Thanatos Build Ideas

Thanatos Build Ideas

Latest posts by Aaron Stevens (see all)

Thanatos is a Greek god belonging to the Assassin class in Smite. Like other Assassins, his primary role is Jungle thanks to having good burst damage and mobility.

When I was first learning the game, Thanatos was the god that allowed me to finally understand how to play the Jungle role. I feel Jungle has the highest skill floor, meaning you have to know quite a bit ahead of time to fill the role.

Before playing Thanatos, I would either spend too much time clearing jungle camps as Ratatoskr, or too much time battling enemy gods as Thor until they inevitably retreated, losing out on any XP I could’ve been earning in the meantime.

Thanatos’ ultimate allows him to easily get quick kills on enemy gods and still have time to clear jungle camps, and you need the XP from both to keep up in level.

I struggled at first with builds for Thanatos, but through countless hours playing as him, I’ve come up with several well-tested builds. If you’re like I was, these builds should help you out a lot. I recommend trying out my General Build for him first, which is my go-to build that works across all game modes and most roles.

In terms of stats, Thanatos is lacking quite a bit. He’s low on health, and while his attack speed and damage are pretty good overall, they’re low for his class.

Luckily, stats are just a small aspect of how a character operates in Smite. Thanatos is reliant on his abilities, which is okay because his abilities are really strong. He heals when he kills which gives him pretty good sustain without having to build for life-steal. This creates an interesting synergy with a lot of defensive items that other Assassins don’t have.


His passive ability, Harvester of Souls, reduces his cooldowns and heals him based on his max health whenever he gets a kill. It also reveals enemies below a certain health threshold. However, his abilities cost a small portion of his health in addition to mana.

His first active, Death Scythe, is a projectile that does damage based both on power and on the target’s max health.  It also slows the enemy that is hit and heals Thanatos based on the amount of damage done.

His second active, Scent of Death, is a buff that increases movement speed, penetration, and makes him immune to slows while active. The movement speed buff increases when moving toward enemies below the health threshold from his passive, and when Thanatos is low on health.

His third active, Soul Reap, does damage in a cone shape in front of him. It silences any enemies hit for one second, making them unable to use abilities.

His ultimate ability, Hovering Death, has Thanatos become immune to crowd control and fly into the sky. In the sky, he’s immune to damage, can fly over walls, and moves at an increased speed. From the sky, he can crash down and do damage in a small radius, stunning any enemies hit. Additionally, if any enemies hit are below the health threshold from his passive, they are executed, killing them immediately.


General Build

General Build

This is my go-to build for Thanatos if I don’t have a more specific idea in mind, and it works well in Slash, Arena, Assault, Joust, and works for Jungle and Solo roles in Conquest.

It’s a little more defensive than most builds you’ll see other Thanatos players use, but that’s to make up for a big problem Thanatos has. Without any defensive items, he dies as quickly as he kills. This makes him pretty useless in team fights and easy to counter with something like Aegis, which gives you temporary invincibility.

To start, get Warrior’s Axe, which provides a small amount of power and both physical and magical protections. It has a passive ability that can steal health and restore mana every 10 seconds. It’s a good item for early sustainability. You’ll want Purification Beads to make you temporarily immune to crowd control, and the Mace to upgrade later.

After that, upgrade the Mace into Jotuun’s Wrath. Jotunn’s Wrath provides power, mana, flat penetration, and a significant amount of cooldown reduction.

You can then further upgrade Jotuun’s Wrath into Jotuun’s Vigor, which gives a movement speed and life-steal buff whenever you drop below 40% health. This item is great for extending Thanatos’ early power spike, where his abilities are simply stronger than a lot of gods.

From there, get Caduceus Shield. This item provides both physical and magical protections, power, and health. It also has an aura that increases teammates healing by 20%. Normally, this item is built on Warriors like Guan Yu to help in team fights, but I like this item on Thanatos for its mix of offensive and defensive traits, as well as the way it strengthens his passive healing.

After that, get Serrated Edge, providing power, life-steal, percentage-based penetration, and movement speed. It also increases power and life-steal for every ability on cooldown other than your ultimate. The main reasons to get this item in this build are for both the movement speed and percentage-based penetration, and the life-steal is just a bonus. Thanatos doesn’t have any leap or dash and relies on movement speed to chase down or escape enemies.

Around this point in the match, you should be able to get a second relic, in which case Aegis Amulet is a good choice.

Next, get Shield of Regrowth. It provides a significant amount of health, both mana and health regeneration, and cooldown reduction. It also gives a large movement speed buff whenever you heal from an ability. This item looks entirely defensive, but the movement speed helps a lot in chasing down enemies, and cooldown reduction means you get to use your abilities more often, so it works more like a hybrid item in this build.

From there, get Arondight, which provides a large amount of power, and the last bit of cooldown reduction we need to hit the 40% cap. It has a passive effect that, for 8 seconds after using your ultimate, reveals nearby enemies. It also gives a movement speed boost towards revealed enemies, and the first hit on a revealed enemy does extra damage.

This item is great for when you use your ultimate to secure a kill in the middle of a group of enemies, and then have to fight your way out. This will happen pretty often late in the game as Thanatos. Finally, upgrade Warrior’s Axe into Sundering Axe. It has the same general effects but in a much stronger form.

The final build should look something like this:

  • Sundering Axe
  • Jotunn’s Vigor
  • Caduceus Shield
  • Serrated Edge
  • Shield of Regrowth
  • Arondight

As for upgrading abilities, the order isn’t too crucial outside of Conquest. That being said, I normally focus on upgrading Death Scythe the most because it heals Thanatos by a significant amount while doing a large amount of damage. Soul Reap can be a good ability to focus on for wave clear, but unfortunately, upgrading it doesn’t increase the duration of its silence effect.

Joust Build

Joust Build

Now, Thanatos isn’t exactly the best character for Joust. A good team in Joust is normally comprised of a tank, an ability-based ranged character, and a basic attack-based ranged character.

Initially, you might think that he could fill the role of one of the damage dealing characters because he normally does so much damage, but you’ll quickly find that there’s not a lot he can do without dying if you play that way. He has to get too close to do damage, and he dies too quickly if you build him for damage. Instead, we’ll build him as an aggressive tank.

To start, get War Flag, providing protections, health, and mana regeneration. When you get an assist, it temporarily gives a stack providing movement speed and attack speed buff to nearby allies. When you have more than three stacks, hitting an enemy with an ability will restore health and mana to you and your nearby allies as well as give you a small amount of gold.

This item is really strong in Joust as the team is almost always close together. You’ll also want to get Cloak of Meditation, temporarily creating an aura that provides high amounts of mana and health regeneration, the Round Shield to upgrade later, and Multi Potions.

From there, we upgrade the Round Shield into Gladiator Shield, which gives power, health, cooldown reduction, and physical protections.

Your abilities also do bonus damage based on the number of your protections to enemies below 60% health. This item is commonly built on ability-based Warriors, which is more or less how we’ll be playing as Thanatos here. It’s slightly defensive but has offensive aspects of it to help keep Thanatos’ early power last longer.

Next, we get Shield of Regrowth for the health and because the movement speed is really important for making sure you’re positioned where you need to be, whether it’s blocking an attack on your teammates or silencing enemies.

After that, I typically go for an offensive item, and it’s almost always Brawler’s Beat Stick. It gives power and flat penetration, but most importantly, it reduces healing on enemies hit by your abilities. There is nearly always an enemy using either ability heals or life-steal, and this item is great for countering that.

In the odd case that the enemy team isn’t using heals at all, you could opt for Jotuun’s Vigor instead. If you want to play a little more defensively, The Sledge and Ancile are also good options here.

The Sledge provides power, health, mana, and crowd control reduction, as well as additional protections for every nearby enemy. Ancile provides, power, magical protections, and cooldown reduction as well will silence enemies every 30 seconds when you’re hit with an ability doing magical damage.

Around this point, you’ll want to get Magic Shell, which temporarily gives you and your surrounding allies a shield that restores some health and reduces basic attack damage received. Next, get Caduceus Shield. This item will not only increase your healing but also the life-steal your teammates will inevitably have.

You could swap this earlier in the build with Shield of Regrowth, but then you open up the possibility of all three enemy gods building anti-heal items, and that would make playing as Thanatos miserable. By putting it later in the build, the enemies don’t have as much room for anti-heal items and may not be able to fit it into their plans anymore.

After that, get Mail of Renewal, which provides health, health regen, and both magical and physical protections. It has an interesting passive that builds stacks every time you’re hit, giving extra protections, up to 5 stacks. Every 60 seconds, if hit at max stacks, you and your nearby teammates get healed for 15% of each individual’s maximum health.

I see this item as a weaker Gauntlet of Thebes, another defensive item, but that item takes time to reach its potential, and it puts Thanatos too far behind in the early game or takes too long to be useful in the late game. Trust me, I’ve tested Gauntlet of Thebes on Thanatos many times and it’s not worth it in Joust.

Finally, we’ll upgrade War Flag into War Banner, which is essentially just a stronger version of War Flag.

The final build should look something like this:

  • War Banner
  • Gladiator’s Shield
  • Shield of Regrowth
  • Brawler’s Beat Stick, Jotunn’s Vigor, The Sledge, or Ancile
  • Caduceus Shield
  • Mail of Renewal

Jungle Build

Jungle Build

This is the build I specifically use for the Jungle Role. It shares a lot of items with the General Build, but the defensive items are purely situational.

To start, get Bumba’s Dagger, giving you a small amount of power, health, and mana. More importantly, it makes you do more damage to jungle monsters, heals you, and restores mana on killing them. As a relic, you’ll want to get Blink Rune, which teleports you forward a small distance, to catch enemies off guard. You’ll also want to get the Mace to upgrade and some wards to track enemies in the jungle.

From there, we’ll upgrade the Mace into The Crusher, which gives power, flat penetration, and increased attack speed. The attack speed doesn’t matter to this build, but it’s a little bonus. What makes this item great for this build is that it increases your ability damage by a significant amount while being a cheap item, making it great for the early game power spike Thanatos has.

Next, we’ll get Serrated Edge, largely for the movement speed, but the rest of what it provides simply works well with Thanatos, so that’s a strong plus. Movement speed is extremely important in the Jungle role since you have to cover the whole map, and are essentially racing the enemy Jungler to clear as many camps as possible.

After that, we’ll get Jotunn’s Vigor, mainly for the cooldown reduction, but again, the rest of what the item provides works well with Thanatos. You might want to opt for Brawler’s Beat Stick here if the enemy Jungler is using life-steal, or Hastened Katana if you want more movement speed.

Hastened Katana offers power, attack speed, and movement speed, and removes the basic attack movement speed penalty when hitting an enemy with a basic attack. Around this time, you’ll probably want to pick up Purification Beads.

Then, get Arondight for the same reasons as the General Build. If you feel like you’re dying a little too quickly, Caduceus Shield is a good option here instead. If multiple enemies are using criticals in their build, you might want to get Spectral Armor, which offers physical protections, health, mana, and mana regeneration, as well as reducing damage received from critical hits by 30%.

Next, get Heartseeker, which provides a significant amount of power, mana, mana regeneration, and percentage-based penetration. Additionally, this item gives you large amounts of increased ability damage, especially if your build has reached over 200 added power, which this build has.

Finally, we’ll upgrade Bumba’s Dagger into Bumba’s Spear. It’s similar to Bumba’s Dagger, but it provides significantly more power, percentage-based penetration, and cooldown reduction. The passive is very similar but it also gives a power buff in addition to restoring health and mana. If you didn’t get Jotunn’s Vigor, you could alternatively get Bumba’s Hammer, giving health, mana, and significantly more cooldown reduction.

The final build should look something like this:

  • Bumba’s Spear or Bumba’s Hammer
  • The Crusher
  • Serrated Edge
  • Jotunn’s Vigor, Hastened Katana, or Brawler’s Beat Stick
  • Arondight, Caduceus Shield, or Spectral Armor
  • Heartseeker

For abilities, I normally go for Death Scythe first to use in that first battle in Mid Lane. I then get Soul Reap to clear camps. I then get Scent of Death third. After that, I upgrade Death Scythe again since the heal is just so valuable, and it’s the best ability for getting early kills. At level 5, I get Hovering Death of course. From there I mainly focus on Death Scythe first.

Solo Build

Solo Build

Lately, Solo has been my favorite way to play Thanatos. His passive ability allows him to have comparable sustain potential to Warriors, but his ability to rotate into Mid Lane with his ultimate is much stronger than most Warriors.

To start, get Bluestone Pendant, giving a small amount of power and both health and mana regeneration. It also gives increased ability damage, which will mainly help with wave clear here. In addition to that, you’ll want Teleport Fragment to be able to get back to your lane quickly if you ever die or need to leave, Round Shield to upgrade, and Healing Potions.

From there, upgrade Round Shield into Gladiator’s Shield if the enemy god in your lane does physical damage. If the enemy does magical damage, get Ancile first instead.

After that, get Breastplate of Valor if you have Gladiator’s Shield, or Caduceus Shield if you have Ancile. Breastplate of Valor gives physical protections, mana, mana regen, and a significant amount of cooldown reduction.

You can further upgrade it to give it a passive ability, but I normally wait until after team fights start to do that. At that point, I upgrade it into Breastplate of Vigilance, which reduces the basic attack damage of enemies in the area around you after using your ultimate. This can be very helpful in team fights.

From there, we’ll get an offensive item. I normally go with Titan’s Bane in this build, but I’ll pick Brawler’s Beat Stick instead of the enemy in Solo Lane is using a lot of heals or building for life-steal.

Titan’s Bane gives power and percentage-based penetration, as well as giving additional percentage-based penetration to an ability every 8 seconds. This item is great for fighting enemies with a lot of protections, which the enemy in your lane most certainly will have. You could also play a little more defensively instead and get The Sledge.

Around this point, you’ll want Purification Beads. For your next item, get either Ancile or Gladiator’s Shield, whichever one you don’t have. Then, do the same with Caduceus Shield and Breastplate of Vigilance, getting whichever one you don’t already have at this point.

Finally, I typically upgrade Bluestone Pendant into Bluestone Brooch, essentially just as a stronger form of Bluestone Pendant. You could replace it with any item that you’re personally a fan of or that you need based on the situation at this point, but I never seem to need any other item.

The final build should look something like this:

  • Bluestone Brooch
  • Gladiator’s Shield
  • Breastplate of Vigilance
  • Titan’s Bane, Brawler’s Beat Stick, or The Sledge
  • Ancile
  • Caduceus Shield

For abilities, I normally get Soul Reap first if I’m playing Solo. It’s Thanatos’ only decent form of wave clear beyond his basic attack, and wave clear is super important in Solo Lane.

I then get Death Scythe second, and Scent of Death third. I’ll upgrade Soul Reap again at level 4 and get Hovering Death at level 5. From there, I mainly focus on Soul Reap for the lane phase, but then focus on Death Scythe once team fights start breaking out.

Ability Based Assassin Meta Build

Meta Build

Unlike other classes, there isn’t a singular Assassin Meta build at the moment. There are just too many variables I guess. However, this seems to be the go-to build for ability-based Assassins like Thanatos at the moment. It makes his combo of Soul Reap and Death Scythe do massive amounts of damage, often enough to completely take out enemy gods.

To start, we’ll do the same thing as the Jungle Build, getting Bumba’s Dagger, Blink Rune, Mace, and wards. After that, we’ll upgrade the Mace into Jotunn’s Wrath.

From there, we’ll get Transcendence, which provides power, mana, and mana regeneration. It builds stacks for getting kills that provide mana and converts 3% of your maximum mana into power. At max stacks, 50, it gains cooldown reduction.

This can seem a little confusing, but what you need to know is that this item provides the most physical power of any single item at max stacks, as well as even more power from any items that provide mana. If you want power, and we do for this build, this is the item to get.

Next, we’ll get several familiar items, starting with The Crusher.

You’ll want to get Purification Beads around this point.

Then, you’ll want to get Titan’s Bane.

After that, get Heartseeker.

Finally, upgrade Bumba’s Dagger into Bumba’s Spear.

The final build should look something like this:

  • Bumba’s Spear
  • Jotunn’s Vigor
  • Transcendence
  • The Crusher
  • Titan’s Bane
  • Heartseeker

Fun Tank Build

Fun Build

This is a fun build to play with in casual modes that make Thanatos play more like a supportive character. His ultimate will still be able to get executions like always, so getting kills isn’t very difficult.

Start by getting Warding Sigil which provides a small amount of power, both magical and physical protections, and health, as well as a passive that provides additional protections when you’re hit by abilities. You’ll also want to get Shield of Thorns, which temporarily reflects 30% of damage taken back to enemies, and Glowing Emerald to upgrade later.

After that upgrade Glowing Emerald into Gauntlet of Thebes, which provides a significant amount of health and health regeneration, and builds stacks whenever you get assists that provide both physical and magical protections. At max stacks, it also provides a protection aura for both you and your teammates.

After that, get Hide of the Urchin, which provides both physical and magical protections, health, and mana. It builds stacks on either kills or assists against enemy gods, providing additional physical and magical protections. At max stacks, it also builds a health shield over time.

Then, get Hide of the Nemean Lion, providing a large number of physical protections, mana, and mana regeneration. It also has a passive that occasionally reduces basic attack damage received.

Around this point in the match, get Magic Shell.

After that, get Pestilence, providing a large amount of magical protection and health. Additionally, it has an aura that reduces enemy healing.

From there, get Mantle of Discord, providing a significant amount of both physical and magical protections and cooldown reduction. It also has a passive that stuns enemies and makes you briefly immune to crowd control when you drop below 30% health.

Finally upgrade Warding Sigil into Sigil of the Old Guard, providing significantly more health and protections, but no physical power. Whenever hit by an ability, you get additional damage mitigation.

The final build should look something like this:

  • Sigil of the Old Guard
  • Gauntlet of Thebes
  • Hide of the Urchin
  • Hide of the Nemean Lion
  • Pestilence
  • Mantle of Discord


Question: Is Soul Eater a good item for Thanatos?

Answer: Soul Eater can be a great item for Thanatos, but I don’t personally use it. Thanatos already has multiple ways of healing, and so additional power or health is typically more useful than life-steal.
Building a strong life-steal item like Soul Eater increases the chance that the enemy team will build multiple anti-heal items, making both your passive ability and any life-steal items much weaker.

Question: Can Thanatos play Mid?

Answer: I would advise against it. He could successfully play Mid in a casual match, but it would be extremely difficult to pull off against an experienced enemy. If you come from other MOBAs, Assassins and similar classes are often viable options for Mid Lane, so it seems like Thanatos could be a good option with his strong ability damage.
However, for the same reasons I recommend that he plays a supportive role in Joust, he would struggle in Mid.

His wave clear isn’t as strong as most mages, and his effective range is significantly shorter than mages. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem in and of itself, Thanatos can beat mages in Solo Lane after all, but then you have to consistently worry about the Jungler, and Thanatos simply doesn’t have a good escape.

Question: Do attack speed items do well on Thanatos?

Answer: Attack speed items can greatly benefit Thanatos, especially given that every third basic attack hits in an area for 1.5x damage, but his lack of a proper escape makes getting close enough for basic attacks rather risky. He has strong abilities, so he’s better off building for ability damage and cooldown reduction. Some items can fit into his builds for other reasons that happen to increase attack speed, such as The Crusher or Hastened Katana, and so those can very beneficial if you like high attack speed. 

Thanatos Build Ideas: Conclusion

Thanatos is a rather complicated character, having to sacrifice health to use abilities, but these builds should help you in your time playing as him. With the proper build, he’s an incredibly powerful character that will terrify the enemy team.

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