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This is a well-rounded build example providing early protection auras for tankiness and health sustain, max CDR at end-build, and Relic Dagger for more relic use.
The only counter-item shown here is [Witchblade; switch items / counter build depending on need.
This start looks to capitalize on Ares' damage potential and get / secure early kills. It switches to War Flag for mobility and attack speed for your ADC, and builds you into an early Stone of Binding. You need to be good at connecting your Shackles to make Binding work well.
It is not suggested if the enemy Duo has a strong early game.
This is a full example build for the aggressive start, using offensively-minded items to maintain strong pressure on the enemy team. You can upgrade War Flag to either War Banner or Spartan Flag as you prefer. Banner will be better for mobile fighting, while Spartan works great when ulting often.
Void Stone is optional, but works well especially if you have 2 magical teammates to take advantage of the protection reduction.
Replace Stone of Binding late-game with an item of your choice.
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.
*NOTE* Writeup on items are all contained in the notes in the build at the top!
2021/7/14: Guide is current as of Patch 8.7, "Mid-Season." Builds updated.
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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