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DMBrandon's Merlin Build (All Modes, Patch 6.5 "Sands & Skies")

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Smite God: Merlin

Build Guide Discussion (44) More Guides

Purchase Order

Full Build Example Notes Full build example including starter blessing. Good for Conquest mid-lane, but can easily be considered for any other game mode.

Build Item Mage's Blessing Mage's Blessing
Build Item Shoes of Focus Shoes of Focus
Build Item Chronos' Pendant Chronos' Pendant
Build Item Spear of the Magus Spear of the Magus
Build Item Gem of Isolation Gem of Isolation
Build Item Rod of Tahuti Rod of Tahuti
Build Item Shaman's Ring Shaman's Ring

Starting Items (See Notes) Notes Mage's Blessing start preferred because S6's Book of Souls is a weaker start compared to S5, and Book of Thoth has been weakened in early portions of a build.

Besides the blessing, you can start a couple of ways:
You can even start w/ Shoes, but your early game will suffer.

Choose as many potions as you prefer.

Build Item Mage's Blessing Mage's Blessing
Build Item Lost Artifact Lost Artifact
Build Item Healing Potion Healing Potion
Build Item Healing Potion Healing Potion
Build Item Mana Potion Mana Potion
Build Item Mana Potion Mana Potion

1st Item Notes Shoes of Focus is suggested first for CDR to help with long CD on Flicker, along with higher frequency of poke potential.

Shoes of the Magi is not needed, due to prioritizing Spear of the Magus early.

Build Item Shoes of Focus Shoes of Focus

2nd & 3rd Items (As Preferred) Notes Pick up your preferred first item between the two, then choose the other.

Chronos' Pendant is excellent to drastically shorten CDs for higher frequency of poke potential and to have Flicker up more quickly. MP5 is also helpful.

Spear of the Magus is very easily stacked by multiple abilities to help deal high damage. Better for single engagement burst damage compared to Chronos.

Build Item Chronos' Pendant Chronos' Pendant
Build Item Spear of the Magus Spear of the Magus

4th Item Notes Gem of Isolation easily applies a slow with multiple abilities to provide a lot of control, and works synergistically with Frostbolt to provide bonus damage.

Build Item Gem of Isolation Gem of Isolation

Item #5 (Choose One) Notes Choose one as the situation demands.

Obsidian Shard brings inefficiency for protection reduction/pen stats, but is chosen specifically to counter tanky enemies (e.g. Solo laner) that are ahead and pressuring you.

Rod of Tahuti is good if you're ahead / are able to be aggressive and not worry too much about tanks. It allows your abilities to deal very high damage, especially when enemies are below 50% health. Synergizes well with Potion of Magical Might, as well as the Red Power Buff.

Build Item Obsidian Shard Obsidian Shard
Build Item Rod of Tahuti Rod of Tahuti

Late-Game Item Considerations Notes These items may be considered as item #6 and Shoes replacement (via the purchase of Elixir of Speed) depending on the match, and may be a situational (but not preferred) substitute for Item #5.
  • Shaman's Ring's passive bonus damage is solid, plus the base MS is helpful for safety purposes.

  • Divine Ruin is great for anti-heal. Consider against high enemy healing at any point you feel it'll help, but preferably after the core items.

  • Soul Gem can provide the only health sustain you're likely to see outside of teammate heals.

  • Doom Orb is a late-game offensive consideration due to the price. Goes great after Rod of Tahuti for massive power.

  • Bancroft's Talon is a functional lifesteal item that gets more use the more damage you take. Consider if you look to maximize your kit's function via all abilities near and far (including fighting/comboing with the explosion from Elemental Mastery). Can be considered early or late.

  • Celestial Legion Helm is a counter to physical damage. If you're needing to play defensively (hopefully not as you have long range poke and a mini-Blink) against high physical damage threats, then you can consider this. You'd probably consider a bit earlier in the game.

  • Soul Reaver is a late-game situational item that can work well for many mages. It sees a bit less effect when comboing quickly with abilities, but can provide good additional burst damage, especially against tanky enemies.

Build Item Shaman's Ring Shaman's Ring
Build Item Divine Ruin Divine Ruin
Build Item Soul Gem Soul Gem
Build Item Doom Orb Doom Orb
Build Item Bancroft's Talon Bancroft's Talon
Build Item Celestial Legion Helm Celestial Legion Helm
Build Item Soul Reaver Soul Reaver

Relics Notes In almost all instances, these will be your relics of choice.

Build Item Purification Beads Purification Beads
Build Item Aegis Amulet Aegis Amulet

Late-Game Consumables Notes Potion of Magical Might can be picked up anytime after the 4th main item, when you can fit it in your budget. It provides a temporary 10% CDR and a boost of power. It synergizes well with Rod of Tahuti's passive.

Elixir of Speed is a very late-game item used to take place of the MS from Shoes. You'll sell your Shoes and replace it with an additional, full T3 item of your choice.

Build Item Potion of Magical Might Potion of Magical Might
Build Item Elixir of Speed Elixir of Speed

Merlin's Skill Order

Eclipse / Radiate / Frostbolt

Eclipse / Radiate / Frostbolt

1 X
2 4 6 7 9
Vortex / Dragonfire / Blizzard

Vortex / Dragonfire / Blizzard

2 A
1 8 11 12 14
Flicker

Flicker

3 B
3 15 16 18 19
Elemental Mastery

Elemental Mastery

4 Y
5 10 13 17 20

DMBrandon's Build Video

All credit for the original build goes to DMBrandon, per his YouTube video below. Like him or not, his general knowledge is solid and his reasoning makes sense.

Ability / Leveling Details

First Level Options

  • At the start of the game, putting a point into Vortex / Dragonfire / Blizzard is safest due to the range. Use Blizzard on the Speed Buff camp, then switch to fire stance to use Dragonfire on the minion wave safely at distance.

  • The alternate choice for level 1 is Eclipse / Radiate / Frostbolt. However, this is riskier, because in order to hit the entire wave with Radiate, you have to stand adjacent to the front minions while channeling, putting you much closer to the enemy and making it easier for enemies to hit you. In addition, during the channel, the enemy can decide to get hit briefly, turning the minions on you for high early damage.

Up To Level 5
  • At level 2, get the other damaging ability you didn't pick up at level 1.

  • At level 3, you have a choice. The safe choice is to put a point in Flicker for the escape, though it can also be used offensively to gank. Otherwise, prioritize Eclipse / Radiate / Frostbolt, and pick up Flicker 4th if you're confident in your safety.

  • At level 5, put a point in Elemental Mastery as it is an additional ability that provides damage in addition to your other abilities.

Level 6-20 Prioritization

Stances
  • You'll often want to start any god-to-god engagement in Ice stance, due to great ranged poke potential and control.

    - Frostbolt has low CD and has great single hit burst potential.

    - Blizzard has incredible range, and provides great AOE CC damage.

  • Fire stance is for damage.

    - Radiate is good for medium-range encounters, and to follow up control of an area by Dragonfire

    - Dragonfire provides good minion clear, and is also used for the protection debuff. Although it can be cast at range, you may consider using this at your own feet when a melee enemy engages with you...stand in the fire to force them to attack you while taking damage and the debuff themselves.

  • Arcane stance has the lowest damage potential, but is most helpful for escapes ( Vortex pull, Elemental Mastery knockup). It also has good range for poke potential.

    - Eclipse has pretty good poke function, but moves a bit slow so is less reliable unless you're fairly close.

    - Vortex also provides good poke function, and can help provide a measure of control with its pull, especially in a teamfight situation.

Some of my Guides



If you liked this guide, check out my other ones below!


The Overarching Series


The
Overarching
Arena Guide

The
Overarching
Assault Guide

The
Overarching
Conquest Guide



Individual God Guides



Bacchus:
An Alcoholic's Chugging Guide

Freya:
Aurora
Gory-alis

Ganesha:
Selflessly
Gifting Kills

Shifu Guan Yu:
The Battle
Master

Loki: The Backstabbing Bastard

Medusa: Getting Everyone Stoned

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1
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Perfxction | May 8, 2019 6:27am
You do not mention Soul Reaver as a item to consider when merlin has his ice stance with a really low cooldown ability and 5 procs in a full combo. It is a really strong item on merlin.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | May 8, 2019 10:14am
This is a good point. Not usually my preference, at least through the first 6 items (4 being core, and a lot of the other options being a lot more appealing to me), but it's not bad, and I don't mind adding the item to the late-game considerations list. Thanks for the feedback!.

FYI build updated. Also, I added details to the Reaver tooltip to include its recent nerf info.
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Vini_sds (8) | May 8, 2019 6:50am
In my opinion, Soul Reaver should be built only on Book of Thoth builds, which isn't something that Merlin needs, because his base damage is already ridiculously high (just like Anubis).
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Kriega1 (79) | May 8, 2019 6:55am
Merlin can go both routes. Book of Thoth, or Chronos' Pendant Rush. Book of thoth builds have pretty potent power lategame/once you have mana items online, while pendant-rush builds are better early to mid game, while lategame they rely on the Tahuti passive to proc (or shaman's if you have it). Then there's the bancrofts rush builds but thats only if you really need the sustain and if you think the passive will come in useful.

Of course, Soul Reaver is better suited for Book of Thoth builds, but to say it should ONLY be built with Book of Thoth builds is something I find a bit controversial.
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Kriega1 (79) | May 8, 2019 6:49am
Perfxction wrote:
It is a really strong item on merlin.


Soul Reaver's passive means it does less damage with constant usage though. So it really isn't as strong as you think. Can it be good? Of course. Is it core? No.

Also it's only picked up sometimes by pros: https://smiteprobuilds.com/Builds?p_filters_page=1&p_filters_search=&p_filters_god=3566&p_filters_pro=~&p_filters_opponent=~&p_filters_role=Mid&p_filters_league=~&p_filters_sort=~

And even then lots of times I would consider Shaman's Ring paired with Rod of Tahuti, or Rod of Tahuti and Soul Gem.

Also, Wlfy mentioned builds here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVQYf-346tA&t=1004s

And Wlfy mentions Reaver if you're going a Book of Thoth centred build, but if you're not stacking and instead rushing Chronos' Pendant then there's not as much reason to get Soul Reaver on Merlin. (though still an option).
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Kriega1 (79) | March 18, 2019 5:30pm
I think maybe Bancrofts can be added as situational.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | March 18, 2019 6:56pm
Added.
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Kriega1 (79) | March 30, 2019 11:38am
And Dynasty, Mantle, Magi's, Winged Blade. Maybe a separate section for defense/hybrid items, just a suggestion.
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Alkatraz2791 | February 15, 2019 11:29am
how is Soul Gem over Gem of Isolation ? and can i get Shaman's Ring as 5th or is better for last item?
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Kriega1 (79) | February 15, 2019 1:29pm
Shaman's you can get as a fifth or sixth item, but i'd rather get tahuti and obsidian/soul gem for my last 2 items.

CDR/pen boots, chronos', magus, gem of iso you typically want in your Merlin build.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 15, 2019 1:27pm
So with Soul Gem, it wasn't something that DM mentioned...it was something I threw in, because it seemed like the best general choice for lifesteal/health sustain due to how his kit worked, and how he likes to maintain distance if possible.

But Soul Gem is not something equivalent to Gem of Isolation. Iso is a CORE item. Soul is a situational add. Iso provides some amazing control throughout his kit, and Soul shouldn't be considered OVER Iso.

I'm sure you could pick up Shaman's Ring 5th if you really wanted. The bonus damage is nice, and you'll always be able to use the added MS.
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Alkatraz2791 | February 15, 2019 2:26pm
ok ty..and for boot? pen or mana? i think mana is better cause he consume really a lot of mana...so i can switch late game the boots for soul gem or more penetration/anti-heal? im uing the buil posted here and seemend really good..still i have to figure the beste combo for fight and for approach.for what i have seen playing fire 1st is a good finisher..but generally i nott see so great damage output in general
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Kriega1 (79) | February 13, 2019 6:53am
You mention to start any engagement with ice stance but vortex stance is good for that purpose as well
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 13, 2019 2:31pm
Ice stance has longer range and provides some initial control, which should be good for starting engagements. Vortex has a pull effect so is good for helping get separation from attacking enemies.
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ThePerfectPrism (49) | February 13, 2019 1:31pm
From playing Merlin 4 games so far (3 Wins, 1 Lost, all games over 9 kills and less then 3 deaths in each), I've felt that the Arcane Stance is quite forgettable. You're getting great zoning and damage from Ice Stance (Which is literally the stance I sue 90% of the time), Great burst/nuke with Fire Stance and just... weird zoning tools with Arcane Stance. Arcane also has the least damage potential from all 3, so I do agree that starting any engagement with Ice is better then Arcane
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Kriega1 (79) | February 13, 2019 2:23pm
Are you forgetting the 2 on the Vortex stance?
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Buckeyes614 | February 12, 2019 8:28pm
Liking the build so far. How would you build Merlin for Joust or Clash?
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Kriega1 (79) | February 13, 2019 6:57am
Joust: start with mages blessing tier 1 Bancrofts then go pen/cdr boots, Bancrofts, magus, gem of iso, Obsidian/divine/tahuti choice for last 2 items. You don’t have to get Bancrofts though and you could go chronos’ pendant Early and get soul gem later in the build
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Gulfwulf (60) | February 12, 2019 9:40pm
Magi, magus, pendant, ruin (if needed), soul gem, and tahuti/gem of isolation.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 12, 2019 11:54pm
In all honesty, the main build is actually fine as-is for any mode.

Thing is, you usually do special things for Conquest. You have longer travel to the middle of the lane. In mid, you're mostly going to be alone. You need to worry more about mana consumption and sustain, because being forced to back means losing out on valuable farm and early pressure on your tower.

And this is historically where stacking items come in. You buy them, they're fairly expensive but they allow you to sustain or give you a chance to stay in lane longer. Book of Thoth gives you a huge mana pool so you don't have to worry about running out. Warlock's Sash (historically at least) would make you tanky so you could absorb a lot of punishment, while also giving you nice mana and reasonable power.

This build doesn't have that. You don't have to worry about early stacking. In Joust, you have teammates that can usually cover for you if you have to back (which you will do way more often than in Conq).

You're building quickly into high CDR for poke, and high pen for massive damage.

Thus, it's okay to use just as it is.

Now, any adjustments to consider might be depending on some factors.
  • Instead of Magi's Blessing, you might skip the starter, rush Shoes and get Chalice of Mana and a couple of health potions to sustain you early.

  • If you've got a Guardian on your team that can deal some decent early damage (e.g. Bacchus, Sobek, Artio, etc.), you might get Spear of the Magus before Chronos' Pendant to allow them to deal more early damage. On the flipside, if you're the only magical damage dealer, maybe you get Chronos' Pendant first just to maintain high poke, since you'll be the only one to benefit from Magus' protection reductions.

  • Gulf suggested Shoes of the Magi. I personally don't feel that's necessary. Shoes of Focus should be just fine (especially if you don't get the Blessing and its added CDR), because you're getting Magus either 2nd or 3rd.

  • And just like the rest of the build, after finishing Gem of Isolation as the 4th core item, itemize however you want. Divine Ruin for anti-heal, or Soul Gem if you want some of your own health sustain. Rod of Tahuti for general offense, or Obsidian Shard for anti-tank. Shaman's Ring for added MS and general enhanced damage. You can even consider protections, since the entire match is a teamfight. Etc., etc.
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Buckeyes614 | February 12, 2019 11:03pm
Thanks, I will try it out.
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Alkatraz2791 | February 12, 2019 2:53pm
i haven't tryied it yet.but i was thinking of some build. how it is Bancroft's Talon , Shoes of Focus , Spear of the Magus , Chronos' Pendant , Gem of Isolation , Divine Ruin/ Obsidian Shard ? maybe Soul Gem and Rod of Tahuti can be good too? and Book of the Dead?
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Kriega1 (79) | February 12, 2019 7:27pm
Don't get bancrofts on Merlin, rush magus and cdr.

Book of dead is pointless as you're not building book of thoth.

Also Bran I would add Doom Orb as an alternative item.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 12, 2019 7:40pm
Ahhh good suggestion, thanks.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 12, 2019 4:49pm
One thing I suggest is to watch DMBrandon's video. He goes over the details of why he feels the items listed are key/core items. They do make sense to me. I do think there's some option for alternatives he didn't list (such as Divine Ruin, which I added in my own situational listing).

Bancroft's Talon is probably not a good/important item for him. Why? To get the most out of the passive, you need to take damage. So ask yourself this: is Merlin a bruiser? Does he always (or even often) need to be close to deal his damage? Does he have to stay still (like Anubis or Hades) when unleashing most of his damage, or engage into ranged basic range (55 units or so) like Zhong Kui or Freya?

Answer there is...no. He's got some great ranged abilities. He can poke without too much threat of damage, AND he has a mini Blink. So getting that passive damage boost is unlikely to happen that much. Bancroft is always a solid item just for the base stats, but he won't always get the most out of it like others would. If you want lifesteal, you're likely best going with Soul Gem, which again, I do list as a situational consideration (but don't know if it's 100% viable...just a theoretically better option for health sustain.

Book of the Dead is only really great when you have high mana in your build, since the passive shield is based on your max mana. In the general build, the only 2 sources of mana are Bancroft and Focus. BotD should mostly not be considered unless you also build the highest mana item of all... Book of Thoth. And Thoth is weaker based on the importance of the core components of Merlin's kit, because those should be prioritized for earlier aggression and function overall. So no Thoth, which means, no BotD.

The rest of your mentions are already in the listing of the build. Do those explanations help?

Keep in mind, I haven't played Merlin yet. I just basically converted DM's video into a build.
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Alkatraz2791 | February 13, 2019 2:56am
ty.is better for me too read it cause i am not english and is harder for me to understand ppl that talk fast.and..for replace the shoes in late game what i should pick?
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Kriega1 (79) | February 12, 2019 7:28pm
Soul Gem is decent on Merlin as it gives him some extra burst as a lot of his abilities are DoT.
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Kriega1 (79) | February 11, 2019 4:04pm
Thank goodness you made this before the other unsightly builds started coming in.
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Kriega1 (79) | February 8, 2019 9:25pm
Should start mage's blessing and tier 1 spear or tier 1 chronos' pendant.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 8, 2019 9:33pm
He seems to suggest shoes first...am I wrong? I can change, and yeah, added power probably helps.

Edited.
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Kriega1 (79) | February 8, 2019 9:46pm
Maybe, but theres no point building tier 1 shoes when other starts offer early better clear.
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Branmuffin17 (280) | February 8, 2019 8:20pm
First Merlin build is up. Based on DMBrandon's video. Can use for PTS, and when 6.1 hits next week.
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Kriega1 (79) | February 8, 2019 9:45pm
Btw if you're rushing shoes the usual start is tier 2 shoes, tier 1 chronos' and a multi-pot
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Tlaloc1050 (17) | February 8, 2019 9:32pm
BRAN'S FIRST BUILD
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Branmuffin17
DMBrandon's Merlin Build (All Modes, Patch 6.5 "Sands & Skies")
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