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Katarina Build Guide by Darkmoshiumi

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Darkmoshiumi

AD Katarina, The True Sinister Blade

Darkmoshiumi Last updated on June 2, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 11

Honor Guard

Defense: 19


Utility: 0

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As many of you are probably wondering the first question is "Why?" The main argument made against AD kat is that the scalings aren't as high and therefore it is weaker than AP Katarina. But the people who make these arguments are forgetting quite a few things.

1. AD Kat is not only a different build, but also a different playstyle. Just changing to this build but playing like AP kat will cause yourself to get **** on in game.

2. Champions who are AD not only do damage through skills but also Auto-attacks. If you completely ignore auto attacks when talking about scalings then you miscalculate a lot of potential damage.

3. Being an AP caster requires you to be extremely dependent on cooldowns. If you can't get a kill or an assist in a teamfight, AP Kat is now useless because all her spells are on cooldown. Building AD makes it so you can stay in the fight longer while still dealing damage, it also makes her cooldowns more of an asset rather than a requirement.

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Short Introduction

This is my First guide here on Mobafire and I hope you guys like it! I am currently in Gold IV at the time of this guide, but I am working my way up. I will be covering almost everything you need to know to play AD Katarina.

Now for a short description of AD Katarina:
AD Katarina is a Bruiser who deals both magic and physical damage and excels at chasing. With all her gapclosers as well as slows from items, enemies will have a hard time escaping from her. Normally Katarina is extremely squishy and requires you to find a good time to enter the teamfight, AD Katarina can enter early and deal damage upfront as well as surviving long enough for the cleanup.

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Greater Mark/Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage
This makes it so even if you have a bad early game, you still have quite a bit of damage late game so you aren't a burden to your team. However, if you have a good early game it still provides a nice boost in damage to your late game damage.

Greater Seal of Armor
As most top laners are attack damage based and since Katarina has a low base armor, it is always nice to have the early armor.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Makes you bulkier in late game fights, and since most top laners are physical you don't need that much MR. On top of that, this pairs nicely with Katarina's natural MR/lvl.

Also Viable

Greater Seal/Glyph of Scaling Attack Damage
For obvious reasons this gives you more attack damage for late game, however this goes at the risk of being extremely squishy during the game.

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
This is nice when you're up against an AP top laner, and it will provide you with a good amount of armor into the late game.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
This is also nice when you're up against an AP top laner, making it easier for exchanges and trades, however it don't give you as much MR late game as the Scaling does.

Greater Mark/Quintessence/Glyph of Magic Penetration
These runes make it so your spells hit harder, however this gives no benefit for your auto attacks, which in term sacrifices more damage than you gain from these runes.

Greater Mark/Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration
These give great boosts of damage to both your auto attacks and your abilities, however I haven't experimented with them on AD katarina, so I can't give a preference for these.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
This gives a nice little boost to your chasing potential, however as Katarina's chasing potential is already so high, in most cases these aren't entirely necessary.

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Summoner's Wrath: You can take this for the Ignite mastery, as you'll most likely be running it.

Sorcery: Although you're not AP, the 4% cooldown reduction might be the difference between life and death.

Deadliness: Attack damage per level, being an AD bruiser there is no reason not to take this.

Havoc: the 1.33% boost to your damage might actually be more than you'd imagine, and once again can be the difference between life or death.


Durability and Veteran Scars: This health is a nice little bit of survivability in the late game.

Hardiness: Katarina's Base Armor is a bit low so the extra 5 armor really helps in lane.

Resistance: Helps against those pesky AP casters.

Unyielding and Block: Helps you win those early exchanges with your lane opponent.

Tenacious and Relentless: Helps you chase and prevents slows and cc from stopping you.

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Pros / Cons


Amazing Chaser
Great Pusher
Can't be shut down by Blind or Silence alone
Great Laning phase against most champs
Good Short/Medium Ranged Poke
Great Escape Mechanics
Deals Magic, Physical AND True Damage
Hard to gank
Not reliant on Cooldowns

Hard CC can shut Katarina down easily (not exclusive to AD Kat)
Lacks Long Ranged Poke
Has a hard time against Ranged Top laners ex. Teemo, Urgot, Quinn (Yes, I count her as a top laner)
No Lane sustain
Relies on a fairly good early game in order to scale well into late game (also not exclusive to AD)

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Summoner Spells

It's great for both Initiating and Escaping when your Shunpo is on Cooldown, or when you want to really catch your enemies off-guard with a double blink.

Great for securing kills as well as reduce healing on those pesky top laners such as Vladimir or Swain.

Also Good:

Great for both the slow and the damage reduction, makes it so you can easily out trade anyone in a all in 1v1. Also good in teamfights for exhausting the enemy ADC.

Great for splitpushing and ganking. You can also just use this for getting back to your lane faster.

Nice to pair with your ult, you can also use it to bait the enemy into a dive.

Since Katarina is so shutdown by hard CC, this can make it easier to chase, however you can't use it to have an uninterruptable ult.

Lets Katarina chase even harder, and pairing this with the bonus movement speed from your W makes for a very quick Katarina.

Good since you have bad lane sustain and you can also use it to bait, however if you're just looking for the baiting aspect I'd invest in Barrier instead.

Spells to NOT pick:

You're Manaless... Enough said.

Unless you're planning to jungle you don't need this.
(Just a side note, this build can be used as a jungle build, just start with a Machete and 5 health pots instead. I won't be covering Jungle Katarina in this Guide)

This is extremely situational, the only use I can see for it is to use to shunpo to the jungle creeps when you need to escape, however if you just buy wards you can just ward-jump.

You really don't need revive, the cooldown is way too long, and ontop of that it doesn't really show any benefit for Katarina other than late game if your entire team is dead.

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Spells (Abilities)

[PASSIVE] Voracity

Scoring a kill or assist will reduce the cooldowns of Katarina's abilities by 15 seconds.

This is the reason why Katarina is such a cleanup champion. For each kill or assist she gets 15 seconds off all her spells, meaning that she gets an instant reset on all her normal abilities as well as a reduced ult time. If she gets 3 kills, assists, or some combination of the two, she can ult for a second time in the same teamfight.

[Q] Bouncing Blade

Katarina throws a dagger that bounces quickly from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target.
Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark to deal additional magic damage.

Now this skill isn't too important as AD Katarina, but taking a Spirit of the Elder Lizard makes it decent harass with the true damage DoT. It is also helpful for killing a stray minion every now and then. It is also nice for that extra little bit of damage that might result in a kill.

[W] Sinister Steel

Katarina whirls her daggers around her, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area. If she hits an enemy champion, Katarina gains Movement Speed for a short duration.

This is the Iconic spell that you will be using a lot. It has a 60% Bonus AD scaling and DOES NOT INTERRUPT MOVEMENT OR AUTOATTACKS, if you autoattack at the same time as you use your W you can effectively get a 160% bonus AD scaling in mixed damage plus your base damage onto a single target. Ontop of all this it grants you an extra 15%/20%/25%/30%/35% movement speed buff for one second making it an effective mini-gapcloser. This makes AD Katarina the feared chaser that she is. (keep in mind that this spell normally has a 25% AP scaling)

[E] Shunpo

Katarina instantly moves to her target's location and takes 15% reduced damage from enemies for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, she deals magic damage.

Although this spell does not do much damage it is your main gapcloser causing you to blink behind your target if it is an enemy as well as dealing a small amount of Magic Damage and in-front of if it is an ally. Using this spell usually allows you to line up a free autoattack as it puts you into melee range, the few exceptions to this is if the enemy uses an escape of their own (such as flash) to get away immediately after you shunpo to them. This spell also gives a slight damage reduction buff, knowing this can help you in trades.

[R] Death Lotus

Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, channeling for 2 seconds throw up to 30 blades to nearby enemy champions. Katarina throws up to 10 blades at 0.2 second intervals, dealing magic damage and applying Grievous Wounds to the closest 3 enemy champions. Grievous Wounds lasts for 3 seconds and reduces incoming healing by 50%. An enemy champion can be hit by a maximum of 10 daggers over the 2 seconds.

Now this is the spell that defines Katarina as both AP and AD, dealing Massive amounts of damage to up to three targets over two seconds. Now building AP would normally give a 200% AP scaling, But building AD gives this spell a 300% bonus AD scaling. This spell is amazing damage and is a great contributor to teamfights. However since it can be stopped by CC it is highly recommended to use after the enemy team uses all their hard cc.

[Pro Tip] You can use all summoners (except Flash and Teleport) during your ultimate without cancelling it

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Your role in game is to deal damage, tank damage, chase down high priority targets and force the enemy team to scatter into an unfavorable position for them.

When you shunpo onto someone your basic combo should be:
E > Autoattack > W + Autoattack > Autoattack > (Botrk if you have it) > Autoattack > W + Autoattack

Since your W has no channel time and doesn't interrupt movement or autoattacks, you can time them both at the same time to make best use of your time and also for a surprising amount of burst towards the enemy. Although your combo doesn't have to be exactly like the one above, you can get a basic idea of how to play AD Katarina off of it.

In more extended exchanges, mainly during the laning phase. Your job is to whittle down the enemy's health with your Sinister Steel [W] until you know you can dive in for the kill, make sure you take into account the enemy's summoners however, this is the easiest way to get baited into an easy kill for the enemy.

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Spirit of the Elder Lizard
This item not only gives all of your spells the a true damage DoT, but it also gives the same AD as a BF sword(45 AD) all while still giving 10% CDR. In my opinion, this is a MUST HAVE on AD Katarina.

For Chasing, Take one:

Frozen Mallet
Personally I LOVE frozen mallet on this build. This item gives the durability of having extra 700 HP as well as giving you that amazing slow on all auto attacks, making it near impossible to run away from you. That's not even including the 30 AD you get from this item.

Blade of the Ruined King (Or Botrk for short)
This item gives the extra Attack Speed making it easier to trade, as well as having the active that slows your enemy, gives you the movement speed it slows them by, AND it steals 15% of their max health. It's a nice chasing tool, but it still leaves you with a need for more health.

Shurelya's Reverie
Although this is a support item, it is still nice on Katarina. It gives her 10% CDR, 250 Health, and also 10 Health regen and the active 40% movement speed for 3 seconds. On top of that, the early Philosopher's Stone is nice if you're behind in CS.

Iceborn Gauntlet
This item gives you the Sheen proc that also applys a slow on your next auto attack. Since your Sinister Steel's CD has a Base of 4 seconds (3.6 seconds with this item) and sheen has a cooldown of 3 seconds, it amkes it easy to keep the enemy at bay with permanent slows. And that isn't even including the armor you get from this item, and the ability power isn't entirely wasted either. The only problem I have with building this item is the fact that all the mana you get from it is entirely wasted.

Against AP Heavy Team:

Maw of Malmortius
This item gives the the extra Magic damage blocking shield that will save you too many times to count against an AP lane. On top of that it will give you a good amount of MR and an amazing passive that gives even more AD. All in all, this is an amazing item on AD Katarina.

Mercurial Scimitar
What more could you want from an item? 60 AD, 45 MR, AND an active that removes all cc currently on your champion! Not only that, but Katarina is a Melee champ so she benefits from the 50% movement speed for 1 second. Great against Malzahars, Warwicks, and Skarners.

Against AD Heavy Team:

Atma's Impaler
Since you'll probably be building some form of health either from Warmogs, Frozen Mallet, or Randiuns, this will give you a nice bit of AD, as well as giving Armor. To top it all off the Avarice blade is amazing early game item since Katarina is so good at farming you'll make great use of the gold passive.

Locket of the Iron Solari
Armor, CDR, Health, and Health regen, this gives all the stats that Katarina needs, not only that but the shield is nice in teamfights and can save you or your teammate from certain doom from DoT.

Randiun's Omen
This item gives you Armor, and Health. Not only that but the Cold Steel passive helps win trades in lane. And the active is just amazing on Katarina, you can use it while chasing, while being chased, and also right before your ultimate to make sure nobody runs away! MWHAHAHAHA >:D

General Survivability:

Warmog's Armor
1000 Health, and a passive that heals 1% of your maximum health every 5 seconds? With Katarina's low sustain, why would you not want this?

Ruby Sightstone
Another Support item that is great on Katarina! The five wards you get from this means up to 5 ward jumps, this makes for some amazing escapes. Not only that but it gives 360 health as well. Plus, your support, and your team, will love you.

Guardian Angel
Just an amazing item on any champ. This will make the enemy team think twice about focusing you during a teamfight, and gives you an extra four seconds in a teamfight, so if you do fall in a team fight, you can still do cleanup duty. And to top it all off, it gives you armor and magic resistance to make you that much harder to kill.


Sorcerer Shoes
Since all your skills deal magic damage, picking up these boots will increase your damage by quite a bit.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
No Mana costs? No problem! All Katarina needs is more cooldown reduction!

Mercury Treads
Having trouble against a CC-comp or an annoying AP caster? Time to pick up Mercury Treads.

Ninja Tabi
The enemy team has tons of AD? More armor and damage reduction!

Enchantments: (Sub Category)

Most of the time you'll be picking these up since you chase so well, why not get more chasing potential? Sadly though, Shunpo doesn't count as a single target ability.

The only time you should get this is when you're turtling, so you can rush into the enemies destroying your base at lighting speeds.

Only good if you have Two out of the three summoner's: Flash, Ghost, Teleport.

Great if you're roaming a lot, or if you just barely can't shunpo to the enemy.

Great if you're going on a tankier route, it makes it easier for the rest of your team to follow up on you or your allies' initiation.

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Early Game (Laning Phase)

Katarina excels in top lane, however she can also be played mid if needed. This is usually a farming lane, as well as a aggressive lane. This is especially easy against a melee champion, as you can usually position yourself so that your Sinister Steel hits both the minions and the enemy's champion. Don't hesitate to throw out your Bouncing Blade for cs, you have no mana costs so you have no reason not to. Just don't go and blow your Shunpo unnecessarily, it is not just your initiate, but also your escape. Tower diving is fine as Katarina as long as you are certain you can get the kill, if you try for the dive and the enemy doesn't die, you end up taking a lot of tower damage and most likely dying to the tower.

Collaborating with Ganks

Now for Katarina, she's all damage and doesn't have her slows yet in this stage of the game. Try to get your jungler to go in first, and you to follow up. Since you don't have any CC if you initiate you might cause the enemy lane to flee, even before your jungler reveals his/herself.

Being Ganked

Now this isn't a situation you want to be in, the slightest slip-up can result in your death. The easiest way to avoid this is by buying wards. The best choice of escape from a gank usually depends on where the jungler is coming from. And where the minion waves are currently located.

1. If the Minion wave is just arriving.
Shunpo to an allied minion. This is the easiest situation to escape.

2. No minion wave is coming, Jungler is coming from the direction of your turret. Simply Shunpo onto the enemy jungler then use your Sinister Steel for the movement speed and retreat to your turret.

3. No minion wave is coming, Jungler is coming from the side or from lane. Now this is the hardest situation to get out of as the jungler has very little distance to cover to catch you, Shunpo to the minion or champion closest to the allied tower. If a champion gets too close, use Sinister Steel for the movement speed to get away.

Mid Game (Tower Siege Phase)

By now you should at least have your item used for chasing. Try to whittle down the hp of the champion you're seiging. Due to your passive you should easily be able to dive them and get out alive, afterwards you should take their tower. Try not to initiate the tower dive if avoidable, try getting your jungler or support to initiate. Reasoning behind this is that you aren't that tanky yet, and you're in the middle ground between hard to kill and easy to kill.

Late game (Teamfight Phase)

Similar to AP Kat, at this point in the game your ult should do a lot of damage, there are many different ways to approach teamfighting, Instead of staying in the back until you see one or two people get low like AP Katarina traditionally does, go in and follow up with your team's initiation and deal damage as well as soak up some of the damage, and then like AP Katarina when you see one or two of them get low, start channeling your ult.

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Final comments

If the first time you use this build you don't have the best results, then don't call this build bad you should instead,

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Rome wasn't built in a day, and your skills won't be perfect after one game. All builds have potential to be great but not if you don't give them the chance.

And as a disclaimer to those who want to as to make a video of this guide, I will say right here, NO! If anyone is to make a video guide it is going to be me, so don't even bother asking me.

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6/2/2013 - Guide Added
6/2/2013 - Quintessences Changed, TBH I thought I put AD/lvl on there instead of Magic Pen, my bad.