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Karthus Build Guide by DingDongGaming

Middle [70% Winrate] Rank #84 Karthus In The World Guide (MID)

Middle [70% Winrate] Rank #84 Karthus In The World Guide (MID)

Updated on October 21, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author DingDongGaming Build Guide By DingDongGaming 378 20 1,224,893 Views 64 Comments
378 20 1,224,893 Views 64 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author DingDongGaming Karthus Build Guide By DingDongGaming Updated on October 21, 2021
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Runes: Basic

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


1 2
vs bursters
LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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Jungle Role
Ranked #50 in
Jungle Role
Win 50%
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Jungle Role Ranked #50 in
Jungle Role
Win 50%
More Karthus Runes

Threats & Synergies

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Champion Build Guide

[70% Winrate] Rank #84 Karthus In The World Guide (MID)

By DingDongGaming
Introduction [Person]

Hi guys!

I am ****arang and I play on Europe West. At this moment I am the #84 Karthus in the world and I decided to make a guide for him since I know him quite well. I am in Diamond 5 and planning on climbing to master or even challenger this new season! I have started playing Karthus since season 2 where PhantomL0rd trolled with him and ran TP & Revive. Since then I fell in love with the champ. I have played over 1000 games with him over 4-5 different accounts with an average of a 70% winrate. I have studied Karthus after PL's stream and mastered him. Right now, it is your turn!

Champion Introduction & Skills.

Karthus is a low mobilty, high damage output champion who can burst people down in seconds. (If played right.)

Let us start with his passive.

Passive / Death Defied

"Upon Dying, Karthus enters spirit form that allows him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds."

This is one of the reasons why Karthus is overpowered. Even when you get killed in team fights, you still have 7 whole seconds to continue casting spells and trust me. They hurt.

Q / Lay Waste

"Karthus unleashes a delayed blast at a location, dealing damage to nearby enemies."

One of the strongest abilities in-game in my opinion. If you hit Lay Waste on a single target, the damage is doubled. That is why he can poke and burst champions quickly.

Since patch 10.16 the AP ratio went from 0.35 to 0.3. This only affects the late game a little bit, but not that much. He still is a valid pick.

W / Wall of Pain

"Karthus creates a passable screen of leeching energy. Any enemy units that walk through the screen have their Movement Speed and Magic Resist reduced for a period."

This ability is amazing. No matter how much magic resist the enemy has, you can always damage them in combination with Sorcerer's Shoes, Void Staff and Morellonomicon.

E / Defile

"Karthus passively steals energy from his victims, gaining Mana on each kill. Alternatively, Karthus can surround himself in the souls of his prey, dealing damage to nearby enemies, buit quickly draining his own Mana."

Great ability to sustain in lane! The Mana you get back after killing a unit is +- enough for 1 extra Q. In team fights you must activate this ability and keep it activated. Only turn it off if you are low on Mana. I would not recommend turning this ability on in early game since it will drain out your Mana quickly.

R / Requiem


"After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals damage to all enemy champions."

An ability that deals 250 damage on its first level to all five players at the same time. This is a game changing ultimate. In combination with your magic penetration you can basically deal true damage on carries in late game. You have the possibility to one-shot them.

Don't use your ultimate just to secure a kill. If your bot lane gets ganked by the enemy jungler or your mid laner, activate it! There is a high chance that the enemy team will back off since you dealt a lot of damage to them. This way you saved your bottom lane and maybe secured an assist for yourself! Or you can use it when you see your top laner / bot laners fight. Either way, teamplay is important!

Precision can also be replaced with Inspiration. Then you should get Cosmic Insight and Perfect Timing. By picking Last Stand, when you are at 30% hp you maxed out the increased damage of 12%. But even if you die, you still have 7 whole seconds to use this increased damage. Or in combination with Zhonya's Hourglass you can deal 2.5 seconds more damage to the surrounding enemies. It works a lot better than Coup de Grace and Cut Down since their max damage increase stops at 10%.


This season it's all about Dark Harvest stacks. Dealing extra damage to an enemy below 50% HP and getting stacks of it is huge. This makes your Q and R an one shotter basically in combination with Luden's Tempest.
Since the last time, I prefer Coup de Grace over Last Stand since I've changed my play-style to survive rather to run into the enemy team and die. Ravenous Hunter also gives a lot of sustain during team fights which results in you being alive.
Skill Sequence
Abilities wise, you should always start with your Lay Waste. No questions asked.

Your second ability should also be a no-brainer: your Defile.

From now you got an option. You can put a point in your Wall of Pain but only if you know that you can get a secured kill out of it. Or if your jungler does a level 3 gank. If this is not case, put a third point in your Q Lay Waste. The damage boost will reward you anyway.

Now on every single skill point should be placed in Lay Waste, followed up by Defile and at last Wall of Pain. Your ult Requiem on level 6,11,16 of course.
Summoner Spells

There are a lot of options for Summoner Spells.

Flash is a must on Karthus though. But your second Summoner Spell slot is customable.

The first option is to pick Exhaust. I would recommend this when you're playing vs an assassin champion just like Zed or Talon. The slow will also help you land your Q's better.

The second (and last) option is to pick Teleport. This way you will not miss a lot of farm. There is no real other reason to pick this Summoner Spell.
Pros / Cons

Just like every single champion, Karthus has some strengths and weaknesses.

+High Damage
+Global ult hitting all enemies at the same time
+AoE damage
+Has CC (Crowd Control)
+Even when you're dead you can participate in team fights with your passive
+Strong early game

-No mobility
-Gets countered by a lot of champions

We buy a Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible to stack it really quick! Followed by a Lost Chapter into Archangel's Staff. This will provide you a shield (when fully stacked) which lets you initiate team fights and lets you survive. Followed it up with a Morellonomicon. It excels versus an enemy team who can use healing abilities just like Soraka, Taric, Janna thanks to Grievous Wounds.

In this guide I have said many times that magic penetration is a must on Karthus. So Sorcerer's Shoes, Morellonomicon are a must. Only if they haven't bought magic resist, then you can replace Void Staff with something else. In case you've picked Abyssal Mask over Zhonya's Hourglass, grab Zhonya's Hourglass as well.


We no longer buy a Tear of the Goddess, but this time we'll rush Lost Chapter to secure our early Luden's Tempest. This gives us a lot of burst and 20% cooldown reduction. The second item is most preferably a Zhonya's Hourglass to secure an extra 10% cooldown reduction and an active that keeps you longer alive during fights.

After that it depends on the enemy team. If they have a lot of healing, then a Morellonomicon will save the day. Rabadon's Deathcap is also a great third item choice. This will surely improve your presence in team fights.

When the first creeps are in lane and when they are fighting each other, use your Q Lay Waste on the caster minions (single hit them). Do it until all 3 of them are dead. This way you can push your wave and try to poke the enemy mid laner down. Try to deny him experience and cs as well. In all cases you shouldn't use your Q Lay Waste on multiple enemies, only if you can kill them all at the same time with just one Q Lay Waste.
Try to take the raptors as well after you've pushed your wave into his turret. A little bit more farm is always welcome.
As soon as you reach level six, you should look at top lane and bottom lane to look at the enemy players their health bar. Maybe you can secure a kill.
In team fights you should be the one who initiates. Since you have your Zhonya's Hourglass in combination with your other items, you should be good to go. But before you go into your Hourglass, don't forget to activate your E. It's literally free damage. Don't use your ult if you're alive in the team fight, leave if for when you're dead. Don't use it too quickly either, try to land some Q's and try to time your ult.
Karthus' Performance in ELO's.
Al right. Let's top it off by saying that Karthus isn't viable in every single ELO. In higher ELO's he will be countered and outplayed 95% of the times. Hitting your Q's will be a real pain in the *ss and you will probably get one shotted by the enemy. In lower ELO's (plat 2 and lower), he is an overpowered champion. Most of the players do not know what to build or rush against him. Try to use that to your advantage.
If you have any questions, go ahead, and ask me in the comment section! You can also add me on League of Legends too! My in-game name is Ding **** Gaming.
Screenshots season 8
So far I've been doing great with the same build as I've shown you guys in my guide.
I ended up in Platinum 2 with a 8-1 win ratio with


These are my statistics so far.

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Teamfight Tactics Guide