For your listening pleasure for this guide: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT7kLbJ2WnY[/youtube] Credits to PlentaKill Updating because reasons... Karthus. Just the name brings back so many memories of destructive ults and lost opportunities to win. Karthus is the ultimate mage. There is no dispute. He will not be beat. For those of you who think he can, look in the wake of his ult and tell me otherwise. This guide is geared towards those in lower levels of play and how to develop skills for higher levels of play once they level up. If you're looking at this guide and are raging because it's not the \"2000 ELO\" build you're so used to knowing, this guide is not meant to help the top players. Anyone at 2000 ELO doesn't need help. It is those who are in ELO Hell or those who are still leveling up and learning the game who need theses kinds of guides. I'm just giving them rough builds and ideas that can be variated for higher levels of play. [b][center]Why Karthus?[/center][/b] [title]Pros:[/title] [.] High damage mage [.] Ult that targets everything and almost assures damage [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] [.] Difficult to be ganked [.] Great harass with skills [.] If he dies, his passive allows him 7 more seconds of activity [imgsmall=skills/karthus/p.png] [.] Easy to get fed with him [title]Cons:[/title] [.] Consumes mana really easily [.] Squishy [.] Easily countered in lane [.] Needs a strong team to be effective in team fights and such Karthus can find himself effective in pretty much any team comp. Even after all these patches, Karthus still finds himself in good favor in competitive play. He's no assassin, but he can still be an influential factor in any team fight.
Standard route for most Karthus games. R>Q>E>W -Always get ultimate whenever you can. -Q is your main farming and damage tool. -E is a good AOE spell. -W is a great slow utility spell that doesn't need much leveling up until late. [b][u]Notes[/u][/b] -If you fear the jungler will gank early, take W at Lv. 3 instead of your second level in Q.
No matter which starter items you get, your main goal as AP mid is to get all the farm possible. This includes last hitting with either your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] or your auto attack. Try not to push too hard, because if the enemy jungler decides to show up and you haven't got a [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] to spare, you will pretty much be screwed. Karthus has no true escape, so the very best scenario is that he has to burn a lot of Mana to scare people off or he has to burn [imgsmall=summoners/flash.png], neither of which you want to do. Try to harass the enemy champion as much as possible. You can place [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] under their feet to disrupt their farm or hurt them a bit. Like I said before, people run in reaction to the sound of your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png], and with it only on a 1 second cool down, its appearance is unexpected. Then again, know your own limitations and know when to back off. The strange thing about Karthus is that if he dies before he hits Lv. 6, he's pretty much useless. So try not to have this happen: [imgext=http://i46.tinypic.com/e5o01i.png] If the enemy champion is pushing really hard, throw down your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png], chase them a bit to deal some damage, then back off, unless you can ensure the kill. If you manage to make them return back to base, you have done your job and disrupted their farm. if not, hey, you can start killing them again. Ask your jungler for blue constantly. Karthus can be a very aggressive champion, so grabbing blue will ensure that you won't run out of mana so easily. I tend to spam [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] a bunch, and situations call for using [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] and [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png], all of which burn mana easily. Part of the reason why I bring [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] is so I can go back to base, buy a few items, and spring right back into the action ready to go with no fear of your ult not having enough mana. You'll get your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] at Level 6, and as tempting as it is to press R whenever you want, don't. You need to make sure you can get the kill for yourself. Your ult isn't that strong yet, so don't go wasting it on a tank at full health. You need to develop good map awareness. Look at top and bot lane often for any enemies that might be low on health. If you think you can finish the job, do it. If you need a checklist to see what to consider, here's what I usually consider before I ult: [.] Is the enemy tanky? If yes, do not ult. [.] Does he have [imgsmall=summoners/heal.png] or Support next to him? If yes, do not ult. [.] Is he running away? If no, do not ult. [.] Is there any possible chance that I will get kill stolen? If yes, do not ult. Don't ult tanks unless they're at a really, really low health. If the enemy has a heal, they will see your ult and heal right before it happens. If they're not running away, that means they know they can survive your ult somehow. If you get kill stolen, you will neither pick up the kill nor the assist. Also, announce to your teammates when you have an ult ready. They may want you to ult, and you have no idea why, but do it anyways. Your teammates may see a potential kill target that you may not be able to see. You may land the kill, you might not. It definitely is a gamble. Use good judgement in using your ult. The main goal of Karthus in Early Game is to get kills by any means necessary. If it means kill stealing and raging teammates, forget about them. You're freaking Karthus. If you get fed this early in the game, you've pretty much ensured yourself the victory if no one does anything stupid.
I think Mid game for Karthus starts when he gets to Lv. 11, when he get the second level of his ult. At this stage, Karthus is allowed to operate more freely without any real fear of wasting mana or skills. You might want to consider roaming around to other lanes if you're not doing so already. If there are huge masses of minions sieging a tower, rush there, turn on [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png], and mow them over. You get massive amounts of gold and you can save a tower. Team fights are bound to ensue at this point in the game. Try your best not to be the one that starts it. Instead, if your team wants to force a team fight, make sure your tank initiates. After your tank starts creating havoc, lay down your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png], walk in the fight with [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] on, and start blasting people with [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png]. Works almost every single time. In the eventuality that you do happen to die, if your team is still engaged in the fight and doing relatively well, do not be afraid to use [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] to weaken the enemy team at least. You may not be able to get the kills, but you will get the assists if your team keeps pushing.
[imgext=http://i45.tinypic.com/5jslc0.png] At this point in the game, you should be the one outputting the most damage on the team, save maybe for your AD Carry. Your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] can blow up a squishy champion in about 8-10 hits, your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] should wipe out waves of minions clean in seconds. Your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] should be getting you double kills, if not quadras or pentad. Team fights are gonna be more or less the same, but if you're building a [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png], you can spend the first few seconds of your invulnerability with [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] on just dealing damage at no expense to your survivability. Karthus tends to be very \"high risk, high reward\", meaning that in team fights, a LOT of people are going to be focusing him to take down the fastest, because when you're around, you will melt through their team. I always find myself dying a lot in this stage of the game, where I enter Late Game about 15/2/14 and end the game at around 29/14/23. Though a risky gamble, having you out of the way means they won't run the risk of being ulted in team fights. Just be wary of the fact that even if your tank initiates the team fight, people are gonna get smart enough to bypass him and charge straight at you. If your enemies got smart and built MR, a [imgsmall=items/void-staff.png] and a [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png] will quickly solve those problems for you. Elixir [imgsmall=items/elixir-of-brilliance.png] up, push, win. GG.
I've explained briefly about your role in team fights throughout the guide, but I'll take this section to explain it in full depth. The most important thing in team fights is to not die unnecessarily. If you lose one guy because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, you do not need to go and help him. Better to lose one man than a whole team. [imgext=http://i43.tinypic.com/33yta2q.png] But let's say your team isn't as dumb as the picture above. Below is the ideal situation you want to have team fights happen. [imgext=http://i39.tinypic.com/2ecnfgz.png] If your tank is doing his job to keep the other team engaged and focusing him, you should be right behind him, the second one on your team to enter the fight. [imgext=http://i44.tinypic.com/348iy4o.png] Line up your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] to make sure that it hits as many enemies as possible. This will make them easier targets for you and your teammates to kill. [imgext=http://i44.tinypic.com/18dgs3.png] Once you've done all this, you and your teammates should engage, for all the groundwork has been set to ensure that the odds turn in your favor. Turn on your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] and charge in. Target squishies with your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] to ensure maximum damage. Your allies should be getting in a few kills as well. [imgext=http://i40.tinypic.com/2vj51xc.png] There may or may not be a few stragglers left with a measly amount of health left. So what do you do? [imgext=http://i42.tinypic.com/2uy61rq.png] YOU ULT THE MOTHAF***AS!!! [imgext=http://i41.tinypic.com/2uo5nbt.png]
I know, right? Karthus's ult can be dodged. And it is just the most annoying thing in the world when you know you've done pretty much bet everything on this one ult only to have it dodged by the person you're trying to kill. I'm not talking about characters that can heal themselves out of your ult, such as some supports of the use of [imgsmall=summoners/heal.png]. I'm talking about those that can just plain avoid it. Avoiding Karth's ult is a matter of timing. If champs can't time their skills right, they risk being hit by your ult. Learn or approximate the cool downs of each of their abilities to know how you can find an opening for a perfect ult. In most cases, ulting right after they just used such an ability is a good idea, for most of the cool downs for these skills take longer than 3 seconds. Anyways, here's a list of people that can completely avoid getting hit by your ult. [img=champ/sivir.png]-Her Spell Shield blocks your ult and gives her Mana. [img=champ/nocturne.png]-His Shroud of Darkness blocks your ult, and also increases his Attack Speed. [img=champ/vladimir.png]-He can use his Sanguine Pool to dodge your ult. [img=champ/kayle.png]-Two second invulnerability is all she needs to block all your damage from your ult. And she can even cast it on high value targets that you want to ult, but can't since they're protected. [img=champ/elise.png]-In her Spider Mode, she can disappear up into the air. Then she can land on you after you've ulted to finish you off. [img=champ/fizz.png]-Playful/Trickster makes him untargettable, and therefore nullifying your ult. He has to be pretty exact though, as he can only stay that way for half a second. [img=champ/poppy.png]-Annoying as heck, Diplomatic Immunity grants her, well, immunity from your ult for a LOOOOONGGG time provided she has targeted a champ other than you. The only limitation to this is that she has to target a champion other than you, otherwise, this trick of her's won't fly. [img=champ/fiora.png]-Blade Waltz allows her to be untargettable, so she can dodge your ult, however, she's probably only gonna be doing this in a team fight, and you can still hit her with your E [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png]. Like Poppy, she also needs a champ to target for this to work for her. [img=champ/zed.png]-Uses ult to dodge you if he targets a champ, and if he targets you, count on being dead. [img=champ/masteryi.png]-Alpha Strike is a shorter lasting version of Fiora's Blade Waltz, but it still has the same effect, though even though Yi can target anybody using this trick and still dodge you, the duration varies depending on the amount of enemies there are, and even then, it is still a short time. [img=champ/maokai.png]-Twisted Advance works the same way, needs to target someone, stays untargettable until the move is complete. Though Maokai aren't usually smart enough to dodge your ult in this way, it is still possible. And then here are some special cases. These guys can't block your ult, but they definitely have ways to survive it. [img=champ/anivia.png]-Her passive Rebirth gives her a second life, so even though your ult may kill her, you have to kill her egg as well. There goes your ult. [img=champ/tryndamere.png]-Undying Rage gives him invincibility almost, and for 5 seconds, he could be using the time when you're ulting to smash you to pieces. [img=champ/zac.png]-Passive allows him to live, but split into blobs. He may not live after that, but you might not get the kill in the end. [img=champ/aatrox.png]-Bloodwell is basically a Guardian Angel for free. The other champions not on this list may choose to itemize against you. [img=items/banshees-veil.png]-Has a Spell Shield to block your ult, and frequently too. I suggest using your other skills to bring down the Spell Shield first and then ulting. [img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png]-Grants immunity and they can't be targeted by your ult.
There's been a lot of debate over the validity of a \"Suicide Karthus\". It seems like a good idea, but is it really? The main premise behind Suicide Karthus is the abuse of his passive [imgsmall=skills/karthus/p.png]. Kathus charges in, dies, and makes the enemies too engaged to escape his black hole of despair. This works surprisingly well, and it mirrors the tactics of Karthus's team fight role. But some people take this as \"Karthus is supposed to die\" or \" Die and press R\". Ladies and Gentlemen Cho'Gaths, this is the complete wrong way of thinking. [center][title]Why a True Suicide Karthus Never Works[/title][/center] [.] You will wind up feeding. Those deaths you give off feed the enemy champions. It's giving yourself as bait, and they will always take it. [.] Your time of effectiveness in team fights decrease. If the goal of Karthus was to die, he would only have his ring for 7 seconds, and then the ring turns off. When he dies, his range becomes limited to his circle, and the team fight will not always be in that circle. By playing Karthus a little bit safer, you are able to keep [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] on for longer and be able to move where the team fight is moving. [center][title]How to Play Suicide Karthus[/title][/center] Suicide Karthus is tricky. If you're intent on playing Suicide Karthus, there has to be an aspect of \"trading\", meaning for your death, your team kills 3 enemies, or something like that. To ensure something like this happens, here are some tips. [.] Synchronize with another ally. Champs like [imgsmall=champ/jarvaniv.png], who are good at keeping enemies confined in one area, are good for Suicide Karthus to just pop in there and wreak havoc. For example, if you and Jarvan can be trapped inside [imgsmall=skills/jarvaniv/r.png] with a couple other enemies, you could very well die, but putting yourself in that danger allows you to deal up close maximum damage. [.] Dive into an enemy team composition in a way that disrupts the team. If you can barrel straight down the middle of a mass of enemy champs and target the squishies, you know you're gonna die, but you can at least disrupt their movement in a team fight, because they don't want to be anywhere near that circle of death. The result is either the squishy carries have to sit the team fight out or they risk getting killed by you. A good method of doing so is flashing [imgsmall=summoners/flash.png] in the middle of the fray so that you encompass their entire team. [.] I'm out of mana! Judge what situation you are in. There are very few circumstances where you just do not have the mana to pull off the perfect ult, or maybe it's in the middle of a team fight, and you are of no use whatsoever because you have no mana. This is the only situation where it is acceptable to give yourself up intentionally when in reality you could still live a little bit longer. So go ahead and dive yourself into that turret or pack of enemies. Then make them pay for it by spamming out all your skills and ult at the end of it. [.] [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] is a must. You've probably seen champs like Kennen [imgsmall=champ/kennen.png] and Morgana [imgsmall=champ/morgana.png] do something similar with their ults. They pop in, turn Zhonya's on, and as the enemies try to kill them, they just wasted 2 seconds trying to kill something that can't be killed, all while they're taking massive damage. You can use this method similarly with Karthus's [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png], as you can waltz right into a battle, turn on Zhonya's, and watch the enemy team scramble, not knowing what to do. Best of all, this is almost a surefire way of making sure you don't get killed in the process. Arguably, diving without [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] is asking for trouble. [.] You know you're gonna die in a team fight. You're not invincible. Sometimes it's just better to bring on the inevitable and take a death. Hopefully your team will rush in at the right moment when you die while you prepare a vicious ult to bring their demise.
[img=champ/soraka.png] While not in particular a real threat, if she's built properly, you will be rendered useless. Not only does she have a regular supply of heals and mana restores for her team and a Silence, but she too has a global ult that affects all players, but on her team. Her [imgsmall=skills/soraka/r.png] allows her to heal every single member on her team, no matter how far away they are. Hey, that kinda sounds like your ult, only her ult heals people, your ult kills. If you're not already seeing the big picture, once you try to use your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] to try and kill a low opponent, she can use her [imgsmall=skills/soraka/r.png] to heal him. What's more is that it doesn't require a 3 second channel like yours does. Once the red marker appears over her head, she will be notified of the impending danger and use her ult to reduce, if not negate, the damage of [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png]. Thought you could kill that straggler trying to run away? Not anymore. Fret not, she can be beaten at this game easily. [.] Chances are, she's not going strict AP like you are. She's not known to be the carry. The only AP she might ever build is [imgsmall=items/morellonomicon.png], and that's only if she wants to get aggressive and carry. She's most likely never going to get a [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png]. You, however, are stacking a lot of AP. So you should be outdamaging what she is trying to heal. [.] Once [img=skills/soraka/r.png] is on cool down, you're free to cast [img=skills/karthus/r.png] for a while. Though she will try to make her cool down to a minimum, once she casts [imgsmall=skills/soraka/r.png], you can be assured at least a 50-60 second window of opportunity to lay some damage down. [.] She can't ult if she's dead. That's rather unlike you. If she dies, you can ult freely and there will be no source of heal for her team. Have an assassin type like Talon [imgsmall=champ/talon.png] or Zed [imgsmall=champ/zed.png] eliminate her first, then proceed to wreck the team. [.] Soraka is fairly fragile. No matter how much MR or health she builds, you should be able to blast her apart given the opportunity. She can't heal that much.
Again, I'm definitely not the best Karthus player in the world, but I hope that you at least learned how to play Karthus correctly if you're new to him, or that you at least think that he's more than just pressing R. Feel free to give constructive criticism of the guide and help me improve it. I'm open to POSITIVE suggestions. Peace, DarkFuzz