Strategy and Tactics - by Fire

This is my build that I've used successfully versus skilled players, and mediocre players alike. Any feedback is welcome.


Karthus is a magic based hero who is a very strong champion for lane control as well as pushing. His Zues-Like ultimate is also extremely useful for killing those kids who flash away with one hit. He also can cast spells for up to 10 seconds after his death, making him even more viable in team fights, or fighting off pushes.


Lay waste:
 Karthus unleashes a delayed blast a location, dealing damage to nearby enemies.

Wall Of Pain:
 Creates a walk-through wall through the target point. Any enemy units that walk through the wall have their movement speed, armor, and magic resistance reduced.

While defile is toggled on, karthus drains his mana to deal continual damage to nearby enemies. While toggled off, each last hit restores mana.

After a 3 second channel, karthus damages all enemy champions. (Regardless of distance)

Skill Build

1.Lay waste
2.Wall of Pain
3.Lay waste
4.Defile (For regaining mana)
5.Lay waste
7.Lay waste
8.Wall of pain
9.Lay waste
10.Wall of pain
12.Wall of Pain
13.Wall of Pain

Skill Build 2

1.Lay waste
3.Lay waste
5.Lay waste
7.Lay waste
9.Lay waste
10.Wall of pain
12.Wall of pain
15.Wall of pain
17.Wall of pain
18.Wall of pain


I use this build for early kills/harassing. Get used to pushing Q a lot. Lay waste is pretty much your core skill that will get you kills when used with wall of pain. Wall of pain is extremely useful early, as the higher the rank is, the slower they are, and less magic resistance they have. This makes your skill Lay Waste much easier to hit almost 100% of the time after they walk through the wall. Perfect for early kills, warding off early pushes, and making sure heroes don't get away. Defile is a very strong skill, but it's more useful toward mid-late game, due to the fact by then you'll have a good amount of AP as well as a bigger mana pool. Once again, this build is personal preference, others may prefer defile or high levels of Wall of pain.

As for skillbuild 2, I used this while soloing during several games and found it to be extremely useful. It allows you to last hit all day with lay waste, and never run out of mana. It is also very effective for easier farm to become stronger quicker, gold should be flowing in. The early levels of defile make good for mana regen as well as early chase with defile toggled on/lay waste. Boots are very crucial early with this build, as often times it can lead to kills. This build is mainly for lasting in a lane a long time as solo. The near infinite mana makes your lane control almost unmatched, unless going against sivir or some stupid 2v1 combo. I recommend the more experienced players try this build.

I generally get these items nearly every time.

To start, get Doran's ring and a Health potion.

Old item build: Sorceress shoes, tear, abyssal scepter, archangel's staff, zohnya's ring.

Used this in my early days of karthus, seemed to be quite an effective pub/noob stomper. Lacks survivability though.

Primary item build: Then I get the items in this order: Sorceress Shoes, Tear of the goddess, Rod of ages, archangel's staff, zohnya's ring.
A more well rounded item build with lots of spell power and more survivibility than my previous build.

Optional items:
 Abyssal scepter, mejars soul stealer

 Some people prefer getting tear as first item, however I do not. Simply because getting boots as early as I do, is perfect for getting early lay waste kills, due to the fact with wall and lay waste and boots, it's nearly impossible for them to make it away alive. But, if you're not too good with lay waste, and unable to hit targets that are trying to juke you, then tear could be a good first item, it's really your playstyle and skill level with karthus that factors in on the item build. Try either build, and see which you like better.

If it's going to be a close/long game, i tend to get rod of ages early.

 If you need more hitpoints, or are having trouble staying alive, add items as necessary. Personally, if i'm having trouble against melee dps I get sunfire cape, it adds a good amount of HP, armor, and it's DPS aura stacks with defile, but only get it if they're a problem. i.e. if 3 melee dps focus you down each fight get it, if they focus your tanks or other dps, then it is not a necessary item.

You can also get frozen heart, for a big chunk of armor, reduced cooldown on your ultimate, and slowing attackers speed. But if survivability is not an issue, you can skip these two items.


Doran's ring is a great starter item, and boots first is vital for early wall of pain/lay waste chase and kills. As soon as you get tear of the goddess, you should spam creep waves with lay waste, to make your farm far more easier, and to gain a bigger mana pool. Abyssal scepter is vital as well because lowering enemies resistance while you chase them with defile it amazing, and it stacks with your wall of pain debuff. The other items just increase your overall damage and make your defile and ult amazing.

Masteries/Summoner Spells

To be honest, I'm really lazy and I keep the same mastery spec. 21/0/9. So if you were to spec into something like utility just to play karthus, you'd probably have a easier time, but I don't, so it definitely isn't a requirement. As for summoner spells, I use Clairvoyance, because having sight around you is a easy way to avoid death. Having sight of everything around you for a large distance is such a huge advantage on any hero, so I recommend using it. The other summoner spell is purely your choice, I simply use smite, because I'm specced for the extra gold, and it's the same as having a hand of midas, just some extra income.


I suppose this part depends, as someone said in this thread, tank runes are best. I recently tried this and loved it. I stacked HP runes, armor runes, cooldown runes, magic resist runes, etc. Pretty much any tank build you can, that way you can focus more on AP items to own heroes much easier.

Early Game

Harass with lay waste, but don't be too aggressive. Don't take obscene amounts of damage just to damage them slightly. You can also use lay waste to last hit. Be sure to cast wall of pain directly behind your enemies and then hit them with lay waste. This is a very useful tactic and can often times get you a kill, firstblood, or force them to go heal.

Mid Game

By now you should be working on abyssal scepter. In mid game you should be ganking with wall of pain very often. Also, by this point you should have tear of the goddess, so feel free to spam creep waves with lay waste for better farm and to increase your mana pool. Don't be a idiot and tower dive a full hp hero with you and another hero. Plan your ganks, look for oppurtune moments for kills. If you gank enough, this should help your team to push towers, or help your carries to farm. It will also help you acquire your items much faster.

Late Game

This is when you start to use defile every team fight, or solo fight. By now you should have your Sunfire Cape, and Archangel's staff. Once again, wall of pain, and run near them with defile up, continue to cast your lay waste spells as you run near them with defile. Never run in and just put defile on, hoping to kill someone. Make sure a tank initiates so that you can do a good amount of damage with defile and wall of pain.

Creep Buffs

Getting the golem buff for lich is effective. In short it makes him amazingly strong at any point in the game. Early game the extra mana regen is crucial. Mid game you can keep defile on longer in fights while your mana pool is lower and late game the 25% cooldown reduction virtually increases your single target damage output by 20% or so as laywaste hits like a truck on single targets. Its fairly easy to creep the golem solo after you have your archangels staff.


Do not be afraid to be aggressive early. If you practice, and become accurate with lay waste it can be a brutal harass element. If you have a choice in lanes, either do solo, or, if you don't have that option, or are less skilled, try to lane with a hero that has a snare. Snare / Lay waste early game should be very easy to kill the enemy champion. If not kill, it should at least be a strong enough harass to keep them from farming or pushing, and can often lead to early tower kills.

In team fights, always cast wall of pain behind the group of enemies, or in front of them, if it blocks the entrance to your base, or blocks melee off from the tower. Because chances are, they'll run into it either way, slowing them and decreasing their magic resistance, making your team's spells cause more damage, and making them all easy to kill.

Also, when you die, do not forget to spam whatever spells you have. If you have enough mana, and defile is a high rank, and the enemies are fighting right where you died, put on defile and continually spam lay waste under the enemies around you. Cast requiem while dead if the cooldown is up only if it will help your team get a kill, or if it will get you a kill.

Lastly, pay attention to your minimap. Look for your teammates chasing heroes past towers, this can often be the sign of a hero almost dying. Do not KS, but simply cast your ult if the enemy hero is about to get away. Also look at enemy heroes if they kill one of your team mates, they can also be a few hits away from dead.

671days since
Season One launched

Guides Database Editors Stratics More Wikis

Recommended Sites
Stratics TGN Live THEGAMENET Official League of Legends site Lords Online Napoleonic War

Recent site activity

Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Remove Access|Powered By Google Sites