Karthus Build Guide

Karthus - its all about the game win!

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Hello, I am not a pro platinum player but chances are you are not as well! I used [highlight]mid[/highlight] Karthus to get myself out of ELO hell through all tiers of silver within a few months into Gold where I am still doing well with my strategy. And I will let you know how! So this guide is aimed for lower tiers where a champion with global presence can really shine to get the team to a win. I have over 300 ranked games on Karthus now and a 60% win rate on my main account. 4 out of 5 games I end up if with the most dmg on my team, sometimes even doing more dmg than the other 4 team members combined. Here I will explain how you can help your team the most and at the end I give my suggestions on every 1on1 mid matchup you might encounter and how to deal with those champions. This guide might look a little different from others when looking at runes and masteries but for me they are the best way to carry your team and yourself to a win in lower tiers where people feed left and right of you. In Gold I play the more offensive rune/mastery sets as I already know how Karthus works against all the other champions. [title][highlight]Pros:[/highlight][/title] [.] [highlight]Safe and easy Farmer[/highlight] With his range you can farm without getting into a danger zone for ganks. You also get mana back for last hits, so you can stay out for very long if necessary. Later you will clean waves by just pressing a button in a second. [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] So he is also very good for people who have trouble last hitting with autoattack. [.] [highlight]High potential to help the team during lane phase[/highlight] Either with the global [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] or with [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] [.] [highlight]Insane damage during teamfights if in the right position[/highlight] [.] [highlight]Doesnt need a good start, can catch up and even snowball very late in the game[/highlight] [.] [highlight]High multikill and most damage done on the team potential when it gets into the late game[/highlight] [.] [highlight]High damage against Dragon or Baron for an AP champion[/highlight] [.] [highlight]Good champion to play 1vs2 at bot lane if you are 4vs5[/highlight] It is a long shot but I managed to win games 4vs5 by going solo to bot with [imgsmall=items/crystalline-flask.png] and [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] you can hold your tower for very long and still be safe from ganks because of your range. [.] [highlight]Very tolerable champion when playing with high ping or bad computer[/highlight] This is a nice bonus for people who have to play with a bad connection, there are no real skillshots, Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] is tollerable to some lag, [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] is autocasted around him and [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] also works on its own. [title][highlight]Cons:[/highlight][/title] [.] [highlight]If played without experience just a free kill at mid[/highlight] [.] [highlight]Cannot win a 1on1 against other champions in most situations during the lane phase[/highlight] Dont get me wrong if you are a better player you can harras your opponent down and when he is low enough go in for a kill but he cannot win many direct 1on1 fights. [.] [highlight]If counterpicked or camped by the jungler can be zoned and lose the tower soon[/highlight] [.] [highlight]Can run out of mana and is useless then until he dies[/highlight] [.] [highlight]Needs teamfights during the late game to be effective[/highlight] To avoid some of his shortcomings I play my Karthus very conservatly during the lane phase, concentrating on giving up no kills and gaining kills and assist at top or bot to increase the chances for the team overall. Last update 11. December 2014

[.][highlight]When it comes to teamfights[/highlight] it is important that you are right in the middle of the fight with your E [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png], also try to hit a lot of opponents with your wall [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] to decrease their magic resist. [imgsmall=summoners/flash.png] Flashing into opponents is often a good idea if the fighting already started. [.][highlight]After you died:[/highlight] Try to get 2-3 Qs [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] and your wall [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] up before hitting Requiem [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] if it is not on cooldown. It takes some practise to get a feeling how much you can do before you need to start [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] as it has a 3 second casting time and needs to be started 3 seconds ahead of your passive [imgsmall=skills/karthus/p.png] to end. [.][highlight]NEVER USE YOUR [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] WHEN YOU ARE ALIVE DURING A TEAMFIGHT[/highlight], always save it after you died so it cannot be stopped. Or when you are far far away from the fighting. In some cases it can be good to open a teamfight for example for baron from a save place with requiem but this needs good team communication and I would not recommend this as a general strategy in solo queue.

[.][highlight]Before minions:[/highlight] I buy my items quickly and then move to the river. Position yourself in a brush where you can see if an invade is coming. Tip: You can use your Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] to reveal enemys inside a brush, if it hits someone they will show up. Then help your jungler taking his buff and go to mid. [.][highlight]Farm, farm and farm:[/highlight] Main objective is not to feed yourself and help out other lanes so they dont feed as much. You cannot kill anyone 1on1, dont try, farm behind the minion lane, try not to push your lane and never cross the middle of the lane, you should not need wards ([img=items/warding-totem.png] should be enough in most cases). My first items also focus on movment and health to not get killed and especially mana so you can farm easy and might even let blue be taken by your jungler to increase his chances of doing well. [.][highlight]Tips on farming:[/highlight] Do not use your autoattack, it gets you way too close to harm, always use Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] to lasthit and try to use it on a single minion for double dmg. Aim away from the minion wave so the outer radius of the explosion will just hit the one minion that is low. This way you will do more dmg to the minion to secure you get the last hit and you will not push your wave as quickly. It takes some time until you have a feeling how [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] farming works but after some time you should be able to dance around in the back avoiding whatever the other player throws at you and placing your Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] on the move to get a lot of farm. Try to use [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] as little as possible during farming. It drains your mana quickly and the passive is turned off that gives you mana back if you last hit. [.][highlight]Farming under the turret:[/highlight] Sometimes you are forced to farm under your own turret. Karthus is just fine doing so. Let the tower shoot the melee minion twice (~lvl 1-6) and once (lvl 7+) and place a Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] right at the same time of the last hit, it will explode right after the tower did his dmg and you will get the last hit in most cases. On bunched up melee minions you might have to adjust a little and you have to wait a couple of tower shots with the siege minion. The caster minion always only takes one hit tower hit. [.] [highlight]Extra farm:[/highlight] You can also clean jungle wraiths or wolves if your minion wave is pushing too much, you have the mana and your jungler is fine with it (if he complains simple dont do it, better not to piss anyone off than having a little more gold, small issues can lead to real trolling in low tiers). [.] [highlight]Pay attention to roaming mid player:[/highlight] If you do well it will mostly stay 0:0 mid with you having even or more farm. Most mid players will then start roaming to other lanes, it is crucial that you let your team know when the mid player is missing. I use tons of pings to indicate if the mid player is missing and if I saw him going into a direction a use more pings to let that lane know of a danger. [.][highlight]Tell your jungler to help other lanes:[/highlight] This increases the chances that those lanes go well and dont feed. And Karthus is also not that good in killing the mid opponent with jungler help anyway, there is even a risk you will die 2vs1 as you are so squishy (remember point 1, most important dont feed the other mid player). If a gank happens it is crucial that you land your wall right, optimally place the wall directly on the opponent so he is even slowed when he flashes or jumps away and if he pushed far it will be a long walk back for him where you can place Qs [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] while your jungler should disable him some more. [.][highlight]Pay attention to the minimap![/highlight] You need to be quick to help if there is a jungler vs jungler fight. You need to be quick with teleport [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] to top or bot if there is a chance to turn a fight into your advantage. Once you hit 6 pay attention if there is an escaping opponent with low hp to get a kill (your team might not tell you themself). But dont just save [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] to gain kills, also use it when a fight somewhere just starts to give your player the advantage! [.][highlight]Harrassing:[/highlight] Mostly I do not recommend going for much harrassing as this will cost you a lot of mana and even if the opponent is on 50% hp a 1on1 will still not be in your favor. If the other champ bought a lot of potions I would just ignore him and farm. If he has no potions you can try to single hit him with your Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] and see how that goes, if his movment and your Q [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png] placement often hits then sure go for it. You will do the most damage if you wait for him to use his cooldowns on minions and then slow him with your wall [imgsmall=skills/karthus/w.png] (also decreasing magic res) and then hitting him single when he runs away with 2-3 Qs [imgsmall=skills/karthus/q.png]. But this costs a lot of mana and gets you over the middle of the lane with your wall on cooldown so be careful.

After you have farmed nice and helped out other lanes as best as you could it is time to build damage and go into teamfights for dragon and towers. [.]It is still your job to farm and help out others with [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] and [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png]. [.]Depending how warding is in general you might have to buy wards yourself, if possible I want to build the most AP I can but sometimes there is no warding from your team and if you do well you have to do this too, especially pink at baron. [.]I would mostly stick with the mid lane and not roam around alone as you are getting killed by pretty much everyone 1on1. Try to make Dragon and Baron or towers targets for your team since Karthus is really good getting objectives or shine in teamfights.

Its all about good teamfights now. You have to learn to use the [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] and [imgsmall=summoners/flash.png] the best way possible. You should do massive damage if you are in the middle of things. If you got this far and finish your item build it is mostly up to the general teamplay and with Karthus you have a good chance of winning those late teamfights to secure the win because you will do so much dmg with your [imgsmall=skills/karthus/e.png] and [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png]. Do not roam around alone anymore, stick with your team. Often you should have 200+ minion kills and your build might be finished already, so just clear waves if you really need the money. Karthus is also a champion that can clear minions that overrun your base to stay in the game, another bonus that could turn a sure loss into and open game.

[img=champ/soraka.png] [highlight]Soraka:[/highlight] Often Soraka will be picked to counter Karthus. I am always happy when people pick her after I locked in because of the following reasons: [.] Often opponents tell their support to pick Soraka to counter and if that is the case they might not be an experienced Soraka player [.] Soraka gets outshined by most other supports lategame [.] Soraka supports a very passive farm 2on2 at bot, this increases the chances that you control the game as a good mid and not the fed adc on the other team because they snowball all over your bot [.] If she uses her ulti to save someone at mid or top lane she doesnt have it for a 2on2 fight against your bot team down the road [.] Yes she takes a kill away from you every now and then but at late levels you can easy kill someone after she did her heal because you will do twice the damage to her heal [img=champ/shen.png] [highlight]Shen[/highlight] I would say that Karthus is a counter to Shen: [.] Shen is very good ~lvl 6-12 with his ultimate he can change the fate of other lanes and get his team snowballing in the right direction. Playing Karthus with Teleport [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] and your R [imgsmall=skills/karthus/r.png] you can negate some of Shen's influence. [.] Shen isnt the greatest teamfight champion late game but Karthus is. [.] Karthus in contrast to other AP champions also doesnt care too much if Shen taunts him when you are already in the middle of the teamfight. [.] Shen is good at split pushing late game, you can counter this a little bit with [imgsmall=summoners/teleport.png] [.] Of course Shen can take away some of your global presence as well but overall I would say Karthus counters Shen more than the other way around.

If you go with my guide you have a lot of tools to help out other lanes early which is crucial to either win the game right away or to get into late game where Karthus is one of the best champions in the game to winning long games. Leave a comment for suggestions and/or press the like button if the guide helped you, thanks for reading!

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