Katarina Build Guide by cyberskull
Added some updates for Season 4. The new Warding Totem trinket is awesome (and free)!!
Hi! Welcome to my guide for Katarina, the Sinister Blade! This guide started out as a small and very simple guide but over time it grew, I added A LOT of stuff and it is currently one of the most highly rated Katarina guides on Mobafire thanks to you guys! Read on to learn a little bit about who Katarina is.
Katarina is an Ability Power focused Champion who excels at Assassinating high-priority targets and killing off an entire enemy team thanks to her passive. She's good at bursting squishies and damaging everyone thanks to her multi-target/AoE spells. She's also a good pubstomp champion for low rating games but you need to know what you're doing and you need to know how to carry your teammates out. Also she can be played both mid and top depending on her opponent.
Why play Katarina you ask? She has a cool personality, she looks cool and she's not that hard to play. The only thing that is hard about her is knowing when to go in and when not to.
Hopefully this guide will help you out in becoming a better Katarina player. Keep reading if you want to learn more and enjoy~!
About the author
Some information about me:
- I'm currently in Platinum Tier.
- I have a really bad PC, mouse and mouse-pad :X
- I'm 18 years old.
- I've been playing League for 3-4 years now. I guess you could say I'm a veteran.
- ******ed people piss me off >.<
- I am NOT a girl
- I watch a lot of anime
- Excluding my bad PC and mouse I often forget crucial bits of information when I'm in-game (too busy trying to focus on one thing) which is why I'm just a trashy Plat player. (Okay maybe not trashy..but I'm definitely not special in any way)
- I troll a lot when I'm the mood for it xD
If you have any questions for me ask them via:
- Skype (terminator_xp)
- PM on Mobafire
- League (Sword Art Natsu, EU West)
Pros / Cons
+ Decent escape thanks to E
+ Multi-Target Ultimate
+ Decent Poke
+ Becomes a super strong farmer mid to late game
+ Her passive gives her huge clean-up potential
- Somewhat weak early game
- Ultimate easily interrupted
- Often focused if she starts snowballing
- Her kit has no built-in CC
Butcher -> Helps with Last Hitting/CS-ing
Sorcery -> Not that necessary but I get it anyways because CDR is never bad and you don't really have any other good choices.
Mental Force -> You need AP..duh.
Arcane Mastery -> Some more AP which is nice.
Archmage -> Increase your overall AP (which means more damage)
Executioner -> More damage to low health targets. Just take it.
Dangerous Game -> Kat actually benefits from this one quite a bit because she's a clean up champion. The more enemies she kills the more HP she gets back (the mana portion is useless on her though). This mastery could potentially save you in a team fight.
Arcane Blade -> You are melee and this mastery is somewhat decent so just take it.
Devastating Strikes -> You get this for the Magic Pen. The Armor Pen won't really help that much.
Havoc -> Damage! :O Just get it.
Block -> Pretty good mastery. Early on Ranged champions can easily poke you with their auto-attacks. This mastery combined with Doran's Shield will make you quite durable against auto-attacks.
Recovery -> Doesn't really provide that much sustain but it's better than nothing.
Unyielding -> For some extra durability.
Veteran Scars -> HP is always nice on a squishy champion.
Resistance -> If against AD champs get 1 point in Hardiness instead of this.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
More Magic Pen = More Damage. Not much to say here. Always get these on Katarina.
If against an AD Assassin like Kha'Zix or Zed go for the armor ones. If against an AP Champion go for Scaling HP (they also work against AD Champs but Armor Seals would make you more durable early game and we all know Kat isn't that strong early on)
Your Glyphs are dependent on the match-up but in-general you should take the Flat Magic Resist ones because you can always get AP through items (you will be building damage after all) but getting magic resist through items lowers your damage and Katarina is all about killing.
Flat AP Quints = Almost 15 AP at lvl 1 without any items masteries or runes for AP. Can't think of any other Quints on Kat. Move Speed Quints are the only other option but you lose out on a lot of early game damage. However if the Move Speed ones work for you they are viable as well.
Flash - Helps you make plays, escape and/or position yourself for your Ultimate. This Summoner Spell is a must for Katarina
Ignite - Ignite gets you easier kills and Katarina is a champion for killing. One thing to note is that you can cast ignite while using Death Lotus so if someone barely escapes but you tag him with ignite and he escapes on really low health you'll probably grab the kill unless he gets really lucky and survives with 1-10 hp.
Exhaust - Good for shutting down someone in a team fight. I don't use it a lot but it's decent on Kat. I'd most likely take it when going Top Lane against a bruiser that relies on auto-attacks ( Tryndamere, Jax, Fiora, etc)
1 point in your Q at lvl 1 is good because if you're planing on invading your Q will bounce to people and deal damage to everyone nearby. If you trigger the mark it'll do more damage. Even if you're not invading getting a point at lvl 1 in your Q is still good for the harass/last hitting so I recommend doing that. The point in Shunpo at lvl 2 is so you can escape early level ganks. Finally grab 1 point in your W and then max out Q.
Cyber?? Why don't you max W??
I'd only max W if I'm going Top Lane and only against certain match-ups (Riven for example because I know she'll want to trade a lot). When going Mid Q is almost always the best choice.
Scoring a kill or assist will reduce the cooldowns of Katarina's abilities by 15 seconds.
Katarina's passive gives her huge clean-up potential. We all love cooldown resets and this passive is exactly that. Abusing this awesome passive in team fights will get you tons of kills.
Katarina throws a dagger that bounces quickly from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target.
Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark to deal additional magic damage.
Cooldown: 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8 seconds
Dagger Magic Damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+0.45 per ability power)
On-hit Magic Damage: 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 (+0.15 per ability power)
Total Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+0.6 per ability power)
Your main source of damage and harass and also your tool for farming (along with W). Closing in Melee range feels more rewarding now because you can trigger the mark your Q leaves on your target. Using this in team fights is a must because you can trigger their marks using your Ultimate.
Katarina whirls her daggers around her, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area. If she hits an enemy champion, Katarina gains Movement Speed for 1 second.
Cooldown: 4 seconds
Radius of AoE: ~375
Magic Damage: 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 (+0.25 per ability power) (+0.6 per bonus attack damage)
Movement Speed: 12 / 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 %
This skill is somewhat weak early on but it gets really strong as you level up and get more damage/items. When farming with it try to stand close to the enemy laner (if you can afford) so that you'll be hitting both him and the minions when you activate it. Free harass is always nice.
Katarina instantly moves to her target's location and takes 15% reduced damage from enemies for 3 seconds. If the target is an enemy, she deals magic damage.
Cooldown: 12 / 10.5 / 9 / 7.5 / 6 seconds
Magic Damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+0.4 per ability power)
Max this last. It is your only escape tool (excluding Flash). Try not to waste it. Play safe when it's on cooldown because you are vulnerable to ganks. You can use this to hop onto wards. Shunpo is also a great gap closer. If you see a good opportunity to cast your Ultimate use this to close the gap between you and your enemies.
Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, throwing up to 30 daggers at nearby enemy champions during the 2 second channel. Katarina throws blades at 0.2 second intervals, dealing magic damage and applying Grievous Wounds to the closest 3 enemy champions. Grievous wound reduces incoming healing by 50%.
An enemy champion can be hit by a maximum of 10 daggers over the 2 seconds.
Diameter of AoE: 550
Cooldown: 60 / 55 / 50 seconds
Magic Damage Per Dagger: 40 / 50 / 60 (+0.3 per bonus attack damage) (+0.175 per ability power)
Maximum Magic Damage to the Same Target: 400 / 500 / 600 (+3.0 per bonus attack damage) (+1.75 per ability power)
If you use your full Death Lotus on the enemy team then you are guaranteed to get at least 1 kill if they don't kill you after you use it. This has a really low cooldown so feel free to use it in lane just to harass your opponent. The only downside to this is that it is a channeled spell and can be interupted by knock-ups, knock-backs, silences, stuns and pulls (basically by any Hard CC spell). Knowing when to go in and cast your Ultimate and when not to is crucial when playing Katarina so keep that in mind.
In-general you would wanna start with Doran's Shield. Most of the time you will go mid with Katarina and you will face a lot of ranged champions. They will Auto-Attack you a lot because you are Melee. That's why Doran's Shield gives you good durability and sustain. Boots of Speed (and pots) can be taken when facing a skill shot reliant champion. For example Gragas relies a lot on poking you in lane with his Q. Boots can help you dodge his Q. Cloth Armor (and pots) should be taken only if you're facing an auto-attack reliant bruiser or a heavy AD Assassin like Tryndamere, Riven, Zed, Kha'Zix.
Note: ALWAYS take the Warding Totem trinket. A free ward means an easy way for Kat to escape using her Shunpo. When you get ganked you just place the Totem near your tower and E to it. Easy right? :P Don't upgrade it until later on though. It's not worth the 400 gold.
Abyssal Scepter - When enemies have low Magic Resist and you need some Magic Resist anyways.
Void Staff - When enemies have a lot of Magic Resist.
Hextech Gunblade - Not that amazing anymore but still sorta decent. I wouldn't really rush it though.
Rabadon's Deathcap - Still a great item on any mage but I prefer the Liandry + Rylai combo over rushing this.
Deathfire Grasp - This item would be more useful on High Burst Mages like Syndra or Veigar but it's not useless on you. Feel free to grab it if you want to completely delete someone from the map.
Guardian Angel - The cooldown is too damn long so I prefer Zhonya's Hourglass if I need something to save me in a pinch but this item is decent. Makes you tankier and gives you a 2nd life. There's a catch to it though..if you die at the wrong place you'll just die again.
Zhonya's Hourglass - Great item against AD's but it interrupts your Ultimate so keep that in mind.
Twin Shadows - Mediocre defensive item. The active is good for escaping and chasing but it has a pretty long cooldown and the item is almost never worth buying.
Warmog's Armor - Only if you're getting focused a lot and need the HP.
Banshee's Veil - Not that great on you but it's still decent. Get it against champions that have scary CC abilities like Syndra with her long range stun, Veigar with his AoE Stun, Ryze with his snare, etc.
Farming is really important for almost any champion. Early game Kat is not very strong and can have trouble farming but after level 4 it gets easier. I usually farm with the following combo:
Use Q on a minion wave (which will bring most of them at low hp), get between the marked minions and W them to finish them off. Simple right? Yes it is but don't forget about the enemy mid laner. Be careful if he tries to harass you while you do this. And also try not to take too much damage from the minions.
Late game Kat farms extremely well and easy so I've got nothing to say about that.
Early Game/Team Fights
In Early Game you should prioritize farming above all else. If you can get a free kill that's great but don't stop farming just so you can harass. Your early game damage is not that great so there's really no point in being too aggressive (and missing farm while doing it). If you're about to get ganked place your Warding Totem near your turret and Shunpo to it to escape. You can start being more aggressive after level 6 but that's your call. You can also roam if you feel like you won't be able to get a kill on the enemy laner.
In Team Fights your job is pretty simple. Deal as much damage as you can, stay alive for as long as you can and cast your Ultimate at the right time. Once her enemies start dying Katarina becomes stronger thanks to her passive. Don't run into the enemy team like a fool and cast your Ultimate right away only to get CC-ed. You're still useful without it but you're two times more useful with it. Try to go in when you see someone low and you're sure you can kill him and get the reset on your cooldowns.
More about Katarina
If you're looking for more info about Katarina keep reading:
- Katarina was designed by Coronach.
- Katarina's family name, Du Couteau, is derived from French, which means "Of the Knife".
- Katarina is the sister of Cassiopeia, making them one of five pairs of sibling champions. The other siblings champions include Kayle and Morgana, Garen and Lux, Nasus and Renekton, and Darius and Draven.
- Katarina's Shunpo is possibly a reference to a fictional technique in the popular manga series Bleach. Its name is Japanese (written as 瞬步) and means "Flash Steps," indicating that the person can move between two spots in the blink of an eye. (like I said xD)
- Katarina's dance references from the last dance scene in the movie Napoleon Dynamite
Extras (not necessary to read)
In this chapter I'll just be adding stuff like videos, photos, etc. so the guide will be more fun and interesting. To start off I'm adding 2 things. The first is an awesome video with plays on the new Katarina by Redmercy a Michinima Realm Director. The second thing is basically a song from Bleach (as already explained I'm a Bleach fan) which is awesome for playing League..I sometimes use it for ranked but anyways..the reason I'm putting this song here is because it's awesome to listen to while you're playing the new Katarina..you feel like a total bad-*** while listening to it (or at least I feel like a bad-*** xD..dunno about you guys)..if you don't like it fear not cause I'll probably add more cool songs for playing Kat in the future.
Update: Added Katarina's champion spotlight. This guide doesn't exactly follow everything in it but Riot did a good job on her champion spotlight (in my opinion) so it can be useful to check it out if you're new to Kat.
Update #2: Moved my Quadra Kill picture here.
Update #3: Added some stuff provided by other players.
Bleach song for playing the Kat:
Katarina's Champion Spotlight by RiotGamesInc:
Here's something I wanna share with you guys. It really made me excited about the new Kat and it made me wanna play her more and more:
I know that in the chat I got way too excited about a Quadra Kill but the reason for that is because I've barely made any quadra kills. I've played over 1500 games and I've never made a Penta Kill (I'm cursed >.<) so yeah ignore how excited I might seem in the picture.
A video on the new Katarina provided by ImpureFeel q0p
A Katarina kill compilation provided by Halwadar
TheGMG's Scores while using this guide:
pablomittens' scores while using this guide:
NoeL1337's stats while using this guide:
Vocaloidas' scores while using the guide:
Just wanna thank everyone for the 10 000 views. You guys are awesome! When I made the guide I didn't expect such positive votes so I'm glad I did actually make this guide. As I already mentioned I'm working on a Match-Ups chapter and I'd like to give special thanks to Sr Cookie for helping out with the Match-Ups. We're currently testing out how the new Katarina does against other mages or viable picks for Mid Lane. After that is done I might make a special chapter for a Solo Top Katarina..or I might just make a separate guide but we'll see. Also special thanks to jhoijhoi for the line separators, to ImpureFeel q0p for the Kat video that I added in the Extras chapter, to ilke994..he knows why x) and to effinvices for making the awesome banners for each chapter!! If you want you can visit her shop by clicking this
Update: Seems like I hit 20 000+ views so thank you guys! You're awesome =D !!
Update #2: 80 000+ views and 2nd place among the Katarina guides..really..I'm a happy panda c: ..thanks guys!
Update #3: 100,000 views...I'm so proud ;_; thanks guys!! <3
Update #4: 500,000 views.. o.O ...if I make it to 1 mil I'll kill myself out of happiness...jk but thanks for so many views guys! You're the best!
Update #5: We're almost there..almost..1,000,000 views. Yay! :D
Update #6: Woooohooo!! :D 1 000 000 views. Thank you all!
TL;DR - Thanks for the positive votes and the 1 million+ views! Special thanks to Sr Cookie, jhoijhoi, ImpureFeel q0p, ilke994, pablomittens, N0YKK and effinvices
17/8/2012 - Guide Created
18/8/2012 - Added some aditional chapters and edited existing ones
19/8/2012 - Added a chapter on the new Katarina with AD
19/8/2012 - Added a chapter about Hextech Gunblade on the new Katarina
22/8/2012 - Added an "Extras" chapter.
22/8/2012 - Added the Match-Ups chapter (it's not finished but it will be updated often as I discover new match-ups for the new Katarina)
24/8/2012 - Added Katarina's Champion Spotlight by RiotGamesInc to the Extras chapter
26/8/2012 - Changed the Item Orders and Item Purchases for both Aggressive and Passive Katarina playstyles.
17/8/2012 - Added banners to every chapter. Much love to effinvices <3
5/12/2012 - Updated the Masteries chapter due to the changes to the mastery trees. Removed the troll builds.
7/12/2012 - Updated the Items chapter and edited out some stuff in the guide.
24/2/2013 - Updated the Items chapter and remade the Cheat Sheet.
16/11/2013 - Re-worked the whole guide. Changed a lot of stuff and remove unnecessary content.
Thanks for reading my guide! I hope I helped you out in becoming a better Katarina player! I know that my guide isn't the best Katarina guide but it's okay (in my opinion) for average players (like me) so I really hope you liked it!
Please comment and rate. Tell me what I can change or what needs to be done to improve the guide. I'll keep updating it and add new content or edit existing content. Once again thanks for reading and bye!