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Build Guide by nicknamer

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author nicknamer

Just Like Zeus

nicknamer Last updated on February 2, 2011
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Playing Karthus

Early Game: For starters, its 4 branches + 3 clarities + eaters (tangoes). Since I tend to solo middle when I play Karthus, I rush bottle to get the quick lane advantage. Usually my build is 3 nulls, boots, tp scrolls, and bottle.

Attack Animation: His �wind-up� (frontswing) is very long, but you can use that to your advantage to �s- cancel your attack and out-lasthit your opponent. Many players rely on Arc Lightning too much.

Lane Control: Arc pushes the lane and is also dependent on clarity potions, but pushing the lane also gives you free time to check the runes, so you have to weigh both choices. Both Arc and Bolt have a range of 700, enabling you to stay out of danger when casting

Strong Enemies: Against a good laner, Bolt/Stats build is needed sometimes against Shadow Fiend or Silencer. It�s important to get early last hits against SF, and stats helps with both allied/denied units (obviously, Arc only works for offensive purposes). When dealing with a really problematic hero like Broodmother, make sure you keep a tp scroll on you at level 6 and definitely go Arc. Try to rune ***** it with bottle while keeping sentries up (from teammates) and you should do ok. Go gank the side lanes �>

Oh, maybe try out the stats/bolt build a few times so you can work on last hitting with Karthus

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The 5 MYM|Merlini Golden Rules

1. Always Lightning Bolt before Arc
It may seem better to arc before lightning to get maximum effect from static field but if you arc first you may lose your opponent in the fog

2. Always ALWAYS watch your positioning
Lightning bolt has a hell of a long range, Thundergod�s Wrath has infinite range, and Arc has pretty damn long range too, so there is almost no reason to be �up close and personal� in battle unless you are chasing down heroes

3. Wrath for Vision
When trying to kill low hp heroes (low, but not low enough for wrath only) in hard to navigate areas (e.g. below sentinel bottom right tower), use wrath to gain vision of your enemy so you can bolt them to death.

4. Share control with your allies
Communicating to a teammate to do something is always much slower than doing it yourself
5. Abuse Bolt Range
Try to ninja that extra bolt in before team fights actually start � it has ridiculous range and helps in battles way more than you think.

Guide Top


Alright, somebody pointed me out to some of the more constructive criticisms in the thread and I�ll try to expound on some of the finer points of Karthus. Some people may say that I�m �holding something back� in my description of how to play the Lord of Olympia; however, I feel that this is more of a reference to my personal playstyle. There are many different ways to play Karthus and I don�t want to say that one particular style is better than another. Some games you gank a lot because the other team has a lot of late game, you have good ganking heroes, and your support player is badass at taking out enemy wards. Some games you have to settle for farming for the first 15-20 minutes because your opponents have vision of the whole entire map or you have better late game and are �turtling� until late game. Because a lot of the playstyle depends on the exact situation of the game, I choose not to explain the intricacies of play that may change from game to game.

Karthus only has 3 nukes. He is not a very difficult hero to play per se. How difficult can a hero be if they don�t have any �difficult to use� spells (Earthshaker�s Fissure, Meepo�s chain netting/poofing)? Some people use this same argument to relegate Skeleton King to a �noob hero�. After all, he only has 1 activated skill (3 passives!?!?). But of course, it is easy to tell the difference between an experienced Skeleton King from a first-timer. Things to note include how aggressive the player is, the timing of the actual stun (are his teammates close?), target of the stun, target of attack, map awareness, etc. But these are things that come with many many games played, not something that can easily be taught in a guide. However, maybe there are some �skilled maneuvers� that can be taught in a guide, and I�ll try to the best of my ability

1. Lightning bolt has a very short mini-stun. Some uses are obvious � canceling tp�s, canceling long channeled spells (Black Hole, Shackle�). Others are less obvious. Canceling blink animation of QoP. Interrupting the delicate timing of Earthshaker�s Blink Echo, Fissure, Enchant Totem combo. Canceling 1 of your opponent�s attacks. The last one may seem ridiculous, who cares about just one attack? My argument is that, in the solo lane, everything matters. One gank, one extra attack thrown in, can upset the balance in one person�s favor. Use the mini-stun to maximum effectiveness!

2. Karthus is one of the rare heroes that can �see� an opponent in a fight without the opponent seeing Karthus. Other heroes that can do this are Bloodseeker, Alchemist, etc. When you bring a fight to a place heavily obscured by fog, Karthus has a huge advantage if you can get a Lightning Bolt or Wrath off. You can cast spells/attack normally (as can your allies) while your enemy is still searching for you in the fog. It�s like creating your own hill. I abuse this aspect of Karthus more than anybody I think, and this can dramatically improve your Karthus play.
3. Going along with the first point, Karthus only has one way to cancel tp�s. This can be an issue when you are ganking heroes with relatively high hp left because an enemy needs to feel �threatened� in order to tp. Typically you start off a gank with a Lightning Bolt / Arc Lightning combo, then recast each spell when you can and Wrath if needed. A skilled opponent will just tp after your first Lightning Bolt�then you are **** out of luck because of the 7 second cooldown. If you save bolt for his tp, then he�ll just run away (and he surely won�t die from Arc Lightning spam). Sometimes forcing an opponent to tp out is almost as good as killing them. They lose out on a lot of farm and they won�t be able to tp assist their teammates for another 60 seconds. But if you really want to kill somebody and you think that they will tp out safely, you could actually start off with Wrath then arc, to �fake� your opponent out into thinking that you bolted them first (the animation is the same), then bolt when they tp. There is no mini-stun on Wrath, but if your enemy is so observant that he notices that, then he probably deserves to survive anyways. Most people just think, �Oh ****, Karthus!� and run away panicking
I�ll try to add more of these detailed descriptions of specifics if I can think of any more. Good luck in your Karthus endeavors!