Karthus Build Guide by Phildo55

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Phildo55

Karthus: QQ More

Phildo55 Last updated on August 9, 2011
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Team 1


Team 2

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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

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

Utility: 21

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I have been playing Karthus for a few months now. I usually like to tinker around with other champions but when I need to get the almost guaranteed win, I choose Karthus. He is definately a game changer in ways that no other champion can be. Karthus can insure enemy deaths early game which cause quicker destruction of enemy towers as well, bringing more gold into your, and your teammates pockets.

If you play Karthus right, you will probably be laughing during the game with how many kills you are having or else laughing at the text the other team is typing. Either way... QQ more nub!

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Pros and Cons

- Awesome farmer
- OP passive Death Defied
- great ganker
- easily fed
- Huge teamfight damage
- And of course, Requiem!!!

- very squishy
- Not much else

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-These usually dont cause too many problems, even with their ult, even if they are really skilled

Miss Fortune

- Depends on the player, I have found some really easy and really hard for each of these


-Stay max distance, unless you notice they are really terrible

Morgana - Dark Binding and Tormented Soil can be a pain
Veigar - Stun, insta-death
Urgot - if you get poisoned, he can take you down quick from a huge distance
Malzahar - With your AP, Nether Grasp can pretty much kill you
LeBlanc - she is all over the place, and can kill you quick
Kog'Maw - Another super range character
Fiddlesticks - fear and drain is not fun
Annie - easy pre level 6... then watch out

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I chose Greater Mark of Magic Penetration to lower any early resists enemies pick up, Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration to keep my mana up while I am causing death and destruction, and finally Greater Glyph of Ability Power and Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to increase my AP early game.

Nothing too special about how I build my runes, there are many ways a person can build a Karthus. Tailor him to your play style. I like to have a lot of mana regen, because with Hextech Revolver you can gain life really quickly using your Defile, but Defile will drain your mana extremely quick. So if you don't have mana regen, its back to town for you, where I can stay in the fight.

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I went with a 9-0-21 build like most other people do when they build Karthus. 9 points into AP, crit, cooldown reduction and Magic Pen is awesome. The other 21 points into mana regen, speed, cooldown reduction, Exp gain, 1 for spell buff, and a couple for buff duration.

Some people switch out buff duration for gold or less death time, I figure that your gold will pour in as it is, and you shouldn't be planning on dying a ton anyway. The cooldown reduction on the blue buff and the mana regen it gives you is well with the 2 points giving you a 30% buff duration.

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I start with a Meki Pendant and 2x Health Potion. As soon as i get 1200 gold, I come back to town to get my Hextech Revolver, cause lifesteal means no more Health Potions and less going back to town. I usually wait until I have about 2900 gold for my next trip to town unless I notice a ton of enemies dying where I will go as soon as I have the 1235 gold the Mejai's Soulstealer costs. Then you want the Tear of the Goddess to start increasing your maximum mana. From there get Rabadon's Deathcap for brute power, Void Staff for magic penetration, finish off Will of the Ancients so your party gains magic vamp and move on to Archangel's Staff. Since you purchased your Tear of the Goddess earlier, you should have been building up your maximum mana causing Archangel's Staff to give you more AP. And finally, if you did not purchase Mejai's Soulstealer, this would be the time to finish it with your Rylai's Crystal Scepter or if you like Zhonya's Hourglass.

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Skill Sequence

Whether it is a teamfight or a gank, you want to lead with Wall of Pain, then turn on Defile and start blowing them up with Lay Waste. Enemies will die fast, and if they happen to kill you, usually they are in death range of Requiem.

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Summoner Spells

- Clarity - you never want to need to use your ult and have it unavailable due to no mana. Late game, you wont use this as much, I use it to restore myown and my ally champions mana on a good push.
- Teleport - Obviously use for ganking or traveling
- Flash - Great escape mechanism
- Ghost - Another great escape mechanism

These are really the only skills you should consider...

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You want to start the game with Lay Waste and only use it to get last hits on minions, or to attack the enemy champion. At level 2 you pick up Defile so you regain mana per kill. You want to make sure you are not over attacking the enemy champion that you run out of mana, you need to keep collecting your last kills. I always recommend having Clarity for mana emergencies. If you manage to get your opponent low at level 4, go for a gank if your minions outnumber the opponents. Your Wall of Pain will significanly slow and lower the magic resists of the enemy champion while Lay Waste will finish him off. If you dont get the kill, the opponent will have to go back to their base to heal up, letting you gain level advantage over him.

As soon as you get to 1200 gold, you want to get back to town and buy Hextech Revolver. By last hitting the minions and harassing the enemy champion, you should hardly ever be low on health. At this time you want to collect the blue gollum buff, if you do not have a jungler. With Hextech Revolver you can get jumped by an opponent, turn on your Defile and usually escape or kill the attacker from the life steal. If they do kill you, usually they will be in the 250 life range where Requiem will finish them off.

From this time on, you want to watch the map for enemy runners or ememies who are sitting/teleporting by their turrets with extremely low health. You dont need to KS, your kills will come, but YES, you do want to make sure the enemy dies! Dead enemies should mean dead turrets. Dead turrets = gold and stronger allies. Stronger allies mean surrender at 20!

Follow the purchase order on the items to have the best success. If you notice at the start of the game that your team is picking up way more kills than the other team, you will want to use the build with Mejai's Soulstealer. If you wont be picking up the kills and assists, you will want to use the other build.

In team fight situations. You do not want to be the first person in. You WILL die quickly. Throw down your Wall of Pain into the middle of the group. Many times if you are the 2nd or 3rd person in, your lifesteal will keep you up for a bit. With high ability power and 5 enemies to leech from with your Defile and Lay Waste you can stay alive for a bit, then after you are dead, drop 2-3 more Lay Waste and use Requiem to finish off the rest or drop them into 1 shot range for your allies.

I enjoy this suicide method, other karthus' do not. I have seen other Karthus' try to stay alive and use their Requiem while enemies are still up, only to have it silenced... waste of an ult. You always want to have your ult ready in a team fight, and only use if after you are dead, or if the enemy team is no longer fighting but running!

If you took the time to read this guide, Thank you! Please let me know what you think!