Build Guide by TheSplinterCell

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League of Legends Build Guide Author TheSplinterCell

karth the midder

TheSplinterCell Last updated on December 29, 2010
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 10

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 11

Edit: Thank you for the comments i haven't been on in awhile and so my build has changed drastically I'm tempted to make a new build as this is totally different. Also do me the courtesy of reading the explanations of why i do what i do.

So you have chosen to play Karthus. This is a good call as he has one of the most overpowered spells in the game. This coupled with one of the most ridiculous passives in the game makes him for extremely scary opposition. This build is designed to do what Karthus does best, BRING THE PAIN!!!!

(Q) Lay waste - Karthus unleashes a delayed blast at a location, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40/60/80/100/120 (+0.3) magic damage to each nearby enemy, this deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.
20/26/32/38/44 Mana

This is Karthus's bread and butter it takes practice to use. It has 2 uses one hit the enemy champs hard if you catch them alone. even if you don't the cooldown is a second so you can try to hit them again with it as soon it comes back up. Early game though only hit as you can. You have to learn to anticipate their movements and hit them as often as you can. As a general rule aim behind them slightly so even if they step back it will still hit them. If they get clever switch things up and always keep them guessing when and where your going to hit

(W) Wall of Pain - Karthus creates a passable screen of leeching energy. Any enemy units that walk through the screen have their move speed, armor, and magic resistance reduced for a period.
Creates a 800/900/1000/1100/1200 distance wide wall at target location. Enemy champions that pass through the wall have their armor and magic resistance reduced by 15/20/25/30/35 and movement speed reduced by 40/50/60/70/80% (their move speed slowly returns to normal over the duration). The wall lasts 7 seconds.
100/100/100/100/100 Mana

Many people wonder why this is call the Wall of Pain it doesn't do any damage. That's because they underestimate this wall severely and this spells their doom. This wall brings then enemy to a crawl. It can be used as offensively and defensively. Offensivly it will allow you to jump on the enemy and lay waste them into oblivion the Magic resistance reduction on this will (especially early game) will reduce their MR to near 0 making your lay wastes do maximum damage.

(E) Defile - Karthus passively steals energy from his victims, gaining mana on each kill. Alternatively, Karthus can surround himself in the souls of his prey, dealing damage to nearby enemies, but quickly draining his own mana.
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 (+0.25) magic damage to nearby enemies each second.
Cost 30/42/54/66/78 Mana Per Second

This is spells passive is SO useful and why last hitting is so important. Many people absolutely fail to understand how I can mid up to level 6 without having to go back for more mana and it's because of this. The active is less useful early game EXCEPT when you die as soon as you die hit E DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT just do it Ive gotten quadra kills in team fights because of this.

(R) Requiem - After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals damage to all enemy champions.
After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250/400/550 (+0.7) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).
150/175/200 Mana

This ultimate is total ******** and I mean total. You can run but you can't hide. There are some downsides however
1. If you are stunned you will stop casting and lose the ult and probably a kill. SO DON'T CAST AROUND ASHE (or anyone else with a stun) OR SHE WILL PUT AN ARROW DOWN YOUR THROAT!!!
2. You are vulnerable while you cast this spell and if you die before you finish you will lose it. So for the love of all things holy do not cast this in the middle of the field while the enemy champ is just sitting there waiting to put a damper on your day. IF you witness this happen on the other team sit back relax and enjoy a pint cause their Karthus is TOTAL FAIL. Alternativly if your on a team with a Karthus that does it just surrender out of sheer horror of their stupidity or pray the other team is fail cause this dumbass is just gonna be dead weight.
3. It cooldown is approximately an hour and a half. I exaggerate but seriously it takes forever and a day to come back up so don't just cast it willy nilly hoping for a kill cause in all probability it won't happen you gotta wait and have some lane awareness.

Death Defied - Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells while dead for 8 seconds. Karthus spends 20% less time dead.

This passive is total ******** and coupled with his ult equates to absolute ******** that no one can do anything about. If you jump someone and it goes totally wrong or you know your going to lose but can't escape, Then BUM RUSH THEM it will totally offset the enemy seeing a kamakazi lich racing towards them at full speed lay wasting everywhere without a concern for his own safety. AS SOON AS YOU DIE hit E i cannot stress this enough and cast lay waste until you cant any more by this point they should be close to dead so ult an make sure they remeber why Karthus is so damn scary cause even when your dead your still casting and they cannot stop you.

I have a very strange way of playing Karthus it will defy the logic of many people who play him and swear by certain items *cough* majies *cough* that i understand why they like but i prefer this due to the sheer insanity of the damage output. As end game you will have 1000 AP.

Pros of Karthus
- He hurts, they have nerfed him and he still hits like a truck if played right. His q is a constant nuke (albeit less so now) and his ult is total and absolute ********. When you finish this build you will be doing 1300 (before taking into account Magic resistance) to all 5 champions on the enemy team
- His wall will put a damper on the enemies day it slows and drops both there mr and armor
- He is one of the best mids in the game.
- While i already mention his ult it also needs its separate explanation if you have a few good teammates who can call out a person who is almost dead and it will kill them and they can't escape from it. unlike other champs with ridiculous range ults like ashe, lux, or even kog'maw this ult cant miss because they dodged or stealthed out of. That twitch stealthed away with low health? Won't matter cause he is going to die anyway.
- His passive is total ********. When he dies he can still cast for 8 seconds AND his skills cost no mana while like this. This means if you can kill that champ that killed you with less than 100 health left and finish the bastard off for killing and bring him with you. You also gain 20% less time spent dead which is always nice because if your mid and you and the enemy die you get back faster which means a slight advantage.

- Extremely squishy
- Very slow
- Extremely difficult to master and play i have seen so many karths that are so bad i want to throw my self against the nearest wall and knock myself unconscious.
- If used poorly he will eat through mana quickly but not necessarily if you play him well

Many people who have played this game for awhile are wondering WTF is with the 9 points in defense thats a total waste. Do me a favor scroll back up and read what strength of spirit does (its the one with the tree picture) I'll wait.
This still won't dawn on you probably. One of the major problems with being squishy and midding is that you are constantly running out of health. This boost allows you to stay mid longer and regen health much faster than your average caster allowing you to stay longer and deal more damage. It seems strange i know but it works. The armor and MR don't help much but every little bit helps. Alternatively you can take the 2 points out of armor and throw them in awareness or whereever
The rest are fairly standard caster masteries focusing on mana or cooldown with a dump in the time spent dead to give you almost 25% less time dead.

Marks: Good boost to hit them harder early on with you lay wast and also give a nice damage increase when bringing down the ult on some poor souls head

Seals: Gives a small boost early game to help put the hurt on early game

Glyphs: Cool down reduction is your friend. It makes your q spammier but more importantly makes your ult come up faster so you can hit them again and again with it.

Quints: Same as the glyphs just a bigger boost together they will knock off about 10% of time spent waiting for your ult

Summoner spells:
Good Ones:
Ignite - It does true damage and a lot of it to give you a kill early game especially if your harassing them well. Plus while its down it gives you 10 ap boost which you will probably be casting if this doesn't kill them.

Exhaust - It slows and blinds which by themselves make this an amazing spell especially against ranged DPS like Twitch, Ashe, and Miss Fortune as it slows them so you can run and they can hit you. More importantly however if you take the mastery buff it reduces their armor and MR this coupled with the Wall of pain really lets you dish out the hurt against whoever you are laning against.

Other options:
Ghost - Good alternative to exhaust if you want better escapability and allows you to chase with your defile if they are running away.

Flash - Also a good alternative if you feel a little to vulnerable could also be used offensively to get in with defile in a team fight but that usually isn't a good idea.

Decent choices:

Teleport - All around good summoner spell good for getting back to mid if you really needed to buy or heal and get back quickly also good to defend a turret from a push or creep wave by teleporting defiling the creeps/ enemy champs into oblivion and jumping back to bast

Clairvoyance - also a decent choice if you want to see exacyly how much health an enemy has before you ult his is a great way to do it. Also gives you team a way to check baron and dragon with out walking into a gank.

Cleasne - While i have never seen it done it could conceivably be used with his wall to escape as the enemy will think you trapped and suddenly they have been slowed and your already making your escape to the turret. So if your worried about stuns or slows you can be the first to try it

Bad choices:

Clarify - Just No..... If you need clarify then you are doing something wrong cause karth has plenty of mana regen and this is a waste of a summoner spell better spent on something else.

Revive - Hell No..... On Karthus really he already revives faster than most so WTF you need this for.

Heal - *facepalm* why are you even looking at this one if you need heal your probably already screwed 8 ways to sunday don't bother

Play Style
Early game 1-6:
At level one play conservatively once you reach level 2 start last hitting minions like your life depends on it cause it does. You should focus you lay waste on the enemy champion trying to catch them by themselves. If they start getting smart and stay next to the minions HIT THEM ANYWAY make them pay for this insolence and it will scare the hell out of them.
Once you reach level 4 this is when you maybe can score your first kill mid depending on how you get you are harassing of them is going. You have to look at you health and look at theirs judge how many of each kind of minions there are on the field. Their health should be much lower then yours at least below half at about a third preferably. Its takes some practice to judge whether or not you can survive the encounter even if you cant you can still probably finish them off. If you can this is the kill combo wall right on top of them or just behind them exhaust them so they are slowed and lay waste