Karthus Build Guide

Requesting Global Airstrike

Updated 4 years ago
164,407
83%
Runes
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Magic Penetration (+0.87 magic penetration)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power (+0.1 ability power per level (+1.8 at champion level 18))
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power (+0.17 ability power per level (+3.06 at champion level 18))
  • 3
    Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed (+1.5% movement speed)
Skill Order
Q W E R
1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13
14 14 14 14
15 15 15 15
16 16 16 16
17 17 17 17
18 18 18 18

Hello I'm Bombastrelopas. Thanks for paying a visit to my first guide here at Solomid :D. Right now I am at the top20 of the EU-NE ladder and I am here to talk about a champion who has helped me a lot to achieve this, Karthus. [title]Pros: [/title] [.]Safe Fast and Easy Farming [.]Global Ultimate [.]Deals damage even when he dies [.]Can slow all 5 opponents [title]Cons:[/title] [.]Doesn't have any escapes. As many of you might have noticed Karthus has always been one of the main picks in competitive play since ever. Maybe not always first picked/banned but definitely not out of the scene. So what is it that makes Karthus this awesome? You could think of Karthus as Morgana. Basically with Karthus you can never lose your lane because even when you get counterpicked you can just farm from distance and still be useful at team fights. The second reason why Karthus is strong is because of his damage. His Q hits like a truck at high levels if it hits a single target and the fact that he still deals damage after he dies is really something else. Basically Karthus has so many positives there is no reason not to pick him in pretty much any team comp. He has nice damage, safe lane, can slow an entire enemy team and deals damage even when he dies. My personal story with Karthus was quite odd. I was playing with my team on an online tournament and it was picking face and i had no idea what the hell i should pick, and I just said: OH what the hell I'll just play Karthus. Fun fact was that i hadn't ever played Karthus before. I barely knew what his abilities did. Anyway the match went quite good and ever since then i fell in love with Karthus and thought he was the most OP mage in the game(actually i still do o.O). Then i picked him up at ranked continued playing him and he soon became one of my strongest champs. [highlight]We even have the same tastes with him:[/highlight] [center][imgext=http://imgur.com/KIeve.jpg] [/center] So if you have been reading up to this part let's get to the interesting part and let's do some X-ray analysis on Karthus(even though i believe it won't be far off from what he looks like ^^) [center][imgext=http://i.imgur.com/EcHvf.jpg] [/center]

As you can see my runes are aimed for late game. With the rune set mentioned above you will hit like a truck at the mid-late game. The only other choices you have at runes is to swap the MS quints with flat AP. I recommend MS for beginners or if you are against an Udyr/Alistar/Nautilus jungle. If you feel man mode go for the +15 flat AP quints which is generally a lot better.

[title][img=skills/karthus/p.png] Passive: Death Defied[/title] [number]Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells while dead for 7 seconds. [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Best passive in the game hands down. It basically is the reason why it's so hard to play agaisnt a Karthus. With other AP carries you can be like: OK focus the carry and kill it. With Karthus even when you focus him and kill him (while blowing tons of cooldowns on him) he will steal deal TONS OF DAMAGE(literally). [title][img=skills/karthus/q.png] Q: Lay Waste[/title] [number]Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy, this deals double damage if it hits only a single unit. Cooldown 1seconds Cost 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52mana Range 875[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Your main damaging spell which you max first. Weak at early ranks but its damage get's OP after level 3. Especially if you hit single targets. It is also your main farming tool and lane-pushing tool. What can a man(an undead man better) ask for? OH i know why not make it give vision at bushes. Wait a minute... it does. NVM! [title][img=skills/karthus/w.png] W: Wall of Pain[/title] [number]Creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall through target point. Reduces enemy armor and magic resistance by 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 and reduces movement speed by up to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%; debuff lasts 5 seconds. The wall lasts 5 seconds. Cooldown 22 seconds Cost 100 mana Range 1000 [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Your cc/utility spell. A counter-shurelias to the whole enemy team and an MR&Armour debuff to them. Helps you set up nice ganks with your jungler during the laning phase. When you hit level 18 the wall can cover an entire lane. You max this last cause it's mainly used for utility. [title][img=skills/karthus/e.png] E: Defile[/title] [number]Toggle Off: When Karthus kills a unit, he restores 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 mana. Toggle On: Drains 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 Mana to deal 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 (+25% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second. Cooldown 0.5seconds Range 550[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] You max this second. Same with Q it deals minimal damage at earlier ranks but once you get fed up it hurts. A LOT. What is more it has a nice passive which gives you mana for every minion you kill. Endless farm with Q? NP! [title][img=skills/karthus/r.png] R: Requiem[/title] [number]After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance). Cooldown 180 / 150 / 120 seconds Cost 200 / 300 / 400 mana Range 10000 [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] IF YOU MANAGE TO LAND THIS YOU ARE THE BEST KARTHUS IN THE WORLD. YOU ONLY SMARTCAST THIS CAUSE IT'S SO HARD TO LAND IT IF YOU DON'T HAVE SMARTCAST ON. Nothing to say here. Everybody knows (and many people hate) this skill. Helps you get tons of assists/kills during the laning phase and does a lot of damage after you die in a teamfight.

To be honest there aren't really a lot of choices when you build Karthus. He is one of those champions that sticks to one build 99% of the games. Since you are going AP mid you start with: [img=items/health-potion3.png][img=items/boots-of-speed.png]. This will give you enough sustain and mobility to escape skills/ganks. At first back if you farmed well you should be able to farm your [img=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] and a few [img=items/sight-ward.png]. Then you should work towards your [img=items/rod-of-ages.png][img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png]. If they have a TOO TOO tanky team you can also go for [imgsmall=items/haunting-guise.png] instead of the RoA. I tried it once worked quite well. Then you should start farming for your [img=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] which will sky-rocket your damage. Final item should be [img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png]. I say final cause usually most games won't last longer. Hourglass is very important because it will help you last longer at teamfights and help you deal even more damage. If the game lasts EVEN more, finish with [img=items/void-staff.png] to maximise the damage since they will have gotten MR and [img=items/will-of-the-ancients.png]. Will of the ancients like Zhonyas helps you survive more and deal damage for more time. So basically as you see the whole build orients around survivability in teamfights and maximising the damage which is what karthus is about. Final item you could consider is [img=items/rylais-crystal-scepter.png] instead of WoTa. That's personal preference. Maybe if the game lasts more than 60 minutes you could sell your boots for a [img=items/guardian-angel.png].

[center]Farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm, farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm,farm.[/center] How you farm: You use your Q and make it so that it hits only one cs so that you don't push your lane. At later ranks of your Q dont' last hit minions from full hp even if you can, cause that will push your wave and you will end pu getting ganked. With Karthus you have IMMENSE lane control. With enough training you should always have the enemy's cs where you want them to be so that you can farm safely and prepare yourself for the mid-late game. If you get ganked use wall to slow the jungler and back off. At first back get 2 wards to have a fully safe lane and keep on farming till you finish your RoA/Penetration boots. Generally at early levels you aren't THAT strong and if there are fights happening between you&yourjungler/enemyAP&theirjungler you are at a disadvantage. Play safe and cautiously. Don't engage too much in early game fights unless you are forced to. Practise controlling your lane. A very important skill on Karthus.

Keep on farming. You never stop farming with Karthus simply because he has the easiest and fastest farming in the game. If you have finished RoA and boots you are dealing a lot of damage and should fight for objectives. Karthus is very useful when fighting for objectives because with his Q he can lower the HP of the drake/baron very fast. Don't forget to farm wolves/wraiths whenever the jungler is ganking something. Camps respawn fast in the new jungle anyway. Finally make sure to watch around the map for possible KS with your ultimate.

[center]You have finally transformed from this: [imgext=http://thecomicscode.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/1/5/2615983/9986913_orig.jpg][/center] [center]To this: [imgext=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_LLNy32Hn3ao/S8r4LIfUEkI/AAAAAAAAB6E/mR5T9E3ecno/s1600/mumm-ra.jpg][/center] Make sure you don't get caught out of position alone because you are the main damage source from your team(after your AD of course). Push for objectives and go for the win. Don't forget to buy the [img=items/elixir-of-brilliance.png][imgsmall=items/elixir-of-fortitude.png] if you have full build.

There is no way to teach you HOW to teamfight because every teamfight is unique. There are these general things you should aim for at every teamfight: [.]Survive as much as you can before you die. Using your Zhonyas at the right time and don't get peeleed of immediately by their AD. [.]Use wall on their Carries. It will help both you and your team to kill them faster. [.]Do your best to die near to as many opponents as possible, so that after you die your E can continue dealing damage. [.]Land your Qs on as many people as possible. When you die remember that you have enough time to do 2 more Qs and one ulti. Generally it's a good idea to do the ulti immediately after you die so that you are 100% sure that it will cast. The downside of that is that a lot of them will have run away from your AoE and it will be hard to land your Qs. You will have to judge if it's better to do the 2Qs first or the ultimate first. Sometimes people do the ultimate before the teamfight. You will see that more in competitive play when you want to push for objectives. Not recommended for solo queue. To sum it up with the general combo in a teamfight. Harass a bit with your Q. When you think it's the right time to dive in, flash in exhaust their AD carry use wall on as many people as possible open E and start throwing Qs like a crazy undead being.

You CAN jungle with Karthus and it's actually pretty fast if you have blue. But there is really no reason to do it unless having fun in a normal.

How to survive during your farming-simulator. [img=champ/ahri.png]: Annoying. Somewhat of a counter. Once she get's 6 she will just go near you with her ulti charm you and burst you. She can't burst you from 100% to 0 but she hurts a lot. If you are below 80% of hp take extra care. [img=champ/akali.png]: Another annoying lane. Play agressive on her at early levels and ask for a jungler gank since she is meelee. Don't let her go near you and proc her Q. When she is 6 stay near the turret and safely farm. [img=champ/anivia.png]: If she is good she will hurt quite a lot. The fact that she has a strong passive like yours makes her strong against you. Also her wall can set up very strong ganks for her jungler and since you have no in built dash you have to make the whole turn around the wall. At early levels you deal a lot of damage to her if you manage to land Qs on her. Ask for a jungler gank at level 4-5. [img=champ/annie.png]: Easy lane, you just farm and she has to overextend way too much to deal damage to you. [img=champ/brand.png]: Not very hard since you farm with Q and not Auto-Attacks. That means it's hard for him to land his W. Take caution though he can burst you if he lands his stun. [img=champ/cassiopeia.png]: Queen of mid lane. If she lands her Q on her you can throw a wall on her so she can't follow up with her E. Farm from safe distance. [img=champ/ezreal.png]: Have played 3 times AP ezreal vs Karthus and I have been OWNED all 3 by him. The exhaust and wall melt him. [img=champ/fizz.png]: He counters you at mid and his jump can negate the damage of your ulti on him. Play ultra safely and dodge his shark at all costs. [img=champ/galio.png]: Farm lane. [img=champ/heimerdinger.png]: Not that very hard in lane just make sure you don't get too pushed and lose cs. [img=champ/gragas.png]: I once played gragas vs Karthus and got badly owned. Can't really tell because I haven't played this match up. Gragas is a rare and unique champ. [img=champ/janna.png]: She should be somewhat of a counter cause AP janna can heal a lot with her ulti and throw you out of the fight. Haven't played this match up. [img=champ/kassadin.png]: Contrary to popular belief you counter him. Every time i see people pick kassadin when I first pick Karthus i usually laugh. The only part where Kassadin is strong vs Karthus is level 7-9 during the laning phase. When the teamfights start Kassadin has very small range on his spells and even if he bursts you (which will be VERY hard to since you will have RoA) you will still do damage, while he will have to wait 5 seconds for CDs. [img=champ/katarina.png]: She should beat you if she is good. You have no way to stop her ultimate. But you should be winning teamfights if you have a stun in your team. [img=champ/kennen.png]:Not that much of a problem. In lane you can farm easily. In teamfights you Zhonyas when he ults and you negate his damage. You can even exhaust him to make your teammates eat less damage. [img=champ/kogmaw.png]: Ap kog'maw isn't a problem in lane(unless he is level 6 with blue). He is kind of a counter in teamfights if you don't have any hard engage. Practise dodging his ultimate. [img=champ/leblanc.png]: Annoying champ but again like Kassadin you are the one countering her, not the other way around. IN general Karthus COUNTERS assassins cause even when he dies he deals damage while assassins have low hp(lots of damage from your ultimate) and they have to wait for CDs to do damage to the rest of your team. [img=champ/lux.png]: Don't see a lot of Lux lately but when I do, THEY HURT A LOT. Dodge her Q. [img=champ/malzahar.png]: You counter him in every possible way. [img=champ/mordekaiser.png]: Haven't played against a good morde. I also don't know how it works when Morde ultis if your passive procs. Should be an even lane. [img=champ/morgana.png]: Safe lane like yourself. You are both very useful at teamfights. Karthu's SECRET SISTER HAS BEEN REVEALED. [img=champ/nidalee.png]: If she goes AP she counters you if your team has no hard engage. In lane she shouldn't be much of a problem. [img=champ/orianna.png]: Does OK against you. Your low mobility means she has an easy time throwing her ball on you. If she ults you out of the blue flash out of it, it usually means there is a jungler ready to get you in the bushes. [img=champ/rumble.png]: Rumble is the champion who can win every lane but also lose every lane. Nothing to say here. You should be more useful at teamfights though. [img=champ/ryze.png]: Very good pick vs Karthus. Tanky and deals tons of damage. Don't let him get fed. [img=champ/sion.png]: I hate this champion. He is ugly boring and uninteresting to play vs or with. [img=champ/soraka.png]: Haven't played it. Your Q should have more range than hers. She should be annoying and if she plays AP her ultimate will counter yours(think it has more ap ratio as well). [img=champ/swain.png]: I consider him the strongest counter atm. He is a bully in lane(thank god you have your range to stay safe) and at teamfights he can regenerate his health so you have to rely a lot more on your team than vs other mages. Don't go too rambo mode in teamfights when facing this champion. [img=champ/talon.png]: Shouldn't be hard. His E is too much of an all-in and if your jungler is at least half-decent should get 1-2 kills on him. He can be a beast if fed though. [img=champ/twistedfate.png]: Safe lane, it will be hard for him to stun you. At teamfights you do more. You both have global ultis which makes the game interesting. [img=champ/veigar.png]: If he get's 1-2 kills on you he will be devastating. Make mercury's so his W won't land on you. Like other assassins you counter him. [img=champ/viktor.png]: If he was viable he could counter you. But he is not. [img=champ/vladimir.png]: Haven't played this but when I think about it he should be a very good pick like Ryze vs karthus. [img=champ/xerath.png]: He is annoying in lane and can do damage at a teamfight from a long distance. Does OK vs you. [img=champ/ziggs.png]: More or less like Xerath. His Qs are annoying at early game. [img=champ/zilean.png]: He will try to zone you. Kinda hard at lane but he has a slow Auto-Attack so just farm when he AAs.

[center]Dreamhack Finals Season 1 xPeke showing the power of Karthus. Check out his positioning in teamfights. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpvvVl8QYS8[/youtube][/center]

As i mentioned at the start of the guide this is my very first guide for the site. Any criticism is welcome and any suggestions how to improve or what to add would be even more welcome! I am planning to do some images of good positioning in teamfights and might even do a Q&A section in this guide if there are questions which are asked a lot or I think are important. Thanks for taking the time to read my guide <3. Don't forget pro karthus win games without pressing R. :D

Comments coming soon!
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