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Katarina Build Guide by sullyyylol

Middle [13.18] Sullyyy's Current Pregame Katarina Guide

Middle [13.18] Sullyyy's Current Pregame Katarina Guide

Updated on September 13, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author sullyyylol Build Guide By sullyyylol 6,890 Views 0 Comments
6,890 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author sullyyylol Katarina Build Guide By sullyyylol Updated on September 13, 2023
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Runes: DH

1 2 3 4
Dark Harvest
Sudden Impact
Eyeball Collection
Relentless Hunter

Coup de Grace

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


1 2 3 4
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[13.18] Sullyyy's Current Pregame Katarina Guide

By sullyyylol
Hello! My name's sullyyy, I'm currently a Grandmaster Katarina main and I've been playing her since this champion was good back when Hextech Gunblade existed.

This guide will cover everything you need before getting into game with Kat. Runes, builds, playstyles, etc. I recommend taking a look while in champ select to see my thoughts on the matchup, runes, or build! Keep in mind this guide is about how I play Katarina, and my thoughts on builds, runes, matchups, etc.

This guide is still a work in progress, I'll be adding more information and cleaning it up over the next few weeks.
Why Katarina?
Katarina is a fantastic champion to 1v9 games with, but she's very feast or famine. You're either going to win the game or lose the game for your team. If you like roaming and being the playmaker of the team, she's a great champ to pick up.
AP or AD?
Firstly, if you're new to Katarina or below diamond, I recommend just playing full AP every game. This build is easier to play mechanically and allows you to focus on more big picture things.

When to go AP:

I play full AP when I'm up against a team that is squishy or low CC, and I don't need Divine Sunderer in lane. If you have 1-2 targets that you need to one shot and that's your role in the game, going full AP is generally the best option.

Team Example: Camille Lee Sin Taliyah Ashe Milio

When to go AD:

Go AD when you need Blade of the Ruined King or Divine Sunderer in lane, when you're against heavy CC teams, or when your team is full AP.

Team Example:

Ornn Zac Ahri Ezreal Nautilus
AP Strategies

AP Playstyle

Laning Phase: Starting item should be Doran's Shield or Dark Seal where Doran's Shield is your default. 95% of the time I go First Strike and sometimes Electrocute. Katarina is very weak early compared to most champions right now, so in lane you want to farm and look for a high quality trade at levels 2-3 with a bounced wave. Pay attention to enemy cooldowns, like when Zed uses Living Shadow you can heavy trade as he lost his main source of burst damage. Staying close or even in CS is the most important thing, as completion of Nashor's Tooth makes a huge difference against most champions.

Roaming: Roaming is what makes Katarina an oppresssive champion. I generally always play for roams and not for kills in lane, which means that map awareness and lethal thresholds are important to understand. Early, your lane opponent is either going to perma shove into you or allow you to shove and move. When sidelands are overextending or you have a really strong mid/jg 2v2, you need to move and fight. Buying an early Sweeping Lens can be really beneficial for vision control of the river. Even if you can't successfuly roam, going out of vision puts a lot of pressure on the side lanes.

Mid/Late Game: In the mid game you want to look for objective skirmishes. Katarina is stronger in teamfights then a lot of midlaners in the mid game, as Nashor's Tooth and resets can destroy enemy carries. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is understanding threat assessment. You need to know what cooldowns prevent you from going in. For example, Syndra Scatter the Weak or Rakan The Quickness will shut your combo down and render you as good as dead if you go in too early. Late game, look for picks on enemy carries and continue finding good angles to enter fights. You want to maintain maximum pressure throughout the game, as although AP scales well, you still don't want to be in a 40+ minute game with this champion.
AD Strategies

AD Playstyle

Laning Phase: For AD, you want to start either Long Sword or Doran's Shield based on your lane opponent. To be clear, I think starting Doran's Shield is a little grief and I never do it, as it doesn't build into your items and early item spikes with this build are massive. You also want to look for heavier extended trades in lane, ensuring that you're stacking Conqueror and weaving in as many auto attacks as possible. You can find a lot of cheesy kills because the damage from Conqueror and autos can be surprising. I will have a chart in the starting items section that shows what item I go into every champion (without considering team comps).

Roaming: The general concept of roaming is the same as mention in the previous section. However, the AD build is much stronger in the 1v1. You can look for more picks onto the enemy JG, and more 1v1's with your lane opponent which makes roaming less of a necessity.

Mid/Late Game: This build favors being in the sidelane more than grouping with your team. The biggest difference between the AD and AP version is that AP relies on your Death Lotus in teamfights and is generally bad in a 1v1. AD is the opposite. You are quite strong in the 1v1 with Divine Sunderer and especially Blade of the Ruined King, so if you can 1v1 your opponent, look to split push and CS in the sidelane. You need to play around Sheen procs and Shunpo cooldowns. In teamfights you want to pick off carries 1 at a time. Again, your teamfight is much weaker, so look to isolate the carry and play fights slower. This style can be tricky to get used to, as your pace of play completely changes and you can't just combo into Death Lotus to win fights.
These are the standard summoner spells that you'll be taking a majority of the time. Ignite gives you more pressure in early/mid game fights, and Flash not only provides safety but also a lot of playmaking potentional with Flash Shunpo engages.

I don't take these spells often, but it's certainly viable. I generally go this more when I'm playing AD and in the sidelane more, but I also take this when I'm full AP and have no chance of killing my lane opponent, think Vladimir. Make sure you try and Teleport before 5 minutes so you have early access to Unleashed Teleport

I literally only take this combo into two matchups, Zed and Yasuo. The damage reduction with Exhaust and extra true damage with Ignite nets me a lot of early 1v1 kills. You don't have access to flash, so you need to be concoius of tracking the enemy jg, but the tradeoff is well worth it in these matchups.

This is the most rare rune page. I take this against champions like Lissandra or teams that have easy CC that guarantee my death. Other things like Zoe Sleepy Trouble Bubble as well. Generally, there needs to be more than just one lockdown CC ability that threatens me in order to take this.

I personally don't play this combo, but I know a lot of Katarina players really enjoy it. If you don't feel like you need Flash and the situation doesn't call for the other combinations, feel free to use these as your default spells.
Starting Items and Boots
Long Sword should be your starting item 95% of the time when you're going conqueror into AD. You can also take this when you're going full AP with conqueror as well, but it should be a niche pick, like the Sylas matchup.

Dark Seal is my default setup when I go full AP. Generally, it's probably better to go Doran's Shield for an easier early lane phase, but as mentioend before, I'm greedy and go this a majority of the time.

Doran's Shield is a fantastic item to help you navigate early lane phase. I'd recommend this to newer Katarina players and smart ones that want to survive in lane.

Sorcerer's Shoes are the only boots you should ever buy when you're going full AP. You may also consider buying these in the hyrbid builds if you're ahead and don't need the other stats.

Mercury's Treads are best when the biggest threats are heavy AP or if you need the extra tenacity into heavy cc teams.

Plated Steelcaps are best when the biggest threats are AD champs but mostly when you don't need the tenacity from Mercury's Treads.

Recall Examples

AP Build:

When building Nashor's Tooth you want to prioritize Blasting Wand then Fiendish Codex. Fiendish Codex isn't great, but it helps us reach our waveclear threshold. Keep in mind if you have Future's Market you get access to these components earlier.

Example: Let's say you started Doran's Shield and Health Potion

500g recall: Dark Seal Refillable Potion
1000g recall: Blasting Wand Refillable Potion
In between or Dark Seal Start? You can opt to buy Amplifying Tome or Boots. Boots are good into certain matchups early where you need to dodge skills, Amp tone feels worse but is the best buy if you can't afford Blasting Wand. An early Recurve Bow isn't optimal, but it really doesn't feel that bad either.

General Thoughts: Just make sure you prioritze getting to Nashor's Tooth. Rushing Sorcerer's Shoes can be good for roaming, but I generally try not to make the investment if I don't have to. Also, don't waste money on pink wards. If you are roaming early just buy a Sweeping Lens to gain vision control.

AD Build:

You should be starting Long Sword and either Refillable Potion or 3 Health Potion. Depending on the game, you're either rushing Blade of the Ruined King or Divine Sunderer. My Examples will cover the Divine Sunderer rush.

Note: It's very important that you do everything in your power to recall with 700g on your first base. This means you need about 6 waves worth of gold.

500g: Long Sword
750g: Sheen
1000g: Sheen and Boots

General Thoughts: Prioritize getting Sheen. If you can't afford it, make sure you're putting your gold into components. Early AD items make a big difference for our 1v1 trading, coming back to lane with just Boots will feel pretty miserable.
Skin to Win

This is the 100% factual skin tier list for maximum LP gains. If you are using a skin below A tier, just ff it.
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League of Legends Build Guide Author sullyyylol
sullyyylol Katarina Guide
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[13.18] Sullyyy's Current Pregame Katarina Guide

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