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Katarina Build Guide by wRAthoFVuLK

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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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author wRAthoFVuLK

Your AP Katarina Du Couteau Resource (dont play with knives)

wRAthoFVuLK Last updated on September 7, 2013


Ability Sequence

1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
3
4
5
7
9
Ability Key W
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 0


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NOTICE

The build order and skill order have significantly -- information in the guide as to why will be provided in the near future, but for now please follow the build above and ignore the current skill and build order mentioned within the guide.

Also, a top lane katarina section will be added soon.


In the meantime, please watch this video from TiensiNoAkuma, 2600 Elo Katarina main, explaining why both Rylai's and Gunblade are no longer optimal items on new Katarina (starts at around 1:50 till around 12:10). Some of the numbers and info he gives (pertaining to Rylai's slow duration, etc.) are a bit off, but the core information is still there:


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Katarina ~ The Sinister Blade

Hey guys, wRAth here. This is a primarily AP build for Katarina, the Sinister Blade. After her rework, AD is even less viable than it was before -- her main harass and damage ability, Bouncing Blades, doesn't even scale with AD. If you want to know all about Katarina, AP vs AD, and want to read an overall in-depth guide for AP Kat, look no further. Please leave any comments and constructive criticism below, and be sure to vote :)

Thanks to Xiaowiriamu for the awesome banner! Click the name to check out Xiao's work!


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Abbreviations Throughout the Guide

Abbreviated Terms
CC = Crowd Control (Stun, fear, slow, snare, etc)
AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
MPen = Magic Penetration
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
OOM = Out of Mana
HP = Health/Health Points/Hit Points
DoT = Damage Over Time
AoE = Area of Effect
MRes = Magic Resistance
CS = Creep Score
MS = Movement Speed
DPS = Damage Per Second


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Pros and Cons

Powerful Pros


+NO MANA!
+Amazing passive that lowers her cooldowns every time you get a kill or assist!
+ Shunpo allows her to be super mobile -- chase, escape from ganks, blink over walls, juke enemies, etc.
+Multi-Target Ultimate
+Not very hard to learn, but somewhat hard to master
+No skillshots, so you don't have to worry about possibly missing your target with your abilities!
+Amazing all around farmer with Bouncing Blades + Sinister Steel
+Terrific ganker
+French and sexy
______
______
Corrosive Cons


-Tends to get CCed and focused A LOT if not positioned carefully, due to her ultimate being channeled and, as a result, able to be interrupted
-Short range ultimate
-Melee range in mid, which makes it a bit harder to farm and harass when you don't have your Bouncing Blades or Sinister Steel off cooldown.
-Pretty high early game cooldowns
-Relies on picking up some kills or assists in teamfights in order to utilize her passive (not hard to do, but you have to make sure your team doesn't all get killed before it happens)
______
______
______


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AP vs AD vs Hybrid

______Whatever was in this section before the Kat rework is no longer relevant. Kat no longer is even somewhat viable with only AD or a little of both.

______Her main harass and damaging non-ultimate ability, Bouncing Blades, scales with AP ONLY -- so does Shunpo. Keep in mind that one unit of AD is about equal in ratio to two of AP (hard to compare items, considering The Bloodthirster uses stacks, Rabadon's Deathcap has a percentage increase, etc. -- but, in general, at full build, a standard AP carry will be at ~700 AP, and a standard AD carry at ~350 AD [ignoring baron buff]). With this knowledge, look at Sinister Steel, one of the only two abilities of Kat that scales with AD. Now look at the ratios: 60% of bonus AD, 30% of AP. Bonus AD on a general AD carry would be around 250, considering base is around 100 at level 18, give or take a few. However, there is no base AP. You would think, on Sinister Steel, that the amount of damage received at full build going full AD or full AP be around the same, due to the 2:1 AD:AP ratio and general 2:1 AP:AD ratio at full build. However, knowing that the scaling for Sinister Steel only takes bonus AD into account, at a full AD and AP build, you will still be getting more damage on this ability going AP.

______This point carries over even stronger with Death Lotus. The ratio for AD is +3 per bonus AD, and +1.75 for bonus AP; not only does the "bonus AD" point remain intact here, but the AP ratio, keeping the 2:1 in mind, is actually larger -- it's something around 2:1.2. Which means AP is even more so stronger than AD than on Sinister Steel.

______Of course, this 2:1 AP:AD ratio is derived from a standard AP build, with 5 AP items and boots, and a standard AD build, with 3 AD items ( The Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge, Last Whisper), boots, a Phantom Dancer, and a defensive item ( Guardian Angel, Quicksilver Sash, Banshee's Veil). If you were to build AD on an AD caster, who would still primarily use her abilities, then you would probably drop some of the items like Last Whisper, Infinity Edge, and Phantom Dancer, since those all help with auto attacks (armor pen, crit damage and crits, attack speed). Theoretically, you could just get boots and 5 Bloodthirsters, and then have 500 bonus AD. But then, you will have to constantly keep up your farm stacks to do the most damage you can, and you will have no utility whatsoever (CDR, magic pen, armor, MR, all the good things you need besides just straight damage). True, at this point your Sinister Steel and Death Lotus would hurt a little bit more than going AP (only a little more though -- around 100 more on Sinister Steel and about 275 more on Death Lotus), and your auto attacks will hurt a lot more (although, if you stack 5 BTs, you probably aren't going for auto attacks -- you are still a caster with a caster kit, and most of your time as Kat is spend using spells, even if you DO go AD: if you were focusing on auto attacks, you would take a standard AD carry build mentioned earlier). However, now two of your core abilities will deal virtually no damage ( Bouncing Blades and Shunpo), and you won't have any utility or actives ( Deathfire Grasp adds a lot to your burst, Hextech Gunblade ensures that you keep the enemy carry in range to blow up, and Zhonya's Hourglass can buy you that extra 2 seconds you need to get cooldowns back to net a kill where you would otherwise die, or to get your allies/creeps in range of you to Shunpo to). Worth it? Of course not.

______Even if you were to go full AD, and get a bit of damage on your Sinister Steel and Death Lotus (though not as much as you would going AP), you wouldn't have any damage on your Bouncing Blades, your bread and butter skill -- the skill you use to farm with in conjunction with Sinister Steel, as well as the skill you use to harass at range, with a whopping 0.7 AP ratio considering you detonate the marks -- nor would you have any damage on your Shunpo, which isn't as big of a damage factor as it used to be, but still adds some good burst to your combo, especially late game.

______The argument could be made that AD Katarina is still a bit viable considering you would hurt with auto attacks. However, your kit is a caster kit; especially with this item build, you are designed to jump onto the carries, burst things, and jump out. Do work, and you get your cooldowns reduced and you do it all over again. Is there really any time there to auto attack single targets? I sure don't see any. You'd be using your time better just waiting for spell cooldowns, or getting them refreshed by getting kills/assists in fights, and continually casting spells than spending time auto attacking champions.

______Hybrid builds would be even more useless than pure AD. Not only would you then be getting hardly any AD or AP, so your skills would be even more useless, but the main "hybrid" build that people used to use was just to stack Hextech Gunblades, which would result in you healing for a ton since the spell vamp used to stack. However, stacking Gunblades no longer works, since they made the spell vamp a unique passive, meaning even if you have 6 of them, you would only get the vamp from one. Same with the active. Which means you'd be spending all your money on multiple of one of the most expensive items in the game, to gain no utility, only some AP and AD and lifesteal (which isn't even very helpful on Kat, since practically all of your damage is being dealt with your abilities).

______I have always been a big advocate for AP Katarina, but especially now more than ever, after her rework, AP is the only way to go (with a bit of AD from one Hextech Gunblade, which is discussed later).


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Farming


______Katarina is a terrific farmer all-game round after her rework. If not auto attacking for last hits, simply use your Bouncing Blades on a creep wave, and then use Sinister Steel to detonate the marks and deal a bit of extra damage on it's own. Early game, try to prioritize using your Bouncing Blades on the ranged creeps in the back if not using it for harass, since they are squishier, and until you max Bouncing Blades out at level 9, your Bouncing Blades + Sinister Steel combo will not instantly down melee creeps, but they will do so to ranged ones. Keep in mind, however, that you can still last hit with your auto attacks, and should also prioritize keeping your spells to harass your enemy if possible.


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Laning/Ganking

______Katarina is an AP carry, and as such is generally played in the mid lane. She can be played top, even jungle, but her strongest lane is mid for various reasons: she has equal length access to top and bot lanes, as well as the entire jungle, allowing her to push her lane and roam and gank other lanes, and she is also an assassin, meaning she can quickly kill most AP mid laners all game long, since they are so squishy. Generally, tanky DPS champions are seen top, which Katarina has real trouble with.

______Having no mana means that you don't have to go back for being out of mana (OOM), and with a few HP pots, you can stay in lane longer than your foes, since you don't have any resource to worry about getting drained. This lets you farm for a much longer time, which is yet another strength of Kat over other mid champions. She can keep up her harass without ever worrying about going OOM, whereas champions such as Gragas (who I also happen to have a guide for) have to learn to manage their mana properly and decide when the best time to expend it is. Especially early game, when their mana pool is low, this can seriously cut down on their DPS, while Kat is constantly tossing out Bouncing Blades and not caring at all.

______Keep in mind, however, despite you most likely being able to stay in lane when your enemy has to recall, you shouldn't overstay your welcome. You generally want to either push the next wave and then roam and gank when your enemy recalls, so that you both deny them XP from creeps to their turret and also can pickup potential kills for yourself or other teammates, putting you farther ahead, or recall. If you just continue to sit in lane, and your opponent goes back or even falls to you, despite you possibly being super far ahead in gold from kills and CS (creep score, the amount of minion kills you have), if they come back to lane with more items than you have, they are technically ahead of you and can come back. When you have an advantage, you have to remember to push it.

______For instance, say you start the game with boots 3 pots and the enemy Karthus does as well. You both farm well for about 5 minutes, but you are farming a little better. Then you tick 6 and kill him, and then continue to stay. You are out of health pots. Karthus returns with double Doran's Ring. Despite you being ahead in gold by a longshot, he has quite a bit of itemization over you now -- he is technically ahead at that given moment and has a much higher potential of killing you than you do of him. While he has his basic boots and double Doran's, you still only have boots. Now, you won't be able to kill him -- you might even die to him -- until you go back. Now you are losing the potential advantage you had over him.

______Now say you recalled right when he did, and straight away picked up a Hextech Revolver when he got his double Doran's Rings. Now, you have sustain over him, and damage over him. Instead of possibly dying to him, now you can easily kill him over and over and over again.



______Harassing is easy mode for Kat. Simply toss Bouncing Blades on your foe whenever you are in range and it is off cooldown, and then detonate the charge using Sinister Steel if you are in range, or else Shunpo and then Sinister Steel to add a bit of damage and get away quicker. Generally, however, especially since Shunpo does hardly any damage early game and is on a fairly high cooldown, you want to save it for the utility aspect -- ie going in for harass and then jumping out with Shunpo to your creeps, or escaping ganks. However, if you feel safe and you think you can win trades easily, you can use it to add a bit more damage to your early game combo. Once you tick 6, do the same thing, and when you notice the enemy is pretty low and you are positive you can get a kill or at least force them out of lane, go in for the ult. This time, however, make sure to save Shunpo to jump in right before you use Death Lotus, so that the 20% damage reduction is active during the entire time you are vulnerable in your channeled state.

______Now, to ganking. How do you initiate a gank? When you get to your enemies, you generally want to wait for them to push a little. Then, when you think the time is right (up to the discretion of you and your teammates, you should be able to tell when the time is right), jump in using your basic combo mentioned earlier. Use your ulti when you know you can either net a kill for your or a teammate or at least force the enemy to recall.

______Make sure that your allies don't telegraph your gank, that is, start moving forward or using spells such as a stun or ghost way before you are able to jump in, or when the enemy is close to their turret and you aren't able to dive. When you are in position to jump in, and the enemy/enemies are in a good position to gank, signal your allies to move forward, either with words if you are in a voice program or with a ping, or even with a quick "GOGO" in chat if you type quickly. If they have a hard CC, such as Udyr's Bear Stance, they should use it right before you jump in, so that the enemy doesn't have any time to react to it (ie flashing out or Vlad pooling out since they see you are coming before the CC hits). If they have soft CC, such as a slow, they should use it right as you are going in as well. If the lane you are ganking has zero CC whatsoever, you should initiate the gank but make sure your allies are in position to quickly follow up.

______Keep in mind that gank opportunities dissipate quickly. If you notice a good chance to jump in, don't hesitate. If it is an actual good opportunity, the worst that could happen is they get away but you force them to go back or burn a flash, ultimate, etc. Remember, you don't have to net a kill for a gank to be successful. Although you may be upset that you won't get any gold for your efforts, your allies will be in a much better position if the enemy simply burns flash. That means that they are easier to gank in the future, and an easier target for your allies to kill for 4 minutes or so. If you do hesitate and lose a good gank opportunity, you not only prevented a possible good situation for your teammates, but lost a lot of your own time as well that could have been used farming, getting kills elsewhere, or buying and healing.

______Since you don't have any mana, if you gank, whether it was successful or not, you can go back mid or gank another lane, or even help your team do dragon, without having to worry about a resource being depleted off of a gank. Especially once you get your Hextech Revolver, which you do pretty early, even if you lose a bit of health on a gank, you can heal it back quickly elsewhere.

______Besides having no mana, Kat also makes an amazing ganker because of her damage output throughout the game. Even early game, her spells have a pretty low cooldown and a massive damage output when comboed. You can catch runners when ganking with your Shunpo, and your ulti is multi-target, and as such can hurt...get this...multiple targets at a time.


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Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Health
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3


Greater Marks of Insight
All of Katarina's abilities are dealt as magic damage, and as such you want magic penetration. This extra MPen is very helpful along with your masteries (if you follow my setup), your Sorcerer's Shoes, and the MPen from the Void Staff in this build. All of the MPen will allow you to slice through enemies as if they had virtually no MRes at all, even offtanks and tanks.

Another viable rune option is the Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration. I enjoy taking these runes on a lot of my APs since they only take away 3.5 magic pen, which is hardly noticeable, and add a whopping 9 armor penetration, which helps a lot for auto attack harassing and a bit with last hitting as well. However, I prefer these on ranged champions since you harass a lot with your auto attacks when you have the range to. With Kat, though, most of your harass comes from your Bouncing Blades and other spells, and more often than not you detonate your marks with Sinister Steel or Shunpo, not auto attacks. However, you still DO attack, so if you want to take these, you can.



Greater Seals of Scaling Health
With these, it is quite an easy choice. Besides these being half the price of the flat Greater Seal of Health, they give around 4 times as much health at level 18. The Seals of Scaling Health also have a larger amount of total HP per rune turnover once you hit level 5, which, since I mid, I hit quickly, and even side-laning you hit quickly. Flat HP seals are only really helpful for jungling, since they only grant more HP really early game, and we are not jungling with Kat in this guide :)

You want health seals to make her a little less squishy. In total, 9 of these seals give around 180 extra health at 18, which helps a lot considering you don't have to spend any gold in-game to get the extra HP.

The HP also acts as extra effective armor and magic resist when using your Shunpo, since you take reduced damage from ALL sources.

You could also go with the Greater Seal of Armor if you notice the enemy is physical damage heavy (if playing draft mode). Armor seals also help you take reduced damage if you draw minion aggro, and most AP mids harass often with auto attacks -- having armor seals mitigates a bit of that damage. I still prefer HP/level seals more often than not, especially in Kat's case due to the effective resistances, but these are a good alternative.


Greater Glyphs of Magic Resist
These runes help a ton. You get 12 MR in total from the start, and since you will most likely be mid, this means you are negating quite a bit of damage from the enemy AP's spells, which helps a lot early on to let you lane longer. I get flat over scaling here since the scaling Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist becomes more effective at level 9; however, by then, you will have some more health and tankiness anyway, from your items as well as naturally leveling up, so having a bit more MR won't be nearly as effective as having a large amount early game. You need to make sure you stay in lane and do not get pushed out early, since that can set you far behind and put your enemy way ahead. The larger amount of MR from these flat runes over the scaling ones early game help you achieve that.

If you happen to go mid vs a non-magic damage dealing champion, you can take the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power instead, which will give you a bit of a boost to your total AP.



Greater Quintessences of Ability Power
These quints are great. Right off the bat, you start with 15 extra AP (not including masteries), which adds around 11 more damage to your Bouncing Blades (including the mark detonations), 9 to your Sinister Steel, 6 to your Shunpo, and 26 to your Death Lotus. This is nice for early game harass, and lets you farm a little bit easier as well. These quints have more of a drastic effect early game, when the extra damage from your AP will really show in ganks and harassing, but through late game, in conjunction with Deathcap's passive, it will turn in to around 20 extra AP. And, going into a game with free AP, without having to spend a single gold coin, who DOESN'T want that? These calculations do not include the total AP increase from the Archmage mastery points.

I get these over the AP per level Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power because those only give, together, around 9 more AP. And the extra AP gained from them does not pay off until level 12. Now, if you are mid, you might think "oh, well he said the other per level runes were okay if you are mid," well these are different. Their early game effect is SO drastic, and this also lets you get boots instead of an Amplifying Tome first thing (see "Items" section for more on this), that you want to get flats.

Other viable alternatives could be the Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, since the extra movement speed helps a lot early game for mobility and juking enemy spells, and the Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp, which would give you a free 6% spell vamp off the bat, which would stay with you throughout the game, increasing your vamp from 20% to 26%.


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Masteries

Masteries
1/1
4/4
4/3
3/1
1/1
2/1
1/3
4/1
1/3
3/2
4/2
1/3
1/3

Offense Mastery Tree



space
Tier 1 - You want the extra 3 AD from Brute Force , to help with last hitting as well as harass (also, in Kat's case, her W and ulti both scale with AD), and an upgraded Ignite through Summoner's Wrath . I don't take Mental Force since AD and AP are not equal -- AD is worth more per unit. On this tier, you can choose to spend 3 mastery points in 3 AD or 3 in 3 AP, and since AD is more valuable, along with the obvious benefits of 3 AD vs 3 AP (more harass damage, easier to last hit with auto attacks, etc.), I take Brute Force instead.

Tier 2 - You want to take the CDR from Sorcery for the cooldowns and a way to get to Arcane Knowledge .

Tier 3 - The extra magic penetration from Arcane Knowledge helps a load early game, when you don't have much MPen to start with, and synergizes really well with your Sorcerer's Shoes, Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, and Void Staff later game. Three points in Havoc are also taken here to increase your total damage output, helping you from the laning phase up to the last teamfight.

Tier 4 - Four points in Blast will give you a nice boost of 18 AP at level 18, or 1 AP per level.

Tier 5 - Archmage increases your ability power by 5% with four points in it. If you have, say, 600 AP, which is a little under how much you will hit at the end of this build, you will receive 30 extra ability power just from this mastery.

Tier 6 - Executioner increases the damage you deal to low health targets. This lets you pick up kills much easier with your combos.


Defense Mastery Tree



Tier 1 - I take the 2 points in Resistance for some extra MR, which will help vs. magic damage champions in mid. I also take 2 points in Tough Skin because a sizable portion of the damage you will be taking early game is from creep aggro when you harass the enemy champion in range of the creeps, which is noticed even more so when you jump behind the enemy creeps onto the enemy champion with Shunpo to get your maximum damage output out. I choose to take 2 points in Tough Skin and 2 in Resistance instead of 3 in Resistance and 1 in Tough Skin since the 2 extra MR gained from the extra point in Resistance is not equal to the extra 1 damage reduction from creeps. Keep in mind, when you do draw aggro, you will be taking quite a few points of damage every few seconds, and this will help mitigate 1 more damage from each creep (usually 6 in a standard wave), which adds up. 2 MR alone mitigates under 2% damage from spells, which, especially early game, is not really even noticeable, especially compared to all of the creep damage that will be mitigated. You also have 4 MR still from the masteries, MR from runes, and damage reduction on Shunpo anyway, so that 2 less MR isn't going to make a difference at all.

I also take the creep damage reduction over armor because 4 armor would reduce under 4% of auto attack damage, and won't even reduce 1 point of creep damage, and although you do take auto attack harass in mid, since most mid champions only have base AD or maybe a few more from masteries and runes, that 4 armor is going to reduce around 2 damage per auto attack early game, which is nothing compared to 2x6 or 7 damage every few seconds from creep aggro.

Tier 2 - I take 4 points in Durability so we have a bit more health, and to access Veteran's Scars in Tier 3.

Tier 3 - A point in Veteran's Scars increases Kat's health by 30 right off the bat; that extra HP in combination with the points in Durability and the Greater Seal of Scaling Health, as well as the damage reduction from Shunpo, basically makes up for not having a Rylai's, and lets you be a bit more durable to last that much longer in teamfights.
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Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo

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



Voracity
This passive is really nice, and synergizes well with Katarina's kit. Every time you get a kill or assist, your basic spells are instantly refreshed, and your ultimate's cooldown is reduced by 10 seconds. This opens up many opportunities for Katarina during fights and laning phase. If she successfully dives for a kill early on, and uses Shunpo to go in, instead of dying to the turret aggro, she can instantly Shunpo back out to a creep since the cooldown on it will be refreshed. Likewise, in fights, since all of her abilities deal AoE damage except her Shunpo, any time she gets a kill or assists in a kill, which is easy to do with her spells, they come back instantly, allowing you to even more damage. Unfortunately, with the Katarina rework, no longer can you get your ultimate back up instantly after getting 3 kills or assists (the ult hits up to 3 champs, so netting a kill or assist on each one would bring your ult back up instantly) unless you have full CDR, which would require you having blue buff in addition to your masteries/ Deathfire Grasp (which you should still pick up if your jungler lets you, as must junglers don't need a blue past 1st or 2nd, and the CDR is really nice on Kat). However, with blue buff, it will feel just like the old Kat, getting a kill or assist on 3 champs and then having your ult back up instantly. However, without blue, you will need to get 4 kills or assists in a quick fight to get it back up almost instantly, or have an extended fight where you get a few kills/assists after you initially use your ult to have it back up again near the end of the fight.

Overall, a really nice passive for Katarina.



Bouncing Blades
This skill is amazing in so many ways: for farming, harassing at range, and to dish out a lot of AoE damage in mid-late game. If the enemy team is grouped up in a fight, one toss of your Bouncing Blades can deal damage to every enemy champion. I max this spell first since it is your long ranged safe harass, your farming tool, and your most damaging ability. You can constantly poke enemies down at a safe range with it, and not put yourself in danger in the process.


Sinister Steel
This skill definitely makes up for the nerfs on Kat's other skill during the rework. It is truly amazing -- a lot of damage with a .3 AP ratio AND a .6 AD ratio (which will add some damage once you purchase a Hextech Gunblade), large AoE, terrific for farming and detonating Bouncing Blades marks, great harass, as well as a large MS boost, on a 4 second cooldown ignoring CDR at all levels. With blue buff, along with the masteries in this guide and Deathfire Grasp, this spell will be on a little over a 2 second cooldown. The extra damage ability on Katarina helps solidify her role as an assassin, and it being AoE fits perfectly with the other AoE abilities ( Bouncing Blades and Death Lotus) in her kit. In teamfights, this ability lets Kat dish out a lot more DPS than she previously could.

I max this ability second for many reasons. Of course, you want to max Bouncing Blades first, since it is Kat's only ranged ability that lets you harass and farm from a safe distance, and it also deals the most damage from any of her abilities when the marks are consumed (of course, the cooldown is twice that of Sinister Steel, so the DPS from Sinister Steel, assuming you use it every time it's up, is more -- however, you cannot always be in range for Sinister Steel without dying every two minutes, as you can with Bouncing Blades, which more than makes up for the longer cooldown). I max Sinister Steel second over Shunpo though for many reasons:

1. Sinister Steel deals more base damage at all levels (except at level 1, both deal 40 damage), and deals more damage than Shunpo until acquiring 400 AP exactly, ignoring the bonus AD ratio. At 400 AP, however, you will probably be level 18, so both Shunpo and Sinister Steel will be maxed anyway, and, if you follow this build and build order exactly, you will have a Hextech Gunblade at around 400 AP, which provides 40 AD, increasing the damage of Sinister Steel by another 24 -- this means, even at 400 AP, you are STILL going to be dealing a bit more damage with Sinister Steel.

2. Lower cooldown at ALL levels, especially at level 1 (4 seconds on Sinister Steel, 14 on Shunpo.

3. Helps a lot with farming, since it is AoE -- simply use Bouncing Blades and then detonate the marks and deal extra damage with Sinister Steel.

4. Also deals more damage when ganking/in fights due to it being AoE.

5. Leveling it also increases the movement speed buff on it, which lets you harass the enemy with Bouncing Blades, Shunpo in, and then Sinister Steel for more damage and a large MS buff to get out of range of the opponent's retaliation harass/turret damage if diving/creep damage extremely quickly. Also helps with chasing, which works well too when roaming and ganking lanes after pushing up mid.

6. Shunpo's damage reduction stays at 20% at all levels. If it increased with level, that would change everything. But, since it has low damage without a lot of AP, early game you should really only be using it for the utility aspect of it -- jumping in to finish a kill off or to set up a combo, escaping harass or ganks, etc. And since the damage reduction on it remains the same, and lasts the same duration, if you had it maxed at level 9 or 18 it wouldn't change the usefulness of Shunpoing right before you take damage to reduce some of it.

For all of these reasons, I max this skill out second, at level 13.



Shunpo
Shunpo is your awesome utility blink ability that helps with setting up combos, chasing and ganking, escaping ganks, etc. The damage reduction built into it helps her play her role as an assassin by jumping in, surviving long enough to kill all of the things, and jump out. The damage reduction is also a life saver in certain situations, such as when a Vladimir ultimate is about to detonate or a Karthus ult is about to strike. If you save your Shunpo for when you would receive the damage (you have to have a general knowledge of the game to know how long the time is on these kinds of abilities before they deal their damage), it can be the difference between life or death.

For reasons mentioned previously, I take a point in Shunpo at level 3 so I have it for the utility aspect, but then save it to max last.

Now, there are some pretty sick moves you can pull off with Shunpo. Let's go over a few of them:

1. Shunpo-to-ward trick. Make sure to try to always carry a few sight wards with you, as long as you can and have to money to buy some. What you have to do is quite simple. Just place the ward in front of you, at maximum distance, and Shunpo to it!

This opens up a lot of options. You can use it as a supplemental flash, placing it over a wall and then using Shunpo on it to blink over the wall. This can be helpful for either escaping from enemies or chasing enemies, especially if they have a built-in blink as well or if they flashed and yours is down or you don't want to waste it to follow them. You can use it to dodge skillshots that you would otherwise fall to if there are no creeps, champions, or monsters nearby to Shunpo to.

Berzerk has kindly allowed me to use some of his videos in my guide. Thanks Berzerk! In this video, he demostrates the ward hop:
/league-of-legends/ability/shunpo-180Berzerk to demonstrate this:
/league-of-legends/ability/shunpo-180
Death Lotus
This is the ultimate where you see Kat spin in circles while shooting out blades. How she does not get dizzy, I don't know. But, what I do know is that it deals crazy damage and has an extremely low cooldown. And now, with the rework, although the damage is reduced a bit, the DPS of it is increased, since the channel time was reduced to only two seconds. And, if you get kills or assists with it, it lowers by 10 seconds each kill/assist thanks to her passive (see above).

This ability now also applies Grievous Wounds, which reduces incoming healing by 50% for 3 seconds, allowing Death Lotus to deal more net damage to healing targets such as Dr. Mundo, Swain, and Soraka, since their heals will only be half as effective during your ult and for a second after; this makes it much easier to net a kill with your ultimate or abilities directly after your ultimate without the need of Ignite on such targets.

It throws up to 30 daggers, maximum that can hit a single champion who stays in range is 10. As such, it can deal damage to up to 3 champs at once. Wow. And if you kill all of them with it or get assists on each of the three champions who your ulti targets, and you have full CDR (see Voracity sub-section) you get it back.

Instantly.

I am not going to spend too much time on this, as it is mostly self-explanatory. However, keep in mind that you need SOME common sense to know when to ultimate. Remember, you are not GODZILLA, even if you ARE playing Kat. Many times have I seen Katarinas go alone into a group of full HP enemies and ulti, and wind up dying without getting any kills or assists from the situation. Although you are Kat, and Kat is able to pull off some crazy stunts, try not to get too cocky.

You are still a squishy assassin, and you need a team to back you up in fights. If you just jump into their whole team without having anyone to peel for you, you will die instantly, guaranteed. However, in mid lane 1v1 situations, or ganks, don't be afraid to ult even if it won't net a kill or assist, as long as it will force the enemy to go back -- this still denies them gold and XP and puts yourself/your teammates at a nice advantage. Remember, even without Voracity going off, it is still on a relatively short cooldown of under a minute at level 16.

In fights, it is a similar concept, except you want to be more focused on bursting down the enemy carries. However, if you can ult before, say, a baron, and force the enemies to go back and let your team grab an uncontested baron, it is totally worth it, even if you don't grab any kills or assists, although that would be optimal.

Remember that in a fight, your job is generally to burst the enemy carries, so try to save your ultimate in teamfights for them. Also try to keep away from any enemies that have CC that can interrupt your ultimate, such as Alistar. If they keep trying to save their CC for when you ult, as they should, try to get your teammates to peel them away from you, ie. distract them and force them to swap targets.

Learn this ability whenever possible. (6, 11, 16)



Skill Combo



This is how you should approach your attacks with Katarina, assuming that your keybind is QWER for your abilities in that order:

Q ( Bouncing Blades) --> E ( Shunpo) --> W ( Sinister Steel) and so on. This is assuming you use Bouncing Blades at max/almost max range, and are not within 375 range to detonate the marks with Sinister Steel. If you are, try to save Shunpo for when you need it -- to close a gap, follow a flash, recover from getting CCed, escape, etc. Use your Bouncing Blades and Sinister Steel whenever it is up to continue dealing damage and follow your target (from the MS boost from Sinister Steel). If your enemy is low enough, or you are dealing with multiple enemies, flash in if you need to close extra distance (can't reach them with Shunpo (and you take flash - see below), Shunpo in, use Bouncing Blades, Sinister Steel, and Death Lotus. Once you have your Hextech Gunblade, or even your Bilgewater Cutlass, use it on a high priority target (generally an AD or AP carry) to deal extra damage and slow them, keeping them in range of the rest of your abilities. Try to use this before your combo to ensure that they stay in range for the full brunt of your combo. When you have your Deathfire Grasp, use that active prior to your Gunblade and combo so it deals the most damage possible (deals % current health). Generally you want to use your Deathfire active on your high priority target to ensure their death, but if you are sure you can full to nothing them with just your Hextech Gunblade and spells, use it on a different target (can be effective vs tanks/tanky DPS since it deals percentage based damage, and can lower their threat to your team if you pop it on them early on in a fight).

If you have ignite up, be sure to use it either on your opponent if in a 1v1 situation, or on the enemy AD or AP carry in a teamfight, to add to your burst and reduce their healing before you even use Death Lotus.

Another video from Berzerk shows this combo in action, without the active items.


Smartcasting!

______If you don't smartcast your abilities, you should really try it with Katarina (along with basically every other champion ability, with the exception of some) once you know the range of your Bouncing Blades and Shunpo. What smartcasting does, if you don't know already, is make it so you just hover your mouse over your target and cast your ability -- you don't have to click it after pressing the key. This increases your reaction time by quite a bit, and allows you to get combos off a bit easier and quicker. It is especially helpful for abilities like Shunpo, of which proper and timely use can make the difference between surviving or dying. By smartcasting Shunpo, you can instantly escape with it or instantly closing a gap, instead of spending ~0.25-half a second longer clicking the ability afterwards! It may not seem like a lot, but in a game like this where reaction times are everything, it can really prove significant -- in that amount of time, your target can flash away or kill you.

______If you don't already smartcast, try it today! You will most likely never go back!


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Ability Range Screenshots

Bouncing Blades
Initial Hit Range: 675

Sinister Steel
Radius of AoE: ~375

Shunpo
Range: 700

Death Lotus
Diameter of AoE: 550


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Summoner Spells

RECOMMENDED



Ignite
This is a key spell to use in your combo. Great for grabbing kills you wouldn't have otherwise, allowing you to get more fed than you would without ignite. Don't underestimate the damage of it, either. At level 18 it adds a whopping 410 true damage to your combo, which is a good percentage of a squishy's health. Not only that, but it also reduces healing on the target by 50% for the duration (5 seconds). Great for finishing off people who would have otherwise healed, as well as using on a target that can heal themselves BEFORE your combo and Death Lotus, so they won't be healing as much during it, and as such you will deal more overall damage to them; such targets are Dr. Mundo, Swain, and Soraka. Great spell overall for Katarina as well as any other carries.



Flash
A must-have spell for any caster, and basically any champ in the game, even Katarina, who already has a built-in "flash", per se. Using this along with your Shunpo gives you a "double flash" effect, letting you EASILY escape enemies, close any gaps, initiate any fights (if you can pick a carry, MVP, or a sole champion off -- please do not go in solo 1v5), get out of turret range, and more. It also comes in handy when Shunpo is down, and to go over walls that you can't with Shunpo (no ward or sight to enemy/teammate/neutral creep). Another terrific spell for Kat, and for basically anyone at that.



Exhaust
Another good option for Katarina, but not in the cheatsheet. Good to take if you are against a team with a lot of heavy physical damage. The slow and ability damage reduction also helps you net some kills or get away safely in mid, as well. However, generally not as good of an option as Ignite considering Ignite adds a lot to your early burst, and you have a single target slow in the form of your Bilgewater Cutlass/ Hextech Gunblade active already. Generally, you should at least have one exhaust on your team, usually from your support, if not another from your jungler (sometimes AD carries and solotops take it as well, but not recommended).


MEH



Ghost
Meh. You just don't need it. You have plenty of mobility with Shunpo and Flash already, you are better off using your 2nd summoner spell slot for more burst to your combo, in the means of Ignite.



Cleanse
This is an okay spell to take, really only if you notice off the bat (in draft mode of course) that basically every enemy has heavy CC. You can just Cleanse and then Shunpo and/or Flash out. You can't rely on that happening every game in blind pick, though, so definitely don't take this spell in a blind, assuming that their whole team is full of CC every single game that you play with Katarina. And, even if they are, I still wouldn't highly recommend this spell, since you can add more damage to your combos by keeping Ignite, and just buy Mercury's Treads BEFORE your Void Staff and/or a Quicksilver Sash.


NO...JUST...NO



Clarity
You don't have mana. However much you want to think that an empty mana pool means you are just constantly out of mana on Kat, it isn't true. Just let it go.

Any spell not mentioned is a definite no-no for obvious reasons, too obvious to even spend my time discussing.


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Items

NOTE: I HAVE REMOVED ANY REFERENCES TO ITEMS THAT ARE NO LONGER IN THE BUILD, HOWEVER THIS SECTION IS STILL OUT OF DATE AND DOESN'T INCLUDE SOME ITEMS. PLEASE FOLLOW THE BUILD PROVIDED AT THE TOP OF THE GUIDE, I WILL UPDATE THIS WHEN I HAVE THE TIME.



Here is where I will tell you when to get what items, explain why I use the items that I use, and the effects of them on Katarina.

NOTE: Try to buy an Elixir of Brilliance whenever you recall right before you know a teamfight is going to happen and you have the extra gold, or if you just built or bought an item and have some gold to spend. You can even buy one of these elixirs if you recall and don't have enough gold for any other items that you want to get yet (just don't go overboard on the elixirs, as you still need enough gold to buy your main items). The elixir gives you some more AP and some CDR, which, for a measly 250 gold, doesn't hurt at all. This is especially helpful early game, where that 25 or so AP plus the CDR has a huge effect, when your AP is low and CDR is measly.

If you have some extra cash and need some extra health over a bit more damage with the Elixir of Brilliance, or you are full build, also consider getting an Elixir of Fortitude. The extra health helps to keep you alive a bit longer, and the AD doesn't hurt, as your Sinister Steel and Death Lotus scale with AD as well as AP.


ANOTHER NOTE: If you still have some leftover gold after your purchases, and some open slots, ALWAYS TRY TO BUY WARDS! Don't rely on your jungler to ward your lane if you are top or mid, although many times they will. Still, if you have the extra gold, buy some Sight Wards, you will not regret it! WARDS SAVE LIVES! This is especially helpful on Katarina because of the Shunpo to ward trick discussed earlier.


Early Game







Sorcerer's Shoes
Gives you flat Magic Penetration, which, tied with your runes and masteries, will let you deal near-true damage to anyone before they get MRes, which usually isn't until mid-late game. Then, you will get a Void Staff to keep up with dealing as close to true damage as you possibly can. Once you get said Void Staff, you will be selling these shoes for Mercury's Treads. The reason for doing this is because flat MPen is applied BEFORE percentage MPen, such as the Void Staff. To quote the League of Legends wikia, "Because the percentage magic penetration is applied last, its effectiveness is reduced the more flat magic penetration you already have or the more magic resistance reduction has been applied to the target. For example, if the target has 100 magic resist and you only have 20% magic penetration, you will penetrate 20 of the target's magic resistance. If you also have 20 magic resistance reduction, the same 20% magic penetration will only penetrate 16 of the target's magic resistance." So, although keeping Sorcerer's Shoes will allow you to still deal some more damage to your targets, the reduction of the effect of the Void Staff makes the Sorcerer's Shoes MUCH less useful than they were before the Void Staff, and ultimately, Mercury's Treads become infinitely more useful at that point in the game. Both because Sorcerer's Shoes become less useful, and because at that point in the game, everyone is dealing some heavy damage, the MRes and Tenacity from the Treads will sure come in handy.

If an enemy gets Mercury's Treads, these shoes along with your runes and masteries will counter the MRes from them and still reduce some base MRes.

I get these boots over Ionian Boots of Lucidity since the magic pen lets you deal a lot of extra damage, especially early game when you have no void staff, and the 15% CDR just doesn't match up to that. You will also be gaining CDR from your Deathfire Grasp, masteries, and blue potions, and blue buff if you end up taking it; this CDR is more than enough for Katarina, especially considering you have your passive which provides all the cooldown reduction you will ever need in teamfights if you aren't being completely useless.



Deathfire Grasp
A terrific item for Katarina. Gives you some nice CDR, a nice amount of AP, and adds a lot of burst to your early combo with the active. A solid item overall for Kat.

Remember to use the active on it before you combo a champion, since it deals % current HP damage -- meaning if you use it as a finisher after your main combo, they will be at a lot less current HP, and as a result it will deal a lot less damage.


Mid Game




Rabadon's Deathcap
TThis item is just amazing. You want to rush this item for the insane amount of AP that it grants (140) plus the passive 30% increased total AP. Getting this item early also means that every item that grants AP that you get after it will have the additional 30% extra AP added to it right off the bat, along with any items purchased beforehand. At the end of this build, including runes but not masteries nor blue elixir, the passive ALONE from this item grants an additional approximate 143 AP, resulting in about 283 AP just from this item, without masteries nor blue elixir or baron buff factored in.

Having a WotA aura on your team will also increase your overall AP gained from this item by a bit.

A must-have for Katarina, as well as for every other AP carry in the game.


Late Game





Void Staff
This item is necessary to pick up late game. More often than not, when the enemy sees your crazy damage, they will be buying some Magic Resistance to counter you. How to counter them countering you? Void Staff. It gives you percentage MPen, which, along with your Sorcerer's Shoes and your masteries and runes, will let you shred through ANYONE, whether a squishy with only base MRes or a tank with 5 Forces of Nature. Of course, this item also gives some nice AP.



Abyssal Scepter
This is a good alternative to Void Staff if the enemy team is heavy on magic damage and the extra MR will help you survive in engages/fights longer. Keep in mind that you will be sacrificing some damage gained from MPen with Void Staff by getting this item, so you must be sure that the extra survivability will outweigh the reduced damage. It is also slightly more expensive than Void Staff. However, the 1000 range of the MR Reduction that this item provides is not an issue with Kat, since you will always be in the middle of things in fights, and all of your abilities are significantly under 1000 range (longest range ability that Kat has is Shunpo, at 700 range).

This item is also ideal to get if basically everyone on the enemy team has low MR -- if you keep Sorcerer's Shoes, you are reducing the enemy's MR by 40 (not including runes/masteries; factoring them in, more like 50), the same amount a Void Staff would reduce at 100 MR. Anything lower than that, you will actually end up dealing a bit more damage not having a Void Staff. However, chances are at least 2 people on the enemy team, if not more, have over 100 MR, and if that's the case, or you really need the Tenacity from Mercury's Treads, you'd be better off just going Void Staff.

If you decide to buy this item, make sure you keep your Sorcerer's Shoes instead of swapping them out for Mercury's Treads, so that you deal a bit more damage in lieu of the lack of Void Staff. You also gain a nice chunk of MR from the Abyssal Scepter. If, for some reason, the 57 MR the Abyssal Scepter provides is still not enough, and you think you need Mercury's Treads as well for the extra MR and CC Reduction, go ahead, just keep in mind that your damage will be severely gimped!



Zhonya's Hourglass
This item is great. It adds more AP, and gives you armor as well. This armor is terrific to reduce damage you might take when channeling your ultimate, and works great with the reduced damage you take when you Shunpo. As well, the active is terrific when against enemies such as Karthus (his ultimate), especially if you might die from it, as well as AoE and CC ultimates such as Kennen's and the second burst of Morgana's ultimate (to prevent the stun). It also works great when you are using your ultimate in a big teamfight, you can pop the active once you're done if you are taking heavy damage, to let your teammates come and push them away from you. You can also use the active if you need to get away from someone, you are about to die, etc; activating the hourglass can give you the vital 2 seconds you need for a teammate to come to you to Shunpo to, whether in a teamfight or not. Great for getting out of sticky situations, and it lets you be more risky. Overall a great final item for Katarina.

REMEMBER: IF YOU ACTIVATE THIS ITEM WHILE CHANNELING YOUR ULTIMATE, IT WILL CANCEL, SINCE IT IS CHANNELED. WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOUR ULTIMATE HAS ENDED TO ACTIVATE YOUR HOURGLASS IF YOU NEED TO (to Shunpo to an ally on the outskirts of a teamfight if you are in the middle of the fight, etc.).






Elixir of Brilliance and Elixir of Fortitude
These are the items to just keep spending your gold on if the game is STILL going and you have completed your item build. If you have all 6 item slots full, it will automatically be consumed for you. The Elixir of Brilliance gives some nice AP (over 50 with Rabadon's Deathcap at level 18) and CDR, which helps a load, and the Elixir of Fortitude gives you a bit of extra health, which lets you survive longer, and some extra AD, which adds some damage to your auto attacks and scales with Sinister Steel as well as Death Lotus.


Managing your actives!

______Remember that you have 3 actives at full build! I find it useful to smartcast item slots 1 and 2 and put Hextech Gunblade and Deathfire Grasp on them for easy accessibility and to get them off onto my target really fast. To change your key bindings, click the esc button while in game and go to "Key Bindings". Item smartcasting is found all the way at the bottom.

______Make sure that you know where each item is located in your inventory, so that you don't accidentally burn the Hourglass active when you meant to Gunblade or Deathfire, or you spam the wrong key when you are trying to activate your Hourglass, and end up dying prematurely as a result! Messing your actives up or just forgetting to use them entirely can really put you at a disadvantage and cut down on your overall usefulness!


______Since all of your abilities except Shunpo are AoE, you will only be getting a 15% 1.5 second slow on all of them from this item. You have enough survivability with Zhonya's Hourglass, Shunpo, and HP from your masteries/runes already; all you really have to do with Kat is jump in a fight with your Shunpo, use your Bouncing Blades, Sinister Steel, and Death Lotus, and jump out; you have plenty of health to do that as is. Getting this item would replace a more valuable item. Also, once you complete Hextech Gunblade, and even before if you buy a Bilgewater Cutlass, you have a long range 50% 3 second slow, which is more than enough to keep a high priority target (most likely an enemy AD or AP carry) in range for your combo.

This item still isn't terrible on her, and adds a bit more survivability. If you feel that you are getting bursted down in basically every fight, and the extra health pool would help a lot, feel free to get it, just keep in mind that it will be replacing a item that is almost always stronger on her.


Why no Lich Bane?

Lich bane is a no. I had this question asked tons of times; it could seem good in theory, but in practice it really isn't. You don't get the mana from Lich Bane, and you would need to spend time auto attacking a single target, when you could just wait for Shunpo or Bouncing Blades to come back off cooldown for them. As mentioned earlier, your basic job is to jump in on the carries, ult, and jump out...no time for auto attacks. Your damage is strong enough, in combination with the actives from Deathfire Grasp and Hextech Gunblade, to take down any single carry anyway -- this item would just be a waste and take up a slot for a more useful item. It isn't terrible, it is surely not unviable on Kat, but it isn't ideal nor necessary. Without full CDR, you also don't have super low cooldowns to proc Lich Bane on a constant basis, which is something to look for when you buy it -- that is why champions with really low cooldowns or abilities that synergize with Lich Bane well will often get it, such as Orianna, Lux, Gragas, and Ziggs. Sinister Steel is on a relatively low cooldown, but there is still a second or two gap where you are losing a potential Lich proc without full CDR with blue buff. In teamfights, you may be able to proc it more often due to your passive, especially if you have blue buff, which would allow you to get some more spells off in a short amount of time, however, generally, as I just mentioned and mentioned time and time again, you won't really have much time to proc Lich Bane in teamfights anyway; if you get a few kills or assists and lower your cooldowns with your passive, chances are you will be using Death Lotus and your other spells again, not auto attacking. Her cooldowns aren't super high, so Lich Bane isn't totally unviable, but there are just better ways to use your six item slots for Kat.


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Other Optional Situational Items

NOTE: THESE ITEMS CAN REPLACE ANY ITEM IN THE BUILD THAT YOU CHOOSE. THINK WISELY, HOWEVER, OF WHAT ITEM(S) YOU CHOOSE TO REPLACE WITH THESE SITUATIONAL ITEMS. IF YOU DO NOT NEED THESE ITEMS TO IMPROVE YOUR GAME AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES, DON'T BUY THEM.

Generally, however, if you end up actually getting to a full build, and you don't know which item you should drop for one of these, drop the Void Staff if they are mostly squishy (since it won't help too much), or the Zhonya's Hourglass if they are mostly tanky (since you need Void Staff to do more damage to them, but they won't do as much to you, so you can afford to have less defenses). Although you generally want all of the items in the main build if the game goes long enough to permit.


Quicksilver Sash
This item is good against enemies with a lot of CC (Kennen, Morgana, Lux, Vlad, etc) if you do not have Cleanse with you. It is cheap and has a cleanse-like active. It removes ALL debuffs from your character. Yes, this includes things that cleanse won't remove, such as damaging debuffs like Vlad's ulti, Malz's ulti, EVERY single debuff to you. Just use the active and Shunpo and/or Flash out of there. Keep in mind, if they CC/debuff you again right after you use the active, it won't have a reduced effect as it does with Cleanse. BE CAREFUL OF THAT. This item also gives a good amount of MRes, which is nice against these types of enemies.



Mercury's Treads
This item is also great against a team of CCers, just keep in mind it would supplement your Sorcerer's Shoes early game, so you will be dealing slightly less damage overall until you get your Void Staff. It might be worth it to have slightly less damage early game, however, if it means that you can get CC reduction against a team full of CC that could mess you up otherwise for the ENTIRE game.



Banshee's Veil
This item can be a lifesaver against certain enemies, such as enemies with CC like Morgana and Kennen, as well as enemies who have an "inevitable ultimate", such as Vlad's ultimate and Karthus's ultimate. It blocks a negative spell every 45 seconds. 'Nuff said. Getting in a sticky situation, your Banshee's might just save you enough time to get the hell outta there. This item also grants Health and mres, both helpful against these types of enemies. It also gives some mana, which doesn't help Kat, but it isn't the main use of the item so not much gold is being wasted there.



Mejai's Soulstealer
Nothing else at this price (let alone most other items) can provide this much AP. Plus, with the deathcap, not even including the bonus % AP masteries, the total 180 AP from this item with full stacks turns into 234 total AP. And getting stacks, especially with Kat, isn't as hard as it may seem. Your abilities are so devastating early through late game that you are guaranteed to get a lot of kills and assists. And if you lose some, just get them back! Once you get full stacks, you get 15% CDR, which is helpful when you don't have blue buff or blue elixir on you.

However, this is NOT the most reliable item, use it at your own risk. If you are having an exceptionally good game, try to pick it up early. If not, don't bother risking to lose an item slot and a lot of AP and some gold. It also adds a big "FOCUS ME" sign on top of your head, since the enemies will want to do all they can to prevent you from getting to 20 stacks. Be aware that this is a risky item to use, but will reap great rewards if you get a lot of stacks on it without dying.


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Blue Buff



______You want to try to grab blue buff if your jungler isn't behind and willing to give it to you. You don't need it on Kat, since you have no mana, but the 20% CDR helps a TON, especially after the Voracity nerf. It gives you enough CDR for you to hit the cap, 40%, along with your Deathfire Grasp and masteries. This lets you cast more often, which is of course helpful, and lets you get your ult back instantly after only 3 kills or assists at level 16.

______Some junglers may just see that you have no mana and take all of them -- just to be sure, you should let your jungler know that you would like 2nd blue, but if they want 2nd (many junglers benefit from 2nd blue, but not really past that as much), ask to please get third blue, as the CDR helps a lot on Kat.

______If you have a jungler and the enemies do not, try to grab their blue buff when you can, and when you know it is safe. Ward their jungle, including their blue (obviously), if this is the case. Also, going with a teammate in case of emergency can never hurt.

______That is as in-depth as I am going to go into jungling/counter jungling to pick up blue. If you want more info on this, I would suggest checking out Hahano's Jungling 202 Guide and/or Xenasis's Jungling 101 Guide.


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Scores

SOME OF MY SCORES WITH KAT USING THIS GUIDE:



Deaff's First Kat Game, Using This Guide!



Yatt's Score, Using This Guide!



Some of ParisGH's Scores Using This Guide, 13-2-1 Match With A Pentakill!



apak798's First Kat Game, Using This Guide!



Woodnot's Scores, Using This Guide!



Fjellape's Scores, First Game With Kat Not Using This Guide (Without), and Second Game With Kat, Using This Guide (With)!



Syn27's First Game Trying Out My Build!



Swinzly's Score, Using This Guide!



Cerebralpsycho's First Few Kat Games, Using This Guide!



Some of JuicY's Kat Scores, Using This Guide!



Kuraudo's Score, Using This Guide!



elflako's Score, Using This Guide!



HisTragicFlaw's First Game Using This Guide As Kat!



meldun1's Scores, Using This Guide!



CheeseCaster's First Time Using This Guide!



AniiBell's Scores, Using This Guide!



Lionelo's Scores, Using This Guide!



VanQuiSer's Scores, Using This Guide!



KatarinasMaster's Score, Using This Guide!



Ghellriser's Scores, Using This Guide!




Healdudeee's First Game With Kat, Using This Guide!



Euphorbium's Scores, Using This Guide!



jediscience's Score, Using This Guide!



DRiZaRD's First Two Games With Kat, Using This Guide!



Zeichen's First Few Games With Kat, Using This Guide!



Belfina21's Scores, Using This Guide!



idavidcc's Score, Using This Guide!



AgonyOfDeath's Score, Got Pentakill, Using This Guide!



MaddogstYle's Score, Ranked Match, Two Pentakills, Using This Guide!



FallDownT's Scores, Using This Guide!



RaYzaH's Score, Using This Guide!



troYYy47's Scores, Using This Guide!



Torff's Score, Using This Guide!



Paavola's Score, Using This Guide!



k1ll's Scores, Using This Guide!



McGyverr's First Game Using This Guide As Kat!



Jameswm2's Scores, Using This Guide!



Kamil17's Scores, Using This Guide!



Cleatisle's First Normal Game With Kat, Using This Guide!



ZainNL's First Day With Kat, Using This Guide!



cloudXwalker's Scores, Using This Guide!



burninglink5's Score, Using This Guide!



ZidaneBlack's Score, Using This Guide!



DianTheGod's Ranked Wins, Using This Guide!



GAMMMER's Score, Using This Guide!



Jonne's First PENTAKILL, Using This Guide!



ReaperOfTime's First Game With Kat, Using This Guide!



Souza230's Scores, Using This Guide!



AaronIsCool's Scores, Using This Guide!



Cathryne's Scores, Using This Guide!



jayeldog's Scores, Using This Guide!



AwesomeP3nta's Scores, Using This Guide!



Jonppa1337's Score, Using This Guide!



Zeddex's First Normal Game With Kat, Using This Guide!



If you used my guide and got a good score (which you will), feel free to post the direct link of the screenshot of your score in the comments below. (NOTE: Not posting any more scores, sorry).


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Thanks to everyone who helped me make my guide what it is today!

______Thanks to jhoijhoi for her guide template, which I used for my "Masteries" and "Pros and Cons" sections!

______And thanks to everyone else, namely Jebus McAzn, Mowen, and jhoijhoi, for helping me to improve my guide, both with the build and format!

______Also big thanks to PsiGuard for helping me further improve my guide!

______Big shoutout to Berzerk for letting me use some of his videos! Thanks!

______Also thanks to KaraCutie for helping me with my Death Lotus shot!


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Summary

I hope you took the time to read through my guide. Please vote and comment, and try out my build and all of the tips that I give in my guide. I hope it will give you new insight into Katarina, and hopefully you will own with her as much as I do (or more :O). Any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or PM me and I will get right back to you. Thanks, and have FUN!

Thanks to Xiaowiriamu for the awesome banner! Click the name to check out Xiao's work!


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Want to Check Out My Other Guides?

If you want to take the time to check out my other guides, feel free to! Click the stamps to see the corresponding champion's guide!




Thanks!


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Updates/Changelog

2/27/2011 4:00 AM EST -- Guide released.
2/27/2011 5:36 AM EST -- Some minor text changes made and added "Abbreviations Throughout the Guide" section.
2/27/2011 7:12 AM EST -- Added "Team 1 vs Team 2 Katarina Build" section.
2/28/2011 4:07 PM EST -- Added paragraph in green text to "Shunpo" section.
2/28/2011 4:14 PM EST -- Added "Quick note on when to use your ulti, and when not to." section.
3/1/2011 3:17 PM EST -- Changed Will of the Ancients to Hextech Gunblade in the "More Squishy Enemies Item Build" since it seems to be a more logical choice. Also edited "Items" section for this change, please read this section for the reasoning on why I chose this item. As well, changed text in the guide that referenced to the gold cost and AP granted of this item build.
3/4/2011 3:55 PM EST -- Added "Ability Range Screenshots" section.
3/4/2011 7:00 PM EST -- Added "Other Optional Situational Items" section. Added "Tanks? Enemy Heals? NP" section. Added info to "Laning/Ganking" section. Added info to "Shunpo" section. Added section titled "About the title of this guide...". Added info to "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" section. Edited "Items" section.
3/5/2011 -- 1 week anniversary of the release of the guide!
3/6/2011 2:11 AM EST -- Added some more info to Hextech Revolver part of "Items" section.
3/6/2011 1:30 PM EST -- Jebus updated the database on Kat's abilities, but the cache still has to update; when it does, I will cross out the info about the database being incorrect in the "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" section. Looking forward to it! ;D
3/7/2011 12:30 AM EST -- Added score to "Scores" section.
3/8/2011 4:30 PM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section.
3/9/2011 2:50 AM EST -- Added info to "Abbreviations Throughout the Guide" section.
3/9/2011 3:45 PM EST -- Added yet another score to the "Scores" section. Keep them coming ;)
3/10/2011 5:45 PM EST -- Another score added to the "Scores" section! :D
3/14/2011 8:00 PM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section, as well as edited some text effects in the "Pros and Cons" section.
3/16/2011 7:00 PM EST -- Added some more scores to the "Scores" section, and added "Want to Check Out My Other Guides?" section.
3/18/2011 11:30 PM EST -- Added some info to the "Items" section.
3/20/2011 6:40 AM EST -- Changed duration of Banshee's Veil shield cooldown from 30 to 45 seconds in the section titlted "Other Optional Situational Items". Also edited some info in the "Runes" section.
3/21/2011 5:00 PM EST -- Changed some info in the "Want to Check Out My Other Guides?" section.
3/24/2011 5:20 PM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section.
3/25/2011 4:30 PM EST -- Added yet another score to the "Scores" section. Also changed some information in the section titled "Want to Check Out My Other Guides?".
3/30/2011 6:30 AM EST -- Added some more scores to the "Scores" section.
4/1/2011 6:00 AM EST -- Added more scores to the "Scores" section.
4/1/2011 8:30 PM EST -- Changed intro banner.
4/2/2011 3:30 PM EST -- Changed both intro and end banners.
4/2/2011 4:45 PM EST -- Added "Go to top!" link below.
4/5/2011 3:35 PM EST -- Added some info about Will of the Ancients in the "Items" section.
4/5/2011 6:35 PM EST -- Added the term "Teleport" to the section titled, "Abbreviations Throughout the Guide"; also changed justification of some text.
4/5/2011 7:00 PM EST -- Removed stating in "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" that the MOBAFire database info was incorrect, it is now correct. :)
4/5/2011 8:00 PM EST -- Added "Hey...you know solomid.net?" section.
4/6/2011 5:30 PM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section.
4/16/2011 3:45 PM EST -- Added some more scores to the "Scores" section.
4/17/2011 11:00 PM EST -- Added more scores to the "Scores" section.
4/24/2011 12:40 AM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section.
4/26/2011 8:20 PM EST -- Added some more scores to the "Scores" section.
5/6/2011 2:00 AM EST -- Added another score to the "Scores" section.
5/8/2011 1:45 PM EST -- Added another score to the "scores" section.
5/9/2011 1:30 AM EST -- Added another score.
5/18/2011 12:30 AM EST -- Added another score.
5/22/2011 10:00 PM EST -- Added another score.
5/27/2011 12:30 PM EST -- Added some more scores.
5/30/2011 7:00 PM EST -- Edited "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" and "Items" sections to the spell vamp % changes, as well as adding that Rylai's gives 35% slow on Death Lotus.
6/1/2011 3:25 AM EST -- Added another score.
6/5/2011 6:20 PM EST -- Added some more scores.
6/10/2011 11:50 PM EST -- Added another score.
6/12/2011 5:30 AM EST -- Major revamp that we were all waiting for. Both builds combined, Quints changed to Potency, Mejai's made Optional item, blue pot info added, blue buff section added, and all related text fixed to accommodate these changes. Also added to "Cons" list that she gets CCed and focused a lot if not careful :)
6/12/2011 6:00 AM EST -- Added channeling info to Zhonya's Hourglass section. Also changed some things in the "Want to Check Out My Other Guides?" section.
6/22/2011 3:45 PM EST -- Hextech Revolver spell vamp granted reduced to 15% from 20%, and wards cannot be targeted by Shunpo anymore. Changes in guide made according.
6/27/2011 12:00 AM EST -- Yay, my birthday! :D Added "Da Maths" subsection to the AP vs AD section.
7/2/2011 10:00 AM EST -- Moved sections around and edited some text ^^
7/5/2011 12:40 PM EST -- Changed "AP vs AD" section title to "AP vs Hybrid vs AD".
7/11/2011 1:00 AM EST -- Added "Shunpo to Ward Trick" subsection to "Shunpo" section. Also fixed all math and descriptions relating to Rabadon's Deathcap for the change from 155 to 140 base AP. As well, updated "Offense Masteries" and "Defense Masteries" subsections of "Masteries" section to explain my point choices more in-depth. Also uncentered many sections.
8/13/2011 9:45 PM EST -- Added info to why I take Seals of Vitality in the Runes section.
8/17/2011 4:45 AM EST -- Added "Why no Lich Bane?" subsection to "Items" section, as well as more info to the "Other Optional Situational Items" section.
9/1/2011 4:45 PM EST -- Added info to the "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" section about maxing Bouncing Blades first.
9/15/2011 10:00 PM EST -- Added more info about HP seals in the "Runes" section.
10/4/2011 7:30 PM EST -- Rylai's no longer (or maybe never?) does 35% slow on her ulti, corresponding info fixed.
10/19/2011 4:15 PM EST -- Made changes to info using Hextech Gunblade to accommodate the recent nerf.
11/16/2011 2:25 AM EST -- Big changes. Masteries, and Shunpo with Killer Instincts now places you behind your target. All changes to the guide made to correspond with the reworks.
11/26/2011 4:20 AM EST -- Made some tiny adjustments to top part of the "AP vs Hybrid vs AD" section.
11/29/2011 12:50 AM EST -- Removed Killer Instincts move behind target info.
3/4/2012 3:55 AM EST -- Changed masteries and "Masteries" section.
8/13/2012 3:00 AM EST -- Guide overhaul complete, still need to edit based on Kat rework when the patch comes out, however.
8/19/2012 3:05 AM EST -- Guide rework complete! Have fun playing with new Kat everybody!


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