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Build Guide by iamoverrated

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League of Legends Build Guide Author iamoverrated

Karthus - Magic Penetration Tank Destroyer

iamoverrated Last updated on December 20, 2010
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Middle Lane
Ranked #13 in
Middle Lane
Win 50%
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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

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

  • Magic Penetration Marks
  • Magic Penetration Quints
  • Mana Regen OR Armor Seals
  • Magic Penetration OR Magic Resistance OR Ability Power Glyphs

You'll benefit the most from Magic Pen Marks and Quints but Seals and Glyphs should be added to compliment your gameplay. I usually get Mana Regen Seals but Armor Seals work well at low level to deal with DPS champs, especially while soloing mid against a Tristana, Twisted Fate, Sivir, Ashe, etc. As for Glyphs, while soloing mid you may encounter quite a few casters so Magic Resistance runes (flat or level increasing) are always handy but to get the full benefit of this build I'd recommend going with Magic Pen Glyphs. With Magic Pen Quints, Marks, and Glyphs you'll start off with 19.35 penetration.

::Item List::


This build focuses on cutting through magic resistance, it works well against tank heavy teams and will allow you to cripple most opponents. This is an advanced build and relies heavily on micromanagement. You're essentially a glass cannon with almost zero survivability. Use this build with caution.

  • Mid Game Dominance
  • Tank Buster
  • High Damage Output Against Squishy Opponents
  • Wall Of Pain Allows For Great Ganking
  • Passive + Ultimate = Great Asset To Any Team

  • Low HP
  • Mana Hungry
  • Very Team Dependent
  • Mana Hungry
  • Zhonya's Ring / Banshee's Veil (Ultimate Nullification)
  • Mana Hungry
  • Soloing Mid = Easy Gank Target
  • Oh And Did I Mention, Mana Hungry?


Let me preface this build by saying using a set build for every game is a ludicrous idea, every game is different, every enemy team is dynamic, so don't let this build hinder your ability to compliment your gameplay. I purposely added a Banshee's Veil in the build just to counter certain CC abilities and anti-casters such as Ryze and Veigar but you can replace this with a Frozen Heart for DPS heavy teams or a Void Staff if you're having problems nuking a Galio, Nunu, Rammus, Mordekaiser, etc.

::Laning Phase::

You'll want to take mid, even if your team disagrees, you'll want a solo lane. If someone is being a negative nancy and throwing a fit over the issue, propose going mid until you get your ult and then switching with them. The faster you get your ult, the better off your team will be (whether they realize it or not). If soloing mid isn't a problem try to stay in the lane until at least Level 6. Once you get your ult let your team know and pay attention to their lanes, believe me, they'll forget to tell you an enemy is low and getting away. Once you get 1350-1500 gold, return for your Tear Of The Goddess and some Boots Of Speed. If you're hovering around the 1000 gold mark and you need to recall, get a Meki Pendant, Boots Of Speed, and Mana Pot(s). If your team is calling tons of MIA's I'd suggest getting wards. Place them in the brushes along the river, one on each side. These are also recommended if the opposing team has a jungler. If you've killed off your lane opponent consider ganking in lieu of pushing. If you're not keen on ganking get the Blue Golem Buff, throw up your wall to lower his armor and magic resistance and you should be able to take him down pretty quickly. Try to get your Haunting Guise, Sorcerers Boots, and Tear Of The Goddess before the laning phase ends.

::A Word About Dying::

Don't worry if your die. Your passive was built with the intention of you dying and dying often. Make sure if you initiate the team fights that your team fights the enemy in your defile and keep your defile up when/if you die. Place your wall to affect as many enemies as possible and pop your ult if you die. Even if the enemy isn't low enough to kill this will assist your team in the fight and hopefully you'll get several assist if not kills. If your ult isn't up spam your lay waste as much as possible, target the squishiest/lowest HP champ(s) and don't forget your wall, I can't stress this enough. Don't die in vain, don't throw yourself into a 5v1 situation without your team around. Just because you can initiate and still be useful doesn't mean you should, tanks and durable champs exist for a reason.

::Mid Game::

Once you finish the laning phase you should have your Sorcerers Boots, Haunting Guise, and Tear Of The Goddess (maybe the full Archangel's Staff). Your role with this build isn't pushing turrets but taking down champs. Try to support your team as much as possible while protecting your turrets. Get the Blue Golem Buff as often as possible and if the river is clear and your team is absent a jungler try to get the Dragon. Don't make this a priority, but if you're just sitting around admiring the scenery you're not being very effective. After completing the Archangel's Staff your next item depends on the enemy team composition, how well you or your team is doing, and your income. If the enemy casters are giving you problems / your running low on cash I'd recommend picking up the Abyssal Scepter. This item will give you some magic resistance, magic penetration, and ability power. If you're doing quite well and money seems to be flowing in I'd recommend holding out for Zhonya's Ring. Don't forget about the active on the ring, in team fights you can turn it on with your defile and the enemy team will continue to take damage while you're invulnerable. After getting your Abyssal Scepter and Zhonya's Ring the final item again depends on enemy team composition. If you're having problems with DPS the Frozen Heart is your answer. If enemy casters are giving you headaches get a Banshee's Veil. The Banshee's Veil will also help with crowd control spells give you HP/MP and with your Archangel's Staff will also give you 15AP. An alternative route would be to pickup the Void Staff for the extra penetration, especially if you're not getting focused and the enemy is building magic resistance. Try not to let the game drag out for too long, your low survivability coupled with high respawn times for your teammates will put you at an extreme disadvantage. Your passive grants you 20% reduction on time spent dead so you'll be first to respawn and if you're alone trying to fend off several high damage / tanky enemies you're pretty much screwed. Try to end all games before the 40 minute mark any longer and you're effectiveness wanes.

::Late Game::

After completing your build be sure to pickup some potions. Try to stay behind the tanks / DPS in team fights and work your magic. Remember the active on your Zhonya's Ring, your wall, and if you see an opening pop your ult. This is a modular build saving one slot for a complimentary item, this build isn't dogma if you need more survivability you can pickup a Rod Of Ages or Rylai's Scepter instead of a Haunting Guise.

  • Solo mid.
  • Remember you're squishy, watch out for ganks, don't over extend, play smart.
  • If needed use wards to prevent ganks.
  • Once you get your ult, pay attention to other lanes, look for opportunities.
  • Your Wall Of Pain is great for ganking, team fights, and escaping.
  • If you die use your wall to help your team and spam Lay Waste or use your ult.
  • If you die use Defile, make sure your team fights inside your circle.
  • Focus squishy champs.
  • Whenever possible get the Blue Golem Buff.
  • If you're without a Banshee's Veil be leery of Veigar and/or other anti-casters.
  • Don't be afraid to engage tanks, you'll eat them alive.
  • If survivability isn't an issue get a Void Staff.
  • Finally, don't be a douche by stealing kills from your team.

::Final Stats::