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Karthus Build Guide by Shrewdo

Jungle Karthus - Ghost Wind Demon

By Shrewdo | Updated on October 22, 2020
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Runes: Runes

Dark Harvest
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Coup de Grace
Presence of Mind

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


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Jungle Role
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Jungle Role
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Ability Order

Champion Build Guide

Karthus - Ghost Wind Demon

By Shrewdo
Summoner Spells
Flash is the most important summoner spell which is an indispensable, you cannot not take it, you can use it to save your life or to protect someone on receiving damage, or also to engage a fight.

Smite is smite used to fast clear jungle and last hit it to steal or secure the target monster.
Pro & Cons Back to Top

Spamming Ability (Q) Lay Waste
Strong in team fight
Can cast abilities and ultimate when he is dead
Massive ultimate Requiem
Very Quick in clearing jungle
Scary late game ultimate Requiem


Hard to land his (Q) Lay Waste
he doesn't have mobility or sustain abilities
very squishy
He doesn't have hard CC
Easy target for assassin
Runes Back to Top

Dark Harvest

With karthus (Q) Lay Waste you can easy stack it and benefit from its stacks more adaptive damage.

Taste of Blood

Damaging an enemy champion heals you this rune is good for karthus to regenerate some hp
while he has no sustain or mobility abilities as he is squishy and easy to damage him.

Eyeball Collection

Eyeball Collection will give you bonus damage which is extremely helpful in snowballing your lead. For your final rune, you have a little choice, As karthus has a lot of kill potential and outplay potential, you will often find yourself picking up kills on the enemy through your ulltimate.

Ravenous Hunter

Always on the early game and too many pokes on you the Ravenous Hunter Heal for 1.5% (+ 2.5% per Bounty Hunter stack) of the damage dealt by your abilities, on-hit effects and items, this will help you to have a good HP and at same time you can poke your enemies and get their HP very low to engage your combo fight to score a kill.


Coup de Grace

Deal 7% increased damage to champions below 40% maximum health, By so far is the most pick for AD carry and most AD players which it increase your damage in a team fight or a gank you will secure the kill with this 7% its looks like its little but it does work perfectly late game.
Additionally, you gain 15 Ability Power (Adaptive) for 10 seconds whenever you score a champion Damage rating takedown.

Presence of Mind

Champion takedowns, after a 1-second delay, restore 20% of your maximum mana and refund 10% of your ultimate's maximum cooldown.

Abilities Back to Top

Death Defied

(Passive): Innate: Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form that allows him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds. Active: Creates a delayed blast at Karthus cursor position dealing magic damage to each nearby enemy.

Death Defied will always trigger after revival effects ( Guardian Angel, Chronoshift and if Karthus is killed by the Nexus Obelisk.
Karthus will still benefit from cooldown reduction during Death Defied.
• After Death Defied ends, the corpse of Karthus will retain body block despite being dead on the ground.

Lay Waste

(Discription:) After a 0.5-second delay, Karthus detonates the target area in the cursor's direction, dealing magic damage to all enemies within, doubled when hitting only one target.

Lay Waste briefly grants sight before detonation.
Lay Waste single-target damage is listed as a critical strike both in-game (damage text) and in post-game screen ('Largest Critical Strike') but it cannot actually critically strike nor will it scale with Infinity Edge modifier.
Lay Waste has a different sound effect when it only hits one target.
• If Lay Waste only hits one target it will apply single target spell effects.

Wall of Pain

(Discription:) Karthus creates a wall at the target location for 5 seconds and grants sight around it For the duration, all units who cross it are both slowed for 4 seconds, reduced by 50% over the first second, decaying over its duration and lose 15% magic resistance for the same duration.

• The sight is granted around Wall of Pain pillars but not the wall itself.
Wall of Pain can only affect any given unit once per cast.
Wall of Pain is not considered terrain for Searing Charge.


(Discription:) Active: Karthus restores mana whenever he kills a unit.

(Discription:) Active: Karthus deals magic damage per second to all nearby units.

Defile also restores mana if Karthus destroys an enemy structure.
Defile will automatically toggle on during Death Defied.

(Discription:) Active: Karthus channels for 3 seconds and deals magic damage to all enemy champions upon its completion.color]

Requiem channel is telegraphed to all enemy champions by a beam of light that descends on all targets.
o The beam will be applied to untargetable enemies, although they will not take damage if they are still untargetable when the damage is applied.
o There is no visible beam if the enemy champion respawns during Requiem channel, yet damage is applied normally.
Karthus cannot cast Requiem if Death Defied duration is less than 3 seconds.
Items Back to Top
Liandry's Torment : this is a strong item a must have it in your build as it gives you good HP & ability power
Rylais : this item is an optional you can have it to increase your Hp and carry some AP damage and benefit from its passive slow down the movement speed of your enemis which it works easy for you and its slow will help you more to execute your Q and hit the enemy target.
Zhonya's Hourglass : there is no AP champion that doesn't buy this item but you can also drop it but its good for the team fight to use it to save your self from an Ignite as it provide to you some damage ability power, armor and CDR.
Luden's Echo : the Luden's Echo is a good item that gives to you good mana and ability power and some CDR as its passive stack also helps on wave clearing or to poke enemy.
Lich Bane : this is another optional pick item, as it gives movement speed, mana, CDR and good ability power.
Banshee's Veil : Banshee is 2 in one its the best item that it gives high magic resistance as it gives also good ability power and CDR add its passive that it protect you from the first ability.

Rabadon's Deathcap : when you buy this item you gonna be scary to everyone, this is the item that it gives high ability power with its passive that increase all your ability powers by 40%
Void Staff : this is what you need to break the enemy magic resistance, and deal huge damage a good pick against Tanks.
Game Play Back to Top
importance of several runes as the ultimate, Requiem, sees huge benefits from them. Some of them fix weaknesses inherent in the champion’s kit, whereas others amplify his kit.
In terms of damage, Requiem heavily benefits from Dark Harvest, as well as the Precision tree’s Coup de Grace. “I feel that getting Coup de Grace for the additional 7 percent damage when someone is low and procs at the same time as Dark Harvest [is important. In fact, the rune turns the ‘tax on low health’ into an obscenely strong ability.
Even the ultimate’s long cooldown can be reduced through the Presence of Mind rune. Should Karthus score a kill, he receives a 10 percent cooldown refund on it per kill, on top of the Cooldown Reduction items provide. Besides, the added 20 percent missing mana replenishment is also worth picking up. “When you ult, you really need to get that kill
Even if you get kills without the ult, it refunds [its] cooldown, so it's a really good rune.”
However, to make Karthus’s jungling experience a smooth sailing one, discarding the Domination tree’s Ultimate Hunter rune is for the best. After all, he is a squishy champion, and sustain is hard to come by. As such, Ravenous Hunter is necessary.
“I don't really like Ultimate Hunter, I'm playing with Ravenous Hunter, because you can get healing from Q on single-target. You have sustain from the jungle as well [that way.] The Ultimate Hunter is probably good as well, but I prefer the healing one.”
Taste of Blood for additional sustain and healing when attacking opponents or casting Requiem. Eyeball Collection also provides an extra oomph to his abilities, before items factor into the equation. However, options outside of Ravenous Hunter and Dark Harvest are not fully set in stone, and players can change their picks depending on matchups. However, he recommends sticking to the Precision secondary tree.
“Sorcery would maybe help with Transcendence and Gathering Storm at some point, out for alternative solutions. “But [Dark Harvest with Precision] is the standard Karthus page that everyone is using.”
“Usually, [you go for] Runic Echoes and double Magic Penetration – so Sorcerer's Shoes and Oblivion Orb. The orb was a little nerfed, but the double Magic Penetration is important because people don't build Magic Resistance early like the carries. You do true damage. That's why it's really strong.”

with Runic Echoes, Sorcerer’s Shoes and Oblivion Orb at the core. Runic Echoes is extremely cost-effective for the stats it provides, and the combination of Sorcerer’s Shoes and Oblivion Orb pierces through what little Magic Penetration opponents have at the time. However, Morellonomicon comes much later in the game.
Starting items
Must-buy items – Runic Echoes and Magic Penetration

Offensive options, core items if all goes well

Defensive options, just in case, or as a final item
The thing is, in the early-game, you go for Oblivion Orb, You don't finish Morellonomicon [immediately], you go Rabadon's Deathcap, then you finish it either [as your] fifth or sixth item.
Runic Echoes, Sorcerer’s Shoes, Oblivion Orb, Rabadon’s Deathcap and Void Staff as core items. “The last item can be Zhonya's Hourglass or Banshee's Veil.
the importance of adaptability in one’s build. Sometimes, as is customary in solo queue, in-game conditions can vary wildly, and leads are not that difficult to secure when opponents lack coordination. He still recommends Runic Echoes as a first buy.
If you are playing Karthus, you want to rush early Runic Echoes, because that gives you AP and CDR.
If you feel like you can get kills, you can also go for Dark Seal into Mejai's Soulstealer. I don't usually do that, but Dark Seal also helps in the jungle [as] it gives you a bit of mana. After those, if you get kills or aren't behind, I usually rush Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff, then I go full AP.
If you are behind, some people decide to go for Banshee's Veil or Zhonya's Hourglass to not die in every fight, but preferably you should be ahead,” he says. “If you go tanky Karthus and your ult doesn't do as much damage, then the champion is not as useful.”
Laying Waste in a few single steps
Skill sequence: R > Q > E > W
Unlike popular opinion, Karthus’s bread-and-butter skill is not his ultimate, R – Requiem, but his Q – Lay Waste. However, considering the delay in its impact, opponents with excellent reaction time may dodge it all to gether
Karthus’s Runic Echoes uses the Chilling Smite enchant which slows smitten targets, and his W – Wall of Pain, is a solid slow that becomes excellent the closer to Level 18 he is. The combination inflict slows so strong that targets might as well be walking through quicksand. “If you run into them and E – Defile them, if you can do damage that way, it does a lot of damage, and maybe it's easier to hit the Q,”
But the most important step lies in reading the opponent’s juking pattern
“People tend to juke Left-Right or Up-Down. If someone has really good movement, it's hard. But if you Q right beneath them, it usually works, or if you Q in a way that they have to juke. Basically, you waste two Qs to know which juke pattern they use. If they're good, maybe they will keep juking.”
Karthus is a fast clearing jungler whose strengths fit well within the meta. Since the introduction of Dark Harvest’s rework, his damage has been on the high end. However, players need to land Qs, as well as be cautious of LeBlanc. As long as they are not playing against a team made primarily of tanks, it is their game to lose (or learn from).
League of Legends Build Guide Author Shrewdo
Shrewdo Karthus Guide
Karthus - Ghost Wind Demon
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