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Karthus Build Guide by The PaIe King

Middle The Karthus Community Guide

By The PaIe King | Updated on July 26, 2020
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Karthus
    Karthus Mid
  • LoL Champion: Karthus
    Karthus Jungle
  • LoL Champion: Karthus
    Karthus Top
  • LoL Champion: Karthus
    Meta Karthus

Runes: Standard Karthus

Sorcery
Summon Aery
Manaflow Band
Transcendence
Scorch

Precision
Presence of Mind
Last Stand

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust

Exhaust

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #26 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
Get More Stats

Ability Order

Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

The Karthus Community Guide

By The PaIe King
Introduction: Me, You, and The Reapers


"Agony, ecstasy, peace. Every passing has a beauty all its own."


Karthus is one of the oldest champions in the League of Legends being one of the original champions released with the game's launch back in 2009. League has come a long way since then and the lich has become an uncommon sight on the rift. Most will give up on him before they understand his full potential. The Deathsinger has always been a rewarding character for those that commit to learning him. This guide will serve to teach you everything the Karthus community has learned over the years.

I have petitioned my fellow Karthus Mains to craft this compendium of all things Karthus. I intend to make this guide the ultimate reference tool supplying a vast knowledge for Summoners to truly master The Deathsinger. Enjoy the Guide! Stop by the Karthus Main discord. Our community is incredible!

"Dear diary, I met a wonderful ghoul today..."

The Karthus Mains Discord




I suppose I need to talk about myself briefly. I'm The Pale King and I began playing League of Legends around the end of season 2 and first encountered Karthus when I met a player in champion select that was raging about the garbage champion he had just bought, and how he would be refunding him. That champion was Karthus, and something about proving that player wrong had set me on the path to becoming an Elder Lich. In season 7 I played well over 300 games as Karthus with an 80% win rate in ranked. Additionally, I played Karthus a lot before the mastery system but I am currently at 1 million mastery on Karthus.



Contact the Author: Karth's Crib
https://discord.gg/EJeJrRB
"Do you have a moment to talk about death?."

Author Update Log's and Future Guide Development
-DARK HARVEST-
For all of you wondering why the current meta build as of patch 8.24 featuring Dark Harvest and Luden's Echo rush is not listed in this guide. I have been using this build a lot and many of my fellow Karthus mains are using it. It is extremely powerful on Karthus. But it is also a strong rune on many other champions even after the nerfs. I am unsure of the stability of the build in the patches to come. I will eventually be adding the build but only once the hype has entierly calmed down around the build. I believe that Dark Harvest is one of the best routes for Karthus but I do not want to introduce it to new players on my guide until I know for certain the build is going to stick around. Additionally, I do not condone the use of Karthus as just an R button which the build does seem to encourage. With Luden's Echo as the core item it also seems to push Karthus into a backline poke/suicide playstyle that relys on the player being able to hit Q at max range. It's a strong build but with how squishy and skill oriented the build can be I am not ready to introduce it on the guide as the guide is intended to be a compendium for veterans and a learning resource for new Karthus players. It will be added in the coming months.

-Currently Revising Basic Match Up threats to display Runes, Build Paths, Counter Play, and Summoner Spells against those champions. Will be creating an A-Z index for in-depth match up descriptions of ALL champions, enemy team comp synergies, and common strategies mains of those champions use.


-I will be supplying a Karthus jungle chapter and match ups, I am currently learning how to do this and this is probably the largest and most intimidating chapter for me to write because I am inexperienced in that role. Alongside this I am working on supplying the Match ups for Karthus top which is a a known pick in Korea and fades in and out of meta on NA.

The Basics of Karthus: Understanding Karthus Back to Top


Pros


+ Strong Duel Potential
+ Global Ultimate
+ Inevitable Late Game Scaling
+ High Area of Effect Damage
+ Low Skill Floor
+ Powerful Zone Control and Wave Clear

Karthus is a powerful pick in a solo queue environment and supplies unholy amounts of damage alongside powerful utility with Wall of Pain. As a Battlemage Karthus looks to find his way into the heart of the battle and survive long enough to create an extended period of AOE/DPS Defile and Death Defied. Karthus holds the game hostage with his ever looming global ultimate Requiem and can snowball without warning. In lane Karthus is a zone control powerhouse with terrifying duel potential with Lay Waste and incredible wave clear when coupled with Defile.
Cons


- Weak to High Mobility
- Susceptible to Hard CC
- High Skill Ceiling
- Prediction Based Skill Shots
- Ultimate has alot of counterplay
- Reliant on Game Knowledge

In comparison to many mid lane picks Karthus struggles due to his high skill ceiling and lack of mobility. Karthus is a death machine that is reliant on skill and decision making. Karths ultimate Requiem presents alot of counter play and many champions naturally mitigate it by design. Karthus has one of the hardest skill shots Lay Waste in the game to land consistently, relying on predictions and extensive practice in order to master. Unlike other mages Karthus lacks a hard CC ability with only Wall of Pain's slow to provide engage.

"We all have a place among the divine. We have only to accept it."



Death Defied (Passive)

Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds. During this time his abilities cost no mana. Defile will be automatically toggled on.

"Gaze upon me and despair!"

Death Defied allows Karthus a window of invulnerability to make plays specific to his characters design. He is able to seal duels that would otherwise be unwinnable. He can flash onto the enemy back line or into an objective pit to pressure the enemy. He can channel his ultimate without fear of interruption. During this ability his standard combo is Wall of Pain Lay Waste Lay Waste Lay Waste Requiem additionally you can cast another Lay Waste at 40% CDR. Karthus can solo Blue Sentinel at level 1 and if he dies he retains the blue buff. Also Death Defied leaves scorch marks on the ground afterwards that enemy auto-pathing cannot cross



Lay Waste (Q)

RANGE: 875
COST: 20/26/32/38/44 mana
COOLDOWN: 1 second

"I will shred your body, and burn your soul!"

Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds dealing 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy. This deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.


  • Lay Waste grants vision in the fog of war when it detonates.
  • Weaving in auto attacks alongside Lay Waste will fool your opponent into watching the autos animation instead of the spell and also raise your damage output.
  • Isolated Lay Waste gives you the strongest level 1 duel potential of any champion.
  • Focus on using Lay Waste to either zone your opponent off farm while you fill your mana pool by last hitting with your auto's Defile or to farm at a distance.
  • Try to predict where your opponents auto-pathing will send their champion. If at any time they are walking in a straight line punish them.
  • An isolated Lay Waste is registered as a single target ability but does not draw minion aggro and does proc the full effects of abilities like Arcane Comet and Ravenous Hunter
  • Lay Waste does not need to hit to be useful. Sometimes faking like you can't hit them will lure your opponent closer to you. The closer you are to the target the easier Lay Waste is to hit.



wall of Pain (W)

RANGE: 1000
COST: 70 mana at all ranks
COOLDOWN: 15 seconds at all ranks

"To flee is to suffer."

Karthus creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall at the target location for 5 seconds. The wall reduces the magic resistance of enemies who pass through it by 15% for 5 seconds and applies a 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% slow which drops to half effectiveness after 1 second and then decays over the remaining debuff duration.

  • Wall of Pain grants vision in the fog of war around Wall of Pain's pillars but not the wall itself.
  • Wall of Pain's debuff and slow can only affect any given unit once per cast.
  • Wall of Pain does apply to monsters and minions.
  • Placing Wall of Pain at a angle can allow you to hit multiple people during a team fight.
  • The decaying slow on Wall of Pain make it harder to chain Lay Waste you will usually only have time for 1 or 2 Lay Waste until the slow is diminished. The wall is best used against immobile enemies. Karthus is designed to duel other mages.



Defile (E)

RANGE: 425
COST: 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 per second

"Feel the spirits."

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 (+20% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second.

  • Flickering Defile on and then off can ensure last hits on minions and enemy champions as it is a static and instantaneous effect.
  • Learning to farm with Karths basic attack allows Defile to completely refund the mana of Lay Waste
  • Defile also restores mana if Karthus destroys an enemy structure.
  • Defile provides the team with a zone of death. Alongside Rylai's Crystal Scepter a constant 20% slow.
  • Defile's healing provided from Ravenous Hunter is suppressed because it is AOE but stacks per enemy. Granting a constant stream of health.
  • Defile stacks Tear of the Goddess at remarkable speed. Toggling it on as you recall will allow the fountain to refund mana as you shop and stack your tear.
  • Defile allows Karthus to clear jungle camps quickly and you can starve out the enemy jungler by stealing their camps. The oldest Karthus trick is to constantly steal their Raptors as they are easy to access from mid lane.



Requiem (R)

RANGE: Global
COST: 100 at all ranks
COOLDOWN: 200 / 180 / 160

"Lights out - forever."

After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+75% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).

  • Look for champion portraits to draw close to one another on the mini-map to know which lane to watch for a well timed Requiem
  • Sometimes casting Requiem before a battle will weaken your enemies enough to stave off a battle or set them at low enough health to fail.
  • Casting Requiem as the victory screen appears will activate Zhonyha's Stasis effect even if you don't have the item.
  • The beam will be applied to untargetable enemies, although they will not take damage if they are still untargetable when the damage is applied.
  • Karthus cannot cast Requiem if Death Defied's duration is less than 3 seconds
  • Some junglers struggle with their early clear, a well timed Requiem, and a few deep wards can net you early kills.
  • Be aware of your enemies abilities and active items when using Requiem an enemy Zhonya's Hourglass and similar abilities/actives can cause you to waste your ultimate.
  • F1-F4 allows you to jump to your teammates point of view. This is very useful for developing map awareness and finding opportunities to use Requiem



Skill Max Order

#1. Requiem
6 / 11 / 16

#2. Lay Waste
1 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 9

#3. Defile
2 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 13

#4. Wall of Pain
4 / 14 / 15 / 17 / 18
> > >

We want to max out Lay Waste because it is our main damage dealer and farming tool. Then Defile as it allows you to lane forever while last hitting minions with our auto's. We level up Wall of Pain last as the first level slow is sufficient until later in the game. Sometimes it is beneficial to take an extra point early in either Defile or Wall of Pain based on the matchup. Defile against anyone melee or anyone that has to get close to you. Wall of Pain against anyone that is immobile without Flash. Don't waste more than one extra point in Wall of Pain after rank 2 the slow is only 60% from 50% and the debuff is always 15%. Take points in Requiem at the immediate available levels.

"Revel in the undoing."





SUMMONER SPELLS
-
FLASH: A powerful mobility spell that is a staple of competitive play. This summoner spell allows Karthus to maneuver around the battlefield and make powerful plays alongside Death Defied. As an immobile mage Karthus needs Flash in order to escape from tough situations. In general this is a staple on almost all champions.
Exhaust: The staple summoner spell of both seasoned and beginner Karthus players alike. Exhaust has a long standing relevance with Karthus as it provides him with safety from ganks and tower dives. This summoner spell also assists Karthus in early duels as it slows and suppresses the targets damage while Karthus delivers the killing blow.
TELEPORT: Teleport is a favorite of higher tier Karthus players. Teleport grants the ability to appear in the midst of a skirmish or even back to a lane to gain a gold lead or defend a tower. The macro capabilities that teleport endows on Karthus is a powerful tool in experienced hands.
"Feel the frailty of life!"



There are 5 core rune pages that work for Karthus and I use all 5 of them based on the situation and preference. Knowing which runes to take and when is one of the most important aspects of Karthus.

Sorcery and Precision




Take this against standard immobile mages. Aery will finish and Scorch will finish off low health enemies. Last stand is mandatory as it provides a boost in damage while in death defied. This is good with the Seraph Singer and Sustain Builds.






Domination and Precision




OR




Take this when you need to duel early and sustain through poke or dps. Ravenous Hunter and Last Stand will keep you alive longer. It is best utilized alongside Sustain or Tank Karthus. Additionally both can be swapped out for
Coup de Grace and Ultimate Hunter when you need less sustain and more global pressure.





Domination and Resolve




Take this when you need to sustain through burst. Your build will need to be defensive to get the most out of this rune page.




Sorcery and Domination




When you need to poke and also sustain in lane. Good in match ups against other battle-mages. Best with Sustain and Traditional Karthus.
Building a Death Machine: Buying for Karthus Back to Top



Rod of Ages
"A companion for all time."
VS

Seraph's Embrace
"Host of angels, or murder of crows?"
+60 ability power
+300 health
+300 mana
Passive
This item gains 20 health, 10 mana and 4 ability power every minute, up to 10 times.
UNIQUE – ETERNITY: Restore mana equal to 15% of damage taken from champions. Restore health equal to 20% of mana spent, up to 25 health per cast, while toggle abilities can heal for up to 25 per second.
Cost: 2700
+50 ability power
+10% cooldown reduction
+650 mana
Passive
UNIQUE – HASTE: Grants an additional 10% cooldown reduction.
UNIQUE – AWE: Grants bonus ability power equal to 3% maximum mana. Refunds 25% of mana spent.
UNIQUE – MANA CHARGE: Grants a charge every 4 seconds, up to 3 charges. Each mana expenditure consumes a charge and grants +8 mana, up to a maximum of 750 mana.
Transforms into Seraph's Embrace at +750 mana.
Cost:3200





-OR-

Rod of Ages > Sustain and Scaling
Rod of Ages rush has stood the test of time as core item on Karthus. The Catalyst of Aeons passive allows you to sustain in lane during tough match ups such as Zed and LeBlanc. This item is best purchased by the 10 minute mark as it takes 10 minutes to scale but provides Karthus with the sustain and scaling he needs to make it into late game. The best questions to ask yourself is "Do I need to play safe?" or "Do I need to stall?", that's when you buy ROA.

Archangel's Staff > Scaling and Utility
Archangel's Staff is a heated topic amongst Karthus Mains. This item provides Karthus with near limitless mana after stacking Tear of the Goddess and early CDR and Ability Power. This item will make Karthus more frail but is the best option if you are confident in your abilities to snowball. It is a staple of the suicide Karthus play style and ramps up his capabilities by providing a shield alongside Zhonya's Hourglass. Unfortunately stacking Tear of the Goddess can take away from Karth's early game.


Item Sequence

Rod of Ages 2600
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Liandry's Torment 3100
Void Staff 2650
Rabadon's Deathcap 3600
Zhonya's Hourglass 2900
FULL BUILD/MAX LEVEL STATS
612 AP
2,807 health
1,809 mana
10% Cool Down Reduction
125 Armor

Lay Waste will deal 130 (+183)and 606 when isolated
Defile will deal 110 (+122) per second
Requiem will deal 550 (+459)


Costs: 9,550 gold
Power Spike: 25 mins


The most gold efficient build that supplies sustain alongside scaling damage. Rod of Ages usually needs to be purchased by the 10 minute mark in order to scale to the builds full potential. This build is less expensive and peaks in power when snowballing and farming hard.

Item Sequence

Archangel's Staff 3200
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Liandry's Torment 3100
Void Staff 2650
Rabadon's Deathcap 3600
Zhonya's Hourglass 2900
FULL BUILD/MAX LEVEL STATS
674 AP
2,807 Health
2,909 Mana
30% Cool Down Reduction
125 Armor


Lay Waste will deal 130 (+202) and 644 when isolated
Defile will deal 110 (+144) per second
Requiem will deal 550 (+540)


Costs: 9,650 gold
Power Spikes: 20 mins


Sacrifices early game if you first back Tear of the Goddess. Lost Chapter into Tear of the Goddess has been the preferred purchase order. While making Karthus relatively fragile this build supplies defense actives, stronger early to mid game scaling, and a vast mana pool. This build is best against other immobile mages.

Item Sequence

Rod of Ages 2600
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Archangel's Staff 3200
Void Staff 2650
Rabadon's Deathcap 3600
Zhonya's Hourglass 2900
FULL BUILD/MAX LEVEL STATS
720 AP
2507 Health
3,209 Mana
30% Cool Down Reduction
125 Armor

Lay Waste will deal 130 (+216) and 672 when isolated
Defile will deal 110 (+122) per second
Requiem will deal 550 (+459)



Costs: 10,250 gold
Power Spikes: 28 mins


Does the most damage by 15 extra damage in comparison to Magic Pen heavy builds while supplying high defense with Seraph's Embrace Shield and Zhonya's Hourglass Stasis. This build supplies near limitless mana, high defense, and unrivaled late game scaling. This is one of the most powerful build paths in Karth's arsenal.


Item Sequence

Rod of Ages 2600
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Liandry's Torment 3100
Zhonya's Hourglass 2900
Void Staff 2650
Sunfire Cape 2750
FULL BUILD/MAX LEVEL STATS
339 AP
3232 Health
1385 Mana
10% Cool Down Reduction
185 Armor

Lay Waste will deal 130 (+102) and 464 when isolated
Defile will deal 110 (+68) per second
Requiem will deal 550 (+254)



Costs: 15,350 gold
Power Spikes: 23 mins

A tank build for Karthus. Expensive but it supplies additional damage and protection. I usually buy this when the enemy assassin is fed or when they have a heavy AD comp. Liandry's is core to dealing damage with this build.



Item Sequence

Abyssal Mask 3000
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Liandry's Torment 3100
Rabadon's Deathcap 3600
Void Staff 2650
Banshee's Veil 3000
FULL BUILD/MAX LEVEL STATS
398 AP
3107 Health
1285 Mana
20% Cool Down Reduction
149 MR

Lay Waste will deal 130 (+119) and 464 when isolated
Defile will deal 110 (+80) per second
Requiem will deal 550 (+298)



Costs: 16,150 gold
Power Spikes: 23 mins

Another tank build for Karthus. Expensive but it supplies additional damage and protection. I usually buy this to stall against burst mages in lane and against AP heavy comps. Liandry's and Rabadon's are core to this builds damage.







Offensive
Defensive
Utility





We want this item for the Magic Penetration it provides when stack with Void Staff and Liandry's Torment/ Morellonomicon. It is common to sell boots late game when you have excess gold to reach 900-1000 Ability Power. It's usually best to sell them only if your team has killed an Infernal Drake.

"None can outrun death."



This item seems to have been made for Karthus. It provides him the ability to shred through tanks and squishes alike. It continues to stack percent damage while in Death Defied easily reaching the items full 10% damage. When coupled with Rylai's Crystal Scepter the damage is doubled and can help you melt anti-magic tanks like Maokai and Galio. Additionally this is the core item in all tank Karthus builds.

"What can protect you from the inevitable?"



The Infinity Edge for casters. This item helps Karthus break through his low ability power modifiers on his abilities. It is the go to item if you are snowballing as it will extend your lead and allow you to just burst down the enemy because you are several levels ahead. This item is best purchased after Void Staff. Buy it if you are snowballing to the point where you have the gold.

"When the goin gets tough. The tough get a Deathcap"



More Magic Penetration to help nuke squishes and melt tanks. It is usually best to buy this as early as possible to break the Magic Resist threshold on your opponents Health Bar. This item helps you amplify your damage after you get Liandry's Torment If at any point you see a Spirit Visage or Adaptive Helm in the enemy build paths you need to rush this item alongside Morellonomicon.

"It will turn their mantles to shrouds."



Survivability against AD heavy comps and Assassins. In general this is your go to defensive item. It lets you survive longer in team fights and get a free window of damage when Defile is on and you activate the stasis effect. Defile still drains mana while in the invulnerability. I often stack this alongside Sunfire Cape and Liandry's Torment against AD heavy teams.

"Freeze that moment, on the threshold of oblivion."





This item adds to the stack of Magic Penetration with Void Staff, Sorcerer's Shoes and Liandry's Torment to break down any magic resist being built by tanks and 0 out the magic resist on carries. Additionally this is the go to item against healing champions like Warwick, and Soraka while still providing the ability to nuke carries.


"Pain is the herald of your salvation."




Rylai's is commonly thought to be a core item on Karthus due to his immobility and reliance on positioning to land his Lay Waste. This is a luxury item that is usually bought for its utility if you NEED it. Do not Rylai on Rylai's Crystal Scepter to help land Lay Waste. This item is best when coupled with Liandry's Torment when you need to add to your DPS. I have a tendency to sell boots for this item when I am snowballing hard and can feel the Pentakill coming in my gut. It can also be really handy to help peel for your ADC.

"When death's grip finds you, it clings tightly."



Another item you will sell boots for late game and the more likely choice than Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item replaces your movement speed that you lose from selling boots and when fully stacked grants a burst of Movement Speed and a 100 AP steroid. It takes 3 minutes to stack the charges on this with Lay Waste but it does charge off your opponents spells. This item lets you break the 1000 AP barrier and you can usually one shot the enemy ADC with Requiem along side this items active and full magic pen at this stage of the game. You usually don't buy this untill 35 minutes or more.

"Surrender!"


A more recent addition to Karth's arsenal Abyssal Mask is a potent sustain item versus high burst champions that can continually use their abilities such as Brand or Syndra. This item offers an aura that allows you to still deal damage when in close proximity while remaining hard to kill. This item is late game oriented and functions as a tool to prevent damage trade interactions while you scale into mid-late game.I often stack this alongside Spirit Visage and Liandry's Torment against heavy AP teams.

"Life clings like a parasite to a soul!."





The Dark Harvest Has Begun: Meta Karthus Back to Top


With each patch, the meta changes and with these shifts Karthus grows or fades in relevance amongst the community. Karthus is currently a strong meta pick alongside the rune Dark Harvest. This chapter will capture the meta around Karthus and keep you updated on the current top builds. Use caution with these builds as what is relevant for the majority is not always as potent on an individual basis. I encourage you to experiment and learn Karthus as your own playstyle dictates. Karthus is a versatile champion and the most powerful Karthus players are those with experiance and knowledge of the champion. Do not stagnate and simply go along with whatever you are told is the strongest. I supply this information as reference for your own growth as a Karthus player, use it as you will.




These are the runes currently being run in the higher elo's as of lately.
Being a Death Machine: Learning Karthus Back to Top


"My pilgrimage begins."





Karthus - The Deathsinger
High Ranged, High AOE/DPS, Battle Mage, Strong Utility, Duelist
How to Learn Karthus
  • Time
  • Practice
  • Knowledge
Speciality: Duels, Global Pressure, Battlemage

Introduction: Now that we've covered the basics of Karthus we have to learn exactly how to be a Karthus. Most people have a bad opinion of Karth because it is very rare to see a strong Karthus. We have already discussed the pro's and con's of selecting Karthus in champion select. But what separates a good Karthus from a bad one? What are the discernible differences between a veteran Karthus and one that's fresh off the boat. Remember that we all make mistakes and some days your game play will be far from perfect. Seek to learn from those mistakes and you have discovered the way.



The Neophyte
VS

The Elder Lich
  • Misses Lay Waste
  • Does not continue to farm or extend kill leads.
  • Wastes Requiem and misses multi-kill opportunities.
  • Death Defied is causing them to feed.
  • Is constantly out of mana.
  • Has little zone control and being bullied in lane.
  • Is constantly front lining or being collapsed on.
  • Misses kill and objective potential due to lack of rotation.
  • Are constantly pushed in and being camped.
  • Does not properly initiate/disengage with Wall of Pain.
  • Lands Lay Waste consistently.
  • Farms Heavily and extends leads.
  • Understands Requiem timing and kill thresholds.
  • Uses Death Defied to extend their window of power.
  • Manages mana and can sustain in lane.
  • Uses Lay Waste as a zoning and vision tool.
  • Can kite and position against enemies.
  • Understands lane rotations and objective importance.
  • Understands wave management and vision control.
  • Uses Wall of Pain effectively per situation.



Practice Makes Perfect

Lay Waste is The Deathsingers bread and butter ability and what defines Karth's kit. Most Summoners see Karthus and immediately think of Requiem as his defining damage tool when in reality Lay Waste is the core of his damage and what differentiates a strong Karthus from a weak one. Below are exercises that will fortify your consistency.
  • Duel a friend in customs or play some hide and seek. When you are learning try and find someone below your skill level. Once you become consistent find someone equal to you. Then find someone stronger than you. Even the champion they choose can be a factor in learning.
  • Go into practice tool lock your level at 1, set your mana to infinite, and practice landing Q's on Scuttle Crab. Scuttle Crab uses autopathing when it flees and this will help train your ability to chain together Lay Wastes and spot autopathing windows.
  • Practice regularly in http://www.aimbooster.com/ or hit some notes in https://osu.ppy.sh/p/download this trains muscle memory which is a large part of hitting Lay Waste.
  • Go into practice tool again lock your level at 4 and only take 1 point in Lay Waste. Go into the jungle and fight camps try to avoid being hit by the monsters as long as you can while landing Q this is the best way to learn how to kite and evade around enemies in close quarters.
  • The no ult challenge! Go into a game and go into your hotkeys and set your R to a different key. Try and get your kills with only your Lay Waste and other abilities. This will help you break the barrier and not rely on your ultimate for kills. Remember Requiem isn't everything, Lay Waste is where the true power is.
  • Go into practice tool make turrets invincible and lock yourself at level 1 and practice last hitting with both Lay Waste and your auto attacks.


Knowledge

Knowledge is our greatest weapon. Unfortunately, I can tell you everything about Karthus but I cannot tell you how to be strong. If you wish to succeed as Karthus you must learn how through trial. Below is an archive of league-related videos that are invaluable to learning Karthus.


Elo, Ranking and Your Role


Bronze through Diamond
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8BtklaSWl0


The Psychology of LOL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QFof-5xUdA&t=288s


One Trick Pony VS Jack of All Trades
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR6bNMe3yH0


How to Come back from a Losing Game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6BYqeVpuQQ


How to Stall a Game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIxQKXaZzyY&t=8s

BEING A MID LANER


A Mid Laners Job
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWlqOjeW5DU&t=186s


Champion Classes and Roles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5HDHIJIqn0


Early, Mid, and Late Game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHo4TmyQWvQ


Lane Rotations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwMIblEBhDM


Decision making
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBWAFsUGLEA


Things ALL Mid Laners Should Know
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de6HUQyvU2I

ITEMS AND MINIONS


Deathcap VS Void Staff
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ppUUdAQ_kA


Wave Control
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd0boZQkyuo


Farming Explained
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwireXyYNao

War Tactics

Bluffing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0rQ7YqmhWc

Kiting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6ZU4bQFmkQ


Warding
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQesaqLv9VE


Abusing the Mini-Map
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19-Orx8hHr0


Positioning In Lane
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdQSuM0oRhw



Tips and Tricks

Many secrets have been listed in Chapter 1 about the basics of Karthus but these are my personal tips and tricks that will help improve your Karthus gameplay.


  • Karths ability to turbo farm is one of his strongest qualities and it has been even been abused in LCS to beat the farm record of 300 CS in 20 minutes. 15-20 CS is worth the equivalent of a kill without bounty gold. This provides a level and item lead and is the primary reasons Karthus can easily come back from a hard early game. When in doubt farm it out. Invading your enemy jungle and farming his raptors when your enemy laner backs is one of the oldest tricks to gain a lead. Aspire for at least 100 farm every 10 minutes. Additionally, Karthus clears jungle camps very quickly, find time to counter jungle and starve out the enemy jungler.


  • Resize your mini map in the setting tab to make it the maximum size. This helps so much with map awareness. You will want to be checking your minimap every 20-30 seconds this is just a good habit and will overall make you a stronger player.


  • Respond to the minimap. Rotate out of lane and help your team when you see a fight happening. If you see the junglers dueling roam and disrupt it. If you see the enemy bot lane bullying your adc and support under tower roam and disrupt it. You are a late game hyper carry, you are not meant to be strong early. If you get a lead early you will be very hard to deal with for most baseline champions. Karth is not a fragile farm mage he's a powerful battlemage. Go in!


  • Be patient with your ultimate. Sometimes using Requiem to kill off a single enemy is not worth it. There have been countless times where I have used it to secure a kill and not had it for the triple kill during a team fight. Team fights are where Karthus shines. You will want to save requiem to cast during your passive. Be aware of bounties on enemy champions, using your ultimate to obtain a high bounty is almost always worth it. Do not listen to your team when they scream for you to use your ultimate they do not know the damage ratio. If you did not see the enemy health bar DO NOT PRESS R, 75% of the time your teammate is wrong.


  • Fight them level 1! Karthus has one of the highest win ratios when he obtains first blood. Karthus gets first blood 13.6% of the time and will win off it 64.4% of the time according to a poll done by Riot. Karthus is one of the few champions that utilizes early kill potential to this degree. He has the strongest level 1 of any mage, learn to hit your Q's and duel. Other Immobile mages are the easiest victims.


  • The closer you are the stronger you are. GO IN! Be aggressive! Use Q to damage your enemy not farm. Learn to use Karth's auto attack and flicker defile to last hit minions. Karthus is a versatile champion but he does best when he's on top of his target or in the center of the fight. Do not be afraid to die ever! When you are behind you can play from afar. The range on Lay Waste is massive and you can easily evade most enemies. Learn when to GO IN or when to play safe and poke/farm from far away. Freeze the wave and place yourself in front of it to zone them off early. NEVER BE AFRAID! YOU ARE A DEATH MACHINE!
Mid Lane Match Up Index: All match Ups Explained Back to Top

Ahri
Counterplay

Akali
Counterplay

Anivia
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Death in the Jungle: How to Jungle Karthus Back to Top
*Coming Soon*
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