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League of Legends Build Guide Author jackattack052

AOE Tank Karthus, The Undying Lich

jackattack052 Last updated on September 27, 2010
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Middle Lane
Ranked #25 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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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: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

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

Utility: 21


I was thinking about Karthus' AOE for a bit. I realized that my friend had been using it aggressively, but always died. Then it hit me. How would a tank AOE Karthus fare? High hp, good AP, amazing AOE and a finishing ultimate, it sounded almost too good. Then I assembled this guide. The combined items will have him at EXTREMELY high hp, still good ability power, and all with decent mana.
Karthus is always the super squishy ultimate spammer. But what if he was more? What if he was extremely hard to kill, still high damage, and was able to slow a crowd to a stop in his AOE? This is the guide to fulfill those requirements. Since this is either a rare or never-before-seen Karthus, no one will know how to stop you, confused at how you managed to take out the entire team as a TANK.
***- Wall of Pain. Slows and reduces armor/magic resist. Combined with Abyssal and your magic pen you already have,You may even deal True Damage. You must not forget about this skill. Shrewd use of it can turn a fight from a loss to a sweeping victory. Well placed, it will slow, reduce armor, and cause most of them to die.
Requiem- OMGWTFBBQHAX! That's what the opponent says when you activate this when they run with 200 hp. Great for finishing the people you cannot get to, or KSing your team(not recommended). You have good AP so it is still strong.
AOE (Area of Effect)Defile is how you kill opponents other than Requiem. It does good damage, will slow with Rylai, and gives mana on kill! Using this in a team fight can turn the tide because of the huge damage you can deal to everyone, making easy targets for your teammates. You can also use it as an anti-stealth maneuver, on characters like evelynn to keep her away, and damage akali when she is in her stealth bubble.
Lay Waste- Your spell you use to tick them off and last hit. It should only be used sparingly for last hits though,(until you have ToG) so you don't spend all of your mana, overextend yourself, and get ganked because your team is too stupid to save you. Do NOT upgrade past 1 until you have to. *** and Defile are much more important. They are the main team fighting weapons.

Summoner Spells- I tookghost andexhaust. You may not think this makes sense, screaming WTF NOOB?!!? CASTERS DON'T USE EXHAUST! This spell could totally destroy. Combined with Wall of Pain, they will be moving extremely slow in your Aoe, so you can totally destroy them. Use it on a DPS, and they are useless and being damage heavily by your spells. Ghost is so you can escape if a team fight isn't working, or keep up with someone trying to run.
Clarity was an option, but it just isn't as good as these. Plus, you have no room because of exhaust and ghost, and tear of the goddess should keep your mana in check.
You may also try flash so you could gank easier, because they won't see you coming. Also good for hopping walls, etc. Would obviously replace ghost, but ghost would be a better choice for chasing people with Defile.
The last viable choice I can see would be teleport. Ignite is too weak- you have requiem anyway, duh. Teleport would be helpful because you could easily farm lanes, return for mana, and even escape from ganks with it because it isn't interrupted (unless disabled). You are a tank, after all.

Masteries- I took utility as done for most casters, for the mana regeneration and CD reduction. I also got neutral monster buff increase because you should always try to get the golem. I took defense over offense because of the valuable armor and resist, and the health regen from mana stacks GREAT with him.

Runes- Basic runes for a caster- Magic P and mana regeneration.The mana regeneration will help you greatly because of the huge consumption of Defile.I chose flat hp for Quintessence because flats are better for quintessence, but I chose Per level for seals because they are better after only a few levels.

Items- These are good Mana/Hp/Ability power items, greatly increasing hp, ability power, and mana, and even giving slow. I felt that the banshee's would be good for late game because it would block something deadly to Karthus like a stun or silence, and gives hp and mp also. Merc Treads are for silence/slow/stun reductions, because you are a tank, not a major caster. Since you already have the Tear, you turn it into Archangel near the end so you can convert all that MP into MORE power. Zhonya will be next- The untargetable ability is amazing in that they will be waiting to kill you while Defile still RUNS. Next, Abyssal for the resist lowering Aura.

Spells- Lay waste is important for the beginning, but you NEED Aoe and *** to be effective. Save lay waste for last because it isn't your main damage dealer in this build. Defile and *** are upgraded back and forth, but Defile should be upgraded whenever possible. You always upgrade requiem, obviously, because it is such a good finishing move. Make sure when you have a lot of mana, you spam lay waste to increase mana.

Early game- Take a sapphire crystal and a health potion, and set off for the middle. If someone tries to take it, either screw them and go anyway, or if they somehow outrank you,(they can't so i wont talk about laning) go to a lane. Take lay waste so you have a harass, and set out for the middle. Begin by getting as many last hits as possible with Karthus, and hitting the opponent when you can. You should be able to maintain your mana because of the runes and crystal. Use your normal attack to lower the minion hp, then last hit with Lay waste. Try not to spam lay waste when low on mana, because you don't want to run out and port back. A key for the beginning- You don't have high hp like a tank (or resist or armor) yet, so you cannot fulfill your role very well until you get a few core items. As soon as you level up to 9 or 10, you can begin playing aggressive tank. You should have higher hp from RoA. Also, still have great mana from Tear of the Goddess. Try to place *** (wall of pain) in a good position to slow them, turn on your AOE, and hit 'em hard. even if you do die, you can still aoe and ult after death, with your amazing passive. Get a few kills, and try to get giant's belt to increase survivability more.

Mid game- By now you should be at least level 12, and completed RoA and mercs, and working on (or finished with if you have a few kills) Rylai's which gives you valuable slow for your Aoe, along with big health AND ability power. You should be engaging teams/solos with your AOE, dealing big damage and slowing them all almost to a halt once Rylai combines with ***. If anyone gets behind turret, if they have low hp, just fall back and Requiem them and get a kill. Start going for archangel after Rylai to get that great ability power upgrade, which will turn your 3500 mana into 100 ability power.

Late game- By now, Karthus should have huge hp, owning everything close to Zhonya. Karthus is so powerful, he can initiate fights. You are very hard to kill, and deal huge damage. Lead the charge into fights, hit them with ***, and turn on your Aoe. You are a tank, do not forget it, and make them remember it. If you played this right, you may have an easy win. If not, maybe you were too aggressive in the beginning, or just fell for obvious things.

Looking back- I know what you are thinking- "Why shouldn't I get archangel earlier? It is such a good item!" The truth is, the other items are just much more important for you. You aren't a caster anymore- you are a tank with a crazy Aoe. It just isn't needed. The tear is only for the huge mana increase, which you LIVE on. Rod of Ages gives precious hp and some ability power, rylai gives more hp and ability power, and also an amazing slow! Abyssal's passive is extremely important for you. not only that, it gives YOU magic resist. Zhonya will be your Bread and butter in team fights. You get them to target you, and become invincible while using Defile for 2 SECONDS.

This guide isn't a totally solid build, because a "tank" needs to change to the needs of battle. If the team is heavy dps with no CC, drop abyssal and banshee's, and instead pick up a frozen heart in the place of them. Make sure if you do this, grab the glacial shroud before you start to build up rylai so you can block some damage. If they ARE heavy CC/caster, grab banshee's earlier so you don't get disabled. If they are quite even, just grab a glacial shroud before rylai's and drop merc treads for sorcerers. Figure it out. I'm not making a 10 page guide for all the possible situations.

This is my first guide, and I would love feedback and critiques. Thanks for viewing and/or trying out my build, I hope it worked for you!