A couple of weeks ago I took an in-depth look at one of my favorite God's, Odin, and this week I take a look at another highly appealing addition to the roster, the recently introduced Ne Zha. Despite appearances, sound effects and even mannerisms, Ne Zha is actually The Third Lotus Prince. Stepping aside from his gender challenged behavior, he brings a variety of innovative abilities to the SMITE battlefield.
His passive is really the only area of Ne Zha that doesn't overly impress me. Child of the Lotus applies a healing over time effect and protection buffs for all allies within radius, but only after Ne Zha dies. Don't get me wrong, it can easily turn the tides in a team fight but having an ability that relies on death is never really something I find overly appealing.
Ne Zha's first ability, Universe Ring Toss, is one of the most versatile abilities in the game. It launches a flying projectile that can bounce between enemies up to 9 times. Leveling this first early game gives Ne Zha some excellent poke potential for a melee God, but it has others uses as well. Universe Ring Toss also applies a physical defense and speed debuff to any targets it hits while also boosting Ne Zha's movement speed. This makes it a great ability to initiate with but it also works as a perfect escape ability. Using Armillary Sash Ne Zha can lunge into battle to deal some serious damage, and then hit Universe Ring Toss to escape. It also works well with his ultimate ability as you quite often find your team has retreated by the time you hit the floor.
The next ability, Flaming Spear, is yet another versatile skill in Ne Zha's arsenal. It can buff his attack speed by 55% and it also increases his critical hit chance by a further 15%. Although the basic uses for this ability are clear; being a great tool to use during combat, it also gives Ne Zha a ton of potential for "back dooring". The action of destroying turrets and other structures while the enemies main focus is elsewhere. Even as an under-fed Ne Zha you can solo a turret without the add assistance of minions at level 15 or so, depending on build.
Armillary Sash is Ne Zha's primary initiation ability as it lunges him towards an enemy God before stunning them and dealing moderate AoE damage. Although the stun is only 1 second long this can quite often be enough to dispatch of a squishy opponent but it can also be a great way to disturb an enemy God's skill rotation. A perfect example of this is Anubis. Although Anubis can dish out a ton of damage very quickly, he remains stationary while using abilities and is only immune to crowd-control while using his ultimate ability. Using it while he channels his cone attack can be a live saving move for an allied God. This same tactic applies across the board and can even be used to disturb a few ultimate abilities, such as Hercules' Boulder Throw.
Ne Zha's ultimate ability continues to add more versatility to the latest God in SMITE. Wind Fire Wheels launches Ne Zha towards an enemy God and if it makes contact, it launches them into the air. You must then correctly time 3 attacks to perform a critical hit on each attack, before smashing the enemy back down to the ground. Although the obvious implications for this skill don't take much explaining, it's more than just a pure damage ability. You can effectively take an enemy God out of a team fight for 2-3 seconds, which can sometimes be enough for your team to put up a few kills. God's such as Hades, Aeris, Ymir; God's that are both notoriously difficult to take down but also have the CC to decimate an entire team can usually cause big problems. This is when Wind Fire Wheels can be a perfect ability, removing the enemy God from the fight thus making them unable to use certain abilities.
Hi-Rez Studios continue to impress me with every addition to the SMITE God roster and Ne Zha is no different. A versatile set of abilities, a deadly assassin and a highly potent 1v1 God; great fun.
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