap her way towards the target area, and remain stealthed for a few seconds afterwards -- allowing her a clean escape in times or trouble, or an easy way into the enemy team's precious back line undetected. Fade Away does trade this additional power for a bit of a jerky start -- that is, it "fires" more slowly than other Hunters' similar escape moves, and is thus a bit weaker as a reactionary defensive option than, say, The Moves out of Apollo. 

Keep your eye out for enemy archer minions, though. Taking damage will break Fade Away's stealth, which usually is avoidable -- enemy players don't always hit what they can see, so they can certainly miss what they can't see.  Minions, however, can't miss. Any missiles fired at Izanami while she's Fading Away will follow her all the way through to the other end - where the unfortunate *plink* of a tiny annoying arrow (or large fireball from a tower or phoenix) will render her as visible as ever.

 Dark Portal

Izanami summons a dark portal which damages and silences all enemies in range. 

Damage: 250/340/430/520/610 (+120% of physical power)

Silence duration: 1.5/1.75/2/2.25/2.5 seconds

Cost: 100 mana

Cooldown: 80 seconds

It may not be Outland, but there's still a world of hurt waiting beyond this Dark Portal for any enemies caught in it as it explodes open. A ground targeted Area of Effect spell, Izanami combines a solid nuke capable of erasing most of a squishier enemy's health with a potent Crowd Control ability in the form of a large silence - making her combo particularly adept at ripping the insides out of Mages like hungry zombies, or disabling the escape skills of enemy Hunters, leaving them to their oncoming death in horror. 

Of course, attentive Izanamis will notice one distinct thing about Dark Portal that gives them pause - the pause before it explodes. Much like Poseidon's Kraken, or Chiron's Training Exercise, there's a small calm before the nightmarish storm that is Izanami's deadly ultimate. 

Items and Gameplay

Izanami is a relentless killing machine -- but also a fantastic test of decision making and zone management. While this is to some degree true of every Hunter (really, of every god or goddess in SMITE), the absolute make or break point of every Izanami player is going to be their ability to correctly anticipate, control, and adapt to the zone around her. 

What's so special about Izanami, you ask? Well...she's slow. Everything about her. Her movement speed, her basic attack projectiles, her Spectral Projection, her escape in Fade Away, even her Dark Portal - all of it. It's all just a fraction slower than normal, a little bit off from the regular. Granted, she's doing pretty well for herself when you consider that she is literally a shambling corpse, but these small delays mean that you need to be that much more aware of what's going on around youSMITE's Season 3 is a battle where every second counts, and while the Matron of the Dead has power in spades, she's also about half a second slower -- and it's on her player to make up for that difference.

Lucky for us, her raw power helps a little in that regard - an early Devourer's Gauntlet helps keep give us a little leeway while our powerful basic attacks shred the enemy minions and almost assure lane dominance from an early stage. Warrior's Tabi will help make up for her low starting physical power twice as much as usual -- while her basic attacks are only roughly half as good, they hit twice as often (with careful positioning), making any raw power boost twice as effective.

Where Izanami really shines, however, is the unique way in which she interacts with Critical Hits -- while most On-Hit effects have been coded away from working with her return swing, Critical Hits have not. So after the boots are done and the Gauntlet is on, start stacking that Crit chance with Wind Demonfollowed by Rage and Malice, then Poisoned Star -- the pseudo Frostbound Hammer effect and whopping 20% damage output reduction is a nasty debuff when Rage all but guarantees Crits as your kama sickles tear through multiple enemies at a time. Of course, if your damage (even with Sickle Storm running) is a little on the low side, feel free to get a little selfish and leave the Star in the shop, picking up either Titan's BaneBloodforge, or Deathbringer instead. 

Here's the TL;DR:

Devourer's Gauntlet > Warrior's Tabi > Wind Demon > Rage > Malice > Poisoned Star/Deathbringer/Titan's Bane/Bloodforge (flex slot)

With this build, proper positioning, and plenty of practice, the enemies are sure to be Carved into pieces -- just be sure to keep an eye on your surroundings, as any mistake can be punishing, and more often than not leave the Lady of Yomi immediately dead. 

Well. Deader

Now that you know you're the "something wicked" that this way comes, go forth and conquer! But be sure to come back and tell us how you ran SMITE Season 3's graveyard shift with Izanami, the Matron of the Dead. 

Published Sep. 9th 2016

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