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-   -   [Guide]Karthus - The Deathsinger (http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=76563)

Blaggo 03-17-2010 05:14 PM

[Guide]Karthus - The Deathsinger
Karthus, The Deathsinger


Death Defied (Passive) – Upon taking lethal damage, Karthus enters a spirit form where he can cast spells while dead for 8 seconds.

This is one of my favorite passives in League of Legends. It allows you to finish off an opponent even if they kill you before you can cast the finishing blow. But note, you can’t move, you CAN'T cast anything after you cast your ultimate while in this form, so save your ult for last! Upon dying, immediately turn defile on (E) and start spamming lay waste (Q) on whoever is near, sometimes it's also smart to use Wall of Pain. The passive lasts 8 seconds, and 8 seconds is a long time, enough time to cast 8 lay wastes, and do 8 damage sets with defile. Under perfect circumstances, you can do thousands of damage AFTER dying! It allows you to stay in a team fight 8 seconds longer.

Lay Waste (Q) - Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40/60/80/100/120 (+0.3 per ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy, this deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.

This is the most used spell on Karthus. This is the spell that allows you to deal sustained damage for a long time because of its low cooldown (0.97 seconds) and low mana consumption. Also, it deals x2 damage if it hits a single target, so it’s great for fighting a single champion. However, the AoE is also very nice to have for farming. With some practice with lay waste, you should try to cast it in strategic places so it only hits one enemy champion. Also you should really try to be smart about where you’re casting it. Don’t cast the spell where the enemy is, but rather, cast it where they’re going to be, because of its 0.5 second delay. So if they’re running, cast well in front of them. Or if they’re chasing you, cast it on yourself so they run into it. The long range, low cooldown and mana consumption, and high damage allows you to get a lot of kills, and do a lot of damage with this spell. Use it, A LOT!

Wall of Pain (W) - Karthus creates a passable screen of leeching energy. Any enemy units that walk through the screen have their move speed, armor, and magic resistance reduced for a period.

This is the only spell Karthus has that doesn’t do any damage. It just makes a huge wall that weakens any enemy that passes through it. Its long range (1000) makes it very nice to have when chasing down enemies. It is also very useful to cast onto a group of enemy champions when entering into a team fight. Also, if you’re running, or see a team mate running, you can cast it behind yourself or a team mate to slow pursuing champions. Though it doesn’t do any damage, the pain comes from the many lay wastes that follow, because a slow champion is an easy target for lay waste. This spell also gives you vision of an area, so you can use it has a temporary vision ward. Note: Don’t use this spell very much early game unless you know it will benefit you because of the high mana cost.

Defile (E) - Karthus passively steals energy from his victims, gaining mana on each kill. Alternatively, Karthus can surround himself in the souls of his prey, dealing damage to nearby enemies, but quickly draining his own mana.

This spell deals damage to all enemies each second surrounding Karthus in a 550 range. It’s an awesome spell late game, but I only recommend getting it early because it restores mana each kill. Don’t do what I see a lot of foolish Karthus players do and try to use this spell early game because it will drain your mana, FAST! I recommend getting it early to only turn on for maybe 1 – 2 seconds for last hitting minions, and mana regen. Spend your mana wisely early game, on lay waste, not defile.

Requiem (R) - After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+.7 per ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).

My favorite ultimate spell in League of Legends. It hits all enemy champions for a very high amount of damage. When you hit level 6, it’s a good idea to tell your team mates to let you know any champions under 250 health. Use this spell to finish off fleeing opponents, but it can also be useful to cast when entering a team fight so all enemy champions have lower than full health. It does cost a fair amount of mana though so make sure that you have enough mana to cast it at any time. Also, once you get this spell, immediately start looking for targets to use it on. Check the other two lanes for low health, but don’t waste it because nothing is worse than seeing a bunch of enemies with low health running away, but having your Requiem on cooldown..

Spell Order – The order in which I level my abilities.

1. Lay Waste
2. Defile
3. Lay Waste
4. Wall of Pain
5. Lay Waste
6. Requiem
7. Lay Waste
8. Defile
9. Lay Waste (max)
10. Defile
11. Requiem
12. Defile
13. Wall of Pain
14. Defile (max)
15. Wall of Pain
16. Requiem (max)
17. Wall of Pain
18. Wall of Pain (max)

Item Build

1)Starting Items: Meki Pendant + 2 Health Potions

2)Tear of the Goddess(Use Meki from starting item){This item was made for Karthus! It works very well on Karthus because of the low cooldown on LW, he casts a lot of spells, and acquires a large mana pool, which turns into a nice amount of AP when you finish archangel's staff.}

3)Sorcerer's Boots{Movement and magic penetration, always nice on a caster}

4) (Optional)Mejai’s Soulstealer{Karthus gets a lot of kills/assists from his AoE, therefore a lot of stacks on soulstealther}

5)Rylai's Scepter{Added health for survivability, a nice amount of AP, and adds a slow to your spells, all very nice to have}

6)Archangel's Staff{Use tear of goddess, you should have acquired a large mana pool to convert into AP from your tear.}

7)Zhonya's Ring{A large amount of AP, and the 2 second active is nice in team fights}

Note: The order of acquiring these items can change depending on who you’re laning against, and the other team.

Other items to consider: Rod of Ages, Abyssal Scepter, Haunting Guise, Guardian Angel, Banshee Veil.

Summoner Spells

The two summoner spells I choose to use are Flash and Ignite. The reason for flash is because it can be used to flash into range of a WoP, defile, Laywaste, easy kill. But it can also be used defensively to escape. And I take ignite for the added damage.

Also some other good choices are clarity, ghost, or teleport. Karthus often has mana trouble early game, and clarity helps a lot with that. Ghost for mobility.. And teleport for stopping snowballing enemy minions with Karthus' amazing farming ability, and just more map mobility.


9/0/21: Getting any mana/regen in utility, also movement speed and the flash mastery. And in offense getting AP and the ninth point in Archaic Knowledge.


There are several ways to build Karthus’ rune book. Any caster rune book would work on Karthus. I don’t like to have cooldown reduction on Karthus though because of his two damaging spells already have very low cooldowns, and if you don’t waste your ult, you’ll find the cooldown isn’t too long either. Here is how I prefer to build my rune book:

Marks – All magic penetration. Magic penetration is good on any caster, and marks give the best magic pen. bonus.

Seals – Mana regen/5 at level 18.

Glyphs – All mana regen/5 at level 18. These increase mana regen, which Karthus needs. I prefer to take the level 18 runes rather than flat regen, even though Karthus has most mana trouble early game, because the "at 18" runes become better than flat regen at champion level 3.

Also, flat CDR runes wouldn't be bad on Karthus, but I prefer the regen since the only spell that really needs CDR is his ult.

Quintessences – Flat health. Quints give a good amount of any stat. I prefer to go for flat health though to have more survivability, especially early game. Getting MPen would be useful too on Karthus.


Early Game
I strongly recommend to take mid when playing Karthus. Getting your ultimate as soon as possible gives your team a huge advantage because it prevents enemies from escaping with under 250 health. Get lay waste (Q) first, and use it to harass as much as possible. Try to cast lay waste where your opponent is going, and so that it only hits them, doing x2 damage. Even if you miss a lot with lay waste, your opponent will run around and not be farming. Avoid using defile (E) because of how quickly it will drain your mana. And only use WoP (W) when it will benefit you, because of its high mana cost. Keep your distance from your opponent and use the long range of lay waste to your advantage. Use your basic attack to last hit minions, and only lay waste on minions if it will last hit several minions. Don’t try too hard to push their tower, because Karthus is a champion slayer, not a tower pusher. If you do find yourself fighting under their tower, back off to let them push away, but continue to harass with lay waste. Right when getting level 6, tell your team, and look for a target to use it on.

Mid Game
Hopefully You’ve already got a kill or two with your requiem. Continue to level lay waste, and continue harassing. By now you should easily be the highest level on your team if you took mid. Mid game Karthus begins to become very powerful. You can become more aggressive with your harassing. Now you should be able to use defile (E) for more than a few seconds without it draining all your mana. Jungling whenever you have some time always helps because your AoE spells allow you to kill jungle units quickly. Also, grab the golem buff whenever possible, and avoid getting the lizard buff because it works better on your team mates, not you.

Late Game
Stick with your team and stay towards the back of your group. Use wall of pain (W) to slow big groups of enemies. When entering a team fight, cast your ultimate, giving your team an advantage entering the fight, because your enemies will all how lower health. After your ult deals its damage, throw down a wall of pain, lay waste to squishies, and turn on defile. Something I see a lot of Karthus players do is save their ult for the END of the fight, because they're greedy and want to pick off the enemies that escaped with low health. DO NOT DO THIS. Reason being, your ult hits all 5 of the enemy champions, so if you want to maximize the damage dealt, do it when they're all alive, with full or near full health. This will give your team a big advantage entering a team fight.

Other Champions

I have listed the champions that can be difficult to ult on early game, and why they’re so hard to ult on. You should only use your ult on them if you’re certain it will kill them. But you shouldn't be saving your ult late game for only finishing fleeing enemies. It's highest potential is when it's casted to all 5 of the enemy champions before a fight.

-Alistar – His ult gives him a large amount of damage reduction.
-Aniva – Her passive egg will save her if she has it available. Don't waste your ult just to put her in egg form.
-Blitzcrank – His passive mana shield.
-Kayle – His ult makes any ally invulnerable, very annoying when trying to ult anyone on his team.
-Garen - Can block a percentage of damage.
-Lux - Can shield herself and surrounding allies.
-Master Yi - Meditate gives yi a large amount of MR, and he will just heal through your ult.
-Poppy – Her passive reduces high lethal damage.
-Rammus - Defensive ball curl gives rammus MR.
-Shaco – If he casts his ult right when your ult is about to hit him, it won’t damage him at all.
-Shen - Can absorb a lot of damage with feint, and his ult, which he can also use to save his allies from your ult.
-Sivir – Spell block spell can counter your ult.
-Soraka – She can heal herself, and her allies, making it difficult to ult anyone on her team. Very annoying for Karthus players
-Tryndamere - His ult makes him invincible for a short time. Wait for his ult to wear off before you cast yours, only if you know he hasn't healed.
-Udyr - Turtle Stance absorbs damage.
-Zilean – His ult can counter yours. Another very annoying champion to go against as Karthus.

~Please leave any comments or suggestions.
Thanks for reading. :)

Jadilus 03-17-2010 09:33 PM

Worst Guide EVER! NOOB!

Jadilus 03-17-2010 09:41 PM

JK, Best guide ever, pro Karthus.

Guyduc 03-17-2010 10:18 PM

Solid guide. The ability order is good, so is the strategy. A few things I do differently, and hopefully helpful to people, are:
1) Masteries: 9-0-21 -- Karthus benefits from mana regeneration, faster leveling, CR, and better flash. This way you can lane indefinitely.
2) start with Mana Crystal and 2 Health Potions--Karthus has no problems with mana. Turn Crystal into Tear of the Goddess, and Archangel's Staff late game if you want.
3) After boots and Mejai's, I get Rylai's--HP, AP, and slow effect help your team a lot when fighting from behind them. If your wall is bypassed or enemies are trying to get away, they won't because of you.
4) [Optional] In team fights, run into the middle of the other team with your aura on, drop a wall, wail away with Lay Waste, and die. Turn on your aura and Lay Waste for a few seconds, then ult. You should have an ace and your team will destroy a few turrets. Make sure that the situation is right for this--people are in a group, your team can keep them there, your team is not already dead, you are winning and are just having fun at this point. Sometimes your tank doesn't initiate properly and you need to show him how, this is a good way. But don't do this during a serious game, people will get angry.

Go Karthus!!!

Blaggo 03-18-2010 07:51 PM

@Guyduc Yeah there are some other ways to build a good Karthus. Rylai's is also a very good item to get if you don't get rod of ages. And I prefer meki over mana crystal to start because I would rather have regen.

Lynxion 03-18-2010 07:55 PM

Sorcerer Shoes, Mejai's, Zhonay's, 3 Archangel's Staffs, not in any specific order. Win.

Blaggo 04-09-2010 08:42 PM


Originally Posted by Lynxion (Hozzászólás 858313)
Sorcerer Shoes, Mejai's, Zhonay's, 3 Archangel's Staffs, not in any specific order. Win.

I think that Karthus needs mores survivability from either RoA or Rylai's, allowing you to be in the middle of team fights with defile on.

Also I updated my guide. :D

Sacrolicious 05-02-2010 09:18 AM

The amount of mana regen you have is unnecessary.

Akira Kid41 05-02-2010 01:18 PM

Great guide. Onlyt a few pointers from my exp. When solo mid always grab boots first. Karthus is squishy and these help him stay out of range of ranged champs att's, as well as pop in for a well placed lay waste. Also flash is useless. If wall of pain is used effectively you don't need that close distance or escape mechanism. Clarity is a FAR better spell. As always having mana fore a requiem is nice. It also let's you spam lay wastes to keep opposing champs afraid. Cause any pro karth knows that any champ with confidence is going to tear apart karthus. Also wall of pain should be taken at lvl 2. Lowering mag res is very useful for burst damage. Exhaust might be nice also. Nothing like blasting melle to death in that 3 second duration.

Piznit 05-02-2010 05:51 PM

Clarity isn't needed. I use flash as well, but 90% of the time I use it to get in range with defile and score a kill

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