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Tankthus? MAN, WHY?
The idea of a Karthus tank build came to my mind for two major reasons:
1st) People arent aware of your passive anyways, and whenever it comes to teamfights the back off as soon as they see you (DD Karthus) go down. Pretty much for no reason.
2nd) If you have to die, you HAVE to die during a teamfight. As Karthus there is no point in dying without having a teamfight at the spot of our passing away anyways, since your passive would be wasted then. Just to the opposite: If you fall during a teamfight, you got eight seconds (which is pretty much) to keep your defile up (880dmg even without a single AP), granting CC and MagRed by wall of pain, and so on. And, last but not least, your ulti cant be interrupted, if you are dead already.
So you will find it quite usefull to have the entire enemy team around you - by initiating a fight you can easily magage to get them there.
Yeah, I know you will call me silly already for the mere idea of a tanking Karthus. TBH, I'd pretty much do the same.
Nevertheless: 9/13/8 for the following reasons:
9 points in offense still grants us 15% MagPen. Well, I prefer flat MagPen a lot - but as we wont get MagPen any other way, hey let's take what we can get. And except from 4% dmg reduction from the defense tree, there is nothing interesting available afterall. And we'll try and get along without that 4% dmg red.
13 points in defense are needed for our increased HP reg. (see below) and a 30s shorter CD on cleanse. Due to our still outstanding farming abilities we dont need to put a point in greed - but if you feel more comfortable with the extra gold, feel free to go for it.
8 points in utility, mainly for increased max. mana (as it's increasing our HP reg.), and HP reg. directly.
3x Quints of Fortitude (of Vitality would mean +~75 AP after lvl15 - no good deal)
9x Marks of Fortitude
9x Seals of Defense (will pay out at lvl 10 already and help through out the whole lategame)
9x Glyphs of Shielding (same as for Seals of Defense)
Here we will go for AP-tank items, as it will help us to sustain a steady dmg output during teamfights by defile and lay waste; mana for HP reg and HP / MR / AR.
Outcome will be:
Mana: [1.368 +725 (RoA) +500 (FH)] * 1,05 (expanded mind) = 2.723 mana
HP reg: [3,08 +30 (warmogs)] * (1,1217 (perseverence + strength of spirit) = 37,1 HP reg/5s
The rest is business as usual: high HP, high AR, noticeable MR.
Due to items and masteries we'll have 171 AP at lvl 18 (RoA fully powered). This, in combination with sunfire means:
40 (sunfires) + 152,75 (defile) + 171,3 (lay waste (multiple targets)) = 364dmg/s.
And as you dont have any items with active functions, or any other skills then dmg skills and your wall of pain (with rather high CD) you dont have anything else to do than spamming dmg and staying alive as long as possible.
After death, you got another 8s to deal this dmg, or to cast your ulti (still 669dmg even with only 171 AP).
Sure as hell, this is rather a fun build and not likely to be used in high elo games. Yet, with this setup you can reach an amazingly high survivability fr Karthus, and deal an AoE dmg/s that will give enemies some pretty bad scars, when trying to get you down.
So if you'd like to try something else, something fancy, something off the mainstream...