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Lore

Karthus, the Deathsinger
KarthusSquare
vd
Karthus Render
Gender Male
Race Lich (formerly human)
Residence Shadow Isles
Faction Shadow Isles
Friends
MordekaiserSquare Mordekaiser ThreshSquare Thresh

Karthus is a terrible creature who was once a mortal so obsessed with death that he eagerly embraced the gift of undeath. Now in his unlife as a lich, Karthus is closer to his beloved grave than he ever imagined. He commands magic with oblivion as its source, and seeks to bring his grim truth to the rest of the world: only in death does life gain clarity and purpose.

Even as a boy, Karthus was different. There was a darkness within him that could not be denied. The young child clung to the shadows and shunned the company of others. He snuck into the funerals of strangers, and spoke to their tombstones in the cemetery. He sought out corpses of animals to preserve and memorialize them, creating a grim collection of morbid art. Karthus volunteered to tend to the sick and dying, though his intentions were not to help, but to closely witness the passing of those who were beyond help. Ultimately, he went so far as to elaborately stage his death, and he secretly observed his own funeral with intense fascination. When others discovered what Karthus had done, they were so shocked and disturbed that, in a way, he became truly dead to them. Karthus found himself fully rejected by the living.

His isolation only served to fuel his obsession. Karthus delved further into his exploration of death, and became fascinated by the legends of the Shadow Isles. There, it was said, the specters of the deceased continued on in unlife everlasting. Possessed by these tales, he knew he had to discover for himself if they were true. Journeying to those dreaded isles, Karthus soon found himself wandering through the mist, overcome by the surreal beauty of the place. He felt as if he had finally come home. He had always chased the elusive purity of the moment of death, when life passed and in a single instant achieved meaning. Karthus saw that undeath was like that moment, preserved in dread stillness forever. He had discovered his destiny, to cross over the veil and leave the living behind for eternity. Something awoke in the Shadow Isles that day, when Karthus did something no other creature had ever done: he willingly gave his life over to undeath. When he reentered the world, Karthus had become the embodiment of his own obsession. An undying lich with the keys to life and death, he seeks to bring his dark requiem to the world.

"There is no sweeter song than the last breath of the dying."
Karthus

The vast quantities of physical magic that were consumed and destroyed during Valoran's numerous Rune Wars have scarred much of Valoran. Many locations far from civilization have been morphed into hazardous and dangerous locales. The Howling Marsh is one of these places, and the self-appointed overlord of this land is the lich known as Karthus. It is thought that Karthus was a mage who, in life, was foolish enough to enter the fetid waters seeking his fortune, and that he was forever transformed by whatever dark magic permeates the swamp. Karthus now rules over his swampy dominion with an iron (albeit skeletal) fist. Visitors are not welcome, and those who are not scared away by the lich's terrible power most likely end up as one of the undead themselves... skeletons and zombies in Karthus' growing army of eternal servants. On the darkest of nights, Karthus is said to sing the tales of those who have succumbed to the swamp, past and present.

Karthus' tenure in the League of Legends is one of the more unusual ones in the history of the League. First, it is highly unusual that a lich who was known for isolation and hatred of life would even be a willing part of an organization which promoted the preservation of life. Next, Karthus specifically eschews the accrual of power and influence gained through service to the League; he is essentially an unpaid volunteer. This behavior is completely different than what his life outside of the League would have onlookers believe. Karthus has never spoken about his intentions in being a champion of the League, and in fact becomes quite agitated when asked about it. In the interests of not aggravating a lich, most sensible people subsequently drop the issue.

"Come visit my home, and I shall sing a dirge of your life as it once was."
Karthus

Quotes

Upon selection
  • Play "Do you... feel a chill?"
Attacking/Movement
  • Play "Share... My curse!"
  • Play "Their pain... is my pleasure!"
  • Play "I... obey."
  • Play "Float... on..."
  • Play "Your wish?"
  • Play "For the unliving!"
Taunt
  • Play "I'll put you... in my book!"
Joke
  • Play "I cannot use your skull. You have a misshapen head."
Laugh
  • Play Karthus laughs.
  • Play Karthus laughs.
  • Play Karthus laughs.

Co-op vs. AI Responses

Match start

  • "Let me show you an alternative to life."

Player team victory

  • "GG!"

Player team defeat

  • "You have earned a page in my book."

Special

  • "My song is death."

Twisted Treeline Altar Responses

If  Karthus captures the Altars on Twisted Treeline, the Altars may give the following unique responses:

West Altar
  • Play " What kind of man embraces death?"
  • Play "No good will come from your sorcery, Karthus."
  • Play "I also hear the songs of the dead."
East Altar
  • Play "A man who chose to join us... Glorious."
  • Play "Unleash us, Karthus!"
  • Play "I serve you willingly, Lich!"
  • Play "The dark requiem will be the last thing they hear!"

Development

Patch history

V4.4:

V3.12:

  •  Requiem
    • Warning buff on enemy champions now has a duration that matches the impact delay.

V3.10:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Now casts at max range when targeted beyond max range during Death Defied.
  •  Defile
    • Ability power ratio reduced to 0.2 from 0.25.
    • Fixed a bug where cooldown reduction allowed Defile to be rapidly toggled, increasing its damage output.

V3.7:

  •  Requiem
    • Should no longer have a major FPS performance hit across all maps.

V1.0.0.146:

  •  Wall of Pain
    • No longer reduces armor.
    • Magic resist reduction adjusted to 15% instead of flat 15/20/25/30/35.

V1.0.0.142:

  •  Requiem
    • Cooldown increased to 200/180/160 seconds from 180/150/120.

V1.0.0.131:

  • On Dominion only, Karthus' respawn timer will now start when  Death Defied ends.

V1.0.0.130:

  •  Wall of Pain
    • Wall duration reduced to 5 seconds from 7.
    • Now only affects a target once (instead of reapplying every pass through).
  • Fixed a bug where  Leona's  Sunlight and the Dominion Storm Shield could cause an immediate double kill against Karthus.

V1.0.0.126

  • Fixed a bug where  Requiem would sometimes not finish channeling when cast during  Death Defied.

V1.0.0.118

  •  Death Defied
    • Duration reduced to 7 seconds from 8.
    • No longer reduces respawn timer.
  •  Requiem
    • Ability power ratio reduced to 0.6 from 0.7.

V1.0.0.105:

  •  Wall of Pain
    • Clarified tooltip slightly to emphasize that target movement speeds are restored over time.

V1.0.0.103:

  •  Death Defied
    • Now allows all spells to be free to cast while defying death.
    • Fixed several usability bugs.
  •  Lay Waste
    • Mana cost reduced to 20/26/32/38/44 from 20/28/36/44/52.
  •  Wall of Pain
    • Cooldown reduced to 18 seconds from 22.

V1.0.0.101:

  •  Death Defied
    • Now also grants 20% death timer reduction to compensate for the 8 seconds Karthus is active after dying.
    • The code has been remade to fix some bugs and usability issues.

V1.0.0.100:

  •  Wall of Pain
    • Level up tooltip now correctly states the increased slow amount.

V1.0.0.99:

  •  Requiem
    • Mana cost reduced to 150/175/200 from 200/300/400.

V1.0.0.86:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Fixed a bug with the tooltip to display the correct ability power ratio.

V1.0.0.75:

  •  Death Defied
    • Updated the icon to be more reflective of the ability.

V1.0.0.70:

  • Stats
    • Armor per level increased to 3.5 from 3.0.
  •  Lay Waste
    • Range increased to 875 from 825.
    • Mana cost decreased to 20/28/36/44/52 from 24/32/40/48/54.

V1.0.0.63:

  • Basic attack projectile speed increased to 1200 from 800.
  •  Lay Waste
    • Ability power ratio increased to 0.3 from 0.25.
    • Damage increased to 40/60/80/100/120 from 35/55/75/95/115.
  •  Defile
    • Ability power ratio increased to 0.25 from 0.2.
  •  Requiem
    • No longer reveals Karthus to enemies when cast.

V1.0.0.61:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Ability power ratio increased to 0.25 from 0.2.

V1.0.0.52:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Corrected ability power ratio.
  •  Wall of Pain
    • Fixed a bug where it was slowing units 2 seconds after the particle had faded.

V1.0.0.32:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Mana cost decreased to 24/32/40/48/54 from 25/35/45/55/65.
  •  Defile
    • Mana cost decreased to 30/42/54/66/78 from 30/45/60/75/90.

V0.9.25.34:

  • Updated secondary/critical strike animations.

V0.9.25.24:

V0.9.25.21:

  •  Death Defied
    • Duration reduced to 8 seconds from 10.
  •  Wall of Pain
    • Improved visibility and removed bugs causing it to not appear correctly.
    • Duration reduced to 7 second from 9.
    • Made it more difficult to move through without being slowed.
  •  Defile
    • Mana cost increased to 30/45/60/75/90 from 30/40/50/60/70.
  •  Lay Waste
    • Mana cost increased to 25/35/45/55/65 from 24/32/40/48/54.

V0.9.22.16:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Mana cost increased to 24/32/40/48/54 from 18/26/34/42/50.
  •  Defile
    • Mana restored on kill modified to 20/27/34/41/48 from 15/25/35/45/55.
    • Removed the kill a champion mana regen effect.
    • Increased mana cost to 30/40/50/60/70 from 25/35/45/55/65.
  •  Fallen One
    • Ability power ratio reduced to 0.6 from 0.7.
    • Cleanse will no longer stop the spell.

V0.9.22.15:

  • Stats
    • Base damage increased to 44 from 39.
  •  Lay Waste
    • Range reduced to 825 from 900.
  •  Wall of Pain
    • Now shows a new wall targeting cursor.
  •  Defile
    • No longer costs double mana upon casting.

V0.8.21.110:

  •  Lay Waste
    • AoE diameter increased to 200 from 185.

July 10, 2009 Patch:

  •  Fallen One
    • Damage increased to 250/400/550 from 200/350/550.

June 26, 2009 Patch:

  •  Wall of Pain
    • Slow reduced to 40/50/60/70/80% from 80%.
  •  Defile
    • Cooldown reduced to 0.5 seconds from 1.
  •  Fallen One
    • Now correctly shows buff tooltips.

June 19, 2009 Patch:

  •  Lay Waste
    • Damage increased to 35/55/75/95/115 from 30/50/70/90/110.
    • Corrected tool-tip to say that it deals double damage if it hits a single target (corrected numbers in tool-tip as well).
  •  Wall of Pain
    • Cast range reduced to 1000 from 1200.
    • Magic resistance and armor reduction reduced to 15/20/25/30/35 from 20/25/30/35/40.
    • Duration reduced to 9 seconds from (and it no longer lingers after the particle fades).
    • Cooldown reduced to 22 seconds from 25.
  •  Defile
    • Damage increased to 30/50/70/90/110 from 20/40/60/80/100.
  •  Fallen One
    • Ability power ratio reduced to 0.7 from 0.75.
    • Can no longer be cast while dead.

June 12, 2009 Patch: Added

  •  Death Defied (Innate)
    • When Karthus dies, he can continue to cast spells for 10 seconds after death. If he kills a champion in this time he respawns instantly at base.
  •  Lay Waste (Q)
    • A 1 second cooldown spell which leaves a time delayed mine that deals double damage if it only hits a single target.
  •  Wall of Pain (W)
    • Stretches a perpendicular wall through the target location, enemies who walk through it are slowed and take increased damage.
  •  Defile (E)
    • While toggled on, Defile continually damages nearby enemies. While off, Karthus regains mana whenever he kills a unit.
  •  Fallen One (Ultimate)
    • Channeled spell; upon successful cast, Karthus damages all enemy champions in the game.
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