IntroductionThis is my first guide on SoloMid, and I must say it's a fun one.
First off, let me say that I'm not recommending that you go into solo queue doing this. I'm also not a top tier player by any means.
One day, I decided to take a stab at jungle Karthus in a normal game, and it turned out to be a LOT of fun, so I went more into it, trying different builds and such.
This guide is mainly for the player who's just looking for something new to try, most likely in a normal game. But if you get started and you really like it, definitely feel free to improve on it where you see fit and make jungle Karthus a force to be reckoned with in ranked.
MasteriesI use 0/21/9 with the teleport mastery in Utility.
Reason: I tried going with 9/0/21, but the fact is that you'll get melted pretty fast by the jungle alone. 0/21/9 gives you a better jungle sustain and also complements the tanky build that I favor more. More on that later.
NOTE: If you opt for Revive instead, switch tele mastery off and get the Revive mastery.
1/16/13: For the health mastery, smite, and some movement speed. Also more Utility Mastery if you want.
9/0/21: Definitely possible. However, you'll probably have to change the rune setup because you're really squishy. Also, if you're planning to go with this route, building yourself suicide AP would be the way to go.
9/21/0: Not recommended... the lack of EXP mastery gimps your jungle.
RunesMpen Reds: Pretty standard for any AP caster.
Armor Yellows: Standard for most junglers.
AP/level Blues: This is probably not the most optimal choice. It definitely helps with more damage endgame, but it doesn't particularly help early on in the jungle. You can try flat mana blues, though: that gives him a ton of base mana and the blue regens much more as a result.
Flat AP Quints: Also relatively standard for AP casters.
NOTE: I'm not a veteran player, and I don't have a whole lot of runes. If you (probably) have more than me, TRY THEM! I'm limited to what I have in my stock right now.
Smite is self-explanatory: Helps with clearing jungle fast, securing buffs, etc.
Teleport: This slot can actually go to a lot of things. It's all user preference.
If you want even more slow in addition to your Wall or just some more 1v1 power,
If you want to run faster to land a wall for ganks,
One of my favorites,
Can make sense on Karthus, because you can use your full 7 seconds in a teamfight to use Lay Waste, then revive-ult. Also, the speed boost and HP boost can be deadly when you catch people off guard.
Obviously, or are both good choices as well. Experiment, because this slot is actually very flexible.
Passive: Death Defied
Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form allowing him to continue casting spells while dead for 7 seconds.
What makes Karthus, Karthus. Do lots of damage when you die. If you plan to ult, MAKE SURE you do it before the timer locks you out. With a 3 second channel and a slight cast time, you should cast it somewhere before your Death Defied is half-done.
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.
Cost 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52mana
Your bread-and-butter skill for anything. Always spam it during your jungle phase. On buffs, pull the golem/lizard out and make sure you hit it ONLY. Obviously so it will do double damage. Also deals significant damage early game when ganking. Practice with it if you're not comfortable with it completely.
W: Wall of Pain
Creates a 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200 distance wide wall through target point. Reduces enemy armor and magic resistance by 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 and reduces movement speed by up to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%; debuff lasts 5 seconds. The wall lasts 7 seconds.
Get this at level 4 so that you can gank. It's very potent it ganks, slowing by a lot and reducing defenses. Practice with wall placement so you can use it more effectively in ganks.
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.
Does a lot of AOE damage, to put it short. Be careful when using this in the jungle, because it will drain your mana much faster than Lay Waste and at early levels, it doesn't do that much damage. Use it on wolves and wraiths, small golems/buffs if you have a lot of mana. If you're running low on mana, TURN IT OFF. Lay Waste costs little mana for its damage output, but is obviously slower, so you need to find that good balance between a fast jungle clear and keeping your mana up.
After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy champions (regardless of distance).
Cooldown 180 / 150 / 120 seconds
Cost 200 / 300 / 400 mana
Press R to win. I think everyone's familiar with this skill.
Skill OrderThis is the typical Karthus build, whether you're jungling or not.
Level Q whenever possible.
Level W at 4.
Level E after Q.
Level R whenever possible.
Item BuildsStarting items:
x6: My preferred build. The reason why I don't use the Cloth Armor build is because Cloth Armor doesn't actually build into anything useful for Karthus (except for a GA late late game, but you need item slots earlier). It speeds up his jungle quite a bit. You can kill wolves in the 15 seconds before blue spawns and still get blue.
: Works decently well. Start at blue, go wolves, wraiths, small golems, then red because your smite will be up by then. Depending on how you managed mana or your runes/masteries, you may have to pool or you may be able to gank.
: It's best to get this early so you can build stacks with Lay Waste. It also provides good mana and mana regen early game. Build this into an AA later.
: Karthus is very squishy. You don't want to keep buying HP pots to sustain yourself in the jungle, and this provides a very efficient means of sustaining yourself. Also gives AP.
: Usually what you want on an AP: Makes you do more damage.
: Also viable if you want the MR and CC reduction. Thing is, CC doesn't affect Karthus a whole lot because you want to be in the middle of the fight with your Defile on. CC doesn't stop Defile anyway. Still a good choice.
TANK BUILD vs. SUICIDE AP BUILD:
This is mainly preference. However, because I went 0/21/9, I like to take advantage of my tankyness to build Karthus with more health. This can also throw off opponents if they underestimate how much health you have.
: Gives health, mana, AP. What else could you want? Get this right after your core to get the stacks faster.
: Also adds a good chunk of health and is surprisingly effective on Karthus. Your E will be a huge nuisance to all enemies around you, and your Q will help you stick to an enemy like no other. (I think) Lay Waste counts as a single-target spell if you hit only one target, meaning that it will apply the full 40%. NOTE: This applies to Hextech Revolver as well. Hitting one unit (like a golem) with Lay Waste will consistently replenish about 40-45 health early on.
After this, you still want SOME AP so that you're not totally ignorable. These work:
Final tanky item can be lots of things:
(not recommended because you already have a ton of health)
SUICIDE AP BUILD: This is more typical of Karthus but you tend to die very fast in fights, essentially making you a champ that only presses R.
JunglingIf you start with :
Blue > Wolves > Wraiths > Small Golems > Red: Clears somewhere around the usual 4:00-4:30.
If you start with
Wolves > Blue > Wraiths > Small Golems > Red > Wolves: Finishes red at around 3:30-3:45.
Depending on how low you are, you may or may not be able to gank at 4. That's up to you.
Remember to manage your mana. Defile will consume lots of it, but it will also speed up your jungle. Use at your own discretion.
Lay Waste should always be used on a single target if possible. Examples include:
Small Golem (if you can land it)
You will need help if you want to take Dragon. Even by the time you get a Hextech Revolver, it will be tough to take on alone.
Obviously, use your Wall. It's a great slow with a large AOE and it decreases their defenses as well. Try to hit enemies alone with Lay Waste, and keep track of your mana so that you don't lose all of your mana with Defile.
Final CommentsAll in all, I had a lot of fun writing this guide. I didn't see any Jungle Karthus guides, so I thought it'd be fun to make one. Right now, most people think I'm trolling when I pick up smite on Karthus, but we end up winning. Follow this guide with an open mind, and change whatever you think will make it better.
Suggestions, comments, and criticisms are always welcome. Hopefully I'll see more people playing Jungle Karthus (so far: count = 0).
P.S. If you have any questions or anything like that, feel free to PM me in game: Acitropy