Katarina Build Guide by Dousedinoil
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.
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.
This is my first build so I'm going to try and make it a good one. I have been playing the game for almost a year now and figured it would be about time to add a couple of my builds to the equation. Before you leave a negative comment please read through the entire build.
Now, typically most Katarina builds are focused on the ultimate and fail to use the insane mobility that Katarina possesses. You often see Katarina using defence and spell vamp runes in order to spam her ultimate as many times as possible. Now I don't want to take anything away from her ultimate but it is ONE TRICK PONY. Good players know how to avoid her ultimate and mitigate the damage that it does. After playing Katarina for as long as I have, you learn that she needs more flexibility.
Mobility in dominion is one of the biggest assets that a team can have. Between Ghost, Flash, Boots of Mobility and Shunpo- Katarina is unbelievable. She can travel accross the map quickly, avoid sticky situations, run after enemies that have very little health and outrun pretty much anyone. Her mobility is just insane and underused.
The rune section is very clear and straight forward. I don't put anything in to magic resist, health, armor or any defence because I plan on getting hit as little as possible. I would rather outrun champions than take the hits. Let's face it, when Katarina is not using her ultimate, she relies heavily on her burst damage. I like potency runes over force runes because they help you out early game when Katarina really struggles to get that damage in. By the time force runes are useful you already have your ultimate and do crazy amounts of damage anyways. Obviously Katarina is AP and every little bit helps her do some burst damage- especially early game.
Instead of going potency for the Quint, I find that swiftness really helps. If you are playing against characters with Boots of Mobility or Swiftness, it gives you that little extra gear without having to use your summoner spells.
One of the biggest changes from most Katarina builds is the lack of defense masteries. Like I said, I don't plan on getting hit. Sure it happens, but with Rylai's extra health bonus you have a good chunk of health. You can make a couple changes here and their but the main focus is to boost your AP so you have that little extra bit of damage early game.
Obviously the added swiftness right off the bat can really help your champion outrun enemy champions. Why not add an extra 2% movement speed right off the start?
All of these skills really help with your burst damage. If an enemy champion is running away with less than 40% health, executioner can really be noticed.
Both of your summoner spells are important to Katarina in this build. The more often that she can use them, the more mobility she achieves. Ghost now has increase movement speed to 35% while Flash can be used 15 seconds quicker.
Every once in a while you will run into a bush and surrounded by enemies without your team. After all, Katarina is so fast that sometimes they can't keep up. Either that, or you manage to escape but need to recall in order to save yourself. Improved Recall in dominion is just a great skill to have.
Typically you start the game with a blasting wand so you have the extra bit of AP during the first fight. The health potions also allow your allies to pick up any health on the ground while allowing you to stay for that second battle (if you survived the first battle). I usually plan on surviving the first battle and sticking around but if you think you have enough time between battles you can run down and get your boots in the meantime. If you don't survive and can afford to buy Boots of Mobility, you will be able to make your way to top in no time.
The first thing you will probably notice is that I do not use Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Mercury's Treads, and Sorcerer's Shoes. I love Boots of Mobilty on Katarina. She can get to points quickly, chase enemies and outrun anyone. Sure, she might not be as tanky or do as much damage with other boots but if you play her right you shouldn't need them.
After the boots I rush directly for Rylai's Crystal Scepter. By the time you are level 6 and able to use that ultimate we all love so much, Rylai's should be close to the equation. The health from Rylai's will make up for any life you might have lost from your runes and pretty much keeps Katarina alive for the rest of the game. It makes you very well rounded and helps with your mobility by slowing down individual enemies as well as groups of champions. Keep in mind that this works with her Shunpo as well. Rylai's not only helps you run to enemies, it allows your allies to catch up as well.
Next, I work my way to my gunblade. I love health that Katarina gets back with Vampiric Septre while she is using her Death Lotus. Rather than going for additional AP and spell vamp first, the cutlass allows you to slow down enemy champions as well as do that extra damage with the active. Much like Rylai's, allied champions can now catch up to help with the kill.
At this point you shouldn't have any problems killing enemies and just need to beef up your AP. Rabadon's Deathcap has no equal when it comes to Ability Power and allow you to warp in with Shunpo and do more damage. Yes, spell vamp is nice here but I would rather do that initial burst damage, run around for a bit and then use Shunpo again (if you have to) rather than auto-attacking and trying to kill an enemy with AD.
Next, Void Staff or Lich Bane are great options for that additional AP. Lich Bane can give you that extra movement speed but by this time you shouldn't have any problems running around the map regardless. If enemies are stacking up on magic resist, Abyssal Scepter is a great option here too.
Finally, Zhonya's Hourglass can save your life late on the game. If a Character like Vayne stops your ultimate you can activate the Hourglass and give yourself enough time to get away from that mob of enemy champions.
Skill Sequence & Tricks
The first trick that Katarina can use is right when the match starts. If an ally champion uses ghost off the start or has decent boots, Katarina can use Shunpo to catch up with that ally. Afterwards she can use Ghost. This still gives Katarina enough time to use her Shunpo for that initial fight. If Katarina decides to cap middle she can still use shunpo then Ghost once the point has already been captured.
Once Katarina reaches the top point in dominion, she is usually one of the first champions there. With this in mind you have a lot of options. Obviously other teams see her first and generally want to engage; after all she is fairly squishy. Generally, I rush in and pretend to capture the point. This either forces the opposing team to run at Katarina or stand back while my teammates run towards the point. If they do target Katarina, don't be afraid to use your shunpo to get back to allied champions.
When the initial fight does begin and you are still without Death Lotus, it is in Katarinas best interest to target squishy champions and harass. Pay close attention to other teams carrys and squishy champions because it is your job to finish them off. You have to be quick enough and have the right time in order to avoid dying yourself. Once an enemy champion is weak enough (or you are confident harassing) you want to follow with this sequence.
During later game fights this combination because much more deadly with the equipment that you have selected. With Hextech Gunblade you not only do damage but slow down enemies. Keep in mind you have Rylai's slowing down enmies as well. Don't be afraid to warp in and run the opposite direction to avoid other teams AD. A good Katarina will run far away enough so that she won't get hit but she still close enough that she can Shunpo back in and do the exact same sequence. Bouncing blade and Shunpo both have similar cooldowns so they can always be used together if necessary. Remember, Katarina doesn't use mana so feel free to spam these moves as often as possible. Later game you can add in your gunblade to look something more like this:
-> -> ->
When using your ultimate in a team fight, you start with the same sequence. That is, you use Killer Instincts and Shunpo to bolt yourself into the middle of the enemy team. Make sure you maximize the damage our death lotus will do before using other abilities. Avoid using shunpo on champions that can disrupt your ultimate unless you are confident you can burst them down before they do so. Your typical attack sequence when using your ultimate:
Once you use your ultimate don't be surprised if a few enemy champions are still alive and running for their lives. After all, Katarina can at times become predictable and a one trick pony. However with your mobility this should no longer be a problem. After your ultimate is done, I use Ghost to bring myself to the nearest enemy champion running away. After that I shunpo over and make my way to the next one. Be prepared to spam because a fight can end up look like this:
-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ->
Ghost and Flash are pretty straight forward. They work both as an offence weapon as well as a great way of escaping with very little health. If Katarina needs to she can pretty much catch up to anyone. Not that you always need to go all out with summoner skills, but if an enemy champs run away you can do something like this:
-> -> ->
Those moves with boots of mobility make her impossible to escape. Not only does it give her insane mobility but champions have pretty much no idea where she is because she keeps teleporting all over the map.
I have seen other champions use Ignite and Exhaust with Katarina. Since she doesn't rely heavily on AD damage, Exhaust doesn't help with burst damage. If you are confident that you already have enough mobility with Katarina (perhaps you are playing against a team of tanks) then it could be useful to your allies in team fights. Ignite also helps contribute to that burst damage that you are trying to achieve. If you are playing against someone who cannot be targeted with Shunpo, it can get that damage in while they try to escape.
Katarina typically works best with other assassins and champions that can do a lot of burst damage without being noticed. It is important that they also have the attack speed/mobility to help with battles.
With her stealth and crazy burst damage they are a wonderful pair. Evelynn usually has boots of mobility and can run around with Katarina. She can even scout ahead acting as a ward for you to shunpo into giving you that little bit of extra range.
Lee sin has some of the craziest burst damage in the game and has great mobility.
With his stealth and burst damage they work well at ganking opposing champions. He can do a lot of damage with a single hit which definitely makes him a great partner. His clone also helps add to the confusion of who to run away from.
Twich Much like Evelynn, the other team thinks you are alone but you burst them down before anyone knows what hit them. He also has incredible range and poison that will help take down anyone trying to run away.
With his ability to warp in and silence, he can make sure no one interrupts your ultimate. He also has his slow which can help you chase down enemies. Between your spamming of Shunpo and his slow/warp they work very well together.
Obviously her ultimate works incredibly well with a surprise attack and can lure opponents for you.
At first teams think they outnumber you but then he warps in makes them regret it. If an enemy champion runs away he can warp to them. His stun card also allows Katarina to do her burst damage before other teams can respond.