Karthus Build Guide by Ninjah ReaperZz

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ninjah ReaperZz

Karthus | The Bringer Of Pain

Ninjah ReaperZz Last updated on March 23, 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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Karthus Guide

This is my second guide now and I am writing a guide for one of my most beloved characters, Karthus. He is a very fun and interesting character to play. He has one of the most powerful ultimate's in the game and can easily take out an entire team. With this guide I hope you produce as much kills as I do.

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Summoner Spells

Must Have Spells

Flash: Flash is a must have spell because Karthus does not have much ability to escape foes besides his slow. Make sure that you always have this spell because ghost is pretty much useless for this champion.

Ignite: Ignite is the other must have spell. It is good for those early game kills and if you don't get the kill you have bonus ability power at your disposal. I recommend initiating with it if you know you can get the kill because that extra damage can make a whole lot of difference.

Possible Other Spells

Clarity: This can be a very useful spell but Ignite and/or Flash are both better than this mainly because of the fact that a good team will secure the blue buff allowing you to carry on with out clarity. Teleport: This spell can be quite useful when getting back into lane quickly but in amongst the fighting of battle it is of no use for escape like Flash can be used.

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Greater Mark of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Seal of Ability Power

Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

  • Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power: //This is basically for that late game damage and you are going to need all you can get because you will need some tank items to allow you to stay in battle longer.

  • Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: // This is just straight ability power for that extra damage early game. (also why you take ignite) Helps a lot to get those mejai's stacks.

  • Greater Mark of Ability Power: // This is for more of that early game straight ability power because if you do not get these mejai's stacks it is almost useless in battle.

  • Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power: // More ratio runes just so you have that balance of late game ability power and early game ability power to get heaps of kills.

  • Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration: // Magic penetration is really useful because you will become an unstoppable force and they will try and counter you. This + Boots + Void Staff should be able to counter them.

  • Greater Seal of Ability Power: // More straight ability power. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get these stacks. They will mean the difference between a win and a loss in a game.

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  • : // This is one of the strongest straight ability power items in the game however it does require some skill to make it one of the best.

  • : // All characters need boots of some sort. Most games you won't find someone who doesn't buy them. The magic penetration is always a great help to counter there magic resist.

  • : // This is a great item because of its health to ability power ratio. This is a must have just because it gives that extra bit of health.

  • : // This is arguably one of the best ability power items in the game. This is recommended to secure heaps of kills.

  • : // This item is quite amazing on Karthus just because it is granting and extra 2 seconds to stay alive adding onto that extra 7 seconds you already have run in there press e spam q activate your hourglass and they get killed by your e.

  • : // This item is all for the magic penetration because they will try to counter you because your damage output is ridiculous so this is good to do that extra bit of damage and waste there money on magic resist.

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Ability Explanations

Ability Explanation

  • Death Defied: // This is one of the most overpowered and game changing passives in the game.
  • Lay Waste (Q): // This is the move you will want to max first because it can deal a ton of damage when encountering someone in a one versus one. Why Karthus should go mid lane.
  • Wall Of Pane Wall Of Pain (W): // Most likely Karthus most underused ability but it isn't useless the slow is very useful in landing your q, in fact it can make the difference between life and death.
  • Defile (E): // This ability can kill a whole team once your build is finished or near the end of a game. It is almost the same as a Fiddlesticks late game.
  • Requiem (R): // This is thought of as one of the most ridiculous ultimate's in the game. This is because it hits every enemy and can deal tons of damage. The cool down on this move is quite long but it can change the ending of a team fight combined with his death defied.
Ability Sequence
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

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Creeping / Team Fights


// Karthus has a very good way to farm and that is with lay waste. His e has a passive of recieving mana back from getting minions kills, making the use of lay waste cost no mana and secure you gold. Once early game has passed make sure you use your defile to farm more because it is one of the greatest moves for farming. If you follow this your creep score will be very high.


// Karthus is an excellent team fighter because of his AoE (area of effect) spells. He can pretty much 1v5 a team but is highly not recommended. When about to engage in a team fight make sure you try not to initiate because then they will focus you and the longer you are in battle the better it is for your team. You are a very good champion for picking up the scraps of a team fights with your ultimate (requiem) sometimes receiving more than one kill.

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Pros / Cons

Pros / Cons


+ // Huge damage
+ // Fun to play
+ // Win most games.
+ // Carry easily
+ // Easy to get triple kills +

- // Really squishy
- // Easy counter
- // Must mid lane
- // Can feed early game
- // Must get Mejai's Soulstealer stacks

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Karthus is an extremely fun champion to play, even though he is hard to get the hang of. If you have any comments, questions or queries about my guide, please don't hesitate to ask any questions.

I play Karthus a fair bit and he is quite a scary champion towards the end of the game. If you like my guide thumbs up please.