Karthus - Guide / Discussion - by Bloodba7h

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Anyone have any good Karthus builds post-patch? Seems much more viable these days if you're good about how much punishment you can take and don't waste too much mana with lazy Defile and Lay Waste spam. I only played the one game with him and I went 10/2/9 and had a lot of fun (the most important reason I will use him). I'll tell you how I built him, though I'm 100% sure there are many better builds.


ITEMS:
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-Sapphire Crystal -> Faerie Charm -> Tear of the Goddess
-Boots 1 -> Sorcerer's Boots
-Blasting Wand -> Archangel's Staff

..at this point I still had mana issues like you wouldn't believe (good burst capabilities, though). So..

-Meki Pendant -> Null-Magic Mantle -> Chalice of Harmony
-Blasting Wand -> Sage's Ring 
-Blasting Wand -> Zhonya's 
(which I didn't get to complete, we won before then)


PROS: 
My mana was starting to not be such an issue once I got Chalice.
Sustainability if you get lots of mana regen.
Late game Zhonya's + Archangel's is nice.

CONS: 
Not enough AP in early game so burst wasn't as high as it could possibly be. 
Survivability could be an issue but I wasn't facing many champions that could blink in, avoid snares, etc.
Still not enough mana in early game. Spent too much time at fountain, IMO.


ABILITIES:
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1. Defile
2. Lay Waste
3. Wall of Pain
4. Defile
5. Lay Waste
6. ULT
7+. Lay Waste/Defile evenly -> Wall of Pain (get ULT when you can)

Almost got a very early first blood with Defile as it's much easier to not screw up and waste your mana instead of using Lay Waste. Lay Waste would be good for counter-farming melee champions, as well, but I think I'll go for early first blood with Defile. Wall of Pain is good at 1 point because it's too costly on your mana to have much more, and if you're skilled in your placement then it's not a problem to have a small wall. More DPS is always better than a bigger wall anyways.


SUMMONER SPELLS
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Flash (allows you to get Defile kills and HUGE survivability if you're smart)
Teleport (allows you to defend towers and get back into the action ASAP)

I'm convinced that on Summoner's Rift this is the best combination of summoner skills, but I'm open to any and all suggestions.


BASIC STRATEGIES:
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Don't waste your mana!

Harassing with Lay Waste is the best way to drain your entire mana pool with while doing little to no damage. You have to learn when heroes are going to go forward or if they're going to run backwards from your Lay Waste. Typically they'll run backwards so a good idea is to lay it right behind them. An exception is when you're facing a melee character in the laning phase; they'll try to get last hits so watch for your creep's health and pick out when they're going to go in for the gold and Lay Waste as they get there. Don't click on enemies to cast Lay Waste as I've seen that sort of thing fail more than not.

Karthus is great bait. He's squishy and looks slow (doesn't he?). Sometime during the course of the game, somebody's going to have the bright idea to chase you down and kill you. You like it when they do that because Defile eats their health away, they'll turn around, you can wall them, and then you can Lay Waste. Watch out for champions that are quicker than you though, as you will fall fast when they start hitting you. Use Wall of Pain and Defile at your discretion. Timing, skill, and experience will determine how well you can bait, run away, and succeed with Karthus. Flash ensures you won't be getting chased down too easily (watch out for Master Yi or Kassadin), as well.

Defending towers was quite simple with Teleport. The enemy would consistently underestimate the damage Karthus can do so quickly. Defile -> Wall of Pain -> Lay Waste spam was my routine usage, and with that, the tower would quickly turn on the champ after the minions around would die quickly, they'd run, and I'd run them down.

In teamfights it's quite simply a matter of Wall of Pain -> Lay Waste spam, and if they got too close just turn on the Defile and let nature run its course. Use Lay Waste on stationary targets who are autoattacking your teammates or are trying to get in. Watch for chances to snag kills with both Defile and Lay Waste since 2 or 3 solid hits can down squishies.

Barely needs to be said but your Ultimate is a huge reason Karthus is so scary. Watch for low HP enemies, get your allies to call them out or ping them, and know when to hold it and when to use it.

Don't waste your mana!


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