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Karthus Build Guide by Best Karth NA

Middle How to Win Every Game on Karthus

By Best Karth NA | Updated on May 18, 2019
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Runes:

Domination
Dark Harvest
Cheap Shot
Ghost Poro
Ultimate Hunter

Precision
Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace
Bonus:

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

Spells:

1 2 3
LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust

Exhaust

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #26 in
Jungle Role
Win 49%
Get More Stats

Ability Order

Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

How to Win Every Game on Karthus

By Best Karth NA
Introduction to Karthus
When you're playing Karthus, realize that you are a scaling late game monster. Yes you can get aggressive early on and come out on top in a lot of situations, but the reason why he is my favorite champion is due to the fact you can fall back onto his late game if the early isn't going well. Karthus excels in low elo games because they have a tendency to last longer, and people generally aren't cordinated enough to deny you the resources you are going to need in order to reach that late game.

The general decison making you should have as a Karthus player goes as follows:
Does my team need me?
If the answer to that is no, look to farm. Check raptors, wolves, and any side lanes for farm. Constantly ask yourself this as the game goes on in order to maximize your gold efficiency, and you will notice yourself hitting that late game more often. Karthus however falls off past around the 40 minute mark, so try to end the game before then.
Early Game Back to Top
Level 1 you want to abuse your insanely strong early. You will win any fight 1v1 as long as you land enough of your abilities. Use your q to kill the caster minions in order to keep the lanes shoved in, and poke the enemy whenever possible. Try to auto as many minions as you can so you can sustain in lane with your e. You will win most matchups pre 6 as long as you hit your abilties.


On Karthus, there are generally two different ways that you can play out the early game. Farm out and scale, or play a bit aggressive and try and snowball. First thing you want to notice is how strong the enemy laner is early on, as Karthus is better than a lot of mid laners in the early game and has strong 1v1 potential. If you realize you will get trashed early or poked out of lane, then try and just farm out the matchup and freeze the wave towards your turret.

Now you notice that you will have a large advantage early on against the enemy laner, good. Make sure you take note of who the enemy jungler is before you decide to do anything, as nowadays most junglers will target an aggressive Karthus for ganks and try to punish you whenever you go aggressive. If you plan on going all-in level one, ward the enemy red buff at around 110. This way you can prevent a level 2 gank from happening and won't be caught off guard as easily. Constantly poke throughout the lane whenever possible, but make sure not to go aggressive unless you have vision of the enemy jungler. Karthus' worst enemy in lane is always going to be the other teams jungler.
Laning Back to Top
As a continuation of the early game section, I would like to go in depth a bit on how to lane as Karthus. At first you may be a bit passive and have a tendency towards just farming out your lanes, which is fine when you are still learning the champion. But as you continue to get more comfortable on Karthus, you are going to want to realize when you can go aggressive and when you can get a kill 1v1. A mistake I notice a lot of new Karthus players making, is they put to much of a priority towards farming when they could realistically completely take the enemy laner out of the game.

One of the greatest things about Karthus is his ability to always be in the game. If you are behind or losing lane, no big deal, farm it out. Shove the wave in by Qing the caster minions, then run to your raptors to farm some more. FARM FARM FARM. Karthus is useless without it. If you are ahead and end up shoving the lane, you could even take the enemy raptors if they are up. If you are playing against an enemy mid laner who excels at roaming I'd suggest just keeping the lane shoved in for the majority of the laning phase. That way, you can punish them at least a little bit for leaving the lane.


Karthus is also very good at setting up ganks. If you have a strong ganking jungler and you think you could pull off a kill, try to get the jungler to come into the midlane, and hold the wave closer to your turret. Play over to the opposite side of whichever direction your jungler is ganking from. For example, if you are on blue side and have your jungler coming from the left side, cheat over to the right in order to push the other laner to the left. As soon as your jungler goes in, or even right before, W the opponent and start spamming your Qs. It's a free kill 90% of the time if you land enough of them isolated. Be aware of where the enemy jungler is at all times, and make sure you pay enough respect to a champion if you believe they have the potential to all in you. If you realize a gank isn't going to work, then just ping your jungler back and continue to farm.
Mid game Back to Top
So I consider the mid game anything post level 6. Make sure you are keeping an eye on all of the side lanes in order to either assist in ganks or get a free kill. At rank 1, your ultimate will kill any champion that is below 200hp. If you see a champion is low enough to help you get a kill, let your laners know by targeting them and hopefully they will get them to under 200 hp. Buy control wards and keep as much vision on the map as possible, as most junglers will try to abuse the fact that you don't have an escape in your kit.
Late game Back to Top
In teamfights your main priority will be to die in the middle of the enemy team and do as much damage as possible. If you can't ult before the fights, go into the enemy team and die, use your Q 2 times, and then use your ultimate. It is possible to get off 3 qs in your passive and then ulting, but in order to be safe, just try to get off 2. Try to land your W on as many enemies as possible, or use it as an engage for your team if you see someone is overextended. Karthus is one of the easiest champions in the game to teamfight as late game, because even if you aren't skilled enough to land any of your skillshots, your ultimate is a free 4k damage for your team whenever it is up.
Tips N Tricks Back to Top
- Karthus' E can be used as an effective tool for last hitting minions as the damage goes through instantly as soon as you toggle it on.

- If you're running low on mana in lane, last hit minions with your AA as your E passive with give you mana.

- Your W grants vision, so feel free to cast it into the baron pit if you don't have any wards and want to check up on it.

- It is much easier to land a Q when the enemy laner goes for a last hit.

- Don't be afraid to flash into the enemy backline during a teamfight. Not only will it provide valuable damage onto the enemy teams carries, but will allow you to peel for your own backline a bit.

- You can suicide and zone out the enemy team if you believe it will help secure an objective, or win you a teamfight(of course, don't do this with a large bounty).

- Karthus is essentially a ticking time bomb in game with how much damage he contributes towards teamfights. Remember you can always fall back on your scaling and farm up to the late game if your lane isn't going as planned.

- Sometimes towards the later parts of the game( 30 min+) it may not always be worth it to get a solo kill with your ult. It's most valuable use is during teamfights, so if you see a nami support that is pretty low, it might not be worth the CD to get that 300 gold.

- If you notice someone in the other lanes is low and you will only need a little damage from your team to secure a kill, target him in lane so your teammate knows to get in a give you that bit of damage to secure the kill.

- Your ultimate at rank one will kill anybody who is below 200 hp as a general rule.
Conclusion Back to Top
Thanks for reading my Karthus guide. I believe he is one of, if not the most, satisfying champion to play once you get good on him. As a bit of background, I've been maining Karthus since season 4, and am among the best Karthus players in NA(probably the best). I have a very unique perspective on the game and am open to any opposing viewpoints regarding builds, runes, or different play styles on Karthus.


Check out my op.gg here : https://na.op.gg/summoner/userName=dody



If you have any questions, or disagree with anything I wrote in this guide, feel free to leave a comment.
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How to Win Every Game on Karthus

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