Karthus Build Guide by drakomania

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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 drakomania

Karthus: revive and teleport

drakomania Last updated on April 3, 2012
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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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 21

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Hi everyone,

I am Drakomania and I will be your guide today for the awesome tanky, bursty, DPSy Karthus. This is a second guide, because my first got blocked due to a bug (Kathus: Yes, death defied twice). Enjoy!

**Note: This guide is starting bitterly, but it will end up sweet. I will continue to write no matter what.

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Pros / Cons

+ Spammable Lay Waste
+ Can keep Defile on long enough in late game
+ Great Slow with Wall of Pain and Randuin's Omen
+ A very good ultimate ( Requiem)
+ Tanky enough to fight in the middle of the teamfight
+ An autotaunt that all tanks want to have
+ Decent damage
+ A second life, you are two champions combine into one
- Squishy early and mid game
- Mana problems in ealy game
- Not the damage that Karthus can trully deal
- Often blamed for trolling or for losing

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The runes that I recommend are:
-3 Greater Quintessence of Revival for less time spent dead. A less time costy Death Defied
-9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for a little bonus damage
-9 Greater Seal of Replenishment for a less painful miss of Lay Waste
-9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction for more cooldown reduction. 18% only with runes and masteries is pretty good for Requiem

Why more death timer reduction when you have Revive?
I chose to minimize the death timer, because Revive can't be ready at anytime. To counter its long cooldown, some passive buffs are needed. If the death timer is at 100% and Revive is on cooldown, you will start to feel bad for choosing Revive.

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For a tanky enough Karthus, 9/0/21 is a still good choice. Requiem benefits from cooldown reduction. For these masteries, make sure to pick:
- Sorcery and Arcane Knowledge CDR and Mpen essential
- Good Hands time spent dead must be the lowest possible
- Intelligence more CDR
- Mastermind less cooldown on Revive is important. You can use 1 or 2 times more often with this mastery

Another alternative is 9/21/0. This is also good for AP tanks, but Karthus needs more utility to be great. If you take this, make sure to choose:
- Summoner's Resolve for a speed boost after Revive
- Durability and Veteran's Scars for a larger health pool
- Enlightenment for more CDR
- Juggernaut of course, for more health and less disable duration

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Summoner Spells

This spell revives instantly your champion on your team's spawning pool. It is only castable when the death timer started, not in Death Defied. You will gain a health bonus for 2 minutes. With Summoner's Resolve , you will also gain a speed boost. Revive has a 9 minutes (540 seconds) cooldown, 459 seconds with Mastermind . Combined with Guardian Angel or any ally that has a on-death ability, you will have a lot of fun.

Revive is used under some conditions:
- Death timer is more than 25 sec
- Your team needs that Requiem that you didn't cast in Death Defied
- Your team needs YOU!

Fun fact: People often queue dodge when they see you with Revive. Use this to your advantage. My queue record is 5 dodges.

This spell will teleport you to an allied targetable unit (except champions). This spell has a 4 seconds "channel" time (3.5 sec with Summoner's Insight ). Teleport doesn't have a true channel, because there is not a channel bar when you use it. Only a timed effect that is considered as a debuff for the enemy team (the targeted ally will also have this "debuff"). This spell can be canceled with any CC except slow, snare and blind. You can't do anyting while "channeling". Teleport has 300 seconds cooldown and 255 seconds with Mastermind . You can cancel the spell by clicking again and it will have a 180 seconds cooldown. Combined with Revive, you will quickly come back to fight.

Teleport is used when:
- A tower is dying
- A enemy tower can be finished safely
- A enemy towerdived your ally
- A quick desperated escape
- A surprise gank with surprising success
- Your team needs YOU!

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Skill description

Death Defied

Some says that this passive is useless because you needs to die to use it. But other says that this allows Karthus to revenge his foes.

Death Defied is a passive that has no cooldown. (No matter how much time you died you will have it) For 7 seconds, you are untargettable, invulnerable and unable to move. You can cast without mana the following spells: Lay Waste, Wall of Pain, Defile and Requiem (if you have the time to channel in the Death Defied state).

When will it be on effect?

- When you have been slain and it is shown on the screen.
This will only happen if you really "died". For example, if you bought Guardian Angel and/or you had Chronoshift on you, Chronoshift will proc first and then Guardian Angel if you has taken fatal damage again. You will not be able to use Death Defied before the revive stasis of Chronoshift or Guardian Angel. However, the Omen of Death of Yorick will make your passive proc. You will Death Defied and THEN, use the 10 seconds of Omen of Death. It is the same for Mordekaiser's Children of the Grave, you will Death Defied then serve as a ghost for the enemy.

What to do while in Death Defied?

- Turn on Defile, use Wall of Pain, Lay Waste and Requiem if needed.
It's not easy to be always be ready for Death Defied. That's why remembering the above order will be simpler. You need to know when it's worth to cast Requiem. (Not always kill steal or rage ult) For example, you initiate and tank enough damage for your team. Then, you die. You see that your team is still fighting and that you died in a good place. Revive, Teleport and Requiem are ready. They are stuck inside your E and you W them. Now, you have the time to Requiem or 3 Lay Waste. Because Revive is ready, you can Lay Waste and then Revive for Requiem and teleport back if still needed. But if Revive was not ready and/or you could kill someone with only Requiem, do it, Requiem!!!

Note: If you were caught alone by the enemy where your team can't help at all, do not Requiem.

Lay Waste

Garbage needs to be destroyed. With this, your enemies will be garbage too.

Lay Waste is an already smart-casted spell. It is a little-aoe damage ability that has 1 second cooldown. The damage will be dealt after 0.5 sec in the targetted area. If it hits a single unit, it will deal double damage. This spell can reveal the fog of war and can also reveal your position if you casted directly on an enemy. Lay Waste's particle can be seen in the fog of war. You will stop moving when you cast Lay Waste. Max this skill first and take it at level 1.

Lay Waste is used for?

- Last hit minions
- Last hit champions
- Reveal the fog of war
- Push minion waves
- Harass
- Damage enemy units like Jack In The Box when visible
- Leash for your jungler

Lay Waste is hard to hit. You need to predict their movement so it will be a successful hit. To hit an enemy champion, the following situations will help you get the hit:
- Enemy last hit: When they get near to hit a minion, Lay Waste in their last hitting range.
- Enemy harrass: When they try to harrass you, Lay Waste in front of them.
- Enemy positionning: When they starts to move near you, Lay Waste to make them suffer some damage.
- Enemy escape: When they are escaping, Lay Waste in their direction to make them suffer damage or to make them turn around.

Wall of Pain

Wall of Pain = Wall of Gain

Wall of Pain is an instant summoned wall (0.2-0.4 sec) in a very long range. The wall doesn't damage but slows and reduces defence of any enemy that "touch" it for a total duration of 5 sec. Their speed will regain gradually, unlike an hard core slow ( Ice Blast). It was like that before the nerf. The wall will give a huge sight from the obelisks' surrounding, not the purple wall. Casting Wall of Pain will stop your movement. This spell has a 18 sec cooldown, so be wise when using it! Max this skill last and take it at lvl 4

Wall of Pain is used for...?

- Slow enemies (champions, minions, monsters,...)
- Create a graphic chaos for the other team (use the wall's obelisks)
- Increase the damage received by enemies
- Scout

I love this spell, because this is a less risky version of Crystallize. It less powerful in some situations, but most of the time, the enemies will fear your wall. Like Crystallize, you can "block" jungle roads in early levels and later, completely a lane. This skill can initiate very well. It's the first part of any of your "combo".


Everywhere you go, souls are your friends

Defile is a toggle spell that deals damage each second when turned on. When turned off, every kill you do will restore your mana. When turned off, it has a 0.5 sec CD before you can turn it on and when turned on, it has the same CD before you can turn it off. This aoe is very mana expensive but it is one of the best non-ultimate-damage-around-you spell in the game. Casting Defile will not stop movement and can be toggled while channeling ( Requiem or dominion capture).

Note: Toggle on Defile while channeling for capture will interrupt, because the channel can be self-interrupted by movement.

When to use defile?

- When you can affort the mana
- When there is more than 1 enemy champion
- When you want to create graphic chaos
- When you want to farm well
- When you are in Death Defied

When you have max CDR (40%), you can keep clicking E and the damage will be dealt often. It will also drains mana faster, but you will deal 60% more damage by dealing it 60% faster.


It's most op ultimate in the game!

Requiem is a channel spell of 3 seconds. It will be interrupted by stuns, silences, suppresses, fears, taunts and of course death. If interrupted, no damage and full cooldown. Unlike Ezreal's Trueshot Barrage and Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole :(

Requiem is a very fun spell. In early game, it's overpowered, because you can nearly half their hp at mid lane lvl 6. When you find an opportunity, start to find a safe place to stay alive while using Requiem and to not be interrupt by spells.