Patch 4.20: Tides of China – Breakdown

What will patch 4.20 bring us? Dad jokes, dank memes, and caving to pro pressure.

What’s with that patch name, Tides of China? I guess because there’s a skin for everyone’s favorite King of the Eastern Sea? There is one for the God of the Yellow River, too, but is the Yellow River a tidal river? Apparently. Alright. I guess.

Season 4 Patch Breakdowns: 
4.44.54.6 | 4.7 | 4.8 | 4.9 | 4.104.11 | 4.12 | 4.13 | 4.14 | 4.15 | 4.16 | 4.17 | 4.18 | 4.19 | 4.20

skins

There is a strange mix of skins this patch. We have three from the Odyssey – including a 420 skin because it’s Hi-Rez – four for Hi-Rez Expo (HRX/SWC Digital Loot Pack), and then some masteries for He Bo. During the patch they are released, the Odyssey items all have a 20% discount. Purchasing an Odyssey item gives you 3500 Odyssey Points, which is enough to give you an Odyssey level, netting you an Odyssey reward like skins, chests, and so on.

  • Super Chill Bacchus: It’s understandable that the hedonistic interpretation of Bacchus would lead to the “Peace, Love, and Drugs” hippie look. It’s just fairly disappointing there is another Bacchus skin so soon after the Summer of SMITE limited skin. This is actually part of a larger trend in the game, where the same characters get skins in “batches” or at a consistent pace, leaving others to languish. Equal distribution isn’t going to occur – nor necessarily should it – but there needs to be a more equal distribution than is occurring at the moment. Anyway, he looks like hippie John Goodman, so I guess there’s that. This is a Odysess-level reward skin.
  • Pixel Rush He Bo: He’s 1980’s Future Hacker He Bo, and it’s cheesy and glorious. The voice pack isn’t great – it sounds a lot like the Run.Exe Mercury voice pack – but at least you could use his default voice pack or just not use your VGS commands…like 90% of the other players encountered. Seriously though, it will be nice to see this continue to play out across other gods in the future. It’s a shame that this theme will stick mostly to mages, just as the Tron-esque ones stuck to assassins. Ah well. This is a gem-purchased Odyssey skin.
  • Sand Viper Ao Kuang: The name makes you think Game of Thrones, and the skin makes you think Dune. Ao has been getting a skin every six months or so, on average. It’s not really egregious or anything. However, he did get a skin in last year’s Odyssey, so some variety wouldn’t hurt. Anyway, if you like Dune, you’re going to like this skin. Walk without rhythm, if you don’t. This is a gem-purchased Odyssey skin.
  • Mystic Defender Neith: It’s Magical Girl Neith – Sailor Egypt if you’d prefer her team name. The voice pack is, again, questionable, but the skin looks great and it’s nice to get a limited skin this swank for something you are probably going to do anyway – if you are me, at any rate. If you are a Neith player, it’s a must. If you are a collector, it’s a must. If you are a weeb, it’s a must. If not, your mileage may vary. This skin is part of the SWC digital loot pack.
  • SWC 2018 Queen Aphrodite: One of two SWC themed skins – last year was Amaterasu and Apollo – this is a very good looking almost mastery-like skin with some branding going on. The design is clean, and it’s just really nice. There is not a custom voice pack for this skin. This skin is part of the SWC digital loot pack.
  • SWC 2018 King Thor: The counterpart to the Aprhodite skin. It also comes with a “using his hammer as a penis” emote. There is not a custom voice pack for this skin. This skin is part of the SWC digital loot pack.
  • Convention Cernunnos: Yo dawg, I heard you like demon hunters. It’s Cernunnos cosplaying as Illidan. These skins tend to be fancy recolors, and this is no exception. Still, rainbow Khepri is one of my favorite. This keeps the trend alive. There is not a custom voice pack for this skin. This skin is part of the SWC digital loot pack.
  • He Bo Masteries: RIP Pee Bo, 2017.

Misc

There are some fairly big item icon changes this patch. The focus is attempting to align color schemes and icons to make it more obvious how an item is built. This is a good change for new or inexperienced players, but the gains are minimal for older players – currently at least. The assumption is this will matter in Season Five when new items are introduced and items are reworked.

  • Super Chill Bacchus Announcer Pack: This is a purchased item from the Odyssey. You should know if you are in the market for a stoner hippie announcer pack or not.
  • Reworked Icons:
    • Bancroft’s Talon
    • Book of the Dead
    • Deathbringer
    • Malice
    • Bloodforge
    • Hastened Ring
    • Telkhine’s Ring
    • Blackthorn Hammer
    • Spear of Desolation
    • Soul Eater
    • Shoes
    • Magic Shoes
    • Shoes of Focus
    • Shoes of the Magi
    • Reinforced Shoes
    • Travelers Shoes
    • Boots
    • Combat Boots
    • Ninja Tabi
    • Warrior Tabi
    • Reinforced Greaves
  • Your Announcer Packs and Loading Screen Skins can be rAnDoM XD again.
  • Spectator should now appropriately display Accolades, Kill Streaks, and Objective kills.
  • Odyssey videos should now be able to be played in Portuguese.
  • The Bull Demon King should look normal in 3v3 Practice Mode.

bugs

Gods

  • Camazotz: Vampire Bats description updated to reflect the jungle monster changes.
  • Cú Chulainn: Description text should now reflect the 4.19 changes.
  • Da Ji: Paolao should now properly display based on distance.
  • Kumbakharna: The attack speed slow from Mighty Yawn is no longer removed if the movement speed slow is removed.
  • Raijin: The warchief skin should now appropriately display the basic attack visual effects.
  • Vamana: The attack speed slow from Umbrellarang is no longer removed if the movement speed slow is removed.

changes

General

As part of the ongoing effort to standardize ability behavior – a good thing for lowering the barrier of entry – controlled dashes are being changed. Controlled dashes should now always cleanse any roots on the god when the dash is used, but roots will still stop the dashes if they are in progress. Dashes that grant root immunity will have that text explicitly stated in their description. Abilities impacted by this change are:

  • Erlang Shen – 72 Transformations: Mink and Turtle Forms
  • Geb – Rollout
  • Kuzenbo – Sumo Slam
  • Sun Wukong – 72 Transformations: Tiger Form

One further general change is the classification of jungle monsters. Several monsters are now classified as Large Jungle Monsters. This classification includes: all droppable buff holders, oracle harpies, and the large fire elemental.

Gods

This round of god changes is focused on two things: increasing the viability of gods who were favorites but dropped off, and in making small changes and calling them nerfs to address player complaints. The only real nerf is to Izanami, and that’s to adjust for the bizarre change to her ult that made it unmissable. Instead of changing that, the ability is getting beat to shit in other ways. It’s weird, but whatever. Outside of that, there aren’t any changes that would be considered meaningful nerfs.

  • Amaterasu: Her early game has been bunk, so she’s disappeared from the meta – outside of some niche changes and some multi-role play from earlier in the year. She hasn’t been a popular choice because she’s not a bully through the first half of the game, and tends to lose to gods that are. However, her overall performance hasn’t been bad. This change just allows her laning phase to be a bit better, and doubles down on her biggest benefit – sustain.
    • Heavenly Reflection: The cooldown decreases from 14s to 12s, and the mana cost decreases by 10 per rank from 70/75/80/85/90 to 60/65/70/75/80.
  • Artio: People are still frustrated by Artio, but they don’t want to touch the cripple field since it is “character defining.” However, the rest of the kit is in a semi-battered state from the other changes, so this change just touches her health a little bit and gets across a “we nerfed her again!,” vibe that will hopefully – from the Hi-Rez perspective – soothe players still clamoring for a nerf. Honestly, she doesn’t really need the change, and she’s probably fine. People just don’t want to do anything different.
    • Health per Level: Artio’s health per level decreases from 100 to 95.
  • Guan Yu: People still aren’t playing Guan Yu. The problem is he doesn’t bring enough in terms of hard CC, and the healing he provides doesn’t offset the soft CC and utility brought by other warriors – particularly when it comes to initiating or counter initiating. This might or might be a result of sustainability – particularly early. His passive wants him to remain in combat a lot, particularly when paired with the dash that wants him use it to control rather than initiate or escape. If you use it for either of those options, you lose half the functionality. This is certainly one approach to addressing his issues – if not the best option.
    • Conviction: Mana cost decreases to 60 at all ranks.
    • Mana per Level: Guan Yu’s mana per level increases from 32 to 35.
  • Izanami: Call it what you will, Izanami did not need her ult buffed that much. All of a sudden, it came just about impossible to miss unless you used a movement skill immediately. It’s like as soon as you sped up the parts of her kit that were causing her problems, the rest of her ridiculousness became too much to handle. Shocker. So, instead of reverting a small portion of these changes, she is being hit in other areas. Namely, the duration of her post-movement stealth and the damage and scaling of the ult. The idea is that once the scaling is adjusted on these abilities, her kit can be more readily buffed and nerfed now that the fluidity is where the team wants it. It’s understandable, but it also means we’ll see at least one more change in the next month or so. The ult is getting stomped on.
    • Dark Portal: The damage decreases from 250/350/450/550/650 to 220/320/420/520/620. The damage scaling decreases from 130% to 100%. The silence duration decreases from 1.5/1.75/2/2.25/2.5s to 1.5/1.65/1.8/1.95/2.1s.
    • Fade Away: The stealth granted by fade away is being decreased by one second at each rank, going from 4/4.5/5/5.5/6s to 3/3.5/4/4.5/5s.
  • Kumbakharna: Remembering that Kumba was still in the game, he’s getting some attention. Kumba is a denial god, which means the line between frustrating and fun is very thin. It’s very easy to make his kit too powerful, and adjustments have to either be minor or affect only a handful of skills. In this case, it’s the latter. The idea behind this change is to allow slightly more frequent single target control, and allow teammates to capitalize better on this control. People will soon remember that Kumba is often just not fun to play against. I can’t wait.
    • Epic Uppercut: The cooldown decreases to 75s at every rank.
  • Poseidon: Remember at the beginning of Season Four when Poseidon was played every game so the team made changes to ensure Poseidon wasn’t played every game? Remember how everyone complained about burst and we got this tankier and tankier meta and now we have everyone complaining about how tanky it is? Pepperidge Farm remembers. These changes are to make Poseidon burstier and…safer? Uh, wasn’t his speed a big problem and the cause of a lot of frustration? No? I’m just misremembering all of those complaints? Ok.
    • Trident: The movement speed increases by 5% every rank from  5/10/15/20/25% to 10/15/20/25/30%.
    • Release the Kraken: The kraken can now be unleashed inside player-made deployables (Thor wall, etc.). There is a lot of other number manipulation in this skill, but simply put, the other ring now deals 50% of the inner ring, which still deals 100% of the ability’s damage.
  • Raijin: Some reversions of the 4.19 changes, and a change to Raiju to make him more visually clear. These aren’t bad changes, and it shouldn’t impact him too strongly in terms of performance – though a slight decrease from 4.19 is completely reasonable.
    • Percussive Storm: The hit box decreases from 6 units to 4.5 units. The targetter has been updated to better represent the skill’s progression, as well.
    • Raiju: Visual effects will now travel to gods more quickly if they are hit by the effect. The graphics have also been updated to make it more clear who is going to be hit by the ability.
  • Zeus: Remember at the beginning of Season Four when Zeus was picked a lot because of the burst meta and his early clear strength? Remember when people complained about his pressure and he got nerfed? Remember how everyone complained about burst and we got this tankier and tankier meta and now we have everyone complaining about how tanky it is? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Seriously, can we stop acting like we aren’t sure how some gods ended in the state they are in? His early clear was explicitly nerfed. He purposefully got nerfed to do less damage. No kidding his success rate when down. Anyway, here’s some reversion to those changes.
    • Aegis Assault: Aegis Assault’s static AoE will now be triggered when the Aegis is hit by Zeus’ Chain Lightning.
    • Chain Lightning: The magical power scaling increases from 40% to 50%.

Items

The item changes in this patch focus around one thing: hunters. The item changes in question both help and hinder hunters, but this ends up being more of a benefit than a penalty. This includes the re-vamp of Soul Eater, which is designed to specifically not be a hunter item – but rather benefit assassins and warriors. Silly SMITE. Much like in World of Warcraft before it, every item is a hunter item.

  • Soul Eater (Evolved Soul Eater): Another evolving item, Soul Eater gains stacks on anything dying near you – not just hostile things. The idea is that this item should benefit ability-based assassins and warriors, while not benefiting hunters. However, ability hunters totally exist, and Ah Muzen Cab is just one example of a hunter who might pick this up and benefit from it. I can’t wait for something stupid like Hou Yi triple-shot to totally break everything. You get one stack for each minions, and five stacks for gods, Large Jungle Monsters, and Jungle Bosses. At 100 stacks, it evolves. The basic stats are:
    • Cost: 2400 Gold
    • +30 Physical Power
    • +10% Physical Lifesteal
    • +10% Cooldown Reduction
    • Passive: Each time anything dies near you, you gain a Stack. Gods, large Jungle Monsters, and Jungle Bosses provide 5 Stacks. At 100 Stacks, Soul Eater Evolves – gaining +20 Physical Power and allowing your Abilities to heal you for 10% of the Damage dealt.
  • Bound Gauntlet (Soul Eater T2): The stats on this item have been adjusted to reflect Soul Eater’s new stats. The crowd control reduction has been removed, and 15 physical power has been added.
  • Executioner: The cost of this item increases from 2250g to 2350g. This is a band-aid that has already been used by others. It’s dirty and doesn’t fix anything. It is a small bump in terms of power spikes, but it’s not meaningful enough to be a real hinderance. The hide of the urchin nerf was a more well-rounded nerf (it touched stats), and that still hasn’t changed all that much.
  • Shield of Thorns (Upgrade): The tears over this item have been tremendous in the last few weeks. ADCs seem to consistently cry over the item, stating the lack of counterplay as a serious problem. Conversely, hunters are so incredibly strong – thanks to the mid-season patch dedicated to making hunters better – that they are a real issue. Luckily, the change being made here is the most obvious and the most reasonable. Instead of the previous duration of 8 seconds, the new duration of the upgrade will remain at 5 seconds, but continue to provide the rest of the upgraded effects. This is measured, reasonable change.

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