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- Champion Spotlight
Karthus is a powerful and persistent solo lane mage. Whittle your enemies down with repeated casts of 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 and activate Defile to deal huge area of effect damage to your slowed enemies. Even if they get away, they’re still not safe from Requiem, a colossal global ultimate that devastates every enemy champion on the map.
- Recommended Items
- Playing As Karthus
- Ask your allies to help point out when you should use Requiem to get kills in different lanes.
- Lay Waste is very strong at farming minions and harassing enemy champions.
- Playing Against Karthus
- Karthus can cast spells for a short duration after he is killed. Move away from his corpse to be safe.
- Make sure you always have enough health to survive Requiem, even if you have to go back to the base more frequently to heal.
- Ability Usage
- Sometimes it can benefit Karthus to die a strategic death by rushing into a group of enemies and casting Defile the enemy will focus you long enough for your team to initiate without affecting your chance of winning a team fight, as Karthus can cast his spells even after dying.
- You can also activate Defile tick even longer. right before dying to let
- 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 if not already used and endlessly casting Lay Waste. This may actually get you a kill.
- When focusing on harassment, try placing Lay Waste where it will hit the champion, but not the minions. This way, it will deal double damage.
- 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 is very strong at farming minions and harassing enemy champions.
- Taking 1 level of Wall of Pain gives you a slow allowing you more time to cast 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 can actually be a very good ganker, as it slows and allows his teammates to deal more damage.
- 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 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 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 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 highly benefits from the Crest of Insight buff, giving him increased mana regeneration and reduced cooldowns for all his spells, allowing a focused AP build.
- 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 with the proper runes and/or masteries. To get the blue golem rune, use 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 due to your ability power and the enemies magic resistance.
- Both Wall of Pain's slow and stat reduction go through .
- 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 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.
- Casting 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, however, you can still use it during Death Defied and your opponents will be unable to stop you in any way.
- Mastery Usage
- Item Usage
- Due to Requiem, the enemy team will likely build some magic resistance. Building magic penetration items such as will help pass through their defenses.
- When played with a more tanky build, consider Icy provides a slow for all of your abilities, especially for Lay Waste, which you can use to kite enemy with terrifying efficiency. as a top-priority item.
- Try building tanky on Karthus as you will try to stay in the teamfight with your Defile on and spam Lay Waste.
- Karthus. The low cooldown on Lay Waste allows Karthus to proc Echo ridiculously frequently, and the bonus AP and bonus movement speed helps even more. is terrifying on
- Building an Karthus as Lay Waste can quickly build up Mana Charge and by extension Insight.
is a strong choice for
- On other hand, a Karthus tankier, while taking less time to reach its full benefits. You can get both if you constantly find yourself out of mana. will make
- Wall of Pain, allowing you to lower a target's magic resistance even more. has good synergy with
- As mentioned previously, Karthus can be played as suicide initiator. Build him fully offensive with items such as and to maximize your damage output.
- Karthus: because he has a lot of sustained damage it is easy to proc the %max hp burn, allowing Karthus to consistently wear down the enemy team, no matter how high their health pools are. Activate Defile and proceed to shred the entire enemy team's health.
has great synergy with
- The magic penetration also has great synergy with Karthus during the early game, due to the high base damage on his ultimate.
- 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 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 . Not to mention, this item delays the rest of his core items. is not a recommended item because
- Playing against Karthus can be extremely frustrating, as avoiding death with a small amount of health left is nearly impossible due his Requiem. If you find yourself having trouble with an enemy Karthus, buying a can offer at least some protection against Requiem. If you are a caster and wish different/more protection, grabbing a 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 into can block magic damage from Requiem if he takes you to critical health. Beware however, those items aren't as reliable as .
- Always remember, especially during teamfights, that Karthus can continue to cast spells while he's dead without the cost of mana. When engaging his team, kill 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. Be wary of this if you are playing a squishy character and/or have little magic resistance, as Karthus' damage output is steady and deadly.
- Also, do not underestimate the tick on his 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.
- Do not underestimate 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 and keep moving to avoid his Lay Waste. If you need to remain stationary, stay near other targets that will be damaged by his 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 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 during a team fight.
- Some Karthus players will intentionally walk into a teamfight and die, This is rather a great strategy if 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.
- Do not ignore 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 before his passive wears off can often lead to him killing you.
- Laning against Karthus can be challenging if you are not aware of his Lay Waste. Without at least one movement speed increasing item (e.g. ) walking away from your minions can be costly even while watching for Lay Waste's if the Karthus is predicting your movements accurately. To avoid the doubled damage, stand near one or two minions. That way, if Karthus attempts to harass you with 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 can cast Lay Waste continually.
- Soraka is known as the ultimate albeit indirect counter to Karthus, as she can use Wish to completely counter Requiem by healing the low-health teammates that would be otherwise killed by the ability. Even if she does not have Wish available, if Soraka is nearby the low-health teammates, she can heal them using Astral Infusion so that they survive.
- Be wary that unless Soraka builds some AP, Karthus's Requiem can potentially outdamage 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. Examples include Orianna's Command: Protect and Lulu's Help, Pix!
- Kha'Zix is a good counter to Karthus because he deals more damage to an isolated Karthus using Taste Their Fear than he takes damage from 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 so that he doesn't need to take too much damage from Defile
- Among the champions who can potentially avoid being killed by Requiem are included:
- Any champion with Requiem hits. - by activating it just before
- Any champion with - as long as the spell shield is up
- Fizz, Vladimir, Elise, Master Yi, Maokai and Zed - They all have abilities who allow them to become untargetable right before Requiem hits them. It should be noted that Master Yi , Maokai and Zed require a nearby enemy or enemy champion.
- Any champion with Requiem. - if the passive is up - although note that the passive will be lost and it has a longer cooldown than
- Anivia, Zac, and 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.
- Sivir and Nocturne - Both have spell shields.
- Kayle - by casting Intervention (she can also cast it on allies, making them immune to Requiem too)
- Tryndamere - by activating Undying Rage
- Shaco and Ekko - Both have ultimates which, if timed properly (right before Requiem hits) will leave them immune to the damage.
- Any champion who has been made an Oathsworn by Kalista - If she has her ultimate up, she can activate it to protect her from being killed by Requiem.
- Any champion who has been affected by Zilean's Chrono Shift
- Rek'Sai - If there is a Tunnel on any place of the map, Rek'Sai can use Void Rush to teleport to them. During the teleport she is considered to be untargetable, so a well-timed Void Rush can dodge Requiem.
- Lulu - If she invests on AP she can use Wild Growth on herself or any ally to help them survive Requiem.
- Fiora - Riposte behaves like a spell shield, making Fiora immune to Requiem's damage if timed properly.
- Lissandra - If Frozen Tomb is up, she can cast it on herself to become completely immune to Requiem.
- Bard - By casting Tempered Fate on himself and/or an ally, he can make them completely immune to Requiem.
- Any Devoured ally.
- Pantheon - If well-timed, Grand Skyfall can make him untargetable and allow him to avoid Requiem. It is suggested to activate Grand Skyfall at the second that Karthus starts channeling.
- Kindred - With 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 constantly ticking inside the circle, this will keep everyone at very low health, and after 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 is not on cooldown.)