Hello, I'm Dimonychan and I will tell my way of playing Kunkka in this in-depth guide. This guide will cover some basic stuff as well as more advanced tactics so you'll definitely will learn something new from it.
I am an experienced Kunkka player, having 460+ games with ~60% winrate by the time of a last update. My Kunkka match record for a reference. My MMR is 4.5k at the moments.
I play Kunkka as a midlaner exclusively, and his guide will only cover position 2 Kunkka. It is not the only viable position for him - he can also be played as a position 4 support or a position 3 semi-carry in a double offlane because of his spells' potency and his early-game power. I wouldn't advise picking Kunkka as a safelane carry though - he can do much more from midlane.
Another patch, and another series of buffs to Kunkka.
Torrent slow duration increased from 1/2/3/4 to 1.75/2.5/3.25/4
Tidebringer bonus damage increased from 25/40/55/70 to 25/45/65/85
This, combined with the 6.87 buffs made Kunkka absolutely ridiculous in lane. You max Torrent last, so this pretty much means your Torrent always has +75% slow duration early game which allows for better chasing and easier combos, and 10 bonus damage on lvl 3 Tidebringer makes a difference when it isn't resisted by armor, and lvl 4 Tidebringer is just unfair.
Otherwise everything else is pretty much the same, except that you will see less Lifestealer now which is really good because Lifestealer is one of the most problematic carries to deal with as Kunkka.
6.87 brought a lot of changes, but Kunkka mostly remained unaffected. There were changes that him him hard, but overall the situation changed for the better since outworld Devourer vanished from the meta and Invoker became less common.
- Huge Abyssal Blade nerf. It only makes sense to go for that item on frontline Kunkka, where it became somewhat better. Otherwise forget about it. Get Silver Edge instead, this item is crazy good right now.
- 50 bonus mana on start and manacost reduction on Torrent which lets you spam Torrents in lane a lot, and I mean it, A LOT more. Huge buff, and very welcome. If your enemy has no Observer Ward on your highround, they are about to have some really bad time midlane.
- 2 armor bonus, plus 1 from the tower. For a low-armor hero, a godsend. Even before, on early levels, you could just go in and trade hits with some heroes( Ember Spirit, Templar Assassin without Refraction, almost any ranged mid that comes close to the wave), now I strongly encourage you do that if there are not too many enemy creeps around.
- Meta change, a lot of disgusting mids that ruined your day vanished or became less popular. It's too early to judge what will be this patch's cancer(if there will be any, this patch seems fairly balanced), but some strong heroes right now are not really scary for you.
Kunkka is a melee strength hero who relies on his set of tricky but very powerful abilities to deal damage, disable enemies or buff allies in a big AOE. He is extremely powerful in a well-coordinated team with an early-midgame lineup and this is where he really shines but he is also a great lategame carry because of pure physical damage from Tidebringer.
Kunkka is fairly level dependent because getting more levels in X Marks the Spot enables him to go for ganks and engagements and have impact much more reliably. Compare a 400 range X Mars the Spot on level 1 and 1000 range X on level 4 and you'll get what I'm talking about. He also becomes a mean laner and a potent farmer with three or more levels in Tidebringer, splashing out a great portion of non-resisted physical damage on a low cooldown.
Overall he is a fairly flexible hero and you can pick him in almost every game - if you can't cause chaos with ganks and early teamfights, you can just farm lanes and jungle quickly with Tidebringer and pick up some occasional kills on careless enemies.
His spell combos may seem complicated at start but it's mostly about practice and timings. You just have to get used to casting them. He is a very fun and rewarding hero if you know what you are doing and he can even carry games solo if he is fed enough.
Due to Kunkka's nature, he can fit into any lineup, because he is both an amazing space creator and space user and is capable of doing many things fairly effectively. So if you have to, don't be too afraid to firstpick him - he has some nasty lane and overall game counters, but he is pretty hard to force out of the lane with X Marks the Spot- Town Portal Scroll trick and for the game in general there's probably just one hero that makes him borderline unplayable, and that's Omniknight(I'll address him and other nasty counters later in the guide in a dedicated section).
There's one thing, however, that Kunkka does just perfectly, and that is participation in 15 minutes davai-davai tower and rax pushes, so if you are deciding what mid to pick and you see a nice early-midgame lineup on your side, pick Kunkka freely - after all, if your push fails, you can still recover, unlike many push-dedicated heroes.
There's one trusted starting build I go on Kunkka 100% of the time, and this is, in my opinion, the best build(though it may not seem like it), and this is Tango and Gauntlets of Strength.
Why Gauntlets of Strength? Because they give strength, and they build into Urn of Shadows. Why not 2 Iron Branches then? Because I don't get Magic Wand on Kunkka. Sure, it's a great item for a low INT hero who relies on costly spell combos to do stuff, and Kunkka has an early slot for it, but... it's just my preference. I play without Magic Wand on Kunkka, and for me this is perfectly playable as long as you calculate your mana before you cast spell combos. Especially now that Ghost Ship got -25 manacost on all levels which is actually pretty big for Kunkka. If you do not agree with me, feel free to go for it, and add(but not substitute Gauntlets of Strength with it) 2 gg branches to your starting items.
You don't really need anything else, Kunkka has beast starting STR and growth, so he can get most lasthits and denies, especially with Tidebringer, as long as he's not bullied out. You can just go straight for Bottle after this, add in a TP if your lane is going bad.
To go for Bounty Rune or not is your choice and depends on situation, anyway you should skill Tidebringer(very rarely Torrent/ X Marks the Spot if you are 100% sure you will get first blood on rune with it) to secure some lasthits for Bottle and go mid.
And this is where the most interesting part begins.
I will list some of meta or just popular mids you are most likely to meet during laning stage and get a bit into laning against them.
Easy/Even He is not a very potent laner, destroyed by most meta mids ATM, but with Kunkka he has better chances. It's not even about Alchemist himself, but about his supports that can very likely be near helping him control runes and ruining your day. If that happens, make sure to check the map constantly and play safe, only go for runes under X Marks the Spot and use X-TP to recharge health and mana. If you do that, you have pretty high chances to end up ultimately winning the lane because you drew their support's attention and still managed to survive and ruin Alch the lane a bit. If he's alone you'll have an easy time against him as long as you don't stay too much under Acid Spray, and don't trade hits under acid.
Easy You might have faced Arc Warden already in your games, and probably have seen that he is a really underwhelming midlaner. After huge Spark Wraith manacost nerf(from 50 to 100/110/120/130!) he can't even spam them anymore. The only thing good about him mid is that he is very hard to gank if he uses Spark Wraith defensively as wards, and he has good rune control if he stacks Spark Wraith on a runespot. But you don't really care about going for runes to fill your Bottle, eh? Just remember to not run away from allied creeps when he casts Flux on you. And be careful about staying away from the creepwave in general. The only thing that can ruin your lane is ganks. Arc Warden is really good when someone ganks his lane(I mean his allies) because he can cast Flux on you and you either have to stay near the creepwave and get pummeled by your gankers or run away and get slowed hard which lest your enemies catch up and Arc Warden set up Spark Wraith. Watch the minimap.
Challenging Pretty annoying to lane against. Sure, your cleave ignores evasion, but what's the use in it if you can't even land a hit under Drunken Haze in the first place? You can't lasthit normally and you can't kill him unless you get level 6 earlier than him. At least he can't either if you won't come too close after he gets level 5. Just draw creep aggro, you don't even need to aggro the creep you want to la**** because of cleave. Leave the lane and go jungle/gank after he hits level 6, staying there when he has ulti up is suicide.
Easy Besides Breathe Fire, he barely poses any threat before level 6 and gets full blast of your Tidebringer, rendering his passive pretty useless. Don't trade with him too much though, he will usually win it. Try to kill after 6 if he's not careful.
Hard Becomes quite annoying after level 3, deadly after level 5. You just can't get rid of his Flame Guard and if you come close he can just activate it and you either run away and get chained or stay there and burn. Also pretty much unkillable due to Flame Guard and Sleight of Fist. Your only window of opportunity is before level 3 when he's not that strong - try to deny and lasthit all you can and get him low - you win the trade with his garbage HP and armor. After that you've got big problems - you can't even approach the creepwave. Be very careful. If you came close and he activated Flame Guard, X him and run. If he follows, you can X him back and even if he chained you, he won't be able to kill you. Until he gets level 6, at least.
Hard While you may counter him gamewise, a good Huskar player will destroy you in lane. He can just get behind the creepwave and spam Burning Spear if you dare to approach. Try to hit him with Torrent and snatch some lasthits if you have regen. Also he will most likely push the lane under your tower, so there's another chance to get some creeps. He can't kill you alone before level 6, so just measure how much damage you would get if you came close, and make sure you have enough regen and go. No point in not using the regen you have from Tango and Bottle if you can get some lasthits for that. Always carry a TP, especially if supports help him. Don't even come to a lane without a TP after he gets level 6. You can try to aggro creeps and harass him a bit with Tidebringer after level 5, getting his HP low enough to attempt to kill him when you get Ghost Ship. He'll be dealing no damage to you under rum so as long as you have ship and TP you can try and kill him every time you get a chance.
Even Both QW and QE Invokers are a pain in the *** to lane against but they can't kill you if you don't do dumb things. They can't really force you out of the lane or bully you out of the creepwave early if you aggro creeps. Just play with you brain on and don't do stupid stuff and you'll be fine. QE Invoker is way harder to lane against, while QW Invoker is very hard to kill at every stage of the game.
Impossible One of your hardest counters, not just in laning, but game-wise. Extreme burst, huge range, very potent Dragon Slave which she can spam recklessly(nice balance OSFrog), and you can't even kill her, because, chances are, you'll get a Light Strike Array in your face if you dare to close in for X Marks the Spot. Random Torrent+Ghost Ship hit is your only chance, also always re-aggro the wave before you lasthit because otherwise you'll get hit by Light Strike Array. Also try not to stand in line with low-hp allied creeps because Dragon Slave really hurts.
Easy Really, Shockwave is super-predictable and not hard to dodge, and so is Skewer. He can't even kill you once he hits 6 if you are full HP, even if he drags you under tower with Skewer, just cast Ghost Ship and TP out. Be aggressive, but watch out for Shockwave and Skewer. Kill after 6.
Easy Ask for an Observer Ward at the fountain. If you don't get one, but it yourself, it's only worth 75g. Put it at Pudge's highround near his usual hooking place. Easy mid as long as you don't get hooked. Kill after 6.
Hard Oh boy. If she knows what she's doing she will just jump on you at first 3 levels with Poison Strike and Blink and there's nothing you can do about it but back off under her autoattacks. You can quite control the runes against her either. Make sure you don't stay low on HP in lane, use X-TP trick. If you're full, you can trade hits with her at level 4 - she might blink in X's range herself. Be very careful when **** hits level 6 and make sure to cast Ghost Ship immediately if she jumps on you. It is pretty hard to kill her if she doesn't do stupid things, so just lane passively after level 6, go to jungle or try to gank someone.
Hard Ridiculous. This guy can just stand behind the wave and threaten to Static Link you once you come close enough. You should change your starting items if you are laning against Razor. Get all-time favorite trench build of Boots of Speed+ Tango so you can run from Static Link until he gets his own boots. Never fight under Static Link. Another trick - skill X Marks the Spot at level 2, and then go for lasthits when you are X'ed so you immediately return when you get Static Linked. Mind the cooldown though. Also remember that Static Link only lasts 18 second while the cooldown on the thing is 32/30/28/26. Those 10-14 seconds are your window of opportunity. Other than that, you can feel safer when the lane is on your highround because he can't chase you under your tower for long, use it. Also aggro the wave when you can. Don't cast X Marks the Spot on him, chances are, he took a point in Unstable Current if he's smart enough. You'll only hurt yourself and gift him an easy Static Link. You can try and test if he skilled it, and if he don't, then kill him at level 6, otherwise just abandon it and try to find other sources of income(jungle stacks/ganks) until you get Phase Boots. Killing Razor is next to impossible until you get level 3 X Marks the Spot.
Even/Challenging Depends very much on Shadow Fiend's skill, the amount of souls he gets in first 2 or so waves, and the amount of help he gets from supports. Can even be an easy lane if you're playing against a dumbass with 0 help. Before level 3, do everything to deny him as much souls as possible. After that, staying near the creepwave is dangerous due to Shadowraze damage. Every game against SF is different and there is only so much you can do - it depends more on whose supports will be more active. Don't play games with him, don't X him because you can get 2 razes in the face, unless he just razed a wave - then you can go for his face and chew through his small HP pool. It is really worth to skill X Marks the Spot instead of Tidebringer at level 5, so you can kill him at 6. Otherwise you are unlikely to catch him because usually SFs just doubleraze the wave to take all the lasthits and go do their business.
Hard The main problem about the guy is Glaives of Wisdom which let him casually orb-walk you and stand behind a creepwave not giving a ****, similarly to Huskar. Actually, he is very similar to Huskar in laning because both are annoying and do a lot of damage but can't really kill you unless you make a big mistake. What I said about Huskar also applies to Silencer. Just mind that you can't channel your combo against aware Silencers(because of preventive Last Word so I'd rather not try to kill him. Lane or take stacks if you can, maybe go for ganks, but remember about Global Silence! Yes, Silencer is a ***** - you can't really lane against him and you can't gank other lanes if he is aware enough.
Challenging Often regarded as Kunkka's hardest counter in lane. Not even close, boys. Sure, she isn't easy, but as I already said, level 2 Torrent removes all Refraction charges. It's more about her crazy damage bonus and Psi Blades. You'll have to do a lot of micro job of aggroing the wave, playing with creeps and angles etc to avoid getting trashed by her in lane. You can take level 2 Torrent instead of Tidebringer or X Marks the Spot. Better skip Tidebringer if you can get help from your supports(one is enough, TA without Refraction is an easy prey with True Sight), skip X Marks the Spot otherwise. It hurts you ganking and killing potential though and it is unreliable so you may as well not bother and follow the usual skillbuild. The lane will be hard, but at least you'll be able to recover with jungle farming or ganking. You can also try to go for a lucky sniper kill at level 6 if you have level 2 Torrent.
Challenging Haven't laned against many good Tinkers yet, to be honest, so only some general advice here. Firstly, you are doomed to lose some lasthits with his Laser, and there's nothing you can do about it. Secondly, watch out for his burst - don't show up in lane when you're low enough of health - half health Kunkka is a free kill for him. Control the runes if you can - his spells are pretty costly and he can't spam them without constant mana supply. Lastly, don't stay in March of the Machines obviously. You can kill him after level 6, watch out for Laser though - 4 seconds is a lot, make sure you either kill him with ship and Torrent or you are engaging at full HP to tank his attacks and tower hits for ~3 seconds.
Hard Basically, a more annoying version of Huskar. Similarly to him, he can easily orbwalk you, but with a slow added, and makes you pay for every Tidebringer hit with Corrosive Skin. Brrrrr. Do the same things you would do against Huskar, just mind the slow from Poison Attack and Corrosive Skin. Luckily, he can't kill you because he has no disables so you just TP out in case things go wrong. Yiu can try to kill him at level 6, but that's pretty optimistic - his magic resistance, plus slows plus Viper Strike may not let you finish the job. Judge for yourself if you want to take the risk or not.
Even Everyone's favorite/hated ginger girl is a surprisingly easy prey for Kunkka. As long as you're not hit by Shackleshot her kill potential is pretty low - just don't step into obvious Powershots, play with the creepwave by aggroing creeps, deny creeps if you can, harass her with Tidebringer, and, please, watch your angle so you don't get shacked. Now her Windrun hardly help her trading with you so you can X- Torrent-cleave her from level 4 onward, and on level 6 you can wait until she activates Windrun(you can try to bait it out), X her and kill. If she is not full Hp you can not even wait for Windrun as long as you are sure Torrent+Ghost Ship+ Tidebringer cleave hit will kill her(if she has 500 HP or less(including possible Bottle healing), this is a guaranteed kill).
Challenging First of all, you're going to be hit by Arc Lightning. A lot. And there's nothing you can do about it, you won't be able to deny him creeps even with bonus damage from Tidebringer. I recommend getting a Magic Stick instead of Gauntlets of Strength or Healing Salve in addition to your usual build. You'll need something to mitigate the amount of harass he has. Luckily, it is very mana-intensive, so if you have rune control you can starve him out of mana. Watch out for Lightning Bolt, this thing hurts and he can easily kill you if you are not careful. Try to cancel his Clarity with Tidebringer if you can, you can stand in the middle of the wave, threatening to cleave off the ranged creep if he comes close. As an alternative variant of lane behavior, you can sit out during the first two waves, only coming close to get a lasthit with Tidebringer. This way Arc Lighning won't hit you and you will not hage to suffer that much, However, you'll have to be at least 500 range away from your ranged creep to not get hit, so you may lose quite a chunk of experience. To avoid this, try to deny the ranged creep ASAP so you can stay behind the wave and still get experience. Zeus can be tricky to kill even after level 6 because of Arc Lightning huge range, but if he makes a mistake and comes close, he's as good as dead. Just make sure he doesn't blast you instead - don't even bother if you have less than 500 HP.
And that's all about mid matchups I guess, if some midlaners will get changed or shift in the meta' I'll make sure to keep this up to date.
There is some general wisdom for midlaning if you're interested, this will be a good read if you want to improve your mid skills.
So you've got level 7-8 and are ready to do something aside from hitting creeps in your midlane. Your main goal should be to get Shadow Blade as fast as possible - the earlier, the better. You can do it in two ways, or a mix of them: the farming way and the ganking way.
The farming way is safer and more reliable. If you are not denied too much space, you will get Shadow Blade about 13-14 minutes in on average.
You want to go that way when:
a) You expect no real action and a passive play on sidelanes from both your team and your enemies;
b) Enemy heroes are tough to kill or there is a strong saving hero in the gankable lane( Omniknight, [[Tidehunter]);
c) Enemy mid is either very active on the map(ganker type mids like Night Stalker or Tusk);
d) Enemy mid is able to quickly destroy your Tier 1 mid tower if undisturbed( Death Prophet, Templar Assassin, Shadow Fiend).
Also passive farming is better if your lane went very well and you don't want to risk your advantage and just safely get your Shadow Blade.
The ganking way is more risky but much more beneficial to you and your team if you succeed. You can get a very early Shadow Blade(up to 11 minutes) if you grab some early kills and your team gets a lot of economical and strategical advantage which you can further increase with pushing.
You want to go that way when:
a) You smell a lot of action happening, allies or enemies having a really aggressive lane capable getting kills;
b) Enemy heroes are an easy prey - immobile, squishy, etc. You don't even need our allies to help you in taking them out;
c) Enemy mid is rather passive and you want to punish them for that or get an advantage you wouldn't get if you were just farming like them( Shadow Fiend, Razor);
d) You had a bad lane or your allies are losing their lanes pretty hard.
You can recover from a bad start with some successful ganks and some Tier 1 towers destroyed. The best way to gank is to TP to a lane you want to gank(make sure you are undetected) or just walk there with a Haste Rune or Invisibility Rune. Watch your mana and don't forget to use Urn of Shadows. You can get very aggressive and dive towers if you have to because of your high HP and rum buff.
Tip! Use Smoke of Deceit. It is dirt cheap, can be bought right at fountain and it's nothing short of amazing. When you TP to gank someone from fountain, buy it and use it before you activate teleport. Upon arrival you can either walk around the target to get close or just run forward, activating Phase Boots when smoke gets dispelled. This makes ganks a breeze even in warded areas.
There are two items you should aim to get before 20 minutes.
Shadow Blade - if you get it early enough, it will make you a monster in early-midgame fights with this 175 bonus damage and improved mobility. This bonus damage hits really hard. If you would not like to fight in that stage of the game, you can use it both for solo-killing enemy heroes(again, bonus damage matters and invisibility makes you get close unnoticed) and for pushing so you can get away more easily as ling as you are aware of enemies coming to you.
Crystalys - or Baby Crit. Another great boost to your damage on your way to Deadalus. This item won't make as much impact as Shadow Blade initially, but if you get a juicy crit in a teamfight, it's usually a teamgiht autowin, provided you lay your hand on Crystalys early enough(before 18 minutes or so).
You should basically go for those items in that order every game unless you go !Attacker's Kunkka with Armlet of Modriggian and Blink Dagger... but that's another build and another story, in this guide I explain a more standard build with Shadow Blade.
Time to get a bit into the flow of an average gank or an early engagement you might take part in. Remember some golden rules:
1) Positioning is key. Your ultimate need you to stay in range to be effective and you can dish out damage from long range anyway. Only close in to get a kill on an enemy and generally try to stay away from the center of the fight.
2) You and your team are really fat early. You can go for some dangerous dives or chases as long as it's reasonable. Don't hesitate to heal yourself of allies with Bottle and Urn of Shadows in case of emergency.
3) Taking a tower after a successful engagement is always a good thing to do if you are all not low on HP and barely made it alive. You provide enough of healing power with Urn and Bottle(don't forget you can refill Bottle with X-Tp trick and distribute the charges between your allies) otherwise. Also towers > kills. If your enemies stay back and spam their counterpush spells, let them be - just chew down the tower and back off, don't go balls deep to get them unless you really need to.
4) You can go for as long as your allies have HP and Mana. There is literally no such a thing as a long cooldown spell for Kunkka, and he can do a lot of impact by himself, with just a spell or two thrown in by his allies. There are no brakes on the push train with Kunkka on your team. Don't go for T3 and rax straight away though, that's stupid and reeks of a game throw attempt.
5) Always, always watch your mana.
Every game is unique and special, of course, but you better follow this advice until you get experienced enough with Kunkka to decide for yourself what you want to do in a teamfight at every given second.
With Shadow Blade and Crystalys/ Daedalus you are a mean physical damage dealer. You can easily kill most heroes with Shadow Blade Tidebringer hit, then X Marks the Spot, Ghost Ship, Torrent and they are pretty much dead. This works for ganks and teamfights alike so you can do pretty much everything you want.
The most optimal thing to do is push with your team - if you snowball off early fights and get Daedalus early enough you will just deal too much damage to soak up. Kill Roshan with your team(you can take Aegis, but better give it to your frontliner so they can carelessly initiate a fight) and just go for their barracks.
Tip! If your team is at stalemate near the enemy's highground and you can't destroy their Tier 3 tower, you can wait until your creepwave arrives under enemy highground and then throw in Ghost Ship to get any creeps/heroes out of the way. Then your team, temporarily granted double their EHP, can just charge in and hit thee tower. This is effective at any stage of the game, especially if your carry has a Black King Bar or Aegis of immortal - your team is basically unstoppable in that situation.
You can also continue farming and picking up occasional solo kills if your team isn't very active. Kunkka is very good at both, and he really benefits from a farm advantage. Just don't get too cocky when going for solo targets, enemy supports with True Sight can easily get you if they are aware.
However, things will not always go well for you. You can be ganked mid a lot, have some unsuccessful ganks, denied space or youmj7st can have a bad day. That's important to learn how to play Kunkka from behind. He farms pretty fast and has high kill potential with his spells and Shadow Blade alone so you can comeback the same ways you could snowball.
Often if you failed to get decent farm and your game is going bad, it's because the enemy lineup is very early-game intensive and you are going to be pushed instead of pushing yourself. Luckily, Kunkka is an excellent counter-pusher. Low cd spells, huge AOE damage with Shadow Blade + Tidebringer and an ability to pickoff pushing heroes. You can drag the game late enough for enemy lineup to lose its potency and your carry to come online as long as you don't die. Be careful.
You generally want to finish the game after you get a Daedalus if everything's going well, or drag a game later until you get one more damage slot if you are behind.
Daedalus - your core item and ultimate damage steroid. You should aim for it every single game, it's just that good. Tidebringer + Shadow Blade crit is 700+ pure physical, unresisted damage, and it only gets bigger as you get more damage items. Optimal timing for it is anywhere under 25 minutes, under 30 minutes is decent, but if you get it later you're having a really bad game or should work on your farming.
Daedalus - yes, another one. Two Daedali give you 51% total crit chance, and the second one gives hefty 81 bonus damage, making your crits much more reliable and more severe, especially when farming or pushing a lane. It is so good you should go for double Daedali most of your games, the damage reliability they provide is unmatched.
Tip! With two of those, it is really worth "controlling" your crit sometimes. With 51% pseudo-random chance, if two consecutive attacks don't crit, there is a high chance the third one will, if three attacks in a row didn't crit, it's an almost guaranteed crit on your next attack. This can decide a close game where you need a crit, for example, if you carry Divine Rapier and are your team's only hope.
Boots of Travel - they become core on every hero sooner or later. You can get them after Daedalus + 1 more item(replace Urn of Shadows with it or straight after your first Daedalus if you don't need more damage right now(for example, when you got an early Daedalus. 45 second cd instead of 70 is very convenient for your X-TP fountain trips, and BoTs let you splitpush very efficiently.
Abyssal Blade - sadly, after 6.87 it lost it's main selling point - damage, which made it obsolete in one-hit builds. However, damage block and reduced active cd makes it pretty good if you go for frontilner build. Basically, never get it on one-hit Kunkka and always get it on frontliner Kunkka.
Divine Rapier - risky and deadly, you generally want to get it when you are losing and you want to win against all odds. Also works in even games as the best damage item you can get after your second Daedalus. It has amazing synergy with Tidebringer and it's relatively safe because of X Marks the Spot, your innate tankiness and Ghost Ship rum buff. Just be very careful, always X yourself, get a Linken's Sphere/ Black King Bar if you have to, Blink Dagger is obligatory so you are harder to catch and enemies have less time to react. Divine Rapier carries even the most desperate games, I've once solo won a game against 2 overfarmed enemy carries with that(granted, they were not particularly smart and didn't even tank up so I could one-shot both of them if I got a crit so it's not that impressive :)). You just need a very good game sense and a cold mind to keep it and make a good use of it.
Tip! Shift-queuing when carrying Divine Rapier is your best friend. Here's a click tutorial on how to use Rapier in a bold and a safe way at the same time:
A great defensive hero that can protect you with Mist Coil and dispel disables with Aphotic Shield, he is a great help at all stages of the game. With Aghanim's Scepter his ultimate redirect 50% of the damage taken by your team in 900 AoE to him, just like host Ship rum buff, but damage is redirected rather than returned later instead. Under both of those your allies and you will take 75% less damage for 7 seconds. 4 times their EHP will make even Silencer fat like Centaur Warrunner .
An amazing early- and midgame bully, attention magnet, slower and just an amazing guy to have on your team. He is probably the best frontilner to have on your team, especially in a push-oriented team.
A great early game pusher and a walking Mek. Remember how I said rum buff and Mek makes your team unkillable? Well, don't forget that this guy also goes Guardian Greaves every game and can get them very early, stacks up defensive auras with creeps, can gank your lane or sidelanes and generally make your push train unstoppable. Oh, this guy also got massively buffed in 6.86. If someone on your team plays a good Chen, just pick Kunkka afterwards and your team will become immortal.
Great ganking support with massive teamfight contribution. A team caught in an Aghs Static Storm is as good as dead with your amount of AOE damage.
A great carry to have in your team - strong well up to lategame, with great AOE damage output and potent early game presence. Perfect for early push strats.
Your best combo-wombo buddy, lategame if he gets 3+ enemy heroes in Reverse Polarity, it's a teamfight autowin because you just don't survive a farmed Kunkka's strike with Empower.
An epitome of an early game oriented hero, Night Stalker is your best friend when it comes to snowballing and mowing enemy structures down. He doesn't lose his usefulness even lateame, beause he builds into a tanky frontliner hero most of the time and his Aghs provides you with huge vision advantage( X Marks the Spot range is 1000, Blink Dagger max range is 1200 while enemy vision(including wards) is only 800, they just won't see what hit them).
A dedicated healer and protector, you two boost your team's survivability to the skies, but most importantly, he can dispel almost any initiation on you and can also provide a permanent Spell Immunity which is extremely handy later in the game when you X yourself and blink in, especially if you carry Divine Rapier. It is also great is you are playing a frontliner role with Satanic as you don't need to waste a slot on BKB and can get some damage.
Another early game monster, I'd say he is the best hero for early game domination. Wrecks enemy lanes, autowins fights with Tombstone, heals you and your teammates, and with Aghs he steals a lot of strength from enemies so he becomes very tanky and your enemies become even more squishy, to the point where you can sometimes kill them with a single Shadow Blade strike.
A good ganking support that can help you snowball, but what makes her great is damage aura(though you don't get stat items, but you have high strength naturally and it's sill something) and Nether Swap that can save you from bad situations or, on contrary, put an enemy in a bad situation. You have a beneficial partnership - she saves you/sets up kills with Swap, and you buff her with rum so she can survive after it in some situations. Also Wave of Terror can give you vision to cast X Marks the Spot on a fleeing enemy.
A very annoying hero that can get you out of position with his long-ranged Glimpse, but the worst part about his is his almost instant Static Storm. With Aghs it's like an AoE Doom, if X yourself and blink in, chances are, you are going to get instantly silenced and ripped apart and there's nothing you can do about it. Even without Aghs it's a great nuisance as you can't return to X without Spell Immunity, but with Aghanim's Scepter it's just a nightmare. Be extremely careful around this hero, if you have a chance to win without Divine Rapier, don't buy it - you may lose it pretty quickly.
Great in lane against you, extremely hard to kill with his Flame Guard cast point escape, can solo kill you unless you are overfarmed, very hard to push into. A nasty hero to have in the enemy team, Abyssal Blade is recommended to force him to buy Linken's Sphere. If he doesn't, he's pretty much dead, you can just pummel him down in Overwhelm duration with his garbage armor.
An annoying laner, often carries Eul's Scepter of Divinity, a lot of AOE disables and lockdown, very mobile and hard to catch, also it's very hard to pull your combo off on him as he has a lot of low cast point AOE disables that disrupt your combo. But if it only was for this. Tornado is basically Eul's with crazy range, if you get caught in it when you have to return to X, you won't. Be very careful around him lategame. Deafening Blast is also a pain in the *** with it's long duration.
Completely obliterates you in lane and a natural Eul's carrier, you are almost guaranteed to have a horrible early game against Lina unless get a lot of help from supports or Lina is low skilled. Try to avoid picking Kunkka into this fiery wench when there is a chance she will go midlane, she's a real nightmare and is one of your hardest counters despite not having any outstanding counter to you lategame(aside from Eul's and occasional Vyse).
Your hardest counter in the entire game, in my opinion. His lane is basically ungankable because Repel disrupts your entire combo. You can't initiate with your X during teamfights either because of Repel. Repel, Repel, Repel. Oh, you got a lot of damage items and do not rely on your spells to do damage anymore? What. A. Pity. . Never pick Kunkka into Omniknight if you are not playing against a bunch of low-skilled(compared to you) players in a low bracket.
Again, we have an annoying and dominant laner, but what's more important, this guy can ruin your life outside of laning stage without being here. One good Global Silence and your gank is failed because you can't even cast your combo. Try to time your spells instead of using X Marks the Spot Return, especially when he is near, because Last Word will not let you cast Return if you cast another Ghost Ship or Torrent before that. Lategame he is also horrible to play against because he can instantly silence you at any moment his ulti is up, and if you don't have BKB, you just won't return to X. Getting BKB and going for a tanky Kunkka build is advised against Silencer if the game went late.
Not only he is scary to play against when you are mid, he also denies you a lot of possibilities throughout the game. You can't really splitpush or just farm a lane against this guy because will get charged and bashed to death and your chances to survive are rather grim(the only thing you can go is throw Ghost Ship for the rum buff, cast X on him, Torrent him and TP out... but that's if you won't get permabashed. His global range initiation is also very annoying in teamfights, with BKB and his team's help he can recklessly charge into you and mess up your positioning. I would recommend getting Blink Dagger over Shadow Blade in case you face Spirit Breaker.
Not only she is good in lane against you and hard to kill alone without True Sight, she is also the only carry in the game who doesn't have to tank up to survive your huge crits. No matter how many Rapiers you have and how big your crit is, Refraction will save her. You'll have to rely on your teammates to deal with her, and if she's fed it is very hard to come back to a game for you.
Has a disable that pierces everything(Walrus Punch! isn't blocked by BKB nor Linken's, gj OSFrog), a way to initiate on you from fairly long range and save his allies from your combo at the same time. Enough to screw your game up. You can play around the fact Snowball requires him to have a vision on at least one enemy unit(cast combo from the fog of war when your creepwave dies), but you can't do anything about Walrus Punch!. The disable itself isn't very long, but enough for enemies to stack disables on top of it and bring you down even if you are X'ed. Watch out for him ,especially when he has Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger(i.e in 95% of the games :) ).
The same way she can boost your damage with Vengeance Aura and save you with Nether Swap, she can reduce it or initiate on you from long range and if she swaps you, you won't return back to X. Get a Linken's Shpere against her lategame.
Unluckily, Dotabank has died and you can't download replays from there anymore. Rest in peace.
Spring 2014 - guide started.
22 July 2014 - guide published.
25 July 2014 - added Friends&Foes chapter.
26 July 2014 - added this useless changelog.
30 July 2014 - reviewed the guide for typos, edited "Skillbuild Explanation" chapter, added "Gotta keep my Rapiers" sub-chapter("Gameplay").
2 August 2014 - added some pictures, tidied the guide a bit.
5 August 2014 - added second skillbuild.
7 August 2014 - edited itembuilds a bit, added Bracer as core(sidelane) item.
12 August 2014 - added some tips, edited some chapters.
17 August 2014 - added "When Things go Bad" chapter.
22 August 2014 - added "Endgame itembuilds" build&chapter, added new group of foes.
25 January 2015 - completely rewritten the guide, it's now a different guide from what was there before.
30 January 2015 - finished "Friends and Foes" section, added 1(pathetic, I know) replay.
3 February 2015 - added another replay. Two is better than one!
8 May 2015 - updated for 6.84. Probably will update the guide once more soon.
17 May 2015 - moar 6.84 replays, and updated info about stacking(in "Gameplay - Early Game" chapter), tnanks to YellulzQuiet.
21 December 2015 - rewritten the guide again, updated for 6.86.
13 May 2016 - 6.87 update.
24 June 2016 - 6.88 update, re-added Smoke, added more ultra-lategame items.
Aaaaand... that's all. Good luck in learning and mastering Kunkka! This guide will get updated with patches or when I find something new to add to it, so check for updates!
I couldn't find sources for most images I used in the banners, soif you know the author, make sure to report in comments so I credit them! Anyway, here are the images(in order of first appearance in the guide):
DOTA 2 Kunkka by Dinhosaur
Bestowments of the Divine Anchor Loading Screen
No source again
No source yet again and no highres either :(
Same story as previous 4
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