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The Deathsinger
Release Date:June 12, 2009
Cost:3150 BE
790 RP
Health Regen HealthRegen Mini Icon.png :516 (+ 0.55)
Mana Mana Mini Icon.png :372.48 (+ 61)
Mana Regen ManaRegen Mini Icon.png :6 (+ 0.8)
Movespeed MovementSpeed Mini Icon.png :335
Attack Damage AttackDamage Mini Icon.png :45.66 (+ 3.25)
Attack Speed AttackSpeed Mini Icon.png :0.625 (+ 2.11%)
Range Range Mini Icon.png :450
Armor Armor Mini Icon.png :20.88 (+ 3.5)
Magic Resist MagicResist Mini Icon.png :30 (+ 0)


  • Current
  • 2nd lore
  • 1st lore
“Death is not the end of the journey, it is just the beginning...”

The harbinger of oblivion,  Karthus is an undying spirit whose haunting songs are a prelude to the horror of his nightmarish appearance. The living fear the eternity of undeath, but Karthus sees only beauty and purity in its embrace, a perfect union of life and death. When Karthus emerges from the Shadow Isles, it is to bring the joy of death to mortals as an apostle of the unliving.

Karthus was born into abject poverty in the sprawl of dwellings built beyond the walls of the Noxian capital. His mother died at the moment of his birth, leaving his father to raise him and his three sisters alone. They shared a crumbling, rat-infested almshouse with scores of other families, subsisting on a diet of rainwater and vermin. Of all the children, Karthus was the best ratter, and regularly brought gnawed corpses for the cook-pot.

Death was commonplace in the slums of Noxus, and many mornings began with the wailing of bereaved parents who woke to discover their child cold and lifeless beside them. Karthus learned to love these laments, and would watch, fascinated, as the tally-men of Kindred notched their staffs and bore the bodies from the almshouse. At night the young Karthus would sneak through the cramped rooms, seeking those whose lives hung by a thread, hoping to witness the moment their soul passed from life to death. For years, his nightly travels were fruitless, as it was impossible to predict exactly when a person would die. He was denied witnessing the moment of death until it reached his own family.

Outbreaks of disease were frequent in such cramped confines, and when Karthus’s sisters sickened with the plague, he watched over them intently. While his father drowned his grief, Karthus was the ever dutiful brother, caring for his sisters as the disease consumed them. He watched each of them as they died, and a sublime connection seemed to reach into him as the light faded from their eyes - a yearning to see what lay beyond death and unlock the secrets of eternity. When the tally-men came for the bodies, Karthus followed them back to their temple, asking them question after question about their order and the workings of death. Could a person exist at the moment where life ends, but before death begins? If such a liminal moment could be understood and held, might the wisdom of life be combined with the clarity of death?

The tally-men quickly recognized Karthus’s suitability for their order and he was inducted into their ranks, first as a digger of graves and pyre-builder, before ascending to the rank of corpse collector. Karthus guided his bone-cart around the streets of Noxus to gather the dead every day. His dirges quickly became known throughout Noxus, mournful laments that spoke to the beauty of death and the hope that what lay beyond was something to be embraced. Many a grieving family took solace in his songs, finding a measure of peace in his heartfelt elegies. Eventually, Karthus worked in the temple itself, tending to the sick in their final moments, watching as whatever death had laid its claim upon them took its due. Karthus would speak to each person laid before him, ushering their souls into death, in search of further wisdom in their fading eyes.

Eventually, Karthus reached the conclusion that he could learn no more from mortals, that only the dead themselves could answer his questions. None of the dying souls could tell of what lay beyond, but whispered rumors and tales told to frighten children echoed of a place where death was not the end - The Shadow Isles.

Karthus emptied the temple’s coffers and bought passage to Bilgewater, a city plagued by a strange black mist said to draw souls to a cursed island far out at sea. No captain was willing to take Karthus to the Shadow Isles, but eventually he came upon a rum-sodden fisherman with a mountain of debts and nothing to lose. The boat plied the ocean for many days and nights, until a storm drove them onto the rocks of an island that appeared on no charts. A black mist rolled out from a haunted landscape of gnarled trees and tumbled ruins. The fisherman freed his boat and turned its prow in terror for Bilgewater, but Karthus leapt into the sea and waded ashore. Steadying himself with his notched tally-staff, he proudly sang the lament he had prepared for the moment of his own death, and his words were carried on a cold wind to the heart of the island.

The black mist flowed through Karthus, ravaging his flesh and spirit with ancient sorcery, but such was the force of his desire to transcend mortality that it did not destroy him. Instead, it remade him, and Karthus was born anew in the waters of the island as a fleshless revenant.

Revelation filled Karthus as he became what he always believed he should have been; a being poised at the threshold of death and life. The beauty of this eternal moment filled him with wonder as the wretched spirits of the island rose to behold his transformation, drawn to his passion like predators scenting blood in the ocean. Finally, Karthus was where he belonged, surrounded by those who truly understood the boon undeath truly was. Filled with righteous zeal, he knew he had to return to Valoran and share his gift with the living, to free them from petty mortal concerns.

Karthus turned and the Black Mist bore him over the waves to the fisherman’s boat. The man fell to his knees before Karthus, begging for his life, and Karthus granted him the blessing of death, ending his mortal suffering and raising him up as an immortal spirit as he sang his lament for passing souls. The fisherman was the first of many such souls Karthus would free, and soon the Deathsinger would command a legion of unliving wraiths. To Karthus’s awakened senses, the Shadow Isles was in a state of apathetic limbo, where the blessings of death were squandered. He would galvanize the dead in a crusade to bring the beauty of oblivion to the living, to end the suffering of mortality and usher in a glorious age of undeath.

Karthus has become the emissary of the Shadow Isles, the herald of oblivion whose laments are paeans to the glory of death. His legions of unbound souls join with his funereal dirges, their haunting song reaching beyond the Black Mist to be heard on cold nights over graveyards and charnel houses all across Valoran.

Burial at Sea

The sea was mirror-smooth and dark. A pirate’s moon hung low on the horizon as it had for the last six nights. Not so much as a whisper of wind stirred the air, only that damned dirge carried from who knew where. Vionax had sailed the oceans around Noxus long enough to know that seas like this only ever presaged ill-fortune. She stood on the Darkwill’s foredeck, training her spyglass on the far ocean, searching for anything she could use to plot their position.

“Nothing but sea in all directions,” she said to the night. “No land in sight and no stars I recognize. Our sails are empty of wind. The oar decks have rowed for days, but no matter which way we turn, land never comes and the moon neither waxes nor wanes.”

She took a moment to rub the heels of her palms against her face. Thirst and hunger growled in her belly and the constant darkness had made it impossible to accurately gauge the passage of time. The Darkwill wasn’t even her ship. She’d been it’s first mate until a Freljordian reaver’s axe had split Captain Mettok’s skull and given her a sudden promotion. The captain and fifteen other Noxian warriors were laid within sewn-up hammocks on the main deck. The growing stench rising from the bodies was the only consistent measure of time’s passing.

She lifted her gaze to the open ocean and her eyes widened as she saw thick black mist rising from the water. Shapes moved in the mist, lambent suggestions of clawed arms and gaping mouths. That damned dirge rang out over the water again, louder now and accompanied by the dolorous peals of a funeral bell.

“The Black Mist,” she said. “All hands on deck!”

She turned and vaulted down to the main deck, running for the quarterdeck and the ship’s wheel. Not that she could do anything to move the ship, but she’d be damned if she’d be found anywhere else. A haunting lament for lost souls drifted over the ship as men stumbled from below decks, and even as terror shivered her spine, Vionax couldn’t deny the poetry in the sound. Tears pricked her eyes and ran down her cheeks, not in fear, but from infinite sadness.

“Let me end your grief.”

The voice in her head was cold and lifeless, the voice of a dead man. It conjured the image of iron-rimmed wheels on a corpse-heaped cart, a knife cutting yet another death mark on a staff. Vionax knew the tales of the Black Mist; she knew to avoid the islands brooding beneath the darkness in the east. She’d thought the ship was far from the Shadow Isles, but she was wrong.

She pulled up short as black mist boiled up over the gunwale, bringing with it howls and screeches of dead things. Wraiths spun overhead, a swirling chorus of the damned, and the Darkwill’s crew cried out in terror at the sight of them. Vionax drew her pistol and cocked the hammer as a figure loomed from the mist; towering and wide-shouldered, robed in tattered vestments like an ancient prelate, yet his shoulders and gaunt skull were armored as a warrior. A chained book hung at his waist and he carried a long staff with its haft notched by countless tally-marks. Spectral light shone at its tip and burned like a fallen star in the palm of his free hand.

“Why do you cry?” said the creature. “I am Karthus, and I bring you a great gift.”

“I don’t want your gift,” said Vionax, pulling the trigger. Her pistol boomed and fire exploded from the barrel. The shot struck the monstrous wraith, but passed through it without harm.

“You mortals,” said Karthus, shaking his helmeted head. “You fear what you do not understand and would turn away from a boon that is freely offered.”

The monster drifted closer, and the dark radiance of his staff bathed the ship’s deck in pale, sickly light. Vionax backed away from the wraith’s chill as her crew fell before the light, their souls drifting like steam from their bodies. Her heel caught on one of the laid out hammocks and she tripped, falling backwards onto her haunches. She pushed herself away from Karthus, scrambling over the bodies of her fellow sailors.

The hammock beneath her moved.

They were all moving, squirming and writhing like fresh-caught fish gasping for air at the bottom of a boat. Tendrils of mist rose from tears in the canvas and between the rough stitches the ship’s sailmaker had used to sew them shut. Faces moved in the mist, faces she’d sailed with for years, men and women she’d fought beside.

The wraith towered over her and the dead crew of the Darkwill stood beside him, their spirit forms limned in moonlight.

“Death is nothing to be feared, Mistress Vionax,” said Karthus. “It will free you from all your pain. It will lift your eyes from your mundane existence and show you the glory of life eternal. Embrace the beauty and wonder of death. Let go of your mortality. You do not need it.”

He held his hand out and the light there swelled to envelop her. She screamed as it pressed through her skin, into muscle, through bone, down to her very soul. The wraith clenched his fist and Vionax cried out as she felt herself being unwoven from the inside out.

“Let your soul fly free,” said Karthus, turning to carve another notch in his staff with a sharpened nail. “You shall feel no pain, no fear, no desire to feel anything but the beauty of what I have to show you. Miracles and wonders await, mortal. Why would you not crave such rapture...?”

“No,” she said with her last breath. “I don’t want to see.”

“It is already done,” said Karthus.

 Karthus is a terrible creature who was once a mortal so obsessed with death that he eagerly embraced the gift of undeath. Now in his unlife as a lich, Karthus is closer to his beloved grave than he ever imagined. He commands magic with oblivion as its source, and seeks to bring his grim truth to the rest of the world: only in death does life gain clarity and purpose.

Even as a boy, Karthus was different. There was a darkness within him that could not be denied. The young child clung to the shadows and shunned the company of others. He snuck into the funerals of strangers, and spoke to their tombstones in the cemetery. He sought out corpses of animals to preserve and memorialize them, creating a grim collection of morbid art. Karthus volunteered to tend to the sick and dying, though his intentions were not to help, but to closely witness the passing of those who were beyond help. Ultimately, he went so far as to elaborately stage his death, and he secretly observed his own funeral with intense fascination. When others discovered what Karthus had done, they were so shocked and disturbed that, in a way, he became truly dead to them. Karthus found himself fully rejected by the living.

His isolation only served to fuel his obsession. Karthus delved further into his exploration of death, and became fascinated by the legends of theShadow Isles. There, it was said, the specters of the deceased continued on in unlife everlasting. Possessed by these tales, he knew he had to discover for himself if they were true. Journeying to those dreaded isles,Karthus soon found himself wandering through the mist, overcome by the surreal beauty of the place. He felt as if he had finally come home. He had always chased the elusive purity of the moment of death, when life passed and in a single instant achieved meaning. Karthus saw that undeath was like that moment, preserved in dread stillness forever. He had discovered his destiny, to cross over the veil and leave the living behind for eternity. Something awoke in the Shadow Isles that day, when Karthus did something no other creature had ever done: he willingly gave his life over to undeath. When he reentered the world, Karthus had become the embodiment of his own obsession. An undying lich with the keys to life and death, he seeks to bring his dark requiem to the world.

"There is no sweeter song than the last breath of the dying."

-  Karthus

The vast quantities of physical magic that were consumed and destroyed during Valoran's numerous Rune Wars have scarred much of Valoran. Many locations far from civilization have been morphed into hazardous and dangerous locales. The Howling Marsh is one of these places, and the self-appointed overlord of this land is the lich known as  Karthus. It is thought that Karthus was a mage who, in life, was foolish enough to enter the fetid waters seeking his fortune, and that he was forever transformed by whatever dark magic permeates the swamp. Karthus now rules over his swampy dominion with an iron (albeit skeletal) fist. Visitors are not welcome, and those who are not scared away by the lich's terrible power most likely end up as one of the undead themselves... skeletons and zombies in Karthus'growing army of eternal servants. On the darkest of nights, Karthus is said to sing the tales of those who have succumbed to the swamp, past and present.

Karthus' tenure in the the League of Legends is one of the more unusual ones in the history of the League. First, it is highly unusual that a lich who was known for isolation and hatred of life would even be a willing part of an organization which promoted the preservation of life. Next, Karthus specifically eschews the accrual of power and influence gained through service to the League; he is essentially an unpaid volunteer. This behavior is completely different than what his life outside of the League would have onlookers believe. Karthus has never spoken about his intentions in being a champion of the League, and in fact becomes quite agitated when asked about it. In the interests of not aggravating a lich, most sensible people subsequently drop the issue.

"Come visit my home, and I shall sing a dirge of your life as it once was."

-  Karthus


PassiveDeath Defied
(Innate) Upon dying, Karthus enters a spirit form, which allows him to continue casting spells for 7 seconds. During this time, his abilities cost no mana.

QLay WasteBanshee's Veil.png
(Active) After a 0.5 second delay, Karthus blasts target area at the cursor's position, dealing magic damage to every enemy in the area. The damage is doubled if it only hits one unit.
Cooldown: 1 second
Range to Center of AoE: 875
Radius of AoE: 100
Cost: 20 / 26 / 32 / 38 / 44 mana
Magic Damage (Multiple Target): 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120
(+0.3 per Ability Power)
Magic Damage (Single Target): 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240
(+0.6 per Ability Power)

WWall of PainBanshee's Veil.pngCleanseQss.png
(Active) Karthus creates a wall between 2 obelisks at target position for 5 seconds. Enemies who pass this wall have their magic resistance and movement speed reduced for 5 seconds.
Cost: 100 mana
Cooldown: 18 seconds
Range to Center of Wall: 1000
Magic Resist Reduction: 15%
Wall Length: 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 / 1200
Maximum Wall Sight (estimated):
1300 / 1325 / 1350 / 1375 / 1400
Slow: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%

EDefileBanshee's Veil Grey.png
(Passive) When Karthus kills a unit, he restores mana.

(Toggle) Karthus surrounds himself with the souls of his victims, dealing magic damage per second for a high mana cost.
Radius of AoE: 550
Mana Restored: 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 per kill
Cost: 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78 mana per second
Magic Damage: 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110
(+0.2 per Ability Power)

RRequiemBanshee's Veil.png
(Active) After channeling for 3 seconds, Karthus deals magic damage to all enemy champions regardless of the distance.
Cost: 150 / 175 / 200 mana
Cooldown: 200 / 180 / 160 seconds
Magic Damage: 250 / 400 / 550
(+0.6 per Ability Power)

Competitive Usage

In Premier Tournaments
Event Bans Picks Wins Losses Win % Picked/Banned in % of Games
Ogn logo.png HOT6iX Champions Spring 2014 0 1 0 1 0 1.2
LCS logo small.png 2014 NA LCS Spring Playoffs 2 1 1 0 100 16.7
LCS logo small.png 2014 NA LCS Spring Round Robin 0 8 5 3 62.5 7.1
LCS logo small.png 2014 EU LCS Spring Playoffs 0 3 2 1 66.7 15
LCS logo small.png 2014 EU LCS Spring Round Robin 5 2 1 1 50 6.2

Patch History


Wall of Pain’s slow now decays.

Another huge beneficiary of preseason, Karthus’s reliability with Wall of Pain makes the follow-up onslaught of Lay Wastes less ‘dodging and weaving’ and more of an inevitability. Karthus still retains his immediate catch potential, but now has to rely on some slick predictions (or follow-up from teammates) before dragging his prey with him to the great beyond.

Wall of Pain.png W - Wall of Pain

WALL OF DISCOMFORT : Slow drops to half effectiveness after 1 second

Karthus' basic attack is less bad.

"For when spamming Lay Waste just doesn't cut it."
  • General
    • BASIC ATTACK FRAME : Really Bad Improved


  • Wall of Pain.png W - Wall of Pain
    • BUGFIX  : Fixed a bug where enemy champions could sometimes dash through Karthus' Wall of Pain without being slowed


  • Requiem.jpg R - Requiem
    • BUGFIX: Fixed a bug where Requiem's team ult HUD indicator (green dot on the left!) would display as available even when it wasn't

"We're following up Karthus' visual update with a couple bug fixes and late additions. We're also continuing to keep an eye the on the readability of Karthus' spells."

  • BUGFIX: Fixed a bug where Lay Waste appeared to give more vision than it actually did
  • BUGFIX: Wall of Pain's VO will no longer be interrupted by movement commands
  • SWAG: Added the screech of a certain bird of prey to Statue of Karthus' dance
  • CLARITY: Requiem's visual effects are now more noticeable, so you can properly resign yourself to death

We fixed a bug that caused Karthus to lose certain item buffs for varying amounts of time when he became a spirit. We'll keep an eye on Karthus after this patch as this fix is a significant buff to his damage while in his undead-er form.

  • 20px Passive - Death Defied
    • BUGFIX: Fixed a bug that was causing Karthus to lose the multipliers on Deathcap, Last Whisper, and Void Staff for varying amounts of time after becoming a zombie


  • Warning buff on enemy champions now has a duration that matches the impact delay


  • Lay Waste
    • Now casts at max range when targeted beyond max range during Death Defied
  • Defile
    • Ability Power ratio reduced to 0.2 from 0.25
    • Fixed a bug where Cooldown Reduction allowed Defile to be rapidly toggled, increasing its damage output



  • Base Movement Speed increased by 25.


  • Wall of Pain
    • No longer reduces armor
    • Magic resist reduction adjusted to 15% instead of flat 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35


  • Requiem cooldown increased to 200 / 180 / 160 seconds from 180 / 150 / 120 seconds


  • On Dominion only, Karthus' Death Defied will now start their respawn timer when the zombie state ends, rather than when it begins


  • Wall of Pain
    • Wall duration reduced to 5 seconds from 7
    • Now only affects a target once (instead of reapplying every pass through)
  • Fixed a bug where Leona's passive and the Dominion center Sigil could cause an immediate double kill against Karthus


  • Fixed a bug where Requiem would sometimes not finish channeling when cast during Death Defied


  • Death Defied
    • Duration reduced to 7 seconds from 8
    • No longer reduces your respawn time
  • Requiem ability power ratio reduced to 0.6 from 0.7


  • Clarified Wallof Pain's tooltip slightly to emphasize that target movement speeds are resotred over time


  • Lay Waste mana cost reduced to 20 / 26 / 32 / 38 / 44 from 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52
  • Wall of Pain cooldown reduced to 18 seconds from 22
  • Death Defied (Passive) now allows all spells to be free to cast while defying death
  • Fixed several usability bugs with Death Defied


  • Death Defied (Passive)
    • Has been remade to fix some of the bugs and usability issues
    • Now also grants 20% death timer reduction to compensate for the 8 seconds Karthus is active after dying


  • Wall of Pain's level up tooltip now correctly states the increased slow amount


  • Requiem mana cost reduced to 150 / 175 / 200 from 200 / 300 / 400


  • Fixed a bug with the tooltip for Lay Waste to display the correct ability power coefficient


  • Updated the icon for Death Defiled


  • Base armor per level increased to 3.5 from 3.0
  • Lay Waste
    • Range increased to 875 from 825
    • Mana cost decreased to 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52 from 24 / 32 / 40 / 48 / 54


  • Lay Waste
    • Ability Power coefficient increased to 0.3 / 0.6 from 0.25 / 0.5
    • Damage increased to 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (x2) from 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 / 115
  • Defile Ability Power coefficient increased to 0.25 from 0.2
  • Requiem no longer reveals Karthus to enemies when cast
  • Basic Attack Projectile Speed increased to 1,200 from 800


  • Lay Waste ability power ratio increased to 0.25 / 0.5 from 0.2 / 0.4


  • Lay Waste
    • Ability Power Ration is now correct
  • Fixed a bug with Wall of Pain where it was slowing units 2 second after the particle had faded


  • Lay Waste mana cost decreased from 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 to 24 / 32 / 40 / 48 / 54
  • Defile mana cost decreased from 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 to 30 / 42 / 54 / 66 / 78


  • Updated secondary / critical strike animations



  • Death Defied (Passive) duration reduced from 10 seconds to 8
  • Wall of Pain
    • Improved visibility and removed bugs causing it to not appear correctly
    • Reduced duration from 9 seconds to 7
    • Made it more difficult to move through without being slowed
  • Defile mana cost increased from 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 to 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90
  • Lay Waste mana cost increased from 24 / 32 / 40 / 48 / 54 to 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65


  • Fallen One ability power ratio reduced from 0.7 to 0.6
  • Lay Waste mana cost increased from 18 / 26 / 34 / 42 / 50 to 24 / 32 / 40 / 48 / 54
  • Defile
    • Modified mana regen on kill from 15 / 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 to 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48
    • Removed the Kill a Champion mana regen effect
    • Increased mana cost from 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 to 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70


  • Defile no longer costs double mana upon casting
  • Lay Waste range reduced from 900 to 825
  • Base damage increased from 39 to 44
  • Added a new targeting cursor for Wall of Pain


  • Lay Waste AoE size increased from 185 to 200

July 10, 2009 Patch

  • Fallen One damage increased from 200 / 350 / 550 to 250 / 400 / 550

June 26, 2009 Patch

  • Fallen One now correctly shows buff tooltips
  • Defile - Changed cooldown to 1.0 or 0.5
  • Wall of Pain - slow percent modified from 80% at all levels to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%

June 19, 2009 Patch

  • Lay Waste
    • Corrected tooltip to say that it deals double damage if it hits a single target (corrected numbers in tooltip as well)
    • Increased damage from 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 to 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 / 115
  • Fallen One
    • Can no longer be cast while dead
    • Reduced ability power ratio from 0.75 to 0.7
  • Wall of Pain
    • Reduced cast range from 1200 to 1000
    • Reduced magic resistance and armor reduction from 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 to 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35
    • Reduced wall duration form 12 to 9 seconds (and it no longer lingers after the particle fades)
    • Reduced cooldown from 25 to 22

June 12, 2009 Patch
 Karthus released

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