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Karthus Build Guide by Aqua Dragon

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Aqua Dragon

Platinum Tank Karthus Basics - Swift Death

Aqua Dragon Last updated on November 28, 2016
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roidescacahuetes | May 31, 2017 6:36am
Hello! Since its mini-rework, I think that the new Abyssal Scepter is pretty much a core item on Tank Karthus at least against AP matchups. The 10% bonus magic damage combined with the tanky stats it provides is pretty huge with this build I think.
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Aqua Dragon (32) | June 2, 2017 11:52am
I think it wouldn't be core necessarily since the idea of the build is that more tankiness will lead to more damage, and scepter isn't necessarily the tankiest. Other tankier options, especially against physical comps, may end up being better.

But it definitely has become a significantly better option! And there's an upcoming change on the PBE that adds Catalyst to Abyssal's buildpath which is very intriguing indeed. Not quite sure if that will work out so nicely though since Righteous Glory is just so invaluable.
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galgeubuze | March 16, 2017 1:40am
Thanks a lot for that build, the only thing missing is the match ups, for really noobs like me it's not easy to experiment wich opponent can be challenged early with defile, or not
so is a karthus tank a solution vs karthus ap counters like leblanc,kayle,ekko,swain etc...?
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Aqua Dragon (32) | March 17, 2017 9:02pm
Glad you enjoy it! I had matchups on these guides before, but they tended to be outdated, and keeping them in alphabetical order without taking up too much vertical space ended up being a hassle (otherwise many matchup sections would be bigger than the guide itself!) If you have questions about any particular matchup though feel free to ask!
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GodLord (26) | February 26, 2017 2:41am
Voted +1
great build and great champ :D
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Tricho | February 19, 2017 10:39am
Voted +1
Comment is below :D
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Tricho | February 19, 2017 10:37am
Thanks for the guide. All my last 11 3vs3 normal games no rate less A- :). Seems I've found another champ that suits me.
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Skraghe | January 17, 2017 4:02am
I am sorry to bother you again, i wanted to make this seperate as it is a different topic. Do you think it would be possible to do a kind of "AP Bruiser" type build with him? Taking things such a Zonyas or Abyssal? Or do you really need the Health from more tanky items?
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Aqua Dragon (32) | January 17, 2017 4:21am
Please no apologies; I'm always happy to answer as many questions as you have!

I attempted some tests with earlier Abyssals, but often found my HP lacking if I wasn't dedicating almost all my resources into it, and in exchange only got a meager damage boost; it didn't feel worthwhile. But don't just take my word for it; I highly recommend experimenting too and seeing if you encounter a similar thing!

Zhonyas has more issues beyond the cost - survivability ratio; TK is, fundamentally, a tank, and needs hefty mobility to make up for the lack of burst that APK has. Unfortunately this means Zhonya's active is more likely to make things worse, since the target being chased after now has ample time to escape, and the tools used to engage are also the same ones needed to chase (Glory, Ghost, Exhaust, Deadmans) and lose most of their duration by the time Zhonya's active expires.
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Skraghe | January 17, 2017 6:29am
I see your point. I will try playing around with things. I was thinking of trying to make it into a semi AP-OFftank type build for those times when you may have a tank thats not nesscarily good with engages (think, mundo) or when you need a tank but dont have a lot of AP on your team.

I played a game earlier where i had 4 AD's and me as AP but we had no tank. I felt like going Tank Karthus, but if i did then we would lack AP. I still kinda feel i should of gone tank Karthus tbh. But ahwel!

I am absoluttely loving Karthus right now. I ahve gotten tripple kills, double kills, even a quadra earlier which really doesn't happen very often with me. Granted these usually happen AFTER I die, but i still find i die very little even going full AP.

The ultimate never stops being funny.
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Skraghe | January 15, 2017 9:50am
What do you do in situations where you are against an AP laner or a team with a lot of AP? I mean more early game, not so much late. Would I just build an abyssal or banshees first?
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Aqua Dragon (32) | January 15, 2017 2:16pm
Good question! So in lane, the variety of health-based Ruby Crystal items from Righteous Glory is usually enough to be fine. Afterward, I tend to focus on getting Banshees, since usually I have plenty of damage against squishy AP champions but not enough tankiness against them. If I need further MR, I might get Negatron and then focus on items like Giant's Belt (for a Deadmans) before finishing Abyssal, depending on how dire the need for magic resistance is.
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Skraghe | January 15, 2017 7:43pm
Played first game with him today, i went 5/0/2 which... is actually pretty decent for me. Haha. My main issue was his last hitting, it is pathetic until you really rank up defile but i will do some work on that.

Do you still take requests for guides and such? How would i go about requesting one?
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Jack.Hearts | December 1, 2016 11:50am
Voted +1
I played a decent amount of jungle AP Karthus and looking into this, tank Karthus is pretty much better compared to going full AP in the jungle.

But, I have a few things in mind and your feedback is pretty much appreciated.
First, can you consider this following build: Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes(Later in the game changed into Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk for the aoe burn and 15% hp multiplier), Rod of Ages, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Spirit Visage, boots depending on enemy damage source and any final tank items depending also on enemy damage source. The whole idea of this build is to be a tank, standing in the middle of the enemy team proc-ing the rylai slow, healing from e's absurd mana usage with RoA passive and gaining mana due also to RoA passive. At rank 5 your Defile will consume 78 mana/sec thus healing you for 15.6 Health/sec(without taking into consideration additional heals from Spirit Visage and in case you buy any Forbidden Idol item. Plus, you'll be a huge tank with the armor, magic resist and health you'll be stacking. You are, theoretically, going to have 'infinite' sustain and become a huge disruptor in teamfights with Rylai's Crystal Scepter's slow.

Second, if you considered this build in any form or variation, what masteries/runes would theoretically go with it? Would taking Windspeaker's Blessing + Runic Armor have any advantage than going any other mastery setup? Thank you in advanced.

I am a huge fan of off-meta or unorthodox builds like Jungle tank Cassio, AP/AD Shaco, AP/AD Malz jungle and AP/AS Trist jungle so I really like your work.
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Aqua Dragon (32) | December 1, 2016 8:03pm
Awesome I'm glad you've enjoyed my stuff so much! I think there's one big concern about this suggested build: the amount of cash.

The jungle is inherently lower income than lanes, and tank stats are extremely expensive! The reason a lot of tanks do fine anyway is because they have inherent tankiness in the jungle, but Karthus doesn't have that same luxury.

That build listed there would take forever to complete. At the 20 minute mark, it's lucky to have Upgraded Boots, Jungle Enchantment, and an item component. Rod of Ages is going to be pretty ineffective by that point, which would make GLP probably superior.

It's probably worth giving a try, but you'd likely hit some pretty crippling cost issues.
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Eat My Darkness | December 7, 2016 6:03pm
Hey, can u add this to your tank Karthus mid guide page pretty please? I'm really proud of it. https://gyazo.com/1bf70aecab4e61f0aef5c438d9289dc3
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Jack.Hearts | December 2, 2016 12:38pm
First and for most, thank you for your reply. It is truly appreciated and the fact that you were so quick to reply was amazing.

Now for the topic at hand, you are definitely right. I overlooked the fact that I proposed this on a jungle role. Also, considering other roles aren't much help since karthus can't use RoA passive that well. I just wanted to propose the use for a RoA/Visage build since it is pretty broken on top tank Karma. I saw that build a few days ago and with windspeaker's blessing, mantra-w heals for about half to almost full hp from nothing. Thought I could incorporate the same method on karthus since he can heal for a bunch using his mana usage on defile and RoA passive, but turns out it wasn't enough. I have proven this further by actually playing the build I proposed earlier today and the results weren't that satisfying, to say the least. Maybe you can incorporate this method in your future builds. I'm a huge fan of these types of playstyles. The type that'll make your enemies guess wth are you actually up to and by the time they know, they're already tilted to a full 360. I look forward to your future guides. Keep up the good work.
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Shojun94 | November 18, 2016 6:08pm
Voted +1
Seems legit :D
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Brosephicus | October 10, 2016 8:08pm
I actually tried a variation of this build to some pretty good success haha. I built righteous glory, deadman's plate, abyssal, frozen heart, rylai, and some merc treads and became the biggest threat to their backline due to my mobility, slows, and constant damage output. The mana was a bit of an issue, but righteous glory and frozen heart with a blue buff sufficed for most teamfights. Fun build!
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JOMb | September 16, 2016 4:38am
So will tank karhus always work better than ap? I wanna main karhus but that is mostly bc I love his q, how much better will tank work? Thanks
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Aqua Dragon (32) | September 16, 2016 10:38am
It won't always work better. Ask what the team needs; Tank Karthus is, after all, a tank. It plays like a tank, it functions like a tank. Sometimes you will want an AP Carry instead.
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