8 days ago
2
Patch 6.3
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Stride Breakers - NA

This is going to be a very generalized build for Merlin, with a lot of info for playing him in any game mode for the most part. The current patch for this build is 6.12, but I will update it as things change and I get to it.

Merlin is an average skill floor, high skill cap god, meaning the average Joe can certainly play him, but a higher level player can do wonderful things on him. This is my personal opinion of course, and I'll explain why I rate his skill this way. He has a lot of damage output, with a lot of simple to use, AoE abilities that make him an easy pick up, albeit, a bit more complex than your Ra, Kukulkan, and Poseidon who are generally considered more simple mages. His high skill ceiling comes from the multitude of ways his kit can be played, balancing his stances well, and learning patience with flicker. I'll shortly touch on each of his stances, including his ultimate and which stance to choose, then move on to his flicker.

Reminder: I mention the effects gained by each stances, but Merlin's ultimate requires a point in this ability before it gains the AoE, and thusly, these effects.

Arcane: I'll start out first with Arcane form. In Arcane form, Merlin's two primary abilities are Eclipse and Vortex. Eclipse is a line attack that expands as it travels, dealing initial damage and marking enemies, causing them to take a DoT effect in a larger area, while Vortex is a simple AoE that, after a short delay, deals damage and pulls in enemies. When entering and exiting the stance using his ultimate, Arcane knocks up enemies in the AoE around Merlin, applying the usual damage. Arcane form has Merlin's only form of hard CC, and is his largest source of massive AoE damage. This makes it very effective in jungle fights, both mid and late game, and is useful when Fire stance isn't reliable, or for self-peel due to the pull and knockup. Use it in any major team fight to control the space the enemy can walk in, or deal massive amounts of AoE damage.

Fire: Fire stance is an extremely useful part of Merlin's kit, and is what allows him to be one of the strongest objective shredding mages in the game. With an item or two on Merlin early game, you can often take early Gold Furys without the enemies even realizing. Radiate and Dragonfire are Merlin's primary abilities in this stance. Radiate can be considered similar to Artio's druid form 3, or Anubis's ult, in that it is a line attack, and Merlin can move during the ability. This applies two DoT effects to enemies hit, one while they are in the effect, and a burn that lasts for 2 seconds, refreshing every tick while they are still in his 1. Dragonfire is an AoE attack that takes the shape of two cones, like a sideways diamond. The edges of this diamond deals a DoT, but enemies in the center of it also receive a protection shred that can stack up to 8 times and lasts 4 seconds. When using his Ultimate and entering or exiting this form, the AoE applies an extra DoT effect to enemies caught in it. Since he cannot move this AoE and Radiate requires him to be closer to the target, this stance is best used to take objectives, melt enemies that are locked down, or attempt to stand your ground and fight a diver.

Ice: Merlin's last form is Ice Stance. When Merlin was released, this form was considered the most reliable and is often a stance that you'll find yourself sitting in due to this. In this stance, he gains Frostbolt and Blizzard. Frostbolt is a simple line attack that travels quickly across its long-range, dealing splash damage if it hits an enemy, and some additional bonus damage if they are slowed. Blizzard is a perfect complement, a simple circle AoE that deals deals damage and slows enemies inside, and the slow stacks up to 5 times. It is very easy for Merlin to quickly tap an enemy with the edge of Blizzard, then fire a Frostbolt for free poke. Frostbolt has nearly no cast time, if any, and has the shortest cooldown of any of his abilities at 6, so this form of poke is extremely reliable. When entering or exiting this stance, it applies a 20% slow for 1.5s Stick in this stance often, it is useful for easy poke, wave clear, and transitions well into either of his other stances. Because of the stacking slow on his 2, Blizzard, this stance gives him a good amount of simple peel, especially in combination with Arcane.

If you want to learn the specific numbers of Merlin's abilities, read his abilities thoroughly, before you move on, since I only provided their most simple numbers here.

Flicker: Now Flicker is a special case. This ability stays the same and gains no special effect regardless of the form, and switching stances does not reset or lower the cooldown. It is a simple combat blink, with 30 range and a 24/23/22/21/20s cd. This ability is instant, and you cannot use it when affected by cripples, but because of its instant nature, there is no travel time, meaning you can escape a Poseidon Whirlpool before it expands and applies its cripple effect. Use it wisely to escape a dangerous situation, or use it as you please to run at the enemy. I'm not the boss of you.

Common Merlin Builds
Build Section
Notes

As of this patch (6.12) this is one of the most common Merlin builds used in professional and high-level play. I'll move the most common build to the top, and the least common builds to the bottom. Below, I'll include a list of situational items, and explain their relevance, I.E. Breastplate of Valor, Divine Ruin, Shaman's Ring, and Gem of Isolation. These builds are never conclusive. Adapt the build to how you play SMITE, what you value, and what item combinations you enjoy. Unless otherwise specified, all relic choices are Beads (Purification Beads) and Aegis (Aegis Amulet), Beads first, but I'm not in charge of you, so build what you want.

Starter Items
Magic Shoes

Magic Shoes

+20
Magical Power
+12%
Movement Speed

Multi Potion

Multi Potion

This consumable heals 125 Health and 75 Mana over 25 seconds.

Mage's Blessing

Mage's Blessing

+10 Bonus Ability Damage +10 Physical Power +20 Magical Power +2 MP5 Per 10% Missing Mana ROLE QUEST: MID Kill or Assist Lane Minions or Enemy gods to gain stacks. Lane Minions are worth 1 Stack and Enemy gods are worth 5 Stacks. At 75 Stacks Mage's Blessing Evolves, gaining 10% Cooldown Reduction.

Book of Souls

Book of Souls

+55
Magical Power
+125
Mana

Tiny Trinket

Tiny Trinket

+20
Magical Power
+6%
Magical Lifesteal

Magic Focus

Magic Focus

+25
Magical Power

Spellbook

Spellbook

+20
Magical Power
+75
Mana

Book of Souls

Book of Souls

+55
Magical Power
+125
Mana

Talon Trinket

Talon Trinket

+60
Magical Power
+100
Mana
+8%
Magical Lifesteal

Healing Potion

Healing Potion

This consumable heals 250 Health over 25 seconds.

Mana Potion

Mana Potion

This consumable heals 150 Mana over 25 seconds.

Notes

Each build has its own start often, so here's a quick rundown of which items belong to which build.

Doom Orb: Boots + Lost Artifact and a multi-pot. If you don't feel comfortable yet with Merlin or the sustain of only one Multi Potion, that's ok, you can drop the Lost Artifact for a few extra HP and Mana Potions instead. Rush into finishing your boots, then continue the Lost Artifact tree into your Doom Orb.

Other: Depending on your build, you will usually run Mages Blessing + T1 of your first primary item. Pick up the one most relevant to you, then get some Health and Mana potions. Remember that Merlin is very mana hungry, but get potions according to how you play. If you need more health that's ok, if you need more mana, that's fine too. I recommend still rushing Boots first with this start, letting your T1 item carry your early game until your completed boots can take over.

Book of Souls: A variation on the Book of Thoth build in order to rush Book of Thoth early and have some extra power. I recommend one Health potion and two Mana potions because of the lack of mp5 from any items until BoT is online.

Talon Trinker: Same as the Book of Souls variation, some Bancrofts users prefer rushing the item. Same as with Book of Souls, rush the item (Bancrofts) first, then get your boots. Potions are up to you, I run 1 mana 1 hp.

Doom Orb
Shoes of Focus

Shoes of Focus

+55
Magical Power
+250
Mana
+10%
Cooldown Reduction
+18%
Movement Speed

Doom Orb

Doom Orb

+145
Magical Power
+200
Mana
+25
Mp 5
+6%
Movement Speed

PASSIVE - Killing or assisting an enemy minion provides you with 1 stack, granting 1% Movement Speed and 4 Magical Power per stack. Stacks last for 15s and stack up to 5 times. Enemy gods provide 5 stacks.

Spear of the Magus

Spear of the Magus

+65
Magical Power
+10
Magical Penetration

PASSIVE - Your damaging abilities reduce your target's Magical Protection by 10 for 5s (max. 5 Stacks).

Obsidian Shard

Obsidian Shard

+70
Magical Power

PASSIVE - Your Magic Damage ignores 15% of enemy gods' Magic Protection. If the target has over 40 Magical Protections, this effect scales up to ignore a larger percentage of their protection. This caps at 45% Magical Penetration at 200 or more Magical Protection

Soul Reaver

Soul Reaver

+130
Magical Power
+300
Mana

PASSIVE - Your abilities deal an additional 2% of the target's maximum Health as Magical Damage. If the target has over 2000 Health, your ability bonus damage scales up. This effect reaches a maximum of 7% Maximum Health damage at 2750 Health. Subsequent hits on the same target do half the bonus damage for the next 3s.

Ethereal Staff

Ethereal Staff

+90
Magical Power
+200
Health
+20%
Crowd Control Reduction

PASSIVE - Whenever you damage an enemy god with an ability you steal 8% maximum mana as well as 6% maximum health from the target. The Stats remain stolen for 45s and targets affected can have multiple Buffs and Debuffs at once. This can only occur once every 15 seconds.

Notes

When the Doom Orb build really started to pick up popularity, Merlin was one of the early adopters. The idea behind the build is tailored towards the middle, but if you want to play Merlin in any other roles, the same ideas apply. The reason the build works is for a few reasons.
1) Aggressive was being favored in the middle lane. Getting your boots online quickly made it possible to travel across the map, and gives Merlin the early CDR, power, and mana he needs to thrive.
2) The build curved out very well. Boots followed by a very expensive but powerful item that itself was followed by cheap items, gave you a very strong curve to match hunters.

To explain the rest of the build, Magus synergizes with Merlin's numerous DoT effects that exist in all his forms, Obsidian Shard is a must-buy and is a very good item curve, providing a lot of damage and percentage pen at a phase in the game where protections are truly coming online. To continue counteracting tanks, Soul Reaver is always a very reliable option, and finally, Ethereal Staff. Earlier this year, Ethereal Staff suddenly started getting picked up more and more as players realized the item's potential. Late game, you can steal a few hundred hp from tanks, which doesn't hurt your Soul Reaver since they're pushing 3k hp to begin with and gives the mage a bunch of useful hp. It also has stats on the item itself which are particularly good for solo guardians, and solid for mages.

Don't see your favorite item? Check the build area for situational items.

Standard Merlin
Shoes of Focus

Shoes of Focus

+55
Magical Power
+250
Mana
+10%
Cooldown Reduction
+18%
Movement Speed

Spear of the Magus

Spear of the Magus

+65
Magical Power
+10
Magical Penetration

PASSIVE - Your damaging abilities reduce your target's Magical Protection by 10 for 5s (max. 5 Stacks).

Chronos' Pendant

Chronos' Pendant

+90
Magical Power
+20
Mp 5
+20%
Cooldown Reduction

PASSIVE - Every 10s the Pendant activates, subtracting 1s from all of your abilities currently on Cooldown. The initial countdown will not start until you leave the fountain.

Obsidian Shard

Obsidian Shard

+70
Magical Power

PASSIVE - Your Magic Damage ignores 15% of enemy gods' Magic Protection. If the target has over 40 Magical Protections, this effect scales up to ignore a larger percentage of their protection. This caps at 45% Magical Penetration at 200 or more Magical Protection

Soul Reaver

Soul Reaver

+130
Magical Power
+300
Mana

PASSIVE - Your abilities deal an additional 2% of the target's maximum Health as Magical Damage. If the target has over 2000 Health, your ability bonus damage scales up. This effect reaches a maximum of 7% Maximum Health damage at 2750 Health. Subsequent hits on the same target do half the bonus damage for the next 3s.

Ethereal Staff

Ethereal Staff

+90
Magical Power
+200
Health
+20%
Crowd Control Reduction

PASSIVE - Whenever you damage an enemy god with an ability you steal 8% maximum mana as well as 6% maximum health from the target. The Stats remain stolen for 45s and targets affected can have multiple Buffs and Debuffs at once. This can only occur once every 15 seconds.

Notes

I call this build Standard Merlin, but it is simply one of the most popular builds that rose up when Merlin was released. Keep in mind that there were also two other builds rising in popularity alongside it, the Bancrofts (Aggro) and Book of Thoth (Stacking) builds. This build is much more of a mid-range between them, making it a solid option for almost any playstyle and circumstance. Chronos Pendant and Spear of Magus can be swapped based on personal preference, and if you do swap them, just change your starter item that goes with Mages Blessing to whichever you are getting first. However, I recommend rushing boots first as always before getting your main item.

For the most part, the build is simple and plays to Merlin's strengths, same as before. Magus synergizes with Merlin's DoT effects, and Cooldown is always fine on him so Chronos Pendant is a fine selection, especially while learning the god. Obsidian Shard carries your damage into late game against tanks and same as before, To continue counteracting tanks, Soul Reaver is always a very reliable option. Finally, Ethereal Staff. For the same reasons as before, late game, you can steal a few hundred hp from tanks, which doesn't hurt your Soul Reaver since they're pushing 3k hp to begin with and gives the mage a bunch of useful hp. It also has stats on the item itself which are particularly good for solo guardians, and solid for mages.

See the build for situational items to adapt it to you.

Agressive Merlin
Shoes of Focus

Shoes of Focus

+55
Magical Power
+250
Mana
+10%
Cooldown Reduction
+18%
Movement Speed

Bancroft's Talon

Bancroft's Talon

+100
Magical Power
+15%
Magical Lifesteal
+150
Mana

PASSIVE - You gain additional Magical Power and Lifesteal scaled from missing Health. This caps at 100 power and 20% Lifesteal at 25% Health.

Spear of the Magus

Spear of the Magus

+65
Magical Power
+10
Magical Penetration

PASSIVE - Your damaging abilities reduce your target's Magical Protection by 10 for 5s (max. 5 Stacks).

Obsidian Shard

Obsidian Shard

+70
Magical Power

PASSIVE - Your Magic Damage ignores 15% of enemy gods' Magic Protection. If the target has over 40 Magical Protections, this effect scales up to ignore a larger percentage of their protection. This caps at 45% Magical Penetration at 200 or more Magical Protection

Soul Reaver

Soul Reaver

+130
Magical Power
+300
Mana

PASSIVE - Your abilities deal an additional 2% of the target's maximum Health as Magical Damage. If the target has over 2000 Health, your ability bonus damage scales up. This effect reaches a maximum of 7% Maximum Health damage at 2750 Health. Subsequent hits on the same target do half the bonus damage for the next 3s.

Ethereal Staff

Ethereal Staff

+90
Magical Power
+200
Health
+20%
Crowd Control Reduction

PASSIVE - Whenever you damage an enemy god with an ability you steal 8% maximum mana as well as 6% maximum health from the target. The Stats remain stolen for 45s and targets affected can have multiple Buffs and Debuffs at once. This can only occur once every 15 seconds.

Notes

Bancrofts is often used for two reasons:
1) To gain early pressure with a cheap item.
2) Utilize the lifesteal for sustain.

Merlin can use both of these situations, he has a reliable clear early in the game, and he can poke efficiently in Ice stance. The lifesteal and mana also allow him to sustain and remain in fights at an earlier stage. If you want to see the rest of the items, I've gone over them in the previous builds.

As always, don't see your item? Look at the situational item build.

Scaling Merlin
Shoes of Focus

Shoes of Focus

+55
Magical Power
+250
Mana
+10%
Cooldown Reduction
+18%
Movement Speed

Book of Thoth

Book of Thoth

+80
Magical Power
+250
Mana
+15
Mp 5

PASSIVE - You permanently gain 10 Mana per Stack, and receive 5 Stacks for a god kill and 1 Stack for a minion kill (max. 75 Stacks). 6% of your Mana from items is converted to Magical Power. At 75 stacks this item Evolves, gaining 3% extra Mana to Power conversion.

Spear of the Magus

Spear of the Magus

+65
Magical Power
+10
Magical Penetration

PASSIVE - Your damaging abilities reduce your target's Magical Protection by 10 for 5s (max. 5 Stacks).

Obsidian Shard

Obsidian Shard

+70
Magical Power

PASSIVE - Your Magic Damage ignores 15% of enemy gods' Magic Protection. If the target has over 40 Magical Protections, this effect scales up to ignore a larger percentage of their protection. This caps at 45% Magical Penetration at 200 or more Magical Protection

Soul Reaver

Soul Reaver

+130
Magical Power
+300
Mana

PASSIVE - Your abilities deal an additional 2% of the target's maximum Health as Magical Damage. If the target has over 2000 Health, your ability bonus damage scales up. This effect reaches a maximum of 7% Maximum Health damage at 2750 Health. Subsequent hits on the same target do half the bonus damage for the next 3s.

Ethereal Staff

Ethereal Staff

+90
Magical Power
+200
Health
+20%
Crowd Control Reduction

PASSIVE - Whenever you damage an enemy god with an ability you steal 8% maximum mana as well as 6% maximum health from the target. The Stats remain stolen for 45s and targets affected can have multiple Buffs and Debuffs at once. This can only occur once every 15 seconds.

Notes

I call this build the Scaling Merlin as it reaches its peak a little later in the game than the other two builds. This doesn't make it bad by any means, or that it has a particularly weak early gane. Choose either the Mages Blessing or Book of Souls start above, and get out there. Book of Thoth provides a lot of power once it comes online, and fits Merlin's mana needs for anyone learning the character that needs some extra mana. Rest of the items included above.

You should know the drill by now; situational item build.

Situtional Items
Notes

All of these situational items are excellent, in the right circumstances. The reason they didn't make it onto the item builds above is simply the amount that they were built. Being situational items, they won't see play every game since every game is different. To account for that, I'll recommend item slots for these to go in, or items they can replace.

Beyond your first two or three items, you can swap out almost any item for one of these. I would recommend, however, they Obsidian Shard is bought almost every time around your fourth slot, and rarely past 5th. It's just extremely reliable, and unless they just don't have a tank at all, it has a use every game.

Common Swaps
Shoes of the Magi

Shoes of the Magi

+55
Magical Power
+10
Magical Penetration
+18%
Movement Speed

Pythagorem's Piece

Pythagorem's Piece

+40
Magical Power
+200
Health
+12%
Magical Lifesteal
+10%
Cooldown Reduction

AURA - Allied gods within 70 units have their Magical Lifesteal increased by 12% and their Magical Power increased by 30 or their Physical Lifesteal increased by 10% and their Physical Power increased by 20.

Divine Ruin

Divine Ruin

+80
Magical Power
+15
Magical Penetration

PASSIVE - Enemies hit by your abilities have 40% reduced healing and regeneration for 8 seconds.

Shaman's Ring

Shaman's Ring

+110
Magical Power
+10%
Cooldown Reduction

PASSIVE - Dealing 100 damage, after mitigations, to enemy gods gives you a stack. At 50 stacks Shaman's Ring evolves, gaining a new passive. This new passive makes your damaging abilities debuff enemies, causing them to take 10% additional damage from all your damage sources for 10s.

Chronos' Pendant

Chronos' Pendant

+90
Magical Power
+20
Mp 5
+20%
Cooldown Reduction

PASSIVE - Every 10s the Pendant activates, subtracting 1s from all of your abilities currently on Cooldown. The initial countdown will not start until you leave the fountain.

Breastplate of Valor

Breastplate of Valor

+65
Physical Protection
+300
Mana
+10
Mp 5
+20%
Cooldown Reduction

Gem of Isolation

Gem of Isolation

+90
Magical Power
+200
Health
+10%
Crowd Control Reduction

PASSIVE - Enemies hit by your damaging abilities will move 20% Slower for 1 seconds.

Notes

These items are common swap ins. I'll explain exactly which builds they pertain to, what item slots they are good in, and when they are swapped in.

Shoes of the Magi: I never really covered why I included specifically Shoes of Focus in the previous builds, so I'll explain that here. Shoes of Focus provide Mana, Cooldown, and the same amount of power as Shoes of the Magi. For Merlin, who loves those stats, especially early game, Focus is just better for him. If you like the pen though, go for it. Put it in the aggressive build for some extra early pen, or the Book of Thoth build since you mana is covered.

Pythagoream's Piece: When Merlin first appeared in ADC following the mage shifts, he often used Pythags Piece the same as any other before him. Soon after this, the Doom Orb build came around, and this build became less favored. If you choose to run Pythags, run it similarly to the aggressive or standard build, with Pythags as your first item after boots, and starting with Mages Blessing and Tiny Trinket.

Divine Ruin: Divine Ruin is your resident anti-heal item, and should go in the place of Spear of Magus, making it the third item in your build whenever there is a healer. On top of the obvious Aphrodites and Hercules, Divine Ruin can ruin the plans of King Arthur, Pele, Tyr, and anyone else that relies on Lifesteal, Gladiators Shield, or a personal to stay in a fight for long. Take it even if they don't have a proper healer, but they have one of those edge cases right above. The stats are not bad, and you will gain a lot more benefit by stopping their healing than trying to kill them faster than they can heal.

Shaman's Ring: A great item, Shaman's Ring got a change a while back that made it a useful pickup for Merlin. With 4 abilities and a lot of AoE and DoTs, he can easily stack and apply Shaman's Ring. Pick it up in a 5th or 6th slot for some extra damage, and some extra cooldown.

Chronos Pendant: For builds not already running this item, it is a solid pick up in the fourth slot. Mp5 and Cooldown will always be good stats for Merlin, and the passive and power are not bad at all for a fourth slot. Past the fourth slot, maybe consider some other options, just heading down the straight damage route, but if you need cooldown and power in a pinch, Chronos Pendant is a good selection.

Breastplate of Valor: Immortalized by Paul this recent year, Breastplate is a solid pick up in your fourth slot, occupying the same space of Chronos Pendant as a defensive alternative. I would recommend this item if you already have a good understanding of SMITE and Merlin as a whole, as the cases present at the professional level are no where near the same as the average ranked game. Still, if you want a physically defensive alternative, Breastplate gets it done.

Gem of Isolation: An item like Shaman's Ring that many people probably expected, Gem of Isolation is a solid item in any Merlin build. It has solid stats, provides a slow that synergizes well with Merlin's kit, and makes you a major nuisance. Knocked down by a nerf alongside the rise of Ethereal Staff, Gem of Isolation is no longer a perfect buy for every situation and game, but it has a very useful space and remains a good pick up at any late-game spot.

Uncommon Swaps
Warlock's Staff

Warlock's Staff

+65
Magical Power
+200
Health
+200
Mana

PASSIVE - You permanently gain +3 Health and +.5 Magical Power per Stack, and receive 5 Stacks for a god kill and 1 Stack per minion kill. (Max. 100 Stacks).

Rod of Tahuti

Rod of Tahuti

+150
Magical Power
+30
Mp 5

PASSIVE - Basic Attacks and Abilities gain 25% additional Magical Power against targets below 50% Health.

Polynomicon

Polynomicon

+75
Magical Power
+300
Mana
+12%
Magical Lifesteal

PASSIVE - Using an ability gives your next Basic Attack within the next 8 seconds +75% of your Magical Power as additional Magical Damage. The effect can only apply once every 3 seconds.

Soul Gem

Soul Gem

+65
Magical Power
+150
Health
+12%
Magical Lifesteal
+10%
Cooldown Reduction

PASSIVE - On successful hit of an Ability you gain 1 stack. At 4 Stacks your next Ability that damages an enemy God will deal bonus damage equal to 30% of your Magical power to each God hit, and will heal yourself and allies within 20 units for 40% of your Magical Power and will consume the 4 stacks.

Typhon's Fang

Typhon's Fang

+80
Magical Power
+200
Mana
+15%
Magical Lifesteal

PASSIVE - Your Healing obtained from Magical Lifesteal is increased by 40%. Your Magical power is increased by twice the amount of Magical Lifesteal you have.

Void Stone

Void Stone

+150
Health
+20
Magical Power
+60
Magical Protection

AURA - Enemy gods within 55 units have their Magical Protection reduced by 15.

Mantle of Discord

Mantle of Discord

+60
Physical Protection
+60
Magical Protection
+10%
Cooldown Reduction

PASSIVE - If you take damage below 30% health you unleash a shockwave that stuns all enemies within a range of 20 units for 1s and gain CC immunity for 1s. This effect cannot trigger more than once every 90s.

Relic Dagger

Relic Dagger

+300
Health
+10%
Cooldown Reduction
+10%
Movement Speed

PASSIVE - Your relics receive 40s Cooldown Reduction

Notes

These items are less commonly seen, most are gimmicky or fun, but some have a real place in your build, just in very fringe cases.

Warlocks Staff: In the current style of the game, I would not recommend Warlocks Staff on any mage in any lane. Regardless, if you do choose to go down this route, run it identical to the Book of Thoth build, with Warlocks subbed in for Book of Thoth. It provides a lot of HP and some decent mana to get you through the game, and the end power isn't the worst thing in the world. The item is slow to stack and doesn't have a massive payout at the end, so I would only recommend this in some Solo Merlin or afk farming ADC Merlin shenanigans.

Rod of Tahuti: Now, Rod of Tahuti isn't a bad item by any means. While it isn't in its former glory, the item is still extremely good for pumping extra damage into low health targets. The stats are fine for an end game item, when you just need a little bit more to push your damage onto some low health enemies that keep getting away with 1HP. Pick it up in your 5th or 6th slot, and it will be fine.

Polynomicon: A fun item, Polynomicon doesn't have a true place on any Merlin build. Regardless, there's fun to be had with Poly no matter the character, and since Merlin has a mini poly on his passive, go wild. I recommend it in the 5th or 6th slot, but you can make do with the 4th slot too.

Soul Gem: Soul Gem is an item that's simply fallen out of favor as a late. It is still a fine item that can pump out a lot of damage and self-healing. The stats aren't bad for Merlin either, the power is always nice, health is ok, lifesteal is useful, and CDR is always appreciated. Merlin doesn't have issues proccing the passive, so use it in your 5th or 6th slot as you wish. It can also fit into your 4th item slot if you want.

Typhon's Fang: I see Typhon's Fang get run a lot instead of Bancrofts, so let me explain why I do not recommend that. While Typhon's Fang seems to provide more inital power, for most situations, Bancrofts provides more Lifesteal healing and Power in an actuality since lifesteal works best when you have life you need to recover. If you want to stack on Lifesteal and run a build that way, be my guest, Typhon's would not be too bad. For a single item, however, just run Bancrofts. Still, it's your choice.*

Void Stone: Similarly to Warlocks Staff, there really is no place for Void Stone. Unlike Void Stone, there isn't a realistic place for it. I suppose if you are full tank Merlin you can get it 3rd or 4th item, or in the same slot as Breastplate above if you're super worried about magical damage. I would just not recommend it.

Mantle of Discord: Mantle isn't that bad in any mage build as a 6th slot. For your average game, there isn't any real reason to get it, but if you are extremely worried about getting dove at the end of the game, it is a perfectly fine selection to round off your build.

Relic Dagger: One of my personal favorite items, it isn't that bad for Merlin. I wouldn't recommend it for most games, but it has some useful stats. The HP is fine, movement speed is nice, but the passive is the reason to buy this item. If you're super concerned about pull ultimates such as Fenrir, Da Ji, and Xing Tian, it can be a fine pick up to ensure that your relics are up. Get it earlier in the game if needed, or later in the game depending on. Still, get it situationally.

*
If you want to look into the lifesteal formula, read The World of Thoth This is a Smite Mechanics guide that is updated consistently by FlareB00t, who has been around a long time and has a lot of experience and accolades under his belt. You can find it at WordOfThoth.com

Skill Orders
Skills Section
Standard Order
Eclipse (Radiate/Frostbolt)
Eclipse (Radiate/Frostbolt)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
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20
Vortex (Dragonfire/Blizzard)
Vortex (Dragonfire/Blizzard)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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Flicker
Flicker
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
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20
Elemental Mastery
Elemental Mastery
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
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17
18
19
20
Aggressive Order
Eclipse (Radiate/Frostbolt)
Eclipse (Radiate/Frostbolt)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
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Vortex (Dragonfire/Blizzard)
Vortex (Dragonfire/Blizzard)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Flicker
Flicker
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Elemental Mastery
Elemental Mastery
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Notes

In most situations, the standard build order is the way to go. It provides good wave clear, the damage is fine, and is the general standard format. The aggressive order is alright for those that want high burst early and want to fight, typically with the Bancrofts build.

Side note: If you want, at level 8 you can hold the point in your ability until you level up to be able to place a point in both your primary ability and your ultimate. That means you can have 5 points in your main ability before level 10. Entirely player dependant.