Hunters, Scientists, and Angels…oh my! Today I spend my ramble looking at expanding my roster of gods I know a little about in SMITE, I realize that Journey into Mystery seems to basically be a Thor vehicle so far, and I watch the Angels drop their first game after winning 4 in a row.
Expanding my God Roster
I’ve started to “branch out” in my god selection. Actually, someone instalocked both Neith and Ra in a recent game and I didn’t see Jing Wei as available. I suppose Jing Wei was part of last week’s free rotation and she fell off this week. Instead, I gave Xbalanque a try. His tag line is the “Hidden Jungle Sun” and he’s in the Mayan pantheon. According to his description, he’s good at high single target damage and medium area damage so I thought that might be good to try out. It also said he was of “Average” difficulty. Since Neith was “Easy” difficulty and Ra was “Average”, I figured I had a shot to figure out what I needed to do to play Xbalanque after a few games.
Here is the overview of his abilities:
Looking at things outside the game, I didn’t realize his passive grants him a permanent physical power increase for each enemy god he kills. That can add up to 30 power points which is pretty good as a free bonus. Thus far, I haven’t been attending to that but going forward, I’m gonna put more focus on trying to ensure I get a kill of each of the opposing gods, and while he’s considered a Hunter, I get the sense that he should be played a bit more as an Assassin based on this power scaling with each kill.
His Branching Bola skill gives him a decent damage boost, but in use, I found that just leaving it toggled on doesn’t work too well – it eats up mana too quickly and left me unable to utilize my other abilities when they came off cooldown. I think this’ll be good for wave clear or for clearing jungle camps, but for normal engagements, I might start turning this off.
The Poison Darts are pretty cool and are really useful when chasing down an enemy god. The slow they provide is over quick, but it allows you to fire off a few extra bolas and stay within range for a lot longer. The poison also scored me a kill after I was dead.
The Rising Jaguar ability is, in my view, his best ability. This dash and dart throw does some good damage, can be used as an escape, and can really hurt people that were poisoned with previous darts. I only wish the cooldown was reduced with each level. The 16 second CD seems to take forever and certainly this is only useful once in an engagement.
His Ultimate, Darkest of Nights is interesting. It reduces enemy vision for 3 seconds and after the darkness expires, anyone who is moving gets stunned. That last part was the death of me many times when playing against Xbalanque as I didn’t realize I should stop moving at the end of the darkness. In any case, along with the darkness, his speed and range are increased so it’s easier to keep people in range when chasing them once this is activated. There’s no damage that I can tell, but it sets up his other abilities.
From what I can tell, Xbalanque seems to work well as a jungler as well as a laner. Sure, I really need to learn more about the meta and how each role is typically filled, but as a noob, I’ve played him in a solo and a duo lane – I haven’t tried a jungle role yet – actually, I haven’t called any role so far and need to learn more about what I’m doing to get better. And when I say he’d work well, that’s my opinion since I don’t use him well at all yet.
I can also see that he’s good for the surprise “from behind” attack that seems to be pretty popular in SMITE. I’ve noticed that since there are many more jungle entry points in this game compared to League, there’s a lot of ganks that seem to come from behind. This can be very frustrating for a noob like myself, but I did figure out which item acts as a ward…now I just need to figure out where to place them optimally.
In the Arena game mode, I found Xbalanque works pretty good with hit and run tactics. He’s way too squishy for any long term engagement and if there are 2 or more enemy gods nearby, it’s usually good to Ult or just run away. For the most part, I’ve been running in, using my Rising Jaguar and Poison Darts and trying to run away. It works pretty well and once I figure out who to target I’m able to grab a few kills to help my team.
On the whole, I’m enjoying his gameplay and may look into picking him up when he goes off rotation, but then there are other gods to try out.
Can’t Stage a Comeback Every Night
A 425 foot home run by Mike Trout was not enough to carry the Angels to their 5th win in a row as they fell to the Rangers 8–3. Too bad, but you can’t win ’em all but with how the team’s been playing, I’ve been making sure to watch the entire game just in case.
One thing that’d be nice would be some pitching from the team’s starters. I’m not sure, but it sure seems that the bullpen has been working real hard in these first 2 weeks and the starters aren’t getting even close to complete games. I’d settle for a quality start (6+ IP and 3 ER) or two right now, but they’re struggling. Hopefully their “Ace” Nolasco will put in a good game today against Yu Darvish, it should be fun to watch none-the-less.
Journey into Mystery #86
Having read a few of these Journey into Mystery issues, it seems this is the place where Thor stories are told – I wonder how long until the title is actually updated to reflect that fact. In any case, this issue deals with time travel and an evil scientist…
Why is it always the scientists who turn evil and want to destroy/take over/subjugate mankind? You never hear about the janitor or chef who wants to be dictator over the human race…always the scientist. Anyway, a scientist, Zarrko, from the 23rd century decides he wants to rule the world so he heads back to 1962 to steal a cobalt bomb – there are no weapons in the 23rd century so whoever has a bomb should be able to be dictator. Unfortunate for him, Thor is standing next to the bomb he steals – apparently the military wants to see how Thor will react to a nuke, like they don’t already have a Hulk to deal with.
As Zarrko grabs the bomb and heads back to 2262, Thor follows and a fight ensues. Defeating magnetic mirrors, delta electron guns and robots, Thor uses his hammer, mighty breath, and a decoy he befriended in the future to chase down the evil scientist and grab the bomb before Zarrko can detonate it. Thor then returns the bomb to 1962 and all is well.
I’m enjoying the Thor stories much more than what I’ve seen of the Hulk so far and I’d say this issue is the best I’ve read since the last Journey into Mystery issue. While Zarrko isn’t as well developed as Loki was in the last issue, he is fleshed out and seems to be a bit more prepared to deal with a superhero than many of the other villains I’ve encountered in the early Marvel issues. The only problem is that Thor is not just any superhero, he’s a god.
Definitely a fun issue and I’m happy to be reading these Journey into Mystery titles so far – hopefully they’ll continue to be good. I rate this issue a B since there is room for improvement but it’s a good issue, well draw and a decent story.