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Bacchus is one of the most disruptive and irritating Guardians in Smite. There are few gods in the game with the same cocktail of powerful rapid crowd control, inherent tankiness, and initiation/cleanup power as the God of Wine.
Bacchus is most at home in Conquest as a Support, in my opinion. While he can be built for damage to function as Midlane (and be surprisingly effective), doing so is more of a gimmick than a legitimate strategy because his magical scaling is average and his waveclear is poor (he needs to use his only escape to hit the wave and Belch of the Gods is extremely weak on minions). His toolkit makes him an interesting and fun jungler capable of vicious ganks, but once again his poor clear makes him inefficient at farming (he has a slightly easier time clearing jungle mobs compared to minions due to how their damage mitigations work, but he still isn't great).
These issues with his kit make a damage-based Bacchus quite poor in the early and midgame, but a powerful bruiser in the lategame. Bacchus simply doesn't want to put in the hard work of farming, creating this weak early/midgame, and flavorfully this makes sense; he's a drunk! He wants to party all the time, as long as possible, and have his friends do the hard boring work of securing gold and XP. Therefore, I argue that casting Bacchus as anything other than a Support is not only an inefficient use of his kit, but also poor casting of Bacchus' character as the insane God of Wine and Inebriation.
Bacchus' skill kit and passive make him an outstanding classic Support. Maximizing his health and protections makes him nearly unkillable because he not only gains bonus protections from his buff skill Chug, but also gains percentage damage mitigation just by keeping his Drunk o' Meter near full.
Maximizing his cooldowns allows him to keep Burping and Flopping all over the place multiple times during a team fight, setting up picks for your team and staying safe all the while. It also lets him keep his ultimate up as often as possible to keep the parties fun for your friends, and nightmares for your enemies.
Begin with Watcher's Gift, basic shoes, and whatever assortment of pots and/or chalices you desire. Watcher's Gift assures you continuous gold income and is nearly required on any Support. You simply cannot farm enough on your own to keep up without it, and it helps you sustain too.
What pots or chalices to get will depend on your preferred playstyle. Professional players seem to favor getting Wards (and even Chalice of the Oracle) straight away, but casual players may not have the skill to stay healthy without the crutch of pots. Bacchus should consider mana pots at a minimum because his mana usage is notoriously high.
For your first relic, consider Meditation to help keep your duo partner healthy and mitigate mana deprivation. If your partner wants to be aggressive, Shell or Sprint are good choices to back them up and let them either escape a bad situation or prolong an encounter. Blink is very useful if you want to be the aggressor, and lets you more easily use Belly Flop as an escape or chase rather than as initiation.
On your first back, get Travelers Shoes. Bacchus has an easy time confirming the passive because of Belch, so this item further helps your gold income. It also provides you with more movement speed for quick rotations, and the extra HP5 will help you stay out in the field longer.
Next, Hide of the Urchin is a great Guardian item. You should be involved in many kills on your team if you are rotating quickly, and the combination of protections, health, and mana is perfect for Bacchus (and most Supports). The mana boost in particular will be a relief for the beginning of the midgame, when you'll need to be skirmishing more.
From here, you'll need to consider the enemy team's composition and your team's strengths and weaknesses. Smite is a dynamic game, and limiting yourself to a single build every game is an inefficient way to play it. The following build sequence assumes an ordinary enemy team comp of 3-2 physical vs. magical characters, and that your team is looking to continue the game through to late game.
For your third item, all things being equal, Sovereignty is the safest choice. It provides you with more physical protections, more health, more HP5, and gives your nearby teammates a small protections boost too. Sovereignty is a standard, powerful Support item for players who want to play the role in the classic manner; keeping your team safe and keeping the enemy team aggravated and distracted.
By now you may be level 12 or close to it. For your second relic, consider what the enemy team has been doing and choose an item that will help your team against their strategy. If the enemy has many strong basic attackers, Horrific Emblem could be great; if they have lots of AoE damage and you don't already have Shell, get it now. If you are getting focused and want a way to pivot during a tough team fight, Bracers of Undoing will get you back to relatively good health after enduring a lot of attacks and lower your cooldowns so you can either escape, or continue to lay down CC faster than the enemy expects.
For your fourth item, choose either Heartward Amulet or Mail of Renewal. Heartward Amulet is the better choice if the enemy magicians are coming online and you and your team need help surviving their attacks. Mail of Renewal is preferred for this earlier slot, however, because it will give you some of your first CDR, and you'll want this because by now there will probably be more team fights occurring. Mail of Renewal's passive (regenerates 15% of your HP on a kill or assist) gives you unparalleled sustain in fights, and the 400 extra HP synergizes well with your protections you've already built so far.
For your fifth item, take Heartward Amulet or Mail of Renewal, whichever one you did not get already. If you already got Mail of Renewal and your team is ahead, then Voidstone may be considered instead of Heartward Amulet. It will lower the magical defenses of any enemies who have not bought magical protections to punishingly low levels, increase your own magical protections, and give you a boost in Magical Power to capitalize on punishing the other team. If the enemy team has been buying plenty of magical protection, this item loses some value.
For your sixth item, you'll need to sell Watcher's Gift. This will hurt your gold income, but by now your team really needs to be working objectives, and that will help make up the difference. Take Spirit Robe, a classic Bacchus item. It provides balanced protections and 10% CDR; the CC reduction and passive are useful as well, but if the game goes on very long, you'll be giving up these secondary benefits later on.
Now that you've put something in every slot, sell Traveller's Shoes and swap them for Shoes of Focus for your next hit of CDR. This will bring you up to 30%, letting you pour on the annoyance. Finally, as time keeps rolling by, seek to sell your Spirit Robe and upgrade it to a Mantle of Discord.
Fully completed, this build provides 225 magical and physical protections, +1050 HP, and 30% CDR. Adding these stats to his level 20 bases, we find 301 physical protections, 272 magical protections, and 3179 HP.
But wait, there's more: don't forget that whenever Bacchus drinks, he gains additional temporary protections (+35) and as long as he's "smashed" he has 14% damage reduction. During the six seconds of additional protections Bacchus has, he is arguably the tankiest god is Smite, with "perfect" (capped at 325) physical protection and close-to-capped magical protection.
Take this example: a Ra who has built enough power to deal 1050 unmitigated damage, and who possess an Obsidian Shard.
The damage formula is: unmitigated damageX100/(protections value-reductions and penetrations)+100
In this case, it would look like this:
Doing the math, our total damage taken is about 348. This doesn't count the % damage mitigation; 14% reduction now brings the total damage dealt to 299. Feed that into our health pool, and we have taken 9.4% of our total health in damage from that ultimate.
Here's another example: an enemy Hunter who has 200 physical power, has built for crit, and has 25 flat penetration and Titan's Bane.
This hunter's basic attacks deal 280 unmitigated physical damage, so its crits deal 560 damage. It's absolutely melting our poor squishy friends! Can Bacchus bodyblock this hunter for long? Let's see.
Crunch these numbers, factor in our 14% damage reduction for being smashed, and this Hunter who worked so hard to max their DPS deals 161 damage with a critical hit to us. We can bodyblock 20 crits in a row before dying. Since the maximum fire rate in the game is 2.5 attacks per second, we can take sustained fire from this hunter for over 6.5 seconds if they get perfectly lucky, critting every attack. Plenty of time for our allies to move back, and for us to burp on the foe or leap away.
Bacchus' early and mid game mana problems can be mitigated with careful rationing of Chug. Bacchus is considered "smashed" when he's at 70% on his Drunk-o-Meter, and Chug boosts the Drunk-o-Meter by 33% at rank 1. Therefore, drink whenever you are at 70% to refill all the way back up to 100% and stay smashed for another 30 seconds before needing another drink. Chug takes 40 mana at rank 1 and Bacchus has 4.8 MP5 at level 1; spreading the mana cost of Chug out over 30 seconds means Chug effectively "costs" 6.66 MP5 (1.33 mana per second). You can see that, even drinking carefully, Bacchus is effectively always losing mana over time in order to maintain his drunkenness. Carrying some mana pots is highly recommended.
Use Chug whenever you back to base for a "free refill," since your base will regenerate the mana lost. Chug should be maximized last, because its mana scaling is punishingly high and its actual benefits scale pretty poorly.
I recommend maximizing Belly Flop first. Many guides advocate maxing Belch of the Gods because it is safe poke, but its damage scaling is pretty pathetic and it does almost nothing to minions. Belly Flop is burst damage that is much more helpful for clearing waves and camps, meaning it is most useful to you in the early game.
Max out Belch of the Gods second. While it is easy poke, strong CC, and powerful healing reduction, it has drawbacks; its CC is only applied on the final tick of damage, so it is fairly easily interrupted. Practice activating this ability out of range of enemy attacks, then moving forward to "brush" enemies with the last damage tick to land the stun more consistently. This technique isn't always the best choice, but it can be useful against enemies with hard CC that can stop your belch.
Put a point in Intoxicate whenever possible. The havoc that this ultimate brings is incalculable and it makes enemies nearly incapable of landing skill shots for the duration. The base damage is also quite good.
This build capitalizes on most of Bacchus' strengths: his incredible tankiness and his irritating crowd control. By following this build you will be a constant thorn in the enemy's side and will be able to frontline against almost any team comp. You'll be operating as a classic support, setting up picks for your team to focus and destroy while also peeling for your backline.
Unfortunately, this build does forsake the damage that Bacchus can be capable of. In particular, it removes the possibility of Bacchus swooping into an ongoing fight and "cleaning up" with Intoxicate to secure a kill or two. If the enemy builds any magical protection, then even a maxed-out Ultimate from you will deal perhaps 300 total damage.
It can be frustrating to have so little lethality, but remember that in any team game there's only so much ball to go around. You'll be relying on your team mates to output the damage and secure kills, and they'll be relying on you to setup, peel, and bodyblock all live-long day. If your team understands your role and play with you, like a team should, then you'll be instrumental to your team's victories...even if the stat boards barely show it beyond your Assists and Damage Mitigated.
Finally, bear in mind that a full-tank build like this is really not viable when solo-queuing, where team work can be quite limited. When you're just firing by yourself, Bruiser Bacchus shines brightly: ditch the Auras, pick up your Voidstone and Spear of Desolation, some Pen boots, and start the party.
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