Best Karthus Build Guide | Runes | Spells | Items in League of Legends

If you plan to use Karthus and his dreadful melodies to stomp the jungle and carry your game in LoL, then make sure to use his best build

Best Karthus Build Guide | Runes | Spells | Items in League of Legends
Best Karthus Build Guide | Runes | Spells | Items in League of Legends

Karthus is a champion commonly played in the jungle of League of Legends games. To play Karthus jungle you don't need to be a genius since he's pretty straightforward, although you need to understand what his abilities do, to know what is the best skill order for a combo. In this section, we'll unveil the best Karthus build for this patch 12.14.

Best Karthus Build

This Karthus build aims to increase his magic damage to hurt as much as possible enemy champions. Because Karthus is played in the jungle, a must-have for this role in the summoner spells is the "Smite". His rune set also focuses on dealing damage in quick successions, let's start as always with his best runes.


Best Karthus Runes

Karthus' best rune set combines the "Domination" runes and the "Precision" ones. From the first mentioned, you want “Dark Harvest” as the keystone, followed by “Cheap Shot”, “Eyeball Collection”, and “Treasure Hunter”. On some occasions “Ultimate Hunter” is an excellent replacement for the last rune, and "Taste of Blood" could be used instead of "Cheap Shot" if you prefer to heal.

Best Rune Path Domination
Best Keystone Dark Harvest
Best Slot 1 (Rune) Cheap Shot
Presence of Mind
Best Slot 2 (Rune) Eyeball Collection
Best Slot 3 (Rune) Treasure Hunter
Coup de Grace

For Precision, choose "Presence of Mind" and "Coup de Grace", the first one will assist with Karthus' mana requirement. In contrast, the last one will increase damage against champions with low HP in League of Legends.

Best Rune Shards

His best rune shards improve his damage in all Karthus builds. In the "Offense" socket choose "Adaptive Force", as well as in the second one. Lastly, choose "Defense" in the third to have more AD resistance.

Best Rune Shards Effect
+9 Adaptive Force
+9 Adaptive Force
+6 Armor

The overall choices in runes for Karthus match his playstyle since he's an assassin, so you got to act quickly in your ganks, or when planning to steal a dragon, that's why these runes will help you a lot in League of Legends.

Best Karthus Spells

His best summoner spells consist of "Smite" and "Exhaust". The first one is a no-brainer to play Karthus in the jungle, although sadly, he can't use any summoner spells if he's in his spirit form after he takes fatal damage.

Best Spells Icon

"Exhaust" plays an important role with Karthus due to how weak he is, this spell not only affects the speed of enemy champions, but it also reduces their damage, allowing Karthus to have a higher chance to survive if the adversaries are too fed.


Best Karthus Abilities Order

The best skill priority boils down to maximizing first Karthus Q ability "Lay Waste", the focus on his E ability "Defile", finally in the skill order, his E ability "Wall of Pain", and as always level up his ultimate ability whenever you can.


Karthus Q ability "Lay Waste" is the main source he has to poke enemies, his Wall of Pain grants a nice source of crowd control, and his third one, deals damage to nearby enemies around him but it costs a lot of his own mana, and finally, his passive ability, allows Karthus to cast abilities while he's dead for a short period of time. Hence why you should follow this skill order if you happen to die.

Best Karthus Items

Karthus best item path makes him have high AP while also gaining HP to resist damage trough the game, with items such as "Liandry's Anguish" to burn enemies, or "Zhonya's Hourglass" to increase survivability.

Best Starter Karthus Items

"Hailblade", a "Refillable Potion" and a "Stealth Ward" are all Karthus need as early items of any game if he's played in the jugnle. 

First Item Second Item Third Item
Refillable Potion
Health Potion

Best Mid Game Karthus Items 

After your starting items, "Liandry's Anguish", "Sorcerer's Shoes", and "Shadowflame" are the mid game choices in this item build.

First Item Second Item Third Item
Liandry’s Anguish
Sorcerer’s Shoes

For mythic items, "Liandry's Anguish" is the best option for him in League of Legends, especially in the jungle, besides, it goes well with the runes selected for him previously mentioned in the item build.


Best Final Late Game Karthus Items 

The final Karthus build in League of Legends includes items such as "Zhonya's Hourglass", "Rabadon's Deathcap", and the "Void Staff".

First Item Second Item Third Item Fourth Item Fifth Item Sixth Item
Liandry’s Anguish
Sorcerer’s Shoes
“Zhonya’s Hourglass”
“Rabadon’s Deathcap”
“Void Staff”

In any Karthus builds “Zhonya’s Hourglass” is a must to increase your chances to survive team fights or matchups in the jungle.

Best Champions to pair Karthus with

Pantheon and Tristana are an excellent pair for Karthus due to his abilities.

Champion Win Rate % Icon
Pantheon 55.4%
Tristana 54.8% Tristana
Talon 54.8% Talon

Talon benefits as well from Karthus' "Wall of Pain" to chase enemies and take them down.

Strongest Champions against Karthus

Shyvana, Talon, Volibear, are tough matchups against him due to his low resistance to damage, and the tanky nature of Shyvana and Volibear.

Champion Win Rate % Icon
Shyvana 43.5% Shyvana
Talon 44.1% Talon
Volibear 44.3% Volibear

Weakest Champions against Karthus

Lilia, Lee Sin, and Wukong are the characters Karthus has the highest win rate against due to how easy it is for him to put a stop to them.

Champion Win Rate % Icon
Lilia 56.1% Lillia
Lee Sin 52.8% Lee Sin
Wukong 52.3% Wukong

Karthus is a champion with a fairly low ban rate, pick rate, and even, win rate. With new characters coming through the years, he has somewhat fallen into oblivion, but if you decide to choose him for your next game, don't hesitate to try this item build.