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Hello, my name is Varchallion and I'm a casual Smite player - I generally main Guardians and Warriors, so I'm very excited about the addition of Artio.
I'd like to share my first impressions of her as a God, as well as how I've played her so far.
First off, this is written during her release, so she may face some initial nerfs - I personally don't think she's extremely unbalanced at all, though I do notice a lot of people have no idea how to deal with me, and giving a God with so much control free reign to harry one's team can be catastrophic.
Now, the thing that I like about Artio is that she feels viable as a harrying Guardian (think Athena), as a healer (a burst-y Sylvanus) or as - and this is my favorite - a harrying bruiser (I can draw a lot of parallels to Ravana). How you want to deploy her depends a lot on how you build - and how you build depends a lot on your team, and the enemy team.
Lately I've played a lot of Ravana though, and still being in that mentality when I play Artio, I've found she's doing it very well. So that would be my primary build - but you can of course do the stock Guardian build with some aura items to help your team mates, but honestly if that's what my team needs I'd be inclined to pick Athena.
Same goes for being a healer, you can go with Rod of Aesculapius and Lotus Crown - but healing is something everyone knows how to counter with Divine Ruin or The Crusher, or even a Cursed Ankh - personally it feels like Artio's team-healing is too circumstantial, you can't expect to hit 2 or more enemies every time you use Energy Surge so the healing is a bit 'meh'.
As you'll notice there's more than 6 item options in the build above, that's because there never, ever, is 'the one build to rule them all'. You must be able to adapt to the threat posed by the enemy team. There are even more items than the ones listed that can be useful in certain situations, I'll just skim over a few:
Divine Ruin - If you're up against Hel or Aphrodite in particular, this can be a big swing to the sustainability they bring.
Winged Blade - You know those pesky slows? No one likes wading through porridge when trying to secure a kill or fly for their lives. That's why we have Winged Blade around.
Pestilence - Just like Divine Ruin, except you don't have to hit your enemy! And it gives you more protections, so they won't even hurt as much. I'm not sure how or if they stack though, so I'd just go with one, depending on whether you need more power or protections.
On top of these you have the usual, Midgardian Mail and all other Guardian things. I don't want to spend too much effort on items as it's been over and done over and over - let's look at Artio herself instead.
Nice healing - good self-heal (channeled)
Good poke 'n peel - all in one go
Some abilities have rather short range
No game-changing ult
Artio brings an interesting kit to the table. With her ult being a 'stance shifter' she has 6 abilities - like Ullr. Unlike Tyr, however, it isn't a question of going +/- power/protections, you're just as tanky in your druid form as you are your bear form. Which mechanically is good, because a Guardian having an offensive stance feels. . . Weird, honestly. It is only there to let you access your two kits.
Her passive and ultimate both trigger from the same source, though - attacking the enemy. Artio is very much made to 'have at' the enemy as often as possible. This is mana-thirsty work, however, so whilst peeling is appealing (bwahah-- sorry) - don't overdo it, or you'll be pretty much useless when things kick off.
Decompose basically means you'll wear your enemy down as you go; it may not seem much at first glance, and to keep it applied at 8 stacks on the entire enemy team is improbable in most circumstances - but it's a nice bonus, and in a team fight it is a big deal, as long as your team can coordinate its attention. However, this is only the first part of the 'swing'.
Energy Surge is fairly straight-forward. In druid form, you'll send out a... Well, energy surge I suppose; it deals instant damage, and it heals your team - per enemy hit. If you can bunch up your enemies and hit two or more, this will be a nice, team-wide boon.
In bear form it instead becomes a mauling attack, hitting twice. Do keep in mind that it isn't an instant double-damage thing though, it actually moves from side to side in two swipes, so you can either hit an enemy, have a brief pause, and then hit again - or you can swing and hit the enemy twice in rapid succession - depending on your and their position.
Entangling Vines this is where the control comes in. In druid form, it creates an aura (which is visible around your feet) which slows enemies, and reduces their power. If you can stick to an enemy with this for a moment, you'll be causing them trouble. A nice thing with the slow is, it stops a lot of dashes - which means that they won't be able to escape. This also means, however, that if you initiate with this, and don't kill them before it's done; unless they stick around long enough for you to cast it again, the enemy may dash off when this drops. So, unlike what most people suggest, which is 'use this, go bear form, charge in', I say charge in, peel a bit, and when the enemy is starting to flinch, you use this and finish the job whilst they can't escape you.
In bear form this is pretty much Khumbakharna's yawn, except they won't wake up - and it's much shorter. It is very usable in team fights to interrupt (you trying to ult my fleeing teammate, Thoth..? Think again!) but it doesn't have a huge range, so you have to be pretty much in their face. It's worth pointing out this does give you a 4 sec buff for 50 protections though, so it may be worth shooting off if you're being targeted even if you only get one or two enemies. After all, you -will- build a lot of CDR so that you can get at least a few uses out of it in an engagement.
Life Tap is probably my favorite ability. In druid form you get some extra, ranged control (the slow + immobilize is great for chasing, or grabbing people off your friends' backs when they're fleeing), it's a good peel (if you get the whole thing in, it's practically a poke) - oh, and did I mention it heals you a fair bit in the bargain? It can also hit the entire minion wave without much problem, so it gives you a lot of clearing. Personally I tend to level this first, and wait with Energy Surge until I have gotten some protections online as this has a much longer reach. Also note that you can move whilst channeling this!
In bear form, this is a charge. You move fast, you can still steer (a bit like Chiron). It's a high-damage impact - and it gives enemies a slow when hit, which is always nice. This is what you use to engage with, and this is what you use to chase with (yes, you can now be chased by a bear in Smite!) - it's also your escape and inter-lane mobility. So yes, you want that CDR, and you want it fast, because this is one hell of a versatile ability.
Shapeshift So finally to her ultimate. Which, isn't-- It's-- It's a shapeshift, okay? Which form you are in doesn't change your stats, only which abilities you can use, but it comes with a passive (which is the only reason to put points into it). Now, to be honest, I level this last, always, because it's a nice passive - but every point you put into any other ability puts a point into two abilities - and all her other abilities are good!
Late-game this does help you a lot with your mana though, and this is what I consider the 'second part' of her passive. You hit an enemy god with an ability - you get your Decompose debuff on them, and you get your movement speed and MP5 buff on yourself. Neat, right?
I think Artio brings a very interesting kit which can help your allies and harry your enemies, which are what Guardians are there for - whilst she doesn't have the Ares' Blink-Ult to engage with, you can peel safely from a range, and once you barrel into the enemies with a bear-charge, chances are they will disperse - after all, who wouldn't try to get out of the way of a charging bear?
She is the bruiser among Guardians, a jack-of-all-trades - she can do anything, and she can do it well, but a more specialized God will probably out-do her in whatever their prime thing is. Where Athena has the absolute battlefield control between her ult and taunt, Artio will have to get to where she's needed on foot and her brief stun and many slows aren't quite as good as Athena's taunt when it comes to controlling where the enemies are. She can heal a bit, but she isn't Sylvanus and certainly doesn't have his nifty pull-snipe shenanigans or mana flowers.
Her passives are easily overlooked, they're all 'neat', but you won't have a constant 8 buff/debuff across the board - but they all suggest the same thing; get in there, hit stuff, give the enemies reason to fear you - but most of all; you're a guardian, you're there to control the enemy, stop their tactics and set up for your team to light them up. She's strong, but not invincible - over-extending as Artio is as good as over-extending with any other God (in that it totally isn't, don't do it!).
All in all, I enjoy playing her, and whilst I suspect a few of her abilities may see some nerfs ahead until the whiny casual kids learn to be careful around the mama bear.
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