SMITE Relics In-Depth: Thorns
The Mid-Season patch brought a lot of changes for SMITE and with those changes come two new relics: Thorns and Phantom. Today we are going to go over the new relic Thorns. In season 2, this relic used to be known as Shield of the Underworld. The relic now returns to SMITE by the name of Thorns and it holds a similar purpose to that of what it was before.
The relic Thorns, when used, will reflect 40% of any damage that you take back to the god that originally dealt it. This damage is reflected before the damage mitigation process is done. What this means is that if you were to be hit by an ability that did 1000 damage and you were going to mitigate 50% of that damage, the damage reflected would be based on the 1000 damage the ability does instead of the 500 damage that you would take. Another thing to note is that the damage you take is reflected as Magical Damage. The damage reflected will use the enemy god's Magical Protection stat when calculating the damage that they will take. This effect lasts for five seconds.
Because of the need to be tanky to get the best use out of this relic, Thorns is mainly picked up by the Solo Laner, but it is also normal for it to be taken by the Support or the Jungler as well. Since Solo and Support end up very tanky towards the end of the game and many Junglers will buy one or more defense items, these roles have enough defense to be able to be hit by a heavy damaging ability and still survive. All Guardians and Warriors can chose Thorns as one of their relics and be fine. Some of the frontline focused Assassins, i.e. Thor or Fenrir, also can chose Thorns for one their relics.
Thorns is an excellent relic to pick up versus a team with a lot of predictable burst damage. If timed correctly, one can use Thorns to reflect the majority of a Mage's burst damage back to them. This can lead to potentially killing an enemy just by getting hit by them. Gods like Scylla or Poseidon have very easy to read ultimates that hit extremely hard. Reflecting these kinds of abilities can quickly lead to a shift in which team has the upper hand of a teamfight.
This relic also pairs well with the item Hide of the Nemean Lion. Hide of the Nemean Lion reflects 20% of all damage received from basic attacks. With the two of these effects combined, 60% of all damage from basic attacks is reflected. This is exceptionally strong when used against gods that heavily rely on basic attacks. Hunters and some Assassins will have their main source of damage shut down by this combo. This very effective versus gods like Kali or Artemis as they mainly use basic attacks for their damage.
One weakness of Thorns is unlike its prior version as an active, Thorns does not prevent lifesteal. When boxing a god with lifesteal in their kit, i.e. Ullr or Fenrir, or gods that build lifesteal items like Bloodforge or Soul Eater, know that this regen from the damage that they deal will offset the damage from your reflected damage. This is mainly an issue when fighting a god that deals Physical Damage, as Magical Lifesteal often is not strong enough to be worth building. Their are a few gods, like Freya or Anubis, that can justify building Magical Lifesteal.
A thing to note about Thorns is its synergy with the CC Taunt. Gods like Athena or the newly released Erlang Shen can use a Taunt to pull an enemy towards them and force them to basic attack them. This means you can make a Hunter or another basic attack focused god attack you while you have Thorns active. A strong Taunt can cause a Hunter or another carry to shred themselves from their own reflected damage.
Another thing is that using Thorns against a low health god can lead to a pseudo-disarm or pseudo-silence. If another god is at a very low amount of health, using Thorns can make it to where they do not want to attack you for fear of accidently killing themselves in the process. Should the enemy decide to continue fighting you, the reflected damage from Thorns could be enough to finish them before they can kill you.
Overall Thorns can be a decent relic for countering basic attack gods and can also be used for high damage burst mages. The lack of lifesteal reduction does limit the effectiveness of Thorns. What hurts the relic the most is its long cooldown time of 120 seconds. If this were a bit lower, maybe by 30 to 45 seconds, then Thorns would be available for more fights thus increasing its effectiveness. What this relic does it does decently, but there may be other relics that assist you and your team more than what Thorns currently can do.