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Katarina Build Guide by Alexwolf

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Alexwolf

Katarina: The way of the Death Lotus [S5]

Alexwolf Last updated on June 22, 2015
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Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
3
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction


Sinister Steel
Hello, my name is Alexwolf. I want to share with you the way I play Katarina. She is my favorite champion in all of League of Legends and my main. This guide will be able to help people wanting to try and pick up Katarina, as well as maybe being a place where veteran players can learn a thing or two. So lets get right into this guide and champion!


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Pros/Cons

Pros
+ Is not only manaless, but resourceless. All she has to worry about are cooldowns.
+ Great at roaming and mid game scrimmages/fights where she can mop up the whole enemy team.
+ Passive allows you to continue reusing skills via reset mechanics. Basically get a kill or assist in a fight and then you keep going from there.
+ Lots of AoE Damage in team fights.
+ Has a target-able blink to close gaps and escapes.
Katarina is a champion who excels at mopping up/cleaning up fights and roaming. She has no mana or resource, so you can spam her abilities freely (Just be careful not to accidentally push your wave forward.) She shines in mid game during small fights and scrimmages where she can just clean up everybody and be a fed assassin. And in team fights, thanks to her reset mechanic, she can become a nightmare.


Cons

- Is melee, might have trouble farming in lane if against a hard match up.
- Is reliant on her ult to dish out her max damage in team fights, just one interrupt and you canceled a huge chunk of her damage.
- You can even accidentally cancel your ultimate by simply walking out of it.
- Fairly weak till level 6. Her laning is not that bad, but not the best either.
Katarina is heavily reliant on Death Lotus to dish out the max amount of damage in fights. Anything that interrupts it basically shuts off her damage by a lot. And if she cant get resets going, she is useless. Her Pre-6 is not that bad, but there are a lot of champions with a better pre-6 like Zed.


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Masteries


Masteries
1/5
4/1
3/5
3/5
1/1
1/5
3/5
1/
3/
1/
3/5
1/1
3/1
1/5
1/5
21 OFFENSE 9 UTILITY
T
H
E

S
I
N
I
S
T
E
R

sp B
L
A
D
E
// I am not going to go over every little mastery in detail, but I will go over the important ones and why I think they are optimal on Katarina. We take 21 in the offense tree picking up pretty much everything for the AP side. Katarinas abilities scale off of AP so this is why we pick up all those masteries. We spec our last 9 points into the utility tree, as I find it a little more useful then the defense tree on Katarina. Fleet of Foot is good for extra movement speed and Summoner's Insight allows for our Flash and Ignite to be up more often, resulting in more kill potential. Alchemist and Culinary Master are great for sustaining, and this is why I take this tree over the defense. Katarinas only real problem is her early game, all you have to do is survive. With extended potion periods and better potions, she can do that just fine. Once you make it past that early game, you wont need too many defenses since you will be harassing hard and most likely forcing the opponent out of lane or killing them. Scout , what's the deal with that? Well, we take Scout so that we can use our trinket to ward hop. You quickly place your trinket ward and Shunpo to it. This is useful in so many situations. Chasing, escaping, etc, etc. So the 15% increased range is amazing on Katarina. We do not take Runic Affinity because I rarely ever take buffs as Katarina, so the extended duration will not be necessary.

The reason we take 3 points into Brute Force and one in Martial Mastery is for the early game and because Katarina has AD ratios mixed in with her moves as well. If you take three points into Archmage you may be getting around 10 extra AP? Not very helpful. Sinister Steel has a 60% AD ratio and her ult also has a nice AD ratio, so getting this will make it hit harder than taking Archmage .

If you do not feel comfortable going with the utility tree, you can do a 21/8/1 Mastery page instead, keeping the same offensive set, getting the point in your trinket range, then spec the last 8 points into defense, if that is what you are comfortable with.

Secondary Early Aggressive Mastery Page
Spoiler: Click to view


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Runes


Runes


Runes

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Health
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

  • Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: We take these for that early game damage. I often switch between AP Quints and Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, both are great and have their own benefits. Lately, I have been preferring to take AP solely because of preference. Plus, I do not feel like I miss out on too much since Luden's Echo grants Movement Speed as a stat. So between that item and our masteries, we will be fine.
  • Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Magic penetration marks are standard on Katarina and most AP mids. Helps us get past some early Magic Resist.
  • Greater Seal of Health: Your seals are very esoteric and can be spec'd to whatever is needed. I like to run flat hp for the most part. These are good for people who will be trading with you early game. Like say, a LeBlanc. Armor seals are good against AD Mids, and HP/level are good for when you think you will have a great laning phase and would rather scale into late game.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Your opponent will most likely be another AP mid, so we take these for early resistances. However, they are not always the best choice and I will show you when to take certain Glyphs over others.

Other Rune Choices
  • Quintessences: For Quintessences, aside from flat AP Quints, you can run Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. These help for dodging skill shots in the early game and just being a nimble little assassin. The quints come down to preference honestly, both are good in their own rights and it's up to you what you find more comfortable. I switch between the two often.
  • Marks: For marks, I honestly don't know what else you could possibly take. Magic Pent is just too good on Katarina. You can try taking Hybrid Pent marks I suppose, but I suggest to take Magic Pent instead.
  • Seals: For seals you can be a little more flexible. If you feel like you are going to have a easy early game, then you may take Greater Seal of Scaling Health, that way you scale better into the late-game as opposed to needing the early HP pool. If you are going against an AD mid like Zed, Yasuo, Talon, etc. Take Greater Seal of Armor instead.
  • Glyphs: For Glyphs, you can also be flexible. If you want to be very aggressive early game and don't think you need the MR, take Greater Glyph of Ability Power for extra early game damage. If the enemy team has an AP, but it is a top or jungler and you are not laning against them, take Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. Take Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power if you are laning against somebody who you know you are going to win lane as, and want to be able to scale into late-game.



I will now show you all my different rune pages for Katarina and when to use them.

Katarina Standard
Spoiler: Click to view


Katarina Vs Burst AP
Spoiler: Click to view


Katarina vs AD
Spoiler: Click to view


Katarina Aggressive Early Game
Spoiler: Click to view



Remember, everything is dependent on your match-up and you don't always have to go by these guide lines. Sometimes I like to take the super defensive page against say a LeBlanc because she is a huge bully early game and autos a lot in her harass/trades. So just think about your match ups and which runes will help you the most during that situation. And aside from match up, it also comes down to slight preferences. Aside from the yolo page (since we want the extra AP) you could run MS quints in any of these rune pages if you prefer them over AP quints, choose to take flat AP against an AD instead of scaling, etc, etc. The choices are for you to decide and use in the right situations, I am just presenting you with all your available options.


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Summoner Spells


Flash is a good "get out of jail free" card. Also helps with ganks and closing gaps.

Ignite is good for securing kills and stopping Heal/health regen effects such as Swain or Volibear.


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Ability Explenation


Sinister Steel



Voracity: Champion kills or assists reduce Katarina's cooldowns by 15 seconds. Very self explanatory, essentially if you get a kill or assist, all your skills except your ultimate, will instantly come off of cooldown. This reset mechanic is probably the main reason why Katarina is such a monster.


Bouncing Blades (Q): Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them. Her next spell or basic attack against a marked target will consume the mark and deal additional magic damage.

This is your ranged harassing tool. It does pretty decent damage, even more if you blow up the mark. Each time the blade bounces, it deals less damage.

You're going to want to max out Bouncing Blades before Sinister Steel and after Death Lotus.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use Bouncing Blades to harass the enemy in lane. It costs nothing after all. If you do not want to push the wave, try zoning the enemy first before throwing your Q, that way it does not bounce around the minions.
  • You can use Bouncing Blades To hit enemies even if they are out of range, just throw it right next to a minion and let it bounce to them. It won't do as much damage but it will still hurt.
  • You can blow up the mark on Bouncing Blades with abilities or auto attacks. If next to an enemy throw out a Bouncing Blades and quickly use Sinister Steel for easy damage.



Sinister Steel Sinister Steel (W): Katarina whirls her daggers around her, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area. If she hits an enemy Champion, Katarina gains a burst of speed for a short duration.

This has a flat 4 second cooldown all throughout. Sometimes I like maxing it second, but for the most part I max Bouncing Blades first. You can max Sinister Steel in lanes against melees like Yasuo. Aside from the consistent damage, Sinister Steel also gives us a good movement speed buff when it hits an enemy champion.

You're going to want to max out Sinister Steel before Shunpo and after Bouncing Blades

Tips and Tricks



Shunpo (E): Katarina instantly teleports to her target's location and takes reduced damage from enemies for a few seconds. If the target is an enemy, she deals damage.

Essentially a targeted blink. This works on a lot of things guys. It works on ally champions, minions, wards, etc. You take reduced damage for a couple seconds right after coming out of Shunpo, which is especially good if you jump into the fray of a team fight.

You're going to want to max out Shunpo last. We max it last because it does not deal too much damage or add to our burst. We use it mainly for the utility of a blink move.

Tips and Tricks
  • You can use Shunpo to chase or escape.
  • You can Shunpo to an enemy before your Bouncing Blades hits. That way when the Bouncing Blades hits, you can proc the mark with Sinister Steel instead.
  • Aside from ally champs, minions, and wards; you can also jump to some champion based terrain such as Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard.
  • If chasing a low health enemy, Shunpo first before throwing your Bouncing Blades. Bouncing Blades has a small wind up time, and if the Q does not kill them, then that champion might get away.
  • Quickly cast your trinket ward and Shunpo to it to cover large distances. This is called "Ward Hopping" and is something a lot of experienced Katarina players utilize to play her at her full potential. It can be used to escape or chase. (Personally, I place my trinket on the Z mouse button or the scrolling wheel. That way my ward and shunpo come out a lot smoother and quicker.)
  • If you get a reset in a team fight and are going to die, Shunpo out of the fray to live another day. I'm poetic.



Death Lotus (R): Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, throwing daggers with unrivaled speed at up to three nearby Champions. Daggers deal magic damage and reduce incoming healing on targets hit.

A AoE channel spell. It deals a lot of damage and can target up to three people at once. The daggers apply grievous wounds.

You're going to want to max out Death Lotus first. Take a point into this move whenever you can.

Tips and Tricks
  • You cannot cast Death Lotus unless an enemy is next to you. If you are near a brush and all of a sudden see your ult is available, that means somebody is in the bush. Same applies to invisible units.
  • Death Lotus can target up to three people at once. The less people next to you, the more damage it deals to that target. Essentially does more damage to a single target.
  • Applies Grievous wounds to targets. So useful against champions like Volibear and Swain.
  • You can cast Death Lotus from a bush as the enemy walks by, they will take damage and not realize whats happening. Basically same premise as when a Nunu uses Absolute Zero in a bush.
  • Don't you dare right click while you are channeling Death Lotus. Otherwise you will walk out of it and look like a ****ing casual. Unless you wanted to walk out of it, then in that case you are golden.


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Skill Order


Ability Sequence Order


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

> > Sinister Steel >
In most cases we shall max out Bouncing Blades first. Just for the poke and insane wave clear with Bouncing Blades + Sinister Steel. After that, we will max out Sinister Steel for more damage, and finally we max out Shunpo last. We do not max Shunpo because it does not do much damage, so we mainly use it for utility. Always take a point in Death Lotus whenever it's up. Sometimes, you can max out Sinister Steel over Bouncing Blades but it's situational. Like if you are laning against a Yasuo or Diana perhaps.


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Katarina Combos





Basic Combo

→ Sinister Steel

This is your standard combo to just simply harass in lane. You throw out Bouncing Blades then Shunpo to the enemy. After that, you use Sinister Steel to get off more damage and then use the movement speed buff to fall back to safety. If done quick enough, you will Shunpo to your enemy before the Bouncing Blades hits. Then, you can detonate Bouncing Blades debuff with your W, Sinister Steel. Which will deal a lot of damage.

This is going to be the core for pretty much all your other combos. Repeat this combo to wittle down your opponents health in lane



Alternate Basic Combo

→ Sinister Steel

This is a different variation of our first combo. Essentially, you use this one when you want to surprise the enemy. The sudden Shunpo in there face gives them less time to react, as opposed to them knowing to react when they see a Bouncing Blades flying right at them. You can also use this if they are afraid of your Bouncing Blades range. So to close a gap, you can Shunpo to a nearby minion then do your Q and W.

As the first combo, fall back using the speed boost from Sinister Steel.



All-in/Killing Combo

→ sinister steel →

This is the combo you use when you want to all in a target and kill them. Instead of falling back after you use Sinister Steel, try to re-position close to the enemy then start channeling Death Lotus. Do not move or activate anything while doing this or you will stop the channel, only Ignite will not interrupt.

Once the target is dead, use your Shunpo to retreat to safety. This works especially well if you tower dived the enemy. Just look for a nearby minion.



Diving low-health target Combo

→ sinister steel →

This is when you want to dive a low health enemy. Before you pull this off you need to take many things into consideration.

  • Will your burst be enough to kill the target? No point in diving if it won't.
  • Keep in mind if they have their summoners. Heal or Flash would mess you up.
  • Does the enemy have cc? Is their cc up? If you jump on Malzahar is he going to Nether Grasp you in the face for a free kill? If your combo gets interrupted, chances are you will die.
  • Do you have wards and do you know where the enemy jungler is? It would be a shame if you got ganked trying to pull off a dive-play.

If you meet these requirements, go for the dive. If your initial burst leaves them with a sliver of hp, Ignite the target and get out with Shunpo again.



Single Target then Multi-Target Combo (Clean up)

→ sinister steel → → sinister steel →

This is used for cleaning up team fights. You use the standard combo on a low health enemy. Try to not ult the enemy if not needed.

After that first kill, then redo your combo except this time treat it as if it was the all-in combo and get into a group of them before casting Death Lotus. If one of them gets away after you get kills with your ult, jump onto them to finish them off with another standard combo.

This is the ez-pz multi-kill combo basically.



Multi-Target then Single Target Combo

→ sinister steel → → sinister steel

This is the opposite of the previous combo. Instead of cleaning up, you get into a group and dish out as much damage as possible. This is good for when your team has really good engage and you need to follow up with something like a Curse of the Sad Mummy.

Once you kill enemies with Death Lotus, start using your resets to pick people off. And if your ult is up again by chance, use it.



Zhonya's Hourglass Combo

→ sinister steel →

You use this when you can't linger around outside of a fight and wait for the right moment. This is for when you need to be in the fray and fighting with your team. Do your All-In combo, and then when you are very low activate Zhonya's Hourglass. Your team should back you up, and you can wait out a cooldown, or even get a reset.

Once you get your reset, you can choose to either Shunpo out to safety, or clean up if enemies are low enough. Just don't get too greedy.



Guide Top

Item Description

Items


Item Sequence

Sorcerer's Shoes
1100

Luden's Echo
3200

Zhonya's Hourglass
2900

Rabadon's Deathcap
3800

Void Staff
2650

Guardian Angel
2400

These are the best boots when it comes to Katarina. Her ratios are not the best (She has no ability that has even a 50% AP ratio, aside from Death Lotus.) So Sorcerer's Shoes are good for going through Magic Resist. Get Alacrity if you are doing well, get homeguard if enemy is pushing into your base or you need to be out of base ASAP. Distortion can be fun as well, but I rarely get that enchantment for my boots.

So remember when this item first came out I said it was a niche item for assassins and worked good on Katarina? Yeah, I was wrong. Even with the nerfs, this item has proven to just be too powerful on pretty much every AP Champion in the game. Exceptions being DoT champions like Malzahar maybe, but other than that, pretty much everybody ges this item, it is just too good to pass up. It gives the same amount of AP as a Rabadon's Deathcap but just is such a bigger spike of power in the early/mid game because of its passive. Stupidly strong item on Katarina, a Bouncing Blades with this items passive on it hits like a truck. If I do not need an hourglass right away, I find myself rushing this item first. That is how good it is.

This is also another core item. Katarina is a very aggressive assassin, in the sense that she gets in your face. Because of that, we need some armor to live. Also, the active is too amazing to pass up. It is so useful. Low health in a team fight and want to wait out a kill or assist to get your resets? Zhonya's Hourglass. Need to dodge a Zed ult? Zhonya's Hourglass. You messed up in general and got caught? Zhonya's Hourglass. This is such a great item on Kat. You can go into the fray of a fight and if Death Lotus gets interrupted, pop Zhonya's Hourglass. Wait out a kill, assist, or a cooldown in general; then kill the enemy and start mopping up.

Gives an insane amount of Ability Power, very favorable on Katarina.

For when enemies start to build Magic Resist against you. You need this in order to continue dealing massive damage.

Guardian Angel will keep you alive in team fights. Just the fact that you have a guardians, means enemies might shy away from focusing you down, because if they waste all their ults on you and you die, your team will come in and engage while you are being revived by the item. Sell this item for something else if the passive gets blown. Wait till the cooldown is off, then buy it again. I just have your final defensive item labeled as Guardians here, but it can be replaced with many things that I will talk about further below.


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Other Item Choices


: Get this if you need some health. The slow works well with your ult, so that people cannot walk out of it as fast. And it gives a fairly nice chunk of AP. Don't find myself building it, but it is still definitely an option that I won't overlook.

: Get this if you need the MR against a champion that is really outdamaging you. Maybe an Akali or LeBlanc. Ontop of that, it also lowers MR of people with it's Aura effect. Replace Guardian Angel with this if you need it. If you do need this item, it's usually an early buy. Like as a first or second item.

: Get this if you need to dodge certain skills or the enemy team is poke reliant. This item works good against single moves that could end your life like Rocket Grab, Dark Binding, Death Sentence, etc. Replace Guardian Angel with this if you need it.

: Get this early game if you want the cheap stats and pent. It's fairly cost effective for what it gives you, and it builds out of cheap items with good stats. The only downside to this item is that it builds into a item that is pretty bad on Katarina in my opinion, meaning you have to sell this at some point.



There are not really that many optional items you can get on Katarina. There might be more optional choices, but I think these are the best ones.


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Items to NOT buy


: I highly advise against not getting this, even if you got the aforementioned Haunting Guise this items stats barely go up, and the unique passive does not work on Katarina at all. The burn scales with CURRENT health. A tank or some mage like Brand will benefit better from this item then you. They can reproc it over and over again, and ontop of that, they aren't usually clean-up crew, they usually go in with the team or poke enemy team under tower with Pillar of Flame. Since Katarina comes into 100-0 you and clean up, that passive is completely wasted on her and will be doing little to no damage at all. There are way better options on her than this. I honestly can't even think of a scenario where you would want this item, maybe if you wanted a tiny bit of extra pent. But this item is seriously a waste of a slot. Getting an early Haunting Guise is one thing, but this item, please stay away.

: This is the second biggest noob-trap for Katarina aside from Liandry's Torment. God has forsaken your team if you see a Katarina with either this item, Liandry's Torment, or even worse... BOTH. The AD/AP stats are not that significant, minimal at best. All the spell vamp and life steal stats are completely wasted on Katarina for many reasons. Lifesteal? Katarina does not Auto attack enough to warrant life steal as a viable stat on her. Spell Vamp? You only get 33% worth of spell vamp on AoE abilities, in order to effectively utilize spell vamp your spells basically have to be single target. Think Akali, she is a really good example of a champion who can use Hextech Gunblade and it is even a core item on her. However, Katarina? Aside from Shunpo, all her abilities are not single target. You won't be spell vamping at all. Finally, the reload passive Hextech Gunblade gets to lower the CD on the active, only works again with autos or single target spells. This is not pre-rework season 2 Katarina, please don't buy this item. I'd rather drink bleach then see a Katarina on my team build this.

: Didn't we just have this spell vamp discussion earlier? This is pretty good on say Vladimir or maybe Rumble. But otherwise, stay away from this thing.

: I actually used to buy this item on Katarina for a while in replacement for DFG on my build once it was removed. It doesn't give as much AP, but it has good CDR, movement speed, and the ghost active was pretty fun to play with, scout out enemies, etc. Now with Luden's Echo out, there is really no point in building this item.


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Ludens Echo





Luden's Echo, a good buy? Or bad item on Katarina? Before we come to that conclusion, lets see what the item gives us and what it builds out of.

  • 120 AP
  • 7 movement speed multiplier
  • And a charging passive that works similar to Statikk Shiv Only difference? It procs off spell hits rather than Auto-Attacks. It also scales with your Ability power.

This item also builds out of a Needlessly Large Rod which is a awesome buy if you got the 1600 gold to back, as well as an Aether Wisp. The Aether Wisp actually is not that bad of an early buy. Gives decent amount of AP, and movement speed which is always welcomed on Katarina. If you think about it, this is basically the equivalent to buying a Fiendish Codex when wanting to finish your old school Deathfire Grasp.

Now, the item procs off spell hits and gains charges when moving or casting. If you get this as an early buy, you can increase your poke in lane SIGNIFICANTLY. A rank 5 Bouncing Blades can deal around say, 225 damage. Boosted with the added damage from Luden's, you would be hitting for around 350 instead. Pretty great huh? Plus, it is also easier to hit an opponent with the Luden's proc rather than your 5th blade bounce. So even if the blades don't hit them, they will get hit by the passive of Echo.

Aside from the damage this item also really improves her already amazing waveclear. This item is not the same as DFG with it's amazing single target burst capability it had, but this item provides really nice damage and more AoE damage ontop of her already heavy AoE kit.


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Haunting Guise vs Luden's Echo vs Zhonya's Hourglass.


Okay, so there is a lot of debate about these three items in general. Which you should buy, get first, rush, etc. Here I will show all sides of the arguments regarding these items. When to get these items, etc.

PROS: Haunting Guise is a great buy in the sense that it is cost efficient for it's stats. It can also be built in very small pieces that give good stats. You basically buy this item when you want to snowball really hard in lane or are having trouble. You will generally rush a Haunting Guise and your Sorcerer's Shoes right away. These help you snowball really hard and hit for a lot of damage against the enemy champion.

CONS: However, the downside to Haunting Guise is that it can become a dead item. You should never, in any circumstances, upgrade it into a Liandry's Torment. This item is not that good on Katarina. You have to end up selling your Haunting Guise later on in the game for a Void Staff. Because of that you lost out on gold. Also, it delays your big purchases such as Luden's Echo and Zhonya's Hourglass.

Middle Ground:: So basically, I would recommend for you to buy this if you are a new Katarina player or are having difficulties in lane. If you buy this, you need to sell it at some point in the game for Void Staff and you are delaying your items. I personally almost never build this item anymore because it does not upgrade into anything useful, and secondly it delays big items like Luden's Echo or your Zhonya's Hourglass.



PROS: Luden's Echo is a item that I think is a good substitute for DFG on our beloved Katarina. It gives a hefty amount of AP, Movement speed is nice, and the passive works amazingly well with Kat. If you hit somebody with a rank 5 Q, it can rocket your damage from 225 to like 350. Very nice indeed. It also builds out of an Aether Wisp, which is not a terrible buy. Decent AP and Movement speed for Katarina, which is always nice.

CONS: The downsides are that this item has a weird build path, you need to be farming very well to get that Needlessly Large Rod, otherwise, just sitting with an Aether Wisp and boots is kind of underwhelming for your damage.

Middle Ground: Good first buy if you do not need Zhonya's, it offers quite a bit of a damage spike early game and late game depending on when you buy it. However, you won't be first buying this 100% of the time, often you will rather want a Zhonya's simply for the defense and active.


PROS: So this item is God-like in team fights. Didn't manage to get a reset off or enemy team blew a bunch of CC on you? Activate this item, watch your team come in to back you up. Then once the stasis is over you can most likely pick up a kill and get your resets going. Also builds from a Seeker's Armguard which can help with early defenses.

CONS: Really, there are no cons. You cannot go wrong with this item. The only Con I see is that you will not be dealing as much damage as getting a Haunting Guise or Luden's Echo, but your damage is still going to be scary.

Middle Ground: Basically get this when you do not want to rush a Luden's Echo because you are afraid you will need the active for early game scrims and stuff. If the enemy team has a lot of CC you may also want to get this first instead, as it will offer you better utility in team fights.


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Laning Phase



Sinister Steel
Katarina's early game is not terrible, however it is sort of weak. Especially levels 1-3. Levels 1-3 you want to be doing nothing but farming and trying to get to 3. You can occasionally poke the enemy just as a damage test. If your Q hits them pretty hard, keep harassing. Otherwise, save it for if you need to hit a really distant minion. Take Shunpo at level 2 for safety reasons. Whether it be avoiding a gank or trying to dodge enemy skills.

Once you are level 3, you can attempt to start harassing the enemy. Be careful when doing this, for when Shunpo is off cooldown, you are susceptible to ganks. Your basic combo to harass in lane would be as follows:

> > Sinister Steel

This combo is pretty standard. In theory, you will land your Shunpo before the Bouncing Blades reached your opponent. So wait for Bouncing Blades to hit, then Sinister Steel to blow the mark up and back off to your minion wave again. If the enemy is wary of your Bouncing Blades and will not let you get off free damage, you can do this instead:

to minion near enemy > > Sinister Steel

Continue just farming and doing quick trades like this until level 6. If you have been harassing your opponent down and they are at 40% health of less, you can attempt an all in. One of your level 6 "All-in" combos goes as follows:

> > Sinister Steel > >

This is basically a guarenteed kill. Even if they do flash out of your ult, they may not have reacted fast enough and the one second of Death Lotus channel plus Ignite will most likely kill them.

This combo is a little more advanced, but it works for when you anticipate your opponent to be flashing out of your Death Lotus or using some sort of mobility move to get out. It goes as follows:

> sinister steel > > >

You use this when you anticipate the enemy to be flashing or getting out of your ult range. That way you can stop channeling and finish them off with the Ignite and Bouncing Blades.


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Mid-game and Roaming



Sinister Steel
You should have some items by this point. Whether you decided to go Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes rush, Luden's Echo, or Zhonya's Hourglass. You should start hitting quite hard in lane, dealing like 30% or more of the enemies health with your basic 3-step combo, especially if they are not buying any defenses against you. Continue to farm and keep the wave pushed to enemy tower, maybe even kill them if you can.

However, this is where Katarina shines the most. You want to help ward the map up and roam. You want to be present around bot lane fights, scrimmages in the jungle, dragon fights, etc. This is where you can go to town, kill everything, or clean up after fights and earn yourself a yummy triple kill. Being in the right places at the right time is the key to being a good Katarina. You want the enemy team to be afraid of you. If they aren't freaking out when you disappear from the map and go missing, you are doing something wrong. If played properly and are snowballing a bit, you will have a huge pressure on the map during this stage of the game.


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Warding


As I mentioned earlier, you want to roam and ward the enemy jungle. You don't have to waste too much money on wards, just buy 1 or 2. We will save our trinket ward for escapes and warding our lane from the enemy jungler. Here is a map giving examples of where to ward.

  • Yellow: Vital to protect the jungler on your team
  • Blue: For protection depending on which lane you're on
  • Red: To guard Dragon and Baron
  • Orange: In order to Counter-Jungle

The Blue Circles by each side of the river in mid lane is where you should be warding early on with your trinket and and stealth wards. Mid lane is the shortest lane, but can get ganked on either side. Most mid laners know to place a ward on one side and then stick to that side. If they get ganked, they can retreat to safety since the enemy jungler is ganking from afar. And if the jungler is coming from the side you warded, you can see him so you know to back off.

The Orange Circles are where you should be warding when you are roaming. The enemy jungler will most likely go through there. And the Yellow Circles are where you ward to protect your jungler and to have vision of your jungle if you are losing. The enemies will most likely be roaming your jungle if they have a lead and have taken a lot of towers.

Aditionally, I am starting to like placing wards by the bush behind the enemies red, and a ward by their wraiths. It gives me great coverage and vision of where there jungler is. You can also place a deep, risky ward all the way in that bush that is sort of adjacent to the bush by red buff. It is to the right of the enemy junglers golems if you are on Blue side. A pink there provides amazing coverage for the whole game and a lot of people never bother to check there.


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End Game and Teamfights



Sinister Steel
Katarina is amazing in team fights thanks to her AoE damage on Sinister Steel and Death Lotus. Depending on the teams there are two ways you can play out team fights as Katarina.

A) Your Team has Superior Engage: If your team has a better engage then the enemy team, then team fights are in your favor for the most parts. Wait for your team to go in and then, if you are confident that you can burst somebody down before the enemy team starts retaliating and throwing everything they got at you, then go in and do it. Get the resets going and just mop up house.

B) Enemy team CC and Engage too strong: If the enemy teams engage is too strong or they have CC for days then what you need to do is wait out the fight for the most part. It sounds weird and you may not be used to that type of style, but you seriously need to just sit back and wait for certain spells to be used. Once the enemy team has blown huge spells/ults that would most likely end you, go into the fray and back up your team. Start dishing out damage and trying to get resets going. Most likely, one person is going to be low already from the fight, so once you finish them off you can get your combos going.

For team fights, your combo is basically the same thing as the "All-in" combo I showed you a few chapters earlier, however. Only difference being is once you get a kill you do not stop. Somebody else should be low and then your skills should reset. Hop on them with a standard combo like Shunpo, Bouncing Blades, Sinister Steel, and basically just rinse and repeat this. There will be times in fights where you can use Death Lotus twice. Those are always fun.

Let me emphasize that you should never EVER engage a fight as Katarina. You are literally like the cleanup crew/aftermath. Let your front line go in first like Marines, then you back them up after the storm starts to clear a bit.


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Summary Banner





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


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Conclusion


Katarina is an extremely fun and rewarding champion to play. She offers quite some diversity in her kit: A ranged poke, blink, AoE. Her kit is rather straight forward and easy to learn, but not easy to master. She is a high-risk high-reward champion.

Please let me know if this helped or you learned something, likes, dislikes, suggestions, etc.

So go get blood on your hands for Noxus.

-Alexwolf


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Reminder

x > x


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FAQ's


Q: Is Katarina and Talon truly a better relationship?

A: Yes. It is. Fact.


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Change Log


6/22/15

  • I updated the runes and masteries a bit, to better reflect what I am actually using as of late.
  • Slight modifications to her items, mainly in the descriptions of the items themselves.
  • Knocked out some minor errors/inconsistencies I noticed that were left unchanged by mistake.
  • Hope you all had a happy fathers day yesterday!!

3/20/15
  • Pretty big update, with DFG removed and its new substitute in place I finally got to playing around with it, and deem it a note worthy item to get. It is a very good sub for DFG and works beautifully on Katarina, give it a try if you like.
  • New Chapter: Luden's Echo
  • Also changed up my runes/masteries, even showing each rune page I use for all the situations.
  • Trying to fix lolrecorder or find an alternate for recording so I can get you guys some video demonstrations :c
  • Till next update, Peace sex-monkies.

12/24/14
  • The Noxian-beyblade is still super strong. ADC's mid is starting to become a tiny bit problematic if they have escapes but otherwise, Katarina still solid.
  • Added picking up an Elixir of Sorcery end game.
  • And happy Holidays to all of you!!!

11/11/14
  • Added a new chapter labeled Katarina Combos
  • Changed my primary rune page from AP quints to movement speed quints. I changed them after a bit of experimenting and feel like these are a bit better in most cases. Dodging skill-shots becomes a lot easier as well.
  • Added a secondary mastery page that takes 9 points in utility.

11/7/14
11/6/14
  • Guide has just been published, no changes have been made yet!
  • Going to be making a chapter labeled "Lane Matchups" and I shall go over champions you will most likely see in lane. Explaining how to deal with each one in specific. But for now the raw parts of the guide are finished.
  • Gathering footage for video examples and clips of my Katarina game-play.