Relics In-Depth: Sundering Spear
Season 4 of SMITE has come, and with it has also come a ton of balance changes to dive in to. In this Relic guide, I will be analyzing the relic Sundering Spear.
Sundering Spear is an offensive Relic that specializes in aggressively pressuring enemies. When activated, Sundering Spear shoots a projectile in a straight line dealing true damage and stopping at the first God that it hits. This target is then effected by a debuff that increases any damage they receive by 15% for the next 5 seconds. This relic excels in one on one engagements and can dramatically increase the amount of burst damage a God can do. That being said, when engaging on a target Sundering Spear should be used before any of your hardest hitting abilities like your ultimate. Doing this will help to maximize your burst damage output.
The primary strength of Sundering Spear is the increase in effectiveness of your single target damage. It is a great relic for aggression during the early stages of the game. While the damage from Sundering Spear itself is not the best, its increase in damage dealt to the effected target is what makes the relic so strong in its niche. Due to the single target burst nature of the relic, you can often find this relic being picked up by the team's Jungler. The Jungler will often play Gods that are very strong in these one on one situations, so it makes sense for them to take Sundering Spear to further strengthen this attribute. Assassins like Thor or Thanatos can utilize the stun from their ultimate for a guaranteed hit of Sundering Spear and then follow up with the rest of their abilities. Late game, Sundering Spear can be upgraded to increase its debuff from 15% to 30% and reduce the relic's cooldown by 30 seconds. Both of these bonuses help to mitigate how Sundering Spear falls off in effectiveness.
Another note about Sundering Spear is that it deals true damage when used. This means that if a low health enemy is close but out of range of your other abilities, then you can use Sundering Spear as a potential finishing blow to secure the kill, regardless of how much protections that they have in their build.
As alluded to in the previous section, Sundering Spear does have issues as you move further into the later stages of the game. The percent damage increase is always good to have, but as the match continues on these one on one situations become less and less prevalent since teams should be grouping up more for team fights. This does not mean that these types of opportunities will not occur as a skilled Jungler can look to isolate a high priority target during the chaos of a team fight.
Another weakness of Sundering Spear is that taking this relic means that you would have to forgo a second defensive relic. This means that you can only have Aegis Amulet or Purification Beads for self-defense. Despite this, however, you can make the judgement call on which of these relics to give up based on your opponent's team composition. If they are lacking Crowd Control or burst damage, then you can choose to drop Purification Beads or Aegis Amulet respectively.
Upgrading Sundering Spear will further continue to make your single target damage more effective. Most notable about its upgrade is that the damage increase debuff is raised from 15% to 30%. Additionally, the cooldown for the relic is reduced from 120 seconds to 90 seconds. This means that you can be more liberal with your relic usage and look to pick off more isolated enemies.
Overall, Sundering Spear is for players that are looking to go really aggressive early and snowball into a strong lead. It allows players to be capable of significantly higher damage output than without it and gain the upper hand in any one on one fights. While Sundering Spear is at its strongest during the early and mid game, its upgraded version helps to maintain a degree of utility during the late game. Unfortunately, even this upgrade doesn't completely mitigate this as the single target nature of this relic does less than other relics in late game team fights. This draws from the fact that enemies are more likely to have teammates nearby to help prevent them from getting picked off. In addition to this you lose the option to take a second defensive relic if you opt to use Sundering Spear, so consider your opponent's composition when deciding whether or not to buy this relic.