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[Guide] Soloing a rune golem with Karthus at level 1

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Senior Member


I. Introduction

In this guide you will learn how to solo a rune golem at level 1 with Karthus. I made this strategy up myself, but I got the idea from watching another Karthus who tried to solo the rune golem on a whim. He ended up dying, but he was very close to defeating the rune golem, and I figured that I would be able to do it with a little bit of effort.

The goal is to defeat the rune golem for the buff that he gives, which is 1.25% total mana regen per second and 25% cooldown reduction. As a bonus, you also grow to level 2 if you are able to defeat the rune golem and his two little body guards. Note that you will not grow to level 2 and the rune golem does not respawn if the body guards are not dead, so it is important to kill them too.

I have tested and used this strategy multiple times and haven't failed yet, but it's always a very close battle. I'm making this guide to throw my two cents to players who are curious about soloing the rune golem with a hero that may not be as obvious as the typical Warwick, Fiddlesticks, Nunu, etc. Note that I have done ZERO research to find out if a similar guide has already been posted, so if one has been posted, I apologize in advance, and I did not mean to steal an idea.

II. Setup

Setup is important for this strategy because it is a very close battle, as Karthus has low base HP, and doesn't have any abilities that he can use to heal himself. Karthus is the only hero that I can think of that can solo the rune golem by simple tank and spank (by this I mean no healing abilities). To defeat the rune golem, you will most likely need to be summoner level 30, and you will also most likely need a good set of runes (sorry lazy people, this strategy may not be for you >.&gt.

IIIa. Summoner Abilities

You will only need to make use of one summoner ability to defeat the rune golem at level 1, the other one is free for your choosing.

I STRONGLY recommend that the summoner ability that you use is Heal, with improved Heal. This gives the extra survivability that Karthus needs to defeat the golem, and it won't gimp your summoner ability slot for later in the game because Heal is a very good spell to pick, regardless of what strategy you are using.

If you choose to not use heal, you MUST either use Smite or IMPROVED Rally (yes, it has to be improved or you stand no chance). Both Smite and improved Rally will help you defeat the golem more easily than Heal, but you will be gimping the rest of your game a lot more than necessary by choosing one of these.

IIb. Runes

Important note: my runebook has been "broken" for the past three weeks. I can choose the rune pages that I set up previously to my book breaking, but I cannot access my runebook tab, and I cannot edit my runes. That being said, I haven't been able to switch out my runes to test anything new since the nerf of regen runes, so I use a full set of regen runes and this strategy works fine for me.

As I've said several times before, the fight has always been very close for me, and I usually end up with about 70-120 health by the end of the fight. I cannot test individual runes myself, but I would imagine that (in order form most helpful to least helpful) anything from this list would be suitable:

1. Health (static quints, other runes should be fine as either static or scaling)
2. Regen (I use static quints (purple), marks (red), and glyphs (blue), with scaling seals (yellow))
3. Armor (static everything, not recommended)
4. Ability Power (static everything)

If you choose to use a different rune setup than what I've listed, please note that as I've said multiple times throughout this guide, it is always a very close fight for me, so you may end up losing the fight if your runes aren't set up properly.

IIc. Masteries

Your masteries matter far less important than your runes, so I won't go into great detail. I recommend picking up improved Heal, especially if your runes aren't perfect.

I usually use 3/1/26 with improved Heal. The reason I choose this spec is so that I can defeat the rune golem with relative ease, and I don't have to gimp my spec for the rest of the game to defeat him.

If you choose not to get improved Heal, you should use the standard 9/0/21 cookie cutter (archaic mastery and presence of the master). I have tested using this mastery tree, and was able to defeat the golem, but I had to run away from the little guys to not die. This is a fairly major problem because, as previously mentioned, you won't grow to level 2 if the little guys aren't dead, and the rune golem won't respawn.

I have not tested it myself, but a full defense spec (with improved Heal) would most likely work even better than full utility with the extra survivability that defense gives.

If you choose to use Rally, you MUST be full offense spec with improved Rally.

III. Items

I will give two recommended item setups. Both have been tested and work fine. There are most likely other item options you can use, if you choose to, but I'm only putting the ones that I have tested and used myself on this guide.

IIIa. Option One

Option one is my favorite option and the one that I have used most often. It employs elixir of brilliance to make the fight fairly simple and easy. When deciding whether to use option one or not, you should consider whether investing the 300g for only 4 minutes is worth it or not. If you do choose this item option, note that it's very important to focus heavily on spamming lay waste on creeps to get your money back.

1. Elixir of Brilliance

-- Reasons - This is the best item you can use for defeating the rune golem, and it makes the fight fairly easy. After defeating the rune golem, use the nice buff that he gives you for spamming the creeps to make your money back.

2. Health Potion(s)

-- Reasons - Buying a health potion is really a no-brainer. It costs only 35g and gives you an effective 200 health, since the fight lasts longer than 20 seconds, you get the full effect.

Note - an elixir of brilliance and a health potion is all that you need to defeat the rune golem. Using option one, you will still have about 140g or so (if I remember correctly) to spend it on whatever you want, though you won't be able to buy much. I usually spend it on another two health potions (one to get my health back up to full quickly after the fight so I can lane a lot easier, and the other for using later if I'm harassed), and a mana potion because even with the rune golem buff, you cannot spam lay waste infinitely (especially with the extra mana cost that they've recently tacked onto it). Alternatively, you can simply save your money.

3. Optional Mana Potion or really anything you want, nothing will be used for the fight

IIIb. Option Two

Option two is for people who choose not to invest the 300g in elixir of brilliance. Defeating the rune golem is still very possible, so don't be discouraged from this option if you think that you may not be able to defeat him.

1. Doran's Ring

-- Reasons - It has health, AP, mana regen. Pretty much anything you could want and is easily the second best item that you can pick (the best being elixir of brilliance) for defeating the rune golem.

2. Health Potion

-- Reasons - Pop this at the beginning of the fight for an effective 200 health, simple as that.

IV. The Fight

And now for the fight... Pick lay waste for your skill, obviously. The fight is fairly simple, there's really only one trick to it. Position Karthus in the grass above (or below, if you're on the chaos side), so that you're as far away from the rune golem's minions as possible. If you chose option one for items, MAKE SURE YOU DON'T FORGET TO USE YOUR ELIXIR. He spawns at 1:35, so don't panic when he doesn't spawn with the first creep wave.

Pull him with a lay waste, then a melee attack (they should hit at about the same time since lay waste has a .5 second delay). Pop your health potion as soon as you are hit (you can mash it before the fight if you feel like it, it doesn't do anything unless you have less than full health). The only trick to the fight is to be absolutely certain that you're ONLY hitting the rune golem with your lay waste. You WILL lose the fight, no matter what spec you chose to use, if you hit more than one target with lay waste because you won't get the double damage proc from hitting a single target. Use Heal when your health is at about 20%, and you'll pop back up close to full. You're not done when the rune golem dies. Don't forget to kill the little guys, or else you won't grow to level 2, and the rune golem also won't spawn later in the game until the little guys are dead.

V. Conclusion

That's basically it. The only other important thing to note is that you will have about 100 health at the end of the fight, and your summoner heal will be blown, so be careful when you head to your lane. If you chose item option one, you can use your other health potion(s) to get to full health quickly, but you should still be careful. If you chose option two, you're out of luck and hopefully you have regen runes like I do. It sure would suck to spend the effort to get your fluffy rune golem buff, but then die and lose it immediately.

Please test this strategy out and give me your feedback. If you have questions, my summoner name is the same as my forum name (DeaThShiNoBi), so you can message me in game, or just post here.

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Junior Member


Have you tried just using Defile? I know there's a Karthus guide out there that recommends soloing the Lizard at level 1 using Defile.

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Senior Member


I haven't tried it. I have never heard of that myself, but tbh it doesn't sound like you'd have enough mana to be able to do it. Defile is a lot less mana efficient than lay waste, and I almost run out of mana by spamming lay waste. Not to mention that lay waste does about double the damage per second of defile.

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Guy on a bus

Senior Member