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Karthus Build Guide by TwistedDemon

Top [S11] How to Solo Carry as Karthus

Top [S11] How to Solo Carry as Karthus

Updated on April 2, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author TwistedDemon Build Guide By TwistedDemon 24 1 16,739 Views 1 Comments
24 1 16,739 Views 1 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author TwistedDemon Karthus Build Guide By TwistedDemon Updated on April 2, 2021
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1 2
Dark Harvest
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Ability Order THE ONLY WAY

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[S11] How to Solo Carry as Karthus

By TwistedDemon
Hello! I'm TwistedDemon, my peaks are Challenger on EUNE, and Master on EUW. (currently D1 on EUW and no longer playing on EUNE)
I've been playing Karthus for a while, enjoying playing it so much that he became one of my main champions now. I play Karthus on every single role, mostly on Mid, Bot and Jungle.

This is my twitch stream :)
Here's a video of me playing Karthus aggressively on midlane at level 1.
I believe Karthus is a very strong pick, especially the lower you go in the ladder. Until high elo, you should be fine playing against almost anything, on any role.
Remember that you take Karthus to take over the game yourself, so you must do your best to carry games. You don't bring much utility around you other than a not-so-reliable wall of slows.

General info about Karthus

About Q

  • Q has 875 range;
  • Q costs 20 mana at lvl 1;
  • Q is on 1 second cooldown;
  • Q scales with +30% AP.

About other abilities

  • Passive lasts for 7 seconds;
  • W slows, and reduces magic resist by 15%;
  • W has 1000 range, its length scales up to 1200, and stays up for 5 seconds;
  • E restores mana when an unit is killed, also deals dmg every 0.25 seconds;
  • R is channeled 3 seconds before dealing dmg, scales with +75% AP.

You have to know these basic things about Karthus before trying to learn anything else.
You should play Karthus Mid whenever you can, other than in any other role, since this is the place where Karthus can get the most resources in the least amount of time. Be agressive.
The main problem with Karthus is that he is immobile, and is pretty easy to get ganked/camped.

Play for the level 1 powerspike.

Make it your goal in each game to dominate any matchup at lvl one. I do it every single game. Here's me playing as an example of what you should do.
  • Isolate the enemy first, so your Q deals double damage. How? By killing 3 caster minions on the first wave.
  • Start auto attacking the enemy and spam Qs.
(Don't use exhaust, unless you are sure the slow can help you killing him, or if he fights back and you're afraid he kills you.
Don't use flash, unless you are sure to kill him.)

Farm, get EXP and GOLD everywhere

You must understand that Karthus scales well. Damn well. You can never say Karthus is useless, at any point in the game. After all, if you can't hit Qs, you have an ultimate that hits 5 enemy champions at once from anywhere.
That being said, you must get yourself ahead of everyone else. Be selfish.
  • Ask for every blue buff;
  • You farm mid, but you don't stop to that. You go ahead and take both jungle camps from your ally and your enemy, whenever possible;
  • Every time you roam, you must force shoving the wave after dealing with the enemy, so you also get both exp and gold from the lane you just helped. It doesn't matter if you got the kill or not. Be selfish;
  • Don't let others get kills unless you are decently fed yourself, you have to assume that you can carry the game.
Karthus jungle is pretty boring, if you ask me, but much safer to play than anywhere else.


You must do full clears as often as you can, go only for the ganks that are sure to result in either a kill or ***sist.

Take minions from laners whenever you can, but definitely not to the point you affect the wave in the wrong way (you freeze the wave for the opponent, for example):
  • help them shove whenever you are near a lane;
  • take a full wave (preferably not the cannon one)(example: your laner died and is on a respsawn timer) - just be sure the lane will reset after you leave.


Wolves, Raptors
• Spawn At: 1:30
• Respawn Time: 2:00

Gromp, Krugs
• Spawn At: 1:42
• Respawn Time: 2:00

Buffs(Blue, Red)
• Spawn At: 1:30
• Respawn Time: 5:00

Rift Scuttlers (in river)
• Spawn At: 3:15
• Respawn Time: 2:30

Rift Herald (in Baron pit)
• Initial Spawn: 8:00
• Respawn: 6:00
• Despawns At: 19:45 (19:55 if in combat)

Dragon Spawns At: 5:00
• Respawn Time: 5:00

Elder Dragon: Spawns 6:00 after oneteam kills their 4th Elemental Drake
• Elder Dragon: Respawn 6:00

Baron Nashor
• Spawns At: 20:00
• Respawn Time: 6:00
Karthus is a mage. Mages usually have earlier powerspikes (better itemization, stats) than adcs, and higher dmg until adcs scale. Karthus is no exception, and after you get either Lost Chapter or Sorcerer's Shoes, you are going to deal insane dmg compared to most adcs.

The problem with botlane, in general, is that you depend on the other player that you have to play with in a 2v2. Your performance will be affected by your partner, but your job as botlane Karthus is easier than an usual botlane pick.
Similar to midlane, with the exeption that the lane is longer - so you are more exposed, since you are squishy and lack mobility.

Also, you'll most likely face melee champions that don't have an insane early game compared to yours, so early game should be easier than on mid.
Ok, this is kinda trollish. It can tilt your teammates initially, but overall I didn't get as much negativity as I thought I would whenever I played it.

Early game is similar to any other mage support. You try your best to poke and if their champions rely on all-in and lack dashes/escapes it may not be that bad. Karthus support doesn't really do well vs poke lanes/long range.
Don't delay your dmg, if you don't have to. Usually, you should have a defensive item, but when you buy it depends on each game.

Zhonya's is what most people go for in their build as a defensive item. It helps vs AD champions, and it negates a lot of abilities thrown at you - also synergies with your E (it stays active) so your damage output stays relevant while defending yourself.

Banshee's is something you buy when the enemy team has too many APs to justify it.
Ideally, you won your role. Now, you're ahead of everyone else - but you have to keep yourself like that. As I stated before, Karthus is a champion that has to be played with greed in mind.

You need more GOLD and more EXP than anyone else in your team. With Karthus, you can carry the game much easier than most available champions when you are fed.

So, what do you do?

Unless you play JUNGLE, you should split as much as you can. Normally, you have to group for Baron, Drake, Elder, defending structures etc. - but that depends on each situation that happens in your game.

Go botlane and split as much as possible, farming all resources around you: jungle camps, minions, champions. Exhaust helps a lot with the 1v1 scenario, and considering you are ahead in terms of items an levels, not many champions can match you.

Look at the minimap as much as you can while splitting, you must not miss any opportunities to help your teammates or just take free kills/stop barons etc. I take Ultimate Hunter as my rune for this very reason, having extra ults supports this splitpushing style.
First of all, in the very beginning of the game I highly recommend you to /mute all.

Why? Because you aren't going to see anything useful being written in the chat, the lower you go in the ladder the worse chat experience is. It distracts you. In all divisions, chat is most likely to be used for negative stuff rather than being productive (such as flash timings, or complex calls).

Secondly, I advise you to start taking decisions for your team. You do the calls. You ping what needs to be done. Sure, you may fail more often than not at first, but you are going to learn from your experiences as a team leader and eventually will understand what should or shouldn't be done.


Don't forget for a single second that you are there to win, not just to look statistically good at the end of the game (a lot of items, higher lvl, high cs, etc.).

If your team can't handle being 4v5 while you still help with your ults, then you have to group and see if something changes.

Don't tunnel vision on split only. That's not the way of winning games, you must be aware of the situation your team is in.


You must understand League of Legends is a game based on decision making. The fact that you do a certain thing and not something else represents the way you decided to play the game.

Unless you play in an organised environement such as tournaments, full premade, etc. your individual decision matters more than your teammate's.

Question yourself during the game whenever you can things such as:

  • Why am I here?
  • What can I gain and what can I lose by being here? Is it worth risking?
  • Can I face the enemy I should meet here?
  • Do I have enough vision on the map to be here?
  • Is our teamcomp better in a 5v5 scenario or should we split as a team (1TOP 3MID 1BOT)?

Don't forget that drafting is also important, so you must know when to dodge a bad champion select. That comes with experience and knowledge, you must analyze for yourself wether you believe you can win or not a game judging the champion picks.

Even if you aren't really sure about your knowledge, you probably shouldd dodge if you feel like you can't possibly win with that team - because you are going in game with a negative attitude which makes you play worse than usual.

Thank you for reading so far, I hope anything that you found on this guide helped you to be a better Karthus, and also a better player in general.

Now, you gotta rank up and prove that to yourself. Good luck!

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