Katarina Build Guide by breakeras
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.
Hello this is a guide for a competitive and realistic Katarina game-play that can make her a viable choice for mid-lane even in high elo matches.It is given a lot of though behind it so please try to picture this guide in an actual game or even try it out if you like it.
Pros / Cons
No mana cost
Insane ulti damage
Can spam abilities with kills and assists
Child of NOXUS
Most of the times focused first
A single cc can turn her to nothing
For summoner spells i use Cleanse and Flash.
I will explain the purpose for Cleanse afterwards but i guess you can avoid it if the other team lacks serious cc and replace it with Ignite.
I also take Flash to ensure my escape from difficult situations but yet again you can replace it with Exhaust if the other team doesnt have gap cutting skills.
I use Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for the magic penetration.i think it is obvious that katarina need her spells to penetrate the magic resist of the enemies.
I also take Greater Seal of Health because Katarina needs to stay in lane a lot in order to harass her opponents and this extra health is the biggest help she can get especially in early game
Lastly i choose Greater Glyph of Ability Power and Greater Quintessence of Ability Power.this setup allows her to deal significant damage and present the question to her opponents in early game:"do i need to recall after 2 hits from her bouncing blades or not?"the answer is yes otherwise you can get an easy first kill.
My masteries are 9-21-0
As you have seen i grabbed a couple of points in the ad mastery because when you poke your enemies at first you will auto attack them at least once and that damage will hurt more than a slight more powerful shunpo if you had 4 points in the ap mastery.
Apart from that i take 21 in defense cause what we try to achieve here is a viable form of Katarina and not just another easy to target and kill if she comes to a team fight Katarina..
What i mean is that you take armor,magic resist and health to make you resilient and you also take damage reduction masteries,including the damage you take from minions because you will take minion aggro when you poke with your shunpo.
And now the thrilling part:ITEMS
First of you begin with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion..If you just think that is because Katarina has no mana so a Doran's Ring is not a good choice you are fooled..you need this extra speed in first levels in order to evade skill-shots from your opponent..dont forget mid lane is the lane of the caster so skill-shots need to be evaded..
after that you grab your Hextech Revolver because you will spam your skills and why do that for free when you can make health out of it!
When you are all good with your spell vamp you go to finish your boots and add some magic penetration to your champion and start building your precious Zhonya's Hourglass..you can start with Needlessly Large Rod if you have the gold for it but i think the Chain Vest helps with the encounter of enemies junglers.The important thing is to build the Zhonya's hourglass fast because its active is essential to this game-play.
After that you keep adding ability power with Rabadon's Deathcap Void Staff and Abyssal Scepter,and wrap up your build by making your Hextech revolver Will of the Ancients..
In a long and fed game i also suggest to sell the revolver and change it into Rylai's Crystal Scepter because spell vamp wont give you that much health back at end game because your ulti is multi target and spell vamp doesnt give you that much health back so its nice if you have the health beforehand. :)
The usage of you abilities varies depending on how many opponents you go against.
Which means you have to know the location of your opponents if you want to make the best out of your abilities..
What changes the facts is your Sinister Steel ability.
You want to use it before Bouncing Blades when you go one on one but you want to save it for Shunpo when going after a lot of opponents
In both cases you cast Bouncing Blades first, Shunpo on your target after that and burst them with your Death Lotus.
I max Bouncing Blades first because when you truly master this ability there is no way to miss your target,his only way to avoid it is to go into bad positioning (which is a win,right?) and so you can push your lane very effectively.
I max Shunpo second..I cant even begin to describe you how marvelous this ability is..It can save you from most ganks and also burst down opponents..just great.
But what makes Katarina progress to more than just good is her passive..
Voracity will determine the outcome of your game most of the times since it gives you 15 seconds of cool down reduction as a reward for kills or assists it can turn Katarina into a berserker dps nuke that jumps from target to target dealing tons of damage..of course your team helps to that because even if you just did your combo and that wasnt enough for a kill some assists will make your abilities castable again!!
The reason i really wanted to write this guide is because i often see ridiculous ways of playing Katarina and honestly that makes me feel bad.
In the start of the game is when you can poke your opponents well but that doesnt mean you can go for the kill..At level 4 is the point where you have all your abilities and you start spamming them to your opponents..since most of the times your opponent will be a mage champion the best thing you can do is wait for him to cast his damage spell(evade it if possible) and then jump on him and damage him with auto-attack on your way back to your original position.Of course this way of playing comes with a risk of losing more health than your opponent but with the setup of runes and masteries most of the times it will be most beneficial to you..
But dont get me wrong the poking is not just a way to show your opponent you are a worthy rival..It all happens for a reason and that is to distract him from his farm and drop his health bar at the same time..If by poking you get your opponent run back and lose some farm it means you may get more minion kills and he will lose gold and experience as well..
And where does all that leads?YOU reaching level 6 faster than your opponent.If that is the case and your opponent decided not to recall i estimate he will have a little more than 50% health.At that point you can push in for your first kill,a gang from your jungler at that point is the best possible thing as well.
Up untill that point dont be afraid to spam your abilities on minions in order to farm if you cant poke..You dont have mana to worry about so farm with your skills freely.
Even if you didnt have your first kill so far mid game is your territory.Most champions build utility purpose items at this stage when you go for pure AP.That gives you a huge advantage and will make your damage output enough to kill opponents even without ganks..Just a poke or two and at the third attemt you can go for the kill..But let me explain how that works..
You start by casting Bouncing Blades on the first minion of the wave.If your opponent is close behind it you will always hit him and if he has the wits to know that he will either stay behind losing experience or going side near the brushes in which case you can Shunpo on him for some free harassment because being out of position he wont try to hit you back.If by doing that you drop his health near 50% you can go in again and burst him down for a kill.
All in all you should try and be as pushing as possible in mid game and get kills assissts and farm at that point in order to become a big threat for the late game.
This is the point where Katarina loses most of her value.You still have the damage to assassinate the important targets but you get focus imediatly after jumping in the enemy team and most of the time you get killed before you deal enough damage.
In order to continue and explain how Katarina can be useful and carry her part of the game in this stage I must first state what is Katarina's purpose in a team fight:
Katarina is a mage assassin meaning she needs to kill the important opponents and not ALL 5 opponents at the same time just because her ulti is an AoE powerfull spell.
Having said that you understand that when a team fight occurs you need to focus at the enemy AD and AP carries.Here is how I carry a late-game team fight:
When your tank initiates the fight you look for a weak oponent and use Shunpo on him.At that point the other team will wait your assassination attempt and try to burst you down immediately so you use your Cleanse if they use any cc on you and then immediately the active effect of Zhonya's Hourglass.When that ends the cooldown from Shunpo will refresh and you will look for the AD/AP carry and use it on him and then you will kill him with Death Lotus.You will have any other spell usable again due to Voracity and will try to do the same for any other weak opponent.If the fight goes well and you get more kills or assists you will have your ulti again and at that point it wont be difficult to finish the team fight in your favor.
As you might have understood this is high risk strategy but if performed correctly and with the proper help from your team it is the most rewarding one as well.
This is the way i choose to play Katarina the Sinister Blade.
I know it is not straightforward but i believe that in order to make Katarina utilitarian in a team and be able to use her in Ranked games as well you need to accept her assassin game-play and come in terms with the fact that you have the damage and skills to kill everyone but that is not just up to you but up to your team-mates as well so you need to focus on your end of the deal which is mainly to assassinate high value and dangerous opponents first.
I hope you enjoyed it and please vote for my guide any way you like it.I just ask to try it out sometime and see for yourselves the usage of a trully utilitarian and beneficial Katarina in a team.
(trying this guide in an arranged team fight preferred)
Thank you for reading.
Summoner name: O Alexandros