Athena is not only one of the best Guardians, but one of the best Gods in Smite period. Her passive Reach sets her up for greatness, allowing her to throw out a damaging ranged spear immediately after using any ability despite her usually being a melee God. The spear doesn’t do a huge amount of damage, but can be used to finish off fleeing Gods in the midst of a frantic team-fight or attempt a cheeky buff steal from a group of enemies.
Her first ability Preemptive Strike allows Athena to charge up a dash which passes through minions but stops her on any enemy she hits during it, dealing damage to them and slowing them. Hitting a god with the dash also gives her a stack of Block, which means that she avoids damage from the next auto-attack done to her by any God.
Preemptive Strike combos devastatingly well with her second ability Confound, thought by many players to be the best ability in the whole of Smite. Confound is a cone-shaped ability that emanates from Athena’s shield and taunts enemies, cancelling whatever they are doing and forcing them to turn around and begin walking towards her. This ability has probably the best combo potential of any in the game, as if released on the back of a well-timed dash it can taunt multiple enemies at the same time and completely reverse their direction, making them sitting ducks for damaging abilities from Athena’s team-mates. Many a pro-match has been won on the back of an exceptional Athena taunt, which can place four enemies at once helplessly in the path of a huge burst ultimate from Athena’s mid or jungle.
Her third ability Shield Wall summons a ring of Athenian warriors on the ground, who do damage upon arrival and then do another round of damage two seconds later to anybody still in the ring. This ability provides Athena with strong clear in lane, as well as doing a lot of damage to enemies if she times it correctly with Confound to ensure that enemies are taunted back into the ring to take the second round of damage.
Defender of Olympus
Her ultimate, Defender of Olympus, is hands down one of the most useful ultimates in the game, and allows her to pick an allied God anywhere on the map and teleport to them from whichever position she chooses after a brief charge-up. This ultimate has an infinite variety of potential uses, from quickly teleporting to a teammate getting ganked to bail them out of trouble to teleporting to your jungler as they go in for a gank attempt at the solo lane. Many a time you will bemoan playing against Athena in lane as another support, as she instantly travels to the other side of the map to join a team-fight while you have to trundle slowly through the jungle after her as she immediately begins wreaking havoc on your team.
Athena is strong throughout the entirety of the game, but by late-game becomes a near-impossible force as she gets extremely tanky and starts burning enemies’ beads again and again by dashing in and taunting. Easy to learn and hard to master, she is a great God to try out for anybody wanting to learn the Guardian role.