Build Guide by IxieSorrow
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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.
Welcome and thank you for spending time reading this guide.
This guide is Ap, Shunpo and Mejai focused. So if you're not a huge fan on a non hybrid Katarina, or Snowball items than this build is most likely not for you. I will have Mejai alternatives in the next section though.
Flat Magic Penetration Marks, These are pretty straightforward for most AP carries and work nicely with Katarina.
Greater Seal of Vitality Hp/18 Seals, Katarina doesn't use mana, so health is a nice priority on her. These can also be replaced with Greater Seal of Resilience (1.41 armor)
Flat CDR Glyphs work well on almost every champion, and excel with champions like Katarina who are really Cooldown based.
Flat HP Quints, been having doubts with these ever since they decided that reducing Hp/ManaPer5 Runes was a nice idea. Greater Quintessence of Force or Greater Quintessence of Potency (The ability power quints) may be better choices for characters like this.
Masteries and Summing Skills
Since this is a Snowball/AP Focused build, you need to be half aggressive but very smart when playing this build. Katarina is one of the few people i HIGHLY recommend getting snowball items are due to her passive since she'd be able to chain kill, or get out exceptionally well. In order to support this 9/0/21 is how the masteries are built, Another possibility is 9/21/0 if you seem to die or get hurt far too much while trying to nuke. I recommend the Utility one over it though for the Cooldown Reduction, Summoner Spell Decrease, More Exp(allowing you to gank without much exp loss waiting) and that added speed, which is much more useful than you may think.
Ghost and Ignite (imo) are the best summoner skills on Katarina, Ghost allows you to keep up with enemies who are running away while you're waiting for your shunpo combo to go off cooldown, or needing to run away and shunpo quickly to an ally/creep/ward/Teemo mushroom to escape.
Ignite is picked in order for you to have better chances against people like Vladamir and Dr.Mundo who can heal off most of the damage you will do. It also allows you to gain kills on those who get away with very little hp to help fuel your mejai's that much more.
Other good summoner spells which may benefit your playstyle include : Teleport, Flash, Exhaust, and Cleanse.
Doran's Shield is a great starter item on Katarina, since Shunpo can be used to creep as well, being able to take less damage (from creeps as well) to get in an out with more Health regeneration is quite useful. It also helps her survivability slightly for when she goes in to ult enemies.
Mejai's SoulStealer is the heart of this build, since Katarina's passive Voracity can allow you to quickly gain stacks and get away if needed. This can be replaced with Abyssal Scepter or Nashor's Tooth later in the game if you cannot manage to hold high stacks.
Boots of Speed
This is about the average time (if not sooner, but with Mejai's SoulStealer i would recommend boots here) when most people get their beginning boots. Being able to keep up (or away) from the opposition is very key for surviving or killing.
Hextech Revolver seems to be a traditional item on Katarina, since the 40 ability power, and spell vamp help her lane and hurt her enemies much better. If necessary you can jump right into an early Hextech Gunblade, but since it gives you the only AD you'll have all game from an item, i've put it further down the list. If you're getting harassed too hard, you might want to get the Giant's Belt for Rylai'S Crystal Scepter before you continue this.
Depending on who you're fighting, and you and your team's current position and performance you might want to get this after Giant's Belt from Rylai's Crystal Scepter Sorcerer's Shoes are a pretty straightforward AP carry footwear, though Ionian boots of lucidity or even Boots of Swiftness can be better choices. Mercury Treads are also a viable option if the enemy team has quite a bit of CC/Stuns.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This item is horrifically cruel to your enemies, especially when you shunpo-ult one of their squishy carries. Even if they manage to stop your ult or survive it, they won't be getting too far away.
If you're doing good then by now you're being focused, and they're probably pissed off too. If they don't have more than 1 Stun though then this item might screw them over really bad when you go in. Especially if they've already wasted their skills on an ally tank champion, the HP and MR are also nice bonuses. This item may have to be bought before Rylai's Crystal Scepter if you seem to be taking too much damage.
Rabadon's Deathcap can be gotten much earlier in this build, especially if you haven't needed to go back in a while and have the money for it. Getting this may take away from your earlier survivability, but it will greatly increase your damage output for the rest of the game, buy early at your own risk.
Now this item can also be gotten a bit early if more suitable, but i honestly don't see much of a point besides the active in getting this earlier. Hextech Revolver should be all you need until you get into Late game anyways, and with Rylai's Crystal Scepter already slowing them down heavily it seems better to just focus on the more important things and to get this later.
Just Some items i feel that are situational, but can still be very effective on Katarina.
I can't stress enough how effective this item really is. if you're going to get focused and you know it this item can completely screw up an enemy team by itself. While they blew half of their stuff trying to kill you and failed, your team should have successfully done a ton of damage to them, this can also allow you to jump right in and ult afterwards if they switched off you to stun/hurt other allies in the meantime.
Will of the Ancients
This item is more for those heavy AP teams you sometimes get, with Hextech Revolver you also begin to have tons of spellvamp, and a bit of AP on the side.
Void Staff is another really nice item on Katarina, if you go for Mercury's Treads in order to get in and do more damage (enemy team dependant) by staying in longer, Void Staff is a nice replacement for destroying their Magic Resist. If you end up switching off to Abyssal Scepter though and they aren't stacking Magic Resist that much, this is a pretty useless to get.
Randuin's Omen is a plausable Armor Replacement item if you're facing a high AD enemy team, but the price and such on it doesn't seem to really fit anywhere i can think of. The item's effect is also a great combination with Shunpo to force enemies from running away.
Voracity is Katarina's Pride and Joy when ganking a lane with two people with low hp or more. It also relates to the title of my build since if Katarina gets a triple kill or assists, her ultimate is INSTANTLY off cooldown regardless. It also allows her to play ping pong with enemies using Shunpo while chucking a fun in between.
Bouncing Blade is Katarina's greatest Farming, and safest harrasing tool. Combined with Killer Instincts you have an instant Ignite that doesn't tick. Pissing off Dr. Mundo all day
Killer Instincts is a very underrated move, though it's best to just get this level 1 early until later for it's effect. It also gives you bonus Attack Damage which helps you farm and hurt enemies.
Shunpo is Katarina's Key to everything. Whether it is harrasing, killing, getting your ult off effectively or running away, this skill will be the main factor in it all. Combined with Killer Instincts You take much less damage for three seconds which helps you in your chain of skills.
Death Lotus is Katarina's Ultimate, it deals tons of damage to up to three enemy champions but can easily be stopped. Timing your ultimate can be a key factor in winning or losing team fights, or the entire match. Not much else to say here that i can think of at the moment.... Could be because it's currently 2 AM writing this.
Though Katarina CAN pull this off, i'm not a huge fan on doing so. You don't have that much hp off the beginning, and though you can finish off idiots real well and it does allow you to keep up with middle i find Katarina more useful in a Dual Lane or Middle so she can gain stacks more freely. Top Solo is still a fine option though since you can harass quite well from a distance, farming included. Soloing Against Two people is what this is based upon though.
If The enemy is also doing Top solo, than nothing much has changed from middle and you should be fine. But if there is Two people laning against you, it will most likely be best to level up Bouncing Blade first priority.
Middle shouldn't be much trouble for you in most cases, there is some characters who do take mid such as Veigar Leblanc and Swain who can really screw you over. For the most part just harass the **** out of them with Bouncing Blade and Shunpo/Ignite in for the kill if they're low enough. At level 6 You should most likely attempt to gank when possible, just be wary of things such as Stuns which can screw up your gank and waste your valuable time.
Dual Laning works very similar to Mid and Top, Focus on Harrasing your enemies with Bouncing Bladea bit more though since farming should be easy, using your ally as a stepping stone to run away if they're in the back (or just use a minion) If you end up Laning with someone like Taric then you'll end up having fun laning with them. Taric being a great example of someone who can keep you alive, set you up for your ult, and do swell damage to the enemy himself as well.
Not much left to say here so i'll leave off with a few tips. If you have an extra ward, you can place it in strategic locations to shunpo to! if you have an idea of where a team fight may occur, you can place one on the other side of a ledge to get in or out of the team fight in a hurry, and the same applies with teemo's mushrooms!
On a side note for Cooldown Reduction, Fully Stacked Mejais + Masteries + 1 Fancy Elixer = 39.99% CDR. Then just throw in your fun Blue buff for kicks.
Katarina can be one of the easiest champions to play ever, but to be extremely effective with her, getting down her passive, using this type of build to your advantage etc. It will probably take trial, error and practice.
Good Luck and feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions :)