Karthus Build Guide by J Rhat

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 J Rhat

(post-patch) Jungle Karthus FTW?!?!? yup.

J Rhat Last updated on June 24, 2011
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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: 1

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 16

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

Utility: 13

Chapter 1

I know what you must all be thinking. "Jungling Karthus? RAGE QUIT."

I would've thought the same thing had I not been so successful with this build OVER and OVER again.

If you're a non-believer, try this build out. Be amazed. Then come back here and comment on how you just had your best game with karthus yet.

- Can cast after death
- Fairly quick jungler
- Amazing farmer(Defile/spam)
- Massive damage carry
- Feared by all
- Uhhh.. it's Karthus?

- Often targeted
- Pre-jungle ganked
- Slow

Some proof because I know everyone likes to see some. (The deaths are from suicide bombs in team fights. see the tips and tricks for more about this.)

Just had this game today and figured I'd post it! The other team said they were gonna check out this build lolz




(edit: buy a cloth armor and 5 health pots instead of 7 health pots)

Ok, here we go. First you start off with a cloth armor and 5 health pots. You will need the health regen while jungling and will do so fast enough to make that money back plus some. Head on over to wolves to start your jungle. We start here because they spawn before blue buff and we want to get to level 6 as soon as possible!

Focus the center wolf, pop your first health pot as soon as you take damage, and then finish off the two smaller ones. Next, make sure your HP is at least 90-95% full if not 100%, and start killing the blue buff golem. Make sure your Lay Waste's are ONLY hitting him to ensure you do the most damage possible and don't forget to pop another health pot as soon as you can. Cast smite when he is low enough and finish off the two smaller ones.

On your way to wraiths, pop another health pot if your last one ran out. The first trip through the jungle we want to make sure we keep our health up as much as possible. Kill the wraiths focusing on the larger one and toggle Defile for a few seconds to speed things up. Never forget to shut it off though! We have blue buff but we can still run out of mana quickly.

After wraiths, move down to the two small golems, Defile, Lay Waste repeatedly, enjoy more gold. Finally we will take red buff. By now, Smite should be back up, so pop your last Health Pot, toggle Defile, and spam Lay Waste like there's no tomorrow. If you run out of mana here, use Clarity.

By the time you finish killing red buff, wolves usually have respawned. Make your way back up to wolves, kill them followed by wraiths again, and the two smaller golems. At this point, you should port back, buy an Amplifying Tome and a Ruby Crystal. We're almost to our ult!

Go back to wolves, wraiths, smaller golems. After completing this cycle once more, go get blue buff and ding ding ding! Level 6! Here's where the fun starts =D

Port back and upgrade your Amplifying Tome into a Mejai's Soulstealer and start looking for low HP champions who are about to get away! Make sure you try not to kill steal though. Trust me, you won't need to and will have PLENTY of kills and full 20 stacks by end game.

From here on in, just make passes through the jungle for extra money and buffs, help out lanes who need it, and always keep an eye on the enemy champion's HPs when your ult is ready.
(edit: buy a cloth armor and 5 health pots instead of 7 health pots)


Tips and Tricks

Jungling Karthus is very rare. Therefore when the other team sees you with Smite, they will most likely come to gank blue buff! Make sure you have one or two team members nearby at the start of the match. If it's a failed gank you may even be lucky enough to get first blood :)

Beware champions with counters for your ult and don't waste it on them. For example Tryndamere's Endless Rage, Zilean's revive, and Sivir's spell block.

If you find yourself in a big team fight, don't panic. SUICIDE BOMB! After you die you can cast freely with no mana cost! When your ability power is high enough, your Defile and Lay Wastes will do so much damage, you can often get double, triple, and even quadra kills by using this technique. Beware though, you don't want to lose stacks so only do this if you are fairly certain you can get at least one or two kills. (The best part about this is getting killed by someone who steals your blue or red buff, and killing them taking it right back!)

Although we don't level up our wall until later, don't forget to use it! It slows AND reduces the target's resistance making your attacks do ALOT more damage! It can often be the difference from a kill and an escaper (unless of course our ult is off cool down!)

As karthus, you are AMAZING at saving towers. Even if their whole team is attacking it, if you pop in with Defile and spam Lay Waste (even after death) followed by your ult, you can most likely get at least two kills.

After your build is complete (often achieved in matches due to the amount of gold you earn for kills) you should start purchasing all of the potions every time you port back. Fortitude, Agility, Brilliance, and Oracles. Even if we could only benefit from Fortitude and Brilliance, having all four gives you a sweet looking aura that'll make the enemies fear you even more ;)

If the game lasts a REALLY long time and you find yourself stacking up money even with purchasing potions.. I usually sell a few items and buy more arch angels for more fun with your ult =] Start by selling your Rod of Ages, then maybe Deathfire Grasp. It's purely preference but I recommend trying it sometimes. Having over 1000 AP is fun!

Don't ever forget to use Zhonya's and Deathfire's active!!! Too many people don't use an item's active and Zhonya's has saved my butt time and time again. I always have my first item keybound to my extra mouse button so I can use it in a tight situation; I recommend you do the same. Also, Deathfire's active grants additional damage for every 100 AP you have. You should have around 700-800 AP by the time you get it so it should do ALOT of damage. Use it well!

So there you have it. A wonderfully, surprisingly effective JUNGLING Karthus build! Try it. Enjoy it. Win with it. And comment about your success below.

Thanks all,
- J Rhat