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Karthus/Strategy

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Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia


Gameplay

Champion Spotlight

By David 'Phreak' Turley [1]

Karthus Champion Spotlight07:29

Karthus Champion Spotlight

Learn to Death Defied.png defy death and obliterate your enemies Lay Waste.png near and Requiem.png far in the Karthus Champion Spotlight.

Karthus Karthus is a powerful and persistent solo lane mage. Whittle your enemies down with repeated casts of Lay Waste.png Lay Waste, using smart positioning and timing to deal extra damage to lone targets. When your jungler comes in to gank, throw down Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain and activate Defile.png Defile to deal huge area of effect damage to your slowed enemies. Even if they get away, they’re still not safe from Requiem.png Requiem, a colossal global ultimate that devastates every enemy champion on the map.

Recommended Items
Summoner's Rift
Starting Doran&#039;s Ring item Health Potion item2 Warding Totem item
Early Boots of Speed item Catalyst the Protector item Blasting Wand item
Essential Sorcerer&#039;s Shoes item Rod of Ages item Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item
Standard Rabadon&#039;s Deathcap item Void Staff item Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item
Situational Luden&#039;s Echo item Abyssal Scepter item Liandry&#039;s Torment item
Consumables Health Potion item Elixir of Sorcery item Vision Ward item
Twisted Treeline
Starting Doran&#039;s Ring item Boots of Speed item
Essential Rod of Ages item Sorcerer&#039;s Shoes item Tear of the Goddess item
Offensive Archangel&#039;s Staff item Void Staff item Wooglet&#039;s Witchcap item
Defensive Athene&#039;s Unholy Grail item Abyssal Scepter item
Consumables Health Potion item
Howling Abyss
Starting Boots of Speed item Tear of the Goddess item Health Potion item5
Essential Archangel&#039;s Staff item Rabadon&#039;s Deathcap item Sorcerer&#039;s Shoes item
Offensive Void Staff item Liandry&#039;s Torment item
Defensive Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item Abyssal Scepter item Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item
Consumables Oracle&#039;s Extract item Health Potion item Elixir of Sorcery item

Tips

Playing As Karthus Karthus
  • Ask your allies to help point out when you should use Requiem.png Requiem to get kills in different lanes.
  • Lay Waste.png Lay Waste is very strong at farming minions and harassing enemy champions.
Playing Against Karthus Karthus
  • Karthus can cast spells for a short duration Death Defied.png after he is killed. Move away from his Death Defied.png corpse to be safe.
  • Make sure you always have enough health to survive Requiem.png Requiem, even if you have to go back to the base more frequently to heal.

Tricks

Ability Usage
  • Sometimes it can benefit Karthus Karthus to die a strategic death by rushing into a group of enemies and casting Defile.png Defile the enemy will focus you long enough for your team to initiate without affecting your chance of winning a team fight, as Karthus Karthus can cast his spells even after dying.
  • His passive allows him to cast spells for seven seconds after dying. Abuse this every time you die and punish any who remain near your corpse, casting Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain if not already used and endlessly casting Lay Waste.png Lay Waste. This may actually get you a kill.
  • When focusing on harassment, try placing Lay Waste.png Lay Waste where it will hit the champion, but not the minions. This way, it will deal double damage.
  • Lay Waste.png Lay Waste can be used to scout brushes since it reveals a small area around where it is cast. Since the skill has a low base cost, this can be used to scout brushes frequently.
  • Lay Waste.png Lay Waste is very strong at farming minions and harassing enemy champions.
  • Taking 1 level of Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain gives you a slow allowing you more time to cast Lay Waste.png Lay Waste on fleeing enemies, as well as deterring attempts of harassment, even at their towers. In late game it is useful in team fights, thanks to its magic resistance debuffs. With this abilities, Karthus Karthus can actually be a very good ganker, as it slows and allows his teammates to deal more damage.
  • Defile.png Defile at higher levels can mow down creeps by standing next to them or walking past them for just 2 seconds. If given free rein or adequate protection from enemy champions, this can turn the tide of a battle very quickly or cement a team’s victory.
  • Ask your allies to help point out when you should use Requiem.png Requiem to get kills in different lanes, or alternatively, alert your teammates when you are about to use it. However, be sure to keep your eye out for action elsewhere on the map; you may be able to help someone when they otherwise wouldn't have time to type for help.
  • Before using Requiem.png Requiem to kill a retreating enemy, consider the shield/heal/defensive abilities and items of the enemy team; at endgame, it is usually more important to have an ultimate up than to force enemies to heal.
  • During laning, it may be more beneficial to attack the caster minions in the back and to kill them than to harass an opponent. If you find yourself being outlaned by the enemy, pushing them back and stacking up on your own minions can help control them and keep them away from your tower.
    • If your team can effectively distract the enemy, Karthus Karthus can actually be a very effective pusher, as the sheer speed at which he can consistently clear minion waves allows him to push his team's minions to a tower and destroy it in a short amount of time.
  • Karthus Karthus highly benefits from the Crest of Insight.png Crest of Insight buff, giving him increased mana regeneration and reduced cooldowns for all his spells, allowing a focused AP build.
  • Requiem.png Requiem can be used mid-game before a major offensive is launched to weaken all enemies, making them easier to kill.
  • It is possible to jungle using Karthus Karthus with the proper runes and/or masteries. To get the blue golem rune, use Lay Waste.png Lay Waste only on the blue golem (missing the smaller monsters). This way, you will deal double damage to only the golem.
  • Be careful of when to use Requiem.png Requiem due to your ability power and the enemies magic resistance.
  • Both Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain's slow and stat reduction go through Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil.
  • Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain can be a viable tool to saving an ally champion's life due to its movement speed reduction. Use it to give your allies a chance to get away if they are running from a pursuing champion.
  • Notice that Karthus Karthus is very good at medium range, however he is easily countered by champions who can attack him from a very long range like, for example, Lux Lux.
  • Casting Requiem.png Requiem while actually alive is generally a bad idea, unless you are well away from any enemy champions or they are on the retreat from your team. You will become the focus of enemy champions during the lengthy channel, and if you die or are disabled during it, the ability is cancelled and goes on cooldown. If you die before using Requiem.png Requiem, however, you can still use it during Death Defied.png Death Defied and your opponents will be unable to stop you in any way.
Mastery Usage
Item Usage
  • Due to Requiem.png Requiem, the enemy team will likely build some magic resistance. Building magic penetration items such as Void Staff item.png Void Staff will help pass through their defenses.
  • When played with a more tanky build, consider Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item.png Rylai's Crystal Scepter as a top-priority item. Icy provides a slow for all of your abilities, especially for Lay Waste.png Lay Waste, which you can use to kite enemy with terrifying efficiency.
  • Try building tanky on Karthus Karthus as you will try to stay in the teamfight with your Defile.png Defile on and spam Lay Waste.png Lay Waste.
  • Luden&#039;s Echo item.png Luden's Echo is terrifying on Karthus Karthus. The low cooldown on Lay Waste.png Lay Waste allows Karthus Karthus to proc Echo ridiculously frequently, and the bonus AP and bonus movement speed helps even more.
  • Building an Archangel&#039;s Staff item.png Archangel's Staff is a strong choice for Karthus Karthus as Lay Waste.png Lay Waste can quickly build up Mana Charge and by extension Insight.
    • On other hand, a Rod of Ages item.png Rod of Ages will make Karthus Karthus tankier, while taking less time to reach its full benefits. You can get both if you constantly find yourself out of mana.
  • Void Staff item.png Void Staff has good synergy with Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain, allowing you to lower a target's magic resistance even more.
  • As mentioned previously, Karthus Karthus can be played as suicide initiator. Build him fully offensive with items such as Rabadon&#039;s Deathcap item.png Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff item.png Void Staff to maximize your damage output.
  • Liandry&#039;s Torment item.png Liandry's Torment has great synergy with Karthus Karthus: because he has a lot of sustained damage it is easy to proc the %max hp burn, allowing Karthus Karthus to consistently wear down the enemy team, no matter how high their health pools are. Activate Defile.png Defile and proceed to shred the entire enemy team's health.
    • The magic penetration also has great synergy with Karthus Karthus during the early game, due to the high base damage on his ultimate.
  • Mejai&#039;s Soulstealer item.png Mejai's Soulstealer is not a recommended item because Karthus Karthus is not only in risk of dying most of time due to his moderate range and his squishiness, but also because he wants to die anyway during teamfights, allowing him to spam his spells for free. Also, this is an item that is oriented for early/mid game snowball champions, but Karthus Karthus is a late game champion and it is very unlikely that he will be able to snowball early game. Also, he doesn't have great AP ratios and will not actually benefit that much from a fully stacked Mejai&#039;s Soulstealer item.png Mejai's Soulstealer. Not to mention, this item delays the rest of his core items.
Countering
  • Playing against Karthus Karthus can be extremely frustrating, as avoiding death with a small amount of health left is nearly impossible due his Requiem.png Requiem. If you find yourself having trouble with an enemy Karthus Karthus, buying a Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil can offer at least some protection against Requiem.png Requiem. If you are a caster and wish different/more protection, grabbing a Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item.png Zhonya's Hourglass earlier than you normally would can save you on many occasions. If you are an AD-based champion and wish for some additional protection, a Hexdrinker item.png Hexdrinker into Maw of Malmortius item.png Maw of Malmortius can block magic damage from Requiem.png Requiem if he takes you to critical health. Beware however, those items aren't as reliable as Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item.png Zhonya's Hourglass.
  • Always remember, especially during teamfights, that Karthus Karthus can continue to cast spells while he's dead without the cost of mana. When engaging his team, kill Karthus Karthus first, then retreat out of his attack area before continuing the fight.
    • When in the midst of a team fight, it may be difficult to notice the attack animation of his Lay Waste.png Lay Waste. Be wary of this if you are playing a squishy character and/or have little magic resistance, as Karthus Karthus' damage output is steady and deadly.
    • Also, do not underestimate the tick on his Defile.png Defile. It is DoT, so it may not be noticeable at first, but its damage can be as much as 160 per second, not counting resistances, on top of his damage from Lay Waste.png Lay Waste.
  • Do not underestimate Karthus Karthus' 1v1 potential. He may be squishy, but his killing power vastly increases when fighting stationary, single targets. If you engage him as ranged, try to stay out of his Defile.png Defile and keep moving to avoid his Lay Waste.png Lay Waste. If you need to remain stationary, stay near other targets that will be damaged by his Lay Waste.png Lay Waste (e.g. allied minions or neutral monsters) to reduce his damage output. If you engage him as melee, you should either only do so if you have the level advantage or survivability to engage him in his AoE spells and live.
  • Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain reduces magic resistance, instead of penetrating it. This means that damage done to you by all enemies will be increased. Keep this in mind while standing in or walking through his Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain during a team fight.
  • Some Karthus Karthus players will intentionally walk into a teamfight and die, This is rather a great strategy if Karthus Karthus is in a situation where he will die because he can cast his spells for 7 seconds after his death. Make sure that after you kill him, stay away from his Defile.png Defile.
  • Do not ignore Karthus Karthus upon killing him. Due to his passive, he can cast any and all spells freely, with the only restriction being cooldowns. Ignoring this fact and staying in close proximity to Karthus Karthus before his passive wears off can often lead to him killing you.
  • Laning against Karthus Karthus can be challenging if you are not aware of his Lay Waste.png Lay Waste. Without at least one movement speed increasing item (e.g. Boots of Speed item.png Boots of Speed) walking away from your minions can be costly even while watching for Lay Waste.png Lay Waste's if the Karthus Karthus is predicting your movements accurately. To avoid the doubled damage, stand near one or two minions. That way, if Karthus Karthus attempts to harass you with Lay Waste.png Lay Waste, he is either doing minimal damage to you and the minion or placing it so that you have more time to respond, as the AoE is only half as close to you. Standing in the middle of your minions is a less favorable way to reduce damage as the unit collision can more or less hold you in place while Karthus Karthus can cast Lay Waste.png Lay Waste continually.
  • Soraka Soraka is known as the ultimate albeit indirect counter to Karthus Karthus, as she can use Wish.png Wish to completely counter Requiem.png Requiem by healing the low-health teammates that would be otherwise killed by the ability. Even if she does not have Wish.png Wish available, if Soraka Soraka is nearby the low-health teammates, she can heal them using Astral Infusion.png Astral Infusion so that they survive.
  • Kha&#039;Zix Kha'Zix is a good counter to Karthus Karthus because he deals more damage to an isolated Karthus Karthus using Taste Their Fear.png Taste Their Fear than he takes damage from Lay Waste.png Lay Waste while isolated. Kha&#039;Zix Kha'Zix also has too much mobility to be consistently hit by Lay Waste.png Lay Waste. After killing Karthus Karthus, Kha&#039;Zix Kha'Zix can just jump away using Leap.png Leap so that he doesn't need to take too much damage from Defile.png Defile
  • Among the champions who can potentially avoid being killed by Requiem.png Requiem are included:
    1. Any champion with Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item.png Zhonya's Hourglass - by activating it just before Requiem.png Requiem hits.
    2. Any champion with Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil - as long as the spell shield is up
    3. Fizz Fizz, Vladimir Vladimir, Elise Elise, Master Yi Master Yi, Maokai Maokai and Zed Zed - They all have abilities who allow them to become untargetable right before Requiem.png Requiem hits them. It should be noted that Master Yi Master Yi ,Maokai Maokai and Zed Zed require a nearby enemy or enemy champion.
    4. Any champion with Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel - if the passive is up - although note that the passive will be lost and it has a longer cooldown than Requiem.png Requiem.
    5. Anivia Anivia, Zac Zac, and Aatrox Aatrox - They all have passives which allow them to revive after taking lethal damage. As long as their passive is ready for use, they cannot be killed by Requiem.
    6. Sivir Sivir and Nocturne Nocturne - Both have spell shields.
    7. Kayle Kayle - by casting Intervention.png Intervention (she can also cast it on allies, making them immune to Requiem.png Requiem too)
    8. Tryndamere Tryndamere - by activating Undying Rage.png Undying Rage
    9. Shaco Shaco and Ekko Ekko - Both have ultimates which, if timed properly (right before Requiem.png Requiem hits) will leave them immune to the damage.
    10. Any champion who has been made an The Black Spear item.png Oathsworn by Kalista Kalista - If she has her ultimate up, she can activate it to protect her The Black Spear item.png Oathsworn from being killed by Requiem.png Requiem.
    11. Any champion who has been affected by Zilean Zilean's Chrono Shift.png Chrono Shift
    12. Rek&#039;Sai Rek'Sai - If there is a Tunnel.png Tunnel on any place of the map, Rek&#039;Sai Rek'Sai can use Void Rush.png Void Rush to teleport to them. During the teleport she is considered to be untargetable, so a well-timed Void Rush.png Void Rush can dodge Requiem.png Requiem.
    13. Lulu Lulu - If she invests on AP she can use Wild Growth.png Wild Growth on herself or any ally to help them survive Requiem.png Requiem.
    14. Fiora Fiora - Riposte.png Riposte behaves like a spell shield, making Fiora immune to Requiem.png Requiem's damage if timed properly.
    15. Lissandra Lissandra - If Frozen Tomb.png Frozen Tomb is up, she can cast it on herself to become completely immune to Requiem.png Requiem.
    16. Bard Bard - By casting Tempered Fate.png Tempered Fate on himself and/or an ally, he can make them completely immune to Requiem.png Requiem.
    17. Any Devour.png Devoured ally.
    18. Pantheon Pantheon - If well-timed, Grand Skyfall.png Grand Skyfall can make him untargetable and allow him to avoid Requiem.png Requiem. It is suggested to activate Grand Skyfall.png Grand Skyfall at the second that Karthus Karthus starts channeling.
    19. Kindred Kindred - With Lamb&#039;s Respite.png Lamb's Respite they can protect themselves and anyone inside the area from dying. (Be wary that this can backfire disastrously in a teamfight if Karthus is able to enter the skill's AoE, who will continue to damage anyone near him while simultaneously being invulnerable. With Karthus' Defile.png Defile constantly ticking inside the circle, this will keep everyone at very low health, and after Lamb&#039;s Respite.png Lamb's Respite runs out, regardless of whether others were quick enough to flee, Karthus will have an even better shot at everyone who took refuge in it, particularly if he is killed and Requiem.png Requiem is not on cooldown.)

References

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