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How to counter Karthus' ultimate?

Saying your champion doesn't not have a shield, what are the best ways to defend against Karthus' ultimate when you have to rely solely on yourself? (Kind of open-ended question when you put certain champion abilities into the equation.)

  • Definitely a duplicate.
    – Ryre
    Apr 3, 2012 at 16:09
  • What I was going to comment earlier: If this is to show a wider range of how to answer the question at hand, than thank you. If this is to say that I reposted a question that was already asked, well this question did not come up in related questions when i created it, and yes there are similarties, but my question does leaves the answers open to more than just items or rune sets as stated in the "duplicate question." And apparently 105 people did not see the duplicate question, or else they would not have come to this one.
    – IrishGold
    Apr 3, 2012 at 22:40
  • @IrishGold "this question did not come up in related questions when i created it" - certainly a valid point, and the whole reason why we do close questions as duplicates, but do not delete them. :)
    – badp
    Apr 4, 2012 at 22:07

3 Answers 3


Make sure you're never in his kill radius: always assume that you have that much less hp whenever you go into a fight.

If you're an ap character, zhonya's hourglass will prevent the damage. If you're an ad character, getting hexdrinker will give you a shield before you die and can be very effective against karthus ult. If you have any way to heal yourself (spell vamp / lifesteal / abilities that heal or heal off dmg), try to attack some creeps while the ulti is going off. If you're in range of Karthus and you have a stun, use it. If Karthus is oom in a teamfight, don't focus him. He'll only be able to ulti when he dies.

If you want to counter karthus, play Soraka and just use your ult right before his goes off to negate the damage. If you don't have a Soraka on your team though, consider picking up a Red Elixir right before a major teamfight. The bonus health it gives cannot be reduced by Ignite/healing debuffs and can often save you from Karthus Ult.


Several champs have an ability that allow them to negate the damage, not just the shields. Vlad's pool and Fizz trickster can make them untargetable thus ignoring the damage. Shaco can time his ultimate so he jiggles and also negate the ult damage. This one takes a lot more precision, but just countdown the time from when Karthus ult begins and you can time it right. Haven't tested but perhaps, TF and Pantheon can do something similar with their ult as there is a very short duration that they left summoner's rift before reappearing in the new location.

Easiest counters are of course Sivir and Nocturne with their spell shields to complete negate the damage and gain the mana buff/attack speed buff respectively.


If you have some sort of lifesteal, just attack the nearest thing to you and hope you get enough hp back.

In terms of items, the best ones are probably "hexdrinker" and "Banshee's Veil". As well, you can use items like Zhonya's hourglass if you're AP. Your last option are only on certain champions with times they are fully untargetable (LeBlanc's passive, Shaco's ultimate for a second"). If you can time those right his ultimate will never hit you.

  • Banshees veil wont do you any good though if you have been in a fight that caused you to have that little health. It will most likely be on CD.
    – Hackworth
    Apr 3, 2012 at 0:20

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