Katarina Build Guide by BlackriverCZ

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League of Legends Build Guide Author BlackriverCZ

Right Behind You - Katarina, the Sinister Blade

BlackriverCZ Last updated on March 7, 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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hi guys, I am BlackriverCZ with a guide for Katarina, the Sinister Blade. This guide is for maximum damage, AP Katarina, but also some survivability. I focus her main spell in this build, Shunpo. Make sure you read the whole build before you decide, but feel free to vote or leave any comment.

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Pros / Cons


-No mana, or energy !!!
-High damage
-Awesome passive
-Low cooldowns
-Awesome multi-target ultimate
-Mid or top-lane
-Great mobility


-Channeled ultimate
-Very bad early game
-No Crowd Control

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

It is a primary rune, and every AP champion needs this rune. I gives you magic penetration, so a lot of damage. No other choices.

greater seal of vitality


I think seals should offer you some survivability, that Katarina really needs. greater seal of vitality gives you less bonuses in early game, but gives you tons of HP later in the game where Katarina needs it the most. Greater Seal of Armor gives you more bonuses in the early game, but almost nothing later, so I think greater seal of vitality is better for her.


Glyphs should offer some damage that she also needs a lot. Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power gives you almost nothing early game but more damage later. Greater Glyph of Ability Power gives you better early game, but Katarina will never have a very good early game.

Da Math:

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power gives you 9.18 AP on level 6.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power gives you just 8.91 on level 6


Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power are better after level 6 and that is much better for Katarina.

This is one of the best quintessences. It gives you tons of AP and makes her damage much higher. I think there are not any runes, which will be better than this one for Kata.

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I choose 21-9-0, because I prefer damage than utility or defense. The offense tree gives you some flat AP, some AP over level, increases your damage dealt etc. but Katarina also needs some defense, so the defense tree gives you magic resist, armor and some health, so when you are really focused you will be able to survive that.
Especially during your ultimate you need the damage but also some survivability, but masteries, runes and items should solve this problem.

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Best items:

You should always start with this and 3x Health Potion when you are against some champion with many skill shots. If you feel like you will be able to simply avoid the enemy harass, take Amplifying Tome and 1x Health Potion instead, for higher damage.

I really recommend to buy this item before your boots or other items. This should be your first item. You can stay longer on your lane and it also gives you higher survivability in teamfights.

You can buy many boots on Katarina, but I recommend these. She doesn't have high cooldowns and your passive even makes them lower, so Ionian Boots of Lucidity are not as good as Sorcerer's Shoes. If you play against champions with many CC's (like on mid against Veigar) you can buy these boots, otherwise they don't give you as much as Sorcerer's Shoes does. Sorcerer's Shoes gives you magic penetration for higher damage and you will also be able to do some damage even to tanks.

If you want just damage, don't buy this item. It doesn't give you as much AP as other items would, but this also gives you 500 HP. When you are focused, 500 HP makes a huge difference and you will be able to survive in many situations. I recommend this.

I think I don't have to say a lot about this item. It gives you the most AP in the game and boosts it by 30%. Without this item you wouldn't be able to do a lot of damage.

This item really helps you. You will deal a lot more damage with your ultimate and Bouncing Blades and some spell vamp to survive in fights. Because Hextech Revolver now grants only 12% spell vamp, I recommend to build something from it earlier, to have more spell vamp.

This item is awesome. It gives you lots of AP and some armor, but the best is it's active. For 2 seconds you will be invulnerable, but unable to do anything. You can use it whenever you have low HP, and your team will probably be able to kill your enemies during the 2 seconds.

WARNING: Using this item cancels your ultimate !!!

This is really good item against team with magic resist. It gives you just 70 AP, so otherwise it is not good. Buy this item in the late game.

Situational items:

This item is very situational. It is against AP champions but also champions with magic resist. It doesn't give much AP, so buy this only when they have a lot of champions with magic resist but also AP champions.

Buy this only if nobody from your team has it. It also depends on your team, usually they don't need much AP or spell vamp. It gives a boost for your team, but if YOU want to deal more damage, buy Hextech Gunblade.

This is a very risky item. If you feel like you will be able to kill a lot of people and not die and easily stack it 20 times you can buy this, but never buy it in a ranked game.

Not a great item for Kata. It gives you AP, magic resist and movement speed and that is very good, but it's passive will not help you much. You use a basic attack only after your Shunpo but buying an item just for one situation is a bad idea.

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Skill Sequence

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

I take Bouncing Blades first, so you will be able to harass your enemy, and last hit minions from distance. When you are 2 on lane (that shouldn't happen) take Shunpo.

I max Shunpo as much as I can. On level 5 you will be able to deal tons of damage with it as well as move behind your target and hit him with your Bouncing Blades, but be careful how you use it early game, because your enemy can easily deal more damage than you while you are running away from him and also the minions will be able to deal a lot of damage to you, but after a while, you will deal so much damage with Shunpo that he will immediately start to move away from you.

Then I max Bouncing Blades because it is a great harass but don't forget your Sinister Steel passive... You will deal a lot more damage with your ultimate or Bouncing Blades when you max it.

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Basic Damage Combo:

-->-->--> --->
You decrease the damage you receive by using Sinister Steel and then Shunpo and you deal a lot of damage. Then you usually kill him with Death Lotus but if not, finish him off with Bouncing Blades or Ignite.

Helping in Teamfights Combo:

You will decrease the healing as well as dealing some damage to all enemies with Sinister Steel and Bouncing Blades without getting focused. Then you blink right into the teamfight with Shunpo and kill them all with Death Lotus, but if you feel like they will kill you, use the damage reduction of Sinister Steel


It is just a basic combo to clear the minion wave as fast as you can. Use Sinister Steel to deal more damage to all minions with Bouncing Blades and then kill those, who survived with Shunpo

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Summoner Spells

Best Spells:

This helps you to chase down or to escape your enemies without when your Shunpo is on cooldown or there are no minions or champions near you. It gives you a lot of survivability.

I think this is also very useful. It helps you to kill your enemies after they ran away from you and you will be able to win 1v1 fights.

This helps you even more in 1v1 fights or to chase down your enemies, but I somehow like Ignite more than Exhaust on Kata.

Other Usable Spells:

It helps you to be in every fight and to be everywhere more quickly and farm easily without having to travel from the base to your lane, but I think she doesn't need it due to her mobility.

Again, Katarina's mobility is good enough, so she doesn't need this spell. It only gives you a better chance to survive when running away from an enemy, but when you have Flash and Shunpo you don't need this.

Don't Take:

If you are afraid of CC's, I would buy Quicksilver Sash or Banshee's Veil than take this spell. I don't recommend it.

I think only support should take this spell. In 1v1 fights, Exhaust or Ignite helps you more than Heal.



Other spells are just a totally bad idea to take...

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Tactics (1-18 lvl.)

Take your first item, Bouncing Blades or Shunpo and go to your lane.

Early Game:

Be sure to last hit as much minions as you can with basic atacks. If your opponent is better than you (usually they are in Early Game), last hit with Bouncing Blades. When you have your full non-ultimate combo, harass your opponent with Bouncing Blades boosted by Sinister Steel so they will have their healing reduced (use this especially when they are using a health potion). You can also use Sinister Steel and then Shunpo + Bouncing Blades, so you will deal more damage to them, than they will deal to you.

Mid Game:

When you have your ultimate- Death Lotus, you can start to be more aggressive. Use your Basic Damage Combo (more in chapter "Combos") to kill your opponent very easily. You can also turret dive easily, if you wouldn't kill him, because of your passive- Voracity. Shunpo there Shunpo back...LEGENDARY :D...
Also last hit minions easily with your Farming Combo. In teamfights, be very careful. You are not as good as you will be later, so use your combo with the damage reduction, or just harass them with Bouncing Blades with Sinister Steel.

Late Game:

Now you are the strongest. You have high damage and also some surivability. You can jump into teamfights with any combo. Be sure to kill the Baron with your team, because it gives you a big boost of everything you need.
The revive time is really long, so don't die if you don't need to.

Win a Teamfight->Push da Lanes->Destroy the inhibitor->Destroy the Nexus->Earn some IP...:D

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Champions Against You

Difficulty: Medium
Always take Boots of Speed against him, to avoid his Lay Waste. You can jump over his Wall of Pain or out of his Defile with Shunpo, but you have nothing to cancel his Requiem. He has almost nothing to avoid your harass with Shunpo, so he shouldn't be so hard to play against.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard
He don't have mana, but have energy, so later in the game, he can't use all of his spells without having to wait for his energy to regenerate (but it is quick). It is very hard to avoid his Thundering Shuriken but if you stay behind your minions, it should not be a problem. Avoiding his other spells is almost impossible and if you Shunpo to him, he will probably stun you, and deal a lot of damage to you. Always Shunpo back if he uses his Lightning Rush or Slicing Maelstrom.

Difficulty: Easy-Hard
It's all up to you...

Difficulty: Medium
He has Arcane Shift that is almost the same as Shunpo but he can do it anywhere and doesn't deal as much damage. He is very skill shot based, so buy Boots of Speed first. Don't let him to hit you and harass him with Shunpo only when you see, he doesn't have Arcane Shift

Difficulty: Hard
It is very hard to play against him. The only thing to avoid his combo is to Shunpo back if you see him casting Riftwalk but it is very hard if he can play Kassadin. The only way to kill him is to make him run out of mana. That is really hard because of his Nether Blade so you must not let him last hit, but that is very hard.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Avoid him hitting you with Dark Matter. He will run out of mana very quickly. Don't let him peacefully regenerate it with his Equilibrium. Harass him as much as you can, he can do nothing to you without Event Horizon so if he used it, kill him. This is the situation when you can buy Mercury's Treads and buy Hextech Gunblade as soon as possible to not have as much AP because of his Primordial Burst

Difficulty: Medium
Also take Boots of Speed first to avoid his Call of the Void. Don't get too close to him, but if you want to kill him, he has nothing to get away from it, but be careful, his Call of the Void or Nether Grasp will cancel Death Lotus.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Not a very hard champion to play against. Take Boots of Speed to avoid Pillar of Flame and Sear. He can stun you for 2 seconds but only when you are Blaze, so not easily. You can harass or rage at him very easily, but also he can cancel Death Lotus.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard
She is very hard to harass and she can easily harass with sigil of silence and Distortion without getting hit by you or minions. She can silence you and that is not good for you. Also she can cancel Death Lotus. Make her run out of mana (she is very mana hungry) and then kill her.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium
He doesn't have mana, but he casts from health. That gives you some advantage. He can easily harass you, but with just one spell Transfusion. He can regain life and is hard to kill because of Sanguine Pool but not very hard to play against.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Take Boots of Speed and stay behind your minions to avoid Dark Binding. She can use her Black Shield and you won't be able to do a lot of damage to her. She can easily clear your minions with Tormented Soil. Try to Flash and Shunpo away from her when she uses Soul Shackles so it will deal only half damage and won't stun you. It is very hard against her.

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I will add more later...

My every game with her ends with positive score and usually a tripple or quadra kill.

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This guide really works for me. I will add some info or pictures later. Feel free to comment or vote.