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Karthus Build Guide by Blackbeard38

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Blackbeard38

Karthus sings better than Justin Bieber !!!!

Blackbeard38 Last updated on July 2, 2012
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hello , welcome to my Karthus guide !!!! In this guide i will show you all the tips and also i will help you so you can play with karthus and score pentakill !!!!! This guide will improve the way you play with karthus and absolutely you will love it !!!! So let's go !!!!

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I put 21 points to offense (ability power , magic penetration and cooldown reduction ) and 9 points to Utility ( Spell Vamp , mana regen , cooldown of Spells and movement speed ) . Especially speed is very important for karthus who is a slow champion . The others powers help you win mid or lane opponents .

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Pros / Cons


* Huge range! Lay Waste reaches 875 to the center and has a radius of 200 for a total of 1075
* Spam-able DPS. Lay Waste has a 1 second cool down.
* Great CC. Wall of Pain slows for 80% movement speed at level 5.
* Sight Ward :D Wall of Pain allows you to see places you would normally be forced to face check.
* Gathers Assists Very Easily. Defile and Requiem make gathering assists a cinch.
* Keeps Mana Fairly Easily. As long as Defile isn't being used Karthus will almost always have mana reserves.


* Squishy! Karthus is not inherently a very healthy character.... being dead and all.... :D
* Highly Feared! Sometimes teams are frightened of your killing power and they will attempt to shut you down early with a team gank. Also can quickly become the main focus of every single team fight.
* Tanky Teams Karthus sometimes has trouble killing when there are no squishy people on the other team.
* Melee DPS's Karthus can sometimes have trouble from characters like Akali, Tryndamere, Sion . etc.

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9x : - These are simply to make your spells hurt more. Spell penetration is a typical choice in marks, when you play a caster. They benefit your Lay Waste nicely in early game .
9x : - These will help you contain your mana pool, in order to harrass. They will mostly help you early game, as mana won't be a problem after you have 2x Archangel's Staff. However, early game is very important. Do not die too much and try to get kills, quickly after you've turned lvl 6
9x : - These will give you some extra damage early game, which will grant you more minion kills and a better harrassing capability. You can also go with AP/per lvl runes, if you prefer that. Those will not give that much damage early game, but they will give you a bit more mid- and late game
1x : Just to give you a bigger damage output early game. Same reasons as with the glyphs. You can also exchange this for a AP/per lvl rune, but I would recommend this . 2x : - These are a must have imo. You can go with 3 of these, if you like. But you need that extra survivability early game. You won't do as much damage as champions like Kennen & Ashe in early game, as it requires you to hit your enemy quite some times with Lay Waste. Therefore, you need these to be in lane for a bit longer.

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Summoner Spells

: flash helps you get away from enemies or kill enemies , flash through walls and its one of the best spells in League of Legends !!!!!!!

: Teleport is a good spell which helps to protect all your towers and also teleports you to almost every position !!!! It can turn dramatically the flow of the games !!!!

Alternatives spells :

Ghost : helps you get away from enemies or hunt enemies by providing an increase to your movement speed. great spell for karthus also!!!
Ignite : By taking this, you'll be able to do better ability combos and have a better damage output, but its really not that necessary.
Heal : karthus has low life so this spell its useful early game but because karthus has no spell vamp abilities it's suitable also.
Clarity : Rarely used. Can only help you early game if you can't time last hits properly. Useless late game.
Revive : you can enter a teamfight with Defile & Lay Waste and damage everyone a lot, after that due to your passive you will continue that for another 7 seconds and enemies will have low health. Then, Revive, Requiem & BOOM! penta-kill for sure.

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Skill Sequence

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

Lay Waste is thebasic skill for karthus to farm minions , so try to level up this skill earlier in the game . Just put Defile on level 1 in early game because if u use this skill , it costs a lot of mana . So u must only use the passive of this skill and regenerate mana faster. Do the same thing with the Wall of Pain and level up this in late game .

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Item Sequence

Sorcerer's Shoes

Rod of Ages

Archangel's Staff

Void Staff

Rabadon's Deathcap

Karthus can start the games with 3 options of items :

A . He can buy 1 Sapphire Crystal and 1 Health Potion and 1 Mana Potion

B . He can buy 1 Doran's Ring for 15 ability power and mana regen

C. He can buy Boots of Speed , 2 Health Potion and 1 Mana Potion . This is option is recommended for someone who need more speed at the beginning of the game !!!!

Second important step is to buy Sorcerer's Shoes for 20% magic penetration . Make a good farm and buy catalyst the protector which gives 290 Health and 325 Mana . After this buy a Blasting Wand for 40 ability power . When you farm 100 creeps then use these 2 items to make Rod of Ages. Late game when you are feeded enough with more farms ( 150 creeps ) or kills buy Tear of the Goddess and Blasting Wand, so you can make later Archangel's Staff. Thisitem is the most important item for every caster , it gives mana regen and ability power for every spell you cast . Finally to complete your build buy Void Staff for 40% magic penetration and Rabadon's Deathcap for 140% ability power. With these 2 final items Karthus is invicible and you will get a lot of kills , i guarantee this 100% !!!!!!



Item Sequence

Zhonya's Hourglass

Abyssal Mask

Will of the Ancients

Banshee's Veil


Rylai's Crystal Scepter : is good for karthus bacause help him survive in many teamfights and also grants him ability power . Also this item slows opponents for every spell that Karthus casts . !!! very important !!!

Zhonya's Hourglass : is an important item cause puts Karthus in stasis for 2 seconds and he doesn't receive damage from attacks and also gives armor and ability power.
This item can change dramatically the flow of the games !!!!

Abyssal Mask : helps Karthus to decrease enemies magic resist and also gives ability power . If you have items with magic penetration its good to buy also Abyssal Mask . Magic penetration and magic resist-decrease its a big step to victory !!!

Will of the Ancients : gives ability and cooldown reduction . Nothing special but if u want cooldown reduction especially for Requiem you can buy it . I usually don't use it but if you want to use it , it's good !!!

Banshee's Veil : gives magic resist , mana and health . Good item in many ways . Buy it if you have trouble with enemies that can easily kill you or do a lot of damage !!! It's worth to buy it and you won't regret it !!!


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Early game Farming Consists of using to lay into waves of minions.
Some of the most important things to keep in mind for this stage is placement of this spell. Because lay waste has such a short cool down you can feel free to harass and farm minions with it. Its mana cost is relatively low and with the passive from you wont have to run out of mana (Last hitting at Level 2 or higher). try and last hit with your attack when you can (when enemy champs seem mia or near their tower). When minions spawn the walk in 2 groups of three generally 3 melee and 3 ranged. In the mid you only have to deal with 1 other player -unless ganked- so use lay waste at the back of the ranged minions to harass the enemy champ and damage 2-3 minions at a time. When the minions seem to be low use a lay waste to last hit and hopefully refill at least 2/3 of the mana used that wave.

-Do Not Use Defile to farm minions in early game- Instead only use Defile for enemy kills. I like to Lay down a Wall of Pain on my enemy or behind them and tear into them with Lay Waste,if they live through 2-3 and seem like they might get away Flash and turn on Defile to finish the job.

Mid game -aka lvl 8-13 you should be picking up some points in Defile and now you can sweep through minion waves.
1.Stand in between melee and ranged minions.
2.Turn on Defile
3.Hit melee minions with Lay Waste
4.Hit ranged minions with Lay Waste,(while aiming for cannon minion as well

Late Game Farming is simple as you walk through anywhere if there is something you can kill turn on Defile and as you walk by it, it will die. While walking to help in team fights of ganks if you can see no minions in lane and you can go through the Jungle without taking up more time kill the wraiths and wolves with a well placed Lay Waste.

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* When you are looking for an enemy or ganking, let the tank/carry to lead the way, stay in Lay Waste range and let the others take the damage, thats not your job for sure. (tl;dr: keep your roles)
* Many people only use Defile and Lay Waste during passive and forget using Wall of Pain. You can prevent enemies from leaving the fight or killing your teammates.
* If you are confident with your normal last hits you can gain a good amount of mana. Otherwise, last hit with LW and gain almost its mana cost.
* Make sure your team knows when you hit 6 and notifies you when an enemy is low.
* REMEMBER: Don't initiate any fights. You're not the kind of the lethal ap carry that can initiate a teamfight and make enemies start running away. Don't copy fiddlesticks' ulti-flash playstyle. If you start a fight, you'll die before you even realize. Try to stay alive as much as possible and killst... finish off the enemies with Requiem.
* Ask your jungle for the blue buff. It's soooo useful for Karthus. You can spam Lay Waste like there's no tomorrow and you are able to keep Defile up for much more in a teamfight.
* If 1 or 2 low health enemies are following you to kill you and you are absolutely sure you will die stop running away and suicide! Die next to them, slow them, toggle defile and start spamming lay waste and kill these bad boys. WIN-WIN.

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Team Fights

This is where Karthus Excels. When a team fight starts you want to be almost right behind the tank with this build. Keep in mind you do not have to live so if they focus you, oh well, you'll still kill some of them and help your team push the lane and win. Right when the **** hits the fan you want to find your target which might be as easy as The Group, and use Wall of Pain on them. Defile should probably be on already but if not Now is the time. Now If you have Zhonya's Hourglass and you are being focused you can activate it for 2 seconds more of Defile damage with out being harmed. After the effect wears off you need to find your squishiest and weakest targets and hit them with Lay Waste. keep focusing down all the players until every one is dead.

-If you die-
Now if things don't go perfectly, and they won't. don't fret. You can continue to kill and maim. Just remember Requiem has a delay. So if you think it is needed to finish off the entire enemy team, or it will do it faster, use it before grey out (the icon will grey out 4 seconds before Karthus has to stop fighting.) Rarely but some times when you ult when dead the game can glitch and waste your Ult, it can be frustrating but deal with it imagine how the enemy team feels when it works.

-If you live-
For obvious reasons this can be rare. I don't want to see any Karthus Flashing out of a team fight to save his skin, unless his team is dumb as bricks. But if you do live push the lane or complete what ever objective is in the best interest of the team.

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Who you might face in your lane

Who you might face in your lane

- Ashe : is not that big a problem to lane against. Everytime she tries to get close to you, throw a wall at her and spam bubbles at her. You will also be able to farm better in most matches, because you have Lay Waste & Defile. Just care when she turns level 6 and had stun. Try and get someone to gank her, so she can be denied as much as possible. This will give her a hard time as a carry.

- Anivia : can really be a pain in the *** for Karthus. Anivia has more damage than Karthus early game and more survivability when her egg is up. Play safe and farm well, but I wouldn't recommend that you try to kill her 1v1. If you have a jungler, get him/her to gank Anivia. See if you can get the kill in order to be fed, so you have an advantage against your laning opponent.

- Katarina : She is really annoying, because it's hard to plave a wall on her, due to her blinks. She can get close to you, do damage and get back, and you won't be able to do as much damage on her, as she does on you. However, keep yourself behind creeps and farm with Lay Waste.

- Karthus : Mirror-lane is fine, especially if you have a jungler. Get the jungler to gank as early in the game as possible, so you have an advantage. It's really about who is best to last hit creeps and harras the other, if it is Karthus v Karthus. Hopefully it's you.

- Teemo: Against Teemo you shold do fine, because his blind, won't affect you that badly. Just throw a wall at him and spam your spells at the little dude. This should keep him off your back. When he has mushrooms you might want to get an oracle, so you can destroy his shrooms. It will make it a lot easier to gank him and piss him off.

- LeBlanc : You do not want to face Le Blanc. Her damage is massive early game, and you will have a really hard time hitting her with Lay Waste, due to her teleport/blink. If she plays well, you will probably be denied a lot and have a hard time in mid/late game. Just play really safe and try to farm as good as you can. Maybe get someone to gank her.

- Lux: She can be pretty annoying, but you can stay behind your own creeps and farm. Just make sure, she doesn't hit you with her stun. Try to harras her and see if you can get a kill at lvl 6. It's really just about avoiding her skill shot and to farm better than her. Try to make her run around a lot, by spamming bubbles at her.

- Kennen : I find Kennen to be really ****ing annoying to lane against. However, it is possible, just play careful and try not get hit by shurikens. When you & Kennen hit level 6, have flash ready, when Kennen might use ulti on you. Also try to outfarm the ninja, so you have an advantage in your items.

- Annie: Watch the **** out when you see this little witch.. She is devastating when she hits level 6. Care and try to get your jungler to gank her to get an advantage over her. Just try to far, but stay safe. Keep track of her passive, so you know when to have flash ready to escape her stun.

- Brand : Same as Annie. However, you can make him less dangerous behind creeps, so his stun isn't gonna hit you. However, his burst damage is way higher than yours, so try to get your jungler to gank or try to become fed from killing other enemies with your ultimate.

- Malzahar : He is a really strong pusher, so you might need ganks on him as well. When level 6 he can shut you down, so be very aware of your HP, so his combo won't necessarily take you out. Perhaps rush Catalyst the Protector for more sustain, instead of Tear of the Goddess, cause he will harras you and keep farming. A tough champion to face, but simply try to farm and hope for an opening to kill him.

- Orianna : She is a long range harrasser, but watch out for her autoattacks as well. Keep your distance and perhaps buy Boots of Speed fast to avoid her ball better. Keep your distance and farm the best you can. Orianna is really strong, so you might have a hard time.

- Veigar : This tiny thing can do a lot of damage with his combos and his ulti , so you must spam Lay Waste and do not let him farm . Also u can use Defile with Wall of Pain . But late game WHAT EVER U BUY , U WILL BE **** !!!

- Fiddlesticks : It's very difficult to face him because of his drain abilities , his fear and his silence. Stay away from him when he is level 6 because his ulti can easily shut you down !!! Keep distance from him and use Lay Waste , ask for ganks if it's possible !!!

- Vladimir : keep a distance from him , so he cannot leech your life with his skills , spam always Lay Waste and put Wall of Pain so he cannot reach you . Don't let him farm !!!!

- Akali : A very op opponent with her skills and especially when u cannot see her , she can easily do a lot of dammage . So put Wall of Pain , keep her away from you and try to hit her from a big distance with lay waste !!!!

- Xerath: try to get away from his combos skills , his stun and his other moves , BECAUSE these skills can finish you off . Watch out , xerath has a big range and small cooldowns to his skills .

- Gragas : this champion has long range especially with his barrels . Try to avoid being hitten by his barrels and with Lay Waste and Wall of Pain u can easily kill him. But if he hits you with his barrels many times , you will have a big problem in mid lane .

- Morgana : Her shield , her poison and her stun make her the most dangerous opponent for every caster !!! Try to farm from distance , avoid her stuns and you will be fine !!!

- Cassiopeia : Play with great care !!!! Her poison abilities make her very dangerous for every opponent. Try to avoid his poison , buy enough health potions and ask for ganks
if it's possible !!!! Just hit her with long range shots and put Wall of Pain to pretend her approaching you !!!!

- Heimerdinger : Not a big threat for Karthus , just avoid his turrets machines and his bombs . Use Lay Waste and Wall of Pain and kill him !!!!

- Swain : Very difficult opponent cause of his spell vamp abilities and his stun !!!
Try to avoid his stun and keep distance when he is level 6 !!! With patience and some good farm you will be able to kill him. Early game its very difficult to kill him but if you play with long range hits , you can do it !!!!

- Zilean : Avoid his time bombs and and his other combos skills and try to hit him from long range !!! He has excellent speed so if you to hunt him put often Wall of Pain.

- Kassadin: an opponent that can kill Karthus very easily . His silence , his slow and his high speed are very dangerous !!! So keep a distance from him and try not to be hitten by slow and silence !!!

- Mordekaiser : stay away from him and do not try to kill him early game because he can easily kill you with his shields-spells . Keep a distance from him and with Lay Waste try to decrease his shield , ganks are also preferable !!!!

- Miss Fortune: she has a lot of combos skills which can cause a lot of damage . Try to put often Wall of Pain because she must not reach you if you want to survive !!!

- Caitlyn: just stay away from her traps and her long rage shot and u can kill her with your skills . Just have patience !!!!

- Vayne : dangerous and fast opponent with great damage skills !!!! As i said before keep her away from you and ask for ganks . Face her with great care because you will have a hard time in mid lane !!!

- Viktor : he is not a special opponent for mid just use Lay Waste on him and try to avoid his stun and his laser beams . Ask also for ganks if you cannot kill him !!!

- Fizz : ***** very dangerous ***** , his movement speed and his combos can easily kill you , so ask your teammates for ganks and try to not let him farm !!! If you feed Fizz you will lose the game , so try to play with great care !!!!

- Ziggs : he is very dangerous opponent in mid so try to avoid his bombs and his minefield , and use Lay Waste with Wall of Pain to kill him. Ask for ganks because he has good speed and you cannot reach him easily .

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Map Awareness/When to use that ult!

Okay , Requiem! A very OP (or so they say ....) Spell that can only be used either wrongly (like using it randomly ((aka when you first hit 6... so many karths do this, it PISSES me off... omg.)) or if you think you can kill them but you didn't analyze their health/ MR first)
Okay! Here it is!

This is where you and your team should Sight Ward.

* Yellow: Vital to protect the jungler on your team
* Blue: For protection depending on which lane you're on
* Red: To guard Dragon and Baron
* Orange: In order to Counter-Jungle

Yup, you guessed it, THE MINI MAP! watching this sucker constantly and analyze the movement of every player in every lane. For example if you notice your enemy advancing hard on your allies, or allies advancing on enemy, click on that spot on the minimap. Watch the battle unfold while keeping yourself at bay from your enemy in your lane. If your enemy gets low and escapes, and you saw he had low enough health/MR for your ult to kill him, do it! Make sure you can do it without your enemy in your lane to disrupt you, ofc! Always, Always, ALWAYS be aware. Its the key to playing a good karthus (and also a good anyone really.) Also Keep in mind that the character that got away with low enough health/MR to Req is someone who doesn't have a way out {I.E Etc. Also If they have summoner Heal or even the heal of evilness! Like support char shields like janna's.If they have this, observe the battle, make sure they used it recently, or if your in skype,etc and you can ask your allies down there if the char used this skill yet, and they know for sure, then go for it. and if there wrong, ***** there faces off (hehe :P)

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Karthus ulti !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




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Final Comments

Finally let me give you some important hints and to tell you how to play with karthus.

1. Dont push too early in the game.
2. Dont leave your turret when the enemy is coming
3. Watch the sides up and down to see who enemy players heve low life and use ulti.
4. when you take some kills you can push but push carefully
5. You can use wall of pain to detect unseen players

****Use my suggestions carefully and have fun. i hope that i have helped thanks for reading and leave your comments to see your opinion.****

Thank you!!!!!