Katarina Build Guide by Sanyella
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Essential early game (build in this order)
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.
Hi everyone! This is my first guide on MOBAfire even if it make a while I come to see some guide and I've wanted to give other players my own knowledge of my favorite champion, Katarina. This guide will be updated as often as possible and if you think I should add something or change it, just say it and I will make the update in something like the next week if I find it nice to add. I will also ask you to upvote this guide if you liked it and it was useful, so other players can more easily spot it and that I can help them. If you have any question feel free to ask them. Also, if anyone wish to help me I would like to have some help building a matchup section, and this is beccause I didn't played against each possible champions. And if you find this guide shorter than average, it is because it IS shorter than the average, I tried to make a guide easy and fast to understand, that you can read between matches and do not take much time to understand. I did my best to make this guide complete even with a shorter size. And PLEASE, if you downvote this guide, let me know why.
Pros / Cons
|-Have a really great snowball because of her passive, Voracity
-Great team fight potential (almost all multi-target abilities except for Shunpo, that still reduce damage taken)
-Can detect enemies in bush in a medium-short range (thanks to her ultimate, Death Lotus
-Great harass potential with Bouncing Blades
-VERY low cooldown on her ultimate, even more with Voracity
|-Melee,but a bit squishy, so be careful for when to jump in and out!
-Easy to play, yes, but hard to really master
-In team fight without the correct items, she rely highly on her teamates to protect her and distract enemies from her a bit
-Her ult is easy to interrupt (any silence, stun, suppress...)
Farming / Poking
With Katarina you will need to farm, and to do so you will probably in most case have to come in melee, which make you a bit more expose than most ranged mid. If you really need to farm from afar Bouncing Blades should do the trick but try to last hit with auto-attack as much as possible because you will want your abilities to be up for any gank and early game her Q has a pretty long cooldown. A bit later in the game you will have lower cooldown and can use your abilities to farm, so I usualy Q-E-W on caster minions and two-shot them. You can also use your Shunpo on a melee because you will appear between the two lanes of minions.
With Katarina you will probably want to poke your target a bit before unleashing a deadly combo, so to do that it isn't so hard, you just use Bouncing Blades on them repeatidly and if you can proc your mark with either Sinister Steel or auto-attack without risquing to lost a chunk of life as big as you will deal as damage, do it. After bringing your target low enough (maybe like around half of his life) you just Q-E-W- Ignite-R and if your target isn't dead just proc as much abilities as you can.
I already said a bit in the poking section above but here I will try to be a bit more accurate.
In a single target battle you just poke and then jump in following this rotation Q-E-W- Ignite-R and continue to proc your abilities as they come back.
In a team-fight, let the time to your team to initiate and do the same thing as you poking a single enemy and then follow the same rotation: Q-E-W-R-Q-W and Ignite to catch up enemies that could try to run away from the fight, continu like this until the fight is ended. Don't forget, if you kill or get an assist on enemies, your cooldown are refreshed. I also want to remind you some little things: Shunpo reduce damage taken, so use it right before high damage abilities, like Requiem, Karthus's ultimate and it also can be use on friendly units to escape like wards and other champions, or also minions, that's why I always keep a ward or two in my inventory with Katarina. You can also use Teemo's shroom! Another thing is that Sinister Steel give a short burst of speed if it hit enemies champions so it is useful either for chasing or escaping a risquy situation.
Pre-level 6, just poke a little bit more then Q-E-W- Ignite-QW as they come back
How to detect enemies in bush
You will notice that even if you already put a point in Death Lotus, it still appear like you didn't, and will highlight only when an enemy champion pass in the range of your ultimate. You can't activate Death Lotus whe there's no champions to target, so I often use this if I'm in the jungle and I pass near bush. If my R highlight I kow there is one or more enemy champions in the bush that could jump on me. Death Lotus will ALWAYS target champions, even if they are stealthed or in bush.
Runes / Masteries
I just pick a classic AP rune page (without any mana because Katarina has no mana). I take marks of magic penetration because it will boost your damage all the long of the game, even if enemies build magic resist. I take seal of scaling armor to protect you and it is same with glyphs of magic resist because as Katarina you have not much defense and you need to jump in the middle of the fight, so a bit more defense is never bad. I take scaling one beccause it will be more useful late game than flat one and team fight shouldn't happen before mid or late game. I take AP quintessences because they will boost my damage that I do with my abilities, and they will boost my early game burst more than scaling one, that's why I take flat ones.
I take 21/9/0 masteries because I want to do as much DPS as possible and I want to be able to survive longer in the middle of team-fight as well as on my lane early game to take the advantage on minions. It is really better to have an high amount of survivability with Katarina because she is a melee AP champion and she need to jump in the middle of the fight to take down enemies. But you need to jump AFTER your team have initiate because if you initiate a team-fight yourself, you will get killed (except if you're really fed). Don't forget Kat is an assassin, so DON'T try to build tanky masteries, just build classic 21/9/0 AP and you should be fine.
I take a basic start with boots and potions, and because Katarina has no mana I take only health potions. Those Health Potion and the fact she has no ressources let her farm longer than most other mid. It will help you take an advantage on your opponent. Just be careful, because if you have more money but less items than your opponent you will still be behind him. So, don't forget to recall time to time. I don't take Doran's Ring because first: Katarina has no mana, and second I prefer boots because she is melee and need more mobility ( it will aslo help you dodge skill-shots.
I take Sorcerer's Shoes because, well, you need boots and those one give you magic penetration, and I don't take Ionian Boots of Lucidity because your cooldown are already really low, even more if you have the chance to use your passive, wich the magic penatration of Sorcerer's Shoes will help you to get. I get alacrity because if you aren't defending your base homeguard give you no global help. With alacrity you can go faster to a lane or another or escape opponents that would otherwise get you.
This item is a must-have for Katarina: it have a LOT of AP, cooldown reduction and the active is really useful because it deal a great amount of damage and reduce the damage the enemies could negate from you. Use it early in a fight because it deal a percent of maximum health but it also increase the damage they will take, so you will deal even more damage.
It is just an item the boost your AP a LOT, and because of this it will boost your DPS as well.
I take those because they give armor, and like I said it is really useful to have defense when you jump in the middle of a fight. It also give more AP ans the active of Zhonya's Hourglass can save your life. BEWARE! The use of Zhonya's Hourglass WILL interrupt your ultimate.
This item will boost you DPS and survivability in two way: both your auto attack, W and R (that scale with both AD and AP) and abilities will be enhanced by this and will return you a bit of HP. The active is also useful to deal damage and slow your target (in other words, secure a kill).
It give you survivability and reduce the damage that can be negated by your enemies.
The combination most player use, it is good for Katarina because Flash help her escape a team-fight turning bad of when she's being chased, and Ignite just let you do more damage and secure kills on fleeing enemies.
Those can be good in certain situation, it depend on how you play: Ghost can replace Flash, but it is a personnal choice, and Teleport can be use to gank lane or go faster to the enemy's base later in the game but I still prefer Ignite and Flash. Heal and Barrier can save you but it is really different from one player to another which one is the best for his own gameplay. Exhaust is always good to have in your team but it is usualy the support that will take this, so you can take it, but if you can let it to your support and take Ignite.
I would NEVER use those on Katarina because: Clarity is for mana and she has no mana, Revive is useless because of its too long cooldown and anyway you don't want to die, Cleanse could be good but there are much better choices and, please, let Smite for your jungler, even if you plan to take blue time to time.
Here I will explain all the things I find useful about smartcasting, why and how you can do it.
How to set it
For those who don't know yet how to set smartcast (I had myself some difficulties finding it), press the Esc. button (upper left corner of your keyboard), go in Keybinding, and go next to the smartcast ability 1-2-3-4 and summoner's spell 1-2, select the rectangle and press the right key (spell 1=q, ect.). Also if you want to smartcast some abilities but not some others you just have to ignore those you don't want to smartcast.
I use it because it is faster and easier to land skills before an opponent can flash out or just use any other escaping ability. I REALLY like this on Katarina because she don't have any skillshot, so if you know the range of your abilities,you just have to place your cursor over the target and press your keybind (like I often do to harass with Bouncing Blades)
Why is it faster?
I must admit I didn't really knew why it would be faster than just casting in the basic way before I try it out, but now I know it is much easier. Why? Because it will proc your ping only once, not twice (once for trigering your keybind + once for clicking vs once for activating your ability), and you will do even better. A trick I really enjoy smartcast is when I keep a sight ward in my inventory, put it in front of me or even better behind a wall and then just press E over it to escape (or chase) an opponent, it give much more speed to this combo, so more chance to survive (or get the kill).
So, what is important to keep in mind when you play Katarina with this build is: you have 3 actives on your items (place them in your inventory to be able to reach them easily), let your team engage a bit before you in team-fight, you can snowball easily with your passive, take blue time to time if you can for the cooldown reduction it give you. And don't forget to have fun playing this deadly Noxus assassin, sister of Cassiopeia. I hope you will get some good score with this build, and if you are happy of it, just let me know and upvote this guide to let other people use this build. If you don't like it, let me know why.