Katarina Build Guide by Rodulek
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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.
Welcome to my new Katarina guide! This guide has been made to fit the mid-August remodel of Katarina and it goes on my experience playing her so far. This guide will explain everything though rotation, summoner spells, items and play style. It is a mid lane build. Finally I am open to any feedback and will try to improve the build as much as possible.
Please take the time to read through the guide so as to fully understand how it works and to further understand the item choice.
This is also my first guide, so be nice in the comments! :P
Pros and Cons
- Very Strong Farmer
- Good range farmer early game with well timed Bouncing Blades
- No mana!
- Strong AoE champion with Bouncing Blades, Sinister Steel and Death Lotus
- Really mobile with Shunpo
- No Skill shots, so it's hard to miss!
- Can have problems farming early game by being zoned by AP carries with a big range
- Without good placement, you will either deal no damage or be CC and focused down very fast!
- Relies on getting assists or kills in teamfights, so it's no good entering a team fight as the last man standing vs. 3 enemy champions
- High damage ultimate can be easily interrupted with CC
The runes I displayed work well for me early game. The strong AP boost from the Greater Seal of Ability Power gives a good early game advantage as well as the Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. I take the Magic Penetration for more damage early game and the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power for later game. I find as Katarina after the remake that if you get your early game good and grab yourself a few kills or even assists, you are set up well for late game. Also the extra AP is worth it as it helps you farm a lot easier early game when timing the Bouncing Blades can sometimes be an issue if being zoned by an enemy ranged AP champ.
If you feel a little squishy without a Rylai's or any form of HP boost from your items, take the Greater Seal of Vitality which along with the bonus HP from Durability and Veteran's Scars makes up for the lost HP.
In the offense tree, it's a basic AP boost build. Not much to explain - the AP boost the damage of all of your spells.
In the defense tree I take 3/3 Resistance and only 1/3 Hardiness because as a mid lane champion you will most likely face other AP champions, so the magic resist is a stronger pick than the armour.
As for Durability and Veteran's Scars these are useful as we do not get a big HP boost from any of our items, so this gives us a little more HP to make up for it.
The boots and pots are standard starting items. They are useful in the mid lane especially if you are being successfully poked by a ranged AP such as Karthus or Zyra and her plants.
Next I take the Haunting Guise because the early AP from a low cost item is useful. Also the passive spell penetration makes you do a lot more damage. The health from it also provides a little more sustain if you buy some more pots every time you recall (while in lane phase).
I take an Abyssal Scepter next because the magic resist vs AP champions in mid lane is very useful. It prevents a lot of damage while still in the lane phase. If their jungle champion is also AP based damage like a Cho'gath then you will also negate a lot of both the attacking champions damage.
After the Rylai's Crystal Scepter is built I move onto the Rabadon's Deathcap for that huge AP boost so you can pressure and kill things a lot faster ( kinda basic item that doesn't need much explanation really :P )
Rhylai's Crystal Scepter
I take this item on Katarina later on because of the nice HP bonus and the slow effect. It gives nice AP as well. I take it over a Deathfire Grasp because of the nerf to DFG.
As Katarina, when you play it right you will find yourself between a few champions spinning around ridiculously fast throwing knives everywhere. This is great if they don't stop you, easy kill! However, if they lay down some hard CC to you and then focus you down because of your bad positioning, the Zhonya's Hourglass with it's armour and Active effect make it very useful to survive a lot of that burst while your team either CC's them or picks off one of their champions. Also this gives you 2 seconds for your Shunpo (if it was on cooldown because you just used it to get in position for your Ultimate) to come off cooldown to then Shunpo to a friendly target to be out of the way of enemy fire and survive.
I take the Void Staff because we didn't take the magic penetration boots, so this gives us some nice damage increase.
Early game, you just want to spam your Q and W on all of those minions. As you get all three of your spells learned, you will be maxing out your Q first and then your W.
Bouncing Blades applies a mark on the target, which when you auto attack or use another spell on that target the mark does extra magic damage, so the basic rotation would be:
This rotation is not a precise guide of what you can do, but basically spam Bouncing Blades and Sinister Steel and be more cautious with Shunpo as a bad Shunpo can get you killed.
Using Bouncing Blades first applies the mark and then Shunpo activates that mark for bonus damage. Then you finish with your W for more damage. This is a basic harass rotation and should also be used when going for a kill. If you have Rylai's Crystal Scepter already and you are afraid of your target using flash, use Q and then run to them to W. If they Flash, Shunpo and Ultimate if you are not near a turret that can kill you or they can hard CC you under the turret.
Be careful with your Ultimate. Yes it does a lot of damage as AoE, but you can't go Shunpo into a group of 3 enemy champions, use ulti and expect a triple kill if they are all full HP. I see too many Katarina's try this trick and it does not work. I tent to use ulti if they are about 50% or below. If they are a little higher, remember that you can Ignite while using Death Lotus and it will not cancel it.
Now Death Lotus has a very low cooldown, and this allows us to use it purely for harassment early-mid game in lane. If the enemy champion you are facing has no hard CC or has just used it, don't be afraid to Shunpo and Death Lotus for harassment. Most likely Death Lotus won't be on cooldown when you do decide to go for the kill.
Just be careful when you are using Shunpo to harass, if their jungler is near your lane you don't have an escape for more than 8 seconds early-mid game, so you don't have an easy escape if they engage you so you may be forced to Flash.
These summoner spells are pretty basic, Flash as an escape if you cannot Shunpo away because those minions decided to run to the enemy attacking you ( like usual :P ).
Ignite just in case Shunpo or Bouncing Blades is on cooldown and they are low HP.
So basically, farm early game, if you can set up a kill after level 6 that's great but don't over-commit to a kill too early on as you don't want to die early and lose farm/exp. As you reach level 12+ farming because very very easy and you can kill a whole minion wave extremely fast.
17/08/2012 - Thanks for the feedback in the comments section! I took another look at the items I chose and I reworked them and I think I improved it.
30/11/2012 - Updated all of the build and item explanation. - Thanks to Sâcher (#1 Uganda)