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Best Smite gods: a beginner’s guide to Smite

Best Smite gods: a beginner’s guide to Smite


Smite, Hi-Rez’s game of clashing deities, is now well over a year old, boasts over 10 million accounts, and just launched on Steam. But which are the best Smite gods? Much has changed since we first put together our Smite beginner’s guide, so we thought it high time to knock back a few pints of Ambrosia and freshen it up for you. 

Be sure to try the game for free here, and take a look at our Smite review to see what we thought of it at launch.

This is a MOBA that’s a wee bit different from most, and not just because you fight as a god. It’s different because it plays like an action game: you’re down there in the trenches fighting tooth and nail rather than directing the battle from above. Think of it as a third-person League of Legends.

It retains the MOBA fundamentals like roles, creeps, towers and lanes, however, and you’re already pretty familiar with those things, you probably don’t want to digest all that information again. If this is all new to you, then we’ve got you covered in the subsequent pages of this guide, but if you just want to find a god that suits you and dive right in, then read on for the best gods for beginners.

The list has been split into team roles rather than class roles, but don’t worry if you don’t know the difference, as we also explain that further into the guide. Here’s an explanation of class roles, and check out the team roles here. We’ve offered up two options per role, because some of these gods do require you to buy them, meaning you’ll either need to spend money or play a bit first. If you’re just starting out, that’s not particularly helpful, so each role has a free option as well.

Solo Laner

Guan Yu (free)

Warriors are a solid choice for this role and, conveniently, one of the starter gods fits this bill quite nicely: Guan Yu. He’s a melee Warrior and quite popular, and for good reason, with his high sustain and mobility. Guan Yu is also a decent melee support god, which is handy, because once you’ve taken out the enemy tower, you’re going to want to be able to wander around the map, aiding teammates and helping out in other lanes.


As a goddess of war, Bellona knows how to lay down some hurt. She’s versatile too, wielding a whopping four sets of weapons. She can disarm enemies, is a great counter to other physical-focused deities and her solid defence means that she can stick around in her lane for a good long time. Her versatility might make her seem a bit daunting at first, but it really makes her flexible and fun to experiment with.

Mid Laner

Ra (free)

Ra’s a Mage with a nice mix of abilities, ranging from direct damage beams of light to auras that can damage and slow enemies and blessings that heal allies. He’s decent enough in early game, but comes into his own in mid game when he can clear waves without breaking a sweat. He does start to peter out in the late game, but if you can make the most of him before that and get an advantage, then you have nothing to worry about.


I clearly like Mid Laners that burn stuff. Agni’s a fiery god with very strong area damage, a bit of CC, and the ability to bolt out of nasty situations witha dash ability that also damages enemies left in its wake. I was initially hesitant to put him in this list because he might put off beginners by not blossoming until mid game and starting off a bit squishy, but that’s Mages for you. Get through those growing pains and he’s worth it. You need to be aggressive as a Mid Laner, but remember to temper that with a bit of caution early on.


Ymir (free)

Frosty Norse giant Ymir is your tanky support. He’s a bastard, and you’ll grow to hate him unless you’re playing him. He soaks up a lot of damage and can dominate lanes with his mighty attacks and ability to freeze foes. Along with his ability to freeze the opposition, he can also hamper their movement with his massive, indestructible ice walls. Decent (potentially high) damage and great CC make Ymir a beast.


Like Ymir, Athena’s got great defence and CC, allowing her to get in the way of enemies, hamper their movement, and set them up for the slaughter. Her dash gives her a nice bit of extra mobility while also slowing foes, her taunt creates a nice distraction and her ultimate allows an ally to mitigate 20 percent of the damage they’re taking. She’s the perfect Support. As an added bonus, she can summon a bunch of her pals, a group of Athenian warriors, to help out in a fight.


Thor (free)

Thor, Norse god of thunder and Natalie Portman’s boyfriend, is a great Jungler for beginners, with excellent mobility thanks to his ability to leap up into the air and land a fair distance away, damaging enemies as he lands. He’s got high single target damage, a bit of CC with his stuns, and he has the potential to be a real ganking pain in the arse for the enemy team.


Fenrir is a great god for Junglers just starting out, with a strong early game, a stun, high damage and, with his Ultimate, the ability to savage his foes and then carry them off, all the while ignoring CC effects and doubling his protection. Two of his abilities make him extremely mobile, either launching him forward or toward a specific target before unleashing a world of hurt. The big shaggy fella is tricky to get away from. He can be a particular thorn in an enemy team’s side by snatching up supports and carrying them off so they can’t help their allies.


Neith (free)

If you’ve played Smite’s tutorial, then you’ll already be a bit familiar with Neith. She’s a Hunter, which makes her a great choice for beginners dipping their toes into the violent world of ADC. She’s got a few CC abilities to get you out of tough spots, but really you’ll be focusing on your basic attack and augmenting it with items, with a little help from your Support buddy, who should be feeding you kills.


Another handy hunter, Rama is extremely mobile and is blessed with a high attack speed. With a good escape that can also be used more offensively, CCs, and an Ultimate that can pick off enemies from far away, he’s solid all round as long as you master those skill shots. His fancy god magic blesses him with Astral Arrows, generated every 15 seconds, which are used in other abilities to cripple targets or do extra damage. Whenever an enemy is hit by one, there’s a chance Rama will pick up a new one, giving him a very welcome boost to his attack speed.

While any of these gods should perform well, after playing around with them for a wee while, you’ll definitely want to start reading up on builds. Like many MOBAs, Smite’s builds rely on choosing the appropriate items for your god, which you’ll learn more about on page 3 of this guide.

So now you have a few ideas for gods to take into battle, but if you want to learn the basics of Smite, continue reading.

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Check the next page for Smite’s modes and class roles…

How does Smite work?

Smite is an action game where gods are controlled by the WSAD keys and the fights are viewed from behind the deities rather than from above. It controls more like an action-based MMO than an RTS, with abilities bound to the number keys and no need to click on a location to get your god to move there. Most abilities and attacks are skill shots, as well, absent lock ons.

Smite pits two teams of angry deities against each other. Teams vary from 1 vs 1 affairs to teams of five, beating the divine snot out of each other. Objectives are down to the mode, but you’ll spend most of your time fighting player-controlled gods and their AI minions. Depending on the map, towers, Phoenixes, Titans and camp-dwelling foes can also be yours to destroy.

It’s worth trying the tutorials first before you jump into online matchmaking, purely so you understand the controls and terminology.

If you’ve not dropped any money, you will begin with a roster of ten deities. Five of them are yours to keep, while the others are part of the rotation that changes every so often. The five starter gods are a solid bunch, representing a variety of playstyles and letting you try out most roles while still being effective.

The modes of Smite

Before getting to grips with the Smite gods and their roles, you should know how each mode works.

Conquest is the most traditional of all the modes. It’s a 5 vs 5 three lane map with jungle in between the lanes. Within the jungle are camps with NPC enemies protecting special boons that increase damage, mana and speed. These enemies can also be farmed for gold and XP. Each team must try to push down (or up) the map, taking out minions, enemy towers and the slowly respawning Phoenix until they can destroy the enemy Titan. It’s the most involved of all the modes, and further down you can find out how to become an asset for your team.

Joust is like preparation for Conquest. It’s a 3 vs 3 or 1 vs 1 deal, with only one lane and jungle on either side. The one on one battles against the AI are a great way to get to grips with new gods as well as generally learning the ropes. Expanding it to teams of three is an opportunity to learn about some of the roles and the group dynamic. You really should spend some time in this mode, as it will better prepare you for the larger Conquest battles ahead.

Assault is where things get crazy. It’s Smite’s all random all mid mode, with a single lane, no jungle and two teams of five. The pressure never lets up. If you want to dive into the deep end, then this is the mode for you. But since you’ll be given a random god and never a moment to get the hang of things, this is going to be a challenge if you don’t already have some experience with the game. But damn is it a lot of fun. And it’s a great opportunity to try out some gods you might not have taken for a spin.

Arena is the most action-packed of all the modes. Gone are lanes, towers and jungle, replaced by a big open arena with a portal at either end. The goal is simple: make sure your minions get into the enemy portal while stopping the enemy minions from entering yours. Doing this is a matter of taking out the opposing minions while defending your own. The stronger focus on action means that there aren’t as many roles to worry about.

Siegeis the most recent addition to Smite’s modes, but has still been aroun for a while. It’s a two-lane affair, where two teams of four gods duke it and attempt to destroy each other’s structures and eventually the opposing Titan with the aid of an intimidating Siege Juggernaut. Teams can generate points by clearing Jungle camps, slaying enemy gods and killing enemy minions, and when they’ve got 100 points, the Siege Juggernaut is spawned. This extra powerful minion is slow, but has a massive health pool and hits hard.

On top of these modes are Match of the Day specials, where only a specific set of gods are available and it takes place on a particular map.

So there’s a diverse array of modes to play on. They cater to different styles, but all of them should be experienced to give you a well-rounded appreciation of the game. But for the purposes of this guide, we’re primarily going to look at Conquest. It’s the classic mode and the most popular. It’s also the one where all the traditional MOBA roles are only display.

Know your Smite class roles

Each deity has been assigned a class role, which defines – in very general terms – how they play. Neith, who you should have some experience with from the in-game tutorial, is a Hunter, for instance. That means she attacks from range and can be built in such a way that she does high damage. The other roles are Assassin, Guardian, Warrior and Mage.

Assassins are usually melee gods that employ physical power in their basic attacks and divine abilities. They are mobile, tend to have high burst damage, but shouldn’t be going toe-to-toe with enemies for extended periods of time.

Guardians are the tanks of Smite, using physical and magical power to control the battlefield. They’re usually blessed with handy CCs and make good support gods.

Warriors sit between Assassins and Guardians. They are melee combatants and can dish out and take a decent beating. They can fill many roles, working well as part of a team or striking out alone.

Mages are usually ranged gods, using – obviously – magical power to augment regular attacks and abilities, the latter being what the class will use the most. Although sometimes quite squishy, picking the right items can help them stick around in a fight.

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Check page three for Smite’s team roles and items.

Getting to grips with Smite team roles

Independent of the above class roles are another set of roles, essentially team roles. These are the jobs you will do to assist your team. While the class roles are immutable, team roles are not. In one match, you might use your god to dominate the mid lane in Conquest (the mode we’ll be focusing on as it employs all team roles), but in the next match, you might switch to the Support role, while still using the same god.

The roles in Smite can be broken down into Solo Laner, Mid Laner, Support, Jungler and Attack Damage Carry (ADC). If you’re familiar with MOBAs, you’ll probably already recognise these roles. But don’t worry if you’re not, they’re not complicated to understand. To use well, though, that’s going to take practise.

Solo Laner: The Solo Laner sticks to his or her assigned lane, pushing forward to destroy the enemy tower while stopping the opposition’s push down the same lane. While it’s important to get rid of enemy players and smack down minions as you work your way up the lane, it’s equally important to not get overconfident. Getting knocked out, even if the respawn timer is short, gives your enemies ample opportunity to whittle down your own tower.

Quite a few gods are excellent Solo Laners, but typically you’ll want a robust deity with plenty of health and resistances to ensure that you stay in the game for as long as possible. Warriors are a solid choice for this role.

Support: This can be quite a complicated role thanks to its dynamism, but I also find it to be one of the most rewarding. There are many ways to be a good Support. You might churn out crowd control (CC), replenish your team’s mana or health and look after the ADC. Or you might want to get right up in the enemy’s face as a tank, drawing their attention while letting your higher damage allies get more hits in without being squished. And being able to do decent damage yourself obviously helps.

Because of the diversity inherent in the role, being different things to different people, there are a greater number of gods that fit into the role. Out of the five starter gods, three of them can do very well in Support.

Mid Laner: Not surprisingly, the Mid Laner role is not unlike the Solo Laner role, but it’s a wee bit more involved. While the Mid Laner works his or her lane, pushing forward and taking out the enemy tower, they should clear and farm camps (along with Support and Jungler) and minions for valuable early XP and gold. One should also generally keep an eye on the minimap for the chance to gank.

The most important thing is to maintain aggression. Whenever possible, the Mid Laner should be pushing to the enemy tower and mopping up the minions. While roaming for a gank and farming camps can be very beneficial, getting that tower will give you the largest boon in terms of XP while also giving your team a direct line to the enemy Phoenix and, after that, the Titan.

The mid lane is really for the Mages. That AoE magic is especially helpful, so you’ll generally find most Mid Laners coming into the battle with a Mage deity.

Jungler: Like Support, the Jungler role is a dynamic one. The Jungler helps out in lanes, especially if a teammate is out of play for a moment, clears out camps so the team can benefit from the buffs, offers a bit of protection by warding, kills or makes himself or herself a target and, of course, dominates the jungle by taking and guarding camps

Keeping an eye on the minimap and being able to get to places quickly are key to being a Jungler. Speed is of the utmost importance, and not just in regards to getting around the map quickly, but also being able to clear NPCs out of camps rapidly. And don’t be a pushover, either. Junglers can get very busy, and if you’ve unfortunately found yourself with a lazy Mid Laner, they might expect you to make their kills for them. This is not your job. You should definitely be helping them, especially if they’ve asked for help, but you are not a Mid Laner. And you’re certainly not going to be taking out towers.

The best Junglers are Assassins, though they are not the only viable Junglers.

ADC: And we’ve reached the final role. Well done for sticking with me. If you’ve picked the ADC role, you’re one violent bastard. You exist to punish, dishing out the most damage and grabbing a lot of kills. This isn’t just because you have an insatiable blood lust, but because being a well-fed ADC is your goal. Indeed, you’ll want your teammates to feed you kills by setting them up for you. Hopefully that’s what your Support buddy will be doing if he or she isn’t roaming.

The purpose of all of this isn’t to just get you fat on the flesh of your vanquished foes, but rather to set you up for the late game. You want to hit late game quickly so that you can unleash a constant supply of hurt on the enemy team, with even your auto attacks doing a great deal of damage.

For beginners, the best ADC gods are the Hunters.

You can see what the best gods for beginners are in each role in the first page.

Shop smart in Smite’s battles

So you’re slaying your way through a match, and you’ve amassed a nice bit of gold. But what’s a god to do with all this cash? Spend it all, of course. You can’t take it with you when finish. Back at base, you can pick up items that augment your power or stats. There are items that affect your attack speed, your mana regen, your defensive capabilities and basically anything you can think of, including life-giving potions.

Most items are split into three tiers, with the first tier being the weakest and cheapest. Take Hydra’s Lament; it begins as the simple Morningstar, offering +10 physical power for the small cost of 650 gold. Rank 2 is Hydra’s Star, and the cost is increased to 750 gold (which means the actual cost is 1400) but confers a bonus of +30 to physical power, a +10 percent cooldown reduction – letting you use your abilities more frequently – and finally a passive that increases your next basic attack. Finally you reach Hydra’s Lament, which comes with the +50 physical power bonus, +15 percent cooldown reduction and a passive that’s twice as powerful. That’ll set you back 1450 gold, though, bringing the total cost to 2850.

What items you should buy and in what order depends on the god, its role in the match and personal preference. A lot of it’s common sense. If you’re a Jungler that uses a lot of mana, for example, Bumba’s Mask is a good choice, conferring a bonus to your mana regen while also increasing ability and attack damage against Jungle creatures. It also has healing properties, which is always nice.

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Check page four forSmite wards info and how to make sense of Smite’s numbers.

Smite’s wards: don’t leave home without them

Wards protect you, but not by offering physical protection. Rather, they allow you to see enemy players within a 60 feet radius, as long as they are in line of sight of the Ward. This is invaluable, as you’ll be a lot more likely to avoid unfortunate ganks.

If the enemy is using Wards, and it’s affecting your ability to gank, then worry not. Wards can be destroyed by auto attacking them, but first you need to see them. That’s where the Sentry Ward comes in, as it illuminates other words as well as enemy players.

It’s worth noting that in Smite that stealth can allow one to avoid detection from Wards, so watch out for gods like Loki. You’ll want to catch them out before they use stealth.

Making sense of Smite’s numbers

Right: this is going to get very, very nerdy. In the heat of battle, there’s not much time for numbers and stats, but there’s some basic stuff here that’s worth going over.

Okay, so you’ve got your typical stats like mana and health. High = good. Low = bad. Zero = dead or no spells. Common sense stuff. Then you’ve got your attacks/second, your regen rate and other self explanatory things. Continuing the things you’d expect, you’ve got critical chance, as in how likely it is you’ll do double damage; penetration, which breaks through armour and lifesteal, where you receive lovely health for damage; and protection, which, you know, protects you. Things like penetration and protection are split into magical and physical, so really they are two stats. Items and abilities can augment these stats.

Things get a little more complicated when you start looking at abilities, hovering over them and seeing all of those big numbers arranged in a way that at first glance, makes bugger all sense. Let’s use a specific god to help us. This is Guan Yu:

We’ve discussed him before. He’s the Chinese Saint of War, and sometimes he has a horse. This isn’t important, though. His ability, Warrior’s Will does damage of 80/135/190/245/300 (+50% of physical power). What that means is that its base damage is 80, and with each rank it increases until it reaches the maximum of 300. If he’s also got the item Hydra’s Lament then he gets 50 physical power. Assuming that he has no other items, this means that when he uses Warrior’s Will at maximum rank, he will actually do 325 damage, because of the +50 percent of physical power.

The end of the beginning

Hopefully this over-the-top war between the gods makes a bit more sense to you now. But these really are just the basics. Learning how to play well with a team, communicating clearly and learning the ins and outs of each map requires experience that you can’t get just by reading.

Grabbing some buddies you’re happy to chat with and playing a few games will provide even more invaluable experience. As will simply playing the game with anyone.

I’ve found Smite to be a little calmer than the likes of League of Legends. It’s okay to ask questions: You will make mistakes, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. And try and bring your friends: it’s better to play with chums, no matter the game.

And don’t discount the forums, streams (there’s always something going on at Twitch, and the official site usually has a stream in the top right corner) and plethora of extremely specific guides that community members create.

All that’s left is for me to bid you good luck in building your throne of godly skulls. Just try not to put mine on there.

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