Welcome to my guide on Kunkka. I really like the other guide on the site, but I feel that it is lacking in some areas. Kunkka is a fantastic hero who is only limited by the fact that all of his abilities require either good positioning or good planning. This makes him an incredibly difficult hero to play. I personally find it incredibly satisfying to land a ghost ship on the enemy team. Kunkka is a multi role hero. The way I have him built for the sake of the guide is a very tanky version of him, but with the Daedalus, he will still put out the pain. That said, it is time to move on with the guide.
There isn't a hard counter to Kunkka that I can think of at all, some soft counters, but nothing that can shut him down. This means his picks are instead based of what the team needs.
-Does the team need an initiator
-Does the team want more carries
-Does the team need a tank
-Does the team think ghost ships are hilarious
if you answered yes to some of these questions, odds are Kunkka will be a good pick
This is his Q ability. It will after a 1.5 second delay stun the enemy for about 1.5 seconds and then slow the enemy for a period of time equal to the level of the torrent. This ability is maxed second after tidebringer. Important notes about the ability. It's cast range is legendary, at a glorious 1500. This can be used to get some great kills from fleeing enemies if the the torrents are timed correctly. This is the second most difficult ability to land in his arsenal and is made easier to land with his X Marks the Spot.
This is Kunkka's signature ability, and boy is it a good one. This ability makes you viable in dual melee hard lanes and mid. It is a fantastic 500 aoe cleave. In addition, it adds damage to the cleave based on level. It does have a cooldown however, but that is reduced with levels. This ability is always maxed first as to harass the enemy team. Important notes about the ability, it will push the line, hard, so try and land as many last hits with one tidebringer swing when possible. Also, when chasing a low health enemy in a lane, it is sometimes beneficial just to attack the lane creep for the chance of nailing the hero for the kill. Of all his abilities, this is the easiest to use.
Kunkka's E ability is another very versatile one, with many practical applications. When used on a hero, any hero, it will force them back to the X after a period of time based on the level. This has several uses that are readily apparent. One, use it to set up a Torrent, by timing the returns right, it is possible to land every torrent every time. Second, chasing. If an enemy is fleeing, cast it on them to bring them back to a position you want them to be in, securing a kill. Third, when you are fleeing, cast it on them so they get sent back away from you. Now for more fun applications. This ability makes TPs practically useless if happen to be nearby. As the are tping, time the X Marks the Spot such that they are moved back as soon as they are gone, they will be so angry you won't believe it. This also works in conjunction with a super funny combo, the Pudge, Chen, Kunkka combo. Pudge will hook. While Pudge is hooking, Chen will teleport him back to base. Then Kunkka will X Marks the Spot Pudge to bring him back to the spot. Meanwhile the poor person who got hooked is sent to a one way trip to the fountain where he will most likely die. Although it his only non damaging ability, it is the one with the most useful applications. Smart use of this ability can make you one of the most annoying thorn in the enemies side.
Kunkka's ult. It his flagship coming on to the field. Notes, it only does damage and stuns in a 400 radius where the ship explodes, making this ability the toughest ability to get right as there is a massive delay between seeing the ghost ship, and it actually exploding. The most important part of this ability isn't the damage, but the buff. When Kunkka uses the ult, all friendlies game Capt. CoCo's rum buff. This grants a speed boost and reduces damage by 50% before armor/magic reduction for 8 seconds. After the 8 seconds are up, you will then take the reduced damage. However, a player cannot die from this. This ult makes Kunkka a viable initiator, but one of the most skill based ones. The best of the ability in my opinion is how terrified enemies must be seeing a random ship fly out of no where. If nothing else, it definitely has massive shock value. Use the ability with other initiations who have aoe stuns to pull of some ridiculous chain stuns.
2 Gauntlets for the bonus health and last hitting power. The Tango and salve are basic regen and the Clarities for mana to use torrent. Some people like to get a Branch rather than a Clarity, and that's fine.
Mid game: Power Treads are for the stats, it provides more health and as a bonus attack speed. Phase boots are a valid alternative. Gauntlets are upgraded to bracers for the extra strength and damage, although a urn is a just as valid item. Vanguard is so that you can tank, cause you are a tanky hero. Crystalys is for the bonus damage and crit. The crit synergizes with Tidebringer by applying the crit to all cleave targets.
Late game: Crystalys is upgraded to Daedalus for more crit action. Then you get to pick some of the situational items.
In order of preference
Black King Bar
This is used so you aren't completely shafted by stun disables. It also provides additional strength and damage, so that's always nice. Obviously you don't grab it if they don't have lots of disables.
Heart of Tarrasque
This is the best tanking item for Kunkka. Loads of strength, loads of hp, and a very nice regen part to it. It gives damage and generally helps to make you unkillable.
Used as both and escape mechanism and entry mechanism. It can be used to give the extra damage to your cleave and get you out of terrible situations as well.
Assault Cuirass and Shiva's Guard
These are both really nice items to have and I treat them both equally and base it off the situation or preference of the time. If you want to dish out a little more damage, get the AC. If you want to be harder to kill Shiva's.
Another good item to avoid being destroyed in a team fight. It gives nice regen bonuses to health and mana, which is helpful and keeping on the field at any time. On top of that it helps avoid certain spells. I really would only get this if I see a Doom Bringer and I'm playing so well I'm the Doom priority.
Now although this is last on my list, some people may prefer this over my other items. The main reason is for more cleave and as a result more aoe damage. I personally think Tidebringer is a enough cleave so this isn't really worth it to me. Again, don't let that discourage you if you want this.
HARASS HARASS HARASS. That is the name of the early game, to keep the enemy annoyed as hell from your tidebringer. Time your tidebringers with last hits and hope that the enemy is in the cleave radius. If you can get it, use torrent for the first blood, but otherwise don't over extend your self. Try and find a buddy with a consistent disable or stun to help land those torrents and you will be golden.
If you are in the mid lane, which you can do thanks to your ridiculous cleave, get a Bottle. Also, as mid do not forget to call misses and make sure to gank enemy lanes, typically against their hard carries, unless that carry is in your lane.
Now it's time to either gank or push. Tidebringer can be used to push like a boss and at this point don't hesitate to do so. Make sure to make the ghost ships count and get those torrents spot on. At this phase in the game, you no longer want to move around solo if possible, so find a partner to hang out with.
If things have gone well, the opponents should be under farmed or have a massive tower deficit. In team fights, you will want to open with the Ghost Ship for the buff more than the damage, as the buff will be more beneficial. This doesn't mean not to try and hit the enemies though. Try to kill fleeing enemies with tidebringers and the game should be yours. Generally speaking you are most likely the tankiest person on your team, so you will be in the front.