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In short, this is my first build/guide, simply because I am playing Guan Yu currently with this build. I apologize if it is low quality due to my inexperience. As such, any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
Essentially, this is an extremely unorthodox build that I honestly wouldn't take into ranked play. However, I've been using it in Joust and Siege rather effectively.
From my perspective, people don't see Guan Yu as a damage dealer outside of using Taolu Assault and rushing you down with Cavalry Charge. Using this build, you will certainly surprise the enemy team by shredding squishies with your basic attacks.
I suggest using Warrior's Will as your engage, following up with Taolu Assault (which you will want to cancel early, we're using it to steal Protections, you only need it to hit 3x), then demolishing their health with your 4-hit basic combo.
Hunters, Mages, and Assassins will melt under this sudden pressure that takes place in about 3-4 seconds. The reason I build Titan's Bane is so that this also does shocking damage to Protection heavy Warriors and Guardians. Speaking of Warriors and Guardians...
I prefer to box with the Warriors and Guardians a bit prior to fully engaging them with my abilities. This lets you gauge your opponent and see whether or not it's a fight you can win. If they melt your health faster than you can damage theirs by a significant amount, use Warrior's Will to dash away (preferably through them for the slow) and then use Conviction as a damage buffer.
Alternatively, if they do out damage you but not by much, tip the balance in your favor with Conviction for the buffer, followed by Taolu Assault to raise your Protections while lowering theirs, again, end this early and continue your basic attacks. When (not if) they begin retreating, use Cavalry Charge to chase them down, cancelling it early for the stun and finishing them off with your basic attacks.
This build is rather flexible. I prefer Ninja Tabi for the nice attack speed it gives early on, as well as the fact that it can be bought immediately in every game mode whereas Warrior Tabi is 1550, meaning you'll have to come back to finish it later. This is a preference however, and you are free to change this as it doesn't make much of a significant impact on the playstyle.
Transcendence however, is a must have. Increasing your mana pool to a maximum of roughly 2300 when stacked is major for helping you to stay in lane and in team fights for longer. On it's own, it gives 35 power at base, and when you have maxed out stacks the mana this item provides gives roughly another 30 power, not to mention any mana from other items.
Soul Eater. I could go on about this item. In my opinion it is the best life steal item of the four physical items. At max 20x stacks, this item gives you 30% Physical Lifesteal, 30% attack speed, and even 10% movement speed. If you're unfamiliar with this item as well, once you drop below half health, this item will boost your health by 20% of your maximum pool, however this does lower the Lifesteal to 20% and you lose the Movement Speed altogether, so be wary.
Bloodforge is fantastic for aggressive play. I enjoy nothing more than chasing some poor mage or hunter under their tower and ending their meager existence. Bloodforge allows you to do this AND survive. It's passive is fantastic, giving you up to a 400 health buffer and 20% movement speed for 20s. That's enough to tank some tower shots, an ability from a god, and still get away faster than most gods can chase you. Along with Conviction, this item makes for an insane amount of sustain in a team fight.
Titan's Bane. Do you like doing damage? Yes. Will your opponent likely build defenses? Yes. Then this is the item for you! Sarcasm aside, this item grants you 33% Physical Penetration. 33% is major against anyone stacking protections, as well as against objectives. Don't forget the 30 Power it gives you as well. Depending on your opponents and their builds, you may want to build this item before Soul Eater.
Jotunn's Wrath. You may be asking "why not build Jotunn's sooner?" It's simply a preference to go for damage early on. This item gives a decent boost to mana, penetration, and power. But mainly it gives you 20% CDR. This guide is meant to focuse on Basic Attacks, which is why I don't build this sooner. As for all builds in Smite, tweak it to your preference, if you want early CDR, build this between Soul Eater and Bloodforge.
If you're looking to swap out items and still focus on basic attacks, I would replace Bloodforge and either Jotunn's Wrath or Titan's Bane.
If you're fighting mainly magical damage dealers and you're looking to withstand their damage, I suggest using Bulwark of Hope. If that isn't enough for you, I rather like Runic Shield. This item isn't used often, however it grants you a bit of power, as well as 50 magical protections. Oh, and it's passive? Decreases any nearby enemies Magical Power by 50, and Attack Speed by 20%. This item will be beneficial against physical Hunters and Assassins that are focused on basic attacks as well.
However against a strong physical damage team, I suggest Mystical Mail. This item gives you a fantastic passive, dealing 40 Magical Damage per second to enemies nearby. Again giving you a damage and defense up. The fact that this deals Magical Damage is huge, meaning that gods stacking physical protections against you will take 40dps as a result of this item, seeing as they're unlikely to build magical protection.
Along with Mystical Mail, I would definitely use Breastplate of Valor. This item is beefy, and will grant you 300 Mana, 75 Physical Protections, as well as 20% CDR. I replace Jotunn's Wrath with this item, as they serve a similar purpose. The 300 Mana it grants will also boost your power by about 10, due to the passive from Transcendence. This item is a popular one for a reason.
If their team is focused on Basic Attacks however, replace Mystical Mail with Hide of the Nemean Lion. Granting 90 Physical Protections and 200 Mana, this item will reduce the damage significantly. On top of that, it's passive will help you to deter any basic attack physical gods by returning 20% of all Basic Attack damage back to the attacker as Physical Damage. Truly a must have against gods such as Artemis.
Now if you're looking at a mixed team, and you aren't sure what to build, I replace Bloodforge with the Hide of the Urchin. Once stacked (building as your fourth item means stacking mid-late game, focus on team fights) this will give you +65 to both Physical and Magical Protections. On top of that, it will increase your Health and Mana by 250, again working well with Transcendence to give you a slight power boost. This item is fantastic, and you can't really go wrong with it.
Taolu Assault and Conviction I level evenly, as I find the healing to be useful. However if you'd prefer to go all out, prioritize leveling Taolu Assault first.
Warrior's Will is mostly used as an engage or disengage, level this last.
Lastly, as with many gods, level your Ultimate, Cavalry Charge, as often as possible.
I am indeed a long-winded person, so I apologize if this dragged on far too long for anyone reading.
Mainly, I'd like to emphasize that this is an unorthodox build that may simply be shut down. I have had both fantastic, as well as terrible games with this build. The two times I took it into Conquest were vastly opposite. The first match, I was solo lane against a mage. The only times I died were in team fights and when the Jungler rotated behind me when I got too aggressive. I even managed a Quad-kill, after which they surrendered. However in the second match I was dual laning with a hunter, and we were constantly shut down as I was still testing out the build and trying to go full damage when I should have built defensively.
Again, this build has potential, and it is entirely situational. Best of luck out there friends, I hope you can find as much fun and success with this build as I have.
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