Hunt or Be Hunted: A Casual Player's Guide to the Hunter Role
The Hunter role in Smite is often one of the most challenging to play in casual or unranked Conquest. Season 2 confounded this by reducing the minion wave-clearing potential of all Hunters, tweaking and adding new items, and even adding a new Attack Speed Jungle buff! For those new to Smite, the Hunter role, and/or just the Hunter role in Season 2 – may this guide serve as both a roadmap and food for thought as you prepare to carry yourself and others to victory!
Of the 63 Gods in Smite, only 10 of them are classified as Hunters. Hunters, by definition, are ranged Physical damage dealers – tasked with the responsibility of killing and last-hitting minions in the early and mid game and using the gold earned to purchase items to increase their damage for the responsibility of carrying their team in the late game.
In ranked play, players get the luxury of seeing what gods their opponents pick during God Select as they are picked – and can communicate and talk with their teammates to plan a strategy and pick Gods based on their opponent’s choices. However, in casual and unranked play – neither team knows which Gods have been selected by the other team until all members of both team have locked in their chosen Gods. This complete unknown makes it very difficult for even the most communicative of players to pick a Hunter suitable for each game. As such, here is an overview of each of the 10 Hunters in the game to help make God Select that much easier.
Ah Muzen Cab – The God of Bees (Mayan)
Why You Should: Ah Muzen Cab (AMC) is capable of incredible amounts of damage over time, his kit making for incredible lane clear and harassment potential. AMC’s passive, Bees!, deals damage every .5 seconds for 3 seconds total – in addition to the damage from his skills that apply it. Swarm, AMC’s 2nd skill, deals damage in a line in front of him while afflicting the hit enemies with Bees! Honey, AMC’s 3rd skill, sprays honey at a moveable target ground location, slowing enemies in the area. When Honey is placed near a Hive, placed with AMC’s 1st skill, bees swarm to protect the Honey, causing any enemy within the golden liquid to be affected by Bees!. Hives also grant AMC bonus health regeneration and movement speed when he is near them – though the bonuses do not stack with multiple Hives. AMC’s Ultimate, Stinger, deals damage in a line in front of him and sticks in the first enemy god hit, crippling them. After 3 seconds, or if the afflicted target dies, AMC can retrieve the Stinger from the ground – lowering his Ultimate’s cooldown. AMC’s skill set allows the God of Bees superior lane control and nearly unrivaled harassment potential.
Why You Shouldn’t: AMC’s ability to slow with Honey and cripple one target with his Stinger, even when bolstered by a nearby Hive, provides not nearly enough control to chase down elusive enemies – nor does it give the God of Bees himself an escape from those that might chase HIM. Plus, in this day and age, most Gods and players specialize in very quick, very powerful bursts of damage: often quicker than AMC’s own damage potential. The Hives AMC places can also be destroyed by basic attacks by enemy Gods, making AMC more susceptible to being killed in the early game: a Hunter’s weakest point.
Anhur Icon (Smite) Anhur – The Slayer of Enemies (Egyptian)
Why You Should: Anhur’s passive skill, Enfeeble, reduces the physical protection of any enemy hit by Anhur’s basic attacks. In addition, Impale, Anhur’s 2nd skill and Desert Fury, his Ultimate, also trigger his Enfeeble on the target(s). Anhur’s 1st skill, Shifting Sands, boosts his basic attack power while slowing foes in a circle of sand – an Obelisk forming at the center. The Obelisk can also be used with Impale to stun any enemy Gods knocked into it by the skill. Impale can also be used to stun enemies against wall and clear minion waves, as it passes through enemies. Desert Fury causes Anhur to throw 8 spears in rapid succession, dealing great physical damage and making Anhur immune to any crowd control during the duration. All Anhur’s skills, combined with his passive, make him capable of incredible burst damage with very little items.
Why You Shouldn’t: Anhur has very little crowd control; his Impale requires good positioning to stun his opponents and his knock backs do very little, if anything, to impede his opponents. Plus, Disperse does not allow Anhur much distance between any would be killers, nor much distance to chase foes. Timing is everything with Anhur – and both reaction time and aim are critical to unlock his full damage potential.
Apollo Icon (Smite) Apollo – The God of Music (Greek)
Why You Should: Apollo is easily the most mobile of all the Hunters. His 3rd Skill, The Moves, allows him to dash forward and knock aside enemies in his path – each enemy he hits adding a stack to his passive: Audacity. Apollo’s Ultimate, Across the Sky, also furthers his mobility – allowing him to take to the air until he decides on a ground target to land or he runs out of mana (the ability itself costs 10 mana + 60 per second). With both The Moves and Across the Sky, combined with Audacity, which grants Apollo 100% bonus attack speed for 5 attacks after 10 successful basic attacks, Apollo not only has incredible chasing potential and escape potential – but also incredible split pushing potential: forcing enemy teams to spread themselves thin to defend…or lose the game.
Why You Shouldn’t: For what Apollo has in mobility, he lacks in damage – being one of, if not THE hardest hit Hunter by the minion wave clear reductions. Apollo’s 1st skill, So Beautiful, which deals damage toward enemies in a line in front of him does 15% less damage to successive enemies hit after the first and doesn’t clear minions as efficiently as he needs to effectively remain mobile. Apollo’s 2nd skill, Serenade, which mesmerises enemies in an area around him, rendering them unable to move or do anything until the duration runs out or they take damage – provides neither a significantly long or strong enough buff (and does nothing against Magical damage), nor sufficent crowd control.
Artemis Icon (Smite) Artemis – The Goddess of the Hunt (Greek)
Why You Should: Artemis is arguably one of the easiest Hunters to play and the closest to what most would consider a “pure” Hunter. Artemis’ passive, Still Target, increases her Critical Strike chance on each successful basic attack – 5% per basic attack up to 15% total. For added damage and chasing potential, Artemis’ 2nd skill, Vengeful Assault, increases her attack and movement speed significantly – her passive and second skill combining to make her extremely effective at shredding enemies with auto attacks. Additionally, Artemis’ 1st skill, Transgressor’s Fate, places a trap on the ground that triggers when stepped on by an enemy god, dealing a bit of damage and holding them in place – keeping them within range to basic attack down. Artemis’ 3rd skill, Supress the Insolent, deals damage in a small area and slows any enemies hit, also helping her farm and chase enemies easier. To maximize her potential in teamfights, Artemis has her Ultimate, Calydonian Boar, to deal damage to any Gods in a radius and stuns them while making Artemis immune to Crowd Control.
Why You Shouldn’t: Quite the opposite of Apollo, save for her Vengeful Assault, Artemis has no reliable escape. Aside from that – Artemis really doesn’t lack much, making her a solid pick for even the most inexperienced hunters.
Cupid Icon (Smite) Cupid – The God of Love (Roman)
Why You Should: Cupid is the unique combination of being able to dish out damage, crowd control, and also heal himself and allies. Cupid’s 1st skill, Heart Bomb, fires an arrow of love at a target – slowing the target and placing a heart over their head on impact. After a short time, the Heart explodes, dealing damage to the target. Fields of Love, Cupid’s Ultimate, drops a collection of arrows in a radius, crippling any enemies within and, after a second, deal damage and mesmerise any enemies still within the field. Both those skills benefit from Cupid’s passive: Lovestruck. Lovestruck, displayed by a collection of hearts above Cupid’s portrait, fills up one heart with each successful basic attack Cupid makes. Once all 10 hearts are filled, both Heart Bomb and Fields of Love will, in addition to their effects, stun affected targets.
On the supportive side: Cupid’s 2nd skill, Share the Love, drops 3 hearts around him – healing Cupid and/or any allies who walk over them. Allies who walk over the hearts also restore a little bit of mana to Cupid. Cupid’s 3rd skill, Flutter, provides additional support and an escape for cupid – allowing him to dash forward and leave a trail in his wake. This trail increases his allies’ movement speed, and buffs Cupid’s attack speed for a short time.
Why You Shouldn’t: Two Active Items: Purification Beads and Aegis Amulet, in addition to various forms of crowd control immunity, can negate Cupid’s teamfight potential – as his abilites don’t possess high enough damage to find much use without their various disabiling effects. As he is an ability-centric hunter, Cupid’s basic attack damage is low compared to most other Hunters, making him not nearly as strong or steadfast of a carry towards the later stages of the game.
Hou Yi Icon (Smite) Hou Yi – The Defender of Earth (Chinese)
Why You Should: Hou Yi specializes in single target burst damage, reminsicing more of an Assassin than a Hunter. Hou Yi’s first skill: Ricochet, charges up for about a half second before firing: dealing damage and piercing through enemies in a line. Ricochet also has the unique ability to bounce and angle off walls a maximum of 2 times: gaining distance and bonus damage each bounce. Hou Yi can mark a target with his 2nd skill, Mark of the Golden Crow, granting Hou Yi bonus damage for every 10% of the marked target’s missing health and causing Ricochet to stun the target on impact. Rounding out Hou Yi’s kit is Divebomb, his 3rd skill, which grants him a brief airborne escape and some area of effect (AOE) damage upon landing. Hou Yi’s Ultimate, Sunbreaker, provides Hou Yi significant damage in a large radius while slowing any targets afflicted by Mark of the Golden Crow.
Why You Shouldn’t: For the single target damage potential, Ricochet can be a very difficult skill to use optimally, as it requires good aim and a knowledge of angles and geometry. As a common trend amongst Hunters, crowd control is also something Hou Yi lacks; while none of his abilities make HIM immune to crowd control. Hou Yi’s single target damage potential is strong, but with a team team that cannot help him isolate targets, his damage and teamfight presence can be minimized and often insubstantial.
Neith Icon (Smite) Neith – The Weaver of Fate (Egyptian)
Why You Should: Being one of the five Gods all new players begin their Smite careers with, Neith is nearly everybody’s introduction to the Hunter role. A solid introduction, as Neith possesses the most crowd control of any Hunter in her abilities and even comes with some minor healing to keep her strong and steadfast in lane. Neith’s passive, Broken Weave, causes a Broken Weave to appear on each spot an enemy God dies, lasting for one minute and adding secondary effects to her 1st and 2nd skills.
Neith’s 1st skill, Spirit Arrow, both damages and roots enemies in a line. On impact with a Broken Weave, Spirit Arrow causes the Weave to explode: dealing 100% additional damage and rooting all enemies in a small radius as well as in the initial line. Neith’s 2nd skill, Unravel, targets a moderately-sized area on the ground: damaging all enemies in the area and reducing their attack speed while healing Neith for a small amount per enemy hit. If a Broken Weave is in Unravel’s targeted radius, the Weave is consumed to deal additional damage and grant Neith additional healing.
Should kills be hard to come by, Neith’s 3rd skill, Back Flip, places a Broken Weave on the ground as it leaps Neith backwards – slowing and damaging enemies in a small cone in front of Neith. Finally, Neith’s Ultimate: World Weaver, causes Neith to take a knee and charge up – a large circle appearing on screen with a white border filling up around it. At any point after activation, Neith can fire the shot – hitting ANY enemy God on the map she, her teammates, or wards have vision of and stunning them. The longer Neith charges the skill, the charge indicated by the border filling around the blue circle, the more damage she does.
Why You Shouldn’t: Neith is a Hunter very similar to Cupid in that she gets the most out of her abilities, but unlike Cupid: she has no form of attack speed increase and her crowd control typically only affects 1-2 enemies on average. Neith also has no skill to increase her auto attack damage, meaning that her late game damage output is very low. The damage from Neith’s abilities really tails off towards the later stages of games, and her Broken Weaves can also be seen by enemy Gods – so they can be avoided and played around.
Rama Icon (Smite) Rama – The Seventh Avatar of Vishnu (Hindu)
Why You Should: Rama rivals Artemis in being capable of some of the highest burst damage amongst Hunters, while his abilities benefit him throughout the entire game. Unlike Artemis, however, Rama also possesses an escape in his 3rd skill: Rolling Assault, which causes Rama to roll in the direction he’s facing. Rolling Assault also doubles as a great initiation tool, consuming an Astral Arrow generated by his passive, Astral Quiver, to deal bonus damage and cripple a target on his next auto attack within 5 seconds. Astral Quiver grants Rama an Astral Arrow every 15 seconds, to a maximum of 5 Arrows stored at any given time. The 15 seconds can be reduced by 2 seconds with each successful basic attack Rama makes. Astral Arrows can also be acquired by a % chance from Rama’s 2nd skill: Pick Me Up, which has a percent chance of generating an Astral Arrow on the ground near Rama whenever he uses his Astral Arrows. Pick Me Up can also be activated for an attack speed increase – making it a doubly beneficial skill. Rama’s 1st skill, Astral Strike, changes his basic attacks to consume Astral Arrows, at the benefit of piercing through multiple enemies in a line and slowing them. Rama’s Ultimate, Astral Barrage, causes him to take to the skies and become untargetable. Astral Barrage also allows him 5 seconds to shoot down 3 powerful arrows – these arrows dealing massive damage in a small radius – the radius growing smaller each shot.
Why You Shouldn’t: While Rama possesses an array of useful abilities – his damage potential versus other Hunters is rather low, which can lead to him getting easily harassed and killed in the early game. Having only a maximumg of 5 Astral Arrows at any one time makes Rama’s ability to disable inconsistent, and without the bonus damage to his skills – Rama fails to outdamage most other Gods.
Ullr Icon (Smite) Ullr – The Glorious One (Norse)
Why You Should: Ullr is easily the most versatile Hunter in Smite, having a choice of two different “forms” to take and each with their own set of 3 skills. Ullr also has the unique ability of starting the game with his Ulitmate: Wield Bow / Wield Axes, which allows him to switch between melee and ranged and their respective set of skills. Once able, Ullr can put ranks into his Ultimate, providing him additional attack speed while in ranged form, or additional lifesteal while in melee form. In ranged form, Ullr’s 1st skill is Bladed Arrow, which deals damage in a line to any enemy hit, less damage to additional enemies hit after the 1st.
Ullr’s 2nd skill in ranged form: Expose Weakness, gives him a buff to his physical power for 5 seconds. In melee form, Ullr’s 2nd skill becomes Invigorate, granting him a movement speed increase for 5 seconds. Ullr’s 3rd skill in ranged form is Hail of Arrows, dealing damage to enemies in a small radius. While in melee form, Ullr’s 3rd skill becomes Glory Bound, allowing him to leap to a target location, dealing damage in a small area on landing. This versatility all but ensures Ullr’s ability to trade with enemy Gods efficiently and handle nearly every situation with ease.
Why You Shouldn’t: Ullr is arguably the most challenging Hunter to play, as learning when and where to either Wield Axes or Wield Bow, in addition to learning to switch between the two quickly and efficiently, requires a great deal of experience and play. Ullr also has only one disable: the stun from Thrown Axe, which can be very difficult to land due to the axe’s narrow width – and nothing to give him crowd control immunity. Since all Ullr’s ranged skills deal damage, last-hitting minions and farming gold is especially important on Ullr to keep his damage consistent throughout the entire game.
Xbalanque Icon (Smite) Xbalanque – The Hidden Jaguar Sun (Mayan)
Why You Should: In what has been a true “comeback kid” story, Xbalanque has risen to prominence as being one of, if not THE strongest Hunter in Smite, where previously he was one of the weakest. Dead of Night, Xbalanque’s passive, grants him a permanent 5 physical power for each enemy God he kills, up to a maximum 6 kills. Poison Darts, his 2nd skill, has Xbalanque shoot 10 darts in a cone in front of him, each one dealing damage on impact plus damage every 1/2 second for 3 seconds. Poison Darts can hit each individual enemy a maximum of 3 times. Poisoned enemies also take bonus damage from Rising Jaguar: Xbalanque’s 3rd skill. Rising Jaguar causes Xbalanque to rush forward and jump into the air, dealing damage to all nearby enemies while making himself immune to crowd control. Xbalanque’s Ultimate: Darkest of Nights, increases his basic attack and movement speed, while shrouding ALL enemy gods with darkness for 3 seconds, making them unable to see anything that’s not practically touching them.
Once the darkness ends, any enemy God moving is then stunned for 1.5 seconds. All that combined, Xbalanque is capable of dealing nearly unparalled damage in team fights and even assisting his allies in securing kills/preventing escape with his Ultimate. The heart and soul of Xbalanque, however, lies in his first skill: Branching Bola – a toggled ability causing his basic attacks to deal additional damage and upon impact, split into 2 projectiles that hit enemies up to 30 units behind the target for 30% damage – at the cost of mana per basic attack. The mana cost of this skill used to be a great hindrance, even with Hunters acquiring a Mana-regenerating Jungle buff at the start of the game, but thanks to the new starter item: Bluestone Pendant – Xbalanque no longer has to wait until a certain level before effectively using Branching Bola, maximizing his damage output even in the early game.
Why You Shouldn’t: Like Rama, Xbalanque has a ton of upside and (arguably) requires even less skill to play effectively. No matter what skill level a player is at, Xbalanque remains capable of dealing incredible damage to not just one, but up to every enemy God – and can push lanes and conquer objectives with nearly no difficulty. In competitive or ranked play, Xbalanque is a near-automatic ban around the world and is certain to be a powerhouse in nearly any team composition.
Regardless of the pros and cons, every Hunter in Smite has his/her own unique offerings to bring to any team – and team composition can definitely make certain Hunters stronger or weaker beyond what pure stats can convey. In part 2, I will discuss item build possibilites for every Hunter as well as possibilities for different situations and different opponents. I hope this guide encourages you to try every Hunter and find one that fits your playstyle/preferences the best. Be good to each other and happy hunting!