Katarina Build Guide by SynysterGates92
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Katarina, The Awesome Mage Ass
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.
Katarina is a High burst Ap Assassin that can, if played well, decimate the entire ennemy team.
By knowing her abilites, range and tips perfectly, you can turn a fight upside-down and snowball quickly
For Runes, I consider buying Scaling AP Marks, as your Ap will be more valuable as soon as you reach your lvl 6 and get your ult, and as you cannot apply a lot of burst in early.
For defense against AP champ in mid lane, take some Flat Magic Resist Glyphs, so you can handle harass in early.
For defense against AD Mid and AD bruiser or ADC, some scalling armor Seals (Or Flat if you are against an AD MID), as you won't need it in early against an AP champ, you will benefit more from scalling armor.
Finally, Flat AP quitessences, because, that's what you need :D
Those runes can be changed, but if you don't have a lote of Rune pages, I think this one is the most usefull against all sort of situations.
Indeed, AP/level will help you make a lot of damages in Mid Game (where you are the best), magic resist helps you to stay alive at mid, AP quitessences FTW because you haveve great AP ratios on your ult, and finally Armor.
Armor could be switched with magic penetration if you don't fear to take much damages. However, as Katarina is a very mobile assassin who can gank easily bot lane or top lane, you'll need some armor to resist during those ganks and, thus, snowball easier
Now let's take a look at Masteries now.
For masteries, I personally take 21/9/0 With some CDR and AP in offense, (AD is to reach the top of the tree) and some defense.
Utility is not really usefull, as you don't need mana regen or movement speed.
This item set is a classic one, but it can (IT HAS) to be changed depending of the situation.
First of All, start with boots and potion x5. Let's be clear, your early game sucks, you need to reach lvl 3 as quickly as possible to take your full combo and finally be usefull. But till you are not lvl 3, you are exposed to harass from ranged mid. Try to focus on farming. The ward trinket is the best one to get. Do not use it, just keep it to Jump ward in case of gank, if you don't have any minion wave nearby. This way you can push to reach your lvl 3 faster and you are not afraid of getting ganked.
At your first back, you need to adapt to your ennemy.
if you're dominating the lane, start with a Haunting Guise, it gives you magic Pen, AP and health : perfect
If you're struggling against an AP mid, get a Negatron Cloak to resist and start doing a Abyssal Scepter
Strugglin against an AD MID ? Start with Seeker's Armguard, it will give you armor and AP, and Extra Armor and AP for each minion killed.
For core Items, the best is to reach a Rabadon's Deathcap and a Zhonya's Hourglass, Lot of ap, Armor with Zonhya, and his passive can save you, if you need like 2 seconds of CD to shumpo out of danger.
An Abyssal Scepter is good too if your ennemies are starting stacking Magic Resist, it will give you extra AP and MR, and you'll make more damages with your ult (as it reduces the MR of nearby champs). It can also be good if you have an other AP Champ in your team, who will also benefit from the MR reduction on ennemies. However, DO NOT BUY IT if an other ally already has it. Try to ask your team BEFORE starting this Item.
You can get a Liandry's Torment against Health-Based Champs, like Mundo or Cho'Gath.
A Void Staff is good if you are fed, cause your ennemies will (probably) stack Magic resist, so you will benefit from it.
Of course Sorcerer's Shoes is the only viable choice for boots (you don't need CDR with your passive)
Rabadon is your MAIN Item, you need to get it as fast as possible, depending on the situation, but you should have it during the Mid game, to have some High AP and thus get some nice damages with your ult.
For the Late Game, many choices can be done :
- Guardian Angel if you die a lot
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter if you are getting focused me you don't die. Moreover, the passive will prevent ennemies from running away from you.
- Will of the Ancients is sometimes a wise choice, for extended Team Fights for examples, but I don't often use it.
- Hextech Gunblade , i'm not a fan on this Item, I don't think it is really usefull with Katarina : she has low AD ratios, she doesn't benefit from Lifesteal and the Active of this item cannot be casted as often as with a Kayle for example.
EDIT : - Lich Bane : I just made a game and saw someone using this item with Katarina. I never did it my self, but this Kata did pretty well during the game, so I guess it's something to try. I will post an other EDIT to tell you if it really worth buying it.
Let's go to the weird boots I chose. Sorcerer's Shoes - Furor
If you are loosing your game, Sorcerer's Shoes - Homeguard is the best enchantement to get onto your boots.
But if you are fed and you are winning, Furor is one of the best thing on Katarina. It gives you bonus movement speed while you cast a single spell target (so your Bouncing Blades and Shunpo).
Thus, while chasing ennemies or running away, you can cast your Bouncing Blades on the ennemy, and you will reach him faster, because it has a greater range than your Shunpo and you need to Shunpo on an ennemy to get the highest damages possible.
If you are getting chased, using your Shunpo on minions/wards/ally will trigger the bonus MS and help you run away.
In Teamfights, it will increase your mobility and help you dodging skillshots and reach the priority targets (squishy champs and low health champs).
Along with your Sinister Steel, which also grants movement speed, you will be a VERY mobile assassin.
Your classic combo is basically Q Bouncing Blades (to make damages and apply a mark), E Shunpo (to get closer to your ennemy and trigger the mark) and finnaly E Sinister Steel (for extra damages and MS bonus to run away after the combo).
While facing a mid laner who has a CC (such as Ziggs or Syndra), wait for your minions to be closed to your ennemy, put you Q on the ennemy champ, then Shunpo on an ALLY minions so you are not to close to your ennemy and then trigger the Q's mark with your W (which as quiet a good range) and run away.
Those 2 combo are your main harass tool in lane.
Be careful if you have no vision, because once you used your Shunpo you are vulnerable to ganks and you don't have any escaping tools, except to use your flash.
During Teamfights, harrass the ennemies with your Q, you don't need to trigger the mark, it will just reduce their HP a bit before the teamfight breaks.
Once the teamfight breaks, use the first combo (Q-E-W) and end with your R Death Lotus to make awesome damages on the ennemy team, particularly on the AD and AP carries.
If you made your job well, you'll get an assisst or a kill, and you will trigger your passive, allowing you to do your combo again and again.
With Katarina, or any other Assassin, you must not go in the middle of the teamfight or engage like Leona. Your role is to stay around the teamfight, localize and burst the priority targets such as ADC or APC. It's especially true with Katarina. Your full combo with ult can One Shot a squishy champ such as an adc, and thus make your passive trigger so you can make your combo again and maybe grab an other kill. Anyway, you have to be really focused on what is going on. Even if the ADC is in range for your Shunpo, do not go. First of all, you need to wait for the ennemy team to use their CC on the rest of your team, once their CC are off (such as Fiddle's fear and silence or things that can interrupt you ult), jump onto the ADC or the closest Low HP target to burst him down and get your passive.
If done correctly, you shouldn't take any damages and you will grab some kills, maybe a penta if you succeed to do a lot of combos in a row. Everytime you kill or get an assist, do not wait, jump onto an other ennemy and then run away waiting for your CD, because Kata is weak once she used all her abilities. That's why a Zhonya's Hourglass is particularly good on her, as yo can Zhonya if you are getting focused to grab some seconds and get your Shunpo again to run away.
Flash, to help your positioning during Teamfight, to escape or simply to get in range for your Shunpo, definitely the Spell to use.
I recomment using Ignite, it helps you in lane to grab your early kills and start snowballing, you can put it on a running target to finish her while you prepare to burst an other target, it secures kills...
You can also use Teleport instead of Ignite to roam easier around the map, but i wouldn't recommend it.
Others are useless :)
Pros / Cons
-A lot of burst
-Can snowball easily after early kills
-Can roam easily
-Very vulnerable to CC
-Needs a good timing
-Needs a team with CC
Basically, the champions that synergies well with you are also the champions that counters you.
They have a lot of CC, such as stun, root or slows, that helps you to put a devastating Death Lotus, but if you are against them, they can stop your ult
Amumu his ult is perfect for you, once he ults, Shunpo in the ennemy team and ult them, you will almost alway score a kill, and maybe a triple.
Sejuani One of your best synergie. if you are interested in breaking the META, I played Katarina with a mate bot lane who played Sejuani. You wait for lvl 6, grab a Mejai, enjoy your free stack shower (This way I once scored 2 pentakills in a game). Same thing than Amumu, awesome ult, and her slow allows you to chase easily, as they cannot go out of range of you, but they cannot attack you because Sejuani stops them.
Fiddlesticks He doesn't have an AoE CC, but your ult with his ult combine allows you to grab at least a kill or an assist, an go on on your beautiful killing spree.
Jarvan IV Same, ult that blocks ennemies. Perfect for you.
Amumu Sejuani Maokai Their ult is annoying for you, The two first can stop your ult, while Mao's ult reduces all your damages, and his bump stops your ult.
Kassadin Q that Silences, ult that allows him to stay near to you or escape your ult, yet one of your biggest counter
Talon Jump that silences you and Stealth that prevents you from attacking him, hard to play against.
Others : All champs that can bump/stun/silence, Yasuo Vi Taric Alistar ...
Note : In the "Other" category, they are not technically your counters, as you can still go pretty well against them, but you have to be carefull to their CC.
Tips and Tricks
1) With your Shunpo you can jump on anything : Champions, wards, teemo's shrooms, jarvan's Standard, minions... but not on towers. So, make sure you always have your trinket or a ward with you, i case you need to escape quicly or re-positionne to score a kill.
2) Removing a ward : When a ennemy is putting a ward, it stays unstealthed for a few second, but not enough to put 3 auto-attacks. When you see an ennemy ward like this, directly Shunpo on it and it will stay unstealthed for a few more seconds, allowing you to destroy it.
3) Your Death Lotus applies Grevious Wounds which reduces healings and regeneration by 50% (just like Ignite), use it on a Dr. Mundo or other champions with high-healing potential, to reduce their healings.
4) Take the Blue Buff ! I know it seems weird as you don't have Mana but the 15% CDR along with your items allows you to have a 30 seconds cooldown on your ult, so, when you make 2 kills during a Teamfight with your ult, he is available again, which allows you to decimate the ennemy team.
5) Jump from squishies to squishies. Most of new Katarina players tends to, after making a kill, run away to safety. But you are not a normal champion, you are Katarina ! once you killed a squishy champ, your abilities are available again ! Don't wait, and keep trying to kill someone, this way, the ennemy team will probably be afraid and run away, instead of trying to CC you, and as you can chase easily, well, ACE is coming :)
Moreover, if you don't stop jumping during the teamfight, they cannot focus you, so you will be safer than if you run away ;)
6) Your Shunpo reduces the incoming damages by 15% for a few seconds. So, if you see a Karthus Ult Requiem, or Kog'Maw 's Passive that you cannot dodge (either by running or Zhonya), use your shunpo to reduce the damages, it will help you a lot !
7) Your W ( Sinister Steel gives you a slight movement speed boost for 1 second, use it when being chased or when coming back to your lane, it can grants you a few seconds ;)
8) Your Q Bouncing Blades are blades that... yes exactly, that BOUNCES. If you see a low health champion running away and you are out of range, try to Hit the end of his minion wave, just in case it bounces on him. Not 100% effective, but sometimes it can grants a free kill.
Also, the more the blade bounces, the less it does damages, so in lane when harassing, always target the ennemy champion first. You will push less, and make more damages on him.
9) When going for a Towerdive, put a ward behind you, just at the limite of the turret's aggro range, so that, once you get the kill, you can Shunpo on that ward to be safe. It sometimes saves you ! Don't forget it !
10) USE SMARTCASTS ! You don't have any skillshot, and, to make as much damages as possible, you need to make all you combo really quickly, so smartcast is the best thing to use, to be faster. Alost, you should smartcast your trinket, for faster escapes.
Thanks a lot guys for reading my guide, I don't know if you liked it or not, so please feel free to leave a comment or to rate it so I can know what you're thinking about it. I'm not a professional gamer, but Katarina is one of my mains, I play her for a long long time and I can say that I'm quiet good with her, so I put all my knowledge in the guide.
If you have anything to say or to add to this guide, GO ON ! It will be a pleasure to read it :)
Also, Sorry if I made some grammatical mistakes, I'm French :)
For my french fellows, if you're interested in having this guide in French, tell me and I could translate it for you ;)
FR : Si vous voulez que je traduise ce guide, n'hésitez pas à me le dire et je pourrais en refaire un en Français ;)
Thanks a lot guys !