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The cooldown on Karthus's ultimate ability Requiem is 180/150/120 seconds. If I buy a CDR item like Morello's Evil Tomb, how does that affect the current cooldown?

Will the cooldown be reduced by 20%, or is the cooldown based on CDR when the ability is cast?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

An ability is placed on cooldown relative to the CDR you had at cast time. Buying a CDR item (or entering a CDR aura, like Soul Shroud) will not impact the remaining cooldown time on abilities currently on cooldown. They will impact any future casts thereafter, however.

(Source - "Cooldown reduction is determined at the moment an ability is activated. Increasing/decreasing your cooldown reduction while the skill is on cooldown will not affect the cooldown.")

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Sorry that I can't source more conclusively than LoL Wiki. You can see it work in practice, too. – Rilgon Arcsinh Apr 5 '12 at 17:20
@Toast It is the same way as for leveling an ability where the cooldown lowers, if you casted your ulti, and level it afterwards the first cooldown timer still remains the same. – Lyrion Apr 6 '12 at 6:18

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