SMITE Skadi guide: Skading on thin ice with the Goddess of Winter
Spring's almost upon us, but it seems the snow is here to stay in SMITE as the First Lady of Frost Skadi skates her way onto the scene. Her companion Kaldr is certainly bringing the bark, but this ice-cold duo backs it up with winter's bite -- as long as you stick with us and learn the slippery slopes of SMITE's first pet-based Huntress, that is.
The Skinny on Skadi
The second Hunter-class entry into SMITE's Norse pantheon, Skadi's the latest in a long line of formidable femme fatales hailing from the land of ice and snow. Where she differs from Freya and Sol isn't so much damage -- she certainly has a ton of that -- but in her pet wolf Kaldr. Her own abilities are nothing to scoff at, boasting relatively high scaling and base damage (or in Permafrost's case, a rather unique form of area of effect crowd control), but Skadi really shines when she utilizes Kaldr to his full potential.
Usually, this involves a "sic em" followed swiftly by an announcement that an enemy has been slain.
She has no true escape like Apollo or Anhur (making her a little more vulnerable to ganks) but her damage output alone makes attempting to run the Goddess of Winter down by yourself a dangerous proposition. While she may not be able to effectively outrun many gods, she does have the option of simply turning on her pursuer -- and as Kaldr is quick to remind anyone foolish enough to corner her, it's never a 1v1 when it comes to Skadi.
If you keep your wits (and map awareness) about you, learn the abilities we cover below, and fight when Kaldr is healthy and your pack is strong, Skadi is a blizzard of damage that will surely leave your enemies out in the cold.
Kaldr, the Winter Wolf
Kaldr fights by Skadi's side and has 2 forms: Beast and Elemental. While in Beast form he can attack enemies and be attacked. While Elemental he is immune to attacks and regenerates health over time. His forms can be controlled with Skadi's Rune of the Hunt but he will be forced into Elemental form if he loses all Hit Points.
Hit points: 5
Move Speed: 110% of Skadi's
Attack Speed: 50% of Skadi's
Lifeloss: 1 damage from god attack or ability, 1 damage every 5 hits from lane minions
Regen: 1 HP every 10 seconds
Skadi's defining characteristic, Kaldr is a monster of a damage increase at any stage in the game - and comes free of charge right from game start. He's a little faster than average, and while he only attacks half as often as his mistress, he is still more than capable of damaging (or occasionally killing) targets all on his own.
Be careful to monitor your furry friend's hit points (shown both above his head and in a meter on your HUD) though. While Skadi can hold her own as an auto-attacking hunter, a recuperating Kaldr takes a huge bite out of your damage.
Skadi throws an icy spear forward, dealing damage to enemies and Slowing them for 3s. Kaldr's basic attacks deal double damage to targets afflicted by Piercing Cold.
Damage: 90/140/190/240/290 (+80% of physical power)
Cost: 70/75/80/85/90 mana
Cooldown: 15 seconds
Skadi's waveclear and (in Conquest) primary level-up should be familiar to anyone that's logged hours on Anhur - a straight spear that penetrates minion waves and does an awful lot of work. While it doesn't have the same Impale mechanic, Skadi's slow (especially at rank 5 of the ability) is more than dangerous enough to compensate, keeping enemies walking uphill in the snow as Kaldr quickly chews threw their health with double damage.
Rune of the Hunt
Toggle: Skadi marks an enemy for Kaldr to hunt. While toggled on, Kaldr assumes Beast form, chasing and attacking the marked enemy. If a marked enemy dies Kaldr attacks other enemies nearby. When toggled off, Kaldr stops attacking and returns to Skadi, reverting to his Elemental form on the way. This ability can be activated at rank 0 and Kaldr gains new skills as it ranks up.
Basic Attack Damage: 60/80/80/100/100% of Skadi's Basic Attack damage
Rank 1: Kaldr gains a dash attack
Rank 3: Kaldr's kills heal him
Rank 5: Kaldr's attacks give Skadi 10% increased movement speed
Cooldown: 5 seconds
What truly separates Skadi from the rest of the pack is her ability to inflict massive amounts of damage with Kaldr. While she lacks a traditional "attack steroid", like Ullr's attack speed buff or Rama's Astral Arrows, Kaldr more than makes up the difference, effectively giving her a 50% increase on basic attack damage as long as he's alive -- and spreading the love when the situation calls for it.
Where Rune of the Hunt (and by extension Skadi) further shines is her ability to finish targets or deal additional damage while getting herself to safety. Where an Ah Muzen Cab would have to turn and face his attackers or run, or Hou Yi has to circle that corner in a duel to the death, Skadi has the unique capability to leave Rune of the Hunt on a target and let Kaldr finish the kill while she retreats and repositions.
Kaldr also can be commanded to attack towers, or (perhaps just as importantly) low health enemies who think said towers make them safe. While a normal hunter or assassin would have to risk life and limb for these high risk kills, Kaldr will more than happily leap into danger on his mistress' command, picking up a kill before retreating into elemental form to lick his wounds.
If you're more focused on killing enemy gods than minions, leveling up Kaldr is a great way to increase nearly unavoidable damage. While Piercing Cold usually gets the nod in Conquest, more fight-driven modes where farm is less important (like Arena and Joust) welcome primarily leveling Kaldr -- and the massive damage increase it provides.
Skadi freezes the ground for 5s at a target location. The icy area deals damage to enemies that touch it and continues to deal additional damage every .5s they stay on it. Gods who step on the ice are slowed and lose control of their movement while sliding across. Also, Skadi's movement speed increases by 25% while standing on the area.
Damage: 70/100/130/160/190 (+60% of physical power)
Damage per tick: 5/10/15/20/25 (+5% of physical power)
Cost: 70/75/80/85/90 mana
Cooldown: 18 seconds
When it comes to SMITE, few things are as important as the crowd control a god brings to the table. Skadi's particular brand of CC is interesting in that while it's fine in a 1v1 scenario, it really shines in teamfights -- making her much better at helping destroy the bad guys than your average Hunter, but much worse at escaping threats that aren't deterred by Kaldr.
One important thing to note about Permafrost is that movement abilities tend to ignore it - Tyr will still whip right across it, Guan Yu's dash will skate elegantly on over, etc... When using Permafrost to flee rather than disable clumps of enemies, try to place it slightly ahead of you in your runpath. Anyone chasing you will still have to avoid or dash over the newly formed ice rink, and the movement speed bonus will help you keep ahead of them even if they manage to dash on through.
While the damage is nice, the slow remains the same, so it's safe to pick up a single point in Permafrost by level 4, then leave it until last.
Snowstorms surround Skadi and Kaldr. Upon activation, enemies in range become Rooted and Kaldr is restored to full health. The storms persist for 5s while dealing damage to enemies every .5s and making Kaldr immune to damage.
Damage per tick: 10/20/30/40/50 (+5% of physical power)
Root duration: 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds
Cost: 80/90/100/110/120 mana
Cooldown: 90 seconds
Winter's Grasp, Skadi's ultimate, is both a fantastic secure tool as well as a fine source of sustained damage in clumped-together teamfights. While hunting down stray targets, sic Kaldr on them with Rune of the Hunt, then pop Winter's Grasp after Kaldr has reached his target. This will root the enemy, allowing Skadi to catch up and land a Piercing Cold, while the damage aura helps finish them off.
Alternatively, Skadi can leverage Winter's Grasp to effectively fight on two fronts at once. Kaldr drops pretty easily when he's left on his own, but the invulnerability granted to him by Winter's Grasp (as well as the additional damage), leaves him nearly as effective as Skadi herself, while being unkillable for a few seconds and essentially unable to miss.
Giving Kaldr a kill command and activating Winter's Grasp to allow him to hunt down one particular squishy target while you kill another is a great way to bring a dominating presence to teamfights, and keep multiple enemies on the back foot.
Items and Gameplay
She certainly packs a punch, but at the end of the day Skadi is still a hunter -- position yourself poorly, or engage too aggressively into multiple enemies, and you're going to (frost)bite the dirt. Skadi and Kaldr are basically a one player pack, and function best when you use that to your advantage. Try and pick "unfair" fights where your deep-frozen duo can focus on a single target, and don't be afraid to let Kaldr do a lot of the work should things get dicey.
Skadi, as a hunter, has essentially two builds she'll lean towards - the "Qin's Sais" build (Qin's Sais, Asi, Brawler's Beatstick, Titan's Bane), where you focus on power and penetration (essentially the name of the game for SMITE Season 3 damage dealers), or the "Crit build", where you let Executioner, Rage, Deathbringer, and potentially Malice or Wind Demon do a lot of the work for you. The more tanky frontliners the enemy has, the more you'll want the Qin's build -- the additional penetration will help you work through all that extra armor, while Qin's itself does extra damage based on enemy's maximum HP.
Meanwhile, if the enemy team is more squish than steel, the Crit build will help you crush them like an avalanche - extra penetration doesn't mean much when there's not much armor to work through, after all.
In either case, however, Skadi needs mana and damage early, making Transcendence a powerful first pick up. Warrior's Tabi keeps your spears and Kaldr hitting hard, while Asi gives you a little life steal, extra damage via penetration, and attack speed. After that, build according to what the enemy team demands of your damage. The more you're forced to hit the tanks, the more you want Qin's build -- but if you're hunting down their back line, opt more for Crit.
Try to bully the enemy laner (or gods) when you can, leaning on Kaldr to harass them and bring them low while remaining relatively safe. Keep your particular area of the map heavily warded, and check your corners often -- a surprise attack on Skadi, who has no real escape, likely spells death.
As long as you keep aware and utilize Kaldr and Mark of the Hunt effectively, however, you should rack up a flurry of kills in no time.
Now that you're part of the pack, go forth and conquer! But be sure to stop back and tell us how you had the enemies frozen in fear with Skadi, the Goddess of Winter.