Katarina Build Guide by MarkalArnold

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 MarkalArnold

Katarina, use those sexy eyes.

MarkalArnold Last updated on January 26, 2012
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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.



Offense: 22

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 8

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Katarina - The Sinister Blade

Hello everyone, my name is Markal and this is my first guide to my favorite risk/reward champion . Katarina has high damage output with average AP scaling and minimal utility. She specializes in being able to chase almost any other champion down with the ability to make a quick escape. This guide is going to walk you through the early laning phase, the scouting and roaming phase, and the end game suicide phase.

This guide assumes you have already had some experience with Katarina, or that you have read some of the other Katarina guides on Mobafire.

I would like to thank wRAthoFVuLK for his take on Katarina. You inspired me to create my own guide. Please view his and give him a thumbs up; his guide is amazing and solid - just different from my play style :) Her take on AP vs AD/Hybrid is dead on. My > is based post Gunblade nerf.

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Pros / Cons


    High Mobility.
    High Burst Damage.
    High AOE damage.

    High Mobility(You can easily split apart from your team when chasing).
    Lack of Utility(No Stun/Stealth/Silence).
    Easily locked down during her ultimate.
    Easy to feed because of how squishy she is.

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I chose this rune build to give you some early game lane sustain through the health per level. as well as optimize your AP potential. This build focuses on daggers and shunpo over killer instincts and is designed to harass and wear down a lane vs going bawlz deep for a kill.

Greater Mark of Insight seemed like a logical choice to counter those squishy champs that put a few mastery points into magic resist. It's also a given for any AP champion in order to overcome innate magic resist.

Greater Seal of Vitality Greater Seal of Vitality is designed to give you more sustain in lane. The reason for these is because you wont be putting any mastery points into arm/magic resist.

Greater Glyph of Potency I choose to take flat AP Glyphs vs the AP per level ones simply because having as high AP in the beginning and establishing lane control is essential.

Greater Quintessence of Potency See Glyph for explanation.

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My mastery tree is an all in mastery build using 22/00/08 to obtain the highest possible burst damage. With this build keep in mind that you are not going to be the traditional AP carry, rather you are going to be an assassin that stays out of the fight until you are capable of jumping on the enemy caries, destroying them, and retreating into the forest (unless your team is destroying them - then, by all means, stay and fight)

I take both & to give me improved ghost and flash. As I have said high mobility and guerilla warfare are essential to this build.

The rest kinda explains itself. Take the offense tree all the way down to maximize your damage potential. and take the utility tree into the reduced dead time and 4% move speed bonus.

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Skill Sequence

I don't take any abilities until the creeps spawn simply because you never know when you're going to be guarding blue and get yourself into a fight and have to shunpo away only to find out that you have already used your point (0.0)! So, normally I wait until the game starts.

has such a low CD and if aimed correctly can harass enemy champions without getting anywhere near them. When used with the spellsteal from , this ability gives you an amazing amount of sustain in a lane against almost any champion. Use this to last hit if you're mid, or to champion harass if you took the support slot on bottom.(Katarina is not a support champion and I don't recommend this unless you're on an arranged team and you plan on playing very aggressively).

This skill is amazing in that it adds some extra effects to Katarina's other abilities. Reduced healing and full damage on every hit with or reduced self damage with . I normally take this ability last simply because I'm going for an early game burst damage/hard hitting Katarina; however, if you find yourself in lane against someone with lifesteal, spellsteal, or innate healing abilities like Garen, this skill can majorly reduce the enemy sustain in that lane. So even though I take this last nine times out of ten, this is a situational decision and should be made at your discretion.

Main Burst skill with the most utility. This skill allows you to jump to anything you can select short of towers and inhibitors. Need to quickly cross terrain? Carry a couple of extra wards with ya and jump on over to dragon to make that quick escape. With this skill you are capable of jumping over any wall in the game. With 80% AP scaling this baby packs a punch. Truly a well established player should be able to escape almost any situation with this low CD long ranged ability. It is truly the skill that allows Katarina to have such high mobility and chasing power.

Devastating ability with the capabilities of turning a fight around. 30 daggers hitting 3 targets at a time over 3 seconds. If an enemy dies and another walks into range it begins targeting that enemy. It lights up when you are near a stealthed enemy so it gives you first strike advantage against Eve, Shaco, or Twitch. With 25% AP scaling per dagger, this is a nice little AOE, just don't get stunned while using it. I recommend using this ability to hide in a bush and cut off an enemy escape route with it (like Nunu) or using it on enemy carries that don't have a utility to stop it. Combined with this ability is frankly amazing.

25g per kill/assist, combined with a 15second reduction on the CD of all your abilities with a kill/assist. This ability is the reason you don't have to stack CDR. If you're in a fight where 3 enemies die then Death Lotus just came off CD. I have used Death Lotus twice within 2 seconds of each other, often resulting in a quadra kill.

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Katarinas Items are Very Diverse?

I usually start with , 1x , and 1xSight Ward. Mobility with Katarina is key and her rune page/mastery setup gives her more than enough starting AP to be a threat. She doesn't have mana so she doesn't get the full [Doran's Ring] benefit. I have seen people start with 1 as well as an . I like Mobility more than 20AP in the beginning, but it's just my preference.

WOTA has a bit more spell steal, an aura to help your teammates, and more AP than Gunblade. Gunblade has an active/slow, life steal, and added AD damage. I use Katarina as a hit and run champion so I tend not to auto attack that much. Enemies usually can't outrun you, so the active ability doesn't offer me much utility in chasing. As I said before, if your opener didn't kill them then you shouldn't be fighting them :/

Good AP, Nice HP boost, and ZOMG it's a slow. need I say more? The cost/benefit ratio on this is just amazing.

Use this when you're having a hard time hitting some of those tanky dps. You know the ones like Lee Sin that escape with 10hp because you just couldn't hit them hard enough. Eventually, just to keep up with champions' natural magic resist scaling, you will have to get this item. The timing is up to you.

This is the best overall AP item in the game. I normally get it after simply because this is about the time in the game where Katarina starts to peter off. You can rush it if you're doing extremely well and I have many times before, but if you're playing against a half-way competent team you won't want to hold on to the gold that long. It's a solid item; use common sense for deciding when to get it.

THIS SHOULD BE YOUR FINAL ITEM. Move speed, magic resist, Bonus Attack damage matching your AP(which should be over 600). This item is a mini nuke that should make you capable of outrunning any champion. If your team is on the offensive, this will make you a beast.
However, if your team is huddled up in a corner and you're pulling a Tobi, then is also a nice choice: more armor, higher ap for hit and runs, and the active that makes you golden.

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Boots- Have Fun Choosing!

My first item is almost always , but depending on how a game is progressing you should always be willing to change up your style of play to accommodate each individual situation. The following are brief explanations on when I normally choose each of the individual boots.

. I personally use these as my go to boot. They allow you to do a bit of extra damage in the early game combating enemy champions innate resistances.

These are the boots I get if I have simply dominated my lane. I am constantly having them pushed back to the tower, I have gotten a few kills, and most important my partner and/or tower are secure. They allow you to establish early map control but it is up to you to maintain it. how you ask? Gank often, place wards, and even go as far as to counter jungle and steal buffs. Note getting this item will make it necessary to get as soon as possible. Otherwise you simply wont have the magic pen to keep up with peoples resistances into the mid/late game. Preparation and taking measures to counter the inevitable are very important with any champion and Katarina is no exception.

So you didn't do as well as you had hoped early game, or maybe you did so well you are now the numbero uno focus target for the enemy team. These boots will allow you to shrug off some of that nasty cc the enemies are tossing at you. It is important for you to remember that even though you have become the target it's still important to do your primary job which is to shut down support/carries.

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Summoner Spells

I recommend & simply because I want to be able to outrun anyone and chase anyone down. No telling how many times I have flashed into range of a turret, shunpo'd to a person with low health, hit them with a dagger for the kill and Shunpo'd out taking only a couple tower hits, or popped ghost to reengage a person after we have broken off from a fight.

Other summoner spells I would recommend are or for a bit more damage output, or if you feel like playing a bit more defensively. I have used most of the summoner spells on Katarina, and I have found that with my particular play style, and work best.

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My Play Style

My play style is a very Aggressive form of hit and run guerilla warfare designed to wear stronger enemies down without actually engaging them, as well as to decimate weaker carries quickly so you can disappear and not be cornered. It works extremely well offensively; however, map control is essential. If you find yourself pushed back into your base this style becomes much less effective. It will make you look like a pro if pulled off well(assuming your team isn't horrible) but will make you look like Rageface if you don't. The line is paper thin.

Warding: Yes you are an AP carry. Yes you will carry 5 wards with you everywhere you go. Why is this? Easy, my dear Watson. Shunpo=flash to ward. Place them in key areas where you are fighting and on your way to fights. If things don't go your way you are one less dead body. *Note: Oracles can allow you to shunpo to enemy wards although the shunpo range will be much shorter*

Team Fights: It's okay not to jump in at the start of a fight. I find it's actually more effective to move in on the outskirts of a fight, flash/shunpo in onto the carries(who should be distracted by the rest of your team), and destroy them before making a quick escape.

Do not be afraid to die. There is a lot of risk to playing Katarina. and you will die sometimes, the key is to get into the mentality of knowing when you can escape a situation, and knowing when you can't. Jumping into 5 people isn't as dangerous as it seems. Most champions only have a single stun/silence and many champions that have a stun/silence have to use a skill shot to land it. So wait for Malphite to ult your team, and Garen to strike a friend, Ashe to land an arrow or Morgana to pop an ult. Wait until your team has taken the CC you fear and then destroy the carries. A well placed shunpo/ulty will kill 1 easily and wound another, then dagger/shunpo over to that one(your abilities have reset after the 1st ones death). Hopefully you kill off a couple of the enemy carries and your team can move in and destroy the rest even if you die.

Roaming, ganking, and picking off: this mostly takes place early to mid game (late game if you're on the offensive after the enemy made a fail push). If you're roaming, be sure to let your friends know you're coming. Have them place a ward in the best possible position to assist you the most. If Ahri is behind her turret and Lux just can't seem to muster the ability to hit her with one last orb, shunpo/dagger her for the kill then shunpo back out to either lux or your ward. When roaming remember it's important to place wards in key areas for observation. Dragon, baron, entrances/exits from enemy jungle to river, etc. are all great places to place a ward and can often help you escape with a quick shunpo to put some distance between yourself and your enemies.
Also, the most important thing after a gank(whether successful or not) is to not loiter in your friends' lane and steal CS/XP. You either succeeded or failed in your objective and should move onto the next task. This is true for all champions -.-! I'm talking to you junglers: it's over. You failed the gank. Go away.

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Team Work

A friend of mine suggested I should put in a section at the end of my build that talks about team composition and team play.
It is important to note that you will be going against the current meta game while taking the support slot away from your team. This will allow your team to have higher damage output and mobility than your enemy, at the cost of support. If you can win bot and shut their support down in team fights, the advantage is yours. You will be the recipient of a lot of rage and trolling in solo/duo queue, so hone your skills in normal and be sure of yourself and your abilities before playing ranked.

I can not stress the importance of a Katarina taking advantage of solid initiates. When a friendly champion performs a solid initiation and successfully throws the enemy team in a panic, you have to be capable of reacting quickly to take out the enemy support and carries. The support should almost always be your primary target. Even if you can't kill her, removing her from a fight evens out the odds against your team. You can then take advantage of your high mobility to return to the fight before the support and turn it into a 5v4 with your team having the advantage.

Targets:Support>Ranged AD Carry>Mid AP Carry>Off Tank/Tanky DPS>Main Tank

Advantageous Situations
Using Blade Surge
Using in conjunction with
using with

" is your best friend. makes you un'CC'able and the combo of two ults is super-devastating. You might want to throw it somewhere into teamwork section."-albableat

These are just a few situations using some powerful initiation champions. There are many other champions that can set up fights that give you an opportunity. Just pay close attention for the enemy to spread out/hesitate or blow their CC a bit too early.

Targeting: When to use your ult and when not to:
with can decimate your ultimate. and leave you unable to use any abilities for a few seconds. A smart Soraka that doesnt panic is a hard support to kill so you should resort to dagger harassment and Shunpo. Remember if you dont kill the enemy support then it becomes a 4v5 fight for your team with the enemy still having a support up.

These are 2 strong Ranged AD carries that have stuns/knock backs that can shut your ultimate down. Make sure they have either lost focus on you or already used their ability before you use your ultimate around them. Yes they are squishy but so are you (0.0)!

Tower Diving
With Katarina I'm always down for a good tower dive; however, it's good to know when and how to do it. In the beginning of the game, you will find getting enemy champions low with & is pretty easy, but tower diving them can be tricky. If they have a pop a heal on them at the last second you will find yourself without a kill. Plus, with no kill, all of your abilities are still on CD. This will probably lead to you feeding and makes for a bad Katarina. Instead, target champions like Teemo or champions with a lack of hard CC. Use friendly units like or to tank the tower while you go in and finish the champion off.

Late Game Stalemates
Don't find yourself in a stalemate against an enemy tower with 5 of them up. Remember your team doesn't have a support if you took that slot so that means you don't have the sustain that they do. Also its only a matter of time before someone gets frustrated and decides to just "go for it". Let your team know that its a bad idea(PLEASE COMMUNICATE WITH THEM). Let them know you're going to farm another lane or start a push in another lane. This will make everyone reevaluate the situation they have gotten themselves into and also force the enemy team to split up to counter you. Katarina excels in split team fighting. Take advantage of the wards you should be placing to know where the enemy is at all times and communicate with your team to pick em off.

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What did we Learn?

    Map awareness is key.(Use em sexy eyes)
    Wards are your friends(always have one at baron and dragon at the very least)
    Target and pick off weak enemies.
    Shunpo is a great tool for escaping and engaging enemies.
    Pay attention to enemy cc when approaching a fight.
    Don't loiter after a fight or find yourself in a stalemate.
    Take advantage of that mobility both in and out of fights.
    Have fun ^_^!

Thank you everyone for your input in my build. I am taking all criticism into consideration and will add things into my build as I see fit.

Thank you everyone for your input in my build. I am taking all criticism into consideration and will add things into my build as I see fit.