Katarina Build Guide by Lariena
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Not Updated For Current Season
Welcome on my Katarina build.
With this build, I want to build up a Katarina that have the kind of mobility the old version had. Given that, I will max Shunpo for main skill, which is original since most build for her now takes Bouncing Blades. I want also to keep her effectivness to inflict damages and I consider her survivability as well, so that she won't be a glass cannon that could turns out feeding the enemy. How to achieve all that? Follow my items build order (I will add also some considerations about the main build).
Please, do not downgrade the build without reason. Consider the build for what it is, for what it aim and offer to achieve.
I play mostly 3v3 on Twisted Tree lines, but I would use the same build on 5v5.
Pros / Cons
This items build will provide the following advantage to your Katarina:
Before explaining my choice in detail take this in note:
You can use the same build items proposed here and Max out Bouncing Blades and then Sinister steel, if you prefer those two skills. I think the item composition will works perfectly well for that orientation as well.
In this chapter, I explain mostly a preference. If you don't care to know why I like Shunpo, skip this and go on the "Items" chapter (the most important one).
Bouncing Blades is a very good and fun skill, but I prefer Shunpo for the following:
You might say, all that is available with one skill points into Shunpo. Yes, but then you can do only one of those since after you used it you will have very long Cooldown (14 sec. That is an eternity). If you don't score a kill or an assist, you are left without your best escape mechanism. If another battle situation present itself soon after, you won't be able to position your self with the same ease.
Beside those objective considerations, I used to play Katarina with Shunpo. With her relaunch, I wanted to keep more or less the same feeling I had while playing her without compromising much on her new efficiency. I think I found a viable balance.
To keep in mind what was the "old feeling" I had, here is the old Cooldown stats on Katarina for her Shunpo skill:
OLD: Cooldown 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds
NEW: Cooldown 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 seconds
On the early level, to spam Shunpo like before, I need Cooldown reduction...
Most build, now, focus on Bouncing Blades and then on Sinister steel. Both skills are very good indeed. On her new configuration, Bouncing Blades cannot be ignored totaly, because the bonus damage it provide with the marks. For that reason, I decided to max this skill second after Shunpo. That way, my damage output won't lag behind too much, which would have been the case if I were selecting Sinister steel second.
To rebuild her like I desired, I had to consider these fundamentals:
- Katarina is an assassin, a damage dealer. In high AP value you trust.
- Her Death Lotus damage output have been nerf. To find back a bit of the same feeling, we need to give her a strong AP boost and we need to do so early. There is no 10 000 ways to achieve that. Two words : Rabadon's Deathcap. This item must come early in the build. However, if you rush this item first, you will be very fragile and vulnerable. You don't want to be an easy meal for your enemies to feed on.
- To become less fragile, you need a early boost in HP. To get that, you need a cheap item, so it won't slow down your AP progression. Here, two philosophies come in play. The traditional one for Katarina will go with Hextech Revolver to give her more sustainability. I tried that with her new config. I didn't like it. I think it's ****. The amount of HP regain won't make much difference between life and death. Since Death Lotus duration and damage are lower, it won't heal you as much as before. It is not totaly bad, but I really didn't like the builds with it. Also, whatever the case, Katarina will never be as beefy as a tank (duh!). You will retreat to base more often, which reduce the effciency of any investment in spell vamp each time you do so.
My solution on that matter : HP boost. The new Katarina have already more HP than the old one. By boosting her HP, you increase her sustainability and increase your chance to live longer while in the storm of a battle. The Hextech Revolver won't achieve that, because it needs time to fuel you up.
- Since I max Shunpo first, I cannot stay too long without AP boost to sustain my damage through out the match, compared to someone who would take Bouncing Blades and get higher dam output.
- The new Katarina benefit greatly in having a Cooldown reduction boost. That's why the most popular build for her include Deathfire Grasp. Once you taste cdr on Kat, it become addictive (whatever skill you max first). However, this consideration is tricky, because if you gain something you must sacrifice something else, right? The problem is then how to boost her HP and to give her a bonus in Cooldown while not slowing down her AP progression during the match lengh... To solve that, you need some cheap item that will give you those two bonus for few gold. One item give you that exactly : Kindlegem.
There is a drawback with this item for Katarina however... There is no other item that make use of it that would also give you an AP bonus. That mean, you will have one item that won't boost up your damage. It is a small inconvinent given the advantage the Kindlegem give you. To temper this, you will upgrade you Kindlegem when you will get your 6th item. The game might not last that long, especially if you play 3v3 like I do.
You might also consider rushing directly for the Deathfire Grasp, but you will miss all kind of form of sustainability (I tried that). Also, it won't offer the same punch than you early investment to reach Rabadon's Deathcap You can also consider buying only the Fiendish Codex, but it is more expensive than the Kindlegem and will give you the same Cooldown bonus. With the Codex also, you pay for a mana regen bonus you don't need.
Personally, I found out also I was using the Active option on the Deathfire Grasp rather rarely. It delayed or disturbed the cast of my other skills. For all these reasons, I decided to take it out and to focus on the two-three main stats I wanted for my Katarina : AP (lots of it), HP and, if possible, Cooldown reduction.
Recommended build sequence 1 (Main build):
With all these needs and constraints in mind, I came up with the following items build. Their purchase order offer a balance to reach all needs in aim.
Given the enemy team composition, if they have more AP damage dealer, you replace the Zhonya's Hourglass by the Abyssal Scepter.
I like the Rylai's Crystal Scepter on Katarina since it offer HP and AP. The passive slow on it is also just to good on her. It make her much more usefull for the whole team. The slow will help you to catch up your fleeing prey or to slow down opponent that chase you or your allies. Before, I was using this item earlier, but raw AP are now more important for her, so this item come second.
One obvious counter against Katarina is Magic resistence. The Void Staff make sure this won't happen and it give you a good amount of AP. Too good to say no.
Recommended build sequence 2 (Variant):
The other main varient you can consider is based mainly on the Kindlegem upgrade. Instead of Soul Shroud you could go for Shurelya's Reverie. It will give you less HP, however, in late game, the speed boost it could give to your whole team is a tactical option very interesting. Before upgrading, at this stage, if you survive most fight very well, the Shurelya's Reverie will be more usefull for your team as a whole. The speed boost is useful to escape and counter-strike or to reach out an ally in difficulity. In short, it will give you a better map advantage and enlarge you tactical options. It will give you a slight HP boost and an interesting bonus in HP regen. In late game, those two are less interesting than a raw HP boost however. That's why, I put the Soul Shroud in the Main build.
I don't have much to say about this topic. Personnally I prefer Runes that give a bonus per level to be stronger if the match last for long time. If you don't share this view, take those who offer a flat AP boost.
(I got Rabadon before Rylai's Scepter. It is display before, because of the Amp tome bought earlier.)
I hope you enjoyed this build.
Your constructive comments, recommendations and critics are welcome. I take also praises and flatteries = )
On needs and given your comments and critics, I will improve the build.
[30-08-2012] Made some modifications to improve the visual aspect of the build. Thanks to pepsiM4A1 for his help.
[03-11-2012] Add Tiwsted tree lines build on the page.
[27-12-2012] Quick update of the items and Mastery. Text haven't been updated yet.