Dota 2 Kunkka Guide

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Dota 2 Kunkka Guide

Learn how to play with Admiral Kunkka in Dota 2! Master strategies, tips, abilities and more to elevate your gameplay with our expert guide

“Step lively now, your Admiral is on board!” – A captivating call from one of Dota 2's most versatile heroes, Kunkka. Recognized for his exceptional area control and utility abilities, Kunkka, the Admiral, brings a unique flavor to any game he is part of. Primarily played as a mid laner or offlaner, Kunkka can also excel in a support role, thanks to his stunning versatility. Known for his massive Tidebringer cleave and disruptive skill set, Kunkka can turn the tide of a battle. 

Kunkka has a starting HP of 648, which is high compared to other heroes and his base mana pool is 291. Kunkka’s starting movement speed is 315 and he deals 50-60 damage per hit at the start. In this Dota 2 Kunkka guide, we aim to steer you through all you need to know to master this hero.


Dota 2 Kunkka Guide

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Kunkka's abilities offer a blend of damage, crowd control, and utility. Let's dive into the details of each:

  • Torrent: Kunkka's first ability summons a delayed water spout at a target area. This spout damages, stuns, and tosses enemy units into the air, providing excellent area denial and crowd control. Enemies passing through the torrent after activation are also slowed and damaged. It has a radius of 225 and deals 320 damage at max level. This ability can be upgraded by Aghanim’s Scepter.
    • Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade (Torrent Storm): Aghanim’s Scepter grants a new ability called Torrent Storm. Every 0.3 seconds for 5.0 seconds, a visible Torrent is released in a random location around Kunkka. Spawns within 1100.0 range of him.
  • Tidebringer: Kunkka's second ability empowers his sword for a mighty cleave on his next attack. The damage bonus is 30 at level 1 and 120 at max level. It also deals a cleave damage of 150%. This ability is not only great for harassing opponents in the lane but also serves as an efficient farming tool.
  • X Marks The Spot: Kunkka's third ability marks a hero's current location. After a few seconds, or when manually triggered again, the marked hero will be returned to the marked spot. This ability synergizes perfectly with Kunkka's other abilities, ensuring your foes can't escape your wrath. It can also be used on allies.
  • Ghostship: Kunkka's ultimate summons a ghostly ship that sails through the battlefield, damaging and stunning enemy units in its path. Allies touched by the Ghostship become more resistant to damage for a short time. This skill provides a fantastic initiation tool and contributes significantly to team fights. Ghostship has a range of 2000 and deals 400 damage at level 1, which increases to 600 at max level. This ability can be upgraded by Aghanim’s Shard.
    • Aghanim’s Shard Ability Upgrade (Tidal Wave): With Aghanim’s Shard, Kunkka gets a new ability called Tidal Wave. When cast, releases a Tidal Wave that spawns behind Kunkka, dealing damage while dragging enemies along during the duration. While being dragged, enemies are unable to attack. Tidal Wave deals 250 damage.
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Let’s look at the talents that Kunkka can choose from as he levels up:

  • Level 10 – +25% X Marks the Spot Move Speed or Tidebringer applies 60% slow for 1s
  • Level 15 – +45 Damage or +30% Torrent Knock Up/Stun Duration
  • Level 20 – +70% Tidebringer Cleave or +80 Torrent AoE
  • Level 25 – -2s Tidebringer icon Tidebringer Cooldown or Ghostship Fleet

Dota 2 Kunkka Guide – Tips 

Kunkka's role in a game largely depends on his positioning and timing. In the early game, Kunkka uses the power of his Tidebringer in the laning stage to control and dominate his lane. However, his Torrent and X Marks the Spot abilities truly shine when setting up ganks. A successful gank often involves initiating with X Marks the Spot on the target, followed by Torrent, and then finally, pulling the target back with X Marks the Spot. This combo can drastically shift the balance of the laning phase and help to establish early game dominance.

Regarding itemization, Kunkka's items lean more towards increasing his damage output and survivability. Primary items for Kunkka include Phase Boots for mobility and bonus damage, and Armlet of Mordiggian for a substantial boost in strength and damage. Next comes Shadow Blade for enhanced positioning capabilities. From here, Kunkka usually transitions into heavier damage items like Daedalus, which greatly increases the effectiveness of his Tidebringer ability.

In terms of defensive and utility items, Black King Bar provides invaluable spell immunity during team fights, while Heart of Tarrasque can dramatically increase Kunkka's survivability in the late game. Moreover, items like Heaven’s Halberd and Assault Cuirass can be very useful against strong right-click heroes. Remember, the primary goal of Kunkka's itemization is to increase his damage potential while ensuring he can survive long enough to dish out that damage. Adjust your items according to the game situation, your team composition, and the enemy lineup for the best results.

Pros and Cons

Like every other Dota 2 Hero, Kunkka also has some pros and cons. 


  • A versatile hero who can fill multiple roles.
  • Strong laning presence with Tidebringer.
  • Excellent area control with Torrent and Ghostship.
  • High damage output potential.


  • Mana dependent early game.
  • Requires relatively high skill for combo execution.
  • Lacks a solid escape mechanism.

How to play Kunkka

Now let's dive deeper into how to play Kunkka in various stages of the game and the item choices that can optimize his performance.

Starting items

When playing Kunkka, starting items should include Quelling Blade for easy last hitting and harassment with Tidebringer and tangoes for sustain. Also, ensure to get a couple of Iron Branches and Gauntlet Of Strengths for added stats.

Early Game: 

In the early game, Kunkka's Tidebringer becomes essential for exerting dominance in the lane. With its cleave damage, you can harass your opponent and maintain control over the creep wave, ensuring a solid farm. While focusing on your last hits, you should also aim to purchase Phase Boots as soon as possible for added movement speed and damage. Another crucial early-game item is Magic Wand for emergency health and mana, particularly useful against spell-spamming opponents. A Bottle can be helpful for mid Kunkka.

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Mid Game: 

Kunkka's impact becomes more significant in the mid game. Use X Marks the Spot, Ghostship, and Torrent to control the flow of team fights and pick off enemies. This is the time to complete your Armlet of Mordiggian, which provides a substantial boost to your survivability and damage output. 

Following Armlet, Shadow Blade should be your priority. It empowers Kunkka to initiate fights more effectively and catch enemies off-guard with a well-placed X Marks the Spot into Ghostship and Torrent combo. Build a Black King Bar if the enemy relies on magic damage and stuns.

Late Game: 

As the game enters the late phase, Kunkka transitions into a high-damage dealer and initiator. Your priority is to maximize your cleave damage with Tidebringer and create chaos with a well-placed Ghostship. To increase your damage output, invest in a Daedalus. For survivability, items like Satanic or Heart of Tarrasque can be a lifeline, allowing you to endure longer in team fights and dish out more damage. You can also buy Assault Cuirass or Heaven’s Halberd if the game demands so.

By understanding Kunkka's strengths and optimizing your item choices at each game phase, you can maximize his impact and lead your team to victory. Remember that Dota 2 isn't just about individual skills but also strategic choices and effective communication with your team.

Dota 2 Kunkka Counter

Although Kunkka is a strong Hero, certain heroes can give him a tough time. Let's look at 5 top heroes that counter Kunkka:

  • Outworld Destroyer: The Astral Imprisonment ability of Outworld Destroyer can disrupt Kunkka's combo. Plus, his high intelligence can exploit Kunkka's lower mana pool.

  • Oracle: Oracle's defensive skills, such as Fate's Edict and False Promise, can effectively neutralize Kunkka's damage output.
  • Lifestealer: His Rage ability offers magic immunity against Kunkka's spells, while Feast provides significant sustain in fights, making Lifestealer a formidable enemy for Kunkka.
  • Pugna: Pugna's Decrepify and Nether Ward nullify Kunkka's physical damage and penalize his high mana usage, making him a strong counter against Kunkka.
  • Legion Commander: Legion Commander’s Press the Attack ability removes debuffs disrupting Kunkka's combo, making it harder for him to land his abilities effectively.


Mastering Kunkka is not just about landing the perfect combo but also understanding his power spikes, maintaining good positioning, and making smart item choices. The Admiral is a highly versatile hero who can have a game-changing impact when played correctly. Raise the anchor and set sail to victory with Kunkka!

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Dota 2 Kunkka Guide
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.