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Zhong Kui (Arena Theory Builds)

April 11, 2017 by larrick
Comments: 27    |    Views: 17981    |   

Magic Penetration Build(s)

Smite God: Zhong Kui

Item Purchase Order

Core Build

Build Item Book of Thoth
Build Item Shoes of the Magi
Build Item Spear of the Magus
Build Item Spear of Desolation

Alternate Core

Build Item Warlock's Sash Build Item Shoes of the Magi Build Item Spear of the Magus Build Item Spear of Desolation

5th Item

Build Item Rod of Tahuti

Possible 6th Items

Build Item Divine Ruin Build Item Polynomicon

Alternate 1st Items Non-Stack

Build Item Book of the Dead Build Item Gem of Isolation Build Item Soul Reaver

God Skill Order

Expose Evil

Expose Evil 1 8 11 12 14 key bind


Exorcism 2 4 6 7 10 key bind

Book of Demons

Book of Demons 3 15 16 18 19 key bind

Recall Demons

Recall Demons 5 9 13 17 20 key bind


This guide is my attempt at theory crafting for Zhong Kui.

Why have I chosen this particular god as my current project. I think his Arena play style and his Conquest play style are so different that he warrants a guide specific to Arena.

I am not a professional SMITE player maybe not even a great SMITE player, but the purpose of this Guide/Build is to come to some common play tested builds that work well with this specific god.

There are 3 areas for Zhong Kui I want to discuss and playtest in the process of creating this guide.

1. Magic Power or Attack Damage
- Should you go for Attack Damage and/or Attack Speed combined with his 3 (Book of Demons)?
- Should you go for Magic Power and focus on his 1 (Expose Evil) and 2 (Exorcism) abilities?

2. Ability Use and Leveling
- Most of the guides focus on increasing his 2 (Exorcism).
I believe that maybe his 1 (Expose Evil) could be a better option early game.

- While I normally leave his 3 (Book of Demons) at lv. 1.
The stun is so insignificant at that level is it worth making it a priority to raise earlier.

3. Items
- What item builds provide for the best use of his abilities and play style.

Skills with Updates

Zhong Kui pastes a card on all enemies in front of him, marking them as a demon, Slowing and damaging them each second while they are marked. If the card is removed, 75%(EDITED) of the remaining damage is done instantly.

-Damage per Tick: 20/30/40/50/60 (+15% of your magical power)
-Slow: 20%
-Card Lifetime: 5s
-Ability Type: Line
-Cooldown: 10 seconds
-Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 mana

-While the tooltip states that removing the card does 40% of the damage, it actually deals 75% damage.
-Deals a total of 100/150/200/250/300 (+75% of your magical power) damage.

Zhong Kui drives out the demons of his enemies, dealing damage as they leave the body. Demons marked by Expose Evil are captured by Zhong Kui, healing him per demon captured (up to 3), and have the card removed.

-Damage: 75/125/175/225/275 (+50% of your magical power)
-Heal: 20/35/50/65/80 (+20% of your magical power)
-Ability Type: Cone
-Cooldown: 10 seconds
-Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 mana

-This ability can heal for up to 60/105/150/195/240 (+60% of your magical power).

When fired, the Book of Demons deals damage and stuns enemies, stunning marked enemies for 2x the duration and removing the card. When this ability is not on cooldown, the Book of Demons flies nearby Zhong Kui, firing for 50% of Zhong Kui's basic damage.

-Damage: 60/115/170/225/280 (+50% of your magical power)
-Stun: .5/.6/.7/.8/.9s (2x for marked targets)
-Radius: 20
-Ability Type: Area
-Cooldown: 15 seconds
-Cost: 75/80/85/90/95 mana

-Units under the effect of Expose Evil are stunned for 1/1.2/1.4/1.6/1.8s.
-This ability's hitbox moves clockwise around Zhong Kui.

Upon activation, demons pulse out from his bag at nearby players every second for 5s. They chase and accelerate over time, doing damage to enemies as they enter the body. Zhong Kui is immune to Knockback and Slows for the duration.

-Damage: 80/95/110/125/140 (+20% of your magical power)
-Ability Type: Area
-Radius: 40 Bullet.png Cooldown: 90 seconds
-Cost: 100 mana

-The number of stacks from Zhong Kui's passive has no effect on the demons or damage of this ability.
-This ability can deal up to 400/475/550/625/700 (+100% of your magical power) damage.

15k Rule(Theory)

My 15k Theory

In a normal Arena game by the end of the game I'll have around 14.5 to 15k gold.
What does this mean for items. It means that if I want a 6 item build that will actually have impact on the game and not be the last 30 or so points I want to try and build it under 15k gold.

Core Items
So what 3 or 4 items are needed every time you play Zhong Kui?

1. Stack item
2. Boots
3. Magical Penetration

Starter Items Arena

Starter Items? Yes or No.. for each starter Item you get since they sell back at %66 of cost your going to lose ~300 gold + stats when you sell them. (Do not forget about the stat loss)

Starter Items
You do not need to go with starter items in Arena these are more of a preference and testing phase right now. I am not sure the 800 is not better spent building core items, yet 6 item build with starter means you can have a more expensive 5 item build in theory for the 15k Rule.

The 2 Starter Items I will be play testing with currently are:

1. Soul Stone (800)
+20 Magical Power
+100 Mana
PASSIVE - Gain 1 stack every time you hit an enemy with a basic attack. If you have 5 stacks, the next time you deal damage with an ability the stacks are consumed and you gain 40 mana, and that ability and any abilities used in the next 3s will deal bonus damage equal to having +40 Magical Power for those abilities.

This items I think looks nice if I am focusing on a 1 (Expose Evil) and 2 (Exorcism) build.
40 extra Power seems like a nice boost, and with a 3 second window you should be able to get both in.

UPDATE: 3/26/2017
Your Book of Demons passive 2nd shot also adds stacks for Soul Stone. You can re-stack in 3 volley of auto attacks.

2. Vampiric Shroud (800)
+20 Magical Power
+100 Health
+4% Magical Lifesteal
PASSIVE - Killing an enemy restores 10 Health and 8 Mana.

Your wave clear is quite good with Zhong Kui.. (Almost to good later...)
So in addition to the healing your (Exorcism) provides this gives you more mana and hp back for each kill.
If you are going with an early stack item that is a nice symbiosis IMO.

Updated: 3/28/2017
As pointed out by SorenNoKitsune Bluestone Pendant is not an available choice. It has been removed from the guide.

Core Items: Stacks

Stack Item(s)

Zhong Kui is an EXCELLENT choice for stack items.
-He builds his passive by getting kills.
-He needs the Passive to use his Ultimate.
-Stack Items make him hit HARDER.
-His kit is based around building stacks before you ever get an item.

-In Arena you never know what kind of team your getting, and if they do not let you stack build you can be in a world of hurt if you get a stack item with NO stacks.
-You are not the MAIN carry normally you just IMO do not have the damage out put, but you can be excellent clean-up with you Mid Range burst damage and DoT.

Book of Thoth (2650)
+125 Mana
+15 MP5
+100 Magical Power
PASSIVE - You permanently gain 10 Mana per Stack, and receive 5 Stacks for a god kill and 1 Stack for a minion kill (max. 75 Stacks).
Additionally, 3% of your Mana is converted to Magical Power.

Totals at Full Stacks
- +850 Mana (100 + 750 from stacks)
- 125.5 Magical Power (100 + 25.5 [3% of Mana from BoT])

- And 15 MP5 just for kicks.

This is a hardcore Magical Power and Mana scale item. Works well with BoF and any other item that gives mana in high amounts.
As stated before building stacks is part of your core build with Zhong Kui so this is not even going out of your way to wave clear.

This item is my 1st Choice for Stack items.

Warlock's Sash (2650)
+50 Magical Power
+300 Health
+400 Mana
PASSIVE - You permanently gain +3 Health and +.6 Magical Power per Stack, and receive 5 Stacks for a god kill and 1 Stack per minion kill. (Max. 100 Stacks)

Totals at Full Stacks
-Health 600 (300 + 300 from stacks) Even I have to admit that is a ton of health for 1 item.
-Mana 400 (An this is on completion of the item now stacks needed.)
-Magical Power 110 (50 + 60 from stacks)

This item gives you almost an ability worth of damage soak at full stacks. Along with a hefty chunk of mana, but offers absolutely no HP5 or MP5 REGEN.

I like this item in an assassin heavy game. Loki is a real pain in Arena if played well and that extra health might let you out box or get away from one.

Zhong Kui is not mobile if you get caught out your dead. 600 Health is not going to save you with no real escapes.

15k Rule
15,000 - 2650 > 12,350

Core Items: Boots

I am leaning more away from them being the 1st item you buy, but they are part of the Core.

Shoes of the Magi (1600)
+45 Magical Power
+10 Magical Penetration
+18% Movement Speed

SotM offer 5 more Magical Power and 10 Magical Penetration.
To be very clear the 10 Magical Penetration on SotM is HUGE!
-There is a 50 Pen cap and without the boots you cannot reach the cap.
If Zhong Kui were a 2 ability dead into dead I would not even list the SoF, but he is not.
His damage scale is not high enough to 1 (Expose Evil) > 2 (Exorcism) > Dead.

Shoes of Focus (1500)
+40 Magical Power / 5 Less than SotM
+250 Mana
+10% Cooldown Reduction
+18% Movement Speed

SoF offer Cooldown and Mana.
-Combined with Blue Buff you have 20% Cooldown when they are completed. With a 40% CD cap that is really close if you are doing a cool down build.
-The magical power loss is not very steep at 5, but the 10 Magic Pen out of a 50 Magic Pen cap is important if you REALLY want full magic Pen.
(I have not done a natural magic resist check yet to see how much actual pen you need to 0 someone without any MR items I will in the future.)

15k Rules 12,350 - 1,600 > ~10,750

Core Items: Magical Penetration

Magic Penetration Items(s)

Currently in my 4 item Core build I get the following two Items.

Spear of the Magus (2150)
+50 Magical Power
+15 Magical Penetration
PASSIVE - Your abilities reduce your target's Magical Protection by 10 for 5 seconds (max. 3 Stacks).

You get 50 Magical Power and 15 Magical Pen.
No Mana to help BoT.
The passive nets you in a combo -10 to -30 Magical Protection though which in turn makes the ratio for Magical Pen. a bit better.

Cost to Gold
1 Magical Power per 43 gold
1 Magical Pen per ~143 gold WITH 0 Stacks
1 Magical Pen per ~83 gold with 1 stack (This is where you will normally be 1 > 2)
1 Magical Pen per ~61 gold with 1 stack (When you Ult into someone 1 > 2 > 4)
1 Magical Pen per ~47 gold with 1 stack (When you stun into Ult 3 > 1 > 2 > 4)

Spear of Desolation (2800)
+80 Magical Power
+20 Magical Penetration
+10% Cooldown Reduction
PASSIVE - If you receive a kill or assist on an Enemy God all of your Cooldowns are reduced by 1 second.

This item offers not only more base Magical, Pen but more basic stats with Cooldown.
The cost on this item though is quite heavy for a Core Item in Arena.

IF you are going Magical Pen you will want this item. Your damage is not HIGH so getting all of your damage through on the proper targets is important.

Cost to Gold
1 Magical Power per 35 gold (You would have ~60 Msgical Power on SpotM if it have a gold to power ratio like SpoD)
1 Magical Pen per ~140 gold with 1 stack (Magical Pen is about the same for both)

Since we are not getting the for the Cooldown it is just a bonus no need a ratio it.

Together with your Boots

-With SoF
20% Cooldown or 30% Cooldown with Blue Buff (that is a nice amount of passive Cooldown)
15 + 20 > 35 of the 50 Magical Pen Max
An the Passive(s) also Stacks more Cooldown and Magical Protection shred in fights.

-With SoM
15 + 20 + 10 > 45 Magical Pen of the 50 Magical Pen Max
This does not include Passive from SpotM which can net another -30 Magical Protection.

15k Rules 10,750 - 2150 - 2800 > 5,800

5th Item

The following two are the final items of the build that I am currently using. I have to admit I am not overly happy with it yet, but I am still testing and learning Zhong Kui.

Rod of Tahuti (3300)
+125 Magical Power
+30 MP5
PASSIVE - Increases Magical Power by 25%.

99% of the Time this is my 5th Item.
This is your power spike what you have waited the whole game for.
125 Magical Power for 25% of your total magical power Including the Rod is a nice chunk of Ouch that hurts.
(Power ~327 of 900 Max) Before
(Power ~565 of 900 Max) After
-You just gained ~238 Magical PoWeR!! << That is a power spike >>

15k Rules 5,800 - 3,300 > 2,500

6th Item

Divine Ruin (2400)
+80 Magical Power
+10 Magical Penetration
PASSIVE - Enemies hit by your abilities have 40% reduced healing and regeneration for 8 seconds.

So this is a nice final build because it will cap out your Magical Pen with either set of Shoes. An the passive can help insure your DoT kills the things it lands on because it deals full damage over 5 sec while the regen debuff is 8s.

Pretty solid item IMO.

Polynomicon (2300)
+75 Magical Power
+300 Mana
+12% Magical Lifesteal
PASSIVE - Using an ability gives your next Basic Attack within the next 8 seconds +75% of your Magical Power as additional Magical Damage.
The effect can only apply once every 3 seconds.

Zhong Kui already has built in healing with his 2nd ability. This however ups his healing and gives more Mana to feed off BoT.

- 300 Mana = another 9 Magical Power from Book
- 75 + 9 x 1.25 > 105 Magical Power from this item.
- I have not tested it yet but the 75% Magical Power added as Physical Power when your Passive on your 3rd Ability triggers off your basic attack damage seems nice.

15k Rules 2,500 - 2,400 > 200


Soul Stone arena testing is going well. His damage out put is much higher than I first thought with the Magical Pen build. This could be due completely to the Magical Pen and not his ability scaling, but I am not sure yet. I've gotten about 10 or 15 games in so far. His escape ability is really low so deaths seem hard to prevent with 0 defensive items.

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