My Usual Build
Not Updated For Current Season
Threats to Katarina with this build
Hello all, this will be my first guide - How to dumpster kids with Katarina. A little bit about me before we start... My ign is TheViruxX, my Twitch is TheToxicTerry and I am 24 years of age residing in Calgary, AB, Canada. I am currently Diamond 5 and climbing to my goal of MASTERS on the NA servers. I started this game about 3 years ago, and have naturally adapted to the mid lane. Why? Well simply put, Katarina was one of the free champs and she just happened to be the first one I ever played. I also played Malzahar a lot in the beginning, but I gave up on him when I realized he just couldn't carry as hard. Katarina, LeBlanc, and Annie are what I would call my top 3 champs.
I have very impressive stats with Katarina. In Season 3, I was 73-54 (57.5%) with an average KDA of 9.8/5.7/7 (160 creeps). In season 4, I was 120-74 (62.2%) with an average KDA of 10.0/6.7/6.9(168 creeps). I am now at 59-35 (62.7%) with 11.0/6.5/7.0 kda. And these are just ranked stats.
I'm going to be quite honest here, I don't know much about the League of Legends or all the story-line mumbo jumbo. But what I do know is how to carry games (and how to throw them). Thus, with the help of this guide, I am hoping that I can spread my wealth of knowledge and help you guys get better with this beautiful champ. I put a lot of time and effort into this guide, so please feel free to comment and let me know what you think should be added/changed. Also, if you enjoyed reading it, please let me know by giving it a thumbs up so I am motivated to make more "How to Dumpster Kids" guides. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the toxicity.
Oh, and if you would like some free skins and what not, feel free to check out my Twitch, as I regularly give out mystery skins, etc. when reaching follower milestones... TheToxicTerry
Introduction to Katarina
Katarina is an Ability Power (AP) Assassin. She is mainly used in the Mid lane, but can also be used (carefully) in the Jungle or Top lane. She's good at bursting most Attack Damage Carries (ADC's), and excels at team fights due to her passive Voracity and Area of Effect (AOE) spells. This is what makes her a great carry, especially late game.
There are a lot of reasons to play Katarina. The first and most important reason is because she has a Kitty Kat skin, which I am confident in saying that it could be the best skin in League of Legends. Another good reason is because she is relatively easy to learn. This is because she has absolutely no skill shots, and has decent escape potential. The hardest part about playing Katarina is knowing when to ult and how to approach team fights.
Pros / Cons
|+ NO MANA OR ENERGY !!!
+ No skill shots
+ Amazing ganker
+ Good farmer
+ Late game carry
|So the main advantage of playing Katarina is that she has NO MANA OR ENERGY. This means the only thing restricting you from using her skills is cool down timers. Another advantage is that Shunpo makes Katarina an absolute BEAST when it comes to lane ganking and escaping. Finally, her ult Death Lotus is extremely useful in team fights, especially if you have a team with a lot off crowd control (CC) (ie. Amumu).|
|- ULTIMATE can be easily interrupted !!
- No crowd control (CC) spells
- Fairly squishy
- Often targeted during team fights
|Pretty basic stuff here. The biggest disadvantage to Katarina is that her ult Death Lotus is easily interrupted by CC (stuns, silences, etc.). If this happens, she is pretty much USELESS. Another big downside is that her spells have no crowd control, so you should choose her with a team that already has enough CC. The last disadvantage is that she gets targeted late game, especially if you are fed! This gets really annoying, and makes your approach to team fights a heck of a lot more complicated.|
After a kill or assist (within 3 seconds), Katarina's cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.
The description says it all. Basically, if you get a kill or an assist (within 3 seconds of damaging them) then the cooldowns for ALL SKILLS are reduced by 15 seconds. This is the most important aspect to Katarina's style and can literally change a game from bad to good.
- Since Bouncing Blades, sinister steel, and Shunpo all have relatively low cooldowns, you can basically spam them to get kills.
- This makes ganking a HUGE ADVANTAGE for you to easily get double/triple kills, especially on bot lane.
- Works well with Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel. If you get a kill or an assist while these items are activated, then your skills will be reset and you can resume the slaughtering afterwards.
Deals magic damage and marks each enemy hit for 4 seconds.
So this ability you throw a dagger which bounces (dealing magic damgae) and marks up to 5 targets. If you attack or strike this enemy with an ability, there will be an additional 15% of magic damage applied.
- Every time you even think about fighting (unless its a guaranteed kill) you should start with Bouncing Blades.
- Try not to spam this ability to farm, especially against mages, as it will cause your wave to push which in turn makes it harder to get CS.
- Make sure you target an enemy champion if they are near minion waves. This will ensure the champ receives the most damage since it is the first hit.
Sinister steelSINISTER STEEL
Deals AOE magic damage and increases Katarina's movement speed.
Spin to win? Pressing W makes Katarina spin, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies. If she hits an enemy champion, it also increases her movement speed for 1 second.
- This is good for trying to get away from those pesky junglers if your Shunpo is on cooldown (she still moves while spinning, kinda like Garen).
- sinister steel has an extremely low cooldown (4 seconds), so make sure you are spamming it AT ALL TIMES during a teamfight.
- This ability gets really good for farming at later levels. Clear waves fast and PUSH the enemy towers if you notice your lane opponent is missing.
Teleports to a target, deals magic damage, and gives Katarina damage reduction.
Now you see me, now you don't... basically. Katarina can teleport to objects (champs, minions, wards, etc.) whether it be allied, enemy, or neutral. If it is an enemy target, it will deal magic damage. It also reduces incoming damage for 1.5 seconds after being executed.
- An even better escape tactic from those annoying junglers ! This is the reason I usually carry an extra ward or keep the trinket. As soon as you are in trouble, throw down the ward and Shunpo to it (can be done over walls). I have dodged death numerous times with this strategy.
- Because of the awesome damage reduction, it is best to use this skill early in a fight. The usual combo QEWR does the trick fairly well.
- Another thing to note is that it teleports you BEHIND the target. This means you can dodge abilities for days. Just make sure your reaction speed is up to check and you should be able to dodge a lot of damage.
Katarina spins in place dealing magic damage to 3 nearby champions.
This is it. This is the skill that can be the difference between no kills and a pentakill. Katarina rapidly spins in place (channeling for 2.5 seconds), applying magic damage to the nearest 3 champions within range. It also applies grievous wounds, reducing regeneration and healing for 3 seconds.
- First tip to newer players: do not move after you have initiated Death Lotus. This will cancel your channeling and end your ult early.
- Laning tip: if you get counter picked by a champ with good cc skills, try to bait those abilities first. When you know they are on cooldown, then you can use Death Lotus.
- Death Lotus has an extremely short cooldown (about 40 seconds at level 18). This means you only need 3 kills/assists before it is INSTANTLY ready to be used again. Therefore you can ult 2 times in one teamfight if everything goes well !! It also means that you should be able to use your ult in lane more times than most other champs because of it's low cooldown time (use this to your advantage).
You know what, I don't even think I'm going to talk much about masteries. They are pretty straight forward, and there are thousands of combinations that you can use to set up a specific play style. Everyone is going to have their own opinions on what exactly to set up. That being said, you can see the ones that I use with Katarina at the top of this guide. I normally rep 18/0/12 with most carries. Full AD or AP (depending on champ) and some defense, pretty basic stuff.
Specific ones of interest are:
Since Katarina is a melee champ, this is a no brianer. You deal 3% extra damage, and in return only take 1.5% extra damage? Is this real life? I'll take that trade any day of the week.
If you DO decide to go the 'Cunning' route, I would definitely put 5 points into this. The extra speed will make ganking and getting back to lane super quick.
Due to Katarina's AoE ult, this would be helpful in team fights. If you manage to get a good ult in, you could potentially assist/kill 5 champions... meaning this mastery will stack up to 25% of health restored. Not bad.
Same thing for runes. There are a variety of good combinations. To see what I am using, please scroll back up to the top of this guide. Basically all you want is ability power, magic penetration, and most times I will throw some health runes in there.
|WHY START Bouncing Blades and Shunpo FIRST?
Well the first reason is to help the jungle leash. Trust me when i say that any help the jungle gets early on will help your team down the road !! The next thing is for early game harass. Like I said before, you don't want to be spamming Bouncing Blades too much, but at the same time you want to keep the lane even while poking the enemy down as much as possible.
MAXING sinister steel vs. Bouncing Blades FIRST?
I've seen a lot of good guides that explain the benefits of maxing Bouncing Blades first. If you are laning against a mage or champion with a lot of poke, then usually Q is what you will want to max first. If you are playing a more up close and personal champ, then I would max W first. For me, if things are going well and I get the first few kills, I will max sinister steel. If I am behind I might do a combination of both. Below is an example of how maxing sinister steel will give you the most amount of damage at early levels.
EXAMPLE: OPTION A. You have 100 AP. Say your sinister steel is level 3 (meaning that it does 120 (+25% AP) in damage with a 4 second CD). In 8 seconds, you can put out 240 (+50% AP) = 240 + 50 = 290 total magic damage. OPTION B. You have 100 AP. Say your Bouncing Blades is level 3 (meaning that it does 155 (+60% AP) damage in 9 seconds). In 8 seconds (same variable as before), you can put out 155 (+60% AP) = 155 + 60 = 215 total magic damage. This is why you want to max sinister steel for early game. By the time mid game hits and everyone is starting to fall to the mid lane, then your Bouncing Blades should be starting to level up to get the multi-target damage going.
There are only two summoners that any Katarina player should EVER have... they are Flash and Ignite.
- Flash is literally the best skill in the game. You can use it in so many different ways to create an advantageous setting for you and your team. You can use it as a last resort for escaping those pesky jungle ganks. You can use it to get closer to the back line of the team (preferably the ADC). Especially when combined with Shunpo, Katarina can pretty much teleport wherever she pleases.
- Another given for most mid laners. Your job is to get kills. So why would you take anything other than ignite? It's practically free damage, and the cooldown is fairly short too. It is especially nice when used with Katarina's ult Death Lotus and Liandry's Torment. This combo will basically guarantee you a kill if you get the enemy champ below 10% health. Another tip: use ignite as soon as possible with Katarina, solely because of her passive Voracity. The sooner you get that first kill or assist, the sooner your cooldowns reset, the sooner you do more damage :)
Finally, the most important part of the guide (aside from strategy - see chapter below)... the item build. Honestly, just like runes and masteries, you can build any way you want. What matters most in the end will be HOW YOU USE YOUR SKILLS and HOW WELL YOUR TEAM IS. Remember this.
|I almost always buy boots of speed with Katarina. She is supposed to be a mobile ganker and that's exactly what the boots are for. I've seen a lot of builds saying you should start with Doran's Shield but I absolutely hate hate HATE it. It's not a good item for Katarina and don't agree with that as a good starting item. Two reasons for this: A. i dont think it proves it's justice in value... blocking 8 damage isn't going to do **** when an AP mage is spamming their auto attack on you. I feel like it gives you a false sense of security. B. it doesn't build into anything. As soon as late game hits, you practically have wasted the 400 gold you needed to buy it in the beginning. Might as well put that money to something useful like Sorcerer's Shoes.|
|x4||A good combination with the boots, and especially good for Katarina since she is a melee champion. Since you will more than likely be laning against a mage, you will be taking a lot of auto attack damage. Having 4 pots lets you stay in the lane longer as well as roam like a beast if needed.|
|Like I said earlier, use this to Shunpo to when you are being ganked by the jungle. You will make a few jaws drop when you get good at this ;)|
First Back (Aggressive)
|First back buys ALWAYS depend on who you're laning against. If it's a matchup against a mage such as Ziggs who usually rush Chalice of Harmony, then Haunting Guise is the perfect counter. If on the other hand you are playing someone like Zed, then I would probably rush Seeker's Armguard.|
|(BUFFED 5.13)This is a good first option because you can literally go in any direction you want after this. Say for example, your team starts feeding to a bunch of AP champs, you can build into Abyssal Scepter. Or maybe you just got a triple kill and want to rush Rabadon's Deathcap. Either way you're gucci status.|
|Also another option if you notice the enemy team stacking early magic resist. Plus the +35 movement speed never hurt anyone ;) Good for ganking that bot lane!|
First Back (Passive)
If you're not doing so well in a lane, or you're just not as an aggressive player as I am (which is totally fine) then maybe go with the Hextech Revolver or Seeker's Armguard. These will give you a good amount of AP with some defensive stats as well.
|Easily the best item for an AP champ like Katarina. +35% ability power? Are you kidding me? Rito's pretty much handing you a free win with this thing. I usually get this item 3rd or 4th. The cost was increased but so was the AP amplifier passive so this is still a must have item after patch 5.13.|
|Another MUST HAVE item for Katarina, especially with her passive Voracity. Not only will Zhonya's Hourglass give you a second chance at life, but it will give you some extra time to get that kill/assist, thus giving you cooldown reduction so you can start spamming abilities again. I am usually done this item 4th or 5th.|
|Exact same thing as what i mentioned for Zhonya's Hourglass... combine these two and you should always have a chance to get that penta kill. I usually build this item last.|
Now we get into more game specific items. The next few are all determined by how well the game is going and who is/isn't fed.
|So let's say the other team has a full house of AD characters (ie. Pantheon, Zed, Udyr, Vayne, Leona). In this example, I probably wouldn't buy an Abyssal Scepter. Now as a different scenario, let's say the teams Ap/Ad ratio is fairly even, but the AP jungler or even the mid laner got fed. At this point I would almost always buy an Abyssal Scepter. OR better yet, the enemy team is stacked with AP champs (ie. Kennen, Fiddlesticks, Orianna, Nami, Corki). In this scenario I am 100% buying an Abyssal Scepter, maybe even as a 2nd item.|
|Here's an item that they patched for 5.13 and is starting to look a lot nicer for Katarina players. The passive on this one is super useful, especially when combined with Death Lotus. That means 3 of their champs would be slowed by (UPDATED:) 40% during team fights !! That's HUGE !! Combine this thing with Liandry's Torment and you've got yourself a killing machine, and a nice health base to boot.|
|10% cooldown reduction... 80 ability power... and now 33% healing for AOE spells BEFORE resistances? I will definitely be using this item a lot more now after patch 5.13. I'm even considering listing it as a CORE ap item.|
|Buffed for patch 5.13 ! I usually end up selling Haunting Guise if things are going well to buy something with more ability power, such as Void Staff. But I've also been starting to use this item in combination with Rylai's Crystal Scepter after patch 5.13... they added 30 AP to the final build. It's really up to you what kind of item you want at this point.|
|NERFED. 100 AP item now: Luden's Echo. Everything about it is perfect for a Katarina player... but now that it only deals out 100 AP i'm not sure if it's worth anymore ! Thus I am taking it out of the core build... sorry folks.|
|Here's another item that increases (+35%) magic penetration. This is my 'go to' item usually when I'm fed, and the enemy team starts stacking MR. Combine this with Sorcerer's Shoes, Abyssal Scepter, and Liandry's Torment, and there will literally be no amount of MR that could stop you. Patch 5.13 increased the cost of this sucker to 2500 gold, which is why I also took this item out of the core build.|
Laning phase is probably the hardest part of playing Katarina. A lot of mid lane champions are mages, meaning they have ranged auto attacks. This makes it extremely annoying when trying to last shot creeps. The most important thing to remember is to stay back (out of enemy auto attack range) until you know for sure you can get the last hit on the minion. Another good strategy, if they are pushing fairly hard, is to use Bouncing Blades along with sinister steel to push back. As Katarina I usually try to let them push the lane and ask for a friendly jungle gank, which are easy as long as you have Shunpo ready.
Choosing the right time to poke/attack is also crucial to the early game. Throwing too many Bouncing Blades will push the lane if the enemy isn't pushing back, which will leave you vulnerable to jungle ganks. As with any laner, if you have an idea where their jungle is, then it's a good time to think about attacking. With Katarina my favorite move is to hit the enemy with a Bouncing Blades, then try to get close enough to hit them with a sinister steel. And repeat. This leaves your Shunpo available to dodge opposing skill shots or escape a gank.
Ganking (in my opinion) is the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT of being a mid laner. You are in the middle of the map therefore you have the ability to roam anywhere you want (top or bottom lanes) within a matter of seconds. Especially for a mobile champ like Katarina, it is important that you help other lanes whenever possible. I think my timing and positioning during ganks is what sets me above most mid laners. I could be behind a few kills or cs in my lane and one simple gank will get the team back to even.
I usually don't attempt to gank another lane until I have Death Lotus available. If it is ready to go, I will let the other lane know if I'm coming. That being said, if I see one of the opposing lanes pushed up, I will head my way there. Telling them to try and get their lane opponent low really sets you up for an easy kill. This is the best when trying to gank the bottom lane. Before you leave, ensure you push your own lane hard so you don't miss as much CS. My favourite thing to do is make the enemy mid laner back and push the wave to turret, hit the turret a few times, then head bot lane to gank.
If both opponents in the bot lane are extremely low, I'll even tell them I'm willing to dive a turret (especially if I have flash). You're probably thinking "Anyone who wants to turret dive is stupid." Well with Katarina's Voracity that statement isn't entirely true. You can zip in and out of turret range easily as long as you have an item/champion nearby.
Another helpful tip I have when ganking is to NOT use your Shunpo right away. If you have the opportunity, run in and attack with Bouncing Blades and sinister steel first and wait for a flash or escape. THEN use Shunpo to Death Lotus. This is better than a quick Shunpo to Death Lotus which will be wasted if they flash away.
Mid to Late Game (Team Fighting)
Last but in utmost certainty not least, we have the mid to late game teamfights. Being an assassin, you want to try and catch the more squishy champs (ADC, mid, support) out of position. At higher ELO's this is usually hard to do, so sticking with your team is the best bet. You always want to make sure that you are within Shunpo range should a team fight arise. I normally try to enter the fight late (for obvious reasons) in hopes that the other team will use up their crowd control spells before your Death Lotus. A different case is when you are on a team that has good AOE cc ultimates (ie. Sona, Amumu, Varus), so you also need to know when to go in as quickly as possible. It really just comes down to what team comp you have and how good they can peel for a Katarina.
The only real combo that I ever use is QEWR. QEW. QEW. QEWR. 5 kills right there. It's that simple. Just gotta practice the micro and you should be nuking teams in no time.
Thanks for your time and interest in reading this guide. I realize there aren't many graphics included so if you're willing to provide me with some, i'd be more than happy to put them in.
If you ever feel like you have any more in depth questions, please feel free to message me or leave a comment.
My most recent games as Katarina:
Rev 1.0 - Initial Publish
Rev 1.1 - Changed Runes / Added a Mastery Discussion
Rev 1.2 - Added explanation for no Doran's Shield, Usual Build, More info on Deathfire Grasp
Rev 1.3 - Updated Masteries
Rev 1.4 - HUGE EXPLANATION ON MAXING sinister steel FIRST
Rev 1.5 - Added match history Pics !!
Rev 1.6 - Kat Nerfs :((((((((((
Rev 2.0 - SEASON 5 !!! and removal of DFG??
Rev 2.1 - 5.3 updates + pentakill
Rev 2.2 - Yet another Kat nerf
Rev 2.3 - LUDEN's ECHO OPPPPP
Rev 2.4 - How many kat nerfs are there going to be ???????
Rev 2.5 - Masteries tweaked (thanks JompaTheBeast)
Rev 2.6 - Shunpo nerfs... HOW MANY MORE NERFS SHE GONNA NEED RIOT?
Rev 2.7 - HUGE AP item changes ! Took Void Staff and Echo out of the core build.
Rev 2.8 - Added more emphasis on early game ganking
Rev 2.9 - Got dat Diamond
Rev 3.0 - Season 6 Changes (Mastery Update)