SMITE God Review: Hera, Goddess of Marriage
This was originally going to go out around 5.19 when Hera was initially released into SMITE. However, she arrived to very little fanfare, thanks to her. . . well, let’s be frank, underwhelming amount of power. The way I interpreted it, is that Hi-Rez was probably a bit gun-shy after how powerful Baron Samedi was (and is). He hit the battleground with insane, unbelievable power, and it’s my thought that he’s still pretty damn good. So, when they release a new mage, especially one as anticipated as Hera, it’s important for it to go well. Unfortunately, Hera lacked punch. Argus did not stay on the field long enough and was incredibly squishy. He did not feel like a tank, nor did he feel like a solid damage-dealer. He was just… a really useless ult, except setting up kills for other people via knock-up. This led me to initially think she was going to be what I expected/hoped/prayed for – A Guardian. She didn’t do a lot of damage, had two forms of CC, and had an ally she summoned. Come on. That has Guardian written all over it.
However, Hera is a utility mage, not a guardian. I wouldn’t want her in the mid-lane; instead I’d put her on a team with a tanky jungler, so she could be in the duo-lane, setting up kills for the Marksman. Many Gods are masters of incredible forces of nature, whether it’s fire, volcanoes, lightning, the seas or the underworld. Hera is the goddess of divinity itself. In addition, she’s the goddess of marriage, but despite that, is known to be petty and jealous. This is probably due to Zeus’ well-known and scribed philandry, willing to sleep with any woman he could possibly get his hands on – even if he had to turn into a shower of gold coins or a bull to do so. Hera does not come alone though – Argus, her guardian and the instrument of her revenge is always near, ready to be summoned to her side.
Passive: Commanding Presence (Pet): Whenever Hera deals damage to gods with her abilities or basic attacks, Argus the Defender’s cooldown goes down by 1s and Divine Shroud’s cooldown is reduced by .33s. If Argus is active on the field, he is instead healed (20+5 per level). Damage from Argus: First Hit (30+30% of your magical power), Second Hit (30+30%), Third Hit (45+40%).
1: Royal Assault (AOE, Damage): Hera deals damage to enemies in a cone in front of her [30/40/50/60/70 (+15% of your magical power)], and then opens a portal for Argus to swat at her foes through. Enemy minions who are hit by the cone are knocked directly into Argus’ path. Argus slams his fists at the target location, dealing damage. If both fists hit an enemy, he deals 15% extra damage[ 80/130/180/230/280 (+80% of your magical power)]. Cooldown: 10 seconds
2: Polymorph (CC, Line Damage): Hera casts a bolt of magic in front of her. Enemies hit by it take damage [60/105/150/195/240 (+75% of your magical power)] , and gods hit by it polymorphs them into a harmless monster that can neither attack or use abilities (1.2/1.4/1.6/1.8/2s). This ability also slows enemies hit (20%). This ability can hit multiple gods as well. Cooldown: 14 seconds
3: Divine Shroud (Shield, Buff): Hera wraps herself in a magical barrier [50/100/150/200/250 +20 per Hera’s Level, 5s duration] that also increases her movement speed as long as the shield remains (15%). If Argus is active during the Divine Shield, he deals radiant damage [7/11/15/19/23 (+7.5% of your magical power)] and moves at an increased rate (50%). Cooldown: 16 seconds
4: Argus, The Defender (AOE, Summon): Hera summons her defender, Argus who descends upon a location, knocking up enemies and dealing damage in an Area. Hera can control him while he’s on the field, by refiring the ability onto an enemy. If she presses the ultimate again, Argus returns to her. He will attack anyone that gets close, and has a hit chain that is a basic attack, then ground aoe that slows enemies (20%, 1s) and a line attack.
- Argus Health: 700/1400/2100/2800/3500
- Argus Movement Speed: 440/455/470/485/500
- Damage: 100/150/200/250/300 (+55% of your magical power)
- Argus Protections: 25/30/35/40/45
- Argus Lifetime: 40s
- Argus Leash Range: 125 units
- Argus Range: 64 units
- Presence, Potence, Fortitude: Hera, while she doesn’t deal tons of damage, has an incredible lane presence. It’s very difficult to get in on her, because if you’re close up, that CC is gonna hit. If she’s got her ult, she can hold it until someone’s silly enough to dive. Then you Poly+Argus, and laugh as they perish for being so very foolish. She can be a presence in any lane she’s in, and while she doesn’t hit as hard as other mages, she’s still very much a threat. You don’t have to 100-0 someone with a combo to be a threat. Hera is a threat simply by being.
- Combo-Ability: I don’t mean the snack, or that she has amazing combos (she doesn’t). But she is amazing at setting others up for success. As Hera is the goddess of Marriage, everyone knows that a real successful marriage is a team effort. Both sides have to work in synergy, and compliment each other’s strengths, cover for weaknesses. As such, Hera’s CC makes a lot of team comps easier to create. Team her up with Da Ji for an unassailable wall of crowd control and damage. She can drop Argus long enough to get Odin in to create his Thunderdome. The possibilities are endless! Pair her with Zeus to wombo their ults and wipe whole teams.
- Can’t Have One Without The Other: Without Argus’ aid, Hera’s a little on the weak side. To compensate, he has a long lifetime, and if she’s successful in lane, he can come out to play more often. That’s why she definitely needs CDR to make up for that. But. . . that doesn’t change the facts. Without Argus to bully people or keep them out, Hera’s a little underwhelming. Couple this with her being pretty fragile, she’s pretty risky to play.
- Dooooooodge! While yes, Hera has two forms of potent Crowd Control (Polymorph, Argus, the Defender), that Polymorph is incredibly easy to avoid. It’s slow moving, and while it has a good range, you just list lazily to the left, and it’s useless. It’s great to be able to pop two or three gods at a time with him. That having been said, her entire kit is pretty easy to avoid. I still don’t really get her 1, if I’m being totally honest.
- The Set Up (You Need This): Hera’s really only got one combo of note to set up kills, and that’s Polymorph+Argus. That’s it. If you can’t land that, I don’t see you obliterating with her. Even if you do, she only really explodes people in the late game that I’ve seen. In most of my play sessions, I built CDR/Pen/Power, but I see her being useful in other situations (RE: more defensive items) and using her as a setup for other people. Set ups for you will probably only lead to disappointment. She is also easily picked out since her only real mobility comes from her Shield or Ultimate.
Hera’s kit is frankly a little on the odd side and can take some time getting used to. Since her buffs, she can absolutely slap people down with her 3+4+1. She only has one real damage ability in her 1, Royal Assault. Argus, The Defender is technically a damaging ability, but that relies heavily on not missing the drop onto people, and having enemies in range that don’t just blink, leap, or otherwise dash out of his reach. I don’t think she’s all that great in Arena; fun with the right composition, but she lacks the damage some of the other more bursty-mages do. I see a lot of fun possibilities for her in Conquest however. Her primary damage ability has a really weird set up, too. Part of it is a nice wide cone in front of her, and the other part you cast out away from you (the fists of Argus). It’s great for pushing enemy waves back though if you’re trying to delay. Minions hit by the cone get knocked back to the fists, so you just toss them as far away as you can, which can really halt the enemy trying to push on your tower. Only fools rush in, after all. Her major combo involves her ultimate, in as far as I’ve seen: Polymorph (3), Argus (4), and follow-up with the Royal Assault (1).
The Queen of the Gods is pretty mobile in certain situations. If her ultimate or shield is active, she moves faster. That damage shield is also a movement buff, and landing basic attacks and damage abilities lower its cooldown. That, combined with many of the useful items that offer CDR, allow for solid lane pressure. You should be conservative with casting in the early game since her mana costs at the start are a little on the high side, but you won’t have to worry quite as much about key abilities like her 3 and 4, with thanks to her passive. It’s also important to note there’s a little bit of a delay on firing her 2, Polymorph. Once you activate it, it takes a second, then launches, but you can use that to your advantage. Fire it, then aim where you think they’re going to be. You have to treat it like Space Invaders, provided you aren’t launching it into the middle of a teamfight, or enemies who aren’t paying attention. If they’re watching, you must predict where they’ll be, and move at the last possible second to catch them unawares. Thankfully, it can hit multiple gods, so if people are clumped, they’ll regret it.
Landing hits is so important on Hera, though. I realize it’s important for everyone, but Hera needs to lower the cooldown of her ultimate as often as possible. Argus’ cooldown, without CDR, is 70 seconds, and he stays out for 40 seconds. He’s still a bit squishy, but much better than he was in 5.19. While yes, he’s key to her success, you can also use him in the lane to distract the enemy. They focus on not being hit by his pulsing aoe damage, and your Polymorph, and after they’ve burned their immunities, the jungler shows up and secures the kill. While I think Hera will be okay in the middle lane, I think she will really shine in the support role as a kill-secure bot. She can pretty easily wander the map, helping whatever lane she needs, and with many of the warriors being capable of jungling and being tanky. . . Well, I think Hera can definitely find a fun spot with the Marksman. She can’t heal, but it’s not up to her to do everything. Marksmen need to be self-sufficient about something. Hera brings the CC and the pokes, Marksmen can get the kills and lifesteal. Even if her Polymorph misses her target, it’s still going to keep people on their toes, and while she won’t be the main tank anytime soon, many of those defensive items will benefit her and others. Hera is a goddess that requires teamwork. She can function on her own, but I think she’s best when paired with someone that compliments what she can already do.
This one’s a little difficult for me because I stand firmly by my “Hera’s not really a mage” platform. That being said, there are definitely caster items that I think will work wonders on her to give her a blend of magic, and the CDR she direly needs. Your ultimate goal on Hera is to keep Argus at the ready for any situation, as he’s the key to her not being murdered. But since Argus also deals damage based on your magical power (but does not appear to proc items that I’m aware of), she needs a decent amount of magic power if you want him to be a success. If you’re going to walk the damage route, there are plenty of options open. Mage’s Blessing is your best bet, and work towards Shoes of the Magi. No matter what build you go, I think Chronos’ Pendant is the most important item. It offers pure magical power, MP5, and CDR (+90, +20, +20% respectively). It also has a great passive, which lowers your ability cooldowns every 10 seconds (by 1 second). That makes Chronos’ Pendant the item to run on her. That and Spear of Desolation are the key items you will probably always build on damage Hera. The Spear’s ability to lower all CDs by 1 second on a kill or assist makes this a must-own. It also has 100 Magical Power, 15 Magic Pen, and 10% Cooldown Reduction. Get these, and embrace them.
Should you desire the support mage, you’ll want to work toward Lono’s Mask, Reinforced Shoes, and Breastplate of Valor as key items in my opinion. Lono’s offers nice protections, CC Reduction, but does reduce Damage/Healing dealt, with 20% Damage Mitigation. Sure, you won’t be building for damage. Your whole goal is to make sure your team gets kills. Breastplate offers 20% CDR, with physical protections, 300 mana for more skill spamming, and 10 MP5 to let you sustain in lane a little longer. Your options are a bit more open in my opinion, as a support mage. Because from there you can go with, Gem of Isolation, Divine Ruin, and Pestilence for options that boost your power while also helping yourself. . . just a bit. As always, Relics are definitely situational, depending on where you’re going and what your team needs. Those are incredibly varied, and always will be. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have preferences: Horrific Emblem, Cursed Ankh, Magic Shell, Beads.
- Mage Build In Progress: Shoes of the Magi, Spear of Desolation, Chronos’ Pendant, Obsidian Shard, Rod of Tahuti, Breastplate of Valor
- Support Mage: Reinforced Shoes, Lono’s Mask, Breastplate of Valor, Oni Hunter’s Garb, Gem of Isolation, Mantle of Discord
I love Hera. Her animations, her voice, her kit, they all fit her magnificently. Everything works well together. Honestly, I liked her before the buffs, but I felt she was lacking some punch, some oomph. She lacked chutzpah. 5.20 fixed all that, and while she’s a contender now, I don’t think she’s going to break the game and become some sort of wild, 1v5’ing hypercarry like some other mages I can name. There’s nothing wrong with being a utility mage, but she can also deal her share of damage if that’s what you want to do. I can see her being very strong on objective denial, thanks to her 1. Not so deep down, I wish she were a guardian, but utility mage is still a fun way to see Hera in the game. She can also save herself, and her allies by using Argus as a bodyblock or a non-human shield. The more gods are created, the harder it is to make something that feels special and unique, that’s not just a blend of other god powers, and Hera definitely fits that bill. My thoughts on her might be skewed, because I’m not the best Smite player in the world (or even the most mediocre), and I’m positive there are people out there right now with insane damage builds just comboing people down. But the way I approach the game, it just doesn’t seem as fun. To me, Hera seems to be all about setting up shots for other people to succeed. However, Hera and Argus are a very formidable force, and watching Argus come rocketing down to help her in a duel is very satisfying in the early game. She’s fun, she’s interesting, and she has a mighty mechanical monstrosity on call. Hera’s release into SMITE is a suitable one for the Queen of the Gods.