Sep 272012
 
Karthus, the Deathsinger
Karthus, the Deathsinger

Karthus, the Deathsinger isn’t just an eccentric undead vocalist as he’s prone to be found dressed in more spectral or metallic apparel. When in need of guidance to choose the right robe, staff and book for a death-defying experience, keep in mind that his skins’ review will gladly give you a helping, skeletal hand.

Phantom Karthus
Phantom Karthus Splash Art Phantom Karthus Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 460 RP
Concept: Karthus wearing a black robe and a mask.
Model: Moderate model changes for Karthus, new model for his staff and new textures for his book.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: Phantom Karthus’ splash art barely serves as a representation of his in-game look and definitely nothing more. To start with, there’s no background and Karthus’ black robe hardly stands out from the black patch in its place. Karthus portrayal is passable as the robes don’t look very good: they are difficult to see and show problems with the use of perspective. Besides, the bone appears muddy and the book sketchy while the staff is the only part that is passable; thanks to its light effects. Overall, a splash art that is so ineffective that doesn’t even work as a good depiction of the champion.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Instead of a ghost, Phantom Karthus is an armoured battle-mage as the metallic protection of his outfit reveals. The engraved plates provide the skin with a clear image that is echoed by the book and staff. The tattered, black robe is still noticeable underneath but a new aesthetic is realized nevertheless. So, while originality isn’t the strong point of the skin, the aspect is appealing and has a low price. Therefore, fans of Karthus will find it a nice option despite its modesty.

Statue of Karthus
Statue of Karthus Splash Art Statue of Karthus Model
Category: Regular
Price: 520 RP
Concept: Karthus styled as the Statue of Liberty.
Model: Moderate model changes for Karthus, new model for his staff and new textures for his book.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: New eagle cry for his dance.
Splash Art: A bit of a cloudy sky with some fireworks frame Karthus recognizable pose. While the fireworks’ light has an effect on Karthus’ metallic robe the effect looks terrible: instead of nice reflections on the metal plates the whole surface takes on a lighter shade. This coupled with the wooden aspect of the robe, dough-like texture of the book, sketchy staff and unconvincing visage make for an extremely disappointing piece.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Considering the concept and execution, Statue of Karthus is a skin that struggles to appeal. On the one hand the look is distinct and stands apart from the classic style. Besides, the idea of a stiff lich impersonating the Statue of Libery is funny; for a while. On the other hand, an American symbol is due to lack worldwide interest. Even if we take the reference as a personification of Libertas, the Goddess of Freedom, we find some qualms are to be had. In the end, it’s a fine and iconic look for Karthus that won’t appeal to everyone yet certainly is something different.

Grim Reaper Karthus
Grim Reaper Karthus Splash Art Grim Reaper Karthus Model
Category: Regular
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Karthus dressed as the personification of Death.
Model: Moderate model changes for Karthus, new model for his staff and new textures for his book.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: More than showing an actual background this piece hints at it: tree branches cover a full Moon and the darkness of the night surrounds it all. Karthus stoops into the piece from the right though instead of looking like a sudden apparition, his placement seems like a way of drawing less of him. The ragged robe covers Karthus bony self while aptly reflecting the moonlight while his face looks as crooked as his back and the book goes along well with the style. However, the scythe’s snath appears too wide, the blade too small and the skull decoration deformed. In the end, the piece gives a sense that a good idea was laid out but didn’t come out well.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: There’s little more fitting for a powerful lich than to dress like the Angel of Death. However, despite the fitting concept the execution doesn’t make the most of such a wonderful choice. The model changes are relevant and accomplish the distinct appearance that is to be expected. Yet, it all conforms to the classic base and, modifications and all, there’s a lot of common ground. On its own, the skin realizes the image of Death well but without going out of its way. The model changes suffice but leave the feeling that there’s room for improvement. Thus, Grim Reaper Karthus is a skin that fans of the Deathsinger will enjoy; as long as they can accept its humble proposition.

Pentakill Karthus
Pentakill Karthus Splash Art Pentakill Karthus Model
Category: Regular
Price: 750 RP
Concept: Karthus outfitted as a heavy metal singer.
Model: Moderate model changes for Karthus, new model for his staff and new textures for his book.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: New metal inspired voice-over lines.
Splash Art: As with other groups of skins, Pentakill has a splash art shared among its members. Realizing the consequences of such decision we find that the piece doesn’t really make up for it with astounding quality. The background is suggestive, at best, of twisted constructs between peaks. Add to that a rock platform with some engraved runes in some places and we have the whole of the setting. At the centre we find the famous metal band with all its members. As a poster their depiction is acceptable but nothing out of the ordinary. There’s the usual tough attitude and display of might but it all feels superficial. What might be serious is the arbitrary fog that diffuses parts of the bodies of the champions.
Concerning each champion we find that: Yorick seems strangely eager for an undead, Mordekaiser struggles to be noticed behind the other members and the flames, Karthus looks rather vivid and imposing, Sona aloof and distant while Olaf struggles like Mordekaiser at the back. For the most part, the portrayals don’t capture much of what makes each member unique in the band. Besides, in some cases, Sona in particular, they appear to be at odds with their natural personality. Ultimately, it serves as a band poster for Pentakill but as a splash art it doesn’t do much.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: The title of Deathsinger has obvious consequences and it could be said that death metal was doomed to be one of them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the glam rock style of Pentakill Karthus manages to fit within a fantasy realm; if we ignore his staff-microphone. That aside, the aspect is elaborate, colourful and attractive to the eye. He surely evokes the covers of many heavy metal albums and the added lines to his voice-over add to the idea. The result is definitely a stretch: a funny skin that won’t provoke laughs for too long. Regardless, it’s also a nice tribute to rock that fans of the genre will probably appreciate. Ultimately, it might not be a skin for everyone but it surely has a charm of its own.

Fnatic Karthus
Fnatic Karthus Splash Art Fnatic Karthus Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 750 RP
Concept: Karthus dressed as a modern warlock.
Model: Major model changes for Karthus, new model for his staff and new textures for his book.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: With some effort, the background could represent the illuminated entrance from which the glorious team emerges. Unfortunately, it’s all so blurry and lacking in detail that it’s only a guess. The champions escape from the diffuse surroundings with effort. Their stances make it all feel quite dramatic but also somewhat exaggerated. In fact, it seems to unexpectedly evoke a poster from the eighties with all the nostalgia and excesses that implies. Moving onto the champions themselves, none make a convincing display of their classic personality. There are hints here and there but, for the most part, they seem to be out of character. Ultimately, this splash art accomplishes its basic premise of providing a dazzling display of the champions but in a confusing and chaotic way.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Between the colourful outfit and preposterous staff Karthus looks like a flamboyant, contemporary warlock. That’s rather fitting as he does have a knack for extravagance. However, the aspect ends up being whimsical rather than unique. Besides, the modern aspect does little, not to say nothing, to mesh with his supernatural nature. Overall, Fnatic Karthus is a reasonable option if you’d like a touch of modernism for the Deathsinger as long as you don’t expect much cohesion.

Conclusion

Karthus’ has a unique selection of styles which suit, complement or challenge his existence as a lich. From the ones available, the recommended skin is Grim Reaper Karthus: it’s a concept that embraces his lethality into a unique and fantastic icon. The changes are modest and there’s a definite lack of enthusiasm yet it’s acceptable for its price.

A nice and cheap alternative is Phantom Karthus; when it’s available. If you like the idea of an undead battle-mage then this skin delivers. The ghostly idea is practically ignored but the skin offers an appealing appearance at a low price, so it’s worth considering.

Statue of Karthus may interest fans of funny skins or those that want to make a statement about freedom; still, cross-dressing isn’t for everybody. The look stands on its own and is definitely distinct but the concept itself restricts its appeal.

Finally, Pentakill Karthus is the skin for the music enthusiast: it gives a more direct meaning to Deathsinger but it hardly stuns with its looks. It’s an appealing aesthetic that suits the chosen musical genre but that ends up feeling like a stretch. Still, fans of heavy metal will find it an attractive prospect.

Image Credits

Karthus model screen-shots taken with LoLKing’s Model Viewer.

  35 Responses to “League of Legends: Karthus Skins’ Review”

  1. A very good guide indeed. I personally think Pentakill Karthus would deserve 4 starts. It may not change particles, but the model and textures are wonderful and top notch for a 750 RP skin.

    • Glad that you like it.

      Actually, a re-model can reach four stars without additional extras but in the case of Pentakill Karthus we consider the skin to be good but not really impressive. Regardless, you shouldn’t consider the reviews more than a guide to help you decide your purchases. If you like the skin then chances are you’ll enjoy it.

      • Your point is indeed valid. I would totally consider, but y’know, the wallet is in danger of weeping.

        Also, just another side point: would you consider someday doing some kind of Top 10 Skins following your point of view and opinion? A bit like It would make my day if you did so! Seeing your analyses and opinions really make my day and helps me decide.

        • Aah, screwed the link. I meant to make the text “this one here” go to the page http://www.summoners-society.com/the-top-ten-975-1350-skins-worth-your-rp/

          Sorry, not good with HTML >.<

        • Totally agreed, there are quite a few good skins and monetary resources tend to run low quite fast.

          We actually have in mind making a sortable table that allows to check all skins at each rating besides other criteria. For instance, you could check all skins with one star so as to run fast when you see them. As we have to do it by hand it will take a while but it’s something we’ll certainly do.

          A specific top ten article would be interesting but with the constant release of skins it would also need to be constantly updated and will leave skins out due to the quantity. Probably a full table will be more interesting and useful but we’ll keep the article in mind anyway. Thanks for the idea.

          • I agree. It must be so fun working at the blog, I once had two Weebly and one Blogspot sites used for RPG guilds and such, and it felt awesome. This blog is a very useful resource and I give kudos to you for it! Just the feeling that readers enjoy reading it and when they compliment it makes it totally worth it for all the work. At least for me, right. ^_^

          • Completely agreed, without doubt, it’s very satisfying to be able to help people make better purchases and enjoy the game and skins as much as possible. We appreciate your kind words and rest assured that we’ll continue working hard in our reviews.

  2. Hi zero,
    I was just wondering is Grim Reaper karthus is worth it? Also could you please tell me what you like about it, and what you dislike about it. Finally, which skin, buy itself would be better: Officer caitlyn, or Grim Reaper karthus….
    Thanks!!!!!!

    • Grim Reaper Karthus has the advantage of displaying the personification of death itself. However, the age of the skin is noticeable in the model and textures as well as some recycled parts like his hands. Overall, the skin delivers its theme well and is quite pleasing to use but there’s little doubt that a visual upgrade is in order.

      Officer Catilyn is a very different skin as it aims to display a sexy police officer with an execution that doesn’t embrace its objective. There’s re-use of parts, like her skirt, and also doesn’t seem to reflect an officer as well as it could, no badge but a tie instead, nor be as sexy either, low heels instead of high. The one saving grace is the elaborate and attractive rifle she wields.

      Which one is better may simply come to personal preference. We find Grim Reaper Karthus as a skin with a better implementation than Officer Caitlyn yet there is something to like from each.

  3. Why is Phantom Karthus 460 RP? Its he only 460 RP, so I was just wondering if you knew?

    • It could have to do with how similar it is to Classic Karthus as it’s just the black robe and mask. In fact, the same can also be said about many other recolours. For instance, Ashe has two skins that only affect her colour scheme: Freljord and Sherwood Forest.

      Another case is Assassin Yi, which used to be simply Yi in black. After the visual upgrade the skin is more interesting but the price of 390 RP remains. It could also have to do with some previous pricing plans.

      It seems probable that the skin was given a low price due its modest changes but we can’t find any official confirmation.

  4. What’s your impression of the upcoming Karthus VU, from the little that we have seen so far?

    • It seems like they improved Karthus’ base a lot; which isn’t difficult as he’s evidently aged. However, his skins are heavily based on said base and don’t seem to incorporate more than the necessary model changes to implement their concepts.

      More additions are possible and there’s room for improvement but usually what gets on the PBE hardly sees any relevant changes. From what we’ve seen, it’s a good improvement but like many others it may not change the state of the skins that much.

      • It seems like Pentakill Karthus has a full set of metal-themed voiceovers, based on the preview. I think that’s a first for a 750 skin, if it stays at that price.

  5. Is there a chance that karthus’s skins would get more stars because of the VU?

    • For example, phantom karthus has 2 starts right now because it’s just a recolor of the original skin, but with the VU phantom karthus gets a new look and is not just a recolor. So would the rating go up because of the new look or just remain the same.

      • Not all of the skins improved after the visual upgrade. However, Phantom Karthus is an example of a skin that was little more than a re-colour and now it offers something else. It’s possible that the rating would go up.

        To be fair, all of Karthus’ skins are very similar to his classic one so it proves difficult to notice the extent of the changes.

  6. When is the review for the VU of Karthus coming out? Also are you hyped for the new SR? (Summoner’s Rift) :)))))))

    • Unfortunately, new content will take a while because we are experiencing technical difficulties; of the kind that prevent access to League of Legends.

      The new Summoner’s Rift looks better but it’s also the second visual upgrade it receives which clearly cements its place as the main map of League of Legends. While understandable it’s rather underwhelming for fans of the other maps which not only share a balance team but also have restricted ranked access. As if Twisted Treeline and, especially, Dominion weren’t ignored enough.

  7. Hi there,

    What are your thoughts on the new VU of pentakill Karthus? I personally prefered the old splash art.

    Thankyou:)

    • Agreed, the old splash arts were better. Maybe they lacked the modern technical quality but they allowed a more personal view of each champion. The shared splash arts seem like a distant glance that usually lacks any real personality.

      The visual upgrade is a great improvement for Classic Karthus but for his skins not so much. From the look of things they can all be considered moderate model changes. To be fair, the state of the skins after the VU is underwhelming.

      • Thankyou!
        Yes i agree classic karthus looks much better now, i was going to but pentakill karthus, but after the VU it doesnt interest me

        • They could’ve perfectly added some electric guitar sounds or metal-inspired lines as they had all the resources at hand. The truth is that all of Karthus’ skins should’ve received more work than just a few model changes from the classic persona.

          Unfortunately, we have to agree that Karthus’ current skins aren’t very interesting.

          • Pentakill Karthus did get some additional VO, you can hear the lines when he moves, attacks, or does some jokes. The frequency of the Pentakill lines over his standard ones isn’t super high though.

            I think Phantom Karthus looks really nice though, it looks very similar to Sauron.

          • We checked and there are some extra touches. However, they could’ve done much more than that as they had all resources available during the visual upgrade. Better than nothing then.

            Phantom Karthus has certainly improved and it’s an exception to the general state of his skins after the upgrade.

  8. Will you update soon the review for his visual update?

  9. I dunno if its’ really worth mentioning, but Phantom Karthus’ updated in-game design reminds me a LOT of the Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. There’s really no evidence supporting that he was based off of him, i just think he happens to look very similar, and that makes it my favorite Karthus skin for that reason.

    • You’re right in that there’s some resemblance between the two. Maybe the new Phantom of the League drew some inspiration from mutant amphibians. Anything is possible in this world.

  10. Fnatic Karthus or Pentakill?

    • Good question. That’s a close one as both skins are rather modest in terms of changes despite communicating their theme. We think that Pentakill has a little advantage as Karthus was made more overtly musical after the visual upgrade. Besides, there are a few additional quotes that separate the skin from the usual re-model.

      Fnatic is a bit weird as it tries to be modern and also a tribute at the same time. It has problems making all its elements work together but, as far as contemporary liches go, it manages to be acceptable.

  11. I have a question, Zero. At the Conclusion section of Karthus’ skins review, you stated that Grim Reaper Karthus is his recommended skin and that it is acceptable for its price. However, I must disagree on the price statement, as it is not even a new model and it is only worth 520 RP in the current state of skins (think Headhunter Caitlyn, Ice Drake Shyvana, Guardian of the Sands Kha’Zix, etc.), not to mention the splash art and actual model look nothing alike. I do agree though that it is his best skin idea, sadly made out to be a disappointment.

    Off topic question, what are your thoughts on some of the strange pricing decisions Riot has made? For example, Atlantean Syndra and Blade Queen Lissandra feel like they offer the same new features but one costs less than the other. Do you think it is because of the low effort they put into making Atlantean Syndra’s model compared to other skins like the earlier mentioned Lissandra skin and Dragon Trainer Lulu?
    I also feel like it is very unfair how they made a legendary skin for Draven at 975 RP for players who do not play Draven. I know it was to celebrate something, but I still find it to be very unfair to a lot of players.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Karthus is in a position where none of his skins are really good. Grim Reaper earns a recommendation and three stars more because of how well the concept works than the brilliance of the implementation. If a fan of Karthus asked us which skin they should get then Grim Reaper would the be answer. However, it would be because of the concept and the fact that his other skins aren’t much better. It’s a situation with few alternatives so we have to settle for the lesser of evils.

      Pricing, just like sales, is a mystery. It happened with Frost Blade Irelia and Wildfire Zyra, among others, that they were moved from 975 RP to 1350 RP because they took more work than an usual 975 RP skin. However, those two we mention were returned to 975 RP because Riot reasoned that the result, despite the effort, didn’t justify the price.
      This means that we have two criteria for pricing and there’s no telling when each is applied. In some cases a skin results in a wonderful product at a reasonable price and sometimes the complete opposite.

      What we can do is to identify those cases and recommend them so that people can get the best skins for the least money. Ideally, skins should take an effort that is directly related to how good the result is and the price assigned. However, reality seldom is like theory so things like this happens. Besides, preferences are subjective so we can only advice as true objectivity is as unattainable as real perfection.

  12. We are open to criticism but we would like it to be constructive. How do you think we should approach reviews? What should we take into consideration? What kind of elements should be deeply analysed and which are too subjective for that?

    We try to review skins based on the amount and quality of changes with regards to the classic skins. In other words, are the changes distinct and do they communicate the theme of the skin? The splash arts don’t affect the value of the skin but there is a difference between a splash art that devotes a lot of work at giving a glimpse into the life of a champion and one that simply shows the new look. Some people feel that a nice splash art is a relevant part of a skin purchase and we thinks that, at the very least, we should mention if it is good as a spotlight of the champion and if it does more or less than that.

    How a champion should look is always open to debate but if you are paying for a skin it should feel like the expense provides something interesting with regards to the classic skin. Like any human being we are unable to be utterly objective yet all champions have something to like. Even if we don’t like an aspect of a champion or skin, if it is well done, it can be a valuable purchase as it offers something that fans of the champion or concept would like.

    We agree that choosing skins is something subjective but when we have skins with different amounts of work at the same price point then there is more than personal preference at stake. We surely don’t try to rate the quality of skins in a theoretical way. Instead we prefer to advice on how satisfactory a skin purchase could be: that’s what the rating reflects, the value. You may like a skin with few changes and a high price due to a personal interest but you also deserve to know what you are buying. That’s what we intend to do, we don’t tell you what to buy we try to provide you with as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

    If you have suggestions or ideas to improve the reviews we’ll gladly accept them.

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