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Karthus - The RageQuit Master - beginner's & advanced guide

Last updated on July 16, 2010
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Middle Lane
Ranked #25 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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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

Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

Karthus - the deathsinger
UPDATED! view below what exactly

***EDIT EXTRA* Try having maximum AP. I came up to the number of 1030 without RUNES in a practise game (of course, else u would be GOD!). 3xArchmages's staff, zonya's ring, lich bane, meija's soulstealer(20 stacks). I had almost 4k mana so that's a (4000*0.025=100)100AP BONUS for each Archmage's staff.(145AP total excl Zonya's ring bonus!)I could have gone for an extra archmage's staff, but now I did a bonus 1030!! damage beause of lichbane. ***

General information

-powerfull caster
-good ganker
-uncommon champion so many people don't know his skills
-great teamplayer
-his ultimate (requiem)
-after Heimerdinger and Janna Karthus has the most base mana.

-Karthus is very easy to kill
-He costs 6300IP
-In the beginning he is hard to play


Death defied - passive This passive allowes you to cast spells for 8 seconds after your death
Best used to cast your ultimate and help your team win a teamfight. If you have the mana just toggle defile on and the enemy will drop health fast!
Lay waste Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (+35% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy, this deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.
Low lvl farming tool and burst damage in PvP fights.
Wall of pain Creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall through target point. Reduces enemy armor and magic resistance by 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 and reduces movement speed by up to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%; debuff lasts 5 seconds. The wall lasts 7 seconds.
One of the best gank tools / debuffs in the game. Set a gank or escape from enemys. This ability makes the difference in teamfights!
Defile Toggle Off: When Karthus kills a unit, he restores 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 mana.

Toggle On: Drains 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 Mana to deal 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 (+25% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second.

Very strong AoE spell. Your late game farming tool as well.
Requiem - Ultimate After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+70% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).
The tool to finish off enemys that get away with 10HP. With this skill the line "What a lucker" will be completely banned out of the chat! It is also great to use in teamfights right before initiating. It will be a good start for your team and waiting to use your ultimate might cost you your life.

Summoner Spells

TELEPORT: Karthus will get mid very often and in order to stay on the right amount of mana, or you have to come back for items, teleport will be very usefull.

CLARITY: This is a Karthus beginner's guide. A good Karthus doesn't need clarity! The skill lay waste is very often understood as waste your mana. But it is also wise to have clarity to practise the -lay waste- (Q) skill. Practise to get the optimal amount of gold from minions and blocking your enemy to get his kills.

FLASH(advanced players): Karthus, just the same as anivia, has low survivability, and is pretty slow. Getting away will always be a problem. CC (crowd control) has the upper hand when it comes to getting away and be killed by the enemy. Then your wall of pain will be of no use. Flash is the solution. Getting away from target range and have all the time laying a nice wall of pain! This skill should only be added if you won't have to get back all the time for mana.


Your core will be:-Sorcerer shoes (for the extra magic penetration)OR-Rod of ages(for beginner's that want some extra survivability) or archangel's staff for those that want some extra mana and AP (advanced)-Lich bane (works perfectly with "lay waste (Q)". Every 3 seconds extra AP damage(read the effect of lich bane)-zonyas ring Boosts your AP to the heights of olympos! (It gives you 120AP + 25% of your total AP.) I'm so kind to do the math for you: archangels staff = (45+75)*** + lich bane = 80 + Zonyas ring = 120. Together 320AP. Multiply that by 1.25 and you get 400 AP!
*** By 3000 mana. This is easily managed in a random 5vs5 game.

Additional items (for games that last +45 minutes usually, or enough money!)-Rylais crystel scepter (Extra survivability + slow that will keep the enemy's in range of your defile skill (E).-Deathfire grasp (active: hits for 30% + 3.5% per 100 AP of the defenders maximum health (magic damage). Some bonus damage + AP and 15% cooldowns (Ulti will come up sooner!!)-Abysmal Scepter (reduces magic resist, so your attacks will deal (combined with magic penetration) almost true damage! You also have some magic resist.


Early game:(lvl1-10)
start with a 200mana cristal and 2 health potions.

Whenever you can: go mid. This will help you and your team. You get your ultimate very fast and this can provide some early kills. It is very important to know what your enemy is doing. Lay some bombs and look what your enemy is doing. Is he running away, or running sidewards, or running towards you? Is he fighting minions isolated(lay waste deals double damage to single target!)or always among the minions. To get in the head of your opponent will help you to make farming etc imposible fot the enemy. When you reach lvl 6 you should have a fair amount of cash. Try to farm untill you can buy at least sorcerer shoes, or shoes and tear of the godess.
When your enemy has become low on health you can also go for a kill. Let the enemy come a bit towards your turret and use wall of pain, lay waste, normal attack, lay waste. Once he's slowed it should be easy to time your bombs. The make sure you have the kill use defile, but be aware it costs a lot of mana. (flash can be used to line up a final lay waste).

Mid game(lvl 10-16)
You should have the sorcerer's shoes (and tear of the godess). And be on your way to either lich bane or archangels staff. You might want to rush for lichbane because the effect of tear of the goddess still works when you buy archangels staff.

Now it's ganking time. Keep farming and once your enemy drops below a certain amount of health (yours to decide) call in a teammate to go for the kill. Use wall of pain to slow and finish of with defile ON and lay waste. Once he slipps away with minimum health use Karthus' ultimate(R). Farm untill you can buy the archmage's staff. *I didn't go for the rod of ages because every Karthus player should try to play with minimum health and max mana. You can alway go for rod of ages to have a little more survivability, but I dont recommend it. Archmages'staff also grants a major AP bonus, which you will need! To give an example of the bonus. Once you have 2000 mana you get an additional 50AP!*. With Karthus and his spammable, low mana cost (Q) skill its easy to get the +1000 bonus from tear of the goddess/archangels staff.

Late game(lvl 16+)
You should be on your way completing your core item built.

Now the teamfights kick in for real! Be sure to not be in the frontline of battle. Stay back and spam lay waste. Then use wall of pain to slow and help yourself and your teammates get kills. Once an enemy slipps away make sure his hp is low enough to use R. Don't waste your ultimate, but also don't wait too long. Make sure if you get into the battle trying to kill enemys with defile on, that at least one tank should be with you. Firstly try to PAIN them with wall of pain.

Karthus' enemys and friends

1-squishy enemys! (it's like bombing a little chicken, they fly high! <never tried myself just guessing...:P>)
2-tanks (they wont do a lot of damage, and you can just defile them into hell!
3-Your own tanks, they will keep the dpsers away from you.

2-enemys with high burst damage
3-Crowd controllers

Note* - a great part depends on the item build.


WALL OF PAIN: is an excellent abbility to get away, or help your teammates get away.
LAY WASTE: Once an enemy is on the run spam lay waste in front of him so he walks right into it once it goes off.
DEFILE: excellent for chasing, but also when your on the run. Use it to scare your enemys and slowly demolish their health. This can save ur ***!
NEUTRAL MONSTERS: Be sure to get the golem buff as soon as u can, as often as u can!
KARTHUS PASSIVE: once ur killed you can cast for 8 seconds around your body. If an enemy is low you can use your ult, or if your ult is in cooldown you can use lay waste to still make a kill. Use defile only when you have enough mana. If you dont have enough mana you might be missing the kill because you don't have enough mana.*Sometimes enemys tp back when there is nowbody left. Wait a few seconds and then use lay waste so the are not foccused*


[updated 11-07-2010]
- item build (includes all 6 items)
- item description (in depth information on item effects)
- summoner spells (inlcudes flash description)
- Added enemys and friends section
- Some overal improved 'readability'

[updated 14-07-2010]
-added abilities section with images
-added images to the item build
-some general fixes
-added an awesome wallpaper!