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.