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Hello, fellow demigods!
I edited this guide after it's initial release on Patch day, after getting more experience on Janus. I edited the items chapter, maximized the skills section, and completely re-did the gameplay spot from scratch. I also saw that there were few other guides posted for him so early on, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon.
Janus is one of the most interesting gods Smite has added thus far, each of his abilities bring a totally unique aspect to the game. Literally, there is something new in every one of them, even if they do resemble other gods' abilities. For example, the crazy pattern in his 2, or even the EVERYTHING about his 1. I'm excited to be paying him, and this guide is basically my personal take on his kit and play style. It will receive updates frequently, and criticisms and advice are welcome!
PS. Please consider changing your vote if you think it's improved, I'd appreciate it very much!
Janus brings a totally unique kit to Smite, so the benefits and drawbacks of his play style are just as unique.
I've selected Janus's items as a basic mage's build, with some aspects leaning towards CDR and penetration, much like you would for gods like Chronos or Scylla.
CORE ITEMS and SUBSTITUTIONS
Shoes of Focus are appropriate for the CDR they provide, as well as the magical power, mana, and movement speed that any god requires to be effective in their lanes. If more penetration is needed, a good substitution for this item would be Shoes of the Magi, providing him with the same stats, but extra penetration instead of the CDR.
Bancroft's Talon is necessary for any mage that relies on their abilities for damage, especially someone as kit-reliant as Janus. The lifesteal and 100 magical power it provides can mean the difference between escape and defeat, maybe even securing some kills on the way. A good substitute for this would be Book of Thoth, if you can finish it early enough. The stacks will solve any mid game mana problems you may have, as well as boosting your magical power considerably. An alternative to the extra power, if you need more sustain and defense, as well as some magical power, would be Warlock's Sash. This item also relies on stacks, giving you extra mana, health, and magical power for each stack earned.
Polynomicon is almost as crucial as Bancroft's Talon, in that it provides you with the extra damage in its passive that you can't get from your abilities. In addition to that, more magical lifesteal is always welcome. If you need more magical protection, I would suggest Void Stone for the protection, penetration, and aura it provides.
Chronos' Pendant is your fourth and final CORE item, rounding out your main build with some much needed CDR, so you can keep spamming those abilities, as well as an extra 70 magical power. That's only 30 away from Bancroft's 100, which makes it a very useful item. However, if you've noticed a problem with physical protection or lack thereof getting in your way, a useful substitute would be Breastplate of Valor, which offers addition mana and CDR, in addition to a delightful dose of physical protection.
Rod of Tahuti is an amazing item for boosting that magical power, and about 98.999% necessary for all mages. However, Gem of Isolation is great for any bursty mage, because the slows that will come from using your damaging abilities are absolutely key to securing kills for your team. When combined with Janus's Portal, it basically secures a free kill or two for your team, as long a they're paying attention. This item is a good substitute for the Rod if you are able to secure kills with less power and more CC.
Obsidian Shard is a great way to round out your build with some extra penetration, so that even the tankiest of tanks and warriors will yield to your bursty might eventually.
Janus brings with him one of the most versatile and MOBILE kits in the game, making him adept at basically any role, meta or otherwise.
His passive, Passages, gives him a magical power buff whenever he passes through a portal or over a threshold, and if played correctly, that is often.
Portal (I know it's wrong, I'm waiting for the icon to be updated. If it has, then just comment how I can fix it please!) is his main CC ability, banishing an enemy for 1.5 seconds and damaging them upon their re-entrance into the world. However, it can also be used as a type of dodge, allowing Janus to temporarily banish himself minus the damage effect. It can be used to set up kills for him or his allies. It also can be placed on a wall to serve as a doorway to the other side, allowing Janus to be one of the most mobile gods in the game. I prioritize it third, maxing it second.
For using this ability, I suggest utilizing it mainly as a poke and initiation, as long as you think you are safe from ganks. Your Threshold can also help as an escape, although the Portal is your best bet. If placed under yourself on the ground, the banish it provides can damage your enemies while simultaneously protecting you from hard CC and damage for a short time.
Unstable Vortex is Janus's nuke ability and the main source of his damage. It creates two unstable portals that damage enemies as it passes through them, following a template similar to Kali's weird-*** second ability. This one gets maxed first to pump out that damage.
Obviously, you need this ability for damage. However, it works best at close range, or when you know you can hit your enemies in one of the tight spots, located at the points closest to Janus, in the center, and at the end of the ability's path. These damage the enemy with both projectiles, damaging them for 50% extra damage. That bonus is key for securing kills and making the most of your nuke, which is always encouraged.
Threshold is probably his most expendable ability, hence why I max it last, although it is fairly useful in certain situations. It creates a rift in space about the size of an Ymir wall, but instead of blocking enemy movement, it slows them and makes them vulnerable to extra damage, as well as activating Passages when Janus passes through it. It also passively grants Janus and his allies a speed buff when going through portals and over thresholds.
This ability is mainly for utility. It doesn't do damage or count as hard CC, but it provides yourself and allies with a speed buff, while slowing your enemies AND activating your passive, Passages, allowing you to further damage your enemies with your burst abilities.
Through Space and Time is Janus's ultimate, and I am absolutely in love with it. Although it is a bit slow to cast, it's damage and additional effect of creating portals is just glorious. After 1.5s he casts his Kamehameha wave and it travels across the entire world without pause. Global like Neith and Athena's ultimates, it can be used for ganks, however it does not have a long-range targeting system, only a skillshot template. The really unnique thing about it, however, is the fact that it leaves on all viable surfaces in its wake Portals that Janus and his allies may use. These portals last ten seconds, and are not burned into every surface, stopping after a certain amount of time. However, the ball of energy continues moving at a relatively slow rate, damaging any gods it comes into contact with. I prioritize this first, upgrading it whenever possible, and ultimately (lol) maxing it last.
Using the ultimate to its full potential is tricky, to say the least. While it does do a delightful amount of damage, it is mainly useful for the path it clears. I use it mainly as an assisting ult like that of Isis or Odin, providing my allies with an escape or extra manpower as I make my way to join them. It is beautiful if you want to gank one side of the map, then ult over to the other. Like Apollo, it provides enormous global presence. It only hits enemy gods, no minions, so it's not as effective at multitasking on murder and lane clear like Ra's or Ao Kuang's ults. However, a great combo for this ult is to initiate with your 3 2 combo, slowing the enemy and then damaging them extra amounts (courtesy of Passages, before opening a Portal below them. Here's the tricky part. You should prep your ultimate to fire as they are falling through the Portal, allowing you to hit them for what is hopefully a kill. UNfortunately, this method exhausts all of your resources for escape and damage, as well as a lot of mana, for ONE target. Who may or may not die, assuming the 3,2,1 combo hasn't already blasted him to smithereens. Personally, I prefer to save his ult for mobility and assistance. You have plenty of CDR to make your 1 and 2 fine for your main damaging abilities.
Although Janus can play many roles, when built correctly, I'll be focusing on his solo/mid build.
When beginning as solo, I suggest taking Vampiric Shroud and Hand of the Gods for sustain and clear, as well as a few mana potions. However, in mid I like to use the same shroud and Tiny Trinket for some magical power, lifesteal, and a head start on some awesome power.
While laning, you should rely on your 2 for clearing, although your 1 can be used to pick off some of those pesky minions that just won't die. However, I prefer to save Portal for poking and setting up the enemy for extra damage from Unstable Vortex. Your 3 provides a nice buff/debuff, allowing you to keep your enemies at bay while defending your lane from a distance. Eventually, when you have the opportunity, your 3,2,1 combo will be great for securing a kill and gaining some lane advantage!
Around mid to late game, you need to be ganking. A lot. Ganking is what defines Janus. His Portal and his ultimate provide the ultimate resources for ganking, and with all of the CDR you have accrued, ganking often will not be a problem. As with any god, but with this one specifically, map awareness is key to carrying your team and securing a victory.
Also, don't forget that MOST of Janus's abilities can be used to assist teammates in initiation and, more importantly, ESCAPE! Friend running from an angry Nu Wa? Slow that snake woman with your Threshold, then throw out a Portal on the nearest wall to tower for your ally to warp through. If you aren't close enough, your ultimate can be glorious for providing allies with an escape from far away, similar to a Neith ult can be, when map awareness is taken into account.
Janus is a glorious addition to the world of Smite, contributing to the enormous tears in the meta, and making it possible to view many different gods as available for various (unexpected) roles! I personally love his play style, and can't wait to grind some more levels on him.
This guide will be updated frequently as I learn what can be improved upon based on my experience. Criticisms and advice are very welcome, as this is my second guide.
In the meantime, keep ganking, demigods!
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