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Karthus Build Guide by Pyros

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Pyros

Inevitable guide to Karthus

Pyros Last updated on January 3, 2012
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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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 21

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Hello, I'm Pyros and this is my guide to Karthus. This is by no means a Bible, I just wanted to share my way of playing this amazing champion.

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Pros / Cons

Putting it simply:
- Exemplary farmer
- Great AOE damage
- Has a potent nuke/harrasement skill
- Has a high damage output
- His innate is one of the best in-game
- Is ultimate makes people **** their pants
- Has one of the Pentakill skins

- Very squishy. I mean really, really squishy. Like a low level wizard in Majesty.
- Needs gold to be effective.
- Is one of the hardest champions to master.
- Ultimate is hard to time right without good team communication
- If not played carefuly may lead to the downfall of the whole team with early feeding

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I go for flat MP marks, flat AP quaints and glyphs, and flat MR5 seals. Early game Karthus is extremly mana hungry if you want to use your E, so I try to maximize my mana regeneration while keeping it to just one mana item the whole game, which is enough. Worth consideration are CDR glyphs or more MP quaints.

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I go for increased cooldowns from Utility tree, since flash is the only escape trick you have when Wall is on cd, I also aim at bigger mana pool and a bit of bonus speed, which can make a difference when having to outrun another caster or champions without good chasing skills. Awareness and Sage are there to make you obtain level 6 as fast as you could, so you can blast 'em all to hell before they build any decent defense against your OMGDEATHRAYZ.

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Items aka the Kill Stuff

The items put up in my build are the simple core for Karthus. These are the items I get first, disregarding any others, since I see them as most useful. Any others are to be picked when you see fit, but these are a must. Archangel gives you enough mana to sustain for the whole game, Zhonya gives you an important edge in team fights and Rabbadon increase the ***-Whopper factor.

These three items are your core of desttruction, rest should be adjusted to enemy team, for example get Void Staff when they have enormous amount of magic resist, get Morello if you want lesser cooldowns or just get Ionia's boots instead of magic pen classics.

Why Zhonya befoe Rabaddon - I prefer Zhonya first beacuse it allows me to die less often (Remember, Karthus is mega squishy, to the point that building survi other than zhonya/banshee is pretty much a waste of slot and money), albeit being able to soak damage from Ults and stuff, also dealing damage at the same time (Popping E, it doesn't stop in Zhonya, much like Morgana's skills) which makes you practically immunue to turret dives, since you are invincible for a moment and both your skills and turret hits the foolish attacker.

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Summoner spells

I take Teleport and Flash for higher mobility and escape mechanic. You can also consider Ignite instead of Teleport or ghost/flash combo for more run options. Other skills are kinda less useful.

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Skill Sequence

Time to speak a bit about the skills of Skele... Karthus.

- this innate is simply insane, it allows you to spam your skills for free for 7 seconds exacting revange on your killers and aiding your team, also no one can interrupt your ult while at it.

- this skill makes other champs **** their pants. This baby deals 260 + 60% AP dmg to a single target or half of that to multiple targets. With enough AP, this turns into OMGHALFMYHPISGONERUN thing against squishy casters or low Magic Resistance targets. It's mana cost is a joke, so you can spam it even more often than ***** enlargement emails. It's a smart cast(where your cursor is) with quite a range and it has a 0.5 sec to launch. Knowing that, you should learn to guess oponent's movement. It's very hard at the start, but when you get a wibe of it, you can't turn back on it's awesomeness.

- The Wall is your only true CC, which helps you run, chase or even deal damage, as it has slow and resistance/armor reductor build in. It's a perfect thing to throw into a middle of a team fight, so that enemies have a hard time not passing through it.

- This skill allows you for an insane farm and in late game it gives you so much mana for minion kills, that you rarely have to worry about it. It has nice range and super low cd, so use it often, yet use it wisely, as it is mana hungry. When you have Archangel though, this is a rather minor thing to worry.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Ultimate! (Yes, so awesome it gets a chapter.)

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Death from Above

Time to troll. No, seriously. Put up the Trololo song, pop the ult and watch them flame, as you enjoy a stream of gold. You will be called a no-skill noob player with noob ult, a killstealer by your team etc. Good. Means that you are effective at what your doing. Here are some tips as to when and when not to use Requiem. (It should be called Trololo. Seriously, hack the game people, I wanna see it.)

First things first: Timing. You don't always have to secure a kill, it's sometimes better to just weaken a foe, so your ally can either run or get the kill. Assists give money too.

Second thing: Awareness
Alway pay attention to the map and HP of your opponents, as well to the exact damage your ult can do. Don't overdo it, you don't need to spam it whenever you see a guy running, because...

Third thing: damage mitigation
Some *******s can easily shunt off your ult - build-in shields, Banshee's veil, Trynda's rage and other stuff can main your tasty kill, so take note of that. Pay attention to other lanes, so that you know if they used any useful skills and are wounded enough to be a delicious gold supply.

Fourth thing: communication
Don't be a bigger ******* than you already are. You heard me. Let's face it. We play Karthus. We ****in' hate other people. So lets make their lives more miserable by owning their cornholes in LoL. Talk to your team, take useful information and be helpful to them, it will work in a long run. Tell them to ping you when Twitch escapes at 10 HP or Noct dropped his shield already.

Fith thing: cast time
Remeber that you have to channel the spell, so better stay behind, near turret or even wait to be dead to cast the Requiem, so no one can stop you from harvesting their souls.

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Inevitable End

Thanks for reading so far and I hope you will enjoy my build and hints to playing Karthus. Enjoy the killing. I hate ponnies by the way, but this pic seemed good as and ending. :)