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This start maximizes Ares' damage as soon as possible, with early aggressive tank support from Warrior's Blessing.
In Support, this is not recommended unless you're extremely comfortable playing Ares aggressively and your ADC has stronger clear than the enemy.
In Solo, this is probably your best standard start if planning to play aggressively.
Shoes of Focus is your standard choice for shoes, providing some base mana and an early bit of CDR since many of the early/mid suggested items don't provide CDR.
Traveler's Shoes is a functional alternative, providing a slightly higher base of MS to help Ares close on enemies, since he has no initiating mobility function outside of picking up Blink Rune. It also provides MP5 to help sustain his mana use.
Shoes of the Magi is an option if you're playing in Solo, as it'll provide you with needed sustain, and the higher power does well with his high scaling.
These are all items providing defensive support. Choose as needed.
Item discussion is below.
These are all items providing offensive or utility function. Choose as needed.
Item discussion is below.
These are all items purchased to counter specific gods or builds. Choose as needed.
Item discussion is below.
This build example provides strong early aggrsesion due to Mystical Mail's damage aura and Stone of Binding's penetration.
Note that this build has 3 items that you might prefer to replace late-game (Shoes, Mystical, Binding). Hopefully your early aggression helps decide the game before it gets to the late portion.
*NOTE* This skill leveling example uses point-skipping. Skip leveling anything at 4, and level both Shackles and No Escape at level 5 for highest damage potential.
Alternatively, you can just put a point in Bolster Defenses at level 4.
Your skill leveling priority will be Shackles, Searing Flesh, Bolster Defenses, and No Escape last.
*NOTE* Writeup on items are all contained in the notes in the build at the top!
2020/10/12: Guide is current as of Patch 7.10, "The Trickster God." Further details and tips added in the body of the guide, per KingScuba.
Each completed aura item that Ares owns grants him 30 additional magical power|
Discussion: Build aura items, get free power.
Tips: Aura items help his damage output, but building aura items should NOT be the primary focus of his kit. Item choices need to make sense with the context of the mode, your team comp, and the enemy team comp.
TL;DR, aim for aura items when they specifically fit your needs.
Chains extend from Ares' shield, doing damage to all enemies in its path. Hitting a god shackles them to Ares, cripples them, preventing movement abilities, dealing the same damage every second while slowing them by 15% and buffing Ares. While shackled, Ares can fire another chain for free within 2s.|
Leveling Priority: Max this first.
General Use: Damage / Control
Discussion: This is a narrow-line skill-shot that prevents enemies from using mobility skills, while dealing solid damage to up to 3 enemies. You get up to 3 shackles if you don't miss. You can use all 3 on a single target; however, with a 2 second timeframe to cast the next Shackle, you will lose some total damage potential.
When possible, aim for different targets with each Shackle to control a larger group overall and for maximum damage potential in a teamfight. If you're targeting just one enemy, learn the timing, use basics in-between ability use, and maximize the time you have them shackled.
Ares strengthens the defenses of himself and all nearby allies, granting protections and HP5, and reducing crowd control durations. For each shackled enemy, the protection buffs are increased.|
Leveling Priority: Level this anytime after Shackles, as preferred for your needs.
General Use: Personal / Group Defense
Discussion: Provides an aura of protections, HP5, and CC reduction for you and nearby teammates. Anticipate heavy damage abilities by activating this preemptively, and always use it in a teamfight.
Flames pour forth from Ares' shield, engulfing enemies in a cone in front of him causing damage every 0.5s for 4s. Ares is immune to knockback for the duration.|
Leveling Priority: Level this first in Duo to bunch up minions, but max after Shackles, as preferred for your needs.
General Use: Minion Wave clear / Damage
Discussion: This ability not only does base damage every tick, but additionally deals magical damage based on the enemy target's maximum health. This can make the ability deal a large amount of damage if you can channel on the enemy for the entire duration.
Not stated is the fact it provides a small knockback effect against enemy minions. You can use this to group minions up a bit for easier clear by other teammates, and is a main reason to get this at level 1 in the Duo-lane as Support, to help with quicker clear.
Tips: This is typically used after finishing a series of Shackles, to continue your damage output.
[*]Note that it can be interrupted, so if you can, wait until enemies have used any abilities that can interrupt a channeled ability (e.g. stun, silence, freeze, taunt, etc.). However, you are IMMUNE to knockup/knockback, making it a great way to deal with gods like He Bo, Bacchus, Hercules, or Vulcan.
Ares throws chains out to all enemy gods in an area around him. All enemies hit by the chains are pulled to Ares after 2.5s, taking damage and are stunned.|
Leveling Priority: Suggest leveling this last, but you can prioritize as preferred.
General Use: Initiation / Peel / Teamfight Control / Kill Secure
Discussion: Ares' signature and most recognized ability, this provides a huge measure of control against the enemy team. It forces them to buy (and burn) Purification Beads), and can easily outwork Beads due to a much shorter CD.
You can use it on a single target to help peel or secure a kill, but it is often better realized in the midst of a teamfight, where you can connect on multiple targets.
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