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Cliodhna: A Closer Look

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Forum » News » Cliodhna: A Closer Look 1 posts - page 1 of 1

Poll Question:

Excited about Cliodhna?
Walk into walls? Stealth? Deafen? Trap? Multiple charges of her ult? I'm IN!
Walk into walls? Stealth? Deafen? Trap? Multiple charges of her ult? Sounds balanced...
I avoid playing assassins.
Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » September 28, 2021 3:46pm | Report

By: TitanIsiah | 2021/9/28



"Cliodhna (Cleena) is the potent banshee that rules as queen over the fairies of south Munster ; and you will hear innumerable stories among the peasantry of the exercise of her powerful spells."

– William Gregory Wood-Martin, 1895

Even those who have not studied Irish folklore know of the banshee. A spirit that heralds the upcoming death of someone close. These women are defined by their cries. Wailing, keening, and shrieking sounds that carry across vast distances in the night, striking terror into any who hear them. A banshee’s scream is a powerful force.

Cliodhna is their queen.

She is the first member of the Tuatha Dé Danann to venture into the realm of SMITE in many years. The war between Tiamat and Gilgamesh has had a grave cost: humanity. When gods clash, there is bound to be collateral damage. Some even more cruel gods, like Charybdis, specifically sought to destroy human worshippers to weaken and enrage rival gods.

So much death has attracted the Queen of Banshees, and she brings with her a key piece of ancient knowledge from her region that will force Merlin to confront his past.


A banshee is traditionally described as tattered and ghastly, with frayed clothing or hair. However, Cliodhna is usually described as a beautiful woman, and is just as closely associated with love as she is with death.

When designing a horror character, a juxtaposition technique is often used. Something incredibly powerful and dangerous can take a comforting or safe form to create a building sense of suspense. This fear grows over time, which is more intense and exciting than simply showing something for how it is at first sight.

It was with this principle in mind that we designed Cliodhna. She would be beautiful at a glance, but one would quickly start to see her more sinister features when looking more closely. When she chose to reveal her true nature she would become even more horrifying. That reveal moment, of course, would be her scream.


  • Theme – Ghostly – As a Banshee Queen, we went all-in on the themes that would accompany a ghostly character. This ethereal form brings many unique opportunities for gameplay and visuals.
  • Visuals – Horror – Uneasy tension and jump scares are both evoked by this goddess. She floats gracefully toward you on the battleground, providing a brief illusion of safety before lashing out with claw or blade.
  • Personality – Bleak – Cliodhna is death, and death is inevitable. She is constantly aware of this fact and makes sure that those around her feel death slowly creeping toward them.
  • Perspective – Intimidation – She has the other gods trembling and tripping over themselves to keep on her good side.


Cliodhna’s core theme gave us a strong start for her visuals. The core silhouette was the first priority. With our first iterations we had locked in her floating stance, most befitting a ghostly character. She would also have mostly normal human proportions, aside from unnaturally long and slender arms and hands, intended to dial up her creepiness.

The concept artist found a clothing option in the early stages that the team was immediately attracted to. Her robes would be tattered at the bottom, but still clothing fit for a queen. Embroidered with finely crafted detail, and adorned with celtic jewelry. Colors were kept less saturated to give a tarnished and worn feeling, as if she was wearing the clothes she had been buried in long ago.

The head and the weapon would go through a few more exploratory iterations.

We experimented with options that completely hid her face, and considered making it more aged and withered all the time. Interpreting the details of her beauty as just a rumor, or her past self, felt less fitting to the character though. So we moved toward a hooded depiction that would allow us to show her face, while still maintaining some mystery.

Many weapons were considered for this phantasmal assassin. The weapon is an important part of SMITE characters as it can add a lot to their visuals, theme, and overall style. We considered some more horror-themed options like metal claws, a sickle, or just her bare claws, but these didn’t feel quite right for her.

So we moved on to looking for something that felt like a legendary item, something only a queen of supernatural beings could possess. There is a sword called a “Falcata” that is iconic to the Celts. This sword has a unique curved blade, and its function and style became renowned in neighboring areas of ancient Europe. Eventually leading it to become the weapon of choice of the famous Carthaginian General: Hannibal.

The team put a lot of careful planning and new technical work into her scream. When Cliodhna uses her scream ability her hood melts away, as if destroyed by the force of her magic. Her hair flies back, her skin decays, and her face contorts to compliment the terrifying scream.


Cliodhna is a physical assassin, focused around ability damage. She likely will excel most in the jungle and will want to build high power and penetration builds, possibly also focusing on cooldown and lifesteal.

Unique Gameplay Features
  • Cliodhna’s Passive ability brings another SMITE first: a goddess that can walk into walls and maintain full movement control while within them.
  • There are a series of specific rules, checks, balances, and unique visuals that accompany that passive ability.
  • Three of her Four active abilities have alternate effects if used while in a wall
  • A new “deafen” effect where players hit by one of her abilities will temporarily be unable to hear all in-game audio
  • She features a new type of stealth – conditional on successful hit of a skill shot
  • She features a new type of trap ability
  • A low cooldown Ultimate with “charges” allowing her to space them out or fire multiples in a row
  • An intense visual change to her head and face when she lets loose her famous banshee scream.
  • Finally rounding out the Celtic Pantheon with one god of each class!
There is no more fitting month than October to launch a frightful god like Cliodhna. We invite players to terrify their opponents and traverse the battleground like never before in our next update: Queen of the Banshees!


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