Katarina Build Guide by KittyKatKatarina
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Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Katarina with this build
|Karthus||Max Q first. One of Katarinas easiest matchups. With your high base movespeed, Lay Waste is easy to dodge and easy to predict. Through levels 3-5, Shunpo towards him, throw Bouncing Blades on him and then proc the mark with Sinister Steel. The movespeed buff will allow you to dodge any Lay Wastes he throws down in retaliation. As soon as you hit level 6, jump on him and try to grab a kill. You can escape his passive by using Shunpo when it resets after the kill. Using Shunpo just before his Requiem channel is finished will reduce the damage dealt by 15%.|
|Morgana||Max Q first. This is a farm lane. Morgana will aim to place her Tormented Soil down and walk back towards her tower. With her passive spell vamp, Morgana is extremely difficult to shove out of lane. The best way to approach this lane is to pretend Morgana isnt even there, and just worry about farming as much as you can. Even standing in her Tormented Soil will do negligible amounts of damage, so dont let it scare you off going in to CS. Rush level 6 and then look for roaming opportunities elsewhere.|
I have exclusively played Katarina for the past 2-3 years, and have built up a wealth of knowledge which I wish to share this with you all.
If you enjoyed my guide, please leave a comment and a rating telling me why! If you didn't enjoy my guide, please leave a comment and a rating telling me why not!
|+ Super fun to play
+ High potential for multi-kills
+ Risk V reward playstyle
+ High skill cap
+ Easy to learn, difficult to master
|- No crowd control (CC)
- Channeled ultimate
- Difficult to play
- Falls off late game
- Can struggle with early game farming
From my experiences, cooldown reduction (CDR) runes are by far the most effective runes to be using on Katarina. Although she receives free passive CDR via her passive Voracity, this generally only happens during teamfights, which may only be a few times per game.
This specific rune page, accompanied by the relevant masteries and item builds, will grant Katarina exactly 40% CDR at level 18, reducing her cooldowns to:
|sinister steel||2.4 seconds|
The 28 second cooldown on Death Lotus means that Katarina only requires two procs of Voracity to be able to use it again, allowing her to potentially use it up to three times in a teamfight.
How many times have you used Zhonya's Hourglass only to be focused down after it's active due to the fact that your abilities were still on cooldown? A 3.6 second cooldown on Shunpo will fix that problem.
Whether you are an experienced Katarina player, or just picking her up for the first time, I highly recommend the above rune page. Don't knock it until you have tried it, you will be pleasantly surprised.
When choosing masteries, every choice has an opportunity cost, meaning you must weigh up the impacts of choosing certain masteries over others. My recommended mastery selections are based on the following two assumptions, and even though these assumptions may be unreasonable, it is what you should aim for whilst playing Katarina.
- You will not be taking a large amount of damage
- You will be dealing a large amount of damage
It is for these reasons why I have chosen the above mastery page. I will now explain my choices below.
Double-Edged Sword - An extra 2% damage for a tier 1 mastery requiring only 1 point is literally a godsend. Always take this on Katarina.
Sorcery - 5% CDR will place you at the 40% cap if you are taking the suggested runes & build order from this guide.
Butcher - This will increase your CS in the early game by roughly 5%. Definitely a mastery worth taking.
Expose Weakness - Another absolute must on Katarina. The faster you & your allies score a kill on an enemy, the faster voracity will proc.
Brute Force - I take this mastery so that 1, I can take the point in martial mastery below it, and 2, it will increase your damage dealt, allowing you to pick up an extra kill every now and then and to also CS easier.
Mental Force - Another no-brainer for Katarina.
Feast - Feast is a great way to sustain in lane, which Katarina really requires. The benefits which this mastery provide outweigh the benefits that this single point would provide elsewhere.
Martial Mastery - An extra 4 AD at level 1 will help you last hit, and also add a bit of extra damage to your sinister steel and death lotus.
Arcane Mastery - Another no-brainer for Katarina.
Executioner - Synergises exceptionally well with Katarina, as by the time you have a reset from voracity, it is likely that other enemy champions will already be below 50% health. Another must take for Katarina.
Archmage - The mini deathcap! Will make all of your ability power purchases more cost effective.
Dangerous Game - If anyone can make good use of this mastery, it is Katarina. Scoring a number of kills/assists in quick succession is what Katarina is all about, and this mastery allows her to do this whilst staying alive.
Devastating Strikes - Combined with a Void Staff will provide 39% magic resistance shred. Another must for Katarina.
Havoc - Not the best tier 6 mastery considering double-edged sword, however an overall damage boost will never go astray!
Recovery - These final two points are best spent on recovery, as this will provide Katarina with a touch more sustain in lane, allowing her to stay in lane slightly longer in the early stages of the game to pick up those much needed items.
If you do not feel comfortable with taking 28 points in offence, you can substitute the attack damage masteries with some choices in the defensive tree. If you are going to do this, I would recommend taking Block and Unyielding .
Opting to use any other summoner spells over Flash and Ignite is only hindering Katarina's potential.
Scoring a kill or assist will reduce the cooldown of Katarina's abilities by 15 seconds.
- Think 1-2 kills ahead.
- Plan what you will do after you score the kill/assist
- How many procs of Voracity do I need to reset the cooldown on Death Lotus?
- Don't be greedy with the passive. Is being baited into that 1v4 a good idea?
Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking each enemy hit for 4 seconds. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage.
Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark on the target and deal additional magic damage.
- Daggers will bounce to their closest enemy (even if stealthed). Keep this in mind when last hitting with it, as you may be able to last hit two creeps at once with it rather than one.
- Useful to poke down enemies with from a distance.
- If you are confident in the fact that you can finish off a low health an enemy champion with your other abilities in a multi-kill scenario, use Bouncing Blades on a champion with higher health to maximise it's damage.
- Every bounce deals 10% less damage. Make sure you keep this in mind when relying on the bounces for last hitting.
- Bouncing Blades has a brief channel time prior to casting. If you lose sight of an enemy during this channel time, Bouncing Blades will not cast.
- In a multi-kill scenario, consider not using Bouncing Blades if you feel as though the channel time will hinder your ability to score those quick multi-kills.
Katarina whirls her daggers, instantly dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. If she damages an enemy champion, she gains movement speed for 1 second.
- The speed boost will allow you to kite/chase enemies
- Casts instantly, allowing you to pick off fast kills in succession
- Has a larger range than you would expect. Last hitting with Sinister Steel is an art in itself.
- Terrible for last hitting at rank 1 due to its abysmal 40 base damage. Create a custom game and practice last hitting with it at rank 1.
- Sinister Steel will push your lane. If you do not want to push your lane, consider last hitting with auto attacks instead.
- After scoring a kill, make sure you don't accidentally use it again straight away, as it will reduce your follow up damage on other targets.
Katarina teleports to target unit and gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, the target takes magic damage.
- Shunpo increases the effective range of Katarina's other abilities by 700
- Casts instantly, meaning that you will have roughly a 0.3s reaction time advantage against your enemies.
- Always carry wards with you to further increase Shunpo's utility. The same effect can be achieved by targeting a Teemo shroom, Jarvan IV's flag and Thresh's lantern.
- Shunpo will place you behind your target. Use this when avoiding linear skill shots such as Ahri's Charm.
- Keep an eye on Shunpo's cooldown when using Zhonya's Hourglass. If the cooldown is less than 2.5 seconds when you activate Zhonya's, then you will be able to instantly use it once the active finishes.
- When timed properly, the 15% damage reduction can be used to reduce the damage taken from timed abilities (Karthus's Requiem, Zilean's Time Bomb, Fizz's Chum the Waters etc.)
- Play extremely safe in lane when Shunpo is on cooldown. If the jungler shows up after you just used it, prepare to burn your flash, or worse, die.
- Don't use it if you don't have to. Katarina relies on Shunpo to engage and disengage in fights, and is almost useless whilst it is on cooldown.
- Be careful of using Shunpo towards an enemy. If you don't have vision behind them, then their team may be there waiting to capitalise on your mistake.
Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a barrage of up to 30 daggers at the closest 3 enemy champions within range. Each dagger deals magic damage and applies Griveous Wounds for 3 seconds, reducing regeneration and incoming healing by 50%.
Death Lotus can hit a single enemy champion no more than 10 times.
- Can hit stealthed enemies, and if you pay close attention on where the daggers are flying to, actually gives away their position.
- With 40% CDR at rank 3, will reset after 2 kills/assists, therefore can be used up to three times in a teamfight.
- Pay close attention to the cooldown status of enemy CC. You should be asking yourself, has Blitzcrank used his silence? Has Fiddlesticks used his fear? etc.
- Using Ignite will not cancel the channel.
- Only targets the closest three enemies to Katarina, not everyone in range.
- Be careful of using Death Lotus on a single target in a teamfight, as you may not be maximising your damage.
- Activating Zhonya's Hourglass, drinking a health potion, moving and flashing will all cancel the channel.
Prioritise purchasing Fiendish Codex over Needlessly Large Rod. Combine ASAP.|
Rushing a Deathfire Grasp will give Katarina that extra 10% cooldown that she needs, along with the increased potential to pick up kills around the map.
The high ability power stat and nuking aspects of the active will scale into late game, meaning that at no point in the game you will find that the Deathfire Grasp was a waste of gold.
After finishing your Deathfire Grasp, your next purchase should be Sorcerer's Shoes. At this point in the game, small skirmishes will start to take place around the map.|
Not only will the increased movespeed from tier 2 boots allow you to navigate around the map faster to partake in these skirmishes, but the 15 flat magic penetration will shred through the base magic resist of your enemies.
|Wards x 3||
From this point forward in the game, you will ALWAYS want to max out on three wards when you back.|
Failing to buy wards to fuel Shunpo will severely hinder your ability to escape sticky situations, navigate yourself around teamfights, make plays in general and provide map vision to your team.
If this item did not give any armor, I would still buy it. Another absolute must on Katarina. Besides from the 120 ability power stat, the 2.5s invulnerable active is what makes this item so powerful.|
With an invaluable active, Zhonya's Hourglass synergises with Katarina's risk V reward playstyle, and also allows her to escape crowd control which would otherwise rend her useless.
The instant flash nature of Shunpo further increases this items effectiveness as you will be able to instantly cast Shunpo after the active ends to escape sticky situations or go in for a multi kill.
Void Staff shares the 'Most cost efficient item in the game' award with the Last Whisper.|
Due to the low AP ratios on Katarina's abilities, Void Staff (plus 1,000g worth of AP being the cost difference between the two items) will actually deal MORE damage than a Rabadon's Deathcap.
Since Void Staff is cheaper than Rabadon's Deathcap, it means that you have access to it's passive earlier than you would if you had gone down the build path of a Rabadon's Deathcap.
With percentage magic penetration, Void Staff will scale extremely well into late game, and will also increase the effectiveness of any flat magic penetration purchased.
|Wards x 3||Keep buying those wards as this part of the game is when they are most effective!|
With all of your core items purchased, there is only one big ticket item left, that being a Rabadon's Deathcap.|
Having already purchased the previous four items, Rabadon's Deathcap will provide Katarina with an overall ability power boost.
The 30% ability power boost will further increase the efficiency of all your previous items, as well as stack with the 6% bonus ability power boost provided by the first stack after killing the Dragon.
Always prioritise three vision wards as your 6th item slot until you are able to purchase a Guardian Angel in 1 hit.|
Neither the magic resist or armor portion of the Guardian Angel will be worth having instead of the three wards. The passive revive of Guardian Angel synergises well with the active part of Zhonya's Hourglass, meaning you have around 5 seconds of invulnerability in a late game team fight.
|Wards x 3||As mentioned above, hold on to your three wards until you can purchase Guardian Angel in 1 hit.|
Unless you are versing a team of 5 squishies whom will not build magic resist, Abyssal Scepter is a poor item choice for Katarina. This is because the Void Staff will reduce the enemies magic resist by more than 20 if they have 58 or above magic resist.|
Void staff will provide you with a % magic resist shred which will be cost efficient all game. Abyssal Scepter only provides 20 flat magic resist shred, meaning that it becomes less useful as your enemies build more magic resist.
NEVER buy both Abyssal Scepter and Void Staff as the 20 flat magic resist shred will apply BEFORE the 35% magic resist shred, thus reducing the cost efficiency of the Void Staff.
Another poor item choice for Katarina is the Hextech Gunblade. Although it may seem like a good buy at first glance, the stats do not synergise well with Katarina's kit.|
The spell vamp will only be decreased to 1/3 as 3/4 of Katarina's abilities are area of effect spells. The life steal portion is a wasted stat as Katarina will rarely be auto attacking. The active portion will cancel your channel of Death Lotus. Terrible, terrible item for Katarina.
Liandry's Torment is an item best suited for poke/damage over time casters. As a burst assassin, Liandry's does not suit Katarina at all.|
Without any form of slow/cc, the damage over time aspect of Liandry's is also wasted unless you purchase Rylai's Crystal Scepter, which comes to my next bad item for Katarina...
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter||
A bad bad bad item for Katarina. As with spell vamp, the slow will only be reduced to 1/3 as Katarina's abilities are area of effect.|
The health aspect of Rylai's is a waste on an assassin, and is a massive investment for what is really only 100 ability power.
A doran's shield on Katarina is not a wise choice for a number of reasons.|
First of all, it is a massive early game investment which will delay all of your future buys by 400g. This means that instead of purchasing a fiendish codex on your first back, you are purchasing an amplifying tome and a few health potions.
Secondly, the passive of the doran's shield is completely wasted unless you are actually taking auto attack damage from your opposing laner, which should not be your goal as Katarina.
Taking boots of speed actually provides you with higher sustain, as you are able to dodge skill shots that you otherwise wouldn't without the extra movement speed.
I hope you enjoyed my complete season 5 guide for Katarina and found it informative. This guide will always be updated with more useful information, so please let me know what future content you would like to see.
Special thanks to:
Kitty Cat Katarina Logo - http://dudekpro.deviantart.com/
1.00 - (15/01/2015) Guide Published!
1.01 - (16/01/2015) Added explanation for every mastery. Added Doran's Shield to the 'What not to buy' section.
1.02 - (18/01/2015) New fancy headings! Finished some general yardwork to improve readability.