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Karthus Build Guide by snukumz

Support gold

DO FEAR THE REAPER! - KARTHUS SUPPORT

By snukumz | Updated on January 28, 2020
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Runes: Better Late Game Damage

1 2
Domination
Dark Harvest
Taste of Blood
Ghost Poro
Ultimate Hunter

Sorcery
Absolute Focus
Gathering Storm
Bonus:

+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #26 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

Ability Order ABILITY ORDER

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Hi guys!

My in-game name is snu***z and I've been playing league since season 2. I'm currently in Platinum Elo on the NA server, but I will be in Diamond very soon ;)

I honestly haven't played that much Karthus support yet, but he's a ton of fun and does a ridiculous amount of damage (especially late game!)

I play mostly AP caster supports and love it!

My mission with this guide is to cover the most important bits of information that will help you succeed when playing Karthus support. The early, mid, and late game sections will tell you exactly what you should be doing at all points during the game in order to win.

Let's get on with the rest of the guide!

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Pros


+ Super high damage at level 1
+ Ult secures tons of kills and gets you tons of gold in the process
+ Ult devastates the enemy teams HP late game if you are fed
+ Does damage after dying
+ Incredibly strong in team fights if played correctly
+ Can do the most damage in the game, by far, as a support!
+ Can melt dragons and barons due to his high single target damage

Cons


- Very situation pick, only pick him when the enemy doesn't have a lot of super mobile champions
- Super squishy
- Can be worthless if you don't land your Q's
- Q's hard to land late game when everyone has items that increase movement speed
- Gap closing assassins can delete you before you're able to do any damage, so be very careful when alone

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* Dark Harvest is one of the best runes for Karthus in general, and allows his ultimate ability to hit the enemy absurdly hard late game, and it also helps you do that extra little bit of damage with your ult to secure kills.

* Taste of Blood will help Karthus support to heal up and stay healthy in lane.

* Ghost Poro is the best rune here in my opinion because it's going to give us an extra free 1 minute ward once our original ward dies. This will help keep you & your ADC from getting ganked by the enemy jungler. This rune will also give you extra AP as the game progresses, increasing your overall damage.

* Ultimate Hunter is a great rune choice for us here because it will lower the cooldown on our ult, making us able to use our ult more often, secure more kills, and get more fed. Relentless Hunter could be another interesting choice here as it would make it easier for you to get in range to land your Q or W.

* Absolute Focus is a good choice here because it will give us more damage as the game progresses and make our ultimate more lethal. Transcendence can be a good rune choice too but I don't like waiting until level 10 as a support as that can take quite a while, and often the outcome of the game has been decided by then.

* Gathering Storm is definitely the best rune choice here. It's going to give us a ton of AP as the game progresses and will make our ult hit way way harder.




* Summon Aery is a good choice if you're going to have a lane matchup that is going to be very easy to poke, like Taric/Braum/Alistar. It will give your poke more of a punch, and it is very easy to proc over and over again since Karthus's Q has a very low cooldown.

* Manaflow Band is the best choice here as it will give Karthus extra mana and he is a very mana hungry champion, especially early game.

* Absolute Focus is a good choice here because it will give us more damage as the game progresses and make our ultimate more lethal. Transcendence can be a good rune choice too but I don't like waiting until level 10 as a support as that can take quite a while, and often the outcome of the game has been decided by then.

* Gathering Storm is an amazing rune choice for Karthus because it will give him a ton of more AP as the games goes on and make him more lethal. That said, Scorch isn't a bad choice here either if your plan is to severely punish the enemy laners early with poke and help your lane get an early lead.

* Ghost Poro is the best rune here in my opinion because it's going to give us an extra free 1 minute ward once our original ward dies. This will help keep you & your ADC from getting ganked by the enemy jungler. This rune will also give you extra AP as the game progresses, increasing your overall damage.

* Ultimate Hunter is a great rune choice for us here because it will lower the cooldown on our ult, making us able to use our ult more often, secure more kills, and get more fed. Relentless Hunter could be another interesting choice here as it would make it easier for you to get in range to land your Q or W.

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PASSIVE
ABILITY
DEATH DEFIED (Passive): "Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds. During this time his abilities cost no mana."
One of Karthus's most potentially powerful abilities and why he can be amazing in team fights. Karthus can die and still do absurd damage to the enemy if they are foolish enough to continue fighting on top of his passive form. This form also helps with securing barons/dragons as he can die in/near the dragon/baron pit and still do a ton of damage or zone off the enemy.




Q
LAY WASTE (Q): "Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 45 / 65 / 85 / 105 / 125 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy. This deals double damage if it hits only a single unit."
This is Karthus's main form of damage. Try harassing the enemy when they go for last hits to ensure this lands as it can be easy to dodge if the enemy has high movement speed or dashes. Try to angle your shots so that it only hits one target at a time, that way you deal double damage. This ability will burn through your mana quickly before Frostfang so be careful not to spam it unless you're doing damage.




W
WALL OF PAIN (W): "Karthus creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall at the target location for 5 seconds. The wall reduces the magic resistance of enemies who pass through it by 15% for 5 seconds and applies a 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% slow which drops to half effectiveness after 1 second and then decays over the remaining debuff duration."
This is Karthus's only form of CC. It's quite good in team fights, and in setting up doing damage, but isn't that great when you're trying to avoid a gank. Be careful when this ability is down as you have no other form of escape other than flash.




E
DEFILE (E): "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, but quickly draining his own Mana.
Toggle Off: When Karthus kills a unit, he restores 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 mana.
Toggle On: Drains 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 Mana to deal 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 (+20% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second."
Defile will deal a decent amount of AoE damage but will drain your mana very quickly. I don't recommend to use this ability unless you're about to enter into an all-in fight or if you think you're about to die. Otherwise, use your Q as your main form of damage. This ability will automatically get activated when you die.




R
REQUIEM (R): "After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+75% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance)."
This is the ability that makes Karthus Karthus. No matter the distance you can do damage to all 5 members of the enemy team, you just have to make sure that no one can CC/disable you as you are channeling your ultimate. You can cast your ultimate after you have died and no one can disable it then, unless you run out of the 7 seconds you get in your passive form, then it will automatically get cancelled if you haven't finished channeling it.




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Start poking hard right out the gate at level 1 with your Lay Waste (Q), Karthus has one of the highest level 1 DPS in the game. Usually after a leash, the enemy ADC is rushing to last hit the 3 low HP melee minions from the first minion wave, this is a great time to poke him. Whenever their ADC is about to go for a last hit, and you aren't going to get wrecked by their support, throw down a Q to harass their ADC/support. This will ensure you do damage, or deny them CS (this is especially important when they are about to last hit a cannon minion as you'll be 95% guaranteed to land your harass since they won't want to miss the cannon minion, be prepared to drop Q's and your Wall of Pain (W) to slow down their ADC as he goes for the cannon minion)

Try not to use your Defile (E) to do damage as this will drain all of your mana very quickly. Only use it in big team fights, or if you're 100% sure you're going to die.

Try to poke them safely, even though your passive allows you to do damage after death, most of the time it's worthless since the enemy will just run away after they kill you. It can be worth it to throw yourself at the enemy if they are trying to kill your low HP ADC since if they kill you they might get greedy and keep going through your passive for your ADC, which will allow you to do a ton more damage and potentially get a kill or 2.

After your first back, always keep a control ward in Tri-Bush, or river bush, depending on which side of the map you started on. You should buy a Control Ward each time you back after that.

If you see an enemy jungler coming to gank, you can use your slow wall to negate his gank. (Use your slow wall on whoever has a gap closer, or the best CC, this will ensure you the best chance to get away)

Once you hit level 6, constantly monitor the other lanes for low HP enemies. Also, ping that your Requiem (R) is up, this will let your jungler and other lanes know that they will have extra help if they try to go for kills.

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Be careful not to get picked, and help your team to win skirmishes by poking the enemy and doing tons of damage. Use your slow wall to help your enagers stick to the enemy.

Maintain good vision around the map, especially around the baron pit, dragon, and the river/enemy jungle. Be careful when warding or face checking bushes though, you should always be spamming your Q into bushes to make sure they are safe before checking them. (*tip, if you Q a bush and hit someone, and look at your character, there will be an indicator showing you that you've gained some gold)

Keep watching the mini-map and pay attention to your allies pings, help them to secure kills with you ultimate, this will also ensure that you very fed as well :)

Help your team secure dragons and barons with your ridiculous damage, and don't be afraid to die on top of an objective as this will further help your team to secure the objective, and to punish the enemy if they try to take the objective while you are in your passive form.

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Stick with your team, and don't get picked off. (it is very easy to get picked off as Karthus xD)

Try to maintain good vision in the Baron pit area, and the river/enemy jungle if possible. Be very careful when warding as you are very easy to kill if you get caught out. Always spam your Q when going to ward or face check a bush.

Your damage is absurd at this point, and as long as you stay alive you will be doing "tons of damage".

Your Requiem will obliterate the HP of the enemy squishy's at this point. Don't be afraid to use your ult to force them to back off/base if your team is trying to secure baron/elder/towers. (only do this when you are fed though, otherwise you'll just tickle them and waste your ultimate)

You can sell your support ward item last and pick up a Spellbinder, or other AP item, to do even more ridiculous damage.

Always stick with your team and make sure you win your team fights as this will determine the outcome of the game.

Stick together, take objectives, win the game!

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That's it! Thanks for reading guys!

Don't forget to hit that like button at the top of the page if you learned some useful information here :)

Try out Karthas support for yourselves, he's a very situation pick in my opinion, but he does some of the best damage in the game (as a support), and is a lot of fun!

If you have any additional questions, or want to see me play live, then come join us on the stream.

That's it guys, peace!