Hunter Itemization from Super Regionals and Patch 4.22
Sun 3rd Dec 2017 - 1:49pm
While the Smite community is waiting for Worlds, we can go back to Super Regionals for lessons from the pros. Today, we will look at Hunter itemization. Hunters in the long lane had very similar builds throughout the entire event. Most builds were focused around attack speed and penetration with a shallow item pool. I will pull on data from the semifinals and finals from Super Regionals. We will cover the typical build and some of the variations to learn how to build Hunters as well as the impacts of Patch 4.22 on the builds.
The vast majority of Hunter builds at Super Regionals were focused on attack speed and penetration. A couple crit builds were attempted, but we will cover those later. The pen build draws from a pool of 8 items: Ninja Tabi, Warrior Tabi, Devourer’s Gauntlet, The Executioner, Qin’s Sais, Titan’s Bane, Asi, and Odysseus’ Bow. We will cover every item and explain how they fit into builds.
To start off, Hunters were built with Bumba’s Mask, some potions, and either Death’s Toll or Bluestone Pendant. Which major starter item to build varied depending on the god and player. Basic attack-oriented gods like Rama built Death’s Toll while ability-based gods like Ah Muzen Cab used Bluestone. Hou Yi could use either item, but tended towards Bluestone for additional clear on his abilities.
The boots slot also varied. Warrior Tabi provides 40 power while Ninja Tabi gives 20 power, 100 mana, and 20% attack speed. Warrior Tabi makes abilities and attacks him harder off the bat, while Ninja Tabi allows for another ability or two to be used before backing. Ninja Tabi also provides another, almost hidden, benefit. In addition to more basic attacks over time, higher attack speed means that each basic attack has a smaller window of movement slow, so players can fire off one shot at a time and have higher recovery and mobility between shots. The choice between boots varied by player as we saw characters build with both options, but significantly favored Nina Tabi.
Both Warrior Tabi and Ninja Tabi are viable boot choices
Devourer’s Gauntlets got buffed in Patch 4.15 and returned to being the premier power item for Hunters. Devourer’s Gauntlets provide a lot of power and life steal. The item is cheap and requires stacking, so it is always built early. Devourer’s Gauntlets was built on every carry Hunter and majority of mid lane Hunters because of the early power spike and sustain.
At Super Regionals, players varied between getting boots first and purchasing Devourer’s Gauntlets before boots. Starting boots is the safer option, as the movement speed helps to run away from unfavorable situations and to get to lane quicker. Building Devourer’s Gauntlets first is the greedy path but because doing so means you start stacking first and at two items, you are stronger than the other path because you have a partially stacked Gauntlet with boots compared to a Hunter with boots who just finished the stacking item. The decision for build order comes down to if the player thinks they need to be safe or greedy in that matchup and game.
The Executioner is a great Hunter item. In addition to the power and attack speed it gives the owner, it causes their basic attacks to reduce the protections of enemies by up to 36%. Because of natural and base protections, this equates to more penetration than provided by flat penetration items, even on targets who have not bought protections. The reduced protections mean even more against tanky targets, allowing the Hunter to shred them easily. In addition, The Executioner's passive means that other physical gods, such as Assassins and Warriors, benefit from the debuff and do more damage to that target. The Executioner was present in almost every Hunter build at Super Regionals, most often being bought third, after boots and life steal.
Devourer's Gauntlets, The Executioner and Qin's Sais are staple Hunter items
Qin’s Sais are another staple Hunter item. It provides additional attack speed and a passive that takes a chunk of percent health from the target. This effect is physical damage and is thus mitigated by protections. Qin's Sais were picked up in almost every build and most often fourth, but could be picked up later in the build if the player prioritized other items more at that moment.
Titan’s Bane is the second penetration item on this list. At the time, it provided 33% penetration to the user, which gives a similar effect to The Executioner. When both items are built, the protection reduction from Executioner happens first, and then Titan’s Bane ignores 33% of remaining protections, which can still be an enormous amount of penetration on tanks and is very respectable against squishy targets. The penetration from Titan’s Bane also works against objectives, like Towers. Titan’s Bane was one of most common items, built in nearly every instance. Titan’s Bane also had a lot of flexibility in terms of when it was built. Most often picked up in the last two lots, Titan’s Bane was sometimes seen as early as third item due to its great passive. However, it was outclassed early by Executioner even on more ability-based gods who use its passive to great effect.
The sixth item in the build was generally either Asi or Odysseys’ Bow. These items never appeared in the build together. Both items give a good amount of attack speed and increase damage in different ways. Asi comes with some flat penetration and life steal, with a passive that grants even more life steal at low health. Asi is good for Hunters that are attacking squishy targets or who may be the focus of the enemy team.
Odysseys’ Bow causes every fourth basic attack to send out a chain lightning that deals damage equal to 30 +50% of basic attack damage. This damage scales very well with the passives of Titan’s Bane and The Executioner. Odysseys’ Bow is great for team fight DPS and on well protected Hunters that can free cast in fights.
Asi and Odysseys' Bow were both options to cap off Hunter builds
Crit was tried a couple times at Super Regionals, but did not see any success. Poisoned Star and another crit item were built after the standard core of boots, Devourer’s Gauntlets, The Executioner and either Qin’s Sais or Titan’s Bane. Crit is great at taking out squishy targets, but the attack speed and penetration build explained here still outclasses it and is cheaper. There are situations where a critical strike build is good, but the current meta build is a better catch-all.
Ah Muzen Cab is a Hunter that has very high damage at the cost of being relatively unsafe. He slightly breaks the build we have talked about so far. He was often built with one defensive item that varied from Winged Blade to Reinforced Greives to Magi’s Blessing. Devourer Gauntlets, The Executioner, and Titan’s Bane were safe, but boots, Qin’s Sais, and a final attack speed item all had a chance of being replaced with a safer option.
Patch 4.22 saw a couple sizable nerfs to Titan’s Bane and its tier 2 version, Warrior’s Bane. Warrior’s Bane saw a nerf from 22% to 15% penetration and Titan’s Bane received a 150 gold increase coupled with a reduction in penetration from 33% to 30%. The final item is only slightly nerfed while the tier 2 took a large hit. These nerfs are likely to push Titan’s Bane almost exclusively to later in builds and definitely not built third, as The Executioner has an even greater advantage and now only costs 50 more gold. The flat penetration values Titan’s Bane grants are still very high, so it should continue to see play.
Titan's Bane received a couple of nerfs in Patch 4.22, but it is still a strong item
Super Regionals taught us the current Hunter itemization meta. Penetration and attack speed-focused builds reigned supreme with a shallow item pool of boots, Devourer’s Gauntlets, The Executioner, Qin’s Sai, Titan’s Bane, and either Asi or Odysseus’ Bow. Crit was tried but was ultimately unsuccessful and Ah Muzen Cab sometimes sneaked in a defensive item. Titan’s Bane saw a slight nerf in Patch 4.22, but its tier 2 received a heavy hit. Only time will see if we will have this itemization be meta at the Smite World Championship or if patches and meta shifts will change how Hunters are built.
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