Karthus Build Guide by Fellish
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
Threats & Synergies
just uninstall, she´ll jump in, fuck you up and disappear
like all jump in, jump out champions, only he can easily dodge your ult
he´ll jump in, pull off his combo and jump out, wait for cds and repeat until you´re dead
he will be nice enough to bring the farm to you, just chill next to your tower and outscale him
pokes you from afar, is too fast for you, outplays you
one combo and you´re dead, period. Nothing else she can do, outscale her easily.
easy lane, dodge his poke and you´re golden.
easy pre 6, beware though, she can jump to you, burst you down and jump to a minion.
the new galio is annoying as you can't do much against his CC combo. You should always know where the jungler is as he can't kill you alone
if she jumps at you, she´ll die too
pre 11 so easy, after that she´ll be able to kill you and survive
no big problem here, if she jumps at you she´ll most likely ult herself
catching one of her qs will be your end after lvl 6, try to outfarm her
jumps, in, fucks you up, leaves you with a little bit of hope, then kills you when hitting 6
she could flash engage and kill you after 6, if she doesn´t just remember her egg before pressing r
don´t let her hit her stun, if she pokes you, you´ll outfarm her, dodge her ult with zhonya´s
meh, easy early, pain late as she outscales you. HARD
just like cassio, only that he can kill you early, if you get caught
haven´t seen one mid since the rework, but he doesn´t have gap closers, just don´t go melee
ouch, she outzones you hard, try to anticipate where her ball goes and cry.
let´s see who smashes q faster, he´s tanky though
don´t let her poke you without poking back, farm her plants, stay away from her before killing her with r
fu, not cool, dodge everything and if not, lazor in your face!
stay away from him and your minions, don´t let him hit his q + r combo
see Vel'koz, only difference: bomb in your face
consider early boots to dodge her spears, outfarm her, oneshot her with your ult late (nearly)
he is you with a skill requiring r, enjoy the farm fest, don´t eat his combos!
hmm, farmfest early, but he´ll outscale you eventually and just press r when he spots you in teamfights, dodge his r with zhonya´s and die of his q+w or eat it directly
you in tanky with less damage in teamfights, you´ll probably zhonya´s directly next to him
thank god noone plays this guy mid, his bombs are annoying and you won´t be able to farm at all
really depends on how he is playing. he will bring all the farm to you, you can farm all day under your turret, but dodge his rocket spam!
ouch, maybe rush zhonyas, not only because of the armor
laser dmg will add up eventually, if you can dodge, you win
he will push all day, so you can farm safely under your turret
jump in, jump out, sounds familiar? He can dodge your ult with his
easy early, farm fest that you win. Late one barrel will nearly oneshot you, so stay clear
spams r all day after 6, dodge them all
I play this game for fun, no matter if I win or lose.
Mostly I play with friends in Normals as you can go HAM and try new and stupid stuff.
If I play alone, I go Solo Queueing because there the motivation of both team´s members is different and you meet less AFKs or trolls.
Karthus is a ranged AP Carry, which, unlike other AP Carries deals sustained DMG instead of burst.
How I play him:
Karthus has 3 main features:
-His global ult Requiem
-His ignorance of cooldowns
-His passive Death Defied
Most people only know 2 of them and hate him for his ult.
Most people neglect that he has more than just his Q spam and his R button.
With my guide, those two things will be combined with the 3rd, which in my opinion is the most powerful one.
For this build we want to save as much money as possible while gaining as much as possible.
Therefore we're running runes, that give us free stats and stuff, like the 5% CDR from Cosmic Insight that benefit our abilities, summoners, and, most importantly our active items.
Transcendence gives us free 10% CDR once we reach lvl 10 and Perfect Timing gives us a free stopwatch and an additional 15% CDR on our Zhonya's Hourgass. Meanwhile Manaflow Band gives free mana that stacks well with our Seraph's Embrace and free mana reg so we can stack Tear of the Goddess and Spellbinder better.
Summon Aery and Scorch are for the little additional DMG we need in lane. I chose Summon Aery over Arcane Comet as it has much lower CD and we're spamming our stuff in fights, so we can proc it 4 to 5 times, taking our passive into consideration.
Both trinkets are viable, I mostly use Warding Totem to not be surprised while taking chickens. Build Farsight Alteration if you want to be sure a Requiem will actually kill the enemy and Sweeping Lens if you´re feeling sweepy...
Start Doran's Ring + 2 red for maximum sustain you need to farm.
Next step is getting, Tear of the Goddess, Boots of Speed and we begin to build towards Spellbinder.
Tear of the Goddess gives you MOAR Mana-Regen + Mana as the game goes on and finally builds into the Archangel's Staff.
Boots of Speed: any questions? Really?
Spellbinder rewards us for spamming Lay Waste so we can activate it to give our Requiem the extra spice it needs for killing our enemies.
Step 3: Get Zhonya's Hourglass, upgrade your boots, buy Archangel's Staff.
Zhonya's Hourglass is THE base item every Karthus who isn´t trolling needs! It´s active is amazing and together with the mentioned Seraph's Embrace will lengthen your existence on the map for ages (seconds)
Sorcerer's Shoes: What else would you get on an AP based champ? Decision is tough!
Archangel's Staff: Do you remember what I told you about dying? The thing Karthus does, but doesn´t? Which is unavoidable but can be delayed? Well, Archangel's Staff doesn´t do that, but keep spamming and be surprised!
Final step: Complete your build with Void Staff and something else you like...
Void Staff gives you some extra AP plus heavy magic penetration which sums up nicely with your Sorcerer's Shoes
Something you like is in my case either Rabadon's Deathcap or Banshee's Veil, depending on the situation.
Rabadon's Deathcap rounds up your AP scaling, giving you an awesome lot of extra AP to the bit you already have. Maths: without Rabadon's Deathcap you have 437 AP and an empty slot. With Rabadon's Deathcap you have 780 AP. With Elixir of Sorcery that will go up to 848 Ap. This one single item boosts your AP by nearly 58%!
You can get Banshee's Veil for the Magic Resistance and for the cool Spellshield that may save your life as it blocks the first ability that hits you. Good on paper, but the first ability that hits you mostly is some spammable poke, that doesn't really make a difference. IT CAN THO
Get Liandry's Torment if your enemies are stacking hp AND magic resistance, or if you´re bad at maths and think you need even MOAR magic pene.
Hextech Protobelt-01 is a very cool item if either you and your team struggle to catch up to the enemy (very unlikely due to your Wall of Pain), or they have a lot of deplacement spells like Jayce, Alistar, Lee Sin, Tristana, etc. so you can get back into the middle of the teamfight where you belong.
Lich Bane is a good idea for a Lich, but, you know, Auto Attacks?
Mejai's Soulstealer is too risky for my taste, and anyways, we agreed on farming only, didn´t we?
Rod of Ages and Rylai's Crystal Scepter are for the tanky Karthus version, which is considerable, but here and now doesn´t have any place in this guide...
Last but not least: Athene's Unholy Grail: We all know that Sir Farmalot always looked for the grail, but this one simply is too unholy. Anyways, the mana regen it provides is best in game, but you already have a mana regen item with an active you need ( Seraph's Embrace), making Athene's Unholy Grail kind of needless and even unnecessary if not superfluous (Get it, fluous because it provides mana flow? No? Nevermind, let´s move on...).
R > Q > E > W
What I am trying to say is:
Always max Requiem(R) when possible, max Lay Waste(Q) over Wall of Pain(W) and Defile(E).
Now it depends on you and your opponent if you want to max Wall of Pain(W) or Defile(E) second.
If your opponent plays risky and tries to towerdive you, max W, if not, E, your call.
Take Flash and Teleport
Flash is a great escape/engage tool
Teleport brings you to your farm, as it never comes to you :´(
All the others: NO
I´ll feel personally attacked if I meet one of you guys following my guide, but taking different Summoner Spells and most likely report you for bad player...
The above are everything you need and I´ll tell you why not the others:
Barrier and Heal would be acceptable as they give you the opportunity to lenghten your presence during team fights, but Zhonya's Hourglass and Seraph's Embrace do well enough, and as far as I know, there are no items which do cool things like Flash and Teleport.
Cleanse: not that good kind of a spell, when in need buy Quicksilver Sash
Exhaust: little better than your Wall of Pain, but only on a single enemy.
Ghost: Where would you want to run to? Wanna escape? See Exhaust
Ignite: What about "play safely" didn´t you understand? Ignite is the most aggressive Summoner Spell ever.
Smite: You suck at lasthitting, eh?
With this guide I bring to you the possibility to travel through time and bring the so called "Late Game" a little earlier to your unexpecting enemies.
The trick is simple: Karthus is a Late Game monster, an unstoppable force, when he has his items.
But you don´t want to wait for the Late Game to come, you decide when the Late Game starts.
Therefore, you completely ignore the enemy mid lane champion, keep pushing your lane into his tower from afar with Q, then, when he is losing CS under his tower, you go and farm your wolves and chickens, or even the enemy's chickens, if your team is warding well.
As you are farming like a boss, you don´t need kills on your enemy or ganks by your jungler.
Plus you can´t feed them, because you´re constantly in your tower or jungle farming.
While farming always have an eye on your ally's lanes, if they need help or engage a fight, press R for a global gank.
Now everybody's Mid Game has come.
Everybody's but yours: You're already in the Late Game, with your nearly full build.
Now you want to start teamfights as long as you are in advantage, but have in mind, that you are the only one with full build. It's up to you to deal the heavy damage.
If you are not sure if you should start a teamfight keep farming!
If you haven't won yet, the Late Game starts, although you don't really want to get there.
The tides are nearly even again, the others have caught up, your only advantages are your elixirs.
Your role has changed completely by now: You don't start teamfights anymore, you wait for your team and keep it safe. Never get caught alone!
In case of a teamfight, try to deal as much DMG as possible and be in the middle of the fight when you die.
I say when and not if, because you most likely will die now.
The point in dying is doing that after having dealt as much DMG as possible to everyone. Try to delay your certain death as much as possible using your actives.
And this is what you want to do in TFs:
- Poke until it finally breakes out
- When it started, go right in the middle of it with your W active, use your Seraph's Embrace and Zhonya's Hourglass to survive as long as possible. (Note: You want to stay in the fight until you're dead, you might even want to Flash if you've been knocked back.
- After you're dead always use Requiem to help your team out
- Never, I repeat NEVER use your ult to actively steal kills from your team. You are undead, but not an ***ho1e, plus your ult has a long cast time, that can't be interupted, when you're dead and untargettable and it has a really high cooldown, so it's better using it for something more productive.
That's about it and I hope you have a lot of fun with this guide!
18.06.2014: Item section adjusted so it becomes clearer
19.11.2014: Damn, found even more spelling mistakes I had to fix, one of them in the change log >.<
28.01.2015: Changed itemization, RIP Deathfire Grasp, added matchups
03.02.2015: Now really removed DFG from everywhere it was hiding
21.02.2015: MOAR matchups for you
25.02.2015: Revive has left the League and this guide
03.04.2015: Luden's Echo has been looked at and found worthy - included in the build
28.10.2015: Reworked and added some Champs in matchup section
11.11.2015: Masteries updated to S6, Clairvoyance and Clarity removed
28.12.2015: Items updated
25.01.2016: Homeguards removed
25.03.2016: Reworked runes and masteries section
05.05.2016: Ripperino enchantments
02.11.2016: More maths in rune section, reworked masteries, clearer item selection, added eyecandy!
05.05.2017: been a while, but I changed Abyssal Mask into the new Banshee's Veil, which is cool, read on
21.07.2017: updated a few matchups and the masteries
06.06.2018: been nearly a year, damn. But we're up to date now, fellas!