Katarina Build Guide by BlooScreen
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
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.
Please notice that there is two cheat sheets to select. The first is the ideal build for doing average or well in lane. If you're finding your lane a bit difficult then build two is for struggling.
Hello everyone! This guide is one of millions of Katarina guides that have been popping up in the last few weeks, but thank you in advance for taking a look and I hope you enjoy what you read!
In my elo, I and my fellow elo hell dwellers understand that the main difficulty in this area is that the skill levels are very mixed. I feel like this guide catches all the parts necessary to survive in hell. By all means, this is certainly NOT a high rating guide. I have no experience beyond high silver so I can't possibly comment, but perhaps this guide will aide those on their way to that rating.
Who is this Guide for? Why should I read it?
Firstly, if you are gold rating or above then you shouldn't read this guide!
This guide has been built around Bronze/Silver level games which, in my experience anyway, is noticably different from higher rating games other than just raw skill.
If you are Bronze or Silver ranked, this guide has been tailored for you.
I have recently moved passed and into Gold rating, but I felt on my ***ension, I would leave a few lessons I have learned as I climbed out the pit.
Important note for playing Bronze/Silver mid
Happens far too often. Mid lane must gank. Too often you see AP carries sitting mid for 20 minutes and then yell at their jungler for not ganking enough when they lose. While yes, it is the jungler's priority to initiate kills in a lane it is easiest for you to get to all stages of the map at any time.
Help struggling team mates. Make bot lane ganks more than just a missed skillshot.
Support as a mid! :D
When and why Katarina?
We'd all love to have the person at the top of the list pick support and AD and leave mid lane to the very last pick so to counter, but in solo queue, we know that doesn't happen especially at our level!
Currently in Bronze, Mid lane is quite diverse, but the bans are quite consistant. Katarina is a good choice against many of the high picked/banned mages in the game, especially those that are short range based.
I'm not going to linger and explain each and every eventuality that you'll come across, but here's a check list I do.
- At least one other AoE ultimate on your team? ( Amumu, Vladimir and Malphite are excellent!)
- Make sure you are not facing a champion who excells at killing early? ( Evelynn or Diana are nasty)
- Never trust your team mates in champ select! Especially here in our elo, people can be stubborn about not playing supports. If someone threatens to troll, let them have what they want. Katarina performs poorly in top and even worse everywhere else. Take the fall for the team and play something else. This match wasn't yours to play Kat, I'm afraid!
Katarina is regretably weak in the early game. She's a bit too vulnerable to be farming at melee range and her bouncing blade has a long cooldown early on and fairly limited range.
This is why you may have noticed I am using Greater Mark of Attack Damage and Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power. In the same way that you wouldn't put AP runes on an AD Ezreal to strengthen his weaker abilities, I feel that trying to improve Katarina's weakest stage of the game is a bit of a waste of runes. Now of course, there are exceptions, but your power comes from your ult and by level 6, your AP/level have overtaken your flat AP.
The AD marks are to help last hitting. You don't want to stay in melee range for long, so these marks add security to being able to snatch up that gold from the creeps safely. Not to mention a nice little addition to your ultimate's knives.
Avoid trading or trying to kill your opponent. "But Katarina has amazing poke!" That's great, but if a Bouncing Blades knocks off a minion and onto a champ, then that's all the fighting you'll do.
The way I see it: You have one and a half attacks. Bouncing Blade which has a long cool down and then Sinister Steel which will barely scrape the champion for the risk you put yourself in. Early game when vision is limited, you can't afford to misuse your excellent escape tool Shunpo
Laning is by no means easy. Your jungler will frequent your lane and throw a thousand attacks at your enemy and all the assisting you can do is a bouncing blade which is probably still on cooldown!
Many champions harass better than you. Many champions can farm easier than you. Many champions have a safer set of abilities than you. This is certainly not Katarina's killing phase and should not be treated as such unless you can safely commit to using your escape abilities as attacks.
Mid-Game Phase (6+)
Your waiting has paid off! You finally have your ultimate. Few things are scarier than Katarina openning on you in your laning phase. Even at level 6 it has a relatively short cool down.
This is when we start taking risks. By now you should have enough gold to grab your Hextech Revolver and a bit extra for your wards. Here you have two choices depending on the situation.
Not looking good top? - If you find that your team mate is struggling. Maybe he's always pushed back to his turret and is a few farm behind. Maybe he's even died already. Your jungler's blue buff has probably just respawned. Clear your minions and B. You have the skills, but not the AP to do the damage yet! Get the revolver and communicate with your jungler that you will help him gank top.
Looking good after all? - Hop onto your opponent and let loose a full spell combo. If they are about half health after your bouncing blade harass, they might even die! The purpose of this is not to kill your opponent, but make them back off enough that you can get your Spell Vamp and champ your lane drastically. Ults a low cooldown, so you are not too much off at a disadvantage.
The most interesting part of any guide! I do go into the decisions a bit more in depth in the phases section, but here's a very breif explanation.
Sorceror's Shoes and Hextech Revolver and must have. As almost every guide will tell you, you must change your build depending on your situation. I don't think this is true. You must change your build... sure, but that comes later. These are necessary. Don't build anything else until you have these regardless of how well or badly you are doing. These are your core and no game should finish without them.
First return: Hextech Revolver and then Sorceror's Shoes
Doing poorly? Negatron Cloak or Chain Vest depending.
Doing Averagely? Will of the Ancients if you have a fellow AP user either top or in jungle or Hextech Revolver if not.
Doing very well! Needlessly Large Rod and take that on to Dcap if possible
After you do one of the above, complete the others. I recommend if you went for an offensive item to pick up either the cloak or vest. You are a carry, but that doesnt mean you dont need defence.
When you've completed that, finish off whichever defence item you bought.
A bit more on Items
Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff? - Target has less than 80 MR? Abyssal will do more damage. Extra than that then take Void Staff.
Deathfire Grasp - Now this is an excellent item on almost any caster. A whole extra attack which deals a huge chunk of HP damage. Trouble is Katarina can get just as much damage with other items. Now I'm certainly not saying you shouldn't get it, but I personally don't think it's necessary. But consider this: You are losing your lane so hard that you are finding it difficult to farm and harder still to gank. Kage's Lucky Pick can be your answer. That's when I would buy DFG. Otherwise, I think I'd rather get a Rabaddon's Deathcap!
The best thing I can tell you is be patient. When you've started a fight as Kat, you can't get back out. You have to stick it out until the end. Such is the way of her abilities. Wait for someone else to initiate. Allow them to blow one or two disables and go in.
Do not expect to get off a full ultimate. When your ult is down that is certainly not you out! Clip off the low health ones. It doens't matter if its a tank or support. All you care about is getting your cooldowns back. A kill is a kill as far as your abilities are concerned.
Start fights with Shunpo -> Death Lotus -> Ignite (can be used while channeling, just be careful not to click a target so far away that you walk and cancel your ultimate!) -> Hextech Gunblade (same thing) -> clean up with Bouncing Blades and Sinister Steel
When the first dies, your combo will refresh (except your ultimate of course) switch the combination to Bouncing Blade -> Shunpo -> Sinister Steel and continue to pressure the low healths regardless of priority.
There's a few sections missing and very few pictures. I plan to make a video some time in the near future. This is my first guide and any feedback would be appreciated!