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Grandmaster S9 Cthulhu Guide UPDATED

171 42 144,460
by WaxPython updated January 26, 2022

Smite God: Cthulhu

Build Guide Discussion 24 More Guides
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Build Summary

Solo Start

Notes Sundering axe works perfectly with Cthulhu, starting tier 1 breastplate and pots allows you to have some serious survivability while also countering a level 2 gank which is common in solo at the moment.


Sundering axe works perfectly with Cthulhu, starting tier 1 breastplate and pots allows you to have some serious survivability while also countering a level 2 gank which is common in solo at the moment.

Build Item Warrior's Axe Warrior's Axe
Build Item Breastplate Breastplate
Build Item Hand of the Gods Hand of the Gods
Build Item Healing Potion Healing Potion

Solo Final

Build Item Sundering Axe Sundering Axe
Build Item Breastplate of Vigilance Breastplate of Vigilance
Build Item Stone of Gaia Stone of Gaia
Build Item Void Stone Void Stone
Build Item Hide of the Nemean Lion Hide of the Nemean Lion
Build Item Mantle of Discord Mantle of Discord

Cthulhu Threats

Tap each threat level to view Cthulhu’s threats


Cthulhu Synergies

Tap each synergy level to view Cthulhu’s synergies


Extended Build


Although a shadow of his former self ( thanks morrigan ) squid can still be strong and capable in the right hands

As a former grandmaster and active in the pro community during scrims and spl theory crafting i hope my guide can help you maximise Cthulhu's potential as in my opinion he is a top 3 solo laner at the moment and can hard carry games.


I have covered recommended items in my build, i don't think there's much room for deviation in relics or other core items, but you may wish to get a stone of binding rather than gaia or divine ruin over ethereal staff if the comp calls for it. It is always important for players to exercise their own judgement when it comes to builds. generally speaking high health and power hybrids such as ethereal staff and void shield work very well with Cthulhu.

Teleport to tower for me is the pick in s9 over blink as persistent tele is so strong, i recommend getting it first back as you will never lose out on farm and is a great relic overall. New thorns is okay and likely only really works well on squid, overall relic selections in s9 suit squid pretty well. Moreso than end of s8 era.

with all 3 hide stacks and void buff being active, I think this build keeps you tanky, decent dmg, useful in teamfights and having extremely high health. Yes the nerfs to axe and squid are a shame but he is still fun and viable.


Passive - Prey on Fear
Cthulhu breaks down the mental fortitude of enemy gods, applying stacks of Torment with abilities and the final hit of his basic attack chain. On reaching 4 stacks of Torment, enemies are afflicted by Insanity. Additionally, Cthulhu gains Magical Power per nearby enemy god with Insanity.Gains up to 125 Magical Power.

Extremely strong passive which grants him power and powerful cc when combined with his 1.

1st Ability - Sanity Break
Cthulhu sends out a terrifying blast of energy, dealing damage to all enemies hit and reducing their Attack Speed. Enemies hit by this ability also do reduced damage to Cthulhu for 6s.
This ability applies 1 stack of Torment, 2 if the enemy hit is facing Cthulhu or Fears them instead if they are afflicted with Insanity.
Successfully consuming Insanity permanently increases the base mitigation of this ability.

Damage: 90/135/180/225/270 (+40% of your Magical Power)
Attack Speed Slow: 10/15/20/25/30% for 3s
Fear Duration: 1.5s Damage Mitigation: 20% + 0.5% (Max 30%)
Ability Type: Cone Cost: 60 mana
Cooldown: 10 seconds

Either this or his 2 can be leveled, it is a powerful cone attack with good abse dmg and cc when his passive is stacked, use it as often as possible in lane.

2nd Ability - The Mire
Cthulhu summons a portal creating a slowing field of eldritch mire at the target location. While Cthulhu channels, The Mire continues to grow as the portal fires out two masses of corruption that hit and damage all enemies in the field.
The first shot also Slows enemies while the second Roots them, both hits applying 1 stack of Torment. Cancelling the ability early stops The Mire from growing or the portal from firing additional shots.
Can deal up to 100/190/280/370/460 (+60% of your magical power) damage.
Damage per shot: 50/95/140/185/230 (+30% of your Magical Power Slow: 10%
Corruption Slow: 35% Corruption Slow/Root Duration: 1s
Mire Duration: 3s after ability cancel/end Bullet.png Ability Type: Ground Target
Radius: 20-30 Cost: 50/55/60/65/70 mana
Cooldown: 18/17/16/15/14 seconds

This is the ability you want to proc sundering axe with usually as it is extremely easy to do and has good follow-up for his 1 and 3 combo.

Cthulhu creates two twisting projectiles at his sides as he unfurls his wings and charges forwards, damaging, stunning and knocking away enemies hit.
The projectiles follow at a slightly slower pace but travel further, damaging enemies as well.

Enemies hit by Cthulhu or the projectiles gain 1 stack of Torment.

Cthulhu is knockback immune while dashing.
Damage: 70/110/150/190/230 (+30% of your Magical Power Stun Duration: 0.4s
Projectile Damage: 40/70/100/130/160 (+20% of your Magical Power) Ability Type: Dash
Range: 50 Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 mana
Cooldown: 16 seconds.

very strong escape and initiate, you want to pop thorns and use his 3 then ult or you can even peel with this for your team as it is a easy to apply cc stun.

Ultimate - Descend into Madness
Cthulhu reveals his true form as he plunges the battlefield into R'lyeh while any enemies caught nearby are damaged. In this form Cthulhu gains increased Health, becomes immune to Crowd Control and gains access to new abilities. Enemies near Cthulhu gain stacks of Torment, increasing in pace if they are facing him. Enemies also suffer the debuff effects of Sanity Break, causing them to deal less damage to Cthulhu.
Cannot use relics for the duration.
Damage: 150/195/240/285/330 (+40% of your Magical Power) Max Health: 30%
Duration: 10/11/12/13/14s Debuff Radius: 50
Ability Type: Stim Radius: 40 Cost: 100 mana Bullet.png Cooldown: 120 seconds

Alt. 1st Ability - Sever
Cthulhu swipes down at the ground beneath him, creating 3 large projectiles.
These projectiles damage enemies and apply a stacking Protection Reduction debuff.

This ability does not proc item effects.

Basic attacking will cast this ability instead.
Can reduce up to 15% Protections.
Damage: 100/155/210/265/320 (+25% of your Magical Power) Protection Reduction: 3% stacking up to 5 times
Debuff Duration: 5s Bullet.png Ability Type: Projectiles
Range: 60 Cost: 0 mana
Cooldown: 1 seconds
2nd Ability - Devastate
Cthulhu fires a devastating blast of psychic energy that damages and knocks up enemies.
Damage: 140/175/210/245/280 (+20% of your Magical Power Ability Type: Area
Range: 70 Bullet.png Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 mana
Cooldown: 5 seconds

3rd Ability - Transfuse
Cthulhu transfuses his own life force into the area around him giving Allies Health, Movement Speed and Power. Enemies are also hit, taking more damage the closer they are to Cthulhu.
This ability damages Cthulhu for 6% of his Maximum Health. If Cthulhu is below 20% Health, this ability does not damage Cthulhu but all Ally effects are reduced by 50%.

While below 20% HP, allies are healed for 4/4.5/5/5.5/6% of their Max. Health, receive 10% Move Speed, and 10/12.5/15/17.5/20 Power on activation.
Damage: 120/140/160/180/200 (+20% of your Magical Power) Ally Healing: 8/9/10/11/12% Max. Health
Power: 20/25/30/35/40 Movement Speed: 20%
Duration: 3s Ability Type: Area
Range: 60 Cost: 70 mana
Cooldown: 6 seconds

Make sure to always use every ability available on your ult constantly, his 3 can do dmg use it.

Laning Phase

Cthulhu is an ok lane bullies in smite, constant damage with good defense and can clear well, He should win or stall lane wirh majority of characters in the game, that is not to say gods like Cama, Oisirs and Nike are not better than him in lane, But a exceptional Cthulhu player can play around them and at worse stall the lane out. His biggest threat is executes from enemy gods such as Achilles, Thanatos, or Ao Kaung who can kill him before he can get his ult off and escape or deal the finishing blow to the enemy solo.

You want to fight as much as possible in this phase to stack your passive, make sure your 2 covers the entire lane and poke out your opponent as much as possible.

Do not take unnecessary minion damage you do not need to, play it safe early as Cthulhu's clear isn't the best until boots but never be afraid to poke out the enemy solo with chalice you should have enough sustain until boots to be on level with any solo laner.

Take as much farm as possible if you have the enemy under tower and do not hesitate to rotate, your 3 makes you extremely safe and when you're ahead not many can comfortably fight a Cthulhu you should be safe to hyper farm and rotate to mid after level 10


Cthulhu has the best team fight ult in the game and can make or break a teamfight, you want to play around this knowledge. Use thorns before dashing in

As he is a very big target he can be killed by a focused team, this is why thorns is so important on him, it is essential you use thorns before dashing in and ulting as it means you will not be burst down and your team has time to follow up to add to the mayhem off your powerful abilities. Make sure to heal them as much as possible with your 3 in ult form.

General Tips

When being chased find a narrow pathway in the jungle and then use your 2, it should zone out people from chasing you due to the near instant slow and subsequent root, after that simply dash out.

If you are winning lane and find you do not need much sustain consider mystical mail over stone of gaia for even more pressure and preventing enemies from blinking away from you.

always use basics, do not sit there and wait for abilities to come up you should always be weaving in his basics as it helps stack his powerful passive and they do decent damage.

vampiric shroud although fun is not better than sundering axe and should not be picked up.

If you have a Geb consider going hero's axe instead due to Cthulhu's high health in ult it can synergize well with the team and save one or two carries from death which may turn a teamfight.

Never build him too tanky, Cthulhu wants to be ahead and have impact at all stages in the game if you fall behind and build full defense to compensate he wont have the necessary impact and hurts his overall potential

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Blastex32 | November 16, 2022 7:54am
Hello what gamemodes is this build best for? the game modes I play the most are conquest, arena and joust
Kriega1 (143) | November 16, 2022 10:37am
Conquest / Solo lane, and it's outdated.
Blastex32 | November 16, 2022 12:00pm
How is it outadated, balance changes?
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MuraDa12 | March 19, 2022 1:39pm
muito boa a build
WaxPython | April 28, 2022 2:22am
TheGreatOne09 (1) | February 20, 2022 10:57am
I like the build and explaining on how Cthulhu works, but I believe Mystical mail should be always first item in those cases, Cthulhu is a bully but he can't actually do well in a lot of match-ups on early, Mystical helps with clear and brawl, so it's definetely the way to get the fight equal, especially against Achilles, Mulan, Guan...

Also one thing: I believe Cthulhu is better off with Renewel instead of Gaia, sure, the health is Cthulhu's best stat, but renewal has it's prots to prevent Cthulhu getting destroyed by Qins or Heartseeker.

One last thing, did you ever considered trying Tainted steel? The stats are so much better than Warrior's right now.

But overall, good build and guide!
Big Damage (37) | February 20, 2022 12:01pm
Since its nerfs Mystical Mail definitely isn't good as a first item option. If you really wanted it you go like Starter > Breastplate of Valor > Mystical Mail > etc.

Also this build is slightly outdated not taking into account the recent axe nerfs so it will likely be changed a bit.
TheGreatOne09 (1) | February 20, 2022 7:41pm
But the clear is much better with Mystical, despite the nerfs, it makes you able to fight back quite a bit.

Yeah, I look forward to that change, really like this guy's perspective.
TheGreatOne09 (1) | February 20, 2022 10:46am
Good build and explanation on Cthulhu
tman5556 | February 16, 2022 11:36pm
Do you think this build would work in 3v3? Me and my friends are new and love playing joust. Cthulhu is my go to guardian for support.
Kriega1 (143) | February 17, 2022 8:17am
In Joust it's less likely you'll need Nemean, and yeah the build would differ a bit. Binding also getting a buff on Tuesday, something to keep in mind.
Hanoth | February 4, 2022 4:28am
I have one question - why do you say that your a Grandmaster player but when I search you on Smite Guru it says that you have never ranked above Silver, in any gametype or any season?
WaxPython | February 5, 2022 12:05pm
Same reason searching up Hanoth shows 0 results on smite guru :) typing up a smitefire username won't give you an accurate outlook
FreyMagni | March 28, 2021 12:30pm
Great guide for a mid laner like me who gets stuck in solo. If I need anti heal do I pick up divine ruin or pestilence/contagion. And what item do I replace if I do need it?
Kriega1 (143) | March 28, 2021 12:59pm
Swap Ethereal for Divine if you need Anti-heal, or Void Stone for Pestilence
Xxbloodxwingxx | February 4, 2021 11:10pm
Zahar1CH (1) | February 2, 2021 8:04pm
What about boots replacement?
WaxPython | February 3, 2021 3:22am
Hello, i covered it in the guide in the notes section under build, you would usually want to sell boots for mantle.
Big Damage (37) | February 2, 2021 10:33pm
That's a good point I forgot to make, Zahar.
Big Damage (37) | February 2, 2021 10:27am
I like the starter and final build. My only criticisms are:

teleport glyph being core, definitely situational into an aggressive match up like Achilles or King Arthur.

Lack of alternate options. Let's say I'm a mid main and I want to try Cthulhu out because he looks cool but I don't know how to play him or Solo and I find this guide. I see these items and I think cool should be easy enough and I'm against Hades. I don't know any better so I build Warrior's Axe and Breastplate into Breastplate of Valor. If I really don't know much I'm also not going to pick up the needed antiheal.

Other than that there is a good explanation of stages of the game and how to play Cthulhu further down which is great. Also explaining his ultimate abilities in text are useful because the only way to view their description is while you're ulting which most people are going to be busy fighting instead of reading what their abilities do.
WaxPython | February 3, 2021 3:25am
Thank you for the feedback, I did mention that builds are adatpable and that divine ruin is an option if the comp depends on it, players should exercise their own judgement but the core build is relatively the same.

Teleport to tower is not core but since many of the meta picks have high early pressure than it being gods like Ama I think it helps Squid get ahead easily and is a safeguard agaisnt anomisity backdoors.
AmoralOne (11) | February 2, 2021 8:38am
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League of Legends Build Guide Author WaxPython
Grandmaster S9 Cthulhu Guide UPDATED
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