Katarina Build Guide by
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.
Okay, I'm sure you're looking at this item build and the first thing you see are the gunblades and the first thing you think is that I don't know what I'm talking about. Before you even think about following this guide, be sure to play a few rounds with Katarina with other guides as this one is for a seasoned Katarina player. You basically have to get 20 stacks early in order to get enough gold to complete this build and to not be underpowered by the time everyone is level 18. If you do make enough gold by that time, your team will have a sure win. Other pure AP guides neglect the fact that attack damage is very useful in 2 of Katarina's 3 attacking moves. That being said, it is necessary to include those attack points when coming up with a build. And let me tell you, if you accomplish this (fairly easy if you get to 20 stacks before you put your 3rd point into your ultimate) no one will stop you if played correctly. It doesn't matter what the other team is like... tanky, squishy, or in between. The gunblade is the most underrated Katarina weapon. Not only does it add 75 AP and 60 AP (you need both) but it gives lifesteal and spell vamp which greatly increases your survivability. You should not be seen by the other team until you pop up and spam your skills. They'll focus you but fail as you use your ultimate because you're healing almost as much damage as you are creating. You will dominate them.
Runes are the same as most others except I like to build extra AP (not the increasing one over levels). This way right at the beginning you'll get shunpo fools at level 4 or even 3 to start snowballin' you're way up. The health helps with early squishiness.
Burning embers is important for those below level 30. I tend to use my ignite right off the bat to get that extra 10 AP to start shunpo'ing fools that get close enough to me.
Always get Doran's shield first. You need the early survivability to start your gankathon.
Try to save up ~1500 gold to get your shoes and soulstealer before going back out there. It's absolutely necessary to get these before level 6. Once you get to level 6 and ~1500 gold head back and get your soulstealer. Immediately afterwards find your opponents that are in the most vulnerable position and then come from behind, use your q, let them try to run, then exhaust, shunpo, ultimate. Ignite and bouncing blades again if necessary Boom dead. If theres two opponents make sure to shunpo on the next one right after you kill the first to make sure he can't run away. Don't overpersue as it usually isn't worth it and will lead you right into an enemy gank (or if you're dumb enough an enemy tower...note you can tower dive later, just now isn't the time especially after using your ultimate).
If you find yourself low on health before having enough to buy your first hexblade, go back and upgrade your shoes or buy two spellbooks (+40AP is huge before level 10). This will ensure your next kill.
I just recently started getting the gank shoes (+5 mobility). My reasons are this: late game you have to go back and buy gunblades/deathcap/whatever and you might miss out on the start of a fight. I find that I can run back to wherever I need just in time to either use my ultimate or avoid the fight with the +5 mobility added. The extra speed is HUGE as mobility is one of Katarina's biggest assets. Furthermore, they help with running away. Not gonna win one? Don't die for no reason, just shunpo/flash combo out or just shunpo out. If they don't hit you for 5 seconds they won't catch you. I guarantee it.
Next up is giant's belt because it's a precursor to your later item and you generally need the health at this point (right at or around 2nd ulti point). I generally get another hexblade after this to help with survivability before getting the crystal scepter. At this point you should be doing enough damage where you'll only need to go back in emergency situations or if you need to buy some items. After a fight, either jungle or slay minions to get your health back up.
Sit back, let your team initiate fights in the middle and then shunpo in, unload your blades, and shunpo out. Get your gold up and go back and get your crystal scepter. From here on out, you'll be unstoppable. No one will be able to run away from you or your teammates once you get this item.
It should be getting towards the late game. It's expensive to upgrade those hexblades (~2500) a piece, but after each upgrade you'll notice the difference. Your ultimate will be doing so much damage that the other team will be screaming "OP OP OP" at you. That's why I call this the OP build. Just don't forget to use the actives on them, they help immensely to the point where you can even initiate fights and the other team will just run away as you shunpo after them in pursuit. By the time you have both, even your bouncing blade will be ridiculously overpowered since it is multiplied by both AP and AD(doing 2000+ damage a toss with all the hits combined).