Build Guide by stefanako
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Not Updated For Current Season
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This is a step-by-step guide to Karthus for beginners and intermediates.
Currently this build is so effective that I win almost every game that I play as karthus with this build. It's so effective that i consider it to be 'cheeze'.
WARNING: OVERPOWERED CHEEZINESS AHEAD. USE AT OWN RISK (of becoming a lamer).
There is several critical advantages with this build.
First, let's talk about the summoner spells.
You have no mobility with 'Clarity' and 'Heal'. That's okay because YOU HAVE LASTING POWER (in the middle lane). As soon as anybody attacks you, you pop heal and/or clarity, toggle on 'Defile', then start to spam 'Lay Waste' beneath their feet. Almost nobody except a very well geared DPSer will be able to stand toe-to-toe with you, especially once you have 4 Archangel's Staves and the Warmog Armor (or if you're against a bunch of melee's, instead of Warmog Armor, get the Randuin's Omen shield as your last item).
But don't worry; even if your attacker somehow manages to kill you, which'll happen more in late game, you still have 8 seconds to spam 'Lay Waste' and finish them off with 'Requiem', while you're in 'Death Defied' mode. Your 'Defile' also ticks for 8 more seconds while in 'Death Defied', so make sure it's toggled on. In this way you'll almost always exchange your death for a kill, taking down your enemy, especially against anyone who comes within range of your 'Defile' who can't DPS faster than you (and with 650-1000 AP, good luck). Let's face the facts, though. You're going to have to come to terms with the fact that you're a glass cannon, and you're going to go down sometimes -- like i said, at least you'll get a kill while doing so, 99% of the time, with this method. If you're out of mana, pop clarity, if you're about to die, pop your (improved) 'Heal' spell. If you drop your enemy below 15% health before you die, pop Requiem while in 'Death Defied' mode. Free kill. Thanks for coming out.
LEVEL 1-6: Doriah's Ring, Soloing the Middle Lane.
-Buy Doriah's Ring, It's THE BEST item under 500 gold, you'll need the health, AP and mana/5 for soloing the middle lane. Also buy a potion.
-Take the middle lane alone.
Level 1: take 'Lay Waste' for range
Level 2: take 'Defile' for mana regen per kill
Level 3-4: Upgrade 'Lay Waste'
Level 5: Take 'Wall'
Level 6: 'Requiem'
With this build you'll usually start with alot more health (~+120 from Runes +120 from Doriah's Ring) than your opposition in the middle lane. This means that at level 1 you already have +240 health more than your opposition, most likely, and an (improved) heal to back you up. You also have one of the longest ranges in the game in 'Lay Waste'. USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Keep dropping bombs with 'Lay Waste'. AS SOON as your enemy stands still, 'Lay Waste'. If you get to 1/2 mana, conserve mana until level 2, OR keep up the harassment if he's lower health than you, and pop your 'Clarity'. Once you have 'Defile' at level 2, your mana is limitless as long as you get the last killshot. Therefore, burn your mana by attacking your enemy with 'Lay Waste', but conserve enough mana for 1-2 spell casts of 'Lay Waste', then farm minions with 'Lay Waste', getting the last kill shots, which replenishes your mana. GG
If your opposition in the middle lane is a melee, he's screwed. Keep bombing around the minions he's attacking, so he has to move forward to them and right into the 'Lay Waste'. Or, drop the 'Lay Waste' just behind him so when he tries to back up, it explodes. You'll need to practice this but it's so effective once you get the hang of it that you'll easily solo the mid and push your enemy back to his turret, until you have Requiem at level 6. Then it's GG. DO NOT teleport back to base until you die or you have enough for Sorcerer's Boots, then quickly run back to middle lane. You'll be using Clarity alot in the early game, until you have a few Archangel's Staves, at which point your mana will be limitless. Keep pushing the middle until you have Requiem, at all costs.
Level 6-11: Requiem. Becoming the Quarterback.
As soon as you have 'Requiem', the game changes in your favor. Tell your teammates to call out when any champion on the map has less than 10% health, and/or keep your eye on the minimap and watch battles going on at other parts of the map. As soon as you see an enemy below 10% health, cast 'Requiem'. Free kill.
If you're grouping up and about to initiate a group battle, use Requiem BEFORE you attack the group, in this way you'll force your enemies to retreat 99% of the time, or to die. Don't be greedy with Requiem, use it in the beginning gof a group fight to ensure you cast it before you die, even if you don't get the killing blows. You'll do enough kill-stealing from level 11-18, and you can thank your teammates later. hah.
L11-18: The Glass Cannon.
At this point (since you've been farming the middle lane alone for most of the game) you should be 15-18 before most of the people on the map are at your level, especially since you took 'Clarity' and rarely left the middle, except to shop once or twice and quickly run back. Look around the map. Where are battles happening? Head there. You'll want to start group attacking at this point because you're very low on health, but VERY HIGH on damage output. With another person, especially someone with a stun/cc, you can solo anyone in the game, two-to-one. Sounds obvious, but it's true. Don't be a cowboy and try to one-on-one people, instead support your team by pushing for turrets. At this point your Requiem should be doing 900+ damage; USE IT WISELY, not just for kill steals, hah.
If you have to duke it out cowboy style, use the 8 seconds of complete immunity that is 'death defied' and just lay waste to your attacker, even after you're dead. You'll almost always take him out. People will learn to fear you with this build, trust me. With a few archangel's staves, you can basically have 'Defiled' on almost limitlessly, ticking for insane amounts of damage. Just take out all minions/super minions in this fashion.
TO RECAP/ END:
All i can say is Requiem makes you the quarterback of the game, so be nice, use it at the beginning of group fights or to help allies out with their own battles in their lanes (keep an eye on the minimap and chat), and initiate combat with other members of your team instead of being a cowboy and duking it out like a western movie showdown (avoid 1on1s). They can be fun at times but you'll almost always die in the process, even if you exact your revenge from the spirit world, (or once respanwed) with 'Requiem', heh.
GG 1,000 AP 3k HEALTH LOL NUB. Peace.