Today we are going to talk about one of the most versatile midlaners of Dota 2. The hero has entered the meta a long time ago and refuses to leave it for a very long period of time. Kunkka provides teamfight potential, has the ability to initiate fights, and is very useful in all stages of the game.
Table of contents
Role in the game
Kunkka, first of all, known for his ability to dominate midlane against pretty much any other hero. Midlaner is his base role. However, the hero can also be used in the positions of offlaner, carry, and roamer.
The purpose of Kunkka in the game is to provide AoE damage in fights, increase the survivability of his team, and set up kills.
Torrent is a point-target ability, which works in a small AoE. On cast, Kunkka creates a torrent in a small AoE, which works with 1.6 seconds delay. All targets that got hit by a Torrent will receive slow and stun de-buffs. The spell works best in combination with X Marks The Spot.
Tidebringer is Kunkka’s harassing and farming tool. The spell allows Kunkka to ensure last-hits and apply a lot of pressure on his opponent in the lane. Be careful when you use Tidebringer in early levels, make sure not to leave the ranged creep with low HP so the enemy hero can deny it.
X Marks the Spot is a very important ability of Kunkka, as it allows him to set up kills in combination with Torrent and Ghostship. By using X Mark, Kunkka can return marked target back to the spot where he marked him. It works great on allies in combination with Town Portal Scroll, as it allows them to restore their resources very quickly at the base.
Ghostship is another point-target ability of Kunkka. Just like Torrent, it also has an impact delay. It is twice as high as Torrents at 3.1 seconds. On impact, Ghostship stuns his opponents in huge AoE as well as deals quite a lot of magical damage to them. However, the biggest strength of the ability is the buff that is provided to teammates, who got touched by the ship in the air. The buff provides bonus movement speed and delays the damage they receive by 40%.
The item build of Kunkka can vary depending on his preferences and the situation in the game.
However, the starting items almost always remain the same. At your first gold, you want to get yourself Gauntlet of Strength, Circlet, Iron Branch, Faerie Fire, and a Quelling Blade. Make sure to ask supports to share two Tangoes with you.
In the early game start, you build by getting yourself two Bracers, follow them up with Bottle, Phase Boots, and Magic Wand. With this build, you are going to have more than enough stats to feel very comfortable in early fights.
The mid-game is where the versatile part begins. The easiest and effective build you can select for Kunkka in the mid-game is Heaven’s Halberd into Radiance. This build really gives you everything you need and works against any draft. Halberd works great against heroes with high physical damage, while Radiance makes Kunkka very strong against illusion and units based heroes. Not to mention, this build makes Kunkka very, very tanky. The alternative to this build is Armlet into Shadow Blade and Daedalus. This build used to be popular a few years ago, when Dota 2 was more chaotic. In the current meta, having tanky and teamfight oriented items is going to benefit you a lot more.
In the late-game, you are going to be required to get yourself a Black King Bar, Assault Cuirass, and Heart of Tarrasque. These items are going to allow you to deal a lot of damage in fights and also be very tanky.
The biggest mistake Kunkka player can make during the laning stage is to use Tidebringer inefficiently. Be aware that whenever you hit a ranged creep with level 1 Tidebringer you're gonna make his HP drop to half than 50% HP. It means that the enemy hero will get a chance to deny it easily. For this reason, you should either aim not to hit the ranged creep with a Tidebringer or use it exclusively to last-hit the ranged creep. The first option is going to be more efficient, as you are required to use Tidebringer as often as possible to harass the enemy midlaner.
Once you reach level 5 start improving your farming potential by farming nearest neutral camps. Make sure to stack neutral camps at 4:00. Hit one of the camps at 3:55 and use Torrent on the second camp at 3:58. This way you are going to stack two camps at once. While creeps are Torrented they are not considered to be inside the spawn box of the camp, it can allow you to stack the camp many times.
Pay attention to the mini-map and help teammates that get dived around the map. Gank the most vulnerable cores, who can’t escape the X Marks + Torrent combo.
Since we have started to talk about combinations, let’s look closer at them.
There are two combinations you can do with Kunkka:
X Marks the Spot + Torrent + Ghostship;
X Marks the Sport + Ghostship + Torrent.
Both combinations are effective, but we would recommend using the second combination. The biggest strength of the second combination is that it is a lot easier to say when the Ship is going to reach its target. Not to mention, by using X Marks the Spot, waiting one second, and using Ghostship, it is going to hit a target at perfect timing, you are not even going to be required to trigger X Marks. It is very good whenever the enemy team has any disables, so basically nothing can stop you from stunning a target.
Kunkka is good all around. The hero is good at split-pushing, as he can clear the creep wave quickly. For the same reason, he is great at farming neutrals, and what is more important, at farming ancients. Kunkka can easily clear the stack of ancients very early into the game. Aside from the high farming potential, Kunkka is no doubt one of the strongest teamfight oriented heroes in the game. So it doesn't matter what your playstyle is, you are going to be able to use Kunkka effectively to your advantage.
Allies and counters
The best thing about Kunkka is that he barely has any counters. The hero can lane very well against pretty much any other hero in Dota 2. He might have troubles laning against Huskar, Viper, and Razor, but the good part about Kunnka is that he can always leave the lane and start farming the jungle.
Kunkka himself is a great counter to teamfight oriented heroes, as Ghostship is always going to give his team an advantage in the fight. Kunkka is an excellent counter to Lycan, Broodmother, and Meepo.