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Karthus Help me!?

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Junior Member


New to casters, I have the general idea that Karthus can be a beast. But I am faced with a problem, what to choose in runes? Assistance?

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I go with the basic caster build,
Red: Magic pen
Yellow: AP/Dodge
Blue: CDR

Masteries: 9/0/21

Item build: Catalyst, first boots, soul stealer, finish boots, Rod of ages, Abyssyl scepter, Zhyon's Ring, Lich Bane.

Q first
E second (for mana mostly)
Wall is meh
Ulti is good with CDR (golem is super easy to get)

I haven't played many games with him, but I never lost one of those =P

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you want a beastly karthus you're gonna need some survivability.

I usually build mejais, sorc boots, then RoA, then rylais, and finally I go for guardian angel and zhonya (if it's a long ass game)

I usually hit around 500 plus AP with this build, which is more than enough to wade into battle and slaughter opponents. If they focus on you, your GA will activate and you get another go at killing more opponents, PLUS your passive's 8 secs. I've scored triple kills with this more than once.

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Junior Member


Red: Mpen
Yellow: Flat Health
Blue: Cooldown
Quint: Flat Health

Skill Order:
W or E depending if I feel like ganking or not.

Prioritize R > Q > E > W.

Use W to slow down enemies and take advatage of that with spamming Q and E.

Lich Bane

RoA for survivability and Lich Bane for added DPS. Lay Waste is very spammy so you can proc Lich Bane often.

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Junior Member


Karthus is my main and I have seen some pretty bad players this week. I always go with (1) Doran's ring + 1 health potion (2) boots (3) tear of goddess (4) finish rod of ages or soul stealer depending on game (5) finish boots / rod of ages (6) rygar's sceptor (7) z ring

Keys to victory
1. Try to call mid, you can dominate most champs w lay waste. Either place it under thier feet, or where they are going to be. Don't be afraid to exhaust and lay waste for an early kill.

2. Always get golum buff. You need full mana at level 8 to take it down. Generally solo dragon at level 13 w full mana. Don't bother w lizard buff, let someone else take it. Turn defile on the entire time at golum and dragon! I saw a level 10 karthus yesterday having trouble w golum on my team, and I gave a facepalm.

3. Summoner spells teleport + exhaust
teleport helps w taking mid, and moving accross map (how to kill w it in a moment)
exhaust = offense or defense (damage from DPS will kill you instantly)

4. Levels 1 - 10 if you have no mana you are useless, go back to town and teleport back to your spot.

5. Pulling of the ultimate
For defense - enemy champ is chasing your lane mate and they could possibly get a kill (example 150 hp ally being chased by 400 hp enemy, hit defile and enemy does not get kill)

For offense - try not to killsteal with this from your carry, but anytime you can get a kill, do it. Learn tryamide's (not sure spelling) cooldown for his ultimate and don't kill zilean if he has his ultimate buff on him.

Late game if you are dying either do before a teamfight or after you are dead. If you are stunned while doing this you are screwed.

6. When dead always throw up gate and defile (death is going to happen late game)

7. Use of gate

Offense - throw this behind enemy that you are trying to gank and turn on defile while bombing them w lay waste. Alwo throw exhaust on them for extra damage.

Defense - throw this between you and your enemy to slow them down. If they are still chaising throw exhaust and run away.

Barrier - when 5 people are outside your base throw the gate up

8. Steal thier golum buff when you can, but this is the most dangerous time in the game, generallly level 9 and above. Don't do this if one of thier champs is jungling or multiple champs mia.

9. Check to see who has banshie's veils, if they have them wait until after team fight to fire your ultimate.

10. Perfect setup for kill is when one champion is wacking away at tower w 8 minions by thier side. Teleport there, throw gate behind enemy, turn on defile, exhaust and lay waste.

11. If you are at level 10 or 15 don't use ultimate unless you know you can get a kill. The change in damage from ultimate from level 11 and 16 is good enough to wait for.

Skill 1-6
Lay waste
Lay waste
Lay waste / Gate

Ultimate > lay waste > defile > gate (don't be level 7 w / o one point here)

This is not a complete guide and I am sure that some people will dissagree with me, but I am sure that a lot of the tips will help new karthus players. Good luck.

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Junior Member


I was confusing rod of ages w archangel's staff (upgrade tier of godess --> archangel's staff)

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Senior Member


check the stickies, I got a guide.

I tend to get magic penetration/mana regen/cdr runes. the regen is useless and cdr is eh, but i use that set for like 5 different casters, alistar, and sadly every other hero in the game (yes, i need to invest more in runes).

karthus specific: i would get AP/magic penetration runes. magic penetration is a higher priority than AP.