Katarina Build Guide by Agent Maine
Not Updated For Current Season
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My usual end game build
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.
Threats to Katarina with this build
|Karthus||Easiest lane for Katarina. He can't do anything. You just run away from everything he puts down. Most of the time Karthus will run exhaust though, so be wary of that.|
Hello everyone! I am Agent Maine, A.K.A Agent Texas ingame and I play on the NA server. I've been playing League for almost 3 years now and it has been a wild ride. When I first started playing ranked, I got placed fairly low, like most new players. I ended season 3 in silver (at the time i didn't really play much ranked so I was happy about that) and I am currently back in platinum. This season I have 38 games so far, and my winrate is 74%.
Here is a pic of my ranked stats with Katarina: http://gyazo.com/4a6883d7d1500723c068fbed572dbb9f
Edit: I am back in platinum!
+ Katarina is a highly mobile AP assassin who is adept at killing important targets. Thanks to her passive, her cleanup potential is very high. She can easily burst most carries down with ease thanks to her MASSIVE AoE damage from her ultimate. Also, if you were looking for a good champion to carry you out of "Elo hell", then this is the champion you've been looking for.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way, shape or form, the best League player out there. There are probably better guides than this one, and to be quite honest, I don't expect that many people to view this. If you do though, thanks! I just want to share my knowledge with everyone else.
+ If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment and I'll try to answer them.
[UPDATE] I'll post here the new changes made to Katarina over the course of
These changes coming in patch 4.20 aren't too severe, except one thing. Katarina's Death Lotus will be on a 90 second cooldown up from a 60 second cooldown at level 1 of Death Lotus. This just means that you need to be careful about using your ultimate in lane. Now you really can't use it to put down harass. Instead, this really forces Katarina to think twice about using Death Lotus. If you use it, you lose ALMOST ALL of your damage. Since it is on a 90 second cooldown, Katarina needs to know when to use Death Lotus, and when not to. None of Kat's core items were affected in this patch.
RIP Deathfire Grasp :(
+ Save Death Lotus for guaranteed kills and roams. Since it is on a 90 second cooldown and the base damage was reduced from 400 > 350 at level 1, be conservative! Once you hit level 11 however, the cooldown is significantly reduced. This patch only affects Katarina's early-mid game damage, so late game, you will be doing the same amount of damage and have the same exact cooldown at level 16 like it was in patch 4.19.
TL;DR Basically, don't use your ult as often. You can use it to harass if you
Patch 5.6 - Nothing too big, lower base hp, more hp per level, and lower hp regen. This doesn't really change much in terms of damage, obviously, but sustain in lane will go down, so a doran's shield start doesn't look too bad now. Boots and pots are still my go-to starting items though.
Patch 5.13 - This patch is really coming down on almost every AP item there is, some good changes and some bad. One big change that I think will really affect how Kat plays is the price reduction on the Needlessly Large Rod and the things that it builds into. Since the price will be 1250, it will allow Kat to have an earlier power spike, which means bad news for the enemy. I don't know every little change, but this is for sure one of the biggest changes and will affect many others besides Kat.
IMPORTANT acronyms to know (For newer players. Seriously, if you play the g
CC - Crowd control, refering to all stuns, knock ups, taunts, fears, etc.
AoE - Area of effect.
DoT - Damage over time
TL;DR - Too long; didn't read. I sometimes ramble, so look for a Tl;DR if you're lazy.
AP - Ability Power
AD - Attack Damage
Quints - Referring to the quintessence runes.
Seals - Referring to the yellow rune, also called a seal, which mostly deals with defensive stats.
Marks - Referring to the red rune, also called a mark, which mostly deals with offensive stats such as magic penetration or attack damage.
GA - The item, Guardian Angel
Ult - Ultimate ability, assigned to the "R" key.
Pros / Cons
|+ Easy to farm with
+ Multi-target ultimate
+ Restricted by cooldowns ONLY
+ Has great synergy with a few select champions
+ Easy to learn, hard to master
+ GODLIKE mid-late game
|Because of her ultimate, she has great cleanup potential in teamfights. What this means is that she's not the one to go into the fight head on, deep into the fray. She's going to stay back and wait for her team to do some of the work for her. For example, the enemy team uses all of their CC on your team. Once your team gets the enemy team low enough, or the enemy uses their CC on your other teammates, Katarina can just decimate what is left of their team with Death Lotus.|
+ EASILY shutdown by hard CC
+ Weak early game
+ Useless if behind
+ TERRIBLE at CS'ing under tower
+ Can't push lane very well early game
|Katarina has an extremely bad early game. At this time, you should be focused on farming rather than anything else. It is unlikely that you will be getting any kills pre 6 because you don't have as much kill potential as you would at level 6. In short, CC is your sworn enemy and you die really easy :D|
Masteries21 OFFENSE 9 into Defense and 1 into utility
Butcher - Helps with last hitting
Sorcery - Every little bit counts
Mental Force - Gives you some scaling AP!
Arcane Mastery - Some extra AP
Executioner - Since your enemies will be quite low, this is a must!
Archmage - Once again, it increases your AP
Dangerous Game - Since you'll be getting kills left and right, it'll help you stay alive longer in teamfights and potentially save your life.
Arcane Blade - You build AP, it adds damage to your basic attacks depending on how much AP you have, so why not get it?
Devastating Strikes - Gives magic penetration. Though the armor penetration is useless, you still benefit from it.
Havoc - Pretty self explanatory.
Block - Gives you some durability early on. It basically weakens the already weak basic attacks from the ranged champions mid lane.
Unyielding - Moar durabilteh!
Recovery - Gives a little health regeneration. Not much, but it's something.
Veteran Scars - Kat is a squishy champion, so throw in some extra health!
Scout - This one point in utility could potentially save your life. It increases the range on your trinket by 15%, which means you can throw your trinket ward farther out to escape a scary gank! To put it into perspective, the Scout mastery basically makes it so that you can place a ward at the same range as Shunpo which allows for waaaaaay easier ward jumps. Of course, this only affects your trinket.
Q: Why this specific setup?
This setup aims at making you deal some good damage early while helping you survive the early game with some added durability. With this setup, your early game shouldn't be a living hell.
+ The reason I don't take Double-Edged Sword is because I don't like to cripple myself. You can take it, but I wouldn't recommend it.
EDIT 7/8/15: Due to the small change in the defense tree, I now take the slow reduction since the hp regen isn't really as useful as the slow reduction.
Why max Bouncing Blades? Because it has a high base damage and it is your last hitting ability. Take Bouncing Blades at level 1 and max it asap, but be sure to grab 1 point in every skill early on.
Since sinister steel has more utility than damage, I max it second. You can max sinister steel first for a bit more burst damage and utility, but I prefer maxing Bouncing Blades because of the ability to use it to farm and harass the enemy laner, as well as the fact that it does more damage overall.
Max Shunpo last as it doesn't deal that much damage and you really only use it for an escape. The damage reduction does not stack, so it wouldn't be worth maxing Shunpo 1st or second.
Get Death Lotus whenever possible.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: These will give you a good damage boost early game as well as improve your ability to last hit minions with your Bouncing Blades. You need to take AP quints in order to make use of your magic penetration marks, because you need AP in order to penetrate! Basically, without early AP, you won't be doing as much damage as you would with AP quints.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: I take magic penetration because Katarina scales soooooo well with magic penetration and they're really the only good choice for her.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: These are what I use. These are used to help when going against an AP mid lane. Alternatively, you could take scaling AP or magic penetration, but I highly prefer magic resist glyphs with the added durability.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Health: These will cause you to be less squishy late game, and as you know, Katarina is quite the squishy champion. You can substitute these for armor seals when going against AD champions.
Of course if you are against an AD mid take armor seals as said above.
Voracity (passive) - For each kill or assist, Katarina's cooldowns on her skills are reduced by 15 seconds.
+ Instantly refreshes Bouncing Blades, sinister steel, and Shunpo. It also instantly refreshes your Death Lotus when you get 15% CDR and Death Lotus is at level 3.
+ In teamfights, the more resets you get, the more damage you will deal.
+ Can help secure easy kills under tower. Shunpo in, FINISH HIM! Shunpo out.
+ This is what makes or breaks a good Katarina player.
Cooldown: 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8
+ Used for poking/last hitting
+ Multi-Target skill
sinister steel Sinister Steel - Katarina whirls her daggers, instantly dealing 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 25% AP) (+ 60% bonus AD) magic damage to all nearby enemies. If she damages an enemy champion, she gains 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% movement speed for 1 second.
+ Gives a nice movement speed boost
+ Used to detonate Bouncing Blades
+ Good for harassing and wave clearing
Shunpo - Katarina teleports to target unit and gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, the target takes 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 40% AP) magic damage.
Cooldown: 12 / 10.5 / 9 / 7.5 / 6
+ Your only reliable escape
+ Used to jump over impassable terrain (walls)
+ Used to jump into ( or out of) the fight
+ Gives you a 15% damage reduction when used
+ Can be used to dodge skillshots or reduce damage from something such as Requiem
Death Lotus - Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a barrage of up to 30 daggers at the closest 3 enemy champions within range. Each dagger deals 40 / 57.5 / 75 (+ 25% AP) (+ 37.5% bonus AD) magic damage, which adds up to a total of 400 / 575 / 750 (+ 250% AP) (+ 375% bonus AD) magic damage and applies Griveous Wounds for 3 seconds, reducing regeneration and incoming healing by 50%.
Cooldown: 90 / 60 / 45
Death Lotus can hit a single enemy champion no more than 10 times.
+ MASSIVE AoE damage
+ Great tool to cleanup
+ Can have its cooldown reset back to 0 at a minimum of 3 resets, unless for some reason you have some form of cdr (around 15%) which should reset it back back to 0 at level 3 ult.
+ Can hit/detect stealthed champions
All of these stats are from Kat's wiki page
- This combination will increase your kill pressure in lane. This is why I prefer to use it most lanes. I almost ALWAYS run ignite because of the extra kill potential in lane and just in general, helps get resets easier.
+ - While this is an ok combination, I don't prefer it however. I find heal more useful on long range mages, and Katarina doesn't really fit into that category.
+ - This is great for roaming. This setup can help you snowball faster by allowing you to be anywhere on the map with the click of a button. Get a double bottom lane and you've got yourself some serious cash money, though you lose a bit of kill pressure in lane..
+ - This is also one of the combinations that I personally don't prefer, but it is viable. Take Barrier when you're against someone with a lot of burst such as Brand, Veigar, or Fizz.
+ - I really don't see a reason to take ghost as teleport or ignite would be better choices. I mean, if you're stacking Zephyr's, then by all means, grab ghost.
Champions who synergize well with Katarina
Typically, you want to have a team that can withstand some damage and soak up CC whilst you hide in the back and wait for the right time to strike. Here are just a few champions who have good synergy with Katarina.
- - Jarvan IV is one of the best champions to have on your team as Katarina. He can become extremely tanky and with his ultimate, Cataclysm, you two will without a doubt win teamfights by yourselves. It's important that the Jarvan IV player knows how to use Cataclysm correctly, or else he might end up trapping you, leading to your demise. All in all, Jarvan IV is one of the best champions to have on your team when playing Kat.
- - Amumu is sort of like Jarvan IV. Curse of the Sad Mummy can be game changing depending on how it is used. Typically, when he ults, you want to follow up soon after and not wait too long in the back line. With his tankiness and his great engage potential, he can be a great pick with Katarina, and synergy can in fact win games.
- - Nocturne, like Amumu and Jarvan IV, is highly dependent on his ultimate, Paranoia. He can use it to engage further away than most champions, and does a good amount of damage. Nocturne isn't on this list because he synergizes well with Katarina in teamfights, which he does to some extent, but it's mainly about him and Kat in laning phase. He can activate his ult and easily engage on the enemy AP carry, fear them, and pick up an easy kill unless the enemy uses Flash.
- - Just in general, Alistar is a good champion to have because he can soak up a ton of damage thanks to his ultimate, Unbreakable Will. He can soak up all the CC for you as well as peel for your other teammates.
- - This depends on the player. If Gnar controls his passive correctly, then he should be in his mega form when teamfighting. His ultimate can set up EASY kills for Katarina. As long as the Gnar goes fairly tanky and not some full-lifesteal build, then you should be able to synergize very well together.
- - This is self explanatory. Galio can use his Idol of Durand and taunt enemies within a good sized area. This can keep the enemy off of you while you ruin the enemy team!
- - This one is also self-explanatory. Warwick can just use Infinite Duress to suppress a high-priority enemy or use it on someone who can interrupt your ult. As long as he doesn't get interrupted when he uses his ult, then whoever he suppresses should be an easy kill to pick up with your team.
- - Good peel and her engage potential is great. Nuff said.
Other champions that are good but not mentioned here
Vi - Tank Vi mainly
Udyr - Because he's the god!
Item Building Path
Remember to buy wards whenever you back! They can keep you safe from ganks and you can use them to escape with Shunpo.
Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potions - This is the standard start for Katarina. This allows you to have some sustain in lane and the Boots of Speed allow you to dodge skillshots more easily.
Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potions - This is a good start for when you are against an AD champion such as Zed or Talon. The good thing about this start is that the Cloth Armor builds into Seeker's Armguard, which then turns in Zhonya's Hourglass. You usually don't want to rush a Zhonya's Hourglass unless you're against someone such as Zed. You could also use the active to completely dodge Veigar's Primordial Burst damage. It is viable to rush a zhonya's vs. Veigar.
Doran's Shield + 1 Health Potion - This is aimed at those pesky AP carries that poke at you with their basics in lane. Buying a Doran's Shield just makes their weak basic attacks even weaker! It even adds in some health regeneration along with some health. Usually you want to take Boots of Speed and Health Potions, but this is a perfectly viable start.
1st back, hopefully around level 6
Haunting Guise - This is without a doubt one of the best things Katarina can buy early. It gives magic penetration, health, and ability power. All of these stats work EXTREEMLY WELL with Katarina. You don't want to upgrade it to Liandry's Torment though, so sell it late game for another item such as Guardian Angel. This is what I like to buy/start building on my first back.
Needlessly Large Rod - If you can afford it, get it. This'll give you a massive boost in damage and it'll help you snowball even further. Not to mention, it builds into Deathfire Grasp.
Negatron Cloak - Get this if you're having a hard time vs an AP mid laner. Buying this can help negate the burst of champions such as , , etc.
Doran's Shield - Grab this if you are being poked too much by basic attacks and you need some extra survivability and you didn't start this item, of course.
Deathfire Grasp - Rest in peace :(
Luden's Echo - This item is ridiculous. It gives Kat even better wave clear and harass potential, so after I grab a Haunting Guise, I usually start to build this item. Your next item should either be Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap, depending on the situation. If you're far ahead and you have no one that poses a serious threat to you, then go rabadon's, but if they're on even ground with your team, then it might be best to grab a zhonya's.
Rabadon's Deathcap - Edit: I rush Deathcap now since the removal of DFG. Self explanatory. It increases your bonus AP by 30%, which makes it a CORE ITEM. It is possible to rush this item, but it won't give you near as much burst potential as a Deathfire Grasp would. I'd say that getting this after your Deathfire Grasp would be the best way to do things.
Void Staff - This item is a must-buy in the mid game. Since Katarina doesn't scale that well except for her ult, magic penetration is a must. It doesn't matter who you're up against or what the enemy team is building. You need to buy a Void Staff even if the enemy isn't building magic resist.
Zhonya's Hourglass - This is also a must-buy item. It gives you 50 Armor along with 120 Ability Power, as well as a godlike active which allows you to be rendered invulnerable to all damage. Use this active to buy time for ability cooldowns or to avoid a very dire situation in which Katarina's life is in danger! TL;DR use this item to avoid damage/wait for abilities to come off CD.
Abyssal Scepter - This item is a bit iffy. You can get this item, but only in certain situations. If the enemy team has and AP top lane, an AP jungler, and an AP mid laner, then by all means, throw in an Abyssal Scepter somewhere in your build, but do not rush it. You can just buy an early null magic mantle. Rest in peace Negatron Cloak. Negatron now only builds into a Guardian Angel only.
Hextech Gunblade - I know what you're thinking. "But Katarina also scales off of Attack Damage!" While that may be true, I build Katarina as an AP monster. This used to be a viable item on Katarina in season 2 / early season 3, but it is no longer viable since the spell vamp is reduced with AoE spells and you know, that's kind of what your ult is. The life steal is virtually useless because you won't ever be using your basic attacks, the passive makes it so that the cooldown goes down only with single-target spells, and the only single target spell Katarina has is Shunpo. The stats are also a bit lackluster. The cost on this item along with the stats that it gives makes it a non-viable item on Katarina.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - This is also an item that some Katarina players believe to be viable. Well, it isn't. It does give you health, which means more survivability, but the real problem is the passive. The passive slow is reduced with AoE spells, so you won't be getting the maximum potential out of this item. Once again, this item isn't really worth the price, and the fact that the slow is reduced to 15% with AoE spells seals the deal. It's good on other champions sure, but not on Kat.
Liandry's Torment - You aren't looking to do damage over time, so don't buy this item! Sell your Haunting Guise for your 6th item.
Laning vs specific champions (difficulty)
The difficulty of each champion is shown by the color of the text
Difficulty rating is ona scale of 1-10, 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest.
Difficulty rating: 3
Akali is a pretty easy champion to go against. All you really need to do in this lane is poke her with your Bouncing Blades until she has to back. This won't happen too soon as most Akali players buy a lot of health potions to start. If this is the case, then just wait until level 6. As long as you get level 6 before her, then you'll be fine. When you are both 6, however, most Akali players will INSTANTLY try and combo you with her QREW when they only have 1 charge in their ultimate. This is where you unleash the kraken. She has no defense while in her Twilight Shroud anymore, so just use your ult in the center of it and watch her come out bruised and beaten. TL;DR just poke her with Q, ult her when she's in her shroud whenever it's safe to do so.
Difficulty rating: 5
Ahri can be a pain. All you really need to do to win this lane is poke her with Bouncing Blades whenever you feel safe enough to do so. Start Boots of Speed so that you can dodge her skillshots easier. If Ahri misses her Charm on you, then you need to punish her heavily for it as she has just lost a lot of her kill pressure.
Difficulty rating: 7
Annie is tough. How I see it is that there are 2 types of Annie players. Ones that always keep their stun up, and ones that just farm with Disintegrate. The ones that keep up their stun will give you a harder time. Just play it safe early and just last hit with Bouncing Blades. Start Doran's Shield or Boots of Speed and call for jungle ganks and hope for the best.
Difficulty rating: 6
This lane can be a bit of a pain. Pre 6, just harass him with Bouncing Blades until he leaves. The problem with Fizz is that he can use his Playful/Trickster to completely negate Death Lotus's damage. However, if you see that Fizz wastes his Playful/Trickster, then punish him for it. If he can't use Playful/Trickster, then he can't dodge your ult's damage. Overall, he's a pain. Keep your lane bushes warded to prevent him from roaming.
Difficulty rating: 10
BEWARE! THIS CHAMPION IS REALLY ANNOYING! He has a ranged silence that can bounce between minions and you and interrupt your Death Lotus, a fear, and a skill that'll literally negate all of your ult's damage( his Drain). Sure, your ult inflicts griveous wounds, but that doesn't matter! Drain is on such a short cooldown. Only way to really survive this lane is to last hit with your bouncing blades and call the jungle hotline for help.
Difficulty rating: 8
is the go-to counter for Katarina. Diana has all the necessary tools to completely shut down Kat in lane. Her Pale Cascade can negate Death Lotus's damage when Katarina jumps on her. Diana also has her Moonfall, which can interrupt deathlotus. Just play safe and like I've said before, just last hit with Bouncing Blades and call up your friendly neighborhood jungler to help you out. NEVER ENGAGE ON DIANA ALONE WHEN SHE IS LEVEL 6 UNLESS YOU ARE AHEAD!
Difficulty rating: 5
I don't see very many Brand players out there nowadays. There will be times where you will have to face him though. This is a fairly ok lane to go against. As long as you start Boots of Speed and dodge all of his harass from Pillar of Flame, then you should be fine. He does have a stun under his belt, so be wary when engaging on him. In short, farm, harass, rinse, repeat.[/color]
Difficulty rating: 7
Veigar is one small pain in the rump for Katarina. Once he gets level 6 and he has a Deathfire Grasp, then he can just burst you down or take you out of lane. Veigar's has a higher burst potential than Katarina, so be wary in teamfights. To deal with him in lane, I just poke him with Bouncing Blades, throw in a couple rounds of Shunpo and sinister steel to finish up that harass. After using Shunpo and sinister steel, Veigar will look to trade back with his Event Horizon. Simply avoid it and walk away after it is gone.
Difficulty rating: 8
lissandra is one of the biggest counters to Katarina. You want to Shunpo onto me? I'll just root you and throw my Ice Shard at you! Oh! Look at that! The little Katarina is trying to ult! I'll just fix that by shoving you into my Frozen Tomb! As you can tell, Lissandra is a pain. Prioritize farming over anything. Try to roam to other lanes and hope for the best. Once you begin to snowball, you will out damage Lissandra.
Difficulty rating: 8
Malzahar is a big meanie. He just throws out his Malefic Visions on minions and when it kills that minion, it passes on to the next closest unit, which might be you. If he were to just use it on you just for harass, he's wasting his full potential and he isn't a very good Malzahar player. To deal with him, I usually just grab boots and poke at him a little bit. Always pay close attention to his Malefic Visions on minions to avoid taking what is essentially free damage from him. Nether Grasp is what makes him such a good counter to Katarina. Any time Kat tries to ult, he'll just unload his full combo on you and you'll be dead. As always, prioritize farming, call for ganks, etc.
There are more champions at the beginning of this guide. These are just a few champions I felt like going in-depth about.
> > sinister steel
This is Katarina's standard harass combo. Lead in with Bouncing Blades, follow it up with Shunpo, and finish the job with sinister steel. Use the bonus movement speed from sinister steel to dodge any skillshots that the enemy could throw at you.
> > > sinister steel >
This is the "point of no return" combo. Use the Deathfire Grasp if you have it, which you probably will, then throw out your Bouncing Blades, follow it up with Shunpo, sinister steel, and finish off the combo with Death Lotus.
Is your enemy low and sitting underneath their turret? It's really one of the stupidest things anyone can do when playing vs Katarina. This is simple. Just Shunpo in, throw out Bouncing Blades, and finally use sinister steel. If that didn't quite finish them off, bust out that dubstep ignite and poof! Use Shunpo to get out of turret range, either on a minion or your trinket ward that you hopefully have off of cooldown.
It is very important that you use all of Katarina's skills in the correct order for maximum damage output.
Thank you so much for checking out my Katarina guide! Like I said, I am in no way shape or form a professional player. I just made this guide to share my knowledge with everyone! If anyone has a question for me, feel free to add me on Agent Texas.
NOTE THAT THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS!!
11/4/14 - Updated some champion difficulties and stuff.
11/6/14 - Added synergy section, clarified some things.
11/10/14 - realized stupid mistake. fixed said mistake
11/12/14 - fixed mistake in skill sequence
11/16/14 - Fixed minor things
11/23/14 - Added some champions under SYNERGY section. WIP
11/30/14 - 6,000 views! 1 step closer to world domination...
12/12/14 - Some dude QQ'd so I changed some things, made things less colorful.
12/14/14 - Edited formatting
2/1/15 - RIP DFG :(
3/24/15 - It's been a while, but I updated some information, added Luden's echo to item build.
7/8/15 - updated some information, gave new (better) insights.