Build Guide by eStecko

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author eStecko

Katarina - The Sinister Blade, AP Shadow Nuke

eStecko Last updated on March 17, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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Welcome everyone to my 3rd build, hope you will enjoy it and found it usefull.

Katarina, the Sinister Blade

To the start, dont downrate, because you dont like this champ. Comment and rate, so i can see the feedback and improve the build.

Yet, this is another of those "hard to master" champs, so dont downrate because you wont get those penta kills right from the beginning.

CC - Crowd Control
BB - Bouncing Blades
KI - Sinister Steel
Ult - Ultimate, in our case Death Lotus
Juke - Escape from "death grasp"
cdr - Cooldown reduction

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- one of the best harassers
- very good burst damage
- excellent finisher / clean up
- Death Lotus
- easy jukes
- no mana
- dependable at your timing and reflex skills
- sexy look and voice ;)

- squishy
- no CC's and dependable on enemy/your team CC's
- hard to master
- hard early game against bulky enemies with solid damage and CC's (sion for instance)
- dependable at your timing and reflex skills

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For here i take little non-standard 21-0-9. Brute Force will give you little boost in early game for the harassment and rest is probably self telling, so this doesnt need more comments i hope. And note to utility masteries, they will help in laning phase, with little hp regen and mainly the xp boost, to get lvl 6 before your target.

Yes i seen Katarinas with 9-21-0 or 9-0-21, but i found the utility one (9-0-21) kinda useless, because iam addicted to massive damage and to the defence one (9-21-0), well, its not that bad as it looks, give you little more survival early on, but i like the damage and fast early kills... :)

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, yes, magic pen. because all of your attacks deal magic damage, even if you are building AD items.

Greater Seal of Vitality yep, you are squishy and CC's or right click champs will eat you alive. Simple counter is hp/lvl runes or dodge chance. Yet i prefer hp ones.

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction well, you are an cooldown based champ, so take these runes to get a little advantage in these "1 sec cooldown left" situations. Yet you wont need any more cdr items because of your passive.

Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Ability Power more health, means lower damage, but you will be able to keep on the lane longer and do that damage in overtime, instead of in the nuke. Your Choise.

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This is why you are one of the best finishers/clean ups and how you will deal extreme burts damage in teamfights. Your BB and Shunpo will get refreshed right away after kill/assist, meaning so you can Shunpo+BB to another, another and another target. And if you are alive, then use your ult 2 times in 1 teamfight. And enemy will be crying "wtf? kat ult cd?".

Bouncing Blades
Main ability to harass, finish running opponents and deal massive damage in combination with KI. You can also use it to last hitting minions or just killing whole wave in later game. But my game is kinda passive and agressive both at a time, ill get to that later, but also its my reason to level this up 1st, because it will deal more damage with it then with Shunpo and you will be save most of the time.

Sinister Steel
One point to this ability is all you need. Just level it up last, because other levels arent so good to take, but in mid/late game it is very powerfull in combination with BB to get 100% damage in all bounces or with Shunpo to get a little survival while channeling your Ult. Also its one of the best counters against Vladimir or Mundo's, Sion's or Swain;s ult.

Instant teleport, moving you behind your target and dealing damage. I personaly level it up as 2nd, because i like to play save with BB, getting them under 1/2 of health and then unleashing full combo.

Death Lotus
This is your "carry/squishy eater", sometimes "whole team eater" and also your biggest weakness. Why? Because its channeling that means so any CC (snare, stun, air knock, silence) will interrupt this skill, making you useless for next seconds until your abilitys will recharge. This skill works best, if all enemy CC's are wasted at your team and then you just Shunpo in middle of the fight and get the kills, its only about timing. Also you cant move while channeling (if you do or if you use any other skill, your ult will be interrupted), but you can use your summoner spells like Ignite Exhaust Rally or Heal while channeling it.

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Which to use.
Ignite - Very good for finishing opponents in early/mid game.

Exhaust - Slow, lower magic resist, armor, magic/physical damage. This counter your lack of slows and those anoying dps carrys.

Ghost - Get you faster in or out fights, great for chasing down runners and very good for tower dives.

Rally - Dont be fooled. This will give you a ton of damage and ability power for your Ult, helps your team's damage output and it will eat tanks. Only pain in the a*s is the cooldown and your timing, my costly mistake from beginning was, so i forgot to use it. ^^

Heal - Take this if you are new with Katarina or you play very aggresive to get that upper hand in early kills and later teamfights.

Flash - Double flash Katarina. Situational spell, for tower dives its awesome if minions arent close to shunpo out after the kill or in 1v1, both low hp, just to shunpo faking the stupidity and easy kill, then flash and picking the kill. Mind games are powerfull. Or it can be used as escape if thare is nothing to shunpo at.

Cleanse - If you are having a problem with CC's, which you shoudnt have and also good while you are being chased by slowing or short cd stunners. But i personaly dont like it.

Teleport - Good for pushing/defending towers, fast swiching lines, getting back, faster recall in crysis or while chasing someone (yes, you can tp to the wards... you have wards, right?).

No way!
Revive - No, everyone knows why.

Clarity - You dont have a mana, right?

Clairvoyance - Good for supports... You are not a support/tank...

Fortify - Same as Clai and i personaly found it useless.

Smite - Yes, thare is jungle Katarina build. But i found myself more usefull at a line.

My favorite combinations: exhaust/ignite flash/exhaust flash/rally* flash/ignite
* i use the most
-> flash can be replaced with ghost, both of them are very good, its your choise

Note: do not take ghost/flash, triple escape, who needs it? :P

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This is the tricky part. I cant tell you define build, with which you will be getting these penta kills, which one will suit your play style and how much CC's will have your enemy team.

Core items you can see on the start or in Cheat List, its 4 of them, rest i situational (to counter enemy). But if you getting quite fed or you playing against noobs, then stacking Hextech Gunblades is good idea.

Core items - not in buying order

Detailed info
- and again, you are squishy, what you need in early game? survive to get the ult and dominate, what will help you against auto attacks and 1/2 of abilitys? hp, armor, hp regen

- magic penetration for your damage output, because all your skills deal magic damage or dodge if thare is a lot of dps carrys (3 or more)

- its worth a price only if you get 5+ stacks at it, so if you getting focused, buy somethinig else or skip this, i personaly never take stack-able items

- quite good chunk of health, ap and slows from abilitys, this is very good item to keep enemy in your ult. or chase them while they run away as rabbits ;)

- if you are feeded, you can take this, for the magic penetration, also this will help your damage output (obviously), so its good if you are not being focused or if you are feeded in way so you just kill everything and they just wont have a time to react

- if you got clever CC user against you, this will interrupt the 1st spell cast on you every 30seconds, so you can Shunpo in, Death Lotus and it will take 2 CC's to interrupt you, plus a little survival

- now its one of the best items for Kats, because it gives both damage attributes you need and survival (life steal and spell vamp) + slow is always good

- very usefull item against AP heavy teams

- what do you need as a damage dealer then more damage? :)

- quite usefull item, if you getting focused down, works very well with suicidal players, which go in like 1st (which shoud not happen)

- magic resist and cleanse, powerfull, but forgoten by alot of people

* Magic Resist / Magic Damage Reduction - here you can see graph of how many damage you will get against enemy magic resist

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As you seen above, harass with Bouncing Blades until hes get under 70-40% (depends on total health and magic resist, normaly its somewhare about 600hp in early game), then Shunpo behind a target, move a little to his escape route (95% his tower) and start Death Lotus, Ignite, Exhaust, Rally during your ult to get a kill for 100%, then Shunpo + Bouncing Blades to another target, if thare is any and you arent close to death.
-> use Sinister Steel depending on your enemy, if he got heals, reduce it to 50%, if not or hes under the tower, take the damage reduction

Teamfights - 4v4/5v5
Here is the only thing which matters to you. Timing. Harass until you can and wait until enemy get his CC's on cooldown, then jump in the fight with Shunpo and eat them all with Death Lotus, if you get focused during the channeling, its better to start the burst down enemy with lowest health, even if your ult isnt finished (lets say so 1sec remainig until the end) - by burst i mean combo of Bouncing Blades + Sinister Steel + Shunpo and repeat to all targets immediatly you get an assist or kill, thats why you are the clean up.

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1) dont never, ever die, but death is not an option, even in trades 1 for 1, its better to leave him get back and you will have time to push the tower or gang other lanes and your death can make your team lose in late game, so dont try the fortune

2) harass, harass, harass, you are one of the best harassers in the game without skill shots, so get them under half health and if they wont go back, learn them a lesson of how squishy they are

3) map control is half of sucess, use the Sight Wards to avoid ganks and never die :P

4) little to jukes... well with Shunpo you can teleport at wards, Heime turrets or traps, use it while planning your escape route... also you can enter a bush, wait until enemy gets close and when he enteres the bush, then go the way he came from, if hes bad, then he wont use autoattack move and you are a little closer to your immortality or eventialy if more people are chasing you, then you can Shunpo on top of the last one and go the way opposing of his... in other words dont be predictible and dont use same escape route again and again

5) for early kills, is very good combo Shunpo + Bouncing Blade + Ignite and if enemy isnt in range, just Shunpo to the minion and get try get a kill only with BB and Ignite

6) dont never, initiate the fights (or you will die), unless its a sure kill, of course dont be stupid with getting a 1 kill in 1v5 :P

7) Ignite Exhaust Rally Heal will not interrupt the Death Lotus's channeling

8) adapt, thats how you will recognise the skilled players, they wont do same builds all the time, they will adapt to the enemy, counter him and then steamroll

9) with who to lane with? (in case you got better mid player or you dont trust yourself so much to be on mid) its simple... everyone who has stun, slow, airknock, terrain blocks, supress, reposition.

10) last hit the minions, whats is more then gold in this game? :P

11) Katarina must fit into a team... if you wont fit in, its better to take some another champion. (if your team lack tank, carry,...)

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Well thats probably all. I hope this is/was helpfull to you and post your comments bellow.

Some may ask themself, why i named this build Shadow Nuke. Well its because i like fast kills, when you shunpo in, kill, shunpo out, (insert flash somewhare) or kill another one. ;)

And remember, good build wont make you good. How to get better then? Play the game and have fun, learn the game mechanics and how everything works. ;)

Quadra Kill screenshots... ;)
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