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League of Legends Build Guide Author killerkuiken

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

killerkuiken Last updated on October 1, 2010
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #25 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
Get More Stats

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

MAJOR UPDATE! Made a double statistic guide for beginner karthus and advanced karthus.
Grats to DEWO for this brilliant idea.

Before you are going to read the guide I want to say something. In the end it's all up to you if you choose a karthus with less AP, more survivability or a full AP Karthus. The one to the left is the beginner set-up, the one to the right is the advanced set-up.

<this section will contain release notes of buffs/nerfs concerning Karthus>
Requiem mana cost reduced to 150/175/200 from 200/300/400
You will have a 20% reduced time being dead after death defied to make up for the 8 seconds it takes.

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
-Very weak against DPSers. (especially carrys!)


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.
cooldown: 1 second

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.
cooldown: 22 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.
cooldown: 0.5 seconds after toggeling off

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).
cooldown: 180/150/120 seconds
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


: 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. Another way in which teleport stands out is tactical map usage. Sounds strange? Let me explain it to you. Often you and your team push a lane and find yourselves blocked by the enemy. Everyone is just standing there doing nothing. With teleport you can swap lane fast and go for a turret kill or force the enemy to split. With the ability to devastate turrets (explained in the item section) and superb push capabilities this is an excellent spell for Karthus.


:(beginner)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.


(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.


EXHAUST: Karthus is very weak against DPSers. With exhaust you have a strong weapon against them. Choose this spell for heavy DPS-teams.





your core will be: [ item cost core build: (item cost messed up on mobafire, expected soon..) ]
Sorcerer shoes (for the extra magic penetration)
Rod of ages provides AP, health and mana. A good item for good damage, and improved survivability.
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!! So this is the item for great tank disabling power and ulti spam.)
Abysmal Scepter (reduces magic resist of nearby enemys, so your attacks will deal (combined with magic penetration) almost true damage! You also have some magic resist.
Frozen hearth 25% ability cooldown. and good improved survivability.


Your core will be: [ item cost core build: 10990 gold ]
archangel's staff Extra mana and insane AP. (recently found out that the bonus is 3% of max mana instead of 2.5%. So with 3000mana you get 3000*0.03= 90AP + 45AP= 135AP! for just one item that is pretty cheap.

Additional items (for games that last +45 minutes usually, or enough money!)
Check the BEGINNER section for additional 5th adn 6th items.

---game dependant items (if you're new to karthus just stick to the beginner's set-up)---

what: heavy DPS enemy team
item: tornmail
description unique: 30% of the attackers damage will be returned as magical damage.
reason: extra survivability against DPSers and a minimum loss of damage output (because you are going to be targeted for sure!)
item order: get archangel's staff first, then tornmail, then lichbane, ...

what: tanky team with lots of armor
item: deathfire grasp
description unique: 30% +3.5% per 100AP of current health as magic damage
reason: the percent damage will outscale your damage output with full AP build.
item order: 4th item

what: tanky team with lots of magic resist
item: void staff
descrpition unique: 40% Magic Penetration
reason: the percent MagPen will result in a bigger damage output then flat MagPen.
item order: 4th item

what: heavy CrowdControl (CC) team
item: Quicksilver sash
description unique: removes all debuffs from your character - 2min cooldown
reason: better then cleanse and a must to survive all the stuns, snairs, silences!! etc.
item order: archangel's staff, Quicksilver sash, etc..

what: heavy caster team
item: abysmall scepter
description unique: reduces magic resist of all nearby enemy champions by 20.
reason: It will provide you 70AP (A lot) and 57 magic resist, and magic pen.
item order: 4th item
ANDThe advanced guide focusses on massive AP. To make up for your 1.7K base health at lvl 18 you can drink an elixer of fortitude. This can be done if you're on your way completing zonya's ring and after that. The elixer of billiance provides you AP and cooldown reduction. With golem buff you should have requiem everytime the teamfight starts.


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. But its perfectly fine to work on both lich bane and archangles staff. If you need AP fast, rush archangles's staff, if you need magic resist, buy magic resist for lich bane and AP for archangel's. It al comes down to the situation you're in.

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.

The best thing is to let your team know that your ult is the initiation: after it hits you will engage. Now its clear to your whole team when to attack. If you use it too soon the enemy team will regen (most teams have some kind of healer), but if you use it too late (after initiation) you're channeling for 3 seconds and not dishing out any damage.

Another option is when you get too low to keep fighting savely, Then you retreat and hit your ulti at a save spot. You'll still be helping out your team without dying.

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.


1-DPSers (Yi, tristana, shaco, tryndamere, ashe etc)
2-enemys with high burst damage ( VEIGAR!, annie, malzahar)
3-Crowd controllers (patnheon, morgana, blitzcrank )

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

Some strategies against some tricky champions (DETAIlED INFORMATION, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ WHOLE THE BUILD YET!)


: Late game Master Yi is not to be stopped by Karthus. You just won't get away from him. The best option is to stand and fight instead of running away. Try to get him low enough so you can finish it with your passive. It worked for me.


: The reason why veigar is so tricky is because his ultimate combines his AP with the AP of the enemy. And since you are scaling AP you will be the most likely target. The damage veigar will put out is immense. Let your teammates focus him down and try not the get stuck in his "black hole".

***Will be updated with more content if more playtime is processed.***

Some general tips $ trics

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*

becomming THE MASTER

Some skills you need to master to become a karthus master:
- Defile should touch the enemy (if it is a single enemy) only with the edges. That way you're a bit more save from close combat attacks.
-remember to normal hit the enemy once every 3 seconds for the lich bane effect!
-death is no problem for karthus. If you can use his passive in your advantage you can win the teamfight. Whenever your wall is ready to cast in a teamfight: CAST IT. Even if your passive kicks in.
-with lich bane you're a turret killing machine. Make smart use of teleport (if the enemy is holding up before your turret and elsewhere there's an enemy turret in range of a quick push with no enemy in it) Too many times I see 5vs5 for a turret standing still and doing nothing.
-placement of the wall:--> in teamfights try to get as many enemys debuffed as possible. If it's a started teamfight (engagement) then place the wall slantwise.

[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!

[updated 18-07-2010]
-added cooldown description to the abilities section
-added picture to the general information section
-some general fixes

[updated 20-07-2010]
-added "becomming THE MASTER" section for the finishing touch on karthus gameplay.
-some general fixes

[updated 22-07-2010]
-added dual side build for beginner and advanced players.
-updated summoners spells section, item section and added examples of tricky champions for Karthus.
-some general fixes

[updated 14-08-2010]
-added extra depth to the item section
-improved readability
-working on detailed 1vs1 champion fights (mid, dual lane, teamfights)

[updated 27-08-2010]
-added extra info how to use your ult in teamfights
-added release notes about Karthus at the top of the guide