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
Karthus Build Guide by sometimes13
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
Check out there Builds too.
( http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/karthus-the-son-of-zeus-173 )
( http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/karthus-the-true-undead-power-245 )
Changes: Now with the new items, I find that not using mejar's Soulsteals is better. You become a main target and are focused with the item. Rather using the building using Rabadon's Deathcap instead of zhonya's ring. Pushed mid and farm as much as you can, go back as soon as you have money for Tear of the goddess. After just use the combo wall, flash defile and lay waste. Carry your team to victory.
[ * ] Early game :You have preference to lane MID but if someone wants to take it , dont hesitate going TOP or BOT .
Karthus' technique is simple : just keep attacking minions with your default attack and just last hit every minion with your Lay Waste ( just try to , don't worry if you tried and the minion died before your Lay Waste blows , your mana won't run out that fast ) .
( I find that being very offensive with Karthus early game scares people, but you run out of mana alot faster too) But that is why you have Teleport, to get back into the action fast.
When the game start you will buy :
- Sapphire crystal .
- 2x health potion .
From here you have to take the feel of the game into hand to buy your next items. I tend to return often to get mana, therefore can buy whenever. If karthus does not have mana he is worthless in the field. Therefore, return often early in game and push hard while your out there.
Last hit every minion possible. ( Karthus is one of the best or the best minion killers in the game) Use LAY WASTE to kill minions, and if there is a big group of them turn on DEFILE, defile will drain you fast in early game but with this build it will destroy mid and late game.
If Possible lane mid, so that you do not steal all the minion kills and piss off your partner, or team up with a juggler, like Warwick, on the outside lane.
This is how to get an early kill, especially in the mid, stay back and use lay waste to get a few good hits on your target( remember that if it the only target it does double damage) Then move toward him and use WALL OF PAIN, then Flash, then DEFILE, and LAY WASTE ahead of him. (Do not chase him into a tower) You are soft and slow, you will die.
Now how to choose your items. Well depending if you are killing and your team is doing well is going to make the difference. Always buy Catalyst the protector first, why for two reasons: health and mana, but even more so when you level up they give you mana and health, which if your paying attention to your leveling can keep you in a lane longer or turn an early battle.
- Cataclyst the protector
- Sorcerer's Shoes
- Tear of the Goddess
- Mejai's Soulstealer
- Rod of Ages
If you feel like your going to kill like crazy this game get Majai's Soulstealer (if you are a NOOB with Karthus don't get it, you will know when you can handle it). If its a slow game and not alot of lane moving get Tears if Goddness for more mana, or Finish the build to Rod Of Ages to start the timing adding on the item.
Once you get your Level 6 Ult, tell your team (also before the game begins give your a team a sign to use your ult, like "N" for nuke the **** out of the runner)
Now you need to start to scan the field all the time to pick off a kill, or to help your team on a push, or if a team member is running for his life to scare the chaser. Use you Ult alot and dont let it sit. (but dont just use it to use it)
[ * ] Mid game :
By now you should be last hitting every minion and harassing as hell so you can't be ignored . Probably they will try to gank you . Dont overextend for too long .
Because of this , you should start ganking while you are passively farming and gaining experience .
At mid game is where Karthus start to come alive. First you should be way ahead in levels and also items builds. You need to farm like an animal. Your character is not made to take out Towers. However, Karthus was made to kill minions. So pick a lane and move ahead of the minions on your team and kill other teams minions. When you get to a tower. move ahead of the tower a little bit and kill the minions before they reach yours. Have the minions kill the tower while you handle the minions. It works great, plus you get more money. IF playing the mid you will slowly be able to do this. first bait the mid player and kill him or set a gang on him with a teammate, then slowly destroy the tower.
If you destroy your mid tower or any tower, help push the sides that are having trouble. (do not push the mid second tower by yourself) you are to in the open to be there and you will die easy, but rather push the minions to the tower then leave. This will force someone to kill them, while you can help another lane. Once they push them back a ways go in and push them to the tower again.
When you switch lanes, you will find out that you are really powerful compared to everyone else. This will change soon, so use it to your advantage. Once the other team figures out that you are bringing the hurt they will target you.
- Rod of ages .
- Tear of the goddess .
- Mejai's soulstealer (hopefully you should know if you needed it yet or not).
- Archangel's Staff
[ * ] Late game :
Because of your insane farming abilities you can easily become one of the best defenders in the game , you can also own everyone , but your health and armor are still too low and you are still vulnerable to DPS carries that does an insane amount of damage , just don't let them come near you ! You should have won if your teammates know what they are doing , your job is to get rid of the minions and help ganking .
Remember is build does not give you health or defense, you are made for ability damage only, so make sure you have mana, and with this build you will have plenty of mana to go around.
- Archangel's staff .
- Void Staff
- Lich Bane .
- Zhonya's ring .
Watch out for :
Stealth champions : specially if you are less than 50% of your health .
DPS champions : Ashe , Tryndamere , Shaco , or an overfeeded Yi or Evelynn can make pretty short work of you .
[ + + ] Ganking :
Start with a wall of pain behind your target , go near him and turn defile on and spam lay waste ( try to get the double damage it does when it hits only a single target ) . It's all about aim and timing . Isn't that difficult .
Tips and Tricks:
How many time has it been when you have everyone one pushing a single lane to just find that their whole team is at the tower waiting for you. You where them down, but they just take turns getting health and returning, until either you all die and they push or you get lucky kill them. Well as Karthus you have two opinions that work well in this case. First, teleport and push another lane fast, making the other team either send someone or a couple of people to stop you, which will let your team attack, or you destroy that tower. The other opinion which is sometimes stupid, but works well with Karthus is a Suicide Run. Which you make sure you have alot of mana and you push with your team on the next minion wave and you comment to staying and giving as much damage as possible. When you die make sure you are in the middle of the group and keep fighting from the dead. You can even nuke from the dead to finish them off. I have killed 3 of the 5 players this way and made the rest run, which then your team take the tower and kill the remaining. This move is not for everyone, but it works and its about winning and not dieing.
This is a reminder that if you die and you still have you nuke, use it. Especially late in the game, because you ult will regenerate while you are dead. And in late game where death take over a minute you will almost have it back by the time you respond.
This is a reason for every buy:
Start: Sapphire crystal 2x health potion: because you need mana, and you need health. use the health to keep you in the lane when you get attack a little. Sapphire Crystal build to Cataclyst the protector.
- Cataclyst the Protector: Builds to Rod of Ages, and gives mana and health on level up. Helps keep you in the lane more.
- Sorcerer's Shoes: 20 penetration on your abilities. Plus movement. The penetration will add up and help in the end.
- Tear of the Goddess: more mana and mana regen, plus using your abilities gives more make mana up to 1000.
- Mejai's Soulstealer: If used right massive ability power and cooldown(not worth it if you can get the kills though, so don't force it)
- Rod of Ages: uses Catalyst the Protest to make it, need 1710. you get 380 health 425 mana 50 AP Plus: 20 mana 18 health 2AP per min, up to 270 health 300 mana 30 AP. This will add to over all mana and AP, much need for Karthus.
-Archangel's staff: uses Tear of the Goddess to make it, need 1850 to finish it. 400 mana 25 mana regen per 5 seconds 45 AP Plus: 2.5% of mana into AP (Huge). Plus 4 mana per Ability used. Up to 1000 mana
- Void Staff: 70 AP Plus 40% penetrate of magic resist. (This plus the Shoes and some runes and masteries will get your abilities 65% to 75% magic penetration) So every time you attack they feel it. All of it.
- Lich Bane: This is a new item that I have come across for Karthus. 350 Mana and 80 AP is great, plus 30 Magic Resist and 7% movement speed. But the passive ability it does is amazing. every 3 seconds it adds you ability Power into your normal attack. Huge. Because by end game you have about 500 to 750 AP. This Item is still new to me and I will update how it goes with it.
( after working with this item, I have realized that it works great. It add all your ability power in to you normal attack every 3 seconds after using an ability, which with Karthus is no problem. This item is great when running low on heal or end game for destroying towers and inhibitors. However its a big build so only use it if towers need to come down, or other buildings)
- Zhonya's ring: Any one that has played as a mage know that you need this: 120 AP (Huge) plus the ability to be unharmed for 2 seconds. This ability to be unharmed can be huge when you want to rush a group and they target you, turn it on and let your team do the rest of the work. Also great for running away.
Well I think this concluded my Build on Karthus and how to play him. Please leave comments what you think. Have fun and good luck out there if we ever meet.
Here is a little update as of 5/13/10.
First: when buying items for Karthus, first look at the other teams Champion.
Depending on them and play of game, decide to either buy Abyssal Scepter, instead of void staff. Also you might need to buy Haunting Guise early game if you are having trouble laning against a sivir,etc.
Second, I tried Clarity for one of my spells instead of Flash. The added mana was nice and let me stay in the lane longer. However with out Flash, I found my self ganked more often, without a quick escape, and I did not kill as much, because i could not get close enough to use Defile and get my lay waste in front of them.
Third, I switch my masteries a little to Awareness from Quickness. Also giving one to greed. Why you may ask, well if you are laning mid, and adding an extra 5% experience and getting a few kills. Well you will be about 5 levels ahead of most of the pack. Which means everything for Karthus, Because Karthus is a mid game player. He is weak beginning and end game, but when you have the nuke and laying down massive damage mid game. your team will destroy end game.
P.S. Always take mid for Karthus. He needs the money and experience to carry the team. Also Karthus can farm and put pressure on mid tower better than almost everyone else.
Play smart, have fun and good luck out there. If you have any question ask or any suggestions, let me know.
Steve is a Noob