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Karthus Build Guide by ELOSANTA

ADC challenger

10.3 Karthus ADC guide

By ELOSANTA | Updated on February 17, 2020
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Dark Harvest
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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Jungle Role
Ranked #26 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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Ability Order

Threats & Synergies

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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

10.3 Karthus ADC guide

I am elosanta, I stream on I have participated in the Baltic esports league and I have peaked rank 8 challenger 929 LP at the start of season 9 and one of the champions I used to climb was karthus, I feel like he is still strong up to this day, and I have many games on him so I think I'm qualified to write a guide.
WHY ADC? Back to Top
As many of you know, Karthus is usually played in the jungle, more rarely Mid/Top. I started playing Karthus botlane after the infamous s8 ADC nerf when infinity edge became basically useless and everyone was playing mages / tanks botlane. Even to ADC's being restored their power with crit items right now, I just feel like Karthus botlane completely STOMPS every single lane down bot. The only lanes that I have been consistantly losing against are Syndra or some other mage botlane. I am practising many other mages botlane (Swain and Syndra seem to be my favorites now, but Heimerdinger and Veigar seem to be really good at this moment aswell). The only downside to playing a mage botlane is that your team will usually have too much AP power, which is why I usually ask my team to pick as many AD champions as they can Mid/Top/Jungle. Even if all three go for AD champions, Karthus just has so much damage that its enough to supply the whole team with AP damage even though 80% of your team is AD based champions.
RUNES Back to Top
DARK HARVEST I have tried all rune combinations on karthus and it seems like Dark Harvest is just the best for him right now. If you are high elo and you feel like your games are too passive for you to make any use of dark harvest, the consider taking Summon Aery as it gives good poke in lane, which synergises well with your playstyle. If you play with Summon Aery you might want a more poke-y support as you aren't playing that deadly all-in playstyle.

The build with tear and comet is absolute GARBAGE!

The other guides on mobafire is what made me want to make this guide, other guides are super unimformative, every high elo player plays with this build, and the tear build is very outdated. The main build you have to do is the one listed as my core item build. Always buy Ludens and Sorc boots as your first items. After that, buy an oblivion orb and do not finish it unless you have a lot of healing on the enemy team which you want to reduce. After that you buy liandry's torment and voidstafff. These are your core items as they provide a lot of magic penetration and are essential to this build.
Play aggressive. You have dark harvest for a reason. Best strategy to hitting Q's is wait until your enemy is about to last hit a minion and Q in the place where he will stand, when hes doing an animation for attacking the minion. This is very important as it can give you a huge advantage in lane.

CONSERVE YOUR MANA! : do not ever use your E actively, you want to enable it and disable it in a smart way so you don't run out of mana mid fight. If an enemy is not in range of your E disable it and re-enable it when someone is in range. This is very important as it lets you win lane easily.

Pro tips:

you can activate E quickly to farm minions you might not get with Q or auto attacks since it activates instantly.

use auto attacks to last hit, this is hard to do for a beginner but one you master it you will gain way more mana than you lose and you can harass your opponents more, since the passive of your E gives you back mana on lasthitting a minion.
MID GAME Back to Top
This is the point where you want to get all your dark harvest stacks, engage in many fights and suicide if you need to for kills. Ask your jungler to pick random fights with the enemy jungle. If you have a duoq jungler that is even better because you can coordinate skirmishes at dragon / herald better which will lead you to only being stronger.
LATE GAME Back to Top
Late game is where Karthus can truly 1v9. You have to play him like a regular ADC and dps the enemy front line and look for opportunities, if you see an R oppurtunity, you can either flash in and suicide, get some kills and finish them off with R or walk back out of the fight (making sure you can't get CC'd and get your ultimate cancelled) and then R.
OUTRO Back to Top
Thanks for reading my guide, I will be making plenty more, so I hope you enjoyed it or found it informative. If you have any questions you can always ask me either in my twitch or join my discord to message me personally :
League of Legends Build Guide Author ELOSANTA
ELOSANTA Karthus Guide
10.3 Karthus ADC guide