I will be honest with you. I entirely came to read these Smite patch notes because they showed a character skin which turns a scarab beetle into a lobster. I stayed because who even is Erlang Shen and what's his deal and OH! HE HAS A PET DOG?
I'm not particularly au fait with Chinese mythology. I know Erlang Shen has a third eye for truth-seeing but that's about it so let me just look up some more details...
Ah, okay, so there's interesting origins discussion it looks like but generally he's conceptualised as a warrior god who vanquishes demons and other mythical jerks who threaten the mortal realm.
The broad strokes that are relevant here with regards to his Smite-iteration's skillset are the dog companion which helps him subdue the aforementioned demons, his three-pointed lance, his ability to transform into things and a sort of durability and immunity to a lot of forms of attack. I feel like being invulnerable and then adding weaponry would make Erlang Shen pretty OP so let's have a look at how Hi-Rez have interpreted him in-game.
Passive: Howling Celestial Dog
Each time Erlang Shen hits an enemy with a Basic Attack, his dog hits as well for 15% of his Basic Attack power, which trigger items for Basic Attacks at 15% of their normal damage and can Critical Hit.
So the dog adds some extra attack power, scales a bit with damage items AND can crit. I feel like this dog would be on a neighbourhood watch hitlist before long IRL :(
1: Spot Weakness
Erlang Shen opens his third eye and analyzes the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. When activated, Erlang Shen gains additional Physical Damage on each strike, and ignores Basic Attack movement penalties for the duration for 5 seconds. While on Cooldown, successful Basic Attacks reduce the Cooldown of this ability.
This one is a damage boost with some movement assistance which you can use more often if you keep hitting enemies with basic attacks.
Erlang Shen launches a spear that damages enemies on impact. Enemies in the dead center of the effect when it lands are Crippled and Rooted in place for [a short duration].
I'm conceptualising this as you stabbing a spear through someone's foot so they're stuck in place while they remove it.
3: 72 Transformations
Erlang Shen transforms into an Mink or Turtle and charges forward.
Mink: Damages all enemies, stopping on first god hit and increasing Attack Speed for 6 seconds.
Turtle: Knocks up all enemies in path dealing damage and gains a health shield for 12 seconds.
Less "72 transformations" and more "2 transformations" this one is a situational morph where you basically pick between a higher rate of damage and a more defensive shield option.
Ultimate : Nine Turns Blessing
Erlang Shen Taunts nearby Enemy gods, gaining Damage Mitigation for the next 4 seconds. Afterwards, if Erlang Shen is still alive he is healed for a flat amount plus 20% of his Maximum Health.
It's a LOOK AT ME! distraction tool with a healing flourish at the end to repair some of the damage if you survive using it.
Erlang Shen won't go live on the main game client until the patch hits on 5 July but in the meantime I'm having a look at his kit. Also googling for pictures of dogs. I think the Howling Celestial Dog might be a Mexican Hairless or maybe something between a Pharaoh Hound and a Pinscher?
Sidenote: If you are into mythology and the stories associated with myths, legends and fairystories I highly recommend the Myths and Legends podcast. I've been listening to it since near the start and the only forays into Chinese stories that I can remember are Mulan and Aladdin, but it's generally ace and I'm hoping for more in that vein as time goes on. I'm a bit behind at the moment so I'm listening to the story of Pocahontas as I work today.
And now here's the Khepri lobster costume.