Katarina Build Guide by Kazega
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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.
Katarina Du Couteau. She is a sneaky, underhanded, knifing *****. and that is exactly why I love her. She Ganks, she has a Dominate lane presence, she excels in team fights, and when built right and farmed properly, she is a one woman army. This guide is a little something that comes from 250+ games with Katarina. She was my very first champion ever played and now she stands as the #1 spot on my list of mains. In all, I think I've played her 75% of the time. That is terrible I know, but that just means I know how to build and play her to the point where I can do it in my sleep. So please enjoy the Guide. I have put a lot time and effort into this. Please leave a comment and/or critique and vote as well.
Why Play Kat?
So this is what it all comes down to in the end. No matter what I have written past this point, no amount of pros and cons, build orders, or tips and tricks can help you unless I have answered this question to your satisfaction.
WHY SHOULD YOU PLAY KATARINA?
Well, the answer for me is pretty easy. I Play Katarina because she is FUN TO PLAY. I have more fun with Kat than I do with most other champions. Running around for ganks, tower diving a double kill, and snowballing to a 35/7/3 game are what makes Kat fun for me. Above all else:
From a strategic standpoint, Kat has two roles on a team. She is a Ganker, and she is an AP Burster. that's all she is supposed to do. She can Off-tank, but building her to be Off-tank hurts her Ganking abilities.
VoracityEvery Kill and Assist grants you 25 bonus Gold, and on all abilities on cooldown drop 15 seconds of cooldown time. This is what makes Kat so dangerous. It resets all your Basic abilities after a kill, allowing you to use Shunpo two or even three times rapidly.
Killer InstinctsPassively this ability grants bonus damage. Actively it grants Shunpo and Bouncing Blades bonus effects. For Bouncing Blades all hits do full damage, and all targets hit have reduced healing and health regeneration for a short time. For Shunpo, Preparation increases Kat's defenses for a short time and she takes a percentage of reduced damage
ShunpoThis is Kat's main engaging tool. It has decent range and coupled with Flash or Ghost allows for some great escapes or close in some wide gaps with relative ease. Once maxed this is also Katarina's main source of damage with some great AP scaling and coupled with Preparation adds survivability to help make you more comfortable when you engage Kat in a team fight
What makes a Good Kat?
I feel I should get this out of the way early on. A Good Kat Player plays Kat like the Assassin she should be, not the off-tank assist machine that people make her out to be.
A GOOD KAT WILL:
Gank whenever PossibleThe keyword words are "Whenever Possible" if her lane is pushed back to her tower Kat is probably not available for a Gank. after her opponent is killed she probably is ready to get a gank. It's all up to Kat whether or not she can Gank. before making a decision there are somethings to consider, namely the health, positions, and mana levels of all parties involved as well as the minion positions of Kat's lane. But as you Play Kat you will learn her limits and capabilities and know how and when to gank.
Abuse VoracityVoracity is what makes Kat dangerous in the end. It isn't her Shunpo, it isn't her Death Lotus, it is her Voracity. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Three Shunpos in three seconds? Yes, Please! Pantheon blue pilling under a tower at 150HP? Shunpo dat!!
Run Clean UpThat's just what Kat does. After the initial CC Bursts in big Team Fights Kat is free to do as she pleases. The enemy Champs involved in the Fight will be weakened to a decent point and all the abilities will be on Cool Down for a good few seconds. Grab a mop, aim for the face.
Have great timingKat relies on two things in the game. Voracity is the first thing. the second thing is Timing. A good Kat finds a timing window and runs it into the ground. Ashe just shot her Enchanted Crystal Arrow at top? Punish her for not shooting it at you instead. Dr. Mundo is trying to retreat from Bottom's strength? Get at him from the side or even from behind. The possibilities are endless when you have great timing.
Be ThreateningThat's the fact of the matter. A Kat that not only can kill quickly, but has killed two or even three champions quickly, is very intimidating and good posturing will help you be even more intimidating. 90% of the game is mental; the other half is execution
Be A *****So not really. Kat as a champion is a ***** when you play her right, and when you do, people will start being vocal about it. This is perfectly acceptable, and it is also tolerable to trash talk as well..... just don't over do it.
A good Kat is just that: a good Kat. She helps get the team on track with timely Ganks and a commanding lane presence. In team fights she hangs back and runs clean up, securing several kills at once to enable grabbing key points like Dragon, a tower, or Barron in the mid and late game stages.
GhostThis is great for chasing and running away real fast. It does alright for chasing down Teemo's, Yi's, and champs that can run away in bursts otherwise it's simply assurance that you'll catch them or get away if you need to.
FlashA second Shunpo, but without the hassle of targeting. This could come in handy if you really need to get away quickly or close a wide gap.
TeleportA great tool for setting up Ganks, or to quickly return to your lane after an emergency Recall, but that's pretty much it.
Greater mark of InsightThis is the only Mark you have for Kat. all other AP marks are terrible, and AD marks don't work well with Kat since Kat isn't a brawler. Anyway these marks set you up to do true damage, or close to it, with Bouncing Blades and Shunpo early on.
Greater Seal of EvasionThese seals team well with your defensive masteries, and are very useful when laning against a Ranged carry. but they are Hit or Miss so I tend to skip these unless I know I am side-laning
|greater seal of vitality||SPACE||
Greater Seal of VitalityThis is the Health seal I like to run on Katarina. It never takes a long time for this to pay out over flat health runes, especially if you run Solo Mid.
Greater Seal of FocusThis Seal is useful for those moments when they get away by the skin of there teeth. although Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction is a primary rune over this Seal; there are better Glyphs to Run on Kat. That being said, I don't really like it because Voracity makes it redundant but there moments when I did wish I had these seals.
Greater Glyph of ForceMy Go to Glyphs. I like these over Flat AP glyphs because I run Solo Mid with Katarina, so it doesn't take too long for them to better benefit you.
Greater Glyph of PotencyFlat AP Glyphs. They provide a better Early game but in the later game they fall off compared to their scaling counterpart.
Greater Quintessence of SwiftnessPerhaps one of the most underrated Runes out there. I run these Quints for Kat. The increase in mobility really helps in Solo Mid for Ganks and dives.
Greater Quintessence of ForceJust like Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power, these are better for the scaling, but worse in your early game if you run Greater Glyph of Ability Power run these.
Greater Quintessence of PotencyIf you don't like the Movement Quints then run these with Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power. the Flat AP will really help you out early on.
This is my Go-To Mastery Set. I put 22 points in Offense to take advantage of Executioner for increased damage output while ganking, and if you are doing it right this will be "on" all the time. With the new mastery sets conditioned help mages tool into offense, so now you can much more easily tool Kat for all out Offense without the fluff needed in the the previous version. Add a full stack of points into Swiftness from the utility tree to help you set up ganks and you are good to go. I don't spec 9 points into Utility because there is no need to: you won't be actively grabbing the Neutral monster buffs so Runic Affinity won't help you much, and ward vision while nice is not necessary with good ward placement so Scout does you little good.
This is an offset to the original mastery set above. this is also more likely to be the standard variant for Katarina players. the defensive masteries allow you to be a little more reckless with Kat. I take Resistance over Hardiness to better prepare for the middle lane since it will most likely be an AP carry you will be facing, otherwise Spec into Hardiness if you are going to the Bot lane.
A more Utility focused set up. all in all this a bad set up. There is almost no way in heaven and hell I can justify everything here past Swiftness . Transmutation is a meh mastery, even more so on Katarina. Plus you will build Hextech Revolver anyway. You will only come across the neutral monster buffs by chance when you take them from enemy kills. The only good thing about this set up is your CDR on Summoner Spells and Champion abilities. but the amount of "fluff" need to get to them really doesn't make it worth it.
This is the Skill Sequence I use in the middle lane. I use it because you need Bouncing Blades at Level 5 as quickly as possible to maximize Harassing and Minion Farming. I Go for Preparation at lvl 8 instead of Shunpo to increase it's protection when Shunpo is used with it. although an extra 5% off damage reduction doesn't seem like muchAfter Bouncing Blade is maxed spam points into Shunpo to increase the damage.
This Sequence is great if you are Side Laning with an aggressive partner like Xin Zhao or Jax. The focus on bursting quickly and easily supports your Melee carries. Otherwise your skill sequence is mostly unchanged after level 6: you want Bouncing Blades maxed at level 9 and then finish out Shunpo
Because there is less emphasis on Farming in Dominion, Shunpo is your Go-To ability, Max it first to keep your Bursting potential up. Kat's power really comes through after Level 11 as it does on Summoner's Rift. Since team fights start earlier, in most cases right off the bat, you will have to stay closer to your team than usual.
Builds and Items
This is the build I use 99.99% of the time. The point of this build is to kill as much as possible, so all of my money goes into that. I start by rushing Hextech Gunblade, stopping only to by Boots of Speed. when building Bilgewater Cutlass Try to buy Pickaxe over Vampiric Scepter, it is much more practical over Vampiric scepter since limited life steal will not benefit Kat a lot. Upgrade your boots to Sorcerer's Shoes and buy abbyssal scepter I buy Abyssal scepter next for two reasons: the obvious reason is it helps me kill by reducing MR to my Death Lotus Targets, and it adds MR, which will help in the Middle lane since their are few decent mids that don't do Magic Damage. from here wrack up your AP with Rabadon's Deathcap. Assuming that you have ganked the other lanes you should build mejai's after a few kills to keep up your momentum.
This is the Standard Katarina build: Open into Hextech revovler, upgrade your boots to Sorcerer's Shoes and then build your bulk items. When you build Rylai's Crystal Scepter make sure to build it's AP components first. building Giant's Belt too early will hurt you in the long run since Kat is more Reliant on her Damage output rather than her bulk. After Finishing Rylai's build Abyssal Scepter and then finish Hextech Gunblade
Rabadon's DeathcapThe Best AP item in the game providing 140 AP before its passive is pretty impressive, but also giving you 3 extra AP per 10 you already have makes it a damned good Mid-to-Late game item on any mage.
Sorcerer's ShoesExtra Magic Penetration to better set up for some true, or near true, damage on all of your abilities. Definitely take these.
Lich BaneIt doesn't make a lot of sense to invest in this item since it offers a stat that you will never see on Katarina: Mana. however I feel that in the right situation the other other benefits that this item offers will more than make up for that. Kat auto attacks after a Shunpo instantly, so you will deal a devastating two pronged attack.
Will of the AncientsAn alternate to build Hextech Revolver into. although it is cheaper than gunblade, it is by no means a replacement. Just remember that you get what you pay for.
ElixirsThese help out Katarina by adding a cheap power boost. Katarina most notably benifits from Elixir of Brilliance for its AP boost and Cool down Reduction bonuses. Elixir of Agility has almost no benefits for Katarina so it should not be bought unless you are running an AD build. Oracle's Elixir is useful for finding wards that would normally detect your ganks and roaming stealth champions.
AD ItemsI've Recently Discovered Kat has a Viable AD build. although it is no where near as strong as her AP potentials if you are trolling or just want to try something different. I am working on one right now. I'll let you know how it turns out.
A Quick Talk about Cool Down ReductionCool Down Reduction on Katarina is redundant because of Voracity. All that means is you end up covering a single base with multiple players. All of Kat's Cool downs aren't more than 15 seconds, with the exception of Death Lotus. This means that all the money, IP, and mastery points you spend on CDR is wasted. Ionian Boots of Lucidity loses it's edge and Fiendish Codex becomes an even greater waste of money when you abuse Voracity. Is it ok to have some? of course, how else would you get to Arcane Knowledge ? is it Ok to go overboard with it? you can try but when you realize that it isn't needed, you will realize Some of Kat's true potential
Summoner's Rift Gameplay
Your Opening is straight forward. Buy Amplifying Tome and a Health Potion with movement Quints, or buy Boots of Speed with three Health Potions for any other type of Quint. If You are running Solo mid put your first ability point in Bouncing Blades. if you are laning with an aggressive partner on the side lanes use Shunpo instead. As you level put points in Bouncing Blades to keep your run up your farming and harassing ability. you should focus only on farming a this point. as you Level Bouncing plade your Harassing will come naturally. When you have enough gold, blue pill to fountain, and buy Hextech Revolver and Boots of Speed if if you haven't already. Ideally this is a single trip. At this point you can shift your focus to Harassing and, when you have space, ganking.
When it comes to ganking you need any two of these three things to successfully do so:
- Good support from the lane
- Low health Enemies
- excellent damage output
While all of these things are ideal you won't have them all most of the time. For example you might decide to gank top after your side of the lane died, but did considerable damage to warrant a try. So you have points 2 and 3, but you do not have point 1. You have two of three points, so you have the green light to kill them. It takes some practice to learn how low is low enough though.
Hopefully at this point you have performed a couple Ganks. It is important not to Gank too much, especially if you are running the middle lane. The opposite team will have to increase their awareness and your ganks will be less effective. You should also be aware of incoming ganks. The best way to be aware of that is to drop a ward in your bushes. sight wards are preferable, but more expensive, since they allow you to spot the enemy wards and pick them off. If you can, buy Pickaxe over Vampiric Scepter, The Life steal that Vampiric Scepter grants doesn't help Katarina much, if at all. In fact I have gotten into the habit of either buying another Amplifying Tome, or saving up to jump straight to Bilgewater Cutlass or even Hextech Gunblade.
Team fights will start soon after the first tower falls so then you should start hanging out with another champion or two. In a smaller team fight wait for the initial CC and then do you thing. larger team fights fought in the same way. It's important not to engage too early, Kat is easily focused and suffers from a terrible case of squishiness. but if you kept up with your farming you should be able to run up excellent damage output and rake in 2 or three kills. Don't forget to abuse Voracity in tandem with Shunpo
At this point the team is fighting to get up the steps and knock out the first inhibitor. Some argue that this the hardest part of the game. I tend to agree against a good team this is the hardest part. It is incredibly difficult to tower dive, even as Kat, and the team can easily shift it's focus from pushing to defending due to the close proximity to the fountain.
Stay strong and keep building. It is very important to be mobile and keep the other team on the ropes. You can try to posture yourself in a key area. Even though it is an empty threat most times, what the enemy doesn't know can't hurt you. but remember that what you don't know can hurt you so be wary of jungle paths. Find the catalyst that will get you into the base, be it an Ace or grabbing Baron's buff, and from there it should be GG. Just remember to account for X-factor's.
There are four main Roles in Dominion:
- Capturing: Pushing into a defended point, idealy with another teammate or two
- Taking: Backdooring points
- Disrupting: stopping the other Taker from taking: also stops pushes
- Defending: being rooted at a tower and defending against capturers
Kat can't really take points: she is squishy and very vunerable to the Crowd Controls that come with most Disrupters. and on that note she can't really disrupt since she has no Crowd Control of her own. Kat can't really Root herself to take a tower because she is too squishy to actually hold a capture team off for more than 3 seconds. Finally she can only be on a capture team with some good support. But the reality is this: Kat does what she does best in Dominoin:
SHE LANDS MULTIPLE KILLS AT ONCE SO THAT YOUR TEAM CAN DO THEIR JOB
Remember Kills don't win games, towers do. So everyone's job in Dominion is simply that: Make sure your team keeps and takes towers. The best way to do that as Kat is to eliminate the enemy presence. By eliminating the enemy presence near towers you allow your team to do their job that much better, and you maintain the fact that Kat is a serious threat.
|Put two ranks into Shunpo and one into Preparation. Kat excels in team fights and can solo very well. The Downside is most Dominion Solos are very bulky and more than likely better when it comes to pushing a lane. So instead, I recommend that you run her to the Middle point: Refinery or Drill depending on your side. After taking Drill/Refinery you'll hit level 4 quickly and can get into the team fight at Windmill. Kat can also run to the Windmill with two other champions. Running straight to the windmill means you can assist in the team fights with Shunpo and, in a minute or two, Bouncing Blades. However, taking the middle point first guarantees better bursting as you hit level 4 enroute to windmill.
During the Mid Game you should do you best to fill your Role: be the Slayer. Your positioning should be near the middle so that you can run the inside roads without being seen and kill when you get the chance. Never engage in a fight with more than two people without backup. Just run clean up while you finish Hextech Gunblade. Then pick off lone travelers after you upgrade your boots. I still like Sorcerer's Shoes on Kat but Boots of Mobility or Boots of Swiftness might work out better thanks to the Crystal Scar's Aura. After that, build Abyssal Scepter
The late game is the part of the game where every move matters since one or both teams will have less than 100 health on their nexus, this is the point where having three towers is crucial. It is also important to not overextend and stay alive since losing a single point can mean 10 seconds or more of a disadvantage. Disrupt and kill what you can, but stay alive when you do it. Kat shines the most now since the respawns are pretty long, but not as
Random Kat Related Youtube Video
Please enjoy a Video of myself playing Katarina. For more please, visit my YouTube Channel >HERE<
*-*-*-*-RANDOM KAT RELATED YOUTUBE VIDEO-*-*-*-
FAQ's and Comments that need answers
Q: I Strongly disagree with your choosen Summoner SpellsA: To each, their own. I believe I thoroughly explain the mechanics and benefits of all the useful summoner spells for Katarina. If you don't like Ghost or Ignite then don't use them. Kat can be successful with several different mastery, Rune, Item, and Summoner Spell compositions.
Q:You say Rylai's Crystal Scepter doesn't really work with Kat. Why is that?A: Rylai's is bad for Kat. I have a list of reasons that are actually pretty biased so I won't go over them. in great detail. I will say that the HP portion of Rylai's doesn't really help Kat out. Kat is squishy, even with Rylai's and 500 extra HP won't help to much when things go horribly wrong.
Q:Why Do you make no mention of Cool Down Reduction in this guide?A: Cool Down Reduction is redundant on Kat. Voracity makes it redundant because of the fact that all your main abilities are Reset at each kill and assist you net. Bear in mind that "redundant" is not the same thing as "unreasonable." Redundant just means you are cover the same base twice.
Q:Why do you max Bouncing Blades first and not Shunpo on Summoner's Rift?A: Bouncing Blades maximizes your farming and Harassing potential. Shunpo on the other hand while it does maximize your bursting potential also makes you a target, putting you in range of the full might and mercy of the other lane. Assassin's are smart, and Shunpo just isn't smart in the laning phase
Q:You make several assumptions in this guide, you almost make it seem like what Kat touches should die instantly.A: That is the goal of this particular Kat build and guide. While I try not to make too many assumptions, what I do assume is that the player handling Kat has read this guide and practiced my guidelines to what makes a good Kat above, namely to have good timing and Gank whenever possible, enabling the "Death Touch Kat" this question implies.
Closing Notes and Version Info
Katarina is Pretty much 75% of my League of Legends Experience. I know what she can and probably will do if you play her right. As always Comments and Critiques are welcome, Upvote if you found this guide useful and I will try to answer any questions in the comments below. And feel free to post some Kat shenanigans as well
Special Thanks to
Zemiazas and his Dominion Guide Your guide really helped me craft my Dominion chapter and many thanks for Linking me
Zedera For challenging my builds and the guide in general. It makes my Guide that much better when I have to think and justify why I write what I do and "because it's just what I do" isn't going to cut it anymore. Thanks a bunch. I look forward to future debates with you
Remember: This isn't a rulebook on Playing Katarina, it is a GUIDE. Feel free to experiment with these builds. Please Upvote and +Rep if you found my guide useful and leave a comment.
Version 1.00 Jun 06 2011
- Initial Posting
Version 1.01 Jun 30 2011-
-Updated Optional Items
-corrected Grammar and spelling errors
Version 1.02 Jul 11 2011
- Added Text about AD items to Situational Items Chapter
Version 2.00 Sep 03 2011
- Version 2.00 Posted overall better than Version 1.02
Version 2.01 Sep 04 2011
- Added the FAQ section added colored text
Version 2.02 Sep 05 2011
- Added a reminder to the Closing Notes
- Fixed spelling and grammar errors
Version 2.02 Sep 24 2011
- Added Chapter "Dominion (Limited Beta)".
- Fixed more spelling errors
Version 2.02 Sep 25 2011
- Added Chapter "Why Play Kat?"
- Added Chapter "What Makes a Good Kat?"
- Edited Chapter "Introduction"
- Added FAQ question on Ryai's Crystal Scepter
- Corrected spelling and Grammar error's (I really suck at Editing)
- Changed the Format of the "Version Info" section. It's now bullet-listed.
Version 2.03 Sep 26 2011
-Dominion now Live
-Edited the "Dominion" with the help oh Zemiazas and his Dominion Guide
Version 2.04 Sep 28 2011
-Consolidated "Dominion build" and "Dominion" chapters into one chapter
-added Youtube Video to "Dominion" Chapter
-Started Expirementing with builds on Kat. add the "Coming Soon" chapter
Version 2.05 Sep 29 2011
-Expanded on a few reasonings in my Dominion Build
-Added FAQ Questions thanks to Zedera
Version 2.06 oct 01 2011
-Overhauled several sections
-Cut out the additional builds they will be explained later
-took out the colored text
-rewrote FAQ answer on Rylai's
-Rewrote Solo Mid against Katarina
Version 2.07 Oct 03 2011
-Added Pros and Cons to "Why Play Kat?" Chapter
-Added another Dominion Video
Version 2.08 Oct 07 2011
-Moved The Youtube Videos to there own Chapter
-changed a couple images in the guide
Version 2.08 Oct 11 2011
-Reworded some of the FAQ answers some more
-Changed a "Main Build Sequence" to "Summoner's Rift"
-added a few notes to "Summoner's Rift"
-Added an Item vs Item Chapter
Version 2.09 Oct 12 2011
-Revamped the Youtube Video section to show one Random Video
-Removed the Item vs Item discussion. I decided it wasn't needed
-went through and proof read the Guide... I still think I missed some stuff though
Version 2.10 Oct 18 2011
-Commented on the Graves Patch Notes: namely the Hextech Gunblade nerf
-replaced the Images in the guide with better ones
-added Videos to the Youtube section and edited that section
Version 2.11 Oct 21 2011
-Reformatted some of the chapters
-Took out some unnecessary color
Version 2.12 Oct 24 2011
-Added an Item Chapter
-Consolidated all item, rune and mastery related information to their respective chapters
-Reformatted Champion Skills Chapter to match the rest of the guide
-Fixed some formatting inconsistencies
Version 2.13 Oct 26 2011
-Did some editing with the Dominion Chapter
-added pictures to try to keep the wall of text feeling away.... it's not working I need more pics
Version 2.14 Oct 30 2011
-Changed the Cheat sheet
-Added items to the Situational items list
Version 2.15 Nov 10 2011
-Changed up some Formats
-Minor changes have been made
Version 2.16 Nov 14 2011
-Updated my signature images
-Made a quick note about the Fizz Patch
Version 2.16 Nov 23 2011
-Updated the Masteries section
-Added links to my other guides
Version 2.17 Dec 07 2011
-Fixed Formatting issues
-Redid the section on Shunpo: the last patch removed that bit
-Removed the Solo Mid chapter
-Touched up on a few key points