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This is a generic Support start using Sentinel's Gift as a starter and either:
This is a fairly standard build that provides some protection and utility auras and good CDR. This build example does not include any specific counter items.
Spirit Robe is a solid general pickup, but is the recommended item for replacement should you need counter items of any type.
This is a well-rounded, defense-focused build example providing strong protection auras for tankiness and sustain, flex CDR, and Relic Dagger for more Blink use. Note that your starter in this build will need to use Cloak instead of Glowing Emerald.
You can consider alternative items as needed. Key items include Contagion, Shogun's Kusari, Spectral Armor, and Midgardian Mail.
This is a build example with more offensive team focus. While Pythagorem's Piece is optional, picking it up immediately after Thebes provides a good measure of offensive push via CDR, lifesteal and power from the aura. Alternatively, you could look to an early Relic Dagger especially if the enemy doesn't have CC immunity abilities to cover them while their beads are down.
Also here is Stone of Binding, supporting aggressive play where you initiate and set up for your teammates. Protections in this build are lower in comparison to some other options, so after a Blink-Ult combo, don't be afraid to extract temporarily from the hot zone. If you don't want Relic Dagger, you can consider switching Spirit Robe with Reverent Pridwen and Dagger with Ethereal Staff for more tankiness, especially after ulting.
These are all items providing defensive support. Choose as needed.
These are all items providing offensive or utility function. Choose as needed.
These are all items purchased to counter specific gods or builds. Choose as needed.
Contagion: physical protection, anti-heal
Midgardian Mail: physical protection, anti-basic attack
Spectral Armor: physical protection, anti-crit
Pestilence: magical protection, anti-heal
Winged Blade: magical protaection, anti-slow
2023/8/31: Guide is current as of Patch 10.9, "The Season of Celebration." Builds updated. Combos section added. Starting Process and Warding section added.
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 itemization. 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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