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Highest Win Rate

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All Guides Karthus Guides A (yet unfinished) guide to help you climb with Karthus
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Karthus Statistics for Average Dreamer

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

Value
Average
Games Played
38
5
Win %
58
44
Kills
8.1
7.4
Assists
9.0
8.8
Deaths
6.6
7.5
KA:D Ratio
2.6
2.2
Gold Earned
12.9K
12.8K
Creep Score
187.5
177.8
Average
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

4.png is mandatory, should be self-explainatory. Always pick it.
12.png is a decent summoner spell if you use it porperly. However since I am not capable of using effectively mid- and late-game you will rarely see me using it unless I play Karthus top which is not often.
3.png is the summoner spell I use most of the time with 4.png. More about it in another section.
21.png is another decent spell. However I don't like it. Idk why but I don't like using it. If you do like it and have better or as much success as with 3.png go ahead and use it.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

The page is nothing special; it should be self explainatory for the most part. It works is what I'm trying to tell you but if you find something else that works well for you just pick your setup. I'm not trying to sell you a product all I'm doing here is give advice based on my experience and if it works for me I don't see why it shouldn't work for someone else. If there's any question about it just ask.

Abilities Back to Top

Q
E
Q
E
W
R
Q
Q
Q
E
R
E
E
W
W
R
W
W
Passive
Q
1
3
7
8
9
W
5
14
15
17
18
E
2
4
10
12
13
R
6
11
16

This skill-tree is what I have been using the most recently and it worked fairly well. The mana cost on Q increases with every point and the mana you gain from last hits increases by putting points in E. However I feel like that the W can be also very usefull early on as well so I put one point in it level 5. I'm maxing Q first for obvious reasons, E second, W first and R level 6, 11 and 16. If you don't like this maxing tree, try your own strategy and take whatever works the best for you.
Any questions? Just ask.

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Standard
    If you are confident you won't feed/die. The benefit of this start is that you won't have to sell it if it works and the start is pretty good in terms of sustain though level 1 sucks without mana regen
    Well... duh

Core Items

    20% CDR, mana regen, AP, yes
    Magic Pen is really good, even if your oponnents don't have MR

Situational Items

    Read the notes for when to buy which
    Upgrade it either last or as the 5th item. As a 5th if the enemy team has a fed tank that nobody can really deal with yet or if they have multiple tanks

So my core consists of Morellonomicon  3165.png, Haunting Guise 3136.png and Void Staff 3135.png. The idea is to have a lot of CDR early on with some Magic Penetration. Due to the fact that especially ADCs have very low MR, flat Magic Penetration is enabling you to deal almost true damage with your abilities. Void Staff is probably the best magic damage item due to its %MPen. Rabadon's is also a great item but damagwise it always loses to void staff now matter how low MR your opponent is.

For the other items:
Sorcerer's Shoes3020.png are also very good though I sometimes buy Boots of Swiftness3009.png if my opponents have some nasty skillshots like Anivia with Flash Frostflashfrost.png or Elise with her cocoon elisehumane.png.
After I have the core Items I usually build something according to the circumstances:
- Rabadon's Deathcap3089.png if I'm even or ahead without any opponent being a direct threat to me
- Abyssal Scepter 3001.png if the enemy team has close range magic damage such as Annie 1.png or Vladimir 8.png that can be threatening to your backline (including yourself) or in general when they have a fed magic damage dealer
- Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy team is very dependent on diving into your team while having a lot of physical damage(for example Rengar 107.png, Zed238.png)
- Mejai's Soulstealer 3041.png is a really strong item to snowball however you need to be very confident that you won't die while having it; I mostly just build it when I have a strong peel support such as Soraka 16.png, Lulu 117.png or Zilean 26.png
- Most of the time a 3116.png is a great item to deal with tanks since tanks can be held away very easily with it; the extra HP make it harder to kill you and it also improves the passive effect of Liandry's Torment 3151.png

Matchups Back to Top

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

  • Easy
  • Ahri
    Medium
  • Akali
    Medium
  • Anivia
    Medium
  • Annie
    Hard
  • Aurelion Sol
    Easy
  • Brand
    Medium
  • Corki
    Medium
  • Diana
    Medium
  • Ezreal
    Medium
  • Fizz
    Hard
  • Gangplank
    Easy
  • Viktor
    Hard
  • Xerath
    Medium
  • Yasuo
    Hard
  • Zed
    Hard
  • Ziggs
    Medium
  • Zilean
    Easy

VS

Easy

Heimerdinger pushes 24/7 with his Turretsheimerdingerq.png and that's about it. He doesn't really have any good kill pressure nor does he have good roaming potential. So just chill and farm as much as possible. Don't ask for ganks and risk feeding him since this lane should be perfectly fine for you to play and he can't really scale if you play well against him mid- and late-game

VS

Ahri

Medium

Just try to keep the minions by your turret and avoid charms. With exhaust she can't 100-0 you with just one all-in. For a mage you can last-hit under tower really well so don't mind getting pushed in and ask for ganks if necessary

VS

Akali

Medium

I have rarely played and getting behind can be really rough. My advise is to just poke her when she goes for last-hits with your Q and try to push her in. She has no CC and if you stay out of her ulti range you should be fine. Avoid ganks by warding correctly and watching the minimap. Otherwise you could also let her push in but you risk that she roams and that can be devestating so I would not recommend it

VS

Anivia

Medium

Push her in pre 6 and buy Boots of Swiftness 3009.png to avoid getting stunned by her
Qflashfrost.png. The aditional movement speed is also pretty good to get away from ganks so don't be too afraid to push in. Anivia can't really roam either so don't mind getting pushed in after she reached level 6.

VS

Annie

Hard

Annie is pretty scary at all-ins with her stun and high early damage. She can assist ganks pretty well with her passive and consistent damage from her Qdisintegrate.png and Tibbers infernalguardian.png.
So stay defensive as much as possible without losing EXP. It is better to lose some minions and stay alive than feeding her a kill. Ping her missing since Annie is also pretty good at roaming

VS

Aurelion Sol

Easy

Aurelion Sol constantly pushes due to his passive and thus he loses a lot of kill pressure on you. He will try to roam usually so ping him missing as soon as he leaves the lane. If he really does roam push your wave to deny him a lot of gold and EXP. Also watch where he roams in order to secure kills with your ult karthusfallenone.png

VS

Brand

Medium

It's a skill matchup. If he's good at hitting his spells you lose if not you can win. My advise is to build Boots of Swiftness 3009.png to avoid getting hit by Brand's Qbrandq.png and Wbrandw.png.
Brand is not really good at roaming but at 1v2 so be very careful to not stack with your jungler if he ganks to avoid that you both get hit by Wbrandw.png and Rbrandr.png

VS

Corki

Medium

Corki is a skill match-up and there's not much that can I can really tell you to help winning the lane. Don't push him since it's not worth risking to get punished for doing so since Corki can alst-hit very well under the tower. Ping him missing after his package is available. This is pretty much all you can do. I don't recommend following him since he is a very good duelist even with just a Sheen3057.png so just push and try to help your team with ultkarthusfallenone.png if you're confident it will either get you a return kill or save your teammates.

VS

Diana

Medium

Diana is an easy match-up if done correctly, however she is very good at punishing mistakes which is why I put her to medium. You can bully her pre level 6 but after that make sure not to stand in your ranged minions in order to force her to choose if she wants to farm or try to engage you with her Q dianaarc.png and Rdianateleport.png. If you have a hard time dodging her Qdianaarc.png buy Boots of Swiftness 3009.png though it's not a must-buy against her

VS

Ezreal

Medium

Ezreal is not the hardest match-up but a smart Ezreal will give you a hard time since he does consistent damage with his Auto Attacks. In order to counter that just stay in your caster minions and if he attacks you they will aggro him and you can trade back with them. I can't really give any other advise on this matchup since I haven't played it that often so far

VS

Fizz

Hard

Fizz is just a nightmare to deal with; I recommend getting a negatron cloak 1057.png perhaps even before any component for Morellonomicon 3165.png. He just deals absurd amounts of damage; his kit is perfect to dodge Qkarthuslaywastea1.png and he can even avoid Karthus ultkarthusfallenone.png with his Efizze.png. Activate your Ekarthusdefile.png when he closes the gap and just be ready go give up CS in order to stay alive since you don't want Fizz to snowball.

VS

Gangplank

Easy

Gangplank is probably one of the easiest matchups for Karthus since his laning phase sucks about as bad as Karthus'. Try to bully him with Qkarthuslaywastea1.png but avoid getting hit by his Egangplanke.png. A good GP will place barrels so you can auto attack them and if you do he will just place a second to combo you so only clear his barrels if he can't combo you. Once he has Trinity Force it can be rough to deal with him but that's always the case so watch out for that.

VS

Viktor

Hard

Viktor is a very annoying lane for Karthus since his abilities are very good against immobile champions such as Karthus. Try to just chill and last-hit as much as possible without dying because Viktor can snowball very hard if he gets fed. If you ult make sure he can't stop you with his Gravity Fieldviktorgravitonfield.png.

VS

Xerath

Medium

Xerath's long range can make laning phase very tough however since all of his abilities are skillshots you can just buy Boots of Swiftness3009.png and increase your chances of not getting hit by his damage

VS

Yasuo

Hard

It's Yasuo, the counter to pretty much very projectile and skillshot dependent Mage. He can dodge Karthus Q easily with his Eyasuodashwrapper.png and his passive makes it hard to bully him. If he dashes towards you use Ekarthusdefile.png to get at least a bit of return damage. He can't really kill you if you stay save under the tower so don't mind giving up some CS in order to not die

VS

Zed

Hard

Zed is a very tough match-up post 6. Before that it can be defficult as well, depending on how good he is. He will try his best to last-hit with Qzedq.png and hit you at the same time so stay away from your low minions. After level 6 he will msot definetly try to all-in you so stay away from him. When he ults turn on E but don't use Q since it stop your movement and makes it easier for him to hit his abilities. Exhaust is on a longer CD than his ult so for the time when your Exhaust is not available stay under your turret and avoid all-ins even if it means you only get the gold for half of any minion wave. I recommend getting Zhonya's early if it's impossible to deal with him

VS

Ziggs

Medium

It's a skill match-up. Same with Brand; if he hits his abilities on you you lose; if not you can win. He can assist around a great part of the map with his Ultziggsr.png as well so ping him missing as soon as you can't see him anymore. Try to depush as much as possible since he can take turrets easily with Lich Bane3100.png and his W ziggsw.png.

VS

Zilean

Easy

He can be quite annoying once he hits level 3 since he then has some good tools to counter Karthus with his double Qzileanq.png and his slow/speed-uptimewarp.png. However Zilean lacks either kill pressure or pushing power since he only has one damage ability. This means he either pushes minions with it or tries to kill you. If he tries to kill you just buy Boots of Swiftness and you should be good. If he tries to just last-hit you can just pushhim in pre level 3 but be careful after then because Zilean is very good a supporting ganks with his CC so chill in lane if you don't know where the enemy jungler is

What about Tear/Archangel Staff and RoA? Back to Top

Most Karthus players like Tear of the Goddess3070.png and Rod of the Ages3027.png and I can understand why. Karthus does have mana issues and those items can solve these while giving other decent stats as well. Both items are great if you want very good late game stats in terms of damage and survivavility. They work very well to solo-carry and climb if you know what you are doing.

However I just can't identify with the mind-set of "1v9ing" and "screw my team I am the team now" which is why I go for a lot of early CDR to help with my ult as much as possible. In my opinion it is way easier to win games if the majority of the team - if not the entire team - has good scores which can be achieved by supporting them with many ults rather than few stronger ults. Especially late game the CDR kicks in very well since few deaths can be very decisive how the game ends.

If you want to solo-carry and don't care about your team (which is a good mind-set to climb; don't get me wrong) this guide will probably not suit you as much as classic Karthus.

F.A.Q about Karthus Back to Top

Nothing here yet since noone asked me anything so far (lol)

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