Karthus: The Good, The Bad, and the Ultimate

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Proletaria

Senior Member

12-07-2009

I don't think i've played enough with Karthus to label myself an expert. My ELO isn't anything amazing, but I have had the pleasure of playing with (and against) some very skilled players as Karthas. Here i'll outline my basic build and strategy. I'd like to get any constructive feedback I can so feel free to scrutinize my work. Just to repeat: THIS IS NOT A SOLIDIFIED GUIDE. THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE AND HOW I'VE SEEN THINGS WORK! Please feel free to comment and question anything here, i'm not holding this up as a standard by any means.

I. The Masteries and Runes

a) As far as runes go i've been using CD reduction. I am not sure this is *the* way to go, but reducing the cooldown on the ult seems quite powerful. AP or health could be equally valued in certain situations, i'll leave this one up to more rune-savvy players.

b) Mastery for me has always emphasised utility. I always go 21 deep there for both the teleport mastery at the top, and the reduced summoner ability cooldown at bottom (taking any and all mana/movement speed/experience talents in between). The remaining talents can go anywhere, but currently i've spec'd the rest of my poitns into offense for a bit more power.


II. Summoner Spells

a) Teleport. Non-negotiable, amazing talent. Keeps you in the lane harassing your opponent(s) non-stop, and allows you (later on) to port into a huge pile of minions to farm and/or clear a lane that is about to become a problem.

b) Heal. Probably one of the better summoner spells for early game. Allows you to wade in against your lane enemy and go for early harassment or a kill without much fear.

c) Instead of Heal you could opt for Ghost. Chasing down enemies with ghost is highly effective. I've just become very used to the heal crutch, so i have't played with ghost often.


III. Item Build

a) Simply put, doran's ring is amazing as a starter. I always buy it as well as a health pot. Smart lay-waste usage with the ring on will not only be long-lasting, but you'll have enough health from the ring (and potion) to survive a gank attempt and keep pressure on the lane. No matter which sub-build you take, this is the starter item.

b) Sub-build Survial: Doran's -> Sorc Boots -> Catalyst -> Finish Rod -> Abyssal Scepter -> Z's Ring (if the game continues beyond this point, get an archangel's staff). Note for this build: you lack mana regen and you will be pilling to base quite a bit once you get into team battles and ganks.

c) Sub-build AP: Doran's -> Sorc Boots -> Archangel's Staff -> Zhyona's Ring -> Abyssal Scepter -> Rod of Ages. Note for this build: You are squishy. I don't reccomend this at all unless you are very confident the other team's dps are lacking snares, stuns, or brains.

d) Notes on builds: Other than Doran's to start, boots second is a must. I usually stay in the lane (unless forced back) until i can afford sorc boots out-right. They're key to allowing you to chase down and gank heroes early and get away from ganks against you. Combined with your wall you should never die to early ganks and you ought to have good chances against any melee champs that stray too close at less than 2/3 hp.


IV. Skills

a) Ephasis: Ult -> Lay Waste -> Defile -> Wall

b) Always start with lay waste, pick up defile second, get 1 point in wall before you are level 6, and be sure to take the next rank of your ult any time it's avalible (obviously).

c) I usually start with: Q, E, W, Q, *, R. Wall at level 3 is sometimes a waste, but i play agressive early on. You could opt to wait for level 5 to take it, but either way works.


V. Strategy and Gameplay

a) The first rule of Karthas (post-level 6) is learning to use the ultimate. If you are good at it the entire enemy team will either drop everything and port home any time they have half health, or itemize diffirently than usual JUST FOR YOU. Assuming your team has some nice dps carries, this is a good thing. Watch other lanes when yours us in control. If any enemies are within (or close to) the health amount where you can kill them, let your team know what you're doing and then pop it. More often than not a champ will heal, or survive with a sliver of health from resistances. Having a quick teammate move in to finish the job (and net you an assist) is good for business.

b) Lay waste: Bread and Butter. You will use this skill to farm creeps, harass champions, and gank. It has a 0.5 second delay, so learn to read your opponents and place one where they will move in reaction to you coming forward. Also pay attention to how much damage it does to minions.

c) Defile toggling: This skill burns mana like mad. Make sure to toggle it on and off quickly when using it to farm creep waves. With mid-game ability power you should only need 2-3 ticks and a lay-waste or two to clear and entire wave. Same thing with ganking while usind Defile, have it on as long as it is effective, if the enemy is clearly out of reach and you're wasting mana, cut it off.

d) Wall usage: Wall of Pain is your best ganking initiator. Most of the time i prefer to run in and throw a wall directly atop the enemy hero (initiating with the slow effect and magic piercing effect). If you are trying to help a team push, throw the wall up either where you know enemies will come from, or where they will retreat to.

e) Death isn't quite it: Mana-permitting for eight seconds after you death, you are still fully capable of casting all of your spells (including your ult, if it is up). Use this to your advantage. If you get focused in a team fight and die with mana put defile up (if enemies are in range), spam lay waste on anyone in range, and ult IF and only IF you can get a kill, or at least push the enemy back. Never waste your ult if you're caught alone and none of the enemies took significant damage.


VI.Thoughts on Karthas

I think he is a lot of fun. His ult can be game-breaking when bloody team battles start to go on, and his combined fire-power from Q and E (with the effects of W on the enemy) are nothing to sneeze at. That being said, he does have some obvious weaknesses. For one he is (like most casters) easily, and I mean easily, shut-down by the traditional stun/disable teams, or any carry who can shrug off his wall snare/snare him on their own such as Yi or Tyrnd.

If anyone has anything to add about their own experience with Karthas, feel free. Once again i'd like to say this was more about getting my experience out there and looking for other's to submit feedback than anything else. Thanks for reading!


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SwampZero

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Heal is the worst effin noob spell in the game if you're not using it for something specific, like enabling a 5 man lvl1 dragon takedown, or a particular 2 lane strategy combo for First Blood.

It does not enable you stay in lane longer, and it does not give you anything other than 2 seconds longer life when you already ****ed up and getting pummeled, and will probably die anyway.


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SuperFantastic

Junior Member

12-08-2009

This guide is worse than AVP.
*Summoner abilities
Teleport is nice but by no means do you need it on karthas, his ult can hit anyone on the map so as long s you are map aware you dont need to get to your lane from the fountain immidiatly, you can use your run as a time to scan the map for potential kills.
I would suggest both ghost and cleanse, since as you stated casters are easily shut down it is beneficial to both have the uber speed from ghost for chasing with your aoe on and to have cleanse for the 2 seconds of crowd control immunity.

*Items
If you ever saw someone start the game with dorans ring, they arent good!!! getting that item over a meki pendant and 2 pots is definately not the way to go. You are giving up the ability to upgrade a cheap item slot for an immidiat and nearly irrelivent amount of AP and health.


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TrickyCat

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperFantastic View Post
This guide is worse than AVP.
*Summoner abilities
Teleport is nice but by no means do you need it on karthas, his ult can hit anyone on the map so as long s you are map aware you dont need to get to your lane from the fountain immidiatly, you can use your run as a time to scan the map for potential kills.
I would suggest both ghost and cleanse, since as you stated casters are easily shut down it is beneficial to both have the uber speed from ghost for chasing with your aoe on and to have cleanse for the 2 seconds of crowd control immunity.

*Items
If you ever saw someone start the game with dorans ring, they arent good!!! getting that item over a meki pendant and 2 pots is definately not the way to go. You are giving up the ability to upgrade a cheap item slot for an immidiat and nearly irrelivent amount of AP and health.

Your summation about doran's ring is false. If you're doing dragon at level 1, and the chance you may be in a level 1 team fight is good, then pick up a doran's ring.


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Proletaria

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampZero View Post
Heal is the worst effin noob spell in the game if you're not using it for something specific, like enabling a 5 man lvl1 dragon takedown, or a particular 2 lane strategy combo for First Blood.

It does not enable you stay in lane longer, and it does not give you anything other than 2 seconds longer life when you already ****ed up and getting pummeled, and will probably die anyway.
And what would you suggest in it's place? Heal + your first health pot pretty much prevents any early backing unless they bring a second champ to gank you at mid (and you happen to not notice his approach). Maybe ghost, but heal is a far nicer spell for the team and for staying in the lane. I stick by my opinion on that.

Heal isn't an escape mechanism, you're right. If you're using heal when you are *being* ganked, you're doing it wrong.


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Proletaria

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperFantastic View Post
This guide is worse than AVP.
*Summoner abilities
Teleport is nice but by no means do you need it on karthas, his ult can hit anyone on the map so as long s you are map aware you dont need to get to your lane from the fountain immidiatly, you can use your run as a time to scan the map for potential kills.
I would suggest both ghost and cleanse, since as you stated casters are easily shut down it is beneficial to both have the uber speed from ghost for chasing with your aoe on and to have cleanse for the 2 seconds of crowd control immunity.

*Items
If you ever saw someone start the game with dorans ring, they arent good!!! getting that item over a meki pendant and 2 pots is definately not the way to go. You are giving up the ability to upgrade a cheap item slot for an immidiat and nearly irrelivent amount of AP and health.
First, not getting teleport is beyond stupid unless your team needs you to get something else. Why would you want to take another summon?

So far i have "heal is noob" and "teleport is not needed." That leaves: Fortify (entirely the group ***** summon), Promote (could be useful), Rally (Doesn't really fit), Flash (sure, extra mobility is nice), Ghost (mobility again).

So i'm guessing you all would take some combination of flash, ghost, or promote. Interesting.

Also, Doran's ring is better than the meki pendant because:

1. You don't build anything with the meki pendant (or at least, I never have)

2. Doran's gives you early HP and AP which is very nice with a nasty enemy in the lane (mf cho'gath, annie, ash) for both offense and defense.

I mean, assuming I bothered with a Chalice I could see your point, but neither chalice or philo stone are in my build so i can't see the point of using meki first. Why waste hundreds of vital early sorc boots gold on upgrading the meki pendant when you don't need to?


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TrickyCat

Senior Member

12-08-2009

You can turn meki pendant into chalice, which is a really really nice mana regen item with MR resist (and it's cheap.)


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Proletaria

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickyCat View Post
You can turn meki pendant into chalice, which is a really really nice mana regen item with MR resist (and it's cheap.)
Except that early on your mana regen is fine unless you're frequently using defile to push a hero out (which is going to drain you chalice or not). The MR is nice, true, but I don't see how it trumps sorc boots.


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Proletaria

Senior Member

12-08-2009

Oh and just to re-iterate here i'm not claiming to have an end-all guide here. I like the feedback, even though it was mostly bashing I got something out of it. Can't expect much more from the forum of a free online game.


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fuzzymunkypantz

Junior Member

12-08-2009

This build works. Pro carried our team even though we had two super feeders. Only problem was he is a complete ****** to everyone on his team.


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