IntroductionFor your listening pleasure for this guide:
Credits to PlentaKill
Karthus. Just the name brings back so many memories of destructive ults and lost opportunities to win.
Karthus is the ultimate mage. There is no dispute. He will not be beat. For those of you who think he can, look in the wake of his ult and tell me otherwise.
This guide is geared towards those in lower levels of play and how to develop skills for higher levels of play once they level up. If you're looking at this guide and are raging because it's not the "2000 ELO" build you're so used to knowing, this guide is not meant to help the top players. Anyone at 2000 ELO doesn't need help. It is those who are in ELO Hell or those who are still leveling up and learning the game who need theses kinds of guides. I'm just giving them rough builds and ideas that can be variated for higher levels of play.
- High damage mage
- Ult that targets everything and almost assures damage
- Difficult to be ganked
- Great harass with skills
- If he dies, his passive allows him 7 more seconds of activity
- Easy to get fed with him
- Consumes mana really easily
- Easily countered in lane
- Needs a strong team to be effective in team fights and such
Karthus is pretty much the strongest AP mid in the game right now. If you have ever seen him in action, you'll pretty much know why. His Q does massive damage even at low levels, and his kit just allows him to pretty much control the direction of any team fight. With few negatives about him, Karthus is worth getting the hang of. If you haven't already added him to your repertoire of champs, you should probably start now.
MasteriesRight now, these Masteries are uber-tentative.
Not much has really changed in the masteries. One of the major changes that I'd like to bring up is that I'm no longer putting points into the Swiftness (now Wanderer) Mastery. While extra movement speed is nice, the new Wanderer Mastery only applies if you're out of combat, and let's face it, Karthus is ALWAYS in combat. So since this movespeed buff won't be applying much, I've decided to my extra four points elsewhere.
I've now invested my points into the now-lower-tier Mastermind and the new mastery Artificer. I would have loved to have had Mastermind in the old Utility Tree, but it was too high-tier of a mastery to reach viably. Now that it's lower-tier, it can be reached more comfortably, and it's a mastery you MUST HAVE. Cooldowns on both Flash for escaping and positioning and Teleport for ganking hard. Artificer is an interesting mastery as it reduces the cooldown on your items that you have to activate to use. The only item this applies to for Karthus is Zhonya's Hourglass , which does have a reasonably short cooldown, but it somehow just never showed up at the right moment. Hopefully, the cooldown on the item will have a lasting effect on how often it pops up.
But again, this is all theory.
RunesI try to run a full offense Karthus.
Magic Pen. Marks
AP per level Seals
Flat AP Gyphs
Flat AP Quints
This set up maximizes Karthus's damage output as well as gear him up to have the edge over most mid champs. This is helpful for both Early and Late Game dominance.
I just take for trivial reasons. Kill off stragglers, quick escape. One of the cool things to do with Karthus is to turn on and then just over a wall into a team fight. It's the "Fiddlesticks Effect" as I like to call it, only much more prolonged and dangerous (JK don't really do this unless it's really necessary, otherwise it's a waste of a Flash).
is for those cases during Early Game when I just cannot stay in lane no matter what I do. Go back to base, heal up, back to the nearest tower in your lane and not miss a beat of farm. Also include the fact that you are able to gank any lane you want without actually having to travel there. Your R could do the trick, but use for those up close and personal ganks.
Other Spells to Consider:
-Ignite definitly helps with those guys trying to escape. This is definitely handy for whittling down people into the "ult killing" zone. Also for trivial purposes like annoying Tryndameres and Mundos . Change your masteries to get Summoner's Wrath if you decide to get Ignite.
-Exhaust is helpful for setting up good ganks. Especially in Early Game, laying down a wall every time you want a gank from the jungler can be costly on your mana, and could cost you a big play. This is also more helpful for landing easier and allow it to do more damage.
-Karthus does tend to be very squishy Early Game. If you are a newer player and you tend to over extend, take this in order to save yourself from trouble. If you're more experienced with the game, other options are more viable.
-A bit helpful in most cases when you're checking for people to blast with your . Check often for MIA players who either have run away or are waiting to gank you. Will I get this every single game? No. Does it help in general? Yes, just incase your Support is being a dick and doesn't want to take CV.
NEVER get These Spells:
-The passive for will refund a portion of mana frequently, so if you can focus on last hitting with either or your auto attack, shouldn't matter.
-I don't really like Jungle Karthus. He's a better mid.
-I wouldn't recommend this only because Karthus shouldn't be the one chasing people down unless they're right next to him. Let your AD Carries handle that.
Passive: Death Defied
Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells while dead for 7 seconds.
I personally think that this is the scariest part about Karthus. Once he dies, he has 7 seconds to do as much damage as possible. In addition, the ring will automatically appear around him and still deal damage in the circle.
In the 7 seconds of your passive, your spells cost no mana, so as long as they aren't on cool down, feel free to use them. In some cases, you may want to intentionally kill yourself just because you're out of mana and you can't activate your until now.
What you should usually do in this time period is make the person who killed you feel as much pain as possible. Once you die, your ring appears. Throw down your to slow their escape, then start spamming in their face and hope that they die. You can't move in this state, so it is important that you land each Q very carefully.
As far as a team fight goes, if you do happen to die, have your teammates try to keep the battle close to or in your circle. This may coordinate better if you're in a premade team, but if you can tell your allies to coordinate with you, do it.
Unless you know you can kill some people, I would strongly advise against using during this period. Just pressing R just guarantees damage. If there's no one on the map even close to dying, refrain from using it.
Q: Lay Waste
Creates a delayed blast at Karthus' cursor position. After 0.5 seconds, deals 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to each nearby enemy, this deals double damage if it hits only a single unit.
Cooldown: 1 second
Cost: 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52mana
During Early Game, this is your main farming tool.
One mistake that new Karthus players make is trying to use this on groups of minions. Don't. It is highly inefficient. If you focus this on one minion at a time, the minion will receive more damage, and you're more likely to receive the last hit gold and mana refund. This way you won't be struggling to squeeze out mana for every Q you need and also have mana to spare to avoid ganks with your abilities.
This is a great tool for harassing your enemy mid champion, as Karthus's Q is infamous for being unexpected. The mere sight and sound of usually will make players run backwards, making your Q miss. A trick is to expect this when you're attacking a champion. Aim behind them so they'll reactively run backwards into it.
The radius of damage this does is actually relatively large considering its animation size. This can work for and against you. If you're trying to target one single champion, make sure that nothing else is remotely close to him or else the effectiveness decreases.
W: Wall of Pain
Creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall through target point. Reduces magic resistance by 15% and reduces movement speed by up to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%; debuff lasts 5 seconds. The wall lasts 5 seconds.
Cooldown: 22 seconds
Cost: 100 mana
Wall of Pain is deceptively scary. It slows you AND lowers your opponent's defensive capabilities. This is very helpful for bashing tanky champs or those that are hard to hit with your .
If you feel very pushed in your lane, you can lay this on the enemy mid and start chasing him with your Q and E. This will scare him off real fast if it doesn't kill him. Especially helpful in the early stages of the game.
In Team Fights, you want to land this on as many enemies as possible, so your team can rush in and wreck them all. We'll talk more about Team Fighting with Karthus later, as he is rather an interesting figure.
Once you get , this skill synchronizes with this item incredibly. In team fights, you are almost required to lay this down to have the upper hand. Slowing them opens them up to the extra 10% ignite set up by .
Toggle Off: When Karthus kills a unit, he restores 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 mana.
Toggle On: Drains 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 Mana to deal 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 (+25% of ability power) damage to nearby enemies each second.
A ridiculously strong AOE spell. Another reason to fear the Karthus.
This has two parts to it:
First off, when this move is turned off, it can give you extra mana for every last hit you perform. This could mean Karthus could stay in lane indefinitely if played correctly.
Secondly, and most importantly, this can be used to literally destroy masses of anything. Waves of minions? No sweat. Walk in and pop E. Massive team fight? No problem. Walk in and pop E. In team fights, you'll want to have this on and follow the team fight wherever it goes to do as much damage as possible. Use this in combination with other skills, and you can dominate any team fight.
With this skill, Karthus is very "anti-melee". What idiot wants to stand inside that circle just to deal damage to you? If you can keep them engaged enough, you can keep them within the circle long enough to land plenty of on them and hopefully it'll be a 1 for 1 trade.
After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).
Cooldown: 200 / 180 / 160 seconds
Cost: 200 / 300 / 400 mana
The infamous potential pentakilling ult.
TBH, this ult is actually really hard to time well. Karthus is a champ that requires the player to have really good map awareness. If you're not careful, you could wind up wasting your ult, doing minimal damage, and then have to wait a whole cool down cycle before you can use it again. At lower levels, you should definitely be using this skill more conservatively, using it only for those opportune moments where the enemy literally only has 100-200 health left, for your ult doesn't really do much damage despite its effectiveness. At higher levels, then you can start using this more freely as this skill can potentially wipe out half a health bar.
One reason why people get annoyed with Karthus is that in order for Karthus to function well, he needs to kill steal. If you see an enemy being beaten to a pulp by one or more of your allies, pop your ult. Kill him before they do. When the said enemy is at a third of their health, you should probably ult then. That is the easiest way to get fed. After you get fed, then you can let your friends have some kills.
So most likely, people are going to be ulting when they're dead and they're passive goes on. That's perfectly fine. Karthus is probably the best revenge-killer in the game. However, I would like to note that in death, you only have about a 3-4 second window of opportunity to ult. Since your ult takes 3 seconds to channel, you will be unable to ult when you simply do not have 3-4 seconds left in your passive to spare. So either A) ult at the beginning of your passive period, or B) ult at the very end after you have dealt some damage. Both take intense timing and messing up your ult, well, could be fatal.
I think it's also very important to note that your ult cancels when you die. Even though Karthus goes into passive mode when he dies, his ult doesn't carry over. So when you ult, make sure you're not wide open for an attack. When you're ulting, foes have a three second window of opportunity to strike you down, which is very easy to do. So don't put yourself into situations like this.
Also, beware of potential heals that the enemy could have. For example, you might not want to ult the bot lane Ranged Carry if the Support is there. If you do, the Support can heal and/or shield him from any potential harm you could do to him, thus a wasted ult. can cause a potential problem for you too. They can heal right before your ult to a point where you'll be doing minimal damage to them.
For these reasons, Soraka is the bane of your existence (if you know about her, you'll immediately know why), but we'll talk about dealing with her later.
- Your is your ultimate. Get levels in that whenever possible.
- is your major farming tool as well as your main source of damage when your ult is on cool down. Max this first.
- is great for team fights as well as keeping melee attackers at bay or dead. Max this second.
- is extremely effective even at level 1. Max this last after a point at Level 4 or 3 depending on the situation.
- -The Boots-Pots starter is great IMO for laning against skillshot champions like or , who literally have to take a chance, aim at you, and hope it hits. Since a lot of mid mage champs are like this, I like this starter because it allows you to dodge most of their main sources of damage, while still being able to dish out your own. The can then build into and then your Q will be able to deliver more damage quickly.
- -I usually don't take this unless I know I'm gonna get screwed over. This includes champions that can just combo you into oblivion, such as or , who don't really have to rely on skillshots to do their work. 180 extra health will put you ahead of most other mid champs, being able to take more hits. This can easily build towards a , a useful item to keep for a while and eventually build towards a .
- -I've started to experiment with this and this is somewhat of a good starter set. You may be trading in your move speed to dodge skillshots, but in return you're getting better sustain, mana sustain included. You can afford to take a bit of punishment as well as deal out a bit more punishment as well. I've been able to stay in lane as late as Lv. 9 with this starter, which by then, I was able to buy a or at least and something that builds into RoA. And the ward helps out a bunch early since Karthus is prone to ganks pre-Lv. 4.
Early Game Items:
The goal of Early Game items is to increase your survivability and Utility. Let's face it, Karthus can't do much without blowing a huge amount of mana during Early Game.
- gives you extra Magic Pen and Move Speed.
- gives you extra durability for Early Game. Plus, this builds into .
Mid Game Items:
WAIT A MINUTE! I'M DOING WELL!
- - If you are extremely fed already and you don't see this turning into a potentially bad situation any time soon, get this. Grants a massive AP boost per kill and CDR for reaching 20 stacks. A reasonable demand when you're fed. Though if you're not at least 7/0 at the 15 minute mark, this might not be the item worth getting.
- - Very good on Karthus. Spell Vamp will help your survivability in lane by miles. Gives your allies some love as well. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to buy this, but if you can afford to buy at least a in one sitting, it is well worth the buy.
If you're not massively fed or just doing average...
It's time to start making AP items.
- Because you have , the easiest thing to build into right now is . This gives you more durability, the passive of Catalyst, and at max stacks 80 extra AP.
- When building your , I would usually wait until I have enough money for a first, then second. When you finally do get your Deathcap, you will start to become a destructive force in all your fights, if you haven't already.
- Situational: -If at any time you feel screwed over by other AP carries dominating the scene, this is the item to get NOW. You should probably start working on this relatively early on, buying a probably right before you buy your RoA, but not necessarily completing it until after your deathcap.
Late Game Items:
You can get these in either order, but you need these items.
- gives Magic Penetration, and a lot of it at that. With Void Staff, all your moves will be dealing a crapload of damage, especially your , which will have a 9 out of 10 chance of killing a weak target.
- -A very popular, yet expensive item. Makes you invulnerable for 2 seconds, but you can't move in that time. Grants the second largest amount of AP in the game and also a decent amount of Armor. For Karthus, you will want to position yourself in the middle of a team fight, dive bomb into it, turn on and then activate . A great way to do some damage without taking any yourself. I find myself building this item a lot, since Karthus is constantly in the heat of team fights in Late Game.
Analyze your enemy team. What do you need more?
- -I dare say, this item is probably now an AP Caster staple now. It's passive is absolutely vicious: it takes away 5% of a targets health over time every time Karthus deals spell damage. Even more so, if you manage to slow them with your , the damage dealt doubles! And to think that you'd be continually applying this damage when your is on! This is a decent item on Karthus (so many nerfs to it though) and it's worth considering if not already a must.
- -So why did I demote from a necessary item to an optional item? Simply put, I found myself not really needing the extra health. Items like and the new way outclass this item in utility and damage output, and defensively, resistances cover a lot more ground than health does. However, do not think that this item is completely useless. It actually has great synchronization with , as now EVERY spell deals a slow and consequently the additional 10% damage drain. And +500 Health and 80 AP is nothing to sniff at either.
- -I would usually get this item if I was doing really well. It grants a decent amount of AP, but it also gives CDR, so your ult will show up more often. A great Late Game item for Karthus IMO.
- -Abyssal Scepter for Karthus is really for circumstances when there is a lot of AP Nuke damage on the other team. It grants Magic Resist to counter that problem. It also gives you a massive offensive edge as it reduces the MR of surrounding enemies also. Wreck in team fights.
Pure Defensive Items:
These defensive items are just good to have on any champion. These few may just benefit Karthus more, whether it gives him more mana to spam off or wicked defensive bonuses.
- -Gives health, mana, and a free Spell Shield every so often. A great item to have if you're constantly in the heat of team fights.
- -Extra mana plus second highest Armor in the game. AS slow for people who try to come up close on you.
- -Gives you a second chance to wreck and deal more damage, even only if momentarily.
Early GameNo matter which starter items you get, your main goal as AP mid is to get all the farm possible. This includes last hitting with either your or your auto attack. Try not to push too hard, because if the enemy jungler decides to show up and you haven't got a to spare, you will pretty much be screwed. Karthus has no true escape, so the very best scenario is that he has to burn a lot of Mana to scare people off or he has to burn , neither of which you want to do.
Try to harass the enemy champion as much as possible. You can place under their feet to disrupt their farm or hurt them a bit. Like I said before, people run in reaction to the sound of your , and with it only on a 1 second cool down, its appearance is unexpected.
Then again, know your own limitations and know when to back off. The strange thing about Karthus is that if he dies before he hits Lv. 6, he's pretty much useless. So try not to have this happen:
If the enemy champion is pushing really hard, throw down your , chase them a bit to deal some damage, then back off, unless you can ensure the kill. If you manage to make them return back to base, you have done your job and disrupted their farm. if not, hey, you can start killing them again.
Ask your jungler for blue constantly. Karthus can be a very aggressive champion, so grabbing blue will ensure that you won't run out of mana so easily.
I tend to spam a bunch, and situations call for using and , all of which burn mana easily. Part of the reason why I bring is so I can go back to base, buy a few items, and spring right back into the action ready to go with no fear of your ult not having enough mana.
You'll get your at Level 6, and as tempting as it is to press R whenever you want, don't. You need to make sure you can get the kill for yourself. Your ult isn't that strong yet, so don't go wasting it on a tank at full health. You need to develop good map awareness. Look at top and bot lane often for any enemies that might be low on health. If you think you can finish the job, do it. If you need a checklist to see what to consider, here's what I usually consider before I ult:
- Is the enemy tanky? If yes, do not ult.
- Does he have or Support next to him? If yes, do not ult.
- Is he running away? If no, do not ult.
- Is there any possible chance that I will get kill stolen? If yes, do not ult.
Don't ult tanks unless they're at a really, really low health. If the enemy has a heal, they will see your ult and heal right before it happens. If they're not running away, that means they know they can survive your ult somehow. If you get kill stolen, you will neither pick up the kill nor the assist.
Also, announce to your teammates when you have an ult ready. They may want you to ult, and you have no idea why, but do it anyways. Your teammates may see a potential kill target that you may not be able to see. You may land the kill, you might not. It definitely is a gamble. Use good judgement in using your ult.
The main goal of Karthus in Early Game is to get kills by any means necessary. If it means kill stealing and raging teammates, forget about them. You're freaking Karthus. If you get fed this early in the game, you've pretty much ensured yourself the victory if no one does anything stupid.
Mid GameI think Mid game for Karthus starts when he gets to Lv. 11, when he get the second level of his ult. At this stage, Karthus is allowed to operate more freely without any real fear of wasting mana or skills.
You might want to consider roaming around to other lanes if you're not doing so already. If there are huge masses of minions sieging a tower, rush there, turn on , and mow them over. You get massive amounts of gold and you can save a tower.
Team fights are bound to ensue at this point in the game. Try your best not to be the one that starts it. Instead, if your team wants to force a team fight, make sure your tank initiates. After your tank starts creating havoc, lay down your , walk in the fight with on, and start blasting people with . Works almost every single time. In the eventuality that you do happen to die, if your team is still engaged in the fight and doing relatively well, do not be afraid to use to weaken the enemy team at least. You may not be able to get the kills, but you will get the assists if your team keeps pushing.
At this point in the game, you should be the one outputting the most damage on the team, save maybe for your AD Carry. Your can blow up a squishy champion in about 8-10 hits, your should wipe out waves of minions clean in seconds. Your should be getting you double kills, if not quadras or pentad.
Team fights are gonna be more or less the same, but if you're building a , you can spend the first few seconds of your invulnerability with on just dealing damage at no expense to your survivability.
Karthus tends to be very "high risk, high reward", meaning that in team fights, a LOT of people are going to be focusing him to take down the fastest, because when you're around, you will melt through their team. I always find myself dying a lot in this stage of the game, where I enter Late Game about 15/2/14 and end the game at around 29/14/23. Though a risky gamble, having you out of the way means they won't run the risk of being ulted in team fights. Just be wary of the fact that even if your tank initiates the team fight, people are gonna get smart enough to bypass him and charge straight at you.
If your enemies got smart and built MR, a and a will quickly solve those problems for you.
Elixir up, push, win. GG.
Team FightsI've explained briefly about your role in team fights throughout the guide, but I'll take this section to explain it in full depth.
The most important thing in team fights is to not die unnecessarily. If you lose one guy because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, you do not need to go and help him. Better to lose one man than a whole team.
But let's say your team isn't as dumb as the picture above. Below is the ideal situation you want to have team fights happen.
If your tank is doing his job to keep the other team engaged and focusing him, you should be right behind him, the second one on your team to enter the fight.
Line up your to make sure that it hits as many enemies as possible. This will make them easier targets for you and your teammates to kill.
Once you've done all this, you and your teammates should engage, for all the groundwork has been set to ensure that the odds turn in your favor. Turn on your and charge in. Target squishies with your to ensure maximum damage. Your allies should be getting in a few kills as well.
There may or may not be a few stragglers left with a measly amount of health left. So what do you do?
YOU ULT THE MOTHAF***AS!!!
Dodging Requiem: Know These People WellI know, right? Karthus's ult can be dodged. And it is just the most annoying thing in the world when you know you've done pretty much bet everything on this one ult only to have it dodged by the person you're trying to kill.
I'm not talking about characters that can heal themselves out of your ult, such as some supports of the use of . I'm talking about those that can just plain avoid it.
Avoiding Karth's ult is a matter of timing. If champs can't time their skills right, they risk being hit by your ult. Learn or approximate the cool downs of each of their abilities to know how you can find an opening for a perfect ult. In most cases, ulting right after they just used such an ability is a good idea, for most of the cool downs for these skills take longer than 3 seconds.
Anyways, here's a list of people that can completely avoid getting hit by your ult.
-Her Spell Shield blocks your ult and gives her Mana.
-His Shroud of Darkness blocks your ult, and also increases his Attack Speed.
-He can use his Sanguine Pool to dodge your ult.
-Two second invulnerability is all she needs to block all your damage from your ult. And she can even cast it on high value targets that you want to ult, but can't since they're protected.
-In her Spider Mode, she can disappear up into the air. Then she can land on you after you've ulted to finish you off.
-Playful/Trickster makes him untargettable, and therefore nullifying your ult. He has to be pretty exact though, as he can only stay that way for half a second.
-Annoying as heck, Diplomatic Immunity grants her, well, immunity from your ult for a LOOOOONGGG time provided she has targeted a champ other than you. The only limitation to this is that she has to target a champion other than you, otherwise, this trick of her's won't fly.
-Blade Waltz allows her to be untargettable, so she can dodge your ult, however, she's probably only gonna be doing this in a team fight, and you can still hit her with your E . Like Poppy, she also needs a champ to target for this to work for her.
-Alpha Strike is a shorter lasting version of Fiora's Blade Waltz, but it still has the same effect, though even though Yi can target anybody using this trick and still dodge you, the duration varies depending on the amount of enemies there are, and even then, it is still a short time.
-Twisted Advance works the same way, needs to target someone, stays untargettable until the move is complete. Though Maokai aren't usually smart enough to dodge your ult in this way, it is still possible.
And then here are some special cases. These guys can't block your ult, but they definitely have ways to survive it.
-Her passive Rebirth gives her a second life, so even though your ult may kill her, you have to kill her egg as well. There goes your ult.
-Undying Rage gives him invincibility almost, and for 5 seconds, he could be using the time when you're ulting to smash you to pieces.
The other champions not on this list may choose to itemize against you.
-Has a Spell Shield to block your ult, and frequently too. I suggest using your other skills to bring down the Spell Shield first and then ulting.
-Grants immunity and they can't be targeted by your ult.
Suicide Karthus: The Methodology in Today's Most Controversial TacticThere's been a lot of debate over the validity of a "Suicide Karthus". It seems like a good idea, but is it really?
The main premise behind Suicide Karthus is the abuse of his passive . Kathus charges in, dies, and makes the enemies too engaged to escape his black hole of despair. This works surprisingly well, and it mirrors the tactics of Karthus's team fight role.
But some people take this as "Karthus is supposed to die" or " Die and press R". Ladies and Gentlemen Cho'Gaths, this is the complete wrong way of thinking.
Why a True Suicide Karthus Never Works
- You will wind up feeding.
Those deaths you give off feed the enemy champions. It's giving yourself as bait, and they will always take it.
- Your time of effectiveness in team fights decrease.
If the goal of Karthus was to die, he would only have his ring for 7 seconds, and then the ring turns off. When he dies, his range becomes limited to his circle, and the team fight will not always be in that circle. By playing Karthus a little bit safer, you are able to keep on for longer and be able to move where the team fight is moving.
How to Play Suicide Karthus
Suicide Karthus is tricky. If you're intent on playing Suicide Karthus, there has to be an aspect of "trading", meaning for your death, your team kills 3 enemies, or something like that. To ensure something like this happens, here are some tips.
- Synchronize with another ally.
Champs like , who are good at keeping enemies confined in one area, are good for Suicide Karthus to just pop in there and wreak havoc. For example, if you and Jarvan can be trapped inside with a couple other enemies, you could very well die, but putting yourself in that danger allows you to deal up close maximum damage.
- Dive into an enemy team composition in way that disrupts the team.
If you can barrel straight down the middle of a mass of enemy champs and target the squishies, you know you're gonna die, but you can at least disrupt their movement in a team fight, because they don't want to be anywhere near that circle of death. The result is either the squishy carries have to sit the team fight out or they risk getting killed by you. A good method of doing so is flashing in the middle of the fray so that you encompass their entire team.
- I'm out of mana!
Judge what situation you are in. There are very few circumstances where you just do not have the mana to pull off the perfect ult, or maybe it's in the middle of a team fight, and you are of no use whatsoever because you have no mana. This is the only situation where it is acceptable to give yourself up intentionally when in reality you could still live a little bit longer. So go ahead and dive yourself into that turret or pack of enemies. Then make them pay for it by spamming out all your skills and ult at the end of it.
- is a must.
You've probably seen champs like Kennen and Morgana do something similar with their ults. They pop in, turn Zhonya's on, and as the enemies try to kill them, they just wasted 2 seconds trying to kill something that can't be killed, all while they're taking massive damage. You can use this method similarly with Karthus's , as you can waltz right into a battle, turn on Zhonya's, and watch the enemy team scramble, not knowing what to do. Best of all, this is almost a surefire way of making sure you don't get killed in the process. Arguably, diving without is asking for trouble.
- You know you're gonna die in a team fight.
You're not invincible. Sometimes it's just better to bring on the inevitable and take a death. Hopefully your team will rush in at the right moment when you die while you prepare a vicious ult to bring their demise.
Soraka: The Bane of Your Existence
While not in particular a real threat, if she's built properly, you will be rendered useless.
Not only does she have a regular supply of heals and mana restores for her team and a Silence, but she too has a global ult that affects all players, but on her team. Her allows her to heal every single member on her team, no matter how far away they are.
Hey, that kinda sounds like your ult, only her ult heals people, your ult kills. If you're not already seeing the big picture, once you try to use your to try and kill a low opponent, she can use her to heal him. What's more is that it doesn't require a 3 second channel like yours does. Once the red marker appears over her head, she will be notified of the impending danger and use her ult to reduce, if not negate, the damage of . Thought you could kill that straggler trying to run away? Not anymore.
Fret not, she can be beaten at this game easily.
- Chances are, she's not going strict AP like you are.
She's not known to be the carry. What she usually starts out with is trying to get and . From Early to Mid Game, she will mostly be focusing on Aura items, such as and . Only at Late Game will she attempt to go for any sort of AP at all, like getting and possibly a , but that's only much later in the game. By Late Game, your AP should be at an average of about 450-550 AP, doing way more damage than she would be healing at this point.
- Once is on cool down, you're free to cast for a while.
Though she will try to make her cool down to a minimum, once she casts , you can be assured at least a 50-60 second window of opportunity to lay some damage down.
- She can't ult if she's dead.
That's rather unlike you. If she dies, you can ult freely and there will be no source of heal for her team.
- Soraka is fairly fragile.
No matter how much MR or health she builds, you should be able to blast her apart given the opportunity. She can't heal that much.
Why I find it hard to choose Karthus in ranked right now...I'm gonna end this guide like this: Karthus is not what he used to be. I wrote this guide in the middle of Season 2, back when Karthus was the most OP thing on earth. Now since then, he's been through some minor nerfs, but the thing that's really hurt him is the new wave of champions that have knocked the meta off of its feet. Slowly, Karthus became a situational character for me.
Here's the reasons why:
- He's countered in mid lane by almost EVERYONE.
Let's list all the mid laners that I've seen that can completely knock out Karthus flat.
There are three reasons why these guys counter Karthus: range, damage, and combos. There are laners who outrange Karthus, and he can do nothing about it except "attempt" to ult their faces off, probably in failure. Karthus can be subject to hard zoning by these champs, making it hard for him to farm. There are also laners who just plain outdamage Karthus in a 1v1 situation, and who furthermore, can prevent Karthus from dealing damage to them. And finally, Karthus's skills only arbitrarily link together in the heat of a team fight, while everyone else's can naturally combo together causing a chain of destruction.
- Supports can protect their AC Carries in a way that prevents you from killing them.
Burst heal supports, emergency extra health, along with shields and magic guards. ADC's have enough protection behind them from their allies to guard against your ults. Heck, they can even defend themselves without their teammates. Some ways to name a few: .
- A good team to synchronize with Karthus is hard to find.
In all seriousness, Karthus is a team fighter. He has 1v1 potential, but his real strength comes from team fights. My best Karthus games came from team mates who knew how to exploit Karthus's AOE control and knew which enemies to target for my ults. But this was hard to accomplish with the wrong characters. I've pretty much won every game with a good Jarvan IV and Amumu jungle, same goes for decent MFs and awesome Nunus . However, Karthus cannot compliment single target damage teams as well as he can. Even though you may be able to kill objective targets such as the ADC with ease, it will be harder to handle the rest of their team comp who is probably throwing all their damage at your whole team while you try to focus down one little squishy ADC, who are now becoming evasive little buggers nowadays. And while your team overextends trying to focus one guy, all of you are getting shot down by the rest of the team.
Even just a balanced team comp of focus damage and continuous large AOE damage would help Karthus become more useable in team fights. But nowadays, especially in the lower ladders, people are so concerned with focusing one guy that they forget the bigger picture. And in lower ladders, people tell you to focus not one, but three people at a time, and that's not called focusing if you're trying to hit three people...
It has come to the point where I now value being the last pick as a mid, being able to truly judge the situation of whether or not you're gonna get slaughtered in lane or even if Karthus is a good pick for your team right now. I'll pick Karthus on occasions when I have a neutral lane match up and good teammates that can synergize with my abilities. But those occasions are rare now...
Final CommentsAgain, I'm definitely not the best Karthus player in the world, but I hope that you at least learned how to play Karthus correctly if you're new to him, or that you at least think that he's more than just pressing R.
Feel free to give constructive criticism of the guide and help me improve it. I'm open to POSITIVE suggestions.