SMITE Season 4 is already upon us. And as new items, rituals, relics, gods, and map updates change the very face of the Battleground, players are scrambling to find the new order of things so they can make that long climb to the top.
If you're a mid-laner in Conquest, then a lot has changed for you.
Luckily, we've done a lot of grinding for you and come up with four solid all-stars (and a bonus round with potential) to keep you company in the mid lane now that your Jungler will be off doing...whatever it is they do when you don't have to babysit them. It might be a lonely new world out there in the rockstar lane, but we'll be with you every step of the way -- and with these mid lane picks, so will plenty of victories.
For those of us who were playing or watching during Season 3, these picks may not be much of a surprise. Zeus and Thoth were both stellar mid lane picks throughout the recently finished ranked season -- and while their job of "obliterate literally everything in front of you" was headlined by Scylla, recent changes to the way Conquest works leave these two mages (with slightly better wave clear and early fighting potential) in a much better spot than the tiny terror of the deep.
While Zeus is still the same god of lightning bolts and absurd damage he was last season, that's fine. Being able to single-handedly annihilate an enemy squad if properly guarded is good enough to keep the God of the Sky among the top picks for the middle lane (even when he's built a little tanky).
Thoth was already fairly well positioned headed into Season 4. His kit promoted extremely safe laning, he had powerful poke damage to soften up an enemy lineup, and late game his ult could simply delete anything less durable than a warrior. Really, he had everything you could ask for out of a competitive mid laner...
...and then they gave him a stun. While it only lasts a single second, upgrading the Crowd Control on an already prominent Mage like Thoth is a *huge* boon to any allied Junglers or rotating Supports, and vastly increases the lethality of any ganks his team wants to lend a hand with.
Early clear, powerful contributions to teamfights, and high single-target lethality mean Zeus and Thoth are grade A picks going into Season 4. They'll be powerful additions to any serious mid laner's arsenal.
These two should also be familiar faces to long-time SMITE players, though maybe not exactly what first comes to mind given the emphasis on early game power we put in the mid lane with Zeus and Thoth.
Janus and Ra probably aren't going toe to toe with the likes of Zeus or Thoth and coming out ahead very often (at least not in the early game, anyway). However, what they lack in raw power, these two specialist Mages more than make up for in other ways.
Janus has been a top mid pick ever since players began to understand the potential of his unparalleled mobility. No one can ever get somewhere as fast as the God of Portals and Transitions -- and they certainly can't bring their whole team along for the ride.
Initially, many players thought the floating magic robot might've seen his last days with the introduction of the Portal Demon near the Fire Giant pit. After all, why spend an entire pick when anyone can basically Janus ult their team to the FG by killing a relatively medium difficulty monster?
Of course, this actually increases Janus' importance on the Battleground - should your team lose control of the Portal Demon spawn, Through Space and Time is one of the few ways to get your team there as a unit in time to contest.
Ra has suffered a similarly unintuitive power boost as a result of changes in Season 4. While the headline of the season might as well read, "Combat healing nerfed to oblivion. Sell stock in bandaids and Guan Yu now", there's an interesting result of these changes that actually leave healers like Ra a little stronger than they were previously.
Healing is certainly a powerful mechanic, and one of the most heated discussions in the game right now -- but most healing was taking place well outside of combat. One team would win a minor engagement, and while they made moves on objectives or regrouped, the resident Sylvanus, Ra, or Guan Yu would top their allies off to keep everyone fresh and healthy for the next fight.
In order to combat the immediate "nerfs" to healing, SMITE gave healers plenty of new toys to make their kits useful outside of the raw healing potential. Changes to the Imperial Helm family -- and in Ra's case his heal itself -- leave some healer gods and goddesses in more strategically advantageous positions than they were before the nerfs, all things considered.
While his Solar Blessing might not be exactly as powerful as it once was, it's still fairly close -- and now offers up to 30 free protections to any allies as well, giving himself and his allies what is close to a free tier 3 survival item when combined with Lotus Crown.
They might not be the best damage around, but Janus and Ra are the best (and in Janus' case really the only) at what they do, leaving these two specialists near the top of the picks for anyone making a run for mid lane all-star in SMITE's Season 4 Spring Split.
While the four Mages we've gon over so far are the clear leaders heading into SMITE's Season 4 Spring Split, there's a pick who stands poised to surprise everyone...if things go just right...and should be watched carefully as Season 4 progresses.
Often reviled and shot to the bottom of tier rankings, Hel stands as a potential 10 or solid 0 with recent changes to her kit. While we've reviewed the "healers are nerfed, but not really" reality of Season 4 with Ra, Hel's healing did take a significant hit. Her Inspire simply isn't anywhere near as powerful as it used to be, and is now broken up into smaller HoT ticks for her allies. While Restoration is picking up a lot of that slack on the allied healing department now, it is unwieldly and awkward (read: borderline impossible in teamfights) to use.
So why is she on the watch list?
Simple. For the first time, Hel has a (relatively) safe laning phase. Changes to Decay offer Hel the ability to scale her first ability, Decay/Restoration (as opposed to her traditionally leveled Repulse/Inspire) and operate as a traditional mage that can clear a wave and harass enemy laners from a safe distance. Where before, Decay would splash against the front wave of tanky minions, it now penetrates the entire minion wave with massive damage -- and even explodes at the end a little, just to bring the hurt to any enemy that decided to hide among their henchmen.
Combined with receiving 25 magical penetration for free on enemies caught in Hinder, and either 25 free protections or 60 free magical power thanks to her Switch Stance passive, the terrible twosome has a lot going on as a powerful area-of-effect mage. The fact that she can heal is now more of a pleasant (and admittedly still powerful) bonus.
While it's possible her Inspire is now too weak as a healing mechanic, or her relative immobility (having no real escape) is still too much of a hurdle to overcome on the competitive scene, Hel has always had the potential to snowball out of control in any game where she makes it safely through the laning phase. And thanks to those Decay changes, safely making it through the laning phase is now basically trivial.
Whether the Goddess of the Underworld gets her chance to shine in the spotlight, or is left dark at the bottom of the pick order is up in the air. But keep both eyes on this one, mid laners, because she has a real shot at being one Hel of an addition to your lineup in Season 4.
It's a bold new Battleground out there in SMITE Season 4, and everything is still up for grabs as gods and goddesses fight for a spot in the competitive roster. But with these four (or five...or six?) mid lane picks, you'll have all the tools you need to be the center of attention as you lead your team (sometimes kicking and screaming) to victory.
Now go forth and Conquer! But be sure to stop back by and tell us in the comments below which mid lane picks you use to claim victory and victory with in SMITE's Season 4 Spring split.