Watch my NeNe: Observations on Kuzenbo
Tue 7th Nov 2017 - 9:49pm
Kuzenbo has had an interesting story in Smite. He was introduced earlier in Season 4, but he was considered bad and just a meme. Over time, the King Kappa received buff after buff and is now in a solid spot and has been popping up in competitive Smite games. Kuzenbo has seen play not only in North America and Europe, but also in other regions, including the Oceania and South-East Asia LAN finals. This article will highlight and breakdown aspects of Kuzenbo in these pro matches.
Kuzenbo is one of the rare gods in Smite that is able to successfully play in three roles. He can fill the role of support, jungler, and solo laner. In all three positions, Kuzenbo is a tanky disrupter, able to initiate fights or enter in the middle of engagements. Outside of a few tricks we will cover, Kuzenbo is not great early but shines during skirmishes and full-on team fights.
Kuzenbo wants to start off the game paired a character with strong wave clear because he cannot clear the minions very well. When played in the solo lane, Kuzenbo has to lose gracefully against Warriors. Without jungler influence, Kuzenbo should be under his tower, obtaining as much farm as he can without dying. However, Kuzenbo can pressure other Guardians or weak laners and bully opponents when given a strong lead. Kuzenbo gets his real chance to shine outside of his lane.
As a support, Kuzenbo is a meat shield, looking to set up fights and take hits. He can zone and punish opposing carries better than other supports, but lacks guaranteed or instant set up and can be punished himself. Kuzenbo brings good damage, but is a risky support because he can fall off while behind harder than other supports. He still brings his Shell Spikes damage, but has less effective HP to absorb hits and easily dies when out of position.
As a jungler, Kuzenbo fits into the tanky archetype that is meta today. Kuzenbo has respectable jungle clear because he can ricochet his NeNe Kappa to triple hit jungle camps. He can build more damage than the solo or support while still being a tanky nuisance. Kuzenbo is a sneakily high damage jungler while still warding off opponents. Jungle Kuzenbo is freer to roam the map than a solo laner, while not being as far behind the rest of the map as a support. Overall, this might be his strongest role, and is definitely the position that can influence the map the most.
Kuzenbo’s role in fights is to annoy and harass the enemy carries. His entire kit is built around controlling squishy enemies. His passive helps him survive some damage while diving. The NeNe Kappa provides poke, slows, and creates a body to absorb basic attacks and skill shots. Kuzenbo’s Shell Spikes ability reflects up to 40% damage taken for 3 seconds. This is Kuzenbo's largest damage source. He can pop this skill in front of Hunters to make them stop attacking or die, or in the telegraph of a big Mage ability to burst them back. Shell Spikes stacks with other reflect mechanics and the cooldown of the NeNe Kappa is reduced when Kuzenbo is hit while his Shell Spikes are active.
Sumo Slam is Kuzenbo’s dash ability. If it hits an enemy god, they are pushed back with Kuzenbo. The King Kappa can push enemies through minions and into walls for damage, or move them to a place where his team can kill the target. Sumo Slam can also be used to devastating effect early game. As early as level one, a Kuzenbo can push enemies under his tower to deal a lot of damage and maybe even kill someone to snowball the lane.
Kuzenbo’s ultimate is Watery Grave. In this big area, Kuzenbo knocks opponents up and slightly back several times during the move. Kuzenbo can move during this skill, pushing enemies any direction he desires. This skill can be used to disengage and scatter a team fight or isolate a target for easy clean up. Watery Grave is also excellent at comboing with other big ultimates. It can keep targets pinned against an Odin wall or force enemies through Ganesha’s Dharmic Pillars. Watery Grave is a very powerful ultimate focusing on what Kuzenbo does best: control.
Kuzenbo dishes out a lot of damage. At level one, a Kuzenbo can Sumo Slam an enemy through their minion wave, dealing 240 damage + 105% damage to that god. This is an incredible amount of damage for so early into the game and with poor positioning from the opponent, can be followed up by pushing them into your tower for an almost guaranteed kill. Kuzenbo also has many smaller damage ticks that add up over time.
Discussions on Kuzenbo’s damage cannot be complete without mentioning the reflect damage from Shell Spikes. At a minimum, the enemy will be scared of hitting Kuzenbo in fear of the potential retaliation damage. When properly utilized in a team fight, Shell Spikes can spread a lot of damage around the enemy team, pumping up Kuzenbo’s player damage. While some amount of the reflect is inflated or “fake damage,” Shell Spikes can chunk unexpecting or unprepared damage dealers.
When played in the support or solo positions, Kuzenbo builds like every other Guardian in those roles. He is built tanky with defense items tailored to the enemy’s composition, his team’s needs, and the preferences of the individual player. Kuzenbo gets more build variety in the jungle position.
As a Guardian in the jungle, Kuzenbo has some build diversity. He is meant to be built at least partially tanky, or else he dies before doing much. Kuzenbo can be built as a full tank or a bruiser. In terms of damage items, Kuzenbo is best built with penetration. Most of Kuzenbo’s damage comes from Shell Spikes, which has no power scaling, so penetration is the best way to increase Kuzenbo’s overall damage.
Blink Rune and Shield of Thorns are the premier Relics on Kuzenbo. Starting with Blink can enable the early Sumo Slam detailed above and Kuzenbo can blink into team fights to engage with Watery Grave or to get in prime position for Shell Spikes. Shield of Thorns can be used in conjunction with Shell Spikes for massive reflect damage. Kuzenbo does not have to build these two Relics, players may opt for team fight options such as Sprint or Shell if they think it would be better for their team as a whole.
Blink Rune and Shield of Thorns are great Relics on Kuzenbo
Kuzenbo is a unique god in Smite. He has been rearing his ugly head recently in professional Smite games. Kuzenbo can play in three roles and deals a lot of damage at every stage of the game. He builds mostly defensively and utilizes Blink and Thorns very well. Kuzenbo is in a great spot right now and we will likely see more creative uses of the King Kappa at worlds and beyond.
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