Build Guide by Bromez
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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.
"The Sinister Blade of Noxus is like a black widow - beautiful, but deadly." â��- Garen, the Might of Demacia, following a skirmish in the field.
This is my first guide and I will be trying to teach you how to poke to victory with Katarina.
Although many ragers will say that Katarina is a faceroll champion, requiring you to "push one button" to win, this is actually untrue. It takes skill to properly time the window in which to use her ultimate and this skill hardly defines how you should be playing her. A lot of nuances are lost to players who think this way and it is really disappointing to play against them and with them. Katarina is a great poker, she harasses well early game, and can chase stragglers very easily later on. I've played many games as AD Kat and have only had a negative K/D ratio once. I don't recommend trying to use this build for a couple reasons listed below:
1. You have just bought Katarina or are trying her during a free week.
2. You expect to roflstomp an entire game, every game.
3. You follow guides strictly and don't improvise.
4. You already have a build that works out for you.
Pros / Cons
Why play as AD Katarina?
Well for starters Bouncing Blades and Death Lotus both scale better with AD than AP. She also has a pretty high base damage despite the "Average" rank in her overview. There aren't any other compelling reasons besides those two. I feel that it is more of a challenge to actually do well with this build yet very rewarding when pulled off correctly. The real benefit ,I find, of using AD Kat is that you will actually become a better poker and player overall.
Great harasser early game
Great chaser late game
Has Built-in flash
Built-in CDR with Voracity
Has Built-in stealth detection with Death Lotus
Countered easily with CC
Runes and Masteries
I use a 21-0-9 Mastery Set as seen above.
Even though I build mainly Attack Damage with this build, since her abilities add both bonus AD and AP to her total damage, I make sure to take Archmage's Savvy to help with early game Shunpo usage. It is also imperative to take Archaic Knowledge since, unfortunately, her abilities deal magic damage. You should avoid putting points into any of the talents that I am not using since they are virtually useless for this build. In the utility section you will notice that I skip over preserverence and take Good Hands instead. This is because Katarina doesn't use mana and although the health regeneration may seem good for stalemates during the laning phase, mid to late game, when team fights begin to start, you will need to be back in the fray as soon as possible to help you team. During the laning phase you should also be getting hit with enemy skills and attacks very rarely to make use of the points put into the mastery anyway. The reason I take Greed over Utility Mastery is because of the small edge you get during laning. The jungle buffs are of little concern to Katarina as she won't be auto attacking enough to make use of Lizard Elder's slow and DoT and doesn't have any mana to benefit from the mana regeneration from Golem. Her skills also have a low cooldown naturally so it is redundant to have blue buff for this reason as well.
Magic Penetration is a must with Katarina, it is required with most builds since all her abilities deal magic damage. Aside from doing gimmick builds, the only Marks and Quintessences you should be getting are those of Insight. For Seals I use Flat Armor. This gives me some survivability early game and helps against aggressive physical DPS champs. Glyphs are Flat Magic Resist. As with armor seals, they give good survivability early game. They are great for early defense against bursty casters like Leblanc. I don't recommend using per level runes since you are still easy to kill early game and staying alive during laning phase is more important than late game. Early deaths make it harder to acquire gold and experience which is vital to using an AD build with Katarina.
-Greater Seal of Evasion
These are a very good alternative to flat armor runes. I personally don't use them as it costs quite a bit to get a full set (7380 IP to be exact) and I've yet to get one.
-Greater Seal of Strength
These are also an acceptable replacement. They give good presence during laning phase and make your harass more fearsome than normal. The offset to using these runes is that you will have lower survivability.
-Greater Seal of Focus
These are a somewhat redundant choice but work well in conjunction with flat CDR glyphs. They will give you a quicker harass period and more lane presence. However, like with the flat attack damage seals, you will have less survivability.
-Greater Glyph of Strength
These work well with the flat attack damage seals to give you more lane presence and a stronger harass.
-Greater Glyph of Focus
Same as the CDR seals, they help you pull off quicker harassment with your skills.
-Greater Glyph of Celerity
Similar to the flat CDR runes mentioned before. I would recommend using these instead of flat CDR runes, simply because you can take the dodge or attack damage seals to either have more survivabilty or stronger harass respectively.
I use Ghost and Flash for this build and I highly recommend using these spells over all others I will mention. Ghost is a great spell for chasing, escaping, and getting into position. It is the spell you will be using most of the game aside from Shunpo. Flash is also great for chasing, escaping and positioning. Although I recommend you take this spell, its mostly an escape crutch for many players. Flash should hardly be used during a game, mainly to chase a low health target who also might have flash or is seperated from you by enemy minions or champions. The only time you should use this spell as an escape is when Ghost and Shunpo are on cooldown.
This is great for chasing, escaping, and turning a fight in your favor. When using exhaust be sure to cast it after the enemy has wasted any high cooldown skills or any CC abilities. If you are being chased, make sure you are far enough away from enemy turrets or champions before casting to get the full advantage.
This is a funny choice. Taking it is really a 50/50 shot at usefulness. In normal games this really isn't a great choice over flash or exhaust because you can't see who the opposing team is choosing and you can easily counter CC in normal games with certain items. In ranked matches this is an unusually great pick, since many teams will pick CC counters to you and upon seeing cleanse will be sorely disappointed.
This is a spell I really despise. Seeing a Katarina with Ignite makes me very disappointed. Its very redundant to take this because Katarina can chase with Shunpo and Bouncing Blades which is more effective for team fights when Death Lotus is on cooldown. I am quite convinced that there are no good Katarina players who take this, mainly because they are AP and only contribute to team fights with their ultimate. I do not recommend using this spell if you want to get better with Katarina, as it only breeds more and more bad players with large egos.
This is an unusual choice but very effective if used correctly. Take it if you are planning on ganking often. Be sure to get lots and lots of wards, and tell your team to carry some as well.
You should always rush Hextech Gunblade first. It has great stats, passives, and an active for chasing and ensuring kills. The reason you get this first is because it is the active. It deals 300 magic damage and slows the target for 50% for 3 seconds. This allows you to stay in Shunpo range if the target is a fast runner and gives a nice burst to help get a kill.
I take Boots Swiftness over alternatives because I'm constantly moving to avoid skill shots and get into position for some Bouncing Blades. The 3 point speed rating is the best for chasing stragglers during fights and escaping while under fire.
Giant's Belt is also a must on Katarina. She doesn't have a high base health and getting one of these will allow you to survive many early to mid game fights and ganks. Plus did I mention you're building it into Frozen Mallet?
Banshee's Veil is crucial against most teams. I strongly suggest you get this every game as often as possible and as quickly as necessary. If you are doing well it can be one of the last items you get. The longer a game goes on, however, you should make sure to get it so you don't have to worry to much about getting CC'd during a team fight. Its also good to have against a mainly AP team because of the 50 magic resist.
Build Order, Early to Mid Game
You should start off with boots of speed and 3 health pots for mobility early in the game. On your first trip back you should get a Pickaxe and some wards if you have enough gold. Be sure to rush getting a gunblade to maximize you damage. After getting a Bilgewater Cutlass try to get boots of swiftness as soon as possible to be able to chase down enemies and avoid ganks. If you find yourself having low health after fights grab a giant's belt early and that should fix the problem. If you aren't having much of a problem with taking damage be sure to get some B.F. Swords only after you have completed the gunblade. Optimally your item purchase order should look like this towards mid game:
or (depending on what you got first)
Depending on how well you do during a game some items can be replaced. I would not recommend swapping out items unless you are absolutely sure you will not die often.
-Sword of the Occult
This is a great item to get if you are doing well in your lane early. At full stacks you gain 110 Attack Damage and your movement speed is increased by 15%. Makes chasing and escaping easier by quite a bit. You can either swap out Frozen Mallet or Infinity Edge, yet I suggest keeping IE for the most AD.
The 15% damage reduction at 20 stacks will outweigh the flat health you get from Frozen Mallet and the health regen from Warmog's Armor.
The health and health regen is substantial for games where you are able to kill enemies and escape. while running you will continue to regain health and put yourself back into an advantageous situation against your pursuers. To make the most out this health you should also pick up an Atma's Impaler.
With either Warmog's or Leviathan your damage should become substantially higher. If you get this you should think about replacing both Frozen Mallet and Infinity Edge, since you will be needing a spot for one of the two items mentioned.
Skill Order and Laning Tips
Tips to Laning Effectively
~make sure to continue moving so you can stay out of range and avoid skill shots
~weave around your minion wave when approaching the enemy
~if you end up being harassed too much try to stay out of range until level 6
~knowing when to use Death Lotus is important, make sure that you have enough time to get enough hits off before they run out of range or interrupt you
~using Sinister Steel with Bouncing Blades can prevent the enemy from using healing items and spells effectively
~if you are laning with someone make sure to coordinate your strikes so that no enemy gets away when you finally decide to kill
Champions to be aware of
This consists mainly of those champions who out range you and those with CC. Be careful not to get too close or over extend, as they will take any chance to kill you.
These 4 out range you and will take this advantage to harass you as often as possible.
Caitlyn is the most problematic out of the bunch because of her passive, Headshot.
These 4 are the most annoying stun users. Stay out of their range and wait to use your ultimate after they waste their skill. Be especially aware of Poppy, she can two shot you easily.
You should be careful with any mages since they can most likely burst you down easily if played properly. Be cautious around them and make sure not to get caught in range of their abilities unless you are certain you can kill them.
Poking with AD Katarina is an art form, one you will likely not perfect for many games.
But after doing so you will dominate with any build and against any team composition.
Since this is my first guide please comment on how I can improve and if I missed anything which should be in here.
I will also be fixing the aesthetics and updating with changes as they occur.