Katarina Build Guide by Lariena
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Introduction & Skill Sequence
In short, the general idea of this built is to balance damage dealing and protection to take advantage of Shunpo and Killer Instincts.
I start by maxing Shunpo, like most Katarina players. Right after, I focus on Preparation rather than Bouncing Blades, which I put only one very useful point early in game. I love Preparation. It increase your base damage, which is also useful to farm Minions. For that reason, don't activate it for your Bouncing Blade. Keep it ready, instead, to use it at any time with Shunpo against Heroes.
You could be tempted to activate Preparation with Bouncing Blades when you harass strongly an enemy who stand near his tower. However, I restrict my self to do so most of the time, because within the relatively long Cooldowns of Preparation (between 22 and 14 sec), many things can happen, so I want to have it ready for Shunpo if the enemy decide to strike or if one of his team partner comes in help.
The main advantage of Preparation is the 15% dam reduction it gives you when you use it with Shunpo. So, with this built, you want to have that -15%/-20%+ dam reduction available when you jump into a fight against an Hero.
Pros / Cons
+ Sturdier than normal. Thanks to Omen and the focus on Killer instinct.
+ More HP.
+ Great mobility with Shunpo.
+ No mana restriction.
+ Can inflict massive damage to multiple enemies.
+ She have slow abilities with Rylai's Scepter AND the Active on Omen, which make her Ulti stronger and harder to avoid.
- Vulnerable to enemy who have good HP regen.
Given that two favored Abilities, the items selection focus on Ability Power and on Armor stats to optimized Shunpo and Killer Instincts. In a typical 3 vs. 3 game, you will be able to get up to Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Randuin's Omen, so the main idea on the built will be respected. Sometimes, you will have time to start up or even afford the Rabadon's Deathcap. Beyond that, most games will be finished before you could get the other items suggested, even in 5 vs. 5.
My items build order is the following:
Early on, the boots will help you to hit and run the enemy, and to escape from deadly situations.
Right after, I start the . Depending of the gold you have saved, get the best recipe item you can afford. In all cases, at this stage you are probably lvl6, when you will be able to buy the Giant's Belt, it will help significantly your Katarina to survive aqainst most heroes after the execution of your Death Lotus. Before the Giant's Belt, you will prevail in most 1v1 and 1v2 entounter after your Death Lotus, but by a slim margin that can end up with death if you make a mistake or if you fail to retreat while there is still another enemy hero. The HP bonus on the Giant's Belt and the complete Rylai's Crystal Scepter will give you the extra time needed after you scored your kill with Death Lotus. In that case, your will reduce all your Cooldowns by 15 sec, which will set your Preparation- Shunpo combo to ready again. Your greater amount of HP with these item will give you the confort to continue the fight to get that second kill.
Once the completed, I go for the . I start it always with the to get the gold as soon as possible to have the complete item in hand. The bonus of armor and the dam reduction of killer instinct will give you an extra edge to jump on other targets or to continue to collect XP on the lane after a kill. Also, the movement and attack speed reduction on the Passive and Active effet will add up to your survival faculty. The Active effect combine very well with the movement reduction you cause already with your Rylai's Crystal Scepter, which will make your Death Lotus move even more deadly and effective. On the top of that, the Randuin's Omen will give you a nice -8% Cooldown reduction.
The Omen firmly in place, I then go for the . The advantage of it is pretty obvious. It will set you back on the damage dealing path (which won't suffer much by the Randuin's Omen. Your Death Lotus will still provide the dam needed to be deadly). The ring will increase your damages with all your abilities by a great margin. Against squishies, you can even be tempted to jump into a 1vs2 fight with very good chances to kill both of your opponent (Especially if one of them is a Physical Damage dealer).
After the Rabadon's Deathcap, your 5th and 6th items can be two items in the following list:
Force of Nature
I used to buy as my 5th item the , because I can buy it quickly which will give me a quick fix on many faculties my set items already give me. Spirit Visage increase my amount of HP, an advantage I already developped with the Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Randuin's Omen. It improve my Magic resistance for a cheap amount of gold. It help my HP regen and boost my by 20%, which is nice while in the middle of a fight. Finally, the item increase my Cooldown reduction, which is also an advantage I got earlier. So, overall, Spirit Visage improve all the capacities I have in hands, and do so for few coins.
After that, I go for . Ability power point and Magic reduction will increase your damages, and will help you against those who got a Magic resistance item. Also, the Magic Resist will extend the type of damages you can soak, and it will goes well along the line of your survival capacities.
If the game last longer, I used to replace the Spirit Visage with Force of Nature.
However, with the new patch, I skip the Spirit Visage for the Zhonya's Hourglass. This new item is a perfect fit for this build. It's a bit expensive, but it followed very well the main idea developed here. The recipe of the Zhonya's Hourglass allow you to buy the Chain Vest, which follow the balance sequence of the build. If I don't buy that one, I'm also increasingly tempted to leave the Spirit Visage for the Force of Nature or the Abyssal Scepter, if the team have many AP dam dealer.
In lane, focus on last hiting minions to get gold out of them. Katarina is very good to do so with Shunpo and Bouncing Blades. With this build, she doesn't have the capacity to kills waves of minions very quickly, like Sivir for exemple. However, with her very good capacity to last hit them, you will make a very good amount of gold, enough to afford the items on this build.
Like I said earlier, avoid using Preparation. Save it to fight hero or incase you get ambushed.
If the enemy on your lane is too aggressive, you can hit and run on him using Shunpo + Preparation. Do so especially when your opponent have used one of his ability on a minion while he was farming.
Use Bouncing Blades to bleed him and to put him on his guard to reduce his farming efficiency. It's important to damage your opponent enough so that once you reach level 6 you can jump on him to finish him off with Death Lotus. If possible, try to do so before your enemy get to level 6, if you don't kill him, you might force him to retreat to base and denied him XP.
Against champion who have some sort of HP regen, like Vladimir, you can use, sometimes, your Bouncing Blades in combo with Preparation, so that his HP regen will be reduced. However, don't focus too much on that, because, usually, those champions will succeed, given time, to get back their HP. Using Preparation with Bouncing Blades will be appropriate here if you plan to jump into fight very soon (within 20 or 40 second). In this situation you could use one or two bouncing blades with killer instincts to slow down your opponnent HP regen while you are about to engage them with Shunpo + Death Lotus.
Keep always an eye on the other lane to see if you could gank an enemy. Be careful to not chase in vain too much, because that will cripple your gold and XP farming. If you leave your lane, do so to help your allies or if you have a good chance to score a kill on an enemy.
Overall, you won't be able to farm like Sivir, but, still, you can make a very good amount of gold by scoring lots of killing blow on Minions with Shunpo and Bouncing Blades.
Even if you have one single point in Bouncing Blade until late game, don't hesitate to use it in your fight against hero. It will make the difference very often. The cooldown rate of your abilities are low, so be generous = ) Most of the time, you will be able to throw a Bouncing knife, then activate quickly Killer Instincts to jump on your target with Shunpo, faster than the time it take to write this single sentence. If you are lvl6, activate Death Lotus. Soon after, your Bouncing Blade will be ready again, right when most ennemy try to run out of the fight, if still alive. A blade on his back will usally end up his hope to escape, if he still run, kill it with fire ! = )
Have fun = )
Your constructive comments, recommandations and critics are welcome. I take also praises and flatteries = )
(Not an exceptional score, but a nice one I had with this built. Later on, I switch my Spirit Visage for a Force of Nature.)