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Guide to Joust League/Joust 1v1 (updated for Alien patch)

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Hey there! I'm Tsjawatnu and this is my first guide on SmiteFire. This guide is, as you have undoubtedly noticed, about one of my favorite gamemodes: Joust 1v1. I decided to make this guide because when I started to play joust, I kept searching the internet for good Joust guides but couldn't find any apart from DMbrandon's short but useful guide. Like many other players, I have learnt the ways of playing joust all by myself, and now I will be sharing what I've learned with anyone who is either new to this gamemode or feels like (s)he hasn't quite mastered the ways of joust yet.

In this guide, I will explain the basics and general joust strategies in hopes of helping you push through to that one tier you always wanted to reach. I also plan on adding some videos to illustrate the things that I write in this guide.
Without further ado, let's get started!


In this guide, I will be using a few terms that are used in MOBAs. I will explain these terms here for players who don't know them yet.

  • AA: Auto Attack, this is the attack you use when you press your left mouse button.
  • Backdooring: The act of attacking one of the opponent's objectives (Tower, Phoenix or Titan) without the help of minions. This is normally done while the opponent is not near that objective.
  • CC: Crowd Control; this refers to all stuns, taunts, mesmerizes, fears, silences, knockups etc. They make you unable to do certain things like moving or using abilities for a certain amount of time.
  • CDR:CoolDown Reduction, some items give you a certain % of CDR. This enables you to use abilities again faster after you use them (= it reduces their cooldown).
  • Magical gods: Mages and Guardians
  • Physical Gods: Assassins, Hunters and Warriors
  • Penetration: Penetration allows you to ignore some of your enemy's protections.
  • Poking: Dealing (a small amount of) damage to the enemy while maintaining a safe distance from said enemy
  • Sustain: The ability to stay in the lane for a longer period of time because of your health and/or mana regeneration.
  • Turtling: Staying within the range of one of your objectives to farm on your opponent's minions while it's hard for him to kill you

Which god should I take... or ban?

Tier list

Here is a tier list (which I almost fully and shamelessly copied from this page) that shows how good all gods currently are at joust. Keep in mind that no tier list is 100% accurate and that they will always be debatable. The list is meant to give you a general idea of which gods are currently the best jousters


Ah Muzen Cab, Chronos, Freya


Apollo, Hades, Hel, Hou Yi, Poseidon


Anhur, Aphrodite, Bakasura, Bastet, He Bo, Isis, Kali, Medusa, Mercury, Ullr, Vulcan


Anubis, Ao Kuang, Artemis, Bellona, Chang'e, Cupid, Fenrir, Guan Yu, Janus, Loki, Vamana, Xbalanque


Arachne, Awilix, Cabrakan, Chaac, Hercules, Hun Batz, Neith, Nemesis, Nu Wa, Osiris, Ra, Rama, Scylla, Thor, Zhong Kui


Agni, Khepri, Kukulkan, Ne Zha, Nox, Ratatoskr, Serqet, Tyr, Zeus


Ares, Athena, Bacchus, Guan Yu, Odin, Ravana, Sun Wukong, Thanatos, Ymir, Zeus


Geb, Kumbhakarna, Sobek, Sylvanus

What defines a good jouster?

A good jouster has:
  • The ability to clear minion waves relatively fast
  • A moveset that is not easily countered by items and/or actives (example: Poseidon's Release The Kraken! is easily countered with Greater Aegis)
  • The ability to beat other gods in a 1v1 situation without minions
  • Decent sustain
  • The ability to poke opponents while pushing the lane
  • Some form of CC available to him
  • The ability to clear jungle camps relatively fast
The more of these points apply to a god, the better he is at jousting.

Which god should I take?

It's simple: take the god you're best at. Every single god is able to win a joust match, no matter how high he's ranked in the tier list. The higher a god is ranked in the tier list though, the more chance of winning he has. Generally, gods that are ranked C or lower are barely used in joust. (My unpopular opinion on how every god can win a joust match is based on multiple streamers/youtubers who win joust matches with C, D or F tier gods)

Which gods should I ban?

In joust, both players can ban two gods. The gods you should ban are all in the B to OP tier in the tier list, you should think of which of those gods counter yours and ban them (for example: Bellona crushes AA-based gods). If you still don't know who you want to ban, you can use this page. It shows the pick and win rates of all gods and which gods are the most often banned ones.

A small banning strategy

Think about which two gods you really don't want to face in a 1v1 fight and then look at the table on this page. Look at the ban rates of your two gods of choice (if they are in there) and then ban the one with the lowest ban rate first. It is very well possible that your opponent will ban the other god you wanted to ban between your first and second ban. This way, you can technically have the possibility to ban three gods.

Starting strategies

I have not yet found a picture of the updated map with purple buffs instead of orange ones. Use your imagination!

There are three different ways you can start your joust match:

Strategy number 1: the buff strategy

The most common way to start a joust match is to take your mana buff and then quickly push the lane. This strategy is often considered to be the best one because it gets you good sustain mana-wise and you farm well because you kill both the buff camp and the lane minions. A flaw this strategy has is that most gods need to use a Potion of Physical Might, Potion of Magical Might or Hand of the Gods to be able to beat a jungle camp fast enough to get to the lane in time, thus making the player waste some of his money on one of these items. Note that buying one of these items is not a bad thing on most gods. You can also consider taking (your enemy's) damage or attack speed buff if you don't really need the mana buff. The buff strategy can be countered by using strategy 2 which is:

Strategy number 2: Pushing the wave

Another, less commonly used starting strategy is to immediately go to the lane and push it. This way, enemies who use strategy 1 (the majority of enemies, that is) will arrive in the lane when your minions are already under their tower, denying your enemy some gold and giving you a small head start in it. Keep in mind that your enemy will have more EXP than you if you use this strategy. This strategy is best used on gods that aren't good at clearing jungle camps and gods that can poke their enemy (A.K.A. hunters) while that enemy is under their tower killing your minions. If you don't want to buy Potion of Physical Might, Potion of Magical Might or Hand of the Gods to clear a jungle camp, this is also the best strategy for you.

Strategy number 3: Invading

As you should know, invading is the act of trying to steal the buff your opponent is trying to get. Needless to say, this strategy can wind up giving either you or your opponent a head start in gold and EXP depending on how successful your invasion was. Consider using this strategy if you can't clear a jungle camp fast enough by yourself or if your god's damage is relatively high in the early-game (this applies to most assassins and mages).

The basics of Joust

Here, I will cover all the things you have to know when you're going to play joust. This is mostly a part beginners should read, but if you have already played some joust matches and feel like you have to rehearse the basics, then the following information can be useful for you too.

1 - Always do something!

When you've just cleared a wave and are standing in the lane doing nothing (or even having a jumping party), you now know that you're doing it wrong. You can always do something!!! Whether it's recalling to buy just one tier of an item and restore your health and mana, clearing a jungle camp or something else: I don't care. Just do SOMETHING! That one tier on your silly Light Blade can mean the difference between killing or being killed in a fight that is yet to come. Be sure that, if you recall, you can get back to the lane fast enough to not miss a wave.

2 - Farming

Farming is one of the most important things to do in joust and if you do it right, you can be around 2k gold over your opponent without any of you getting a single kill. A lot of joust matches are won or lost because of a player's farming efficiency. Your primary source of gold and EXP are the minion waves, so try to kill every single wave that spawns and to not let them get under your tower. Jungle camps also play a vital role in farming since clearing them grants you EXP, gold and a buff AND on top of that, you prevent your opponent from getting them. Most gods have the capability to clear jungle camps pretty fast after or even before their first recall, so clear one or two of them whenever you've just cleared a wave. Be aware that your opponent might follow you and try to kill you though.

3 - Trapping your opponent

If you are obviously stronger than your opponent, you can try to ambush him by going into the jungle and acting like you're going to clear a jungle camp. Odds are that he will try to steal it from you or even try to kill you. Instead of clearing the camp, you're lying in an ambush and can punish your opponent for his recklessness by killing him. If your opponent doesn't follow you, you might as well clear the jungle camp.

4 - Warding

Warding is not at all important in the early stages of joust. Really, don't waste your money on wards, items are a lot more useful in the early- and mid-game. In the lategame, however, wards can be determinative for the outcome of the match: they can help you to prevent your opponent from backdooring you and they can help you to ambush your opponent. Most joust players don't buy wards (even in the diamond tier, they are a rare sight), but don't underestimate the impact they can have on the outcome of a match.

5 - Destroying a tower isn't important early in the game

This might sound weird, but destroying towers isn't important in the early game. In fact, farming has priority over taking down the tower and destroying a tower can even be negative in the early game. Destroying the tower becomes your top priority when you're able to deal some serious damage to your enemy's phoenix after taking their tower down

Why is destroying a tower early on bad?
  • Firstly: the only reward a tower gives you is 250 gold. This is a disappointingly small amount of gold compared to what clearing one jungle camp provides you (105 gold and 229 EXP) if you take the time it takes to destroy a tower and the time it takes to clear a jungle camp into account.
  • Secondly: a tower can deny your opponent gold if your minions get in its range. If you destroy your enemy's tower, his phoenix will become the objective that denies your enemy gold. The problem here is that your opponent's phoenix is closer to his base than his tower was, so he can afford to take more damage than he could at his tower since he can heal up at his base and then return to the lane very fast. You, on the contrary, will spend more time getting to the wave than before (assuming that you're forcing your opponent to turtle at his phoenix).

6 - Backdooring

If your opponent's tower and phoenix are both down and you see him pushing the wave (on the minimap), you can try to backdoor their titan. Most gods can easily kill the titan, even without the help of minions. This is because the joust titan's life points are very low compared to the one in conquest. Gods that are amazing at backdooring include all assassins, all hunters, Anubis, Chronos, Freya and Poseidon. Keep in mind that being backdoored feels terrible, so your enemy might rage after you've won.

7 - Your build

  • Starter items are good for improving your sustain early-game, but at the cost of some damage you could have gotten by immediately buying offensive items. They also gradually become less useful throughout the game.
  • Stacking items are very useful in joust since you're all alone in your team and have to push a lane continuously. Most stacking items that are meant for mages greatly increase their hard-needed sustain, so be sure to get one of them when you're using a mage. Similiarly, Devourer's Gauntlet is a great item for all hunters.
  • Buying defensive items that give both physical and magical protection isn't a good idea because you're facing only one opponent who uses only magical or physical damage to hit you.
  • In terms of actives, it's best to buy one active to counter your enemy with (mostly Greater Aegis, Greater Purification, Combat Blink, Enfeebling Curse or Weakening Curse) and one active to enhance your 1v1 fighting capabilities with ( Greater Sprint, Girdle of Inner Power, Shield of the Underworld, Achilles' Spear, Greater Blink or Fist of the Gods).
  • Since joust is a 1v1 game mode, you have to know which items counter certain gods and builds and buy some of these items. It's preferable that you invent a build to use in joust 1v1 with 1 or 2 empty slots to fill in with counter-items. I will list the best items and actives to counter certain gods and builds with in the next chapter.


As I wrote in the last chapter, counterbuilding is very important in joust matches. Here, I will show you the best counterbuild items to use against certain kinds of gods/builds.

Note: When I refer to mages in this section, I'm talking about both mages and guardians

Items to counter physical gods

general counter-items

Countering AA-based physical gods

Items to counter mages

General counter-items

Countering AA-based mages

Countering gods with specific kinds of abilities

Some gods rely on certain abilities that make them better than other gods in a certain aspect (healing to improve sustain, hard CC to start an ability combo on you etc.). Here, I have listed the items you can use to counter these gods.
Countering gods who can heal themselves a lot (e.g. through lifesteal)

Countering gods with hard CC

Countering gods who slow you... a lot


Well, that's it! Thanks for reading my guide, I hope that it has been helpful to you! I appreciate all feedback to help improve the guide and like upvotes a lot (wink, wink). Corrections concerning grammatical errors I've made (English isn't my native language) are also very welcome. I also feel like the counterbuilding section is pretty short, so tell me if you think that I missed a certain type of god to counter.

Now go crush some jousters!


Joust Youtubers and Streamers

So you want to learn to joust by watching the best play? Sure thing. Here are the Twitch and YouTube channels of some good jousters.

SamDaDude: YouTube - Twitch

Nshadow: YouTube - Twitch
note: Nshadow does not only play, he also makes joust tier lists.

TydeTyme: YouTube - Twitch
note: TydeTyme has a couple of guides on his YouTube channel. Most of them are about joust 1v1

Multiboxology: Twitch

Bennna: YouTube - Twitch

Update log and special thanks


Dates are written in the British way
  • 23/01/2015 - Started making this guide
  • 16/02/2015 - Published the guide
  • 01/06/2015 - Minor edits, including update of tier list
  • 21/06/2015 - The tier list is definitely out of date, so there's a link to a better one now
  • 18/07/2015 - Updated the tier list and reformulated some things. Rewrote the sub-section "which god should I take?" and added the sub-section "What defines a good jouster?". Also fixed broken links.
  • 20/08/2015 - Updated the tier list and some items in the Counterbuilding section.
  • 22/08/2015 - Reformulated some things and added the "Countering gods who slow you... a lot" spoiler to the counterbuilding section. Also tried to upvote my own guide. It didn't work.
  • 25/09/2015 - Added Khepri to the tier list. Also updated some item descriptions in the Counterbuilding section and added the "Backdooring" section
  • 30/09/2015 - Added the "Joust Youtubers and Streamers" section

Thanks to...

Here are some great people who, whether they know it or not, contributed to improving this guide:

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ttomato13 | September 17, 2015 10:07am
Great guide, but have you ever watched TydeTime on YouTube? That dude goes into 1v1's with all those worst characters and simply destroys people. Fun to watch, but this mode is TOUGH!
ShadowKumba (1) | July 18, 2015 11:06am
Good guide GJ :) I am in gold 1 in joust and even I got something out of this guide so thx! +1
Tsjawatnu | June 23, 2015 2:05pm
Hey guys!

Thanks for your feedback, I've partly updated the guide with it in mind.
I made this guide during the transition from season 1 to 2 (which was terrible timing) so some of the parts that I wrote during season 1 weren't fully up to date yet (damn, misleading title). The tier list and the aegis mistake I made are, as you've seen, in two of these parts. I've put a link to NShadow's tier list in the guide because I haven't played joust league for a long time now, so I can't slightly change it since I'm not yet up to date with which gods are really good at jousting. Also, I don't want to just shamelessly copy it.

Thank you for helping me fix these things!
Greenevers (105) | June 2, 2015 9:33am
Pretty good guide! I think you overvalue Kali tbh. Almost all warriors have a better matchup against her and most hunters can do good against her as long as they keep their distance. Bellona on the other hand does well against all hunters, most assassins, and goes even with mages. She only has trouble with some warriors. Loki, as well is not really that good. He only beats certain mages and has to rely on proxying waves and backdooring which can be played against.

I like it, I'll try to find you an updated map for you! Good luck!
FemFatalis (15) | June 2, 2015 8:30am
@tsjawatnu, hi! Nice guide, although there are still a few issues after Season 2. Under countering gods with hard CC, Greater Aegis cannot be used under CC. Also, some of your choices in the tier list aren't right. NShadow, a Masters-level jouster, wrote a tier list here. Just a couple notes, but this is mostly awesome! +1
Tsjawatnu | June 1, 2015 10:02am
Hey Dresden

Thanks for replying! I'm really happy that my guide has been helpful to you!
I've added the word "lifesteal" to the counterbuilding section as you suggested (I hadn't thought of ctrl+f'ers yet), so people can find it more easily now.
As for the Chronos build: I never (literally never) pick Chronos voluntarily, but I do know that buying Warlock's Sash as one of your items is a must for its magical power and health (for more sustain). You would also need at least one penetration item ( Obsidian Shard is the one I'd buy) and an item to increase attack speed with (not Fatalis because Chronos's second attack does the same thing as Fatalis's passive). Your other items should be Boots and Rod of Tahuti for its raw magical power. Your last item depends on the situation: if you REALLY need a counter-item because you're losing, then get one. Otherwise, buy another item that gives a lot of magical power (like Soul Reaver. I don't think counter-items are a must on Chronos because he is meant to quickly burst his enemies down, though you might need one in certain situations.
If you're not yet sure about what to buy, then take a look at this page. It lists the items that are most often bought by Chronos players (the data comes straight from Hi-Rez's servers).
Dresden | May 21, 2015 9:50am
Dude! Really good guide.
I have mastery on all gods, but I'm only starting now to dwell on league games. When I saw the Nemesis skin I lost, I had to try.
As you said, I couldn't find any good guide to 1x1 League Joust, and yours is quite complete. The only suggestion I can give, is to add like the 'lifesteal' keyword on the section "Countering gods who can heal themselves". Just for a quick ctrl+f desperate moment (got two yesterday).
Following your guide, I have a 50% win rate. I think this is pretty good for a beginner.
Your SS list tops the ones I found on reddit IMHO (but I accept that it depends on your region's meta).
Also, can you link a sweet Chronos build that fits your suggestions?
Thanks again!
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