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Hi all, this is my first guide in spite of having played Smite since 2013. I am by no means a Kukulkan expert, I play all gods and do not really have a favorite, but I have played him enough to play him decently. Also, I have played some 3600 Arena games so I have some experience with that game mode. Hope you enjoy the guide, and if you want to discuss something or address points you do not agree with please leave a comment.
In the Arena, Kukulkan is a very viable god unlike in other game modes like Conquest where he can be easily ganked. He deals lots of damage from a safe distance, therefore has great minion clear, and can kill very quickly when the opportunity arises due to his very high burst damage.
Kuku is a simple god. He deals damage, and that's it. But he does it well, without putting himself in too much danger in the Arena. I notice that many people that play him, however, do not build and play him to his optimal strength, hence this guide. Kuku's passive can be very easily used to obtain a lot of magical power, sice 5% of your maximum mana is converted into magical power. So it makes sense to build items that provide a lot of mana, which is what we are going to do.
Kukulkan has awesome synergy with Book of Thoth due to his passive Power of the Wind Jewel, so make sure you finish that item first. Book will grant you 3% of your max mana as power, so on top of your passive that's 8% of your max mana converted into magical power! Not a bad thing at all. You should have this available as soon as possible.
Start the game with soul reliquary and Shoes. Grab the blue buff if you can, and go to clear the minion wave after that. Hang back, clear, and poke when you can. Do not focus on getting kills and focus on clearing instaed, but by all means punish mistakes of enemies. Make sure to finish Book of Thoth first, so that you can get your stacks up.
The choice of Book of Thoth has been explained already, a must-buy for Kuku really.
After finishing Book of Thoth, shoes are next. You need the mobility. It is really a matter of preference which shoes you take, I personally like Shoes of Focus because having your abilities up more often helps out a lot in the early game. Shoes of the Magi are great too of course due to the penetration, in fact if you want to one-shot squishies with your ulti late game you'll need them. So if you want, you can sell your Shoes of Focus later for Shoes of the Magi. Note that due to the 8% max mana to power conversion, Shoes of Focus give you 50 magical power (30 + 8% of 250), so you will be trading penetration with cooldown reductiom when opting for Shoes of Focus without sacrificing power.
Now, the next item will be Warlock's Sash. I realize that most people regard double stacking in Arena as a bad strategy, but I assure you it is not in this case. Kuku can farm minions extremely well, and it will be no problem to stack both Book of Thoth and Warlock's Sash. By the time you get to buy Warlock's Sash, your Book of Thoth will have about 50 stacks already if you focus on clearing properly. That aside, even without stacking, Warlock's Sash is a good choice due to the 400 mana it provides. With Kuku's passive and the passive of Book of Thoth, Warlock's Sash already gives 82 magical power right of the bat (50 + 8% of 400 mana)! And the extra health is always nice to have.
With full stacks, due to the 8% max mana to power conversion, Book of Thoth and Warlock's Sash alone will give you 312 magical power. Not bad at all...
Now for your 4th item, you will need some penetration. It is a matter of choice, really, what to buy, but I prefer Spear of the Magus over Obsidian Shard because it is better against squishies (glass canons that do not build defense, a.k.a. nearly all Arena players). It also is better for your Whirlwind ability, that does tick damage. Spear of Desolation is great too, but too expensive and not worth saving for.
Then, the must-buy-mage-item, Rod of Tahuti. No explanation needed. Do not postpone this until 6th item, usually the fight is over before you can buy it.
Last, Polynomicon, if the game lasts long enough to get it. A few reasons for this: 1) it provides mana and thus bonus power, and 2) in combination with Zephyr, it 2-shots squishies with this build (1 + basic attack with Poly proc).
As mentioned earlier, if you find yourself in the position to get a full build and you want to one-shot full-health squishies with Spirit of the Nine Winds, sell your Shoes of Focus and get Shoes of the Magi. It will do the job nicely.
Besides your three damaging abilities, Zephyr, Whirlwind and Spirit of the Nine Winds, your Slipstream provides some movement that should be used mainly to position yourself wisely with respect to your enemies and team mates. Slipstream is not a good "escape", it will not help if you're cc-ed or under heavy melee attack (note that you can use it when chained by Ares though). The point of using Slipstream is to use it before you are in a bad spot. The cooldown is fairly short, so do not be afraid to use it when in doubt.
Be wary of gods like Ares or Tyr that can finish you quickly, try to predict what they will do and use your Slipstream to create distance. Also be wary of assassins, and make sure to stay close to team mates, use your Slipstream to quickly put yourself in a better place if you spot an assassin close by.
Your main bread and butter is your Whirlwind, throw it on minion waves whenever you can to farm. Of course it can also be used against enemy gods, but they will mostly just walk out before taking damage. So make sure to put a Whirlwind on each minion wave, always.
Zephyr is a much better ability to use against gods, it is very fast and nigh impossible to juke. Note: you can adjust the aim of your 1 during casting the ability, so at all times follow the movement of the enemy god during the (short) cast. Practice this by moving your mouse sideways when casting Zephyr and observe where the projectile goes.
Your ultimate Spirit of the Nine Winds is devastating, but that comes at a price: it is very easy to avoid getting hit if not fired from point blank range. So do not use it to "snipe" enemies from range, they will be able to just step out of it. Be patient and wait for a good moment. This can be a hard cc performed by an ally, a big brawl with some enemies that may not be able to react in it, or a point blank opportunity (which should really not happen because that means your positioning was bad).
Assuming that you have a more or less balanced match, the key to winning is to outfarm the opponent, in other words: last hit all minions if possible. Kuku's main role is to do exactly that. Never chase for kills, certainly not early, only go for the kill if your enemy puts himself in a bad spot and you are safe to walk away.
At the start of the game, use your Whirlwind and Zephyr (or in opposite order) to clear. Once you have finished your pen item, dropping your Whirlwind on the minion wave should pretty much finish it. You can then look for gods to punish with your Zephyr, which hits hard, and is fast.
As mentioned earlier, a very important thing to practice when firing your Zephyr is that you can adjust the aim during casting. Follow the enemy's movement while casting your 1 and try to improve your hit chance this way. It is pretty essential to land these shots, they do a lot of damage and slow the enemy, making it easier to land a basic attack for the Polynomicon proc. With this build, this will very often result in a kill, even if the enemy had a lot of health to begin with.
I cannot stress enough that you should be patient when firing Spirit of the Nine Winds. If the enemy is not cc-ed or caught up in an intense brawl, you will almost certainly miss since the enemy can just step out.
Of course, every match is different and there are situations in which you will need to change up your build. A common difficulty is a good assassin player on the enemy team, if you find yourself being focussed by such a player you really should get some defense (besides sanctuary). In such a ase, I recommend buying Breastplate of Valor after or even before your warlock's sash. In this case, do not build Polynomicon.
Sometimes, enemies actually build defences :), and then Obsidian Shard becomes a better choice to kill them instead of Spear of the Magus. If you have the cash, you could also swap Polynomicon for Soul Reaver to take down targets that build protections with your Zephyr and Spirit of the Nine Winds.
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