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The new SMITE gods have fallen, and the old god has risen. Cthulhu has finally hit the Battleground in the highly anticipated Great Dreamer update! This highly anticipated god is bringing madness upon his enemies and one of the largest ults the game has ever seen!

Cthulhu destroys the mental fortitude of his enemies and spread eldritch corruption wherever he goes — but if you’re trying to master this god, you just might drive yourself mad trying to figure out how best to leverage him in your games. Before you try and control the Great Dreamer, we have a few tips to share from pro SMITE players Fineokay, AwesomeJake408, and Jarcorrr to help guide your way.

In this guide, we’ll go over some of their pro advice on how to build and play Cthulhu in the 7.6 Update, and what you need to be focusing on when you bring this agent of chaos onto the battlefield.

 

How to Play Cthulhu

 

Cthulhu is classed as a guardian, but he’s flexible enough to fit into other roles like solo as well. Like most guardians, he has a large character model and relatively slow ability animations — but similar to Jormungandr, this doesn’t prevent him from being insanely effective in non-guardian roles. It all comes down to how you position yourself and how you itemize.

 

Combat Positioning

 

With a god as large and as slow-moving as Cthulhu, it’s imperative that you know how to position yourself in fights. According to Ghost Gaming solo laner Fineokay, the answer is simple: you want to be in the middle of everyone. Just dive right into the thick of the action and start swinging.

Cthulhu is huge and his animations are slightly slow like most guardians, and Fineokay recommends that players stay cognizant of this when they play him. When you do engage in a fight, you’re going to be in there for the long haul — so be ready to do damage and utility while you soak up a lot of abilities and autos from enemy gods. You cannot play this god like an assassin with quick engages and disengages, so make sure you’re in proper fighting form before you enter any sort of engagement on Cthulhu.

Fineokay also points out that because of Cthulhu’s size and his huge (but slow) AOE abilities, he has excellent potential when it comes to objective control. He can easily defend, zone, and even 1v3 around Gold Furies or Fire Giants, and can be a great asset in siege defenses too. So don’t be afraid to get in there and just body the enemy until they have to give up their aggression.

 

Ability Combos & Leveling Priority

 

If you’re used to playing guardians like Jormungandr, you probably won’t have much trouble with Cthulhu’s slow ability animations. But if you’re used to faster-firing gods, it might take some getting used to. No matter what ability you’re using, keep these slow animation times in mid and make sure that you’re timing your ability fires accordingly.

Cthulhu’s passive, Prey on Fear, applies stacks of Torment when you land abilities or the final hit of your basic attack chain, then afflicts your enemies with Insanity once they reach four stacks. Cthulhu gets a Magical Power buff based on the number of insane enemy gods nearby. Renegades support player AwesomeJake408 points out that this passive buff gives Cthulhu some strong early game potential. If you’re consistently stacking Torment on your enemies, you’ll see a decent early magical power spike that will give you a big leg up in your lane. For support players specifically, AwesomeJake says that Cthulhu’s passive makes him able to compete with other strong early supports like Yemoja or Hercules.

Chuthlu’s first ability, Sanity Break, is a cone attack that deals damage to enemies, reduces their attack speed, and gives Cthulhu some damage mitigation. If an enemy is afflicted with Insanity, this ability will Fear them — and consuming that Insanity will permanently increase the base damage mitigation on this ability. Not only is this ability a fantastic way to apply Torment to one or more enemies, but it’s also a great way to control a team fight by reducing the effectiveness of enemy auto-attackers and allowing Cthulhu to soak a ton of damage with the added mitigation. So your squishier teammates will have the opportunity to deal tons of damage while the enemy is weakened and using all their firepower to try and bring you down.

Cthulhu’s second ability, The Mire, is an AOE attack that applies a Slow on the first tick and a Root on the second tick, with each tick applying one stack of torment as well. Much like his first ability, this is a fantastic way to control the flow of a teamfight. If you’ve positioned yourself in the middle of the action like Fineokay recommends above, you should be able to fire this ability and either slow down the enemy’s aggression or prevent them from disengaging so your teammates can stay on the offensive.

Cthulhu’s third ability, Rushing Terror, is a dash that can damage, stun, and knock away enemies. Using this ability will also summon two projectiles that travel a bit farther (and a bit slower) to deal a second hit of damage to enemies. Both the dash and the ensuing projectiles will apply Torment stacks to any enemy hit. While this ability can obviously be used as an escape, it’s also an amazing tool for starting team fights or disrupting engagements to put the enemy team in an unfavorable position. The damage on this ability is nothing to scoff at, and the combination of a stun/knockback plus a double-dose of damage can easily force your enemies to turn tail — especially if you start or disrupt a team fight by consuming a good chunk of health and stacking it with some CC that will give your teammates a chance to shred the enemy before they can react.

Cthulhu’s ultimate, Descend Into Madness, reveals his (massive) true form and grants him both a health increase and a whole set of new abilities. And as an added bonus, enemies who witness this transformation will suffer a Sanity Break that gives him damage mitigation. The three new abilities that Cthulhu gains in this form are as follows:

  • Sever: Summons three large projectiles that deal damage and apply a Protection Reduction debuff
  • Devastate: AOE that damages and knocks up enemies
  • Transfuse: Cthulhu damages himself in order to give his allies a buff to Health, Movement Speed, and Power.

 

The team fight potential of this ultimate is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re in the thick of the battle, you can easily debuff your enemies, apply some CC, and then buff your allies to turn the tides of the team fight in your favor. Your enormous size will make you an easy target to hit, but will also allow you to bodyblock for squishy or fleeing teammates, and your revamped abilities will let you disrupt the flow of a fight and potentially even sustain your team through what would otherwise be a fatal enemy collapse.

As far as ability combos go, Jarcorrr points out that Cthulhu’s abilities are relatively close range — so more often than not you’re going to be using your dash as an engage tool to make sure you’re in range to use the rest of your kit. Fineokay agrees, recommending that you use Rushing Terror > Sanity Break > Descend Into Madness as your primary combo. This will put you right into the middle of a team fight, which is exactly where you want to be. Once you’re in your ultimate, Jarcorrr says a quick Devaste > Sever combo will damage, debuff, and knock up everyone around you, setting up your carries for some easy pickings. And you’ll still have your Transfuse ability to buff and heal your allies so they can sustain themselves throughout the fight.

In most cases, your leveling order will see you take Sanity Break or Rushing Terror at Level 1. Whichever one you don’t take at Level 1 should be taken at Level 2. Then take The Mire last at Level 3. From there on, your leveling priority will be:

Descend Into Madness > Rushing Terror > Sanity Break > The Mire

It might seem strange to prioritize leveling a dash over an AOE ability like The Mire, but the damage on Rushing Terror is nothing to scoff at — and you’ll be using this ability frequently to properly position yourself in fights so it’s important you’re maximizing its potential. While The Mire can be incredibly useful, it’s not quite as potent as Cthulhu’s other abilities, so it’s okay to prioritize this one last.

 

How to Build Cthulhu

 

Now that you’ve mastered this eldritch horror and have learned how to position yourself on Cthulhu, the next step toward dominating your lane is making sure that you’re building him properly. Cthulhu is classed as a guardian, but he can also function well in the solo lane with the right build path. Even if you are taking him to the duo lane, you’ll find that you have a lot more freedom to depart from traditional tank builds.

While it might be tempting to build a ton of tank items on Cthulhu to maximize your damage sponge potential, Fineokay points out that your increased health, CC immunity, and damage mitigation from your ult (and other abilities) will keep you plenty healthy even without a ton of traditional defensive items.

 

Fineokay’s Bruiser Mage Build

 

In lieu of the traditional tank items that aren’t as vital for Cthulhu, Fineokay prefers prioritizing CDR and utilizing more of a bruiser mage build. This includes items like:

  • Ethereal Staff
  • Gem of Isolation
  • Void Stone

 

In addition to some crowd control reduction, these items will help increase the effectiveness of your slows and enemy debuffs. Ethereal Staff will help you steal health and mana that will only add to your high max health. Gem of Isolation add even more slow potential to what’s already built into your kit. And Void Stone will synergize really well with your passive, shredding some of your enemy’s Magical Protections as you gain Magical Power through driving them insane.

Fineokay also recommends building some CDR to make sure that your abilities are readily available as often as possible. Which CDR item you choose to build will be largely situational, so just take stock of the game state and choose a CDR item that best suits your circumstances.

 

Jarcorrr’s CDR Solo Build

 

Jarcorrr also prefers a CDR-heavy build for Cthulhu. Here are a few example build paths you can take for this god to maximize your CDR:

Versus a Physical Lane Opponent or a Strong Hunter Comp

  • Shoes of Focus (if you want early CDR)
    • Alternative: Shoes of the Magi (if you want more early power + sustain)
  • Breastplate of Valor (for added CDR)
    • Alternative: Celestial Legion Helm (if you need more power + added physical protections)
  • Ethereal Staff
  • Spectral Armor
  • Mantle of Discord
    • Alternative 1: Spirit Robe (if enemy CC is an issue)
    • Alternative 2: Hide of the Urchin (for added sustain via extra protections + temp health shield)
  • Soul Reaver (if you want more late game damage)
    • Alternative: Gauntlet of Thebes (for added late game protections)

 

It might sound crazy to pick up Thebes so late in the game, but Jarcorrr says you can easily stack this item in late by defending or sieging in the late game.

Once you’re ready to sell your boots for a sixth item, You might want to look at:

  • Mantle of Discord
  • Spirit Robe
  • Spear of Desolation

 

What you choose here will largely be situational, so just take stock of the game state, pinpoint whether you need more team fight sustain potential or if you need some extra damage to help out your team.

—–

Versus a Magical Lane Opponent or a Mage-Heavy Comp

  • Shoes of Focus (for early CDR)
    • Alternative: Shoes of the Magi (for early power + sustain)
  • Void Stone (for added power + prots and an enemy magical prots debuff)
    • Alternative: Genji’s Guard (for added health + magical prots and situational CDR that’s extremely effective against mages)
  • Ethereal Staff
  • Oni Hunter’s Garb
  • Mantle of Discord
    • Alternative 1: Spirit Robe (if enemy CC is an issue)
    • Alternative 2: Hide of the Urchin (for added sustain via extra protections + temp health shield)
  • Soul Reaver (if you want more late game damage)
    • Alternative: Gauntlet of Thebes (for added late game protections)

 

Once again, you can sell your boots for either Mantle of Discord, Spirit Robe, or Spear of Desolation to complete this build.

Regardless of which version of this CDR-heavy build you go with, Jarcorrr says that Thorns will almost always be a must-buy relic for Cthulhu. With his high max health and his damage mitigation, Cthulhu is a fantastic damage sponge who will get a lot of value out of Thorns and punish enemy aggressors for trying to bring him down. So if you’re taking Cthulhu to solo, you’ll probably end up taking Teleport first and Thorns as your second relic.

 

Final Strategy Tips for Cthulhu

 

Now that you know how to build Cthulhu and leverage his abilities as effectively as possible, here are a few final tips from our pros on how to master the Great Dreamer:

  • Stick to the enemy carries. Cthulhu has stupidly high damage potential, and you can be a serious headache for enemy carries if you make it a point to disrupt them with your kit. Whether you’re in your ult or just hitting your ability combos, you even have the potential to solo an enemy squishy.

 

  • Make sure you have your ult before engaging in a team fight. This seems like an obvious tip, but it’s especially important for Cthulhu. His ultimate is such a huge asset in team fights that you would frankly be doing your team a disservice to start an engagement without your ultimate online.

 

  • Remember that while you’re beefy, you’re not unkillable. A lot of new Cthulhu players make the mistake of thinking that his insane max health potential and his damage mitigation means that they’re basically unkillable. But as formidable as he is, Cthulhu can still be very vulnerable in some situations. Enemy gods who have built Soul Reaver, Qin’s Sais, or any sort of crit can shred you pretty quickly — especially if you’re being focused by more than one enemy god. So always pay close attention to how much damage you’re actually taking.

 

  • You can be ganked pretty easily in lane. Like Fineokay mentioned earlier in this guide, Cthulhu is not the sort of god that can quickly disengage from fights — which means he’s very vulnerable to ganks when he’s in lane. So be sure to take some extra precautions that will prevent your enemies from getting the jump on you.

 

Victory!

 

Now that you’ve gotten some pro tips from Jarcorrr, Fineokay, and AwesomeJake408, you should have everything you need to build and play Cthulhu like the best of them. But if you’re still looking for a few more tips on how to master the Great Dreamer, be sure to check out Fineokay’s Cthulhu damage build video or watch Jarcorrr on stream! Or you might catch any one of these pros playing Cthulhu in our SMITE Pro League games when Phase 2 kicks off on July 24.