Build Guide by animorte
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Katarina is the champion I have absolutely spent the most time working with and learning to master within almost all circumstances. She is reliable either AD or AP. Thus I have provided both options and I will show you that they are equally efficient. I will give brief descriptions of each and then compare the two.
Please read before voting or commenting. If you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to know about them, and feel free to express your opinions. BUT 'please' read before making any decisions.
Katarina is made for annihilating squishies and standing up against carries to overwhelm them. She does not have the ability to wipe a tank, especially not on her own. To be honest, nobody should be focused on tanks anyway. Enemies with great CC can stop Katarina in her tracks, mainly with stuns and snares. More than anything, she takes patience. You must wait for the right time to strike, wait for the right moments to act. You can't fight a game by yourself. Your friends will understand to help you, the main reason for not taking solo ques. If you are unfamiliar with Katarina, don't be discouraged. She is underestimated and easily countered. Just learn to be patient.
I will start with attack damage.
The maximum amount of damage output highly accents Katarina's playstyle while maintaining a good use of the space. The extra damage and overall penetration allows her to stay within a fight with better sustained damage.
The few remaining points go into defense, greatly increasing her survivability.
Keep in mind that all of Katarina's abilites deal magic damage.
Bouncing Blade - This is your main tool throughout the entire game. As it increases level, it deals more damage and increases the number of enemy units it can make contact with. You can use this to solo lane, farm creeps, or jungle. You want to get its ultimate effectiveness as soon as possible.
Killer Instincts - Aside from giving each use of other basic abilities extra effects, it also increases your base damage for every attack and ability passively.
Shunpo - This ability is not used for damage. This is either used to retreat (on ocassion go in any direction faster) and use just after to decrease the damage you receive while harrassing your enemies. It is mainly increasing survivability. Your allies can help you escape by knowing its range.
Death Lotus - Your ultimate can be highly devastating. It scales to 55% of additional attack damage. After your / combo, you would use it. Beware though, that any enemy with a stun or silence of any form will completely interrupt this. Make sure it is timed well.
Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation - Even though all of her abilities deal magic damage, you will need some armor penetration because she must rely on sustained damage and your basic attacks will be more effective.
Greater Seal of Alacrity - The extra attack speed will let you hit more while your abilities are on cooldown, thus dealing more damage.
Greater Glyph of Celerity - Cooldown reduction gives the use of all your abilities more often. Although you don't rely on them, being able to hit your enemies multiple times with , even initiating AND escaping with is always nice.
Greater Quintessence of Insight - Since your abilities deal magic damage either way, you need the extra magic penetration (unless of course you are happy with ... in which case you can use whatever you want).
Sorcerer's Shoes - This is one of your best options, even going attack damage. Overall, your abilities need to penetrate as much as possible. You could also go with if you want to hit more often.
Youmuu's Ghostblade - Your main priority here is to get and then max it out after buying your other core items. You get extra armor penetration, attack damage, critical chance, and cooldown reduction. All of these will increase your damage output and all of the important parts of AD Katarina. The active turns out to be very useful in any number of situations.
The Bloodthirster - The best possible way to maximize damage is to get as much extra attack damage as possible. You want to get 2 before maxing this out, but it is the first item that you finish. The lifesteal adds to survivability and you can get if you plan to jungle earlier.
The Black Cleaver - Your second will turn into this. While giving flat attack damage, it also decreases your enemies armor with every hit. After finishing off this item, you would finally max out .
I will now move onto ability power.
Utility is everything that AP Katarina needs. The additional speed provides the lacking survivability. She heavily relies on her abilities, she needs cooldown reduction. The extra gold and experience is needed because she can't farm very well.
Keep in mind that all of Katarina's abilites deal magic damage.
Bouncing Blade - Only one point here to give Katarina the possibilty of going a solo lane. With it you can either harrass the enemy or last-hit minions if the enemies are too aggressive.
Killer Instincts - Aside from giving each use of other basic abilities extra effects, it also increases your base damage for every attack and ability passively. You want to use this with Shunpo as much as possible to increase survivability.
Shunpo - This ability is your main damage output, your nuke capability. You can initiate, escape, or chase down enemies with it. Your allies can help you escape by knowing its range.
Death Lotus - Your ultimate can be highly devastating. It scales to 30% of additional ability power. After your / combo, you would use it. Beware though, that any enemy with a stun or silence of any form will completely interrupt this. Make sure it is timed well.
Greater Mark of Insight - Since you need as much magic penetration as possible, this is probably your best source.
Greater Seal of Vitality Greater Seal of Vitality - The extra health really helps out with the lack of survivability.
Greater Glyph of Celerity - Cooldown reduction gives the use of all your abilities more often. You will heavily rely on your abilities, so you need as much use of them as possible.
Greater Quintessence of Insight - Since your abilities deal magic damage either way, you need the extra magic penetration. (You could replace this with since you rely on the abilities.)
Sorcerer's Shoes - You can't really have too much magic penetration because somebody will most often get magic resistance.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - You will have more health adding to that survivability and slow your enemies down with every ability preventing them from getting away. (Each bounce from will slow every enemy it hits.) You rush this item immediately after .
Lich Bane - You want as your first item after boots until you are ready to finish it off. activates it and takes effect on contact with the first enemy unit it hits. Shunpo also activates it and after the burst damage, you will almost always basic attack the target you went to, thus dealing even more damage in the burst.
Deathfire Grasp - You want to get Kage's Lucky Pick immediately after Ryali's Crystal Scepter where you will then start to work on . You get extra ablity power quite cheap and the gold allows you to build up to other items quicker. will max out after . You get even more cooldown reduction and ability power. The active is very useful as it greatly increases your burst capability.
Now to compare each of the two.
*Has much better farming abilities.
*More reliable sustained damage.
*Excellent burst damage.
*Good for ganking.
In greater detail...
Attack damage is better for taking a solo lane. This is because the quicker maxed out allows you to hit almost the entire minion wave and harrass the enemy without even having to put much effort into it. You can also start to jungle at lower levels successfully.
Ability power can also solo, but must be very cautious. If the enemy has a stun or snare, it is never a good idea to at them unless you have help. You rely much more on ganks while taking a solo lane.
The summoner spells are pretty basic for either one. With attack damage, Ignite is a good option in the place of Ghost. You could also use Teleport for ability power, since Exhaust will better help your allies than yourself.
The red buff is excellent for attack damage, where the blue buff would better suit you as ability power.
The lifesteal and sustained damage with attack damage will allow you to stand against other champions that are squishy-killers. Since ability power does not have such sustained damage, you must make sure that your abilities are very well-timed.
The Seals for either of the builds can be switched out for Greater Seal of Regeneration Greater Seal of Regeneration. This will help with survivability on both sides.
Even greater detail!
The reason I left the items at only 4 each is because almost all games will not last long enough for you to get more than that, assuming you even finish them. But I will now list options for extended games. Remember, these items are situational and optional depending on the circumstances of the game and your own personal preference.
Infinity Edge - This will greatly increase your attack damage even more and those crits will also hit a lot harder.
Madred's Bloodrazor - If you have any healthstackers or tanks, this will work great against them. In fact, it will work great against a lot of anything with health. It also allows you to hit faster.
Frozen Mallet - Although, it does not provide very much ability to hit harder, it prevents your enemies from getting away from you and gives you more health.
Stark's Fervor - Extra attack speed and lifesteal is always good. The passive armor reduction of all surrounding enemies also lets you deal more damage.
Hexdrinker - If you need to stay alive just a little longer, this gives you a shield. While adding some extra attack damage, you also get magic resistance.
Sword of the Occult - Since the main thing you want is attack damage, this is by far your best source. It is not a reliable item though.
Zhonya's Ring - An excellent source of AP for anybody.
Haunting Guise - An early source of health, AP, and magic penetration.
Void Staff - If you are happy with your survivability and enemies have magic resistance, this is an excellent item.
Nashor's Tooth - The most important parts here are ability power and especially cooldown reduction since you rely on abilities. Extra attack speed can't really hurt either.
Abyssal Scepter - You get more AP, magic resistance (thus survivability), and even more magic penetration.
Mejai's Soulstealer - This is of course the best possible source of AP. It is also just as unreliable as .
Defensive items for either:
Quicksilver Sash - While giving you passive magic resistance, you have your own cleanse. Against good CC teams is where this makes the biggest difference.
Sunfire Cape - LOL! Yes, you get health and armor. Even better, you get an additional 40 magic damage every second as an AoE.
Warden's Mail - You have great armor and health regeneration here. Also, anybody who hits you has a chance of slowing their own movement and attack speeds.
Guardian Angel - Aside from the armor and magic resistance, everybody knows this allows you to stay alive even when you die (on ocassion).
So...it honestly depends on your playstyle. If you prefer to stay in the fight dealing out damage all the time, go with attack damage. If you would much rather nuke people with your burst damage and then step back for a couple seconds, ability power is for you.[/i]
Thank you very much for your time, and I say again, Please read before making any decisions! Have a great day! :)