Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides

Karthus Build Guide by SpartaDeathAngel

This build has been archived and is for historical display only.

PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

Like Build on Facebook Tweet This Build Share This Build on Reddit
League of Legends Build Guide Author SpartaDeathAngel

Karth Vader: Join The Dark Side

SpartaDeathAngel Last updated on June 25, 2012
Did this guide help you? If so please give them a vote or leave a comment. You can even win prizes by doing so!

You must be logged in to comment. Please login or register.

I liked this Guide
I didn't like this Guide
Commenting is required to vote!

Thank You!

Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.

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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

Guide Top


This is my first guide on MOBAFire, so please be easy on me. I have been playing Karthus for quite a while now, and I have had great success with him. There is one secret about Karthus, yes, I'm going to tell you that secret, because EVERYBODY is dying to know about it. The secret is this: Karthus WILL ALWAYS BRING YOU A GOOD GAME whether you lose or not. Say you've been failing at mid lane with 10 deaths by the 10 minute mark. Its GG right? No way. If your teammates are decent, you'll be getting kills all day with your ultimate, Requiem! meaning, your score of an initial 0/10, could, by the end of the game, become like 7/10 or something of the sort... Now here are some of the secrets im gonna tell you... ^^ Press R!!!

Guide Top

Pros / Cons

- Built-in sustain
- Able to cast spells after death
- Can secure kills with Requiem
- Devastating AoE skills
- Can check bushes with Lay Waste and Wall of Pain
- Easy last hitting and harassing
- Can still cast spells after death with Death Defied

- Countered easily
- Soraka's ulitmate, Wish, makes Karthus almost useless
- Targeted in team fights
- Spell Shields are annoying
- Zhonya's Hourglass is THE ONE ITEM that COMPLETELY COUNTERS Karthus. (Enemies see a red line above their champion and then they use the hourglass active to dodge Requiem.
- Karthus hates Fizz.
- Karthus hates Vladimir.

Guide Top


Greater Quintessence of Ability Power- I take these quintessences because 15 more AP at the start of the game is very useful. I know that somebody will say,"Why not get Spell Vamp quintessences?" The reason why I don't get them is because Spell Vamp is reduced by 66 Percent on AoE skills, and all of Karthus's skills are AoE. So if I took 3 Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamps I SHOULD HAVE 6% Spell Vamp. Wrong, with the 66 Percent reduction on AoE skills, it would more likely be 2% Spell Vamp. That is why getting AP quintessences are much more viable.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power- Ability Power is always standard for mages, and I take the Ability Power per Level because Karthus really shines late game with Requiem, so you'll want the most AP on it for maximum damage. :D

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration- Those enemies have magic resist? Too much that you can never kill them? Well these Marks will slightly help against magic resist. With a total of 9 Magic Penetration, this will surely help you in fights against magic resist lovers.

Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist- These Seals are great against AP Carries, since it reduces the damage that you take from them. I take magic resist per level, but you could take flat magic resist. It doesn't really matter, and its just mostly a preference thing.

Guide Top


Offense Masteries
I take the standard 21-0-9, because this Master Setup always benefits Karthus.

Mental Force - All AP Champions should get this, as it gives vital Ability Power.
Sorcery- Cooldown Reduction is great on all champions, and this helps Karthus a lot with the cooldowns from Wall of Pain and Requiem. Plus, it unlocks Arcane Knowledge for you, which is what all AP Champions need.
Arcane Knowledge - 10% Magic Penetration? Awesomeness... This means that you will have 50% Magic Penetration with your Void Staff, which gives you 40% Magic Penetration. :D
Havoc - 1.5% more damage? Wonderful on all champions except for tanks and supports. (Unless you're trolling. D:
Blast - 18 Ability Power at level 18... Doesn't seem much, but every small thing counts towards your damage.
Executioner ALL Karthuses should have this mastery. THIS GREATLY HELPS YOUR ULTIMATE, Requiem, TO GET KILLS! 6% More damage with your ultimate?

Utility Masteries

Summoner's Insight - Since we have the summoner spells, Teleport and Flash, Summoner's Insight will help both of them. The reduced cast time on Teleport could save your life, and same goes to the vital 15 second cooldown reduction on Flash.
Expanded Mind - More mana each level means more mana to spam Lay Waste and Defile.
Meditation - The extra mana regeneration slightly helps your laning phase, where Karthus could get OOM (Out Of Mana) due to over use of skills.
Improved Recall - I take this because there is like nothing else to take and this mastery can actually save your life.
Runic Affinity - YAY! You have BLUE BUFF! Wait, there's more. WITH THIS MASTERY, YOUR BLUE BUFF WILL LAST 20% LONGER! AMAZING! Call now at 999-999-9999! You only have to spend 8 Master Points to unlock this FOR FREE!!!

Guide Top

Summoner Spells


This summoner spell is probably the best in the game. Allows you to juke well in the jungle, save your life by Flashing over walls,pick up your triple kill, easy tower dives, great initiation, ect. Since Karthus only has Wall of Pain to defend himself, it is vital to pick up at least 1 summoner spell that can be used defensively.

Teleport is very important for champions in the mid lane. It allows you to return back to lane almost instantly, barely missing any experience or gold. It also allows more map control, seeing how you can teleport almost anywhere.

Clarity gives instant mana back, which is awesome for sustain in lane. Use this if you find yourself OOM (Out Of Mana) a lot, but don't take it if your mana pool always has a good amount. I prefer Teleport more because Clarity doesn't seem to solve all my problems. D:


Exhaust can give you a few early kills, which is good, but I prefer Flash and Teleport more though. Its just a preference thingy, so you can decide.

That pesky little tiny bit of health still on that enemy? Ignite=Problem Solved. You can also use this if the enemy has a big healer, like Soraka or Dr. Mundo.

This can be used similarly like Flash, defensively or offensively. I prefer Flash more though because it is instant, unlike Ghost, which takes some time to reach your destination (1 HP enemy champion, Nearest turret, ect.).

There have been so many times where I've barely won a 1v1 fight because of Heal. That slight boost of health always surprises your enemy when they tower dive and miserably fail. However, this summoner spell is near useless late game, so I don't think this deserves to be in one of our vital summoner spell slots.


The only time you can ever use this without being considered a "troll" is when you are doing the Smite/ Revive combo to jungle... This pretty much means you'll have no "real" summoner spells for the rest of the game. In case you don't know what the Smite and Revive thing is, its this: At beginning of the game, run into enemy turret or suicide at red buff. If you have the mastery point which lets you have bonus health after you use Revive, use Revive. You'll have bonus health, making jungling much easier.

I've seen some Jungle Karthuses out there, but if you're not jungling, (facepalm).

I suppose you could say that the extra Ability Power will always be helpful, but there are way better options than this...

Useful if the enemies have boat loads of Crowd Control, if not...

I think you all know why Promote is in the "Trolling" section for Summoner Spells.

This is an awesome summoner spell for support champions! Sadly, you are not a support champion. You are Karthus, the guy who gets Penta Kills.

Guide Top


Get this item first along with your 3 Health Pots for the sustain. The extra mana and the hp pots will help your sustain. Also, getting this item early will result in an earlier Catalyst the Protector, allowing you to benefit from its passive earlier in the game.

Catalyst the Protector This item builds into Rod of Ages, which is why you even get this item in the first place. Also, you could say,"Why not get Blasting Wand first? Blasting Wand gives Ability Power, which is what we want, right?"
Wrong. Sure, ability power is always useful, but Catalyst the Protector will allow sustain as you gain levels, and you'll gain levels faster because you are solo mid (Meaning you are not sharing experience with an allied champion).

This item is VERY IMPORTANT ON Karthus. The extra health and mana will help Karthus GREATLY! The health makes you slightly more durable, and you'll need durability because you'll be getting in close to enemies with your Defile. Also, the extra mana is awesome, allowing you to use Defile even more! The bonus ability power is always helpful, and you should have 2 points into Requiem by now, so you'll likely never miss a kill with it (Due to the bonus ability power).

As Karthus, you should never be getting any other kind of boots. The 20 Magic Penetration will always help you in any part of the game. You could use Boots of Swiftness in case you can't seem to run away from enemies that are chasing you, or you could use Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the extra cooldown reduction. In my opinion, Sorcerer's Shoes are the best.

Time for some spell vamp now. The extra ability power is always useful like I said above, and the spell vamp is awesome. It makes you last longer in team fights, great 1v1s, helps you heal on minion waves without going back, ect. Note: You could get this before getting Rod of Ages, but since Rod of Ages takes 10 complete minutes to get the full stacks, I usually get Rod of Ages first though.

Yay, more SPELL VAMP! And it also gives it to your TEAMMATES AS WELL! With the aura, you now have 80 more ability power, and 20% Spell Vamp. Your teammeates will have an extra 30 Ability Power and 20% Spell Vamp. Note: You might consider skipping over this item, and going straight for Rabadon's Deathcap, which is optional, but I HIGHLY recommend that you at least get Hextech Revolver before. The spell vamp will save your life a bunch of times, and you'll find a decent way to heal yourself.

Yes, this is the item. The item that all AP Casters need in their final builds. Its like the Infinity Edge for AD Carries. It gives an INSANE AMOUNT OF AP. 140 AP!!! NOT ONLY THAT, BUT ITS UNIQUE PASSIVE IS EVEN BETTER! 30% More Ability Power! Get this item every game with Karthus, unless you want to troll.

This item isn't a must on Karthus, but I really like this item, and it benefits Karthus a lot in team fights. Its useful when facing a fed Master Yi or Tryndamere, because it gives 50 bonus armor. Also, it gives an awesome amount of AP (100). The best part of the item is its active. When you use the active, you'll turn into this golden thingy, and you'll be invincible and untargetable for 2 whole seconds. This mean that you'll take no damage, even from AoE spells! I can't tell you how many times this godly item has saved my life, but its mostly a preference thing. Note: If you have Defile toggled on, and you use Zhonya's Hourglass's active, Defile will still be on while you're invincible!

Now time for some Magic Penetration! There aren't many good Magic Penetration items D:, but at least Void Staff is by far the best. Combined with Arcane Knowledge , you'll have a total of 50% Magic Penetration, plus 20 Magic Pen from Sorcerer's Shoes.

Guide Top

Other Viable Items

This item is very useful for all AP Carries, but the reason why only a handful of champions use this is because Deathfire Grasp only fits into specific categories of killing. This item is used mostly by champions who like to burst down enemies instantly, such as Annie and Veigar. I suppose Karthus could get this item, since it has CDR, but other items would be more viable.

Is that Fiddlesticks fed? Are you wondering which item to get to counter him AND still gives a good amount of ability power? Well then, Abyssal Mask is for you! I use this item when the enemy AP Carry has a decent score, since it gives magic resistance and ability power. The passive should not be over looked.

This item gives a solid amount of ability power which is good, and gives excellent good mana and mana regeneration! The unique passives are very helpful in all situations! Only get this item if you are one of those people who still have mana problems late game (I do sometimes D:).

Are you laning against an AP Alistar? Does he have too much CC for you? Well this item solves your problems. Gives an excellent 35 tenacity, and gives a very good amount of HEALTH AND MANA REGENERATION!

Even though this item gives no ability power (which is bad), you could use it, but I don't recommend it. No ability power means no extra damage. You could get it if there is a fed maniac running around like Master Yi. Frozen Heart gives 99 armor, 500 mana (very good!), a debuff aura, and 20% Cooldown Reduction.

Kage's Lucky Pick I like this item a lot, but this item is situational.
1. This item can make up for a possible lack of farm.
2. You are building into a Deathfire Grasp or Morello's Evil Tome.

This is another alternative to Eleisa's Miracle. This item gives straight Ability Power which is good, and 35 Tenacity, which is excellent. Get this if there are more than 2 enemies with lots of CC (Like Alistar and Blitzcrank on the enemy team).

This item for MASS SLOWS! I only get this item if I'm sure my team if going to win, and I just want to have fun with slows. Since all your skills are AoE, the slow will only be 15% Movement Reduction, but its still fine. Note: This can be an alternative for Rod of Ages since it gives health to make you tanky enough to run in the enemy team with Defile toggled on.

Guide Top

Why I don't get Archangel's Staff Every Game

Archangel's Staff- +400 Mana +25 Mana Regen per 5 seconds +45 Ability Power Passive: Grants Ability Power equal to 3% of your maximum Mana. UNIQUE Passive: Each time you use an ability, your maximum Mana increases by 4 (3 second cooldown). Bonus caps at +1000 Mana. Does not stack with Tear of the Goddess or Manamune.

I know that somebody in the future will ask me why I don't have Archangel's Staff, and here is the reason:
1. Out of my build already, there are only a couple of items that could be replaced with Archangel's Staff. My build has Rod of Ages, Sorcerer's Shoes, Rabadon's Deathcap, Zhonya's Hourglass, Will of the Ancients. and Void Staff.

I cannot replace Rod of Ages, because that item gives you a more "tanky" aspect on Karthus, so you should be more confident when using Defile on champions. Taking out Rod of Ages would leave your maximum health at like 5 HP...

I cannot replace Sorcerer's Shoes, because Karthus would have a very slow 310 movement speed. D:

I cannot replace Rabadon's Deathcap because that is my main Ability Power giver.

I cannot replace Void Staff because other wise, I would have like 2 magic penetration.

The only items that I can replace are Will of the Ancients or Zhonya's Hourglass.

Lets see which items are better: Both of these items give Karthus more defense. If you really love the active (like me) on the hourglass, feel free to switch out Will of the Ancients. However, Spell Vamp is very important on Karthus, so taking out your only Spell Vamp item probably isn't the greatest of all ideas. Archangel's Staff is more of an offensive item, so if you feel as if the enemies can't kill you due to your teammates' CC (Crowd Control), feel free to switch out one of the items!

If you are a really big fan of Archangel's Staff, go ahead and get this item after Rod of Ages. I sometimes do it, but with my experiences, my build is more reliable.

Guide Top

Items That Counter Karthus

Has your team been trying to make a comeback? Have you won a team fight, but then the enemy Karthus uses Requiem after he dies, making it a double ace? Are you raging? Here are some items that can counter Karthus.

This is what happens. Karthus kills you with Requiem. 5 seconds later, you respawn again!

The spell shield is very nice, so Requiem will be doing A LOT LESS DAMAGE. Don't think you are invincible, but you have a pretty good chance of surviving.

"Blocks a negative spell ever 45 seconds." Sounds awesome, but the problem is, in team fights, there's bound to be at least 1 person who casted a negative spell on you. This means that Banshee's Veil usually won't be ready to deflect Requiem.

The most reliable way of countering Karthus is Zhonya's Hourglass's active. You are invincible for 2 seconds, which is enough time to dodge Requiem. Note: Requiem needs 3 second channeling, so make sure you use the active AFTER ONE SECOND!

Guide Top

Champions That Counter Pick Karthus

These champions don't "counter" Karthus. No champion can counter another champion. They just have a greater advantage over that champion. So if you picked a counter-pick against Karthus, and you lose miserably because Karthus killed you 10 times, don't say, "This is not a counter-pick. Why do people keep trolling me?" Only skill beats a champion. A champion cannot beat another champion.

This guy really doesn't have any skill that is more effective on Karthus really. The only reason why he is even mentioned is because of his Sanguine Pool. He becomes untargetable for 1.5 seconds. This is enough time for him to dodge Requiem.

Same as Vladimir, he doesn't have any giant advantage. He's just invincible against Requiem with his Playful / Trickster. He becomes untargetable for 0.75 seconds. This mean that enemy Fizzes have to time their Playful / Trickster with excellent timing.

Soraka is the BIGGEST COUNTER to Karthus! Her ultimate, Wish, is the exact opposite of Requiem. So if you are about to get that Penta Kill, she just uses her ultimate, and the enemy team will start laughing their heads at you.

Guide Top

Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Maxing out Lay Waste first is very important, as because it is your main form of harassment and last hitting. Even though Defile is better for getting minion kills, it drains your mana like a super toilet, which is bad. The most debated topic about Karthus is whether to get Defile or Wall of Pain after Lay Waste. I get Defile earlier than Wall of Pain because Defile's passive gives you mana on each kill, which gives more sustain in lane.
Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds. During this time his abilities cost no mana.
Tips and Tricks
- If you know you are going to die, run into enemies, so that you can deal maximum damage with your spells after death before they can get out of your range.
- Remember to use all your skills, and especially Wall of Pain after death.
- Since Requiem requires 3 seconds to channel, and Death Defied lasts only 7 seconds, you'll only have 4 seconds to use Requiem.
- By committing suicide at an enemy turret, you'll be able to spam all your skills with no mana cost. That means, if you are OOM (Out Of Mana), and you need to use your ultimate, Requiem, right away to get a Penta Kill or something, just kill yourself, then watch your kill score go up :D

Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40/60/80/100/120 (30% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy. This deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.
Tips and Tricks
-To last hit well, try to only hit one minion with Lay Waste, as it deals double damage; thus ensuring the minion kill.
-To harass, use Lay Waste right in front of the enemy champion's path to ensure that you hit the enemy.
-Try to only target the opposing champion, for maximum harass damage.
- Lay Waste allows Karthus to check bushes.
- Lay Waste has 875 Range, so don't think you have to get up close to the enemies to harass.
- If you are jungling with Karthus, try to only hit one creep with Lay Waste. This will deal double damage to them, making them much easier to kill. Do this against Red and Blue buff.

Creates a 800/900/1000/1100/1200 distance wide wall through target point. Reduces enemy armor and magic resistance by 15/20/25/30/35 and reduces movement speed by 40/50/60/70/80%; debuff lasts 5 seconds. The wall lasts 5 seconds.
Tips and Tricks
-This can be also used to check bushes, but since it has a longer cooldown than Lay Waste, it will be used less frequently.
-Use this at the beginning and end of a team fight, since it benefits both parts of the team fight.
- Wall of Pain is excellent for starting a gank since it decreases enemy defenses and slows enemies also.
Note: Enemies will regain their movement speed gradually over 5 seconds.

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 (25% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second.

Tips and Tricks
- In mid game, use this to quickly take out minion waves.
- Defile can be used effectively to get buffs, dragon, and baron.
- Toggle Defile all the time in team fights.
- For maximum damage, get in close to enemies with Defile.
- Toggle on Defile, then use Zhonya's Hourglass's active. You will still be doing damage with Defile while being invincible.

After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus 250/400/550 (60% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).
Tips and Tricks
- You can use Requiem to secure kills for your team.
- When you reach level 6, tell your teammates when you should use Requiem.
- Look around the map often, so you can find low hp enemies to kill.
- Do not ever use Requiem in a team fight. Only use it if you have died, and you are using your passive, Death Defied.
-Never use Requiem unless you know it will grant you a kill.

Guide Top


The first minion waves have passed by and started fighting the other minions. Time for last-hitting!
How to last hit with Karthus:
1. Wait for an enemy minion to get low on health
2. When you think it is low enough, use Lay Waste to finish it off. Remember to only hit that one minion to deal double damage, which ensures a last-hit.
3. Repeat.
4. Since Lay Waste has a really short cooldown, you can harass your opponent and last-hit well at the same time.
Note: Harassing often can lead to mana starvation, so push your lane with Defile and Lay Waste, then go back to shop. Remember, if you need mana to use Requiem in order to get a kill, commit suicide at the enemy turret. In Death Defied form, you'll have infinite mana, allowing you to ult all your enemies. :D

You are level about 9-13, and in this part of the game, people will like to roam more now. By now, you should have maxed out Lay Waste, and you should have a couple of points in Defile. Defile allows you to push minion waves really easy, so use that to your advantage.

Guide Top

Early Game/Laning

First thing to do is grab your Sapphire Crystal and 2 Health Potions. Go check for invasions by standing in the brush in the river. Stay there, and leash blue/red for him. Hard leash if your jungler asks, but if he doesn't, don't hard leash. In case you don't know what "Hard Leash" means, it means this:
"Leash for your jungler, and attack it a few more times, then return to lane." -SpartaDeathAngel

Now, you're in lane with your opponent. Go harass him if he DOESN"T HAVE BOOTS. If he does, don't bother. Your mana early game is pitiful, so it'll have to go to minion kills. Don't harass your opponent until level 3 or 4. Keep your eyes up, and don't over extend, because an enemy jungler could be lurking in one of the side bushes.

Keep killing minions while harassing, but the moment you reach level 6, tell your teammates that you have your ultimate, Requiem, ready to go. Go harass even more while maintaining a good CS score. Note: If your opponent goes MIA, and you see him going to bottom lane, COUNTER GANK! Go follow him, and you and your teammates should beat the **** out of him and his teammates.

Karthus excels at last-hitting minions, so USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Never slack at minion kills. If you slack, your potential of becoming an AP Carry is greatly reduced. AP Carries need truck loads of money, whether you have 10 kills or not.

Guide Top

Mid Game/Roaming/Ganking

The first tower has crumbled into tiny bits of pieces ending the laning phase. In mid game, people tend to roam and gank a lot, making warding essential.

Farming will be a breeze by now, since you'll have some points in Defile by now. Push your lane, then go back to shop. Buy what ever items you need, then look at your mini map. Is there a lane that needs to be pushed? Are all the enemies MIA(Missing In Action)? Are they getting dragon? Ask yourself these questions every time, and your performance in all games will greatly increase! If you see 2 enemies going to surprise your bottom lane, go follow them, making it an easy 3v2. Remember that you have Teleport, so don't forget about that one too.

Go help teammates in fights, and if you think your teammates can take care of themselves, go push lanes and liquidate towers. Remember that you have Requiem to help teammates in fights and to finish off runners across the map, otherwise you are the most useless Karthus ever.

Is there an enemy who is pushing hard and overextended? Can you 1v1 him and live to tell the tale? If so, go gank him. Set down your Wall of Pain so we won't escape, get in close with Defile, and kick his butt with Lay Waste. If he escapes with a tiny amount of health, just press R. "You have slain an enemy!"

Guide Top

Late Game/Team Fights

Going solo and pushing lanes by yourself is no longer a good idea, as everybody loves to group up and gang bang you 5v1. To solve this stick with your teammates! Don't ever wander alone deep into enemy territory because in just a matter of seconds, your screen will be black and white.

There will come the time when both teams are near each other, and there seems to be a stalemate. Generally, there will be a lot of poking with ranged skills, like Ahri's Orb of Deception, or like Nidalee's Javelin Toss. For your poke, its obviously Lay Waste because 875 range is great, and the mana cost and cooldown is very low.
Rule about Poking with Lay Waste: Don't ever try to aim Lay Waste at a single champion if you want to poke. I know that some people will say, "But if we only hit one target, we can do DOUBLE DAMAGE! I thought poking was to weaken enemies before a team fight." Thats true, but Lay Waste is an AoE (Area Of Effect) spell. If the enemies are bunched up, use Lay Waste on them, which forces them to drift apart, making focusing champions in battles much easier.

Someone has initiated a team fight. Whether its Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, or Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, this is what you do in team fights with Karthus.

You are in a team fight:
1. Set down your Wall of Pain right on top of your enemies, so your blood thirsty teammates can make quick food out of them.
2. All the CC(Crowd Control) spells and abilities are being unleashed on your team, so DON"T GO IN WITH Defile YET! Otherwise, that Alistar will Headbutt you right into the enemy team, which isn't good because people will start laughing at you because you have to wait for your 60 second timer respawn. Note: Dying may not be a bad thing because you have Death Defied, but never kill yourself, because that only feeds your enemies.
3. Run in, use Defile, and spam all your skills except for Requiem. ONLY USE Requiem after you die, or until the fight is over. Use Zhonya's Hourglass's active to save yourself from being focused.
4. Press R.

Guide Top

Laning Enemies

These are some champions that you will see in the middle lane, so below this sentence is information on how to counter some or how to play against them. (Offensively or Defensively).
1-4= Easy
5-7= Moderate
8-10= Impossible

Anivia here gets a 4 because even though her base movement speed is surprisingly low, her passive, Rebirth, will counter Requiem. You can out harass her a lot, but you can never get a kill off of her early game unless you have your jungler ganking or her egg is off cooldown. Karthus simply doesn't have the damage output to kill the egg before she respawns. NEVER USE Requiem to kill her early game unless you know for sure you can take down the egg.

How to Beat Anivia: Always be ready to dodge Flash Frost, because you never know when she could drain your health bar like Fiddlesticks. Harass her often with Lay Waste, and once you've zoned her out, quickly kill the enemy minion wave with Lay Waste, or Defile if your mana allows. Since Anivia has like 2 hp, she can't tank minion attacks, so if you push the waves to the turret, you can still hurt her with Lay Waste because of the huge range. This will be an easy lane for you, but the only reason why I mentioned Anivia was because of her Rebirth passive.

TL;DR: Harass Anivia often, dodge Flash Frost, and remember that she has Rebirth, so think twice before using Requiem.

Our little buddy Veigar seems to have to achieved a 7 on the difficulty list. He can actually get a 10, but thats only if he's super fed. He relies on cooldowns which is really bad for him. Veigar needs to farm with his Q, Baleful Strike, in order for him to get an insane amount of Ability Power. This is bad for you, and when he reaches level 6, his ultimate, Primordial Burst is devastating to all AP Carries, and you are an AP Carry D:. The reason why its so devastating is because it not only scales off of Veigar's Ability Power, but also the target's ability power. Pre-6, and he's no problem. Post-6 and he's a problem. Once he's level 6 and his mana pool is full, he'll take any chance he gets to unleash his ridiculously strong combo on you. His combo is this: Event Horizon > Dark Matter > Deathfire Grasp > Baleful Strike > Primordial Burst > Ignite. He is most likely going to harass you a couple of times with his Baleful Strike, then use his combo. So when you see a little Veigar running to you, don't expect him to run into your arms for a nice little hug. No, he's this single-target killing machine that can literally liquidate all AP Carries if he's had a decent laning phase.

How To Beat Veigar: Like I said before, Pre-6, and he's not problem. His Baleful Strike has a pretty long cooldown if he wants to last hit well. Take advantage of this: After he has killed a minion with Baleful Strike, harass him! To stop him from farming infinite AP all day, go harass him with your Lay Waste. If he has some how managed to get Sorcerer's Shoes early, use Wall of Pain then Lay Waste to ensure a hit. Since Veigar has huge mana problems, he can barely harass you, while you can harass and last-hit at the same time with Lay Waste. If you see Veigar reach level 6, then went back to shop for items, DO THE SAME THING! Try to get Rod of Ages ASAP, because you'll never know when the bonus health might save you. Also, your jungler should gank Veigar often to put pressure on him.

TL;DR: Try to harass him out of lane so he can't farm Ability Power with Baleful Strike. Remember that Veigar will try to use his combo on you after he is level 6.

The Nine Tails Fox is is one of the champions who will be looking for a kill at level 6. Her harassment with Orb of Deception is constant and does a good amount of damage. Also, her Fox-Fire targets champions over minions, which isn't good. Her damage allows you to get zoned quickly, while she is taking all the minion kills. Also, her passive, Essence Theft, gives her 35% Spell Vamp when she has 9 charges. This mean her sustain in mid is insane, and her damage is impossible to match. Never 1v1 her, because on 90% of the times, Ahri would win the fight. At level 6, she will be looking to do her combo: Charm > Orb of Deception > Fox-Fire > Spirit Rush > Ignite. This pretty much means death for you. D:
Her Spirit Rush allows her to quickly dash forward, and she can do it 3 times. Thats like 3 Flashes, making her an excellent tower diver. If you're low on health, just go back, and let your jungler hold your lane.

How To Beat Ahri: Dodge her skill shots, Orb of Deception and Charm. Remember, once she is level 6 and has a good amount of mana, BE CAREFUL! If she gets offensive for 1 second, BACK AWAY! Last hit minions with your Lay Waste, but be very cautious around her. Never think for one second that you are safe. You are in constant danger. And if she lands a Charm on you, you are dead. Remember: Play smart, and don't be aggressive.

TL;DR: Dodge Ahri's skill shots ( Orb of Deception and Charm). Be careful when on low health because her ultimate, Spirit Rush, makes her an excellent tower diver. Don't play offensively, play defensively and ask for ganks.

Morgana isn't a very difficult champion to lane against with Karthus, since you can harass her as often she can harass you. The only problem about Morgana is that one mis-click or mistake will result in a dead Karthus. She also has very good sustain in lane. Since Lay Waste has such a low cooldown, harass her often. Don't stand next to your ranged minions because Morganas like to have their Tormented Soil on ranged minions. Actually, you should never stand still for more than 3 seconds unless you are channeling Requiem. The reason why it is so important to be moving constantly is because you never know when she might use her skill shot, Dark Binding, to stun you and get free damage off of you with her Tormented Soil. Harassing Morgana isn't the brightest of all ideas, since, if she is good, she can simply get all her health back with her passive, Soul Siphon. She also has a spell shield, Black Shield, which will be really annoying to you.

How To Beat Morgana:Always dodge Morgana's Dark Binding, and never stand still with allied minions. Also, make sure that there is always an allied minion between you and her. This makes it much harder for her to land Dark Binding. At levels around 3 or 4, you should start harassing. If it seems to be going well, keep harassing her. If she just heals herself with her Spell Vamp, dedicate most of your mana on minion kills.

TL;DR: Start harassing Morgana at levels 3 or 4. If you can't seem to do enough damage because of Black Shield and Soul Siphon, use your mana on minion kills. As usual, focus on minion kills and remember to dodge Dark Binding.

God have mercy on your soul. This guy is like a ninja that can randomly appear behind you, and you can't do anything because of a 1 second silence. If you know what skill allows him to do that, you've played against him, meaning you know how dangerous this guy is. If you don't, the skill is called Cutthroat. Once he's behind you, he'll use Rake, which does huge amounts of damage. And while all that is happening, you can't even use Wall of Pain to save yourself because of that OP Silence. Not only that, he'll use Noxian Diplomacy to finish you off, since that skill has DoT. And if for some reason he's invisible, SPRINT TO YOUR TURRET! You might be tempted and be one of those guys who say,"Where are you??? I will find you...." No, you don't find Talon. Talon finds you. In America, you find Talon. But in Talon's world, Talon finds you.

How To Beat Talon: You don't beat Talon. End of story. He has more damage than you, so just play smart. Ask for ganks. Farm at longest distance possible with Lay Waste, so you won't be easy prey for him.

TL;DR: Be cautious and farm from a long distance. Ask for ganks, and don't underestimate his damage against you.

Guide Top


This is the end of my Karthus guide here! I hope this guide will help you greatly in your games with Karthus. If I were to write just one sentence which can basically state my whole guide, this would be it : Press "R". Good Ganking!

Note: I will update this guide very soon!

Note: Please leave feedback when you vote. If you downvote me, give me some reasons why you downvoted so I can make my guide/build better!

Guide Top

Screen Shots

Guide Top

Thanks To These People

(These are not their MOBAFire usernames, but their Summoner Names).

Lots of Lol: Thank you for giving me the idea for the title of my guide!

Flameocean and Lots of Lol: Thank you for pointing out my mistakes in my runes!

Thank you TheMushroomWizar for teaching me how to put pictures in guides!

Guide Top


Note: Times are all Pacific Time (USA and Canada)
6/22/2012- Guide was published
6/23/2012- Reached Number 2 Guide on Karthus with 78 Percent; 9 Votes Up! 10:30 A.M.
6/23/2012- NUMBER 1 GUIDE FOR KARTHUS!! 12:10 A.M.
6/23/2012- Added Talon to "Laning Enemies".
6/23/2012- Added the "Items That Counter Karthus" section! 7:30 P.M.
6/23/2012- Added the "Thanks To These People" section. Thank you Lots of Lol, Flameocean!, and TheMushroomWizar! 7:39 P.M.
6/23/2012- Added "Other Viable Items" section. 10:54 P.M.
6/24/2012- 7,000 Views! 6:29 A.M.
6/24/2012- Added first screenshot! 8:20 A.M.
6/24/2012- 10,000 Views! 4:28 P.M.
6/24/2012- Added "Champions That Counter Pick Karthus" section! 5:27 P.M.