Build Guide by Supernatural Cow
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
Please note: Before reading, please note that I am only beginning in the LoL scene and that this is my second guide. However, having that said, I have made it my biggest priority to contribute to the thoughts and ideas of character building, and I hope that this build will be yet another step to you pwning face with Kat. ^_^
Okay, so first off, Kat is a really tricky-mind-games character played right, and can be beneficial to any team needing dps support. In this guide, I have chosen to spec for Attack Damage, as I believe that Kat's unique ability to transform the physical damage into magical damage, is amazing, and shouldn't be left un-used. There a few pro's and con's for this build, as there are for all builds.
THE PRO'S AND CON'Ss OF KATARINA'S ATTACK DAMAGE BUILD
Synergy of the build - When fully built, the attack damage, coupled with Rylai's slow effect, will make bouncing blade an evil ganking tool.
The sheen will supply Kat with an extra 100% of her damage (so, an extra 408 damage! :D ) every time she casts an ability; and, considering we took cooldown reduction as our runes, and probably from the Golem Buff, we're going to be able to double our attack quite a bit.
Excellent ability combos - To add to this, Sheen will come into effect after using shunpo, which will put you right into melee range of the opponent. This makes for a good combo: Run towards opponents. Bouncing Blade to slow them. Killer Instincts and Shunpo to slow and provide 80% extra dodge for 3 seconds (stops those nasty burst damage dps >:D ). Auto attack to apply the Sheen's crit. Pop Death Lotus to apply slowing effect and deal approx 160 damage each spin. If the champion is lucky enough to have survived all of that, an easy chase with your Boots of Swiftness will surely put you back into range to either finish with BB, or Shunpo back in, to restart combo.
Makes people think - Most people will take one glance at your build, and assume that your going full AD, which means full armor to counter. While this is a common and stupid mistake, you will be surprised at how many people I have seen rage that their armor is useless. The thing to note about Kat, is that her Attack Damage, gets converted to Magic damage whenever she uses an ability, which technically means, that she is a unique brand of the Assassin Nuker. She relies on her short cooldowns and heavy hitting abilities to quickly wipe out enemies -- extremely similar to Eve, and, as this type of champion is a favorite of mine, you will find that I have made a guide for her too ^_^
Now, while the AD damage is great for her spells, and ability to magnificently auto attack AND burst her abilities, it also adds a few complicated cons...
Limited usefulness from Attack Damage items - As a typical AD character, you will generally want to rely on fast attack speed, high critical strike rate, and decent damage. However, this is not the case for Kat, as she is far too squishy to be going head-to-head to other Attack Damage DPS characters (Imagine a fully equipped Yi, against a Kat relying on a Rylai's for protection... *EEK*). And, as such, Kat has a limited choice of items to choose from, in case she must stray from the build due to drastic circumstances. As you will note, if you ever scrawl through the AD items list, the effects of most of the items are suited for staying alive, reducing enemy armor, and dealing crits. Well, this is exactly what we don't want, as we will barely ever get the chance to auto hit an enemy champion; and we would always prefer to fill up our equipment slots with more useful effects... such as the Rylai's Sceptre, which applies a slowing effect to our abilities. HOWEVER, on *this* item, much of the AP is lost, as we will never get to use it on our Death Lotus (Because Death Lotus uses the higher number of either AD or AP) and the additional damage on Shunpo is more than negligible. Thus reinstating what I said about half wasted items...
Flexibility with circumstances - Another con, is Kat's fleshy tankiness -- well, lack of it. Mind you, Katarina was never made to survive standing still . Effectively, she's ranged, relying on her short CD Bouncing Blade for attacks, and then her auto attack for raking down the enemy's health with Sheen. However, pulling this off against a team that has heaps of snares and stuns, will be extremely difficult. And as such, you may want to consider swapping your current boots for Mercury's Treads... but this is just going to make our chasing potential a lot worse. So, this point really relates back to the first con, and that is Kat's limited choice of items. If she struggles early on, and has troubles getting her required items, she's in hot water to find the right items that will re-stabilize her. And this, my friends, is a big. problem. >_<
Expensive build requires attention! - As you will note, the items in this build order are significantly expensive. Prioritizing the items that will keep you alive, with the ones that will get you kills, is quite tricky business. As they all say, "Easy Kills Pay The Bills", but, it's kind of hard to get quick kills when you have no survivability, right?
Well, this is where I put a pro after this con. League of Legends is a team. game. That means, that in your ideal team, your going to want to have a character to take on an individual role each. Whether that be a carry, a tank, a support or a techie (Teemo's shrooms, lots of sight wards, Twisted Fate's ulti etc etc...), your going to want to fill each role. Now, Kat is a carry. Through and through. Problem is, carry's seem to be everyone's favorite style of champion to play, as they are the ones with all of the kills/gold. This is a con also. However, the pro comes in when you can actually get your team to help you out. Kat relies on ganking, last hitting, and gold raking to be able to be stabilized. It's not as simple as just buying yourself a few Lucky Picks for some more gold, or some health regen because your dying so much. Killing = money = items = more killing = more money = carry. Nuff said.
Which, leads me to my Method section of the guide.
Okay, so basically, as said earlier, Kat needs kills. This means that she needs to gank, which is why i generally take side lanes with tankier characters who can take the hits for you every so often.
Gold. Nuff said. Just, gold. Forget the enemy champions for a while, make sure you barely ever get hit, and just focus on last hitting minions with your bouncing blades. If it so happens that the chance arises that the enemy has low health, try to bounce your blades onto the enemy -- but not killing them, just enough to apply Killer Instincts, which will either force them to recall, or stay hugging the tower for longer. Note: that killing them, at the detriment of you, is never a good idea, even if it means you aren't dead, but your just severely injured. This is because, you want to stay in your lane for as long as possible with max health. And obviously, the more health you have, the easier it is to escape unwary ganks alive. I generally manage to stay in my lane to get about 1200 gold, at which I recall back, buy my boots, a few Health pots, and 2 vision wards (I will explain that later in the Tips and Tricks section).
Okay, so once you've managed to keep your enemies from last hitting, and you've gotten yourself some speed, you'll be at about level 7 or 8. This means COMBO TIME! :D :D :D
From now on, you will refer to this time as mid game, as you are leaving your lane dominance mode, and entering your champion farming one.
At about this time, I've racked up about 3 kills just from forcing people to be underfed and killing the occasional stray aggro. However, if you haven't been this lucky (or map aware), to score these kills, don't feel like you've ruined your game just yet :D
I tend to start offering ganks for mid, and wandering around to the other side as well. If I have a decent (ACTUAL) AD dps on my team, I tend to go to the neutral buffs and give him the Lizard (slow effects ftw), and me the Golem (Cooldown reduction means faster attacking = faster gold in your pockets).
I purely focus on bringing champions out of their comfort zones now. I try to avoid ganks, and tend to do 1-v-1 on the squishier champions. If there is no such thing, I just go gank a bunch with a partner and last hit with Death Lotus (Works like a charm).
Okayy, now we've gotten at least 4 out of 6 of our items, and we're well on our way to taking 3 enemy champions, on our own. This is the late game, baby ^_^
We're going to be encountering lots of ganks, so be wary of people missing. Try to make sure that you have somewhere to Shunpo to, whenever you venture out on your own. Whenever you engage someone, it should be with your team mates. Be warned, as a carry, you will be taking a lot of the focus of the fire, but that can be easily confused by Shunpo-ing everywhere :P
My average for my kill/death ratio at this point in time, is about 25-2-5. Eventually, the enemy is either going to be in your base (in which case your doing things wrong,) or, you are in *their* base. You'll be able to rape through towers fairly easy thanks to your high AD, and wiping out waves of minions will be nothing but pressing Q. Staying alive will be left to Shunpo and fast movement speed, and killing will be focussed on our terrifying combo. (The one I mentioned earlier in the pro's section). You will find that most beefy champs will try to engage you, as you are the squishier one and they have *lots of armor*. haha, but little will they know, that your slowing effects, lifestealing, crits with Sheen, and sometimes with masteries, will be more than enough to bring them down to their knees.
Now we are at Pwnage stage. It's past late game, and your either in their base, or close to it.
Pwnage Stage (End game):
You have all 6 items, and with both Neutral buffs, your auto attacks slow the enemy, you slow with your abilities, and your ulti comes back every 24 seconds. If you ever get below half health in this stage of the game, go and destroy a wave of minions or two. Don't take them with BB though, as you want the lifesteal bonuses from your Bloodthirsters.
Okay, so that pretty much raps it up. It's a fun build to play with, and it's exciting to be so powerful at end game.
However, if I were you, and I can assure you, I once was :P, I would play a few custom matches against bots first, just to get the feel of the build and how your meant to use it.
Remember -- You have NO MANA. This means no conservative use of abilities is required. Spam all of your abilities asap. Less health on them = less time it takes for you to kill them later.
KATARINA'S ABILITY COMBO
Okay, just for reference, that combo that I was talking about, is this:
1. Run towards enemy to get in range of BB (It has a longer range than Shunpo)
2. Throw the blade, thus slowing them down.
3. If you have time, kite them for a bit to get your BB back again sooner. This just supplies you with a quick finisher if you find your health getting too low.
4. Once you have your gank organized, Shunpo into him/her. Thus, slowing then again.
5. Auto attack them once, to apply 816 damage from the Sheen's crit.
6. If they are further than melee range from you, throw the blade again, thus slowing them down.
7. Catch up to them, and if need be, run a little in front of them, before activating Death Lotus.
8. If you have it, and you need it, feel free to activate Exhaust for more survivability/chase ability.
9. If they still aren't dead, and they are out of reach of you, either catch up to them with your boots, or pop your Ghost.
10. Throw the blade.
11. Shunpo towards them
12. Auto hit them.
13. If they aren't dead yet, then wow. Just, wow. Okay, so we restart the combo and be wary of ganks. Remember that in a few seconds, your ultimate will be back ^_^
Note, that this nasty combo is for 1 v 1 only. This is because, Kat is at her best in a 1-v-1, because she only has to worry about one source of opposing damage. If you do happen to be forced to gank, try to replicate this combo, but only using Shunpo to stay out of harm's way, and to maybe catch that fleeing Ashe.
TIPS AND TRICKS
My *favorite* part. This is the section, that truly defines the pros from the beginners. It's going to take a while to master, but once there, it will truly redefine your skills.
The Shunpo Wards Strategy
Okay, so first off, remember when I told you to buy those Vision Wards in early game with the boots? Yeah, well we can use them for two good things: Spotting attempted ganks in the brush, and targeting for Shunpo. If you place a ward on the inside of both brushes, if your in the side lane, (You know, the two brushes that have a small gap between them?) Well, you can Shunpo between them by targeting the ward (We are talking 5 v 5 here, btw. lol). This makes for EXCELLENT last hitting, as people will rarely know that you're there. It also prevents you from being ganked, as you can just run into the brush and Shunpo into the next one ^_^
The Survival by Shunpo Strat
Okay, second trick. Shunpo is an amazing ability. Short cooldown, no mana cost, and it deals damage whenever targeted to a non-friendly. This trick will really only apply early game, as you usually wont have 1 v 2's in late. This is where you bait one or two champions into following you around, in hopes that they will kill you, but you constantly just evade them. This is an effective strategy if you are taking a Jungling Warwick's lane, and are trying to last hit minions, as well as survive against two opponents. Your going to want to be anticipating where the enemy thinks you will run, whenever you go into the brush. If you go into the brush at the angle that you are running towards your tower, they will usually think that your going to retreat towards your tower, and wait for you at that end. However, if you anticipate this, and go the other way, you will usually get enough time to chuck a BB on a low health minion, and catch the enemy's attention once more. Be warned however, that this is mainly only useful against melee champs, as people with stuns, snares and throws will just see you and target you.
Shunpo's third use. Seeing a pattern yet?
Which brings me to our next problem. Crowd Control. This is pretty much what stops us from living. We cant escape when we are taunted to Rammus, or hit by Mundo's cleaver. However, if you can identify an enemy's skill, you can usually anticipate when they will throw it, and shunpo out of the way. Even if it means you're getting closer to them, you will have mucked up their targeting, and hopefully, if it was a skillshot, evaded it all together :D
The usefulness of the Oracle
Another tool, is buying an oracle. You should only do this if you know that they have a high amount of wards, or an enemy Teemo. This is because if you can see their wards, you can Shunpo to them, thus getting out of harms way, and at their expense. However, be wary of teleporting to an enemy Shroom, as it might just finish your low health off :P
Killing with low health
Another trick, is to run off with low health, baiting an enemy champion. Note, this will only work if they are physical damage based, and you have exhaust. You run into a brush, wait for them to get right up to you, and pop your ulti, and then exhuast. It will take them a moment to realize that what they're doing is pointless, and hopefully by then, your damage is enough to finish even a half-health enemy off.
Dodging that ultimate
This next trick incorporates those wards again. You know that evil Lux's ultimate? And how its pro at finishing low health people off? Well, if you can remember to always carry a spare ward around with you, you will find that with enough skill and timing, you can always avoid it. It starts as soon as you see the little red line go across your character, which means in a few seconds, that ulti will scrispify whatever's in it's way. However, if you hit the corresponding number of your ward in your inventory, and place it a few cm away from you, you will find that you can place them with some distance. As soon as you have done this, hit E and click on the ward QUICK. This might seem impossible at first, but with enough reflex training, you might just find that you can nail it ;)
Trust me, this has saved my life, COUNTLESS times :P
Okay, that really kind off finishes that section. I cant think of many other not-so-obvious tricks, and if there are more, please feel free to add them in the comments below ^_^
THE EXPLANATION OF RUNES/MASTERIES
Well, this kind of leads me to the part of the guide I dread the most... the explanation of the runes/ masteries. But, as all good summoner's have fully kitted out apparatus, I must explain, if I want to pass on my knowledge ;)
Okay, so I went with three Quints of MPen, as Quints offer the most bonus, and more MPen, equals more damage. Next, I chose Marks of Insight, as more MPen is good, and Marks offer the most MPen between the lower class Runes. Seal of focus for more CD reduction, which is a must for a fast attacking Kat, and as you will note, Seal's offer the most CDR on the spot. And then for the Glyths, I went with CDR each level, as the amount recieved at level 18 far surpassed any other of the bonuses that the Runes had to offer.
As for the Masteries, I went with a simple 23/ 6/ 1, as I needed the boost for Ghost, some extra dodge chance that helps with my Killer Instincts, more survivability, and just, in general, more damage. Which is good for what, my friends? That's right, killing :)
Oh, and I probably should have mentioned this before, but for Summoner Spells, I almost always choose Exhaust and Ghost. I find that Exhaust is excellent for early game Armor reduction, and in the late game, it's 100% miss chance is never missed (Haha, sorry, couldn't help myself ^_^). And Ghost, is remarkable for it's little bit (or lots) of extra speed.... meaning survivability, in our case.
You can choose things like Ignite and Flash, but I always find that if you use wards right, there is never a time when Flash could be used over Shunpo. I also find that with Ignite, unless it's for first blood right at level 1, it's damage is negligible, and it's much easier to just: Ghost (maybe) > Shunpo > Bouncing Blade -- even if it's a tower dive, you can always just Shunpo back.
Mmk, well, that's my build. I hope it helps you, and that it's easy to read. Do supply feedback, and rate it what you think it deserves! :D