Going it alone: 4 top picks for SMITE's Season 3 solo lane
The King and Queen of SMITE Season 2's solo lane have fallen -- thanks to a few rounds of nerfs and item changes (including a relic/active overhaul we go into here) Xing Tian and Bellona have earned some much deserved time off, leaving tons of gods and goddesses fighting for the throne. Anything can happen this early in the season, but we're here with the four strongest front-runners in the Game of Solo that will leave the winning to you, and the dying to your enemies.
The Queen is dead...
...long live the Queen! Amaterasu, the Shining Light of the Heavens takes the place of Bellona, Goddess of War as Solo lane's resident femme fatale. While her presence is a little less obviously brutal, Amaterasu is a potent combination of power, toughness, self-sustain, and mobility. She's everything you could ask for in a Solo laner, really.
While her Heavenly Reflection is rumored to be taking a slight hit in damage come patch 3.3, Amaterasu was always more of a katana than a broadsword - her strength is as much in her speed as her actual power. With a quick dash attached to her silence in Glorious Charge and a staggering 25% bonus movement speed for herself and nearby allied gods at maximum rank Divine Presence, Amaterasu is fast.
Since Divine Presence is a static/toggle-able aura rather than an activated skill, she's also always fast. It's incredibly hard for many gods to ever catch her when she's in danger, or escape her blade while she hunts them down.
Don't mistake this slender blade for a prop-sword, though - thanks to her Illuminating Strikes debuffing enemies to take 10% more damage, the Shining Light has more than enough muscle to fight with the big boys. Make sure to make the most of Heavenly Reflection and Divine Presence's Power buff to bend fights to your advantage, then toggle the aura to keep ahead on life and quickly dance out of range of retaliation.
The return of the King
Well, the appearance of the King, at any rate. Since his massive overhaul, Ravana, Demon King of Lanka has made the leap from a bottom-tier joke in Season 2 to one of the best brawlers in the business at the start of Season 3. Sporting an ult that hits like a freight train loaded with dynamite and fantastic sustained damage, as well as built-in survivability with the extra effective health granted to him after a Chain of Blows, the Demon King is everything Amaterasu isn't - big, loud, scary, and obviously powerful.
While some other Solo laners are content to hit and fade, Ravana thrives in direct, sustained combat. That whole "immortality" part of his lore has left him a bit of a bully, challenging the swords and hammers of Solo lane's Would-Be Kings (and Queens) with his bare fists and, more often than not, coming out on top.
Ravana really flexes his muscles when it comes to damage output, so try to bully the enemy solo laner early and often, and make use of Overhead Kick to neutralize their counterattacks. Thanks to his high bases and relatively low cooldowns, he simply hits much harder than most other Warriors, and does so very often. Functionally, he's a heavily durable Warrior/Assassin, disposing of pretenders to the Solo throne as easily as high-priority targets on the enemy back line and escaping with his life -- or more likely, moving on to the next victim. And the next one. And the next after that.
Three easy steps
Speaking of arrogant demon kings, The Fifth Avatar of Vishnu has recently stepped back onto the scene of the Solo lane to humble Ravana -- and anyone else that underestimates this pint-sized powerhouse. While older seasons left him outclassed by the Monkey King Sun Wukong, nerfs to Wukong and changes to core items Frostbound Hammer and Qin's Sais have Vamana standing tall at the start of Season 3.
Since his passive is based upon physical protection, increasing his damage with every piece of armor, Vamana is set up near-perfectly to battle with other physical damage dealers. Lucky for the Sleeping Giant, "physical damage dealers" means nearly every early contender for control of the Solo lane in season 3.
What Vamana lacks in straight brawling power (until Colossal Fury unlocks, anyway) he more than makes up for with poke. A well placed Umbrellarang can heavily damage both the enemy laner and their minion wave, pushing the lane and bringing the enemy low while keeping a safe distance.
When the enemy calls for reinforcements from their jungle (and they will), Vamana can Clear the Path all the way back to the safety of the tower. This allows him to keep the harass coming while making killing him just "a little" difficult.
While Vamana can bully solo laners that fall behind early, using his physical protection and passives to trade with the enemy while taking negligible damage in return, his real strength lies in how hard he is to actually kill. Enemy laners will often not be able to get a clean shot on a Vamana that uses his Umbrellarang wisely, or are knocked up and away when he Clear(s) a Path, allowing Vamana to avoid being pushed around and farm safely until late game when he starts making a big impression on the enemy front and back lines.
It isn't flashy, and it isn't glorious - but even the mightiest of kings can be humbled by smart play, awareness, and good positioning.
Courage. Honor. Justice.
The throne of Solo lies empty, and the world around it is in turmoil - gods and goddesses, demons and monsters shake the world as they vie for the crown. It is a dangerous time. A lawless time. A terrifying time for the Solo players of SMITE.
Enter Tyr, the Lawgiver.
Here to keep the peace and remind the challengers of Solo lane that no one is above the Law, Tyr's unique combination of innate Crowd Control reduction, high mobility, and tons of damage attached to his own reusable CC leaves the former Tier 2 Solo pick in a much stronger position. Mostly this is thanks to his bane, Purification, now having twice as long of a cooldown as previous forms, allowing his giant damage combos and CC to connect much more reliably than in past seasons.
Tyr excels at two things - getting into a fight, and getting out of trouble. Since he has no "attack steroid" to buff his basic attacks, Tyr tends to engage in a hit and run strategy. He hits enemy minions or gods (or preferably both) with Assault Stance Fearless, comboing with a Power Cleave while they're in the air to keep the damage and CC coming, then jamming Change Stance to use the Guard Stance versions of these movies to escape through enemies and heal up (if you even need it).
While the first 2 or so levels are fine, Tyr really spikes in power around level 3 - use your combo to inflict massive damage on enemies without fear of reprisal, burning Guard Stance abilities only when necessary to avoid jungle ganks or powerful enemy counterattacks. There's enough time to typically weave in one basic attack after the combo before they can respond, so use this damage spike to put your lane opponent way behind on gold and health early on.
Opting for a more damage oriented build with Jotunn's Wrath as a second or third item, Tyr is more vulnerable to ganks than some others on our list -- so try to save Lawbringer for securing kills or escaping death as much as possible.
Proper assessment of when you can destroy your enemy and when you only need to hold on and farm (shown in whether you're murdering them with Fearless or have to settle for the waves of minions) will leave you in perfect position to farm early and destroy back lines or disrupt front lines late. Master this game awareness with Tyr, and soon you'll be telling the enemy team that there's a new Sheriff in town -- and they will respect your authority.
First lesson: stick them with the pointy end
Note: Some weapons do not actually have pointy ends
As we've mentioned before, items are typically not static and there is usually no single build in any role - certain gods and certain situations call for certain measures and countermeasures. However, there is usually a strong "core" of items a specific lane or role tends towards, and much like the four above god selections, a few items seem critical to effective solo laning at this stage of the game. Generally, look to pick up Warrior's Tabi, Breastplate of Valor, Frostbound Hammer, Bulwark of Hope (keep an eye on this, as it's reportedly being weakened come 3.3), Winged Blade, and Mantle of Discord.
While that's up to a full 6/6 build, not every game will call for every item. At the very least, Frostbound Hammer, Warrior's Tabi, and Breastplate of Valor seem to be nearly universally picked, with the remainder of the above and some outside calls like Qin's Sais (for when you want more damage) and Hide of the Lion or Witchblade (against teams with multiple ADCs or attack-damage reliant enemies) still pulling strong numbers.
Men are mad, and gods are madder
As you wage war in the solo lane, keep in mind that there are far more horses in the race than those four listed here. Hades has always been a solid counterpick to the Warriors currently dominating the lane, Bellona is down but not out, and the ever-present and ever-annoying Loki is as present and annoying as ever. The four gods above are certainly incredibly powerful in Season 3 and offer solid advantages in the lane, but careful play and awareness of not only your pick but how to play against theirs is still essential to claim victory.
After all, this is the Game of Solo, where you win - or you die. Use these four powerful contenders, though, and you can be certain that Win is coming.
Now go forth and conquer! But don't forget about us when you're wearing your new crown - be sure to come back and tell us all about the gods and goddesses you use in SMITE's Season 3 solo lane.