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Katarina Build Guide by cyberskull

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League of Legends Build Guide Author cyberskull

Katarina - The Shinigami

cyberskull Last updated on May 15, 2015
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Hello! I'm cyberskull a.k.a Sword Art Natsu and I play on the EU West server. I've been a League of Legends player for almost 5 years now. My highest division was Platinum IV (Season 3 and Pre-Season 4) and I am currently in Gold II. The roles I've played the most are Top Lane and Support but I play all lanes and I am decent in all of them.

If you have any questions for me ask them via:
- Skype (terminator_xp)
- PM on Mobafire
- League (Sword Art Natsu, EU West)
- (
- Retrospring (

Anyways, welcome to my guide for Katarina, the Sinister Blade! This is definitely not an amazing guide or anything. It is just a decent guide by an average League player. If you're looking to pick up Katarina as a champion or just learn a thing or two about her (like what to build or what runes to get) then keep on reading!

Katarina is an Ability Power focused Champion who excels at Assassinating high-priority targets and killing off an entire enemy team thanks to her passive. She's good at bursting squishies and damaging everyone thanks to her multi-target/AoE spells. She's also a good pubstomp champion for low rating games but you need to know what you're doing and you need to know how to carry your teammates out. Also, she can be played both mid and top depending on her opponent.

Why play Katarina you ask? She has a cool personality, she looks cool and she's not that hard to play. The only thing that is hard about her is getting out of laning phase and knowing when to go in and when not to once you're team fighting. Also, it takes some time to master her as with all champions. Hopefully this guide will help you out in becoming a better Katarina player~!

Special thanks to Janitsu, the person who made the guide graphics in this guide. You can check his Graphics Shop by clicking on the link below

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Pros / Cons


+ Resourceless Champion
+ Multi-Target Ultimate
+ Easy to pick up and learn
+ Decent at farming
+ Good roamer
+ No skillshots

- Somewhat weak early game
- Ultimate easily interrupted
- Squishy
- Often focused if she starts snowballing
- Melee
- Her kit has no built-in CC

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Butcher -> Helps with Last Hitting/CS-ing

Sorcery -> Not that necessary but I get it anyways because Cooldown Reduction is never bad and you don't really have any other good choices.

Mental Force -> Gives you a decent amount of AP as the game goes on.

Arcane Mastery -> Some more Ability Power which is nice.

Executioner -> Basically if a champion is below half health you deal more damage to him. Quite a useful mastery.

Archmage -> Increase your overall Ability Power (which means more damage)

Dangerous Game -> Katarina actually benefits from this one quite a bit because she's a clean up champion. The more enemies she kills the more HP she gets back (the mana portion is useless on her though). This mastery could potentially save you in a team fight.

Arcane Blade -> You are melee and this mastery is somewhat decent so just take it.

Devastating Strikes -> You get this for the Magic Pen. The Armor Pen won't really help that much. It's useful for last hitting but you're taking this mastery mostly for the Magic Pen.

Havoc -> More damage? Yes please!

Block -> Pretty good mastery. Early on, Ranged champions can easily poke you with their auto-attacks. This mastery combined with Doran's Shield (if you do buy it at the start) will make you quite durable against auto-attacks.

Recovery -> Doesn't really provide that much sustain but it's better than nothing.

Unyielding -> For some extra durability.

Veteran Scars -> HP is always nice on a squishy champion.

Resistance -> If against AD champs get 1 point in Hardiness instead of this.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power


  • Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Katarina deals mostly magic damage and that's why we need Magic Penetration when playing her. Not much else to say. If you're having a lot of trouble last hitting with her you could try Hybrid Penetration Marks as well but I highly recommend sticking with the Magic Penetration ones.


  • Greater Seal of Armor - Against an AD Champion like Kha'Zix or Zed, I would use these seals. They reduce the damage you take early on and help you get through the laning phase.
  • Greater Seal of Health - If you're not facing a heavy AD Champion, Health Seals are a good choice. After the 4.5 patch, they are quite strong and with 9 of them you get a bonus of 72 Health at level 1.



  • Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - Flat AP Quints = Almost 15 AP at lvl 1 without any items masteries or runes for AP. Move Speed Quints are the only other option but you lose out on a lot of early game damage. However if the Move Speed ones work for you they are viable as well.

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Summoner Spells

Flash - Helps you make plays, escape and/or position yourself for your Ultimate. This Summoner Spell is a must for Katarina.

Ignite - Ignite lets you get kills and Katarina is a champion for killing. One thing to note is that you can cast ignite while using Death Lotus so if you use your ultimate on someone, tag him with ignite and he escapes on really low health you'll probably grab the kill unless he gets really lucky and survives with 10 hp.


Exhaust - Good for shutting down someone in a team fight. I don't use it a lot but it's decent on Katarina. I'd most likely take it when going Top Lane against a bruiser that relies on auto-attacks ( Tryndamere, Jax, Fiora, etc)

Heal - After the 4.5 Patch, Heal is quite strong. It's basically a mini Shurelya/mini-Ghost with a heal. If you're in a tough match-up, LeBlanc for example, you can take heal just to survive the laning phase.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

1 point in your Q at lvl 1 is good because if you're planing on invading your Q will bounce to people and deal damage to everyone nearby. If you trigger the mark it'll do even more damage. Even if you're not invading getting a point at lvl 1 in your Q is still good for the harass/last hitting so I recommend doing that. The point in E at lvl 2 is so you can escape early level ganks. Finally grab 1 point in your W and then max out Q.

Why don't you max W?

I'd only max W if I'm going Top Lane and only against certain match-ups (Riven for example because I know she'll want to trade a lot). When going Mid Q is almost always the best choice.

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Skill Explanation

Voracity (Passive): This passive is what makes or breaks a Katarina player. Properly using it can get you easy penta kills. I recommend learning your cooldowns at all levels if you want to abuse this passive as much as you can.

Bouncing Blades: This is your bread and butter spell. You'll be using it for poking, 1v1 and farming.

Tips and Tricks
  • Smartcasting this ability will help out a lot if you get a reset from your passive.
  • If you don't want to push, don't harass your opponent with this spell if he's near his minions. Self-explanatory but forgetting not to do it is easy so try not to forget.
  • Great tool for farming. After your get some Ability Power, Q into W will kill entire minion waves.

Sinister Steel: - A low cooldown and low damage spell. While it doesn't deal amazing burst it is quite useful for the movement speed it provides.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use this in combination with your Q to farm easily.
  • You almost always want to be using this skill in combination with your Q. If you use it without anything else, it does barely any damage unless you have a ton of Ability Power.
  • It's good to learn the range of the spell in order to hit people with it from the safest distance possible.

Shunpo: - Your gap closer and escape tool. It deals barely any damage and should only be used for its utility.

Tips and Tricks
  • Can be used on wards, minions and allied champion pets.
  • Be careful when using Shunpo. It is your only escape tool. You don't want to Shunpo into an enemy just as his entire team is coming from the fog of war.
  • As with your Q, it's a good idea to smartcast this ability for any potential resets you might get from your passive.

Death Lotus: - Your low cooldown ultimate. It deals a ton of damage if you can get off the full channel but it is easily interrupted.

Tips and Tricks
  • Not all types of Crowd Control can stop Death Lotus. Knock-ups, knock-backs, silences, stuns and pulls can interrupt it. Slows and snares can't stop it.
  • The ability doesn't have huge range so make sure you position yourself properly when casting it.
  • Zhonya's Hourglass will stop your Ultimate so DO NOT cast it when Ulting.

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Starting Items:

Vs a ranged auto-attack reliant champion, you can start Doran's Shield and a potion. Boots of Speed (and pots) can be taken when facing a skill shot reliant champion. For example Ahri relies a lot on poking you in lane with her Q and charming you with her E. Boots can help you dodge her abilities. Cloth Armor (and pots) should be taken only if you're facing an auto-attack reliant bruiser or a heavy AD Assassin like Tryndamere, Riven, Zed, Kha'Zix.

Note: ALWAYS take the Warding Totem trinket. A free ward means an easy way for Kat to escape using her Shunpo. When you get ganked you just place the Totem near your tower and E to it. Easy right? :P Don't upgrade it until later on though. It's not worth the 400 gold.

Core Items:

In my opinion, Luden's Echo is a broken item on Katarina. She gets so much from it. Better wave clear, lots of early game damage, huge burst potential, etc. I highly recommend always going Luden's on her until it gets nerfed haha.

I recommend always buying it because it's that good of an item on AP Champions.

Offensive Items:

Good item on Katarina, especially when the enemy team has a lot of magic damage. I recommend buying it when there are at least 2 heavy magic damage dealers on the enemy team.

When they start stacking Magic Resist, you want to get Void Staff. If they're not stacking any heavy Magic Resist, you can replace Void Staff with an item of your choice.

I do like this item on Katarina but you need to buy Rylai's along with it in order to maximize its effectiveness. So I think items like Deathcap, Void Staff and Abyssal Scepter are better than this one.

Defensive Items:

Like with Liandry's Torment, I do like this item but you need to buy both Rylai's and Liandry's in order for it to be worth it and that requires a lot of gold and farm. If you're playing Top Lane Katarina, it's a good idea to go with the Rylay's + Liandry's combo.

A more reliable defensive item than Guardian Angel. If you start snowballing, the enemy team will try to focus you often. Zhonya's helps when you want to be protected from being focused.

If you die at the wrong place and at the wrong time, the bonus life you get from this item is pretty much useless. The defensive stats are okay but Zhonya's Hourglass is just more reliable than this item.

I wouldn't really get this item over Zhonya's Hourglass but if you're playing against a Syndra or a Veigar then it's perfectly fine to get this item instead. The reason being, they both have stuns that could get you killed very easily. With Banshee's you can avoid the stun and avoid getting picked off.

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Farming is really important for almost any champion. Early game Katarina isn't very strong and can have trouble farming but after level 4 it gets easier. I usually farm with the following combo:

Use Q on a minion wave (which will bring most of them at low hp), get between the marked minions and W them to finish them off. Simple right? Yes it is but don't forget about the enemy mid laner. Be careful if he tries to harass you while you do this. And also try not to take too much damage from the minions.

Late game Katarina farms extremely well and easy so I've got nothing to say about that.

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Early Game

In the Early Game you should prioritize farming above all else. If you can get a free kill that's great but don't stop farming just so you can harass. Your early game damage is not that great so there's really no point in being too aggressive (and missing farm while doing it). If you're about to get ganked place your Warding Totem near your turret and Shunpo to it to escape. You can start being more aggressive after level 6 but that's your call.

Roaming is also an important part about Katarina. If the enemy mid laner is pushing you too hard then stay in your lane and farm or try to kill him. However, if he's not, push the lane all the way to his turrent and find a lane to gank.

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Team Fights

In Team Fights your job is pretty simple. Deal as much damage as you can, stay alive for as long as you can and cast your Ultimate at the right time. Once her enemies start dying, Katarina can kill an entire team thanks to her passive. Don't run into the enemy team like a fool and cast your Ultimate right away only to get CC-ed and killed. You're still useful without it but you're way more useful when you do use it properly. Try to go in when you see someone low and you're sure you can kill him and get the reset on your cooldowns. After that, proper target selection and quick reactions is what you'll need in order to kill the remaining enemies.

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In this chapter I'll just be adding stuff like videos, photos, etc. so the guide will be more fun and interesting.

Redmercy Video:

Bleach song for playing Kat:

Katarina's Champion Spotlight by RiotGamesInc:

A video on Katarina provided by ImpureFeel q0p

A Katarina kill compilation provided by Halwadar

TheGMG's Scores while using this guide:

pablomittens' scores while using this guide:

Emikadon's scores while using the guide:

Vocaloidas' scores while using the guide:

Fun facts about Katarina:

- Katarina was designed by Coronach.

- Katarina's family name, Du Couteau, is derived from French, which means "Of the Knife".

- Katarina is the sister of Cassiopeia, making them one of five pairs of sibling champions. The other siblings champions include Kayle and Morgana, Garen and Lux, Nasus and Renekton, and Darius and Draven.

- Katarina's Shunpo is possibly a reference to a fictional technique in the popular manga series Bleach. Its name is Japanese (written as 瞬步) and means "Flash Steps," indicating that the person can move between two spots in the blink of an eye. (like I said xD)

- Katarina's dance references from the last dance scene in the movie Napoleon Dynamite


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Special Thanks

Just wanna thank everyone for the 10 000 views. You guys are awesome! When I made the guide I didn't expect such positive votes so I'm glad I did actually make this guide.

Update: Seems like I hit 20 000+ views so thank you guys! You're awesome =D !!

Update #2: 80 000+ views and 2nd place among the Katarina guides..really..I'm a happy panda c: ..thanks guys!

Update #3: 100,000 views...I'm so proud ;_; thanks guys!! <3

Update #4: 500,000 views.. o.O ...if I make it to 1 mil I'll kill myself out of happiness...jk but thanks for so many views guys! You're the best!

Update #5: We're almost there..almost..1,000,000 views. Yay! :D

Update #6: Woooohooo!! :D 1 000 000 views. Thank you all!

Update #7: 2 000 000 views O.O holy moly..Thank you~! ^^

TL;DR - Thanks for the positive votes and the 1 million+ views! Special thanks to Sr Cookie, jhoijhoi, ImpureFeel q0p, ilke994, pablomittens, N0YKK, effinvices and Janitsu.

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Thanks for reading my guide! I hope I helped you out in becoming a better Katarina player! I know that my guide isn't the best Katarina guide but it's okay (in my opinion) for average players (like me) so I really hope you liked it!

Please comment and rate. Tell me what I can change or what needs to be done to improve the guide. Once again thanks for reading and good luck on the Fields of Justice