So you’ve downloaded Smite and the prospect of entering grand arenas where team after team of gods battles one-another in the relentless pursuit of victory. You’ve sat down, cracked your knuckles, and browsed through all of the available gods to find a role upon which all of your focus will be aimed. Maybe you just feel like having a change and playing as a different role. Whichever one it is let us help with a quick guide to playing as a Guardian in Smite.
For the uninitiated, Guardians perform a vital role in the grand performance of combat in Smite. They are the rock of any team, a pillar of the community of war, the foundation upon which most good teams are constructed. In team-fights (where the whole of both teams come together to exact bloody wrath upon their enemies) the Guardian doesn’t move to the front line, the Guardian is the front line. They’re capable of taking immense amounts of damage in comparision to squishier comrades yet often struggle to dish out the same in return.
Playing Smite as a Guardian is no simple task though. It requires an acute sense of perception and no small amount of cojones to take on this role and make it work. Where others run from the fight, you weigh in to protect those who are alongside you.
Typically, Guardians are the largest of all the gods. Gods like Ymir, Sylvanus and Geb go to show this. This imparts them with a natural ability to get in the way of opposing players or abilities to protect their charges. It does not however mean they get the big kill numbers in any match. A Guardian is without a doubt the most supporting role of Smite. Alone they are nothing more than a sizable speed bump. When alongside a teammate though they become a true force to be reckoned with, even if they aren’t stomping up the kill charts. Assists are where the Guardian looks for their sense of self worth.
If the idea of playing as a Guardian sounds like the perfect place for you then by all means read on. If it isn’t, take a look anyways to see what’s running through the head of that Guardian on your team.
Before you even consider playing a Guardian there is one thing you need to remember: you will never have the glory of a high kill count. The rare occasion that you do means one of three things has happened (possibly more): you’ve been stuck with a poor team, the enemy team isn’t capable of properly dealing with you, or you’re simply awesome. Even in the single lane team-fight mode Assault you’re unlikely to ever get more kills than any of the Hunters or Mages on your team. That’s ok though, because you’re not out there to kill everything. Your focus is on getting as many assists as (in)humanly possible.
The best part is getting assists as a Guardian which is incredibly easy. Pair up with a capable Assassin, Hunter, or Warrior and you’re both going to be a near-unstoppable force. They’ll be farming the kills, you’ll be raking in the assist gold like Scrooge McDuck on payday.
In Conquest, Joust, and Siege your home is in the long-lane. The long lane is whichever lane has the greatest distance between the opposing team’s tower and your own. At the start of a conquest or Siege game, this will be either the left or right hand lane so take your pick if you’re first out of the gates. If others are ahead of you in selecting their locations, go to whichever lane only has one player in it or wherever someone asks you. This of course isn’t set in stone like a commandment so here’s a commandment for you: “Thou Shalt Useth Thine Noggin.”
In Joust there’s only one land so just get into that and do your duty. Assault also only has one lane but that’s a team-fight game. You want to be in front of your team at all times to sincerely screw with the plans of your rivals, using that massive amount of health and crowd control you’ll likely have at your disposal to throw a spanner into the works wherever possible. Do be wary in Assault though. Not all players will have a full understanding of their characters. Be a little cautious until there’s been enough time to gave the abilities of your colleagues.
When it comes to Arena, you are the linchpin. When there’s a mass of combat going on you are the eye of the storm. The one holding the enemy in place and stopping them for destroying your colleagues in little more than a sneeze is you. Arena’s battlefield in Smite is much more fluid than in that of other game modes so get to the center of combat and get to work. It’s often a good idea also for you to take it upon yourself to hold up minion waves as they will constantly chip away at your ticket’s total with or without the influence of the opposing team.
Guardians to Start With
A tricky thing to do no matter your skill level when dipping into a whole new battlefield role is actually deciding how to do it. Games like Battlefield or even Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare give you one option per choice so there’s no need to vacillate over the decision for hour upon hour. In Smite, however, a plethora of possible selections is laid out before you. It’s often best before trying out a totally new Guardian to spend some time in the practice modes to get a hang of your abilities and strengths. If you’re completely new to Smite there are some fairly easy options you can jump into that aren’t incredibly difficult to learn.
Many players who are jumping into Smite for the first time will be given Ymir to play with. The father of the frost giants in Norse Mythology, he is a brutal mountain of ice who delights in nothing more than slowing his opponents to a crawl. Imagine an iceberg with sentience and a big hammer, you’re almost there. His abilities revolve around keeping enemy gods slowed in order to make them light work for his team. He’s no slouch when it comes to the crunch either, as his abilities all apply the debuff Frostbite which makes his basic attack deal 100% more damage. A nuisance if played poorly, a powerhouse if played well.
Hades bucks the Smite Guardian trend by being a mainly ranged attacker who can still potentially be played as a brick wall. His basic attacks dish out a Blight debuff which makes his other abilities more destructive to the enemy or supportive to his colleagues. When played alongside a hunter this floating ruler of Hell can provide a much-needed rush into the opponent’s face. Combining the teleporting attack Death From Below with the blackhole-esque Pillar Of Death, only to follow up with Devour Souls can change the flow of a team-fight resolutely in the favor of Hades and his companions.
Sobek isn’t exactly the easiest Guardian to play in Smite but when you’ve put enough time into learning the abilities he has under his belt, the Egyptian God of the Nile is nigh-unmatched in his ability to get enemies right where he wants them. His Charge Prey ability throws the opponent back over his head and into the waiting arms of fellow gods, and can be combined with the 360 Tail Whip to keep the opponent where they should be. He’s even got the ability to stick around with the conal Sickening Strike, which heals Sobek after it strikes up to 3 enemy players or minions.
Still with us? Okay, now it’s time to learn a little more about what you actually should be doing as a Guardian on the many battlefields you’ll be facing in Smite.
One of your most important jobs is to set up a small roadblock in whichever lane you’re in. As we’ve said before, working in the longest lane possible is often the best way to go as you’ll be more capable of putting that hulk of yours to good use. You’ll be backed up by another character (hopefully) so you should be ripping your way through groups of opposing minions to weaken them for your comrade in arms. This isn’t incredibly necessary, but by weakening these gribbly little chaps enough for a hunter or warrior to tear them apart can benefit all parties in the long run.
This is especially true if you purchase the Watcher’s Gift item as a starter item. Mark of the Vanguard may be the start item that’s explicitly listed for tanks but don’t always pay this mind. By purchasing Watcher’s Gift and cutting down the health of minions to the bare minimum before your lane partner cuts them apart benefits you both greatly. Minions give more gold on the last hit so allowing your partner to get that mini gold injection will allow them to buy better weapons, that’s why you get Watcher’s Gift. Owning that means that any minions killed near you give you a last hit gold bonus no matter what. This benefits everyone in the long run because, to put it simply, money is power.
Speaking of not rushing for minion kills where possible, your job is also to assist whoever’s with you in killing the enemy. It’s likely you won’t have the power yourself to finish off an opposing god but your partner probably will (if they don’t, you may want to end the relationship). That injection of cash and experience from the player kill will vastly help your colleague more than yourself. It doesn’t mean that you sit back and watch. Help take them down, use the crowd control abilities at your disposal to take a few chunks out of that enemy before your brother or sister-in-arms goes for the killing blow.
This is also true for the buffs found in the Jungle of many modes. If your partner in crime requests assistance then you go help, but don’t take that buff. However much you want to be stronger it simply doesn’t matter when compared to the desire for strength pretty much any other character has. It also means when they come back to battle alongside you, they’re much more capable of taking out the opposition to give you a tasty assist. Really get behind the assists idea by taking the Hide of the Urchin item which grants additional protection on both kills and assists.
Last but by no means least of your essential tasks is getting the hell into the brawl. Even on ranged Guardian Hades, team-fights in Smite go much better when there’s a mass of meaty hit-points in the way. The crowd control and sustainability you’re likely to have at your disposal makes you a vital part of any team-fight. Just make sure to actually stick with the team and not run around like a headless chicken with a health-pool.
What not to do as a Guardian you say? Right, well there’s one major answer here which trumps all others: Do not go it alone. Yes, you’re a big old mass of hard-to-kill nastiness, but you’re not invincible. Without backup from a Hunter, Mage, or anything else you’re nothing more than a slightly tougher to kill minion with a few slowing attacks. Stick with your team in the long lanes and make sure that if you end up alone that there’s always an exit strategy of some sort. If an enemy runs off into the Jungle, let them run. Your buddy should be able to deal with them alone or will just stick with you.
Next up, never ever take those buffs. Unless you’re in a seriously dire situation, the buffs are best placed upon anyone on the team that isn’t you. If you end up with one, then you’re likely about to get a less-than-pleased message from the person you’re supporting. Same goes here for kills. Don’t try to get the kill over anyone else around you. Go for softening up your enemies and only aim for the kill if you think you can easily grab it or everyone else on the team is fully leveled. Of course you’ll find that from time to time you’ll accidentally kill the enemy. That’s okay though, just don’t aim to slaughter the enemy before your team has the chance to.
Just because you’re a Guardian and typified as a tank, that doesn’t mean you can take on all comers in Smite. Far from it, in fact. A wave of minions can and will rip through your health-bar if they can only target you. Hang around inside your own minion wave where possible and focus on piling the pressure onto them while they aren’t targeting you. This is true when also fighting players, but you’re stronger than the others on your team. This is where you shine, getting in their way so your team can get the kills in relative safety.
Finally this one is pretty simple and encompasses the previous three paragraphs. You are a Guardian, so do your fair share of guarding. You are not capable of taking down anything alone. You stand strong before your teammates and do not forget that. It’s easy when playing such a high-adrenaline game as Smite to forget that you’re not out for just the kills. Should this be difficult, write it on your hand or on a note that you should not be chasing the kills. It sounds stupid but it’ll work.
Do you have any tips for new Guardians in Smite? Have you never tried playing Smite as a tank? Let us know in the comments box down below.