Katarina Build Guide by poph55
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.
SPIN TO WIN
If you need defense now
Threats to Katarina with this build
|Karthus||Karthus is super squishy and easy to kill. Just poke him and avoid his Q's with your bonus move speed from boots.|
|Orianna||Orianna is easy to outplay as Katarina as you can use your shunpo to dodge all of her spells fairly easily. Try to poke with your Q and dodge her poke early on. Then at levels 4-11 you can Q - E - W her and then use your ult if she gets low enough for the kill.|
|Xerath||Xerath is easy to assassinate at any point in the game and is not that hard of a matchup.|
|Yasuo||Yasuo will get outpoked by you early game if you play safely. Just make sure not to stay in your ult long enough to get knocked up or else he will win the trade.|
|Ziggs||Ziggs is easy to assassinate and easy to dodge the spells of. Much like Xerath, poke him and kill him as much as you can.|
Katarina is my absolute favorite mid laner because of her ability to carry games and get pentas! Katarina's skill set makes her especially strong in a roaming mid lane position. Her ganks past level 6 are tremendous regardless of her lack of crowd control. Her power carries through into the late game but she becomes even more of an assassin than she is earlier in the game due to the enemies front line purchasing more defensive items.
Pros and Cons
+Great passive that lowers your cooldowns!
+Ability to jump to wards, allies, escaping enemies, and minions/monsters!
+High burst damage as well as sustained damage!
+Mid-High damage at every stage in the game!
+Incredible teamfight/Pentakill potential!
-Low ability ranges
-Everyone wants to focus Katarina
-Easily shut down by crowd control
-Can't kill tanky targets easily
Active: Katarina throws a dagger that bounces quickly from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking each enemy hit for 4 seconds. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage.
Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark to deal additional magic damage.
Dagger Magic damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 45% AP)
Mark Magic damage: 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 (+ 15% AP)
Total Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+ 60% AP)
Active: Katarina whirls her daggers, instantly dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. If she damages an enemy champion, she gains movement speed for 1 second.
Magic damage: 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 25% AP) (+ 60% bonus AD)
Movement speed: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35%
Active: Katarina teleports to target unit and gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, the target takes magic damage.
Magic damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 40% AP)
Active: 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 magic damage and applies Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds, reducing regeneration or incoming healing by 50%.
Death Lotus can hit a single enemy champion no more than 10 times.
Magic damage per dagger: 40 / 58 / 75 (+ 25% AP) (+ 37.5% bonus AD)
Maximum damage to each enemy: 400 / 575 / 750 (+ 250% AP) (+ 375% bonus AD)
Double-Edged Sword gives you the bonuses as if you were melee, which you technically are, but since you won't be attacking you can gain the 2% bonus on all of your abilities as well.
Sorcery just to go farther down the tree, the only other option would be attack speed, and... no.
Mental Force for bonus AP throughout the game.
Arcane Mastery a good early boost in AP.
Executioner as Katarina you would rather kill low heath enemies so this mastery works perfectly.
Dangerous Game although you lose the mana benefit, 5% of your health is still really good in teamfights, especially if you can get a double or triple kill.
Archmage more AP scaling late game and some extra AP early.
Arcane Blade helps you with last hitting, and lets you get some free damage off early game, this mastery becomes fairly useless later though because you will never be attacking the enemy if you want you can substitute this for Spell Weaving although i prefer Arcane Blade .
Devastating Strikes magic pen to help you damage those tanky mid laners and for mid game fights.
Havoc 3% extra damage is impossible to turn down once you've put so many points into offense.
Block lowering the damage you take in lane, especially from people like Lulu and Annie who can poke well with autoattacks .
Unyielding again you can reap the rewards of being melee even though you have range lowering all the damage you take is perfect for lane and fights.
Enchanted Armor gives you a small boost in armor and magic resist although its mainly so we can put points in Unyielding .
Scout because your Shunpo has a longer range than your trinket ward, getting this allows you to ward jump slightly farther, as well as put some wards in strange places.
Fleet of Foot movement speed is always good to have.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
The page shown above gives you good early game damage as well as scaling damage because of the Magic Penetration marks and the flat AP Quints. You also gain extra early armor from the seals which allows you to tank auto-attack damage in the earlier levels which lets you farm without being harassed as heavily. Scaling MR glyphs are a must have on most mid laners but they can be substituted if you become extremely offensive or know Katarina very well!
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
This rune setup is MUCH riskier than the previous one and usually is not as effective. I highly recommend the first one but if you insist on going full damage this is the proper rune set up. If you do plan on using this setup consider getting scaling health or even flat health seals. Most of the time though, if you have good positioning, you can get away without the magic resist.
This skill sequences exploits the insane damage sinister steel can do on such a low cooldown! This skill sequence will give you the highest damage output but with the lowest range and without any amazing poke. Going this route works amazingly against other melee mids, although it still works perfectly well against almost any champion. Use this sequence for a majority of your games!
With this skill sequence you increase your poke damage while lowering your overall damage. This can be useful if you are being forced away from your minions by your opponent or your opponent is abusing their higher range. Using Bouncing Blades to farm will increase your farm in a tough lane. Although this sequence does not give you incredible damage... it allows you to poke much better as well as farm if your opponent is abusing their range. You should only be using this about 25-35% of Games!
and health potions allows you to have greater mobility combined with lane sustain. Starting items are not as important as early-mid game items but if you are against a champion with a large number of skillshots Lux Ahri it may be beneficial to start with this option
and health potions allows you to have great sustain in lane with 4 Health Potion as well as the ability to ward the enemy jungle, your own jungle, or to protect yourself from ganks in the bushes beside your lane with your 2 sight wards
This provides you with early health, health regen, and less damage from auto attacks. This is very useful against ranged champions who are going to poke you heavily with auto attacks. In combination with armor runes this will be a great deal of damage reduction
Magic Pen Items
The magic resistance you get from the item helps you defend against a majority of your opponents damage output in the early-mid game. Because your opponent has now picked up some damage the magic resist becomes very effective. If you are against an AD laner you might wish to hold this item off until mid-game. At this point in the game armor is less valuable because your opponents auto-attacks will not be dealing as much damage because of your bonus health and armor as you level up.
This item gives you a small yet important boost in AP and health however this item's unique passive is its true strength. dealing a bonus 6% of your targets current health in bonus magic damage over time. This item is a definite first pick against a lot of tanky-health-building champions. Because Liandry's Torment's unique passive DOUBLES the damage dealt from 6% to 12% of the targets current health if they have impaired movement, Rylai's Crystal Scepter is an AMAZING option if you plan on picking this item up. You will not encounter many champions who build a lot of health early on in the mid lane so i generally leave this item until second or possibly third.
I very rarely pick this item up but it can be very useful against a team who is stacking Magic resistance or purchasing a very popular item now, Spirit Visage, or mid lanes such as Galio. Besides in these not-so-common circumstances I generally completely avoid this item or purchase it last.
This item provides the most AP in the game PLUS gives you a bonus 30% more. This item is great on any AP character because of the major boost in AP you are given by purchasing Rabadon's Deathcap. There are very few games in which you do not want to purchase this item. If you are laying as a complete assassin focused only on the enemy adc/apc then you MIGHT want to substitute this for Void Staff or Deathfire Grasp although i still suggest buying this item.
This item proved you +120 AP along with an active that increases your damage on any champion target by 15%. This means that you can easily assassinate an adc/apc if you use this active and your ultimate. This item can help get you the first kill that you need to begin getting resets on the enemy team once they are slightly worn down. This item also provides some cool-down reduction (spoken about near end of the guide)
This item is one of my favorite defensive options on Katarina. The +500 health and +80 AP is a major boost to your tanky-ness and to your damage. The passive slow works amazingly with Liandry's Torment(read Liandry's Torment section for more info^) and can help you stick onto targets by using shunpo and help you slightly slow them with your other abilities.
This item gives you an essential +120 AP as well as granting you armor and an AMAZING active ability. The armor helps you kill AD carries without taking too much damage while the AP lets you kill them! The active on this item puts your champion into stasis for 2.5 seconds. In this statis you cannot be targeted nor can you activate any spells nor move. It is similar to being in Kayle's Intervention while also in Lissandra's Frozen Tomb. Using this after a failed attempt in a team-fight will allow you to wait until your team gets a kill and you can reset some of your abilities, especially Shunpo to either get back in the fight or retreat.
General health which can help you stay in fights longer while sacrificing some of your overall damage and burst. This item CAN be purchased but only as last or second to last item in your build. If you choose to get this item DO NOT get any other item in the defense section besides Zhonya's Hourglass. If you get Warmog's Armor and either Guardian Angel or Rylai's Crystal Scepter you will not have enough damage and you will be far tankier than you ever need to be as Katarina
This item allows you to revive from the dead after you die. It has a fairly long cooldown though so after used once it might be more valuable to sell this item and purchase a Warmog's Armor or another defensive item. The item's base stats are not amazing but are fairly decent if the unique passive is considered. I do like this item because it gives your team enough time to get a kill and give you a reset but i usually prefer to have Zhonya's Hourglass since it gives me more AP and more armor.
These are the usual boots you should be getting on Katarina. In combination with the spell pen from Haunting Guise/ Liandry's Torment, and Abyssal Scepter. In addition your Abyssal Scepter grants you enough magic resistance to stay relatively safe for for a decent portion of the game.
This option allows you to roam and gank very effectively. The only time to pick these up is when you are getting very fed and the opponents mid cannot push very well.
Teamwork / Team Synergy
Curse of the Sad Mummy locks down targets preventing them from attacking you heavily and leaving them vulnerable for a perfect Death Lotus directly in the middle of the enemy team without them being able to stop you properly.
Idol of Durand Works similarly to Curse of the Sad Mummy in the sense that it prevents opponents from attacking you while you devastate them with Death Lotus.
Cataclysm, if done properly, will group several members of the enemy team in a small area. This allows sinister steel to hit every target and keeps enemies from running out of the radius of Death Lotus.
The Box keeps enemies within the box from leaving without taking fairly heavy damage and experiencing a crippling slow. For this reason your opponents would rather not walk into The Box but must do so in order to get away from your ultimate. However, if they hit the walls of The Box they will experience a crippling slow which forces them to stay near you for another second.
Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce both provide AoE crowd control allowing you to use Death Lotus with less fear of getting focused and less fear of missing your target completely.
Stranglethorns knocks up enemies in the radius after a few seconds which not only provides a large amount of damage, but also keeps targets in place while you activate Death Lotus
Frozen Tomb locks up a single target, preferably their carry, and allows you to hit a full combo on said target. In addition her abilities slow enemies and her w, Ring of Frost snares all targets around her for over a second. This allows for a very nice Death Lotus in the middle of the enemy team AND their carries.
Command: Shockwave brings all targets in a radius into the middle of the circle into Orianna's ball and allows you to hit every target with sinister steel and Death Lotus.
Remember that any champion that is able to lock down targets can synergize greatly with Katarina regardless of whether it is AoE lock down or not. AoE lock down is still preferable regardless.
When it comes to synergy with Katarina there are a few champions you want to avoid
Crescent Sweep knocks all opponents but one out of a large area of effect. If you use Death Lotus just a second too early Xin Zhao will end up Crescent Sweeping your targets out of your Death Lotus range.
Monsoon pushes all enemies away from her. So, similar to Xin Zhao you will be unable to land a Death Lotus if Monsoon is used.
Early Game Tips!
Early game for Katarina is an interesting time. Your only goal is to be an assassin. This means waiting.
TL;DR: Wait for the proper opening and assassinate low health targets and carries.
Depending on how fed you are as Katarina and how fed the enemy carries are your role will change drastically.
Assuming That you are Fed and that...
The opposing carries are fed
Jump on the carries with Shunpo and assassinate them with Death Lotus as quickly as possible. Continue to follow many of the guidelines from early game
The opposing carries are NOT Fed
Wait for your team to initiate fights and for the enemy to waste a majority of their crowd control. After that jump in and kill whoever is closest and most accessible. If you know a champion still has some hard crowd control such as a stun or has hard crowd control on a low cool-down try to avoid them until the end of the fight or until they are low enough on health you can kill them before they react properly.
Assuming you are NOT Fed and that...
The Opposing carries are Fed
Do your best to avoid crowd control and attempt to assassinate the carries. You should not be the only one trying if their carries are fed so wait for your team to soak up their crowd control before rushing in. If, however, no one else is going to be helping you kill the carries, throw your Bouncing Blades at the main bulk of enemies so that you pick up an assist for any kills your team can secure.
The Opposing Carries are NOT Fed
As Katarina you will probably out-damage a majority of carries if you are even in gold. Because of this killing their carries should not be too big of a problem unless they have a form of hard crowd control. If they do wait it out and then dive onto them.
TL;DR Assassinate opposing carries and squishies if fed and do your best to kill only the carries if you are not fed.
Late Game Katarina has only one job and that is to kill carries. If you are not killing the carries you are not doing your job. By using the combo mentioned above you can kill most carries in fights with a few exceptions very late in the game. Champions like Vayne can use her Condemn to knock you backwards. Because of this and her extremely high damage late game, you will need some help to kill her.
C-C-C-C-COMBO BREA...err... just C-C-C-C-COMBO
Laning Phase / Difficulty
I found what was previously too low quality for this guide so i removed it and i am currently redoing it! It will be back soon though do not worry!
Let me begin by saying that Katarina is not an extremely difficult champion to play, but her laning phase is notoriously awful. Although you have decent damage early, you're melee and your ability ranges are less than long. Assuming you read the ability sequence tab, you will see that most of our damage early game will come from sinister steel This ability has a 375 range. Of course, you have Shunpo to assist you but regardless, you need to get close to your opponent to hurt them. The list below is alphabetical so search for the champion you plan on playing against and read away!
Things being tested/Experiments (You don't need to read this, but you can)
The reason cool-down reduction is never used on Katarina is because if you play her correctly your cool-downs shouldn't need to be refreshed because you are getting kills and assists.
As you can see your abilities become on a very short cool-down. Most notably is Shunpo. This allows you to jump every 3.6 seconds! Although these benefits are clearly very powerful, your passive, Voracity will decrease all of your cool-downs by 15 seconds upon kill or assist. Because of this your ability cooldowns could be 3.6 or 14 they will still be completely refreshed upon kill or assist.
Because of this reason I feel that cool-down reduction is one of the more useless stats to get on Katarina. Purchasing cool-down reduction will decrease how cost effective your build is, especially early game.
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for taking the time to read my Katarina guide! Make sure to comment and vote if you liked it and leave anything you want me to add in the discussion!
Thanks to jhoijhoi for the pretty dividers!
I really can't stress this enough regardless of whether it is a simple coding error or an entire section I should add please PM me or add it in the comments!
An upvote is always appreciated! :D
Have a nice day :)