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< Karthus

Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia

Skill usage

  • Sometimes it can benefit KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus can cast his spells even after dying.
  • His passive allows him to cast spells while dead. 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 Defile.png Defile on fleeing enemies, as well as deterring attempts of harassment, even at their towers. In later game it is useful in team fights, thanks to its magic resistance debuffs. With this spell, KarthusSquare.png Karthus can actually be a very good ganker, as it slows and allows his teammates to deal more damage.
  • KarthusSquare.png Karthus's 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 out-laned 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, KarthusSquare.png 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.
  • KarthusSquare.png Karthus highly benefits from the Crest of the Ancient Golem.png Crest of the Ancient Golem 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.
  • Flash.png Flash and Ghost.png Ghost are useful summoner spells, as KarthusSquare.png Karthus often needs mobility in order to be an asset to the team.
  • It is possible to jungle using KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png 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, LuxSquare.png 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.
  • KarthusSquare.png Karthus can possibly proxy if you build all mana due to his Lay Waste.png Lay Waste

Dominion and Twisted Treeline

  • KarthusSquare.png Karthus is very good at interrupting captures via KarthusSquare.png Karthus's Defile.png Defile and Lay Waste.png Lay Waste.
  • On Dominion, KarthusSquare.png Karthus can work as a potent defender in bottom lane (between the Boneyard and Quarry), thanks to his potent zoning, ability to easily defend his point until reinforcements can arrive via his passive, damage aura via KarthusSquare.png Karthus's Defile.png Defile, and Lay Waste.png Lay Waste poke, and ability to have a global presence via Requiem.png Requiem. However, he is very vulnerable to ganks if overextended.
  • If you're taking KarthusSquare.png Karthus as a top laner on Dominion (between the Drill and Refinery), Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain can prove quite useful as an initiation tool for turret teamfights (especially at the Windmill), as it increases the damage all your allies deal while slowing the enemy. (If placed right, it can even reveal their brush!) By taking levels at 3, 4, 10, and the remaining two between levels 11-18, you can become frightfully efficient at helping your allies cap points. As such, taking Garrison.png Garrison to further improve your initiation can prove valuable.

Build 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.
  • Will of the Ancients item.png Will of the Ancients can enable you to regain health quickly with Defile.png Defile or Requiem.png Requiem, especially with enemy minions around. Lay Waste.png Lay Waste also gains full spell vamp when only used to attack a single enemy.
  • When played as more tanky build, consider Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item.png Rylai's Crystal Scepter as a top-priority item. Its passive provides slow for all your spells, but especially for Lay Waste.png Lay Waste, which you can use to kite enemy with terrifying efficiency.
    • On either lane for Dominion, Requiem.png Requiem has a great deal of utility. Not only can it be used to secure kills, but it can also slow via Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item.png Rylai's Crystal Scepter, butter up enemies for your teammates from afar, or simply work as a global capture interrupter.
  • Try building tanky on Karthus as you will try to stay in the teamfight with your Defile.png Defile on and spam Lay Waste.png Lay Waste.
  • Building an Archangel&#039;s Staff item.png Archangel's Staff is a strong choice for Karthus as Lay Waste.png Lay Waste can quickly build up the Archangel's staff's passive.
    • On other hand, a Rod of Ages item.png Rod of Ages will make Karthus tankier, while taking less time to reach its full benefits.
  • Void Staff item.png Void Staff has nice synergy with Wall of Pain.png Wall of Pain. You can lower the target's magic resistance by 15% after ignoring 35% of it, ending up in 44.75% penetration when combined.

Recommended builds

Summoner's Rift
Starting Doran&#039;s Ring item Health Potion item2 Warding Totem item
Essential Rod of Ages item Sorcerer&#039;s Shoes item Tear of the Goddess item
Offensive Rabadon&#039;s Deathcap item Archangel&#039;s Staff item Void Staff item
Defensive Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item Abyssal Scepter item Rylai&#039;s Crystal Scepter item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item Sight Ward item Vision Ward item Elixir of Sorcery item
The Howling Abyss
Starting Boots of Speed item Health Potion item5 Tear of the Goddess item Mana Potion item3
Essential Sorcerer&#039;s Shoes item Archangel&#039;s Staff item Rabadon&#039;s Deathcap 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 Health Potion item Mana Potion item
The Crystal Scar
Starting Boots of Speed item Prospector&#039;s Ring item Health Potion item2
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 Mana Potion item
The 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 Mana Potion item


  • Playing against KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus, buying a Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil can offer at least some protection to his ultimate. 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 or Maw of Malmortius item.png Maw of Malmortius can block 250 or 400 magic damage respectively from his ultimate if he takes you below 30% health. Beware however, those items aren't as reliable as Zhonya&#039;s Hourglass item.png Zhonya's Hourglass.
  • Elixir of Fortitude item.png Elixir of Fortitude is a good counter to Karthus's ultimate during the early and mid-game. It costs only a fraction of the other items which would normally be used to counter Requiem.png Requiem.
  • Always remember, especially during team fights, that KarthusSquare.png Karthus can continue to cast spells while he's dead without the cost of mana. When engaging his team, kill KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png 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.
  • KarthusSquare.png Karthus's 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus players will intentionally walk into a teamfight and die, This is rather a great strategy if KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus before his passive wears off can often lead to him killing you.
  • Laning against KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus is predicting your movements accurately. To avoid the doubled damage, stand near one or two minions. That way, if KarthusSquare.png 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 KarthusSquare.png Karthus can cast Lay Waste.png Lay Wastes continually.

  • SorakaSquare.png Soraka is known as the ultimate, albeit an indirect counter to KarthusSquare.png Karthus, as she can use Wish.png Wish to completely counter Requiem.png Requiem, by healing the low-health teammate that would be killed by the ability. Even if she does not have Wish available, if Soraka is nearby the low-health teammate, she can heal him using Astral Blessing.png Astral Blessing so that he is not killed.
    • Be wary that unless Soraka builds some AP, KarthusSquare.png Karthus's Requiem.png Requiem can potentially outdamage Wish.png Wish late game, and kill the target even if he is healed.
    • In general, champions who have heals and shields can prevent themselves or their teammates from being killed by Requiem.png Requiem. Examples include OriannaSquare.png Orianna's Command- Protect.png Command: Protect and LuluSquare.png Lulu's Help, Pix!.png Help, Pix!
      • Lulu also has Wild Growth.png Wild Growth to prevent herself or a teammate from being killed.
  • KhaZixSquare.png Kha'Zix is a good counter to KarthusSquare.png Karthus because he deals more damage to an isolated Karthus using Taste Their Fear.png Taste Their Fear than he takes damage from Lay Waste.png Lay Waste while isolated. Kha'Zix also has too much mobility to be consistently hit by Lay Waste. After killing Karthus, 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
  • SivirSquare.png Sivir and NocturneSquare.png Nocturne have spellshields that they can use to block Requiem.png Requiem.
  • FizzSquare.png Fizz and VladimirSquare.png Vladimir can become untargetable before Requiem hits, using Playful.png Playful/Trickster.png Trickster and Sanguine Pool.png Sanguine Pool, respectively, allowing them to take no damage from Requiem. MaokaiSquare.png Maokai and MasterYiSquare.png Master Yi can also do the same with Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance and Alpha Strike.png Alpha Strike, respectively, but they require a nearby enemy target.
  • Using a champion that has an ability that can prevent death is a good way to counter Karthus, by wasting its efforts if he tries to use Requiem.png Requiem. Such champions include AatroxSquare.png Aatrox, AniviaSquare.png Anivia, and ZacSquare.png Zac.

Champion Spotlight

Karthus Champion Spotlight07:29

Karthus Champion Spotlight

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