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Karthus Build Guide by PiscesPomf

Jungle [12.17] Karthus Jungle | The Harbinger of Oblivion

Jungle [12.17] Karthus Jungle | The Harbinger of Oblivion

Updated on October 3, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author PiscesPomf Build Guide By PiscesPomf 2,199 Views 2 Comments
2,199 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author PiscesPomf Karthus Build Guide By PiscesPomf Updated on October 3, 2022
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Runes: Classic runes

Dark Harvest
Cheap Shot
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Presence of Mind
Last Stand

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


1 2
Flash + Chilling Smite
LoL Summoner Spell: Chilling Smite

Chilling Smite

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[12.17] Karthus Jungle | The Harbinger of Oblivion

By PiscesPomf

You can use the sidebar to naviguate

1 - Table of contents
2 - Introduction
3 - If you need to remember 3 tips
4 - Pros and Cons
5 - Jungle pathing
6 - Drafting
7 - Runes explanation
8 - Items explanation
9 - Ganks
10 - Team fights and gameplan
11 - Contact

If you're looking for information about Karthus Top/Mid/APC , please check other sources as this guide only focuses on Karthus Jungle.

Hello, and welcome to this guide !
First of all, let me introduce myself. I'm PiscesPomf, actually ranked Gold, and a real Karthus enjoyer. You may find strange the fact that a random gold write a guide for other people, but know that i worked hard with Karthus mains, and i acquired a quite good knowles=dge about the game by following streamers and pro players who are helping me to improve a lot in League.

What i really like about Karthus is that the champ only relies on hitting a pretty hard-to-hit spell, which provides a great sense of pride when you kil ennemies. His passive and R are also really satisfying to use, and overall, i really like the design of Karthus.

Now that this is done, let's jump in the guide !
If you need to remember 3 tips

Here are 3 tips that you want to remember if you don't wanna read the whole guide

1 - 90% of your damage output comes from your Q

When playing Karthus, you must have noticed that the whole damages of the champ comes from the Q. From this piece of advice we can notice these few things:

-Throwing AA is NOT mandatory. It makes you slower, for a ridiculous amount of damage.
-BUT it is very useful on static targets : There is a rule on Karthus : 2 Q 1 AA, then repeat. You can launch a free AA without losing any dps after throwing 2 Q. This is very useful for you clear, or when your hitting objectives. Just keep in mind that vs ennemy champions, You'd better reposition yourself and kite instead of throwing a ridiculous AA.
-You must be really skilled to hit your Q, and you must train hard. If you can't hit any Q, you will never be useful with the champion.

2 - Karthus is NOT a R champ

Well, this one hurts. Karthus R is REALLY strong, it is what makes the champ awesome. But Karthus hurts a LOT by hitting Q and E. So here are 3 mistakes that random Karthus cucks do with R :

- Never, never, NEVER launch your R if you can dps with your Q or if you're about to die. You can launch the R when you are dead ! It's better ! You deal more damage, your targets are more low hp, and you dont loose dps by casting the spell when you could dps with your Q.
- Ask your teammates to ping you if you need to ult. Don't think that you can watch the whole map and ennemy champs all the time. If an ally pings your ult, quickly watch the ennemy's health, and judge if an R kills him. People are really bad informed of Karthus R damages, It does not deal a lot of damages early on, so you'd better check ennemies hp before launching it. But if you can't see ennemeis health, then trust your buddies and ult.
-You CAN play without your ult : some players think that Karthus is like Evelynn or Fiddlesticks : it's a "late" champ that sucks early on, you should not gank before 6 etc...
Yes, Karthus scales really well with Dark Harvest, all of his kit, and is really good in late, but he has some really reliable damages before 6. Don't be shy and gank when there is an opportunity. But don't be greedy, and try to recognise situations where you can, or not, try to get some kills.

3 - Karthus has a SICK passive

Karthus R is AWESOME. 7 seconds of FREE dps on everyone. You can deal crazy amounts of damages with it. And what's cool is that your runes allow you to do more damages when you're dead (Last stand). So here are some facts with your passive :

-Don't commit suicide in the ennemy team, play normally then just continue to play when you're dead.
-What's great to do is just to walk up to the ennemy team when you are 100% sure that you're dead : like that your passive will really annoy them.
-If you wanna throw your ult when you're dead (You really want to do it if there is a teamfight), then launch it at the last second. You deal the maximum damages with Q first, then you R.

Now let's get to the main guide.
Pros :
-Fast clear
-Huge dps
-Pretty good duelist
-Scales well
-Fits in any comp
Cons :
-No mobility
-Skill shots
-Weak against early invading
-Weak vs high mobilty
Jungle pathing
With Karthus, you don't have to think a lot when it comes to the clear. In almost every game, you should do a full clear starting with blue buff. Here is a list:
(Remember that your 3 first spells to take are in order : Q E Q : As you wont gank before full clear, getting 2 points in Q is better than taking W that is useless is jungle.)

-> -> -> -> -> ->

Like for any champ, you should be able to identify when this is a game to pick Karthus or not.

You want to pick :
-Your team lacks of AP
-Your team needs scaling
-Ennemy team has no mobility
-Good matchup
You don't want to pick :
-Ennemy team has a lot of mobility
-Your team already have a lot of AP
-Your team doesn't have enough melee champs
-The ennemy JG has a counter pick
Runes explanation
You want to run almost the same runes every game :

Dark Harvest is THErune for Karthus. It adds a TON of damages, combo really well with your R, it's just awesome. Some people like First Strike, i personnaly never take it in jungle althought i take it on lane.

Cheap shot is really good as it procs on your W, and on your Rylai's staff if you buy one. It adds some great bonus damages.

Really easy to stack with your R, it grants a good bonus, and there is nothing else to take on this rune line.

CD reduction on your ult ? Yes yes yes yes !

This will help you with mana, it's really great

This rune is maybe the best one you can pick in the whole rune page : you deal more damages when you are low hp, to a maximum reached when you're at 30% hp. That's awesome for the simple reason that when you are under passive, you are "dead" (you have like 100 hp) so you're way below 30%, so it is free damages !
Some people take the one that increase damage dealt to low champions, but it gives less bonus damages and if they're low, you kill they with R with our without the rune.
Items explanation
This mythic is the one that you HAVE to take every game. There is no other choice : Luden is for burst and you're not doing that, DoT is way better for you. There is no point in proving that this mythic is bettet as it is a fact, so let's continue.
The single boots that you can run, ionian boots are not really useful as CDR does not affect Q and E. Sorcerer's shoes is a way better investment./color]
Exactly as with Liandry's, Zhonya's hourglass is mandatory with Karthus. Remind to always launch your E before using it as it will still run while you are in stasis.
High AP, High Penetration, huge damages.
A LOT of AP. You should buy it as your 5th item to optimize the way you build it : like this, you build a wand, then another wand, then rabadon's.

Now let's get to the more situational items :

Really great vs high magic resist/tanks but pretty bad investment vs foes without a lot of mr
If you need anti healing and noone in your team can buy it. It is not to role to play as a support / tank taht must buy this item so try to convince your mates to buy it. But if it is you that must buy it is ok
Not as good as before as it is more a tank AP / AP bruiser item now
Really good vs fast opponents, as you will land Q and E easier. Even vs not fast ennemies it's still really good.

Ganking with Karthus require some conditions :

- You must be able to land a wall to slow ennemies. The best situation is when you wall is parallel to the lane so the ennemies are slowed on the whole length of it. Try to gank from the river, because if you gank from another way, your wall we be perpendicular to the lane.
- It is way better to gank if the ennemies are at least at the middle of the lane.
- Even if your gank does not give a kill, you can make the ennemies flash and stack dark harvest, so that's ok.
If an ennemy does not have flash, feel free to exhaust him to make him slower.
Teamfights and Gameplan

Early Game

Karthus is a champ that scales well, but he still put huge dps early on. You should focus on farming a lot, and look for ganks when ennemies push a lot. You can do the herald or drakes if your laners can help you and there is no threat around.
As you have no mobility, i advice you not to invade the ennemy jungle if you're not 100% sure that it's safe.
Talking of invade, you should really avoid to invade at the start of the game, as you should use your fast full clear advantage.

Mid and Late Game

You should fight when your team wants to, and just farm a lot when they don't fight. Don't start fights alone except if you're really ahead. You are really good in teamfights so you can start objectives if your team is ahead or if your team have more people alive and ready to fight at the drake/Nashot. Pretty simple.


There is no point in suiciding into the ennemy team when you play Karthus, this is an Iron mistake. Play normally : Throw Q during the whole fight, stay behind your team, launch E when it can hit someone. Only R when you're dead or when the fight is over and you can kill some people that are fleeing.
Feel free to DM/add me on discord : Pomf#7690

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Teamfight Tactics Guide