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All Guides Karthus Guides (S7) A Perphectionist's Guide to Karthus
185
36
Updated
12 months ago
Views
419K
Comments
6

Karthus Statistics for Perphectionist

Author's performance with Karthus compared to the ranked average.

Value
Average
Games Played
99
4
Win %
61
45
Kills
8.0
6.5
Assists
8.4
8.3
Deaths
6.1
6.9
KA:D Ratio
2.7
2.1
Gold Earned
12.9K
11.8K
Creep Score
171.8
184.7
Average
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

12.png4.png You should only take teleport flash on Karthus if you are playing him in the top lane. Whenever you are mid exhaust is the better option. Maybe against a Twisted Fate you can try taking TP mid, but usually unnecessary. 

3.png4.png Best on Karthus Mid. Incredibly useful for helping you land a few Qs in 1v1s, and has a ton of uses throughout the game. 

6.png4.png Bad

11.png4.png Stick to playing Karthus in mid/top/adc.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

Deathfire touch goes well with Karthus'  Karthus_E.jpg because it will get a lot of ticks off out on the entire enemy team in team fights. It is also useful for when you are trying to kill somebody with his Karthus_R.jpg. If they would have lived with a small amount of HP, Deathfire touch usually finishes them off. 

Abilities Back to Top

Q
E
Q
W
Q
R
Q
E
Q
E
R
E
E
W
W
R
W
W
Passive
Q
1
3
5
7
9
W
4
14
15
17
18
E
2
8
10
12
13
R
6
11
16
Death_Defied.jpg Passive:This is one of the best passives in the game, and by far my favorite. It allows you to do insane amounts of damage in team fights even when you get killed right away. You can get off 3 q's before ulting when in your passive, but if you want to be safe you should just use 2. This is also useful for zoning out the enemy backline in fights. I'll go into that later on in this guide. 
Karthus Q.JPGQ: Lay waste is the ability that you will be using to kill creeps early on. Keep in mind that if this only hits one target it will do double damage, so when csing try to aim your q slightly to the side of the minions so that they will die easily. It can also do a ton of damage early game to isolated enemies. You also want to use this in lane to harass the enemy mid laner in case they get over confident.
karthus w.JPG W: This is an aoe slow that also shreds the enemy's magic resist. This is quite hard to land so at first you may want to use it without smart cast, but eventually try to transition so that you can use it with smartcast, as every second helps when getting ganked, and you can use this to escape if you react fast enough.
Karthus e.JPGE: This ability does insane aoe damage late game, and it also comes with a neat little passive that allows you to restore mana when killing a unit. This is what allows you to use your Q to last hit minions. Keep in mind that even if you don't use your Q to kill a minion it will restore mana regardless. Do not spam this ability as it uses up a ton of mana. In teamfights, you want to get this on as many enemies as possible.
karthus r.JPG R: This is one of, if not the best, ultimate in the entire game. It does damage to everyone on the map, regardless of distance, creating pressure on each lane to be careful not go under 200 during the laning phase. When using this to pick up kills, keep in mind that it can be interrupted as it is a channel. In team fights, you either want to use this at the beginning to maximize your damage, or wait until you are dead since they can't interrupt it once you are in your passive. 

 

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Take this in normal matchups, as the doran's is a really great starting item. My preferred Start now, really strong compared to the others.

Core Items

    You should be buying this later in the game whenever you have a spare 500 gold.

Situational Items

    If you are having a tough time in lane and find yourself with a spare 150 when backing, this is not a bad item.
    You should have a control ward somewhere on the map at all times.

First Buy

Almost in every single lane you will start out with 1056.png and two 2003.png. The passive on 1056.png stacks with the passive on your Karthus_E.jpg allowing you to easily regain mana in lane if you run out, by just last hitting minions with your auto attack. If you are struggling in lane and run out of both of your health potions, buy  2031.png as it is much more efficient than continuing to buy health potions throughout the laning phase.

Core Build

You can go GLP over ROA if you like the active on it.


3027.png  -> 3135.png -> 3089.png-> 3116.png-> 3151.png

Somewhere in that build you would get 3020.png . You could also get 3089.png instead of getting  3135.png first if they are not building any magic resist on the other team. 

OR

3027.png -> 3157.png -> 3135.png ->3089.png -> 3116.png


You can switch out the hourglass for abyssal, or buy deathcap first if they don't have any magic resist.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Ahri
    Medium
  • Akali
    Medium
  • Anivia
    Medium
  • Annie
    Hard
  • Azir
    Easy
  • Blitzcrank
    Easy
  • Brand
    Medium
  • Cassiopeia
    Easy
  • Cho'Gath
    Easy
  • Diana
    Medium
  • Ekko
    Medium
  • Fizz
    Medium
  • Galio
    Easy
  • Gragas
    Medium
  • Heimerdinger
    Easy
  • Kassadin
    Hard
  • Katarina
    Medium
  • Kayle
    Easy
  • LeBlanc
    Hard
  • Lissandra
    Medium
  • Lulu
    Easy
  • Lux
    Medium
  • Malzahar
    Easy
  • Mordekaiser
    Easy
  • Morgana
    Easy
  • Nidalee
    Easy
  • Orianna
    Easy
  • Riven
    Medium
  • Ryze
    Easy
  • Swain
    Easy
  • Syndra
    Medium
  • Talon
    Hard
  • Twisted Fate
    Easy
  • Veigar
    Easy
  • Vel'Koz
    Medium
  • Vladimir
    Easy
  • Xerath
    Medium
  • Yasuo
    Medium
  • Zed
    Medium
  • Ziggs
    Medium

VS

Ahri

Medium

Pre-6 this matchup is not that difficult. Just be careful for her E if the jungler comes to gank. Try and land your Q onto her when she goes up to get a CS. Post-6 this becomes one of Karthus' harder matchups since she can dodge your Q's with her ult. Be aware of where the enemy jungler is at all times and try and build a lead on her early on in the lane to make the later part of the game easier.

VS

Akali

Medium

This is one of Karthus' easier matchups pre-6. Since she needs to walk up to minions to kill them, make sure you are using your Q to get in harass on her. Be wary of jungler ganks, because if Akali gets kills before  6 it will only make the later game harder. After level 6, if you do not think you would be able to kill her through her ult combo, just let her shove you in and spam pings to other lanes if she is MIA.

VS

Anivia

Medium

Farm lane. Anivia is very good at setting up jungler ganks so be careful of the range of her Q/W. Your goal for this lane should be to come out of it with more farm than her, and maybe a kill or two from your ult.

VS

Annie

Hard

Keep track of her stun. You should be able to bully her in lane. Once she hits level 6 be careful of her tibbers combo, it can 100-0 you.

VS

Azir

Easy

This should not be too hard, he does have some very good poke, but if you are playing passive and using your Q to farm minions than you should be fine for the most part. Once he hits level 6 he can use his ult to try and all in you, but if you carry exhaust and hit your Q's he shouldn't be able to kill you.

VS

Blitzcrank

Easy

Dodge hook and easy win.

VS

Brand

Medium

The key to this matchup will be how well you can dodge his harassing while also landing some on him. Be careful about following him away from minions, because he can easily turn around ganks with his ult combo.

VS

Cassiopeia

Easy

You should be able to farm pretty easily in this matchup. Just don't let her land her harass on you and turn around when she ults.

VS

Cho'Gath

Easy

Not too difficult, he does have quite a bit of burst for how tanky his is though so beware of that. Also good at setting up jungler ganks with his Q.

VS

Diana

Medium

Early on in the lane this is one of the easier matchups. She has to walk up to minions to CS, so you should be getting off some easy harass. Just be careful of her jumping onto you once she hits level 6.

VS

Ekko

Medium

You should be able to harass him whenever he goes for a CS. Dodge his harass and make sure he is not able to get any kills off of jungler ganks. If he goes MIA in lane be sure to spam other lanes with pings.

VS

Fizz

Medium

Before level 6 this matchup isn't that bad. You can easily land your Q's on him in lane. Post 6, he can kill you whenever he lands an ult onto you, so be extremely careful.

VS

Galio

Easy

Just farm up in this lane and outscale him later on. He can't really do much to you in lane, besides maybe a flash ult combo to set up a gank.

VS

Gragas

Medium

Whenever he goes up to CS make sure you are harassing him. Gragas is very good at setting up ganks with his ult, so do not hesitate to use your flash.

VS

Heimerdinger

Easy

When he tries to place down one of this turrets you can destroy it with your Q. If he overextends even a little bit you can W him, and then damage him down with your Q.

VS

Kassadin

Hard

Try and harass him whenever he goes for CS. The cooldown on his Q is pretty long, so you should still be able to get damage on him even with the shield get gets. Post 6 this matchup gets a bit trickier since he can jump onto you. Just play back and don't let him get fed post 6.

VS

Katarina

Medium

This matchup is really easy before level 6. You can harass her whenever she goes to CS, and she doesn't have any sustain. Just be extremely careful, because you do not have anything to stop her ult post 6, so if she somehow gets fed the game is gonna be pretty hard.

VS

Kayle

Easy

Easy matchup, you can farm and poke safely.

VS

LeBlanc

Hard

This is one of the hardest matchups to play on Karthus, but he can win. If you manage to dodge her E, you can trade back enough damage if you land your Qs. Just don't let her roam and be aware of where the jungler is at all times, because she can easily follow up on any ganks.

VS

Lissandra

Medium

Easy Pre-6. after that she can all in you if you get below 75% health. Constantly try to keep high health in this matchup.

VS

Lulu

Easy

Easy matchup. Lulu lane allows you to poke and farm without much trouble. Just be careful for jungler ganks, since she has a slow and a speed-up. In team fights she can be pretty annoying, and she gains some burst if she decides to go with a linchbane. You probably wont be seeing her in the mid anyway since she is more of a top laner atm.

VS

Lux

Medium

If you dodge her skillshots, you win. If you don't, you lose. Consider getting early on in the lane.  You will end up outscaling her as long as she doesn't get fed off of you/other lanes. Her snare is a bit annoying in fights as it can prevent you from getting your e damage of on their team. So avoid that.

VS

Malzahar

Easy

Easy matchup, post 6 it's a little harder since he can set of ganks with his ult.  You need to spam your Q if you want to compete with his waveclear and not get pushed in. He is a lane bully, you will eventually outscale him though since he is somewhat useless late game. Just be careful of getting in range if hes fed, since he can potentially 100 to 0 you.

VS

Mordekaiser

Easy

Easy matchup.  He can't really prevent you from farming without jungler help. Don't worry about harassing him as much in this matchup, and focus more on  building up a CS lead.

VS

Morgana

Easy

This is one of Karthus' easiest matchups. She doesn't have any kill pressure on you in lane, and you will eventually outscale her. Just make sure you dodge her Q. You may want to consider getting an hourglass to negate the snare on her ult, for example, she flash ults into you, you aren't able to get away in time, and you know  snare will  lead to death. Instead, you can just activate your hourglass towards the end of her ult and totally ignore the snare, making her useless. 

The only thing she can do in this matchup is try to push you in and roam, so make sure you don't let her gank your teammates without warning them.

VS

Nidalee

Easy

You can farm freely and poke her. You won't see Nidalee mid that often since her re-work.

VS

Orianna

Easy

If you can dodge her Q this will be an easy matchup. She can't jump onto you, but she can set up jungler ganks with her ult. Later on in the game make sure that your team does not group up for an Orianna ult.

VS

Riven

Medium

This matchup isn't as hard as I originally thought it to be. All you must do is make sure she doesn't flash straight onto you with her ult on and land a stun. Also, if you are playing against her in the top lane, ALWAYS check bushes with your Q before going up to farm so that you know she isn't waiting there for you.

VS

Ryze

Easy

You do not want to all in him. You can try and harass him early on, but later in the lane you want to just stay back and farm up for later on. Make sure he does not get any ganks off with his ult.

VS

Swain

Easy

Take ignite in this matchup. Make sure you are trading properly whenever he goes for harass, and be sure not to get caught in his snare. If your ignite is down, do not try and all in him.

In team fights, make sure you ignite him at the beginning.

VS

Syndra

Medium

Try to go aggressive early on before she reaches level 6. If you start struggling in lane and can't dodge her poke, play passive and try to focus on out farming her. Watch for her to roam after she shoves you in. Syndra is very good at setting up ganks, so keep an eye on the jungler at all times, and if you are low on hp be careful of getting dived.

VS

Talon

Hard

Very diffcult. Just stay back and try to farm safely. He has a gapcloser making it hard for you to trade back any damage. If you manage to get out of lane it should get easier.

VS

Twisted Fate

Easy

Consider taking  teleport so you can follow him when he roams. Should be easy as long as you don't get ganked by the jungler. Just watch for his roam and you should be fine.

VS

Veigar

Easy

Veigar is super squishy so you should be able to kill him if you land a few Qs. Be careful of his stun because if you get caught by it he will be able to do around 75% of your health post 6.

VS

Vel'Koz

Medium

Somewhat difficult. Just farm and you will eventually outscale him. His harrass can be somewhat hard to dodge, but try to get used to it. He's super squishy late game, so jump onto him in teamfights, use your exhaust, and Q him to death.

VS

Vladimir

Easy

Easy Matchup. He has low range compared to that of your q, so you can freely farm throughout the entire laning phase, as well as all in him if he gets low enough.

VS

Xerath

Medium

As long as you dodge his skillshots, you should be fine in this matchup. If he lands a stun he has a good chance of killing you so be careful of that. Also, he can set up ganks for is jungler well with his W/E, so if they have a strong ganking jungler as well just play extremely passive until you see them somewhere else on the map.

VS

Yasuo

Medium

Try and harassing him whenever he goes for a minion. Do not all in him unless you are away from a minion wave, because it is hard to land Q's while he is dashing through all the minions. This is one of Karthus' harder matchups, so just try and farm and outscale him later on. Your E will get rid of his passive, which is pretty neat.

VS

Zed

Medium

Make sure you take exhaust in this matchup. Pre 6 this is pretty easy, just make sure he doesn't jump onto you with his W and harass him properly.

After he hits level 6, do not hesitate to use your exhaust on him if you see him go into his ult. If he isn't in your lane, be sure to spam MIA pings because zed players love to roam.

VS

Ziggs

Medium

He has insane range and poke. Just try to farm a lot and use your ult to help other lanes. Be aware he can cancel your ult with his W.

Early game Laning Back to Top


Early Game

During the early parts of the game as Karthus, you want to focus on using your Q to last hit minions and harass the enemy. Don't be afraid to use your teleport to get back to lane, or gank the enemy if you are playing Karthus in the top lane and took teleport. You also want to play really safe in lane depending on the jungler, and how strong he is at ganking. Keep in mind how good your lane opponent is at setting up ganks. For example, it would be a lot easier for a Pantheon and Ziggs to kill you than a Shyvana and Nidalee. This is where Karthus is at his weakest, but don't be afraid to go in for a kill if you see an opportunity. Karthus can be extremely strong in 1v1 situations if you manage to land your Q on just the enemy champion. Do not be afraid to use your W if you see that they are about to dodge one of your Q's.

Your goals for the laning phase on Karthus are:
  • Be aware of where the enemy jungler is/could be at all times so that you do not die to ganks. Do not hesitate to use your flash if you think it will save you from a jungler gank.
  • Keep an eye on the other lanes after you hit level 6. Sometimes it is a better option to use your ult as a fight is starting. You need to use good judgement when ulting for other lanes. This will come with time as you play Karthus more and more.
  • FARM. Even if you die to to the other laner, make sure you are getting every CS you can get. Karthus' Q allows him to farm safely from a distance when behind.
  • If the enemy mid laner roams, most of the time you should not be following them. Instead shove in the wave to their turret and spam pings to the lane they are going to.

Late Game Back to Top

Late Game

Your goals for the late game on Karthus should be:

  • Do not get caught out. Karthus is a squishy champion, even with the build I use. If you get caught out late in the game you could lose it for your team if they are not in a position to follow up.
  • Be aware of objectives. Remind your support to ward dragon and baron, and make sure you buy a pink ward and put it in a good spot.
  • Win the game. One of the biggest issues for people at lower elo is that they don't take enough after winning a team fight. If you just aced the other team, make sure you are either taking baron or ending the game.

Teamfighting Back to Top


Teamfights

During the Mid game, you won't  be as strong as you would be during the late game.  Generally you want to maximize your damage by heading for their backline. Make sure your E is on and Spam Q's. Try to make it so that your Q only hits one target since you get double the damage when doing so. When you die, get off 2-3 Q's and then ult. If you max cdr( You probably shouldn't) you can get off 4 Q's and then ult. Try to die in a spot so that your doing damage to the entire enemy team, or zoning out the enemy backline from reaching yours.

Pros and Cons Back to Top

Pros

  • Insanely good in team fights
  • Global ult that is guaranteed to hit 
  • Awesome Wave clear
  • Safe Laning
  • Good Duelist
  • Cool skins
  • Does the most damage out of any mage in the game

Cons

  • Can be tricky to lane in the beginning.
  • No escapes.

Closing Back to Top

Thanks for reading my guide and I hope you learned a thing or two about playing Karthus, have fun.
Also, feel free to ask me any questions you may have about Karthus in the comments and I will try to answer them.
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