Early Impressions of the Season 2 Hunter Meta (Video)

xballerThe advent of Season 2 has already shown a drastic departure from the familiar hard push meta of Season 1.

In a recent video Hinduman analyzes one of Zapman’s SPL Qualifier games in insightful ways. We provide compact notes on the video and new meta.

Video (1h09min)

Compact notes on the video and new meta are provided below.

Notes

Laning

Laning in Season 1 was all about outpushing the opponent (hard push meta) while Season 2 is, by contrast, mostly about lane freeze to deny farm. Pushing minion waves into the enemy tower only allows the opponent to safely farm them off out of harm’s way. It is no longer an effective means of denying farm. Instead, zoning the opponent out and freezing the lane puts one vastly ahead in lane.

A look in the SMITE Dictionary gives answers as to what lane freeze entails:

From Smite Dictionary:

Lane freeze. A form of Farm denial in Lane. As opposed to Lane push, enemy minions clashing with allied minions are nothing but Last-hit or not hit at all while the enemy is being absent from lane or Zoned out of assist range. This ensures that allied minions are gunned down by enemy minions in lieu of the enemy laner so that the enemy can no longer farm those minions off for gold and experience. Using this tactic the point in lane where the minions clash can be transferred in whatever direction the minion wave with the larger amount of minions is pushing. The opposite of Lane push.

Picks (ADC and Support)

In terms of character picks there is more variety in the hunter world again. Most notably, Xbalanque, Anhur, Cupid, Ullr, and Artemis see a comeback to the forefront of competitive play. The old top-pick guard is still standing strong however (Apollo, Rama).

Aggressive carry supports (Ares, Bellona, Fenrir, Guan Yu, Sun Wu Kong, Ymir) see a rise in popularity due to the kill potential, clear, and zoning capabilities they have over the lane supports. Athena’s free roaming potential puts her over most other supports currently. And Sylvanus with the attack speed buff makes for a brutal duo lane push.

Itemization

The nerf to Qin’s Sais no longer makes this item attractive enough for hunters in terms of cost and performance (see here for a handy hunter DPS calculation app). Ergo, we see a shift from Qin’s Sais builds, which were very popular at the close of Season 1, back to crit builds with Rage plus Deathbringer providing the highest sustained damage by far.

With Transcendence being considerably cheaper, the start of tier-two Transcendence plus potions looks potent. However, not having Devourer’s Gauntlet as part of the overall build hurts in terms of effectiveness and playstyle too much to make the Transcendence start a recommended choice.

So far, the build showcased below has gained unequivocal popularity in competitive play.

Classic Crit Redux (Zapman Build)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Devourer's Gauntlet
Devourer’s Gauntlet
Ninja Tabi
Ninja Tabi
Ichaival
Ichaival
The Executioner
The Executioner
Rage
Rage
Deathbringer
Deathbringer

A few pointers on the build itself:

  • Starter items are Bluestone Pendant, Spiked Gauntlet, and a health potion. Death’s Toll can still be useful in certain situations, for example, for hunters with a potent attack speed steroid and who look to aggress early in lane with their carry support.
  • Ichaival is incredibly cost-efficient and provides excellent boxing and rotation potential against any physical target early to mid game. If a hunter falls behind too much or is significantly ahead, this item can also be skipped.
  • In the end game Ichaival can be sold to free up a sixth item slot. Hunters with a steroid ability might want to go for triple crits by building Malice; hunters without such an ability are better off with Odysseus’ Bow. A situational item like Brawler’s Beat Stick (against healers) is also an entirely legitimate option as well if the match calls for it.
  • The popular active items for hunters remain Sprint plus Beads or Aegis.
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