Katarina Build Guide by elnino9
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Sinister by Choice
+12 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive
Item Options (Notes)
Example Build #1 (Reliable)
Threats to Katarina with this build
|Veigar||Play aggressive pre level 6. If he uses his Q to farm, play aggressive as he walks up to last hit CS. Juke his other abilities if he cages you in. He's very squishy so punish his weak early, he will most of the time over-extend for CS to stack his Q.|
|Ziggs||Dodge his Q bombs. Go aggressive if his abilities are on CD. Ziggs is a mana user and has to use up a lot of mana to poke, go in when he has none. He's Squishy and not really one of the hardest matchup, if Ziggs overextends go aggressive. Watch for his satchel when going for an all-in. Start Doran shield against him or boots to avoid his Q bombs, both good options.|
Hey! I am a Katarina Main Twitch Streamer since 2013 and I have continously updated my Katarina guide since season 3, if you have any questions about Katarina, feel free to stop by and ask me questions live!
Follow my stream at Twitch.tv/Alninio9
Easiest method to reach out to me is through my Discord server if you have any questions regarding Katarina changes or if you are seeking simple advice, You can join our discord server here, which currently has over 200+ members:
Alninio's Discord Server ►https://discord.gg/AxG4AEr
July 22nd 2018 - New champion matchups added: Wukong Zoe Galio & Riven - Absoloute focus has become one of my favourite sorcery runes so it is now my main slot for secondary - it really helps you get more kills during the laning phase. Polished up the guide, removed few mistakes. NEW VIDEO ADDED - short version of my katarina guide chapter, check it out!
What about the Katarina Nerf Alninio?
What is Katarina's state right now as of patch 8.14 and onwards?
Season 7 Assassin Update Changes
I'd like to keep the changes to Katarina here incase you haven't caught up with the assassin rework.
Remains the same with her resets on assists/kills.
Her spin damage on Voracity is one of the most important things in her kit as it adds a lot to your damage, try not to miss it.
Spin damage scales up per champion level.
Bouncing Blades (Q):
Now bounces few units behind the enemy target/minion, dagger lands exact same time even if it doesn't bounce on 3 targets.
The dagger bounces 3 times instead of 5.
You can Shunpo on Bouncing Blades before it lands on the ground.
Takes a little bit of time to land on the ground.
Gives movement speed/scales up with every point in it.
AD % gone down from 65% to 55%, she still remains very solid with her early damage.
Can Shunpo directionally on daggers/enemies.
Shunpo is refunded a certain amount of %CD when she uses Shunpo on a dagger on these levels: 1/6/11/16
Death Lotus (R):
Still had AD/AP scalings.
Daggers thrown per second is noticeably faster.
Here is my video rundown on Patch 6.22, the Patch when the Assassins got reworked to help you catch up on Katarina and note on the important things you need to know.
I have been playing Katarina for well over 7 years and have played her throughout many games. Her rework redefines her in many ways and so a new era arises for her. I started streaming Katarina games in 2013 and grew a fan base ever since.
Be sure to follow me up on my stream at:
You can look at my OPGG profile here to see how much experience I've had with Katarina over the years, this guide is purely from within learning from my own mistakes and improving as a player both mechanically and decision making wise.
Here are the 6 reasons why you should play Katarina, a video that helps you see what makes Katarina a blade-wielding beast and why you should play her.
Voracity | Passive
Whenever an enemy champion dies within 3 seconds of Katarina damaging them, her cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.
DAGGERS: Whenever Katarina touches a Dagger on the ground, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies, dealing 75 - 285 (Based on levels 1/6/11/16) (+ 100% bonus AD) (+ 55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AP) magic damage and consuming the Dagger.
Daggers last 4 seconds before disappearing.
Bouncing Blades (Q)
Katarina throws a Dagger to the target enemy that bounces to up to 2 nearby unaffected enemies, dealing magic damage to each target.
After bouncing to its targets, the Dagger then lands on the ground opposite from where it struck the first target. The Dagger always takes the same amount of time to land from the time it was cast.
COOLDOWN: 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 (Seconds)
RANGE: 675 Units
MAGIC DAMAGE: 75 / 105 / 135 / 165 / 195 (+ 30% AP)
Katarina tosses a Dagger into the air at her current location, which lands after 1.5 seconds, and gains bonus movement speed that decays over 1.25 seconds.
COOLDOWN: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 (Seconds)
RANGE: On-cast ability where you're standing.
BONUS MOVEMENT SPEED: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90%
Katarina blinks to the target location around the target unit or Dagger.
If the target is an enemy, Katarina deals them magic damage. Otherwise, she deals the same magic damage to the nearest enemy in range.
Picking up a Dagger reduces Shunpo cooldown by 78 / 84 / 90 / 96%.
COOLDOWN: 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8 (Seconds)
RANGE: 700 Units
MAGIC DAMAGE: 25 / 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 (+ 25% AP) (+ 65% AD)
Death Lotus (R)
Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a dagger every 0.166 seconds to each nearby enemy champion, up to a maximum of 3 at a time, dealing them magic damage and applying Grievous Wounds icon Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds.
Moving or reactivating Death Lotus immediately ends its effects.
COOLDOWN: 90 / 60 / 45 (Seconds)
RANGE: 550 Units
MAGIC DAMAGE PER DAGGER: 25 / 37.5 / 45 (+ 19% AP) (+ 22% bonus AD)
PROS and CONS
- One of the strongest assassins in the game.
- No MANA! :D
- Can escape scary situations with shunpo, can be used on minions or allies
- Has the most amazing skins<3
- Snowballs hard
- Lots of AoE damage
- High mobility
- Healing/Damage reduction ability
- An aggresive laning phase.
- Countered by CC, Tanky Champions, and Champions with high mobility
- Needs time to master.
- Brings nothing to the team aside from damage
- Melee attack range
Short Version Of My Katarina Guide | Video
For those who just want to see me explain all the most essential points of this Katarina guide, I have an updated video on that, explaining everything from build paths, Runes, items, when you should buy a certain item etc etc.
Here is everything you need to know about Katarina
What Every Mid Laner Needs To Know
Mechanics are one thing - knowledge is another.
Here are some tips to help you win mid lane, mechanics are a big part of the game surely but I've never really digged deep into what makes YOU a good mid laner in my videos as I mostly focus on the mechanical aspects of Katarina during both the laning phase and in teamfights, and pretty much every stage of the game and in this video I explain exactly just that.
I think it's important to take a step back and understand what makes you a good mid laner in every context rather than simply your ability to play Katarina, instead of focusing on your mechanical aspect of your playstyle, we focus on a wider range as it should be for all mid laners. The Video will help you see the full puzzle rather than the 3/4 of it.
Hope it helps out, see ya'll on the rift!
Katarina Combos Explained in one video
How to WIN Games with Katarina & Why you lose
How to FULLY make use of your resets
Understanding all your Shunpo Refund Cooldowns on every level
In this next video, I explain how to properly wave clear using Shunpo, Preparation and Bouncing Blades. Where you position with Shunpo matters a lot and it pretty much results where your Bouncing Blades will land depending where you Shunpo.
"What about this rune page Alninio?"
I am no longer going for this rune page because coup de grace has been nerfed,
Katarina's passive damage has been nerfed aswell, and so was triumph. Triumph is still the best option for Katarina in this tree. There are actually other good options now for Katarina. I checked the damage I dealt by end game and coup de grace really just does EXTREMELY low damage and you only really deal that damage when they are low health. Sorcery however provides you with consistent AP that will always be good throughout every stage of the game and resolve is also a fantastic options for Katarina against the harder matchups.
Sustain Runes for Tough matchups where you start Doran's Shield
This rune is fantastic against harder matchups. You go for this rune page if you are planning to start Doran's Shield. This gives you the epitome of sustain due to Iron Skin and doran's shield, along with the free HP you receive for selecting resolve and extra health you get from Doran's Shield - You easily get over 700+HP at level 1, far more than your enemy laner. Go for these runes in tougher matchups such as Vladimir, Ryze or mega poke champions like Xerath.
Aggressive runes for when you start The Dark Seal
You go for these runes when you want to be aggressive. This is your standard rune page now instead of coup de grace and triumph because those were nerfed. This rune page allows flexbility since it gives both good roaming potential/chasing/escaping along with the ability to scale into the mid/late game with gathering storm. Giving you increased AP is the way to go now for Katarina and this is one of the best rune pages in terms of snowballing and elevating yourself towards Mid/Late game.
You can go scorch if you wish or absolute focus since both are great options.
You can choose one of these three items here, I personally begin with The Dark Seal or Doran's Shield. The Dark Seal of it's glory stacks which help you a ton early game and it also has a 25% increased healing from potions, allowing you to sustain lane at a higher rate than without The Dark Seal.
Doran's Shield is also probably one of the BEST starting items on Katarina as it allows you to sustain thanks to the item's health regen, it's also very good for last hitting minions thanks to it's passive and this is the ideal starting item in most situations. Buy this against poke/ranged champions, in matchups where you feel like you will be hit a lot or simply buy it for the increased survivability rate that the item provides which I think is fantastic on Katarina.
You can start Long Sword if you feel like you want extra AD early on to aggress, however I absoloutley would recommend The Dark Seal because of it's glory stacks and gives you more AP for every kill/assist. It helps Katarina immensely early on since she tends to be a very aggressive laner. I put this here as an option even though I don't go for it, because I get that there are a lot of different ways to play Katarina but generally, in my opinion; this starting item is usually a big no no.
This is your next item, which I consider CORE on current Katarina when running this rune page. the Greater Mark of Attack Damage along with 2x Long Sword helps out a ton when dealing damage. your Shunpo, Voracity & Death Lotus all have % AD scalings which makes Hextech Gunblade a much better item than before. Luden's Echo used to be pretty much your go-to rush item, but Luden's Echo rush feels a lot weaker now compared to Hextech Gunblade for the simple reason that your Bouncing Blades poke damage in lane is not what Katarina does anymore and you can't drop their health hard enough. You have to be more 'up close in your face' now by catching daggers and dealing damage, making Hextech Gunblade an ideal choice.
Here is how you build Hextech Gunblade properly to deal the best amount of damage possible before the item is completed with it's recipe that benefits your kit the most:
The reason you don't rush Bilgewater Cutlass is because Hextech Revolver basic attack is crucial when it comes to trading against your opponent. Double Long Sword helps with your Voracity & Shunpo damage but completing it to Bilgewater Cutlass doesn't help you as much with trading as Hextech Revolver does.
You should also buy Sorcerer's Shoes rather than building Bilgewater Cutlass after you are done with Hextech Revolver because it does NOT add much to your damage, the active only deals 100 Damage, you are better off with movement speed & flat magic penetration that comes with Sorcerer's Shoes. Build smart, and you'll see a difference in your overall damage.
The situational items, here buy accordingly to the flow of the game.
This is a decent item on Katarina because the flat magic penetration that it gives is far too good on Katarina aswell as the survivability thanks to it's HP. You usually want to buy this after finishing Hextech Gunblade and it's very good for snowballing. This item is very good in the early/mid game stages where Katarina is a monster - she is more well known for being a monster towards the mid game rather than early game. This is basically the same as the old Haunting Guise except Haunting Guise gives you more AP.
If you feel like you need a defensive item in your current situation, simply skip this item for a Zhonya's Hourglass should the situation arise e.g if you're VS A Zed. Sometimes, going Oblivion Orb isn't always a must, but it sure gets the job done in terms of snowballing.
You can upgrade this to Morellonomicon if you wish or sell it later for a Liandry's Torment
An actual decent item to get. It does damage based on how long you are in a teamfight - Katarina.
Liandry's Torment also does % MAX HP damage now instead of % current HP which means it will be even BETTER to get in the late game! Make use of this item against HP stackers and make use of the passive it provides in teamfights, those stacks go up fast the longer you are in fights and for the most part, you are fighting for extended periods of time as Katarina
This item has excellent raw stats for Katarina but it has proven to be not the best item towards late game for someone like Katarina - don't get me wrong, this is a FANTASTIC item but I really don't think you should have it by 40+ minutes - Sell it for a Liandry's Torment by late game. If anything, this is purely a strong early/mid game item to get. The flat magic penetration is great to have when enemies have no MR or LOW mr, it is not good when people start stacking MR. When do people not have MR? Early & mid game! Katarina's shining point is towards the mid game.
It still gives 300HP allowing you to survive early on, but I honestly think there are better options going towards late game and that being Liandry's Torment. If you are 40+ mins in, I highly suggest selling Morellonomicon
This item is honestly great. It has a recipe of Needlessly Large Rod and can work for many players, but this is not my style of gameplay. It focuses a lot on getting "charges" and "elevating" yourself based on charges which gives me dark harvest vibes and I'm not that big of a fan of scaling into the game with charges. Katarina does raw damage, and I like to keep it that way.
Want a snowballing item? that's why Rabadon's Deathcap is there and it is one of the best snowballing items in the game. With that said, Spellbinder is not a bad item, it's just not the first thing that comes to mind for me.
You want to build this item when against an AD champion like Zed, Yasuo or Talon. The active helps and you really don't lose out on much damage because Zhonya's Hourglass is both a good aggresive/defensive item, allowing you to jump in fights and zhonya afterwards when you're in trouble. It's also a SAFE item purchase, suitable in every situation and NOT only against AD champions. This item is both good when snowballing and when losing as it's guaranteed safety active is phenomenal to have on a champion like Katarina. This is easily one of the best items on Katarina.
No longer a valid option for Katarina - it now uses mana. Quite self-explanatory.
Another invalid option for Katarina - never go for this. Ever.
Grab this item if you feel you need the HP/slow. It's cheap and it works. It's also buffed if you're reading this in patch 8.4 and onwards! It now has more AP and can be a valid choice later on in the game, wouldn't buy this early on however because there are far better core items to get.
One of the best snowballing items in the game, and now it's even better! It has a recipe of two Needlessly Large Rod and plenty of AP, it also costs less. Grab this as you progress later on in the game. I buy this as my 5th or 6th item.
Under certain circumstances, Banshee's Veil can prove to be an ABSOLOUTLEY phenominal choice thanks to it's passive, which blocks an enemy spell. I wouldn't consider this CORE as you'd only want to purchase it against AP champions to make the full use of the MR it gives. This is also a great item if you're buying it as a last item because blocking enemy spells in the late game can be crucial.
The CDR the item gives is a good thing to have in there and the recipe is fantastic. There is no more Negatron Cloak rush thankfully, this helps Katarina a lot because Negatron Cloak rush just shuts her early laning phase to a complete stop and it becomes hard to be oppressive during lane.
You most certainly need this item in every game because it penetrates Base MR/MR from runes/masteries etc etc. Don't delay Void Staff too much, this would be your 3rd or 4th item at most because it's %35 magic penetration is too much to pass on.
This item now has a B. F. Sword as part of it's recipe. It can still be very effective under certain circumstances but as for now, I avoid purchasing it because I feel the other items are more suited for Katarina and the AD part of this only really helps out on the early levels. I wouldn't highly recommend this at the moment.
Overall, this is how your build would typically look like:
Keep in mind this is never a set order, if you feel you need Zhonya's Hourglass earlier to deal with that Vi ultimate, go for it. Buy whatever Item you feel like you need most.
NEW Items in Patch 8.4 Explained - What does this mean for Katarina?
Luden's Echois no longer a relevant item for Katarina because it now uses mana.
Hextech Gunblade is the new best thing on Katarina. Since her abilities now having AD scalings on her Shunpo, Death Lotus and Voracity it's more of a reason to buy this item. With the correct rune page, this item is a monster. This is why I go for the Greater Mark of Attack Damage as buying 2x Long Sword early can really help with the overall damage. I wouldn't rush into Bilgewater Cutlass because that's a horrendous item rush to go for, go 2x Long Sword then buy Hextech Revolver.
Hextech Revolver empowers your basic attack, so make sure you do give out an auto attack during laning phase or when skirmishing. This is my go to item at the moment because I love the burst damage it gives out and the other reason being is that Luden's Echo as a rush item is NOT as good as it used to be with old Katarina with that being said, a combination of both Hextech Gunblade AND Luden's Echo is extremley powerful since you have the active damage + Luden's passive damage for initial burst. You already do so much damage before you even lay out your full burst damage!
Abyssal Maskis a terrible item on Katarina - never grab this.
I usually would never go for this, it's WAY too risky of an item to go for and it's usually not worth it. It's mostly an unnecesary risk to take because in LoL, mistakes tend to happen. just stick to your main crucial items and you'll be fine. This item is good however if you play in the lower elos and you're confident with Katarina.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is now a lot stronger than before and has been buffed with additional AP. A valid choice now, more-so than before.
Haunting Guise is a fantastic item in extended long fights, and usually is a great item when enemies stack health. Grab this later on in the game against high HP champions or in games where you can't hit the backline strong enough. It is still one of the best items to get in the late game.
Deathfire Grasp is the key to everything in life, except it's gone. Forever. ;_; #neverforget
An important item for all AP carries, definatley grab this for maximum damage, this is a self explanatory item and is a must on Katarina when given the chance to buy it. Don't greed for this item however, don't purchase it when you are behind. It's a HIGHLY offensive item and sometimes it is better to purchase a Zhonya's Hourglass or Banshee's Veil first. It's also very expensive.
Void Staff is one of the best items in League Of Legends. Not just on Katarina, but for all mid laners. It ignores 35% of the enemy's magic resist dealing significant damage. this is a must get, it synchronizes really well with sorcerer shoes's magic penetration, this is your bread and butter late game when the enemy starts building MR.
Guardian Angel used to be a great last item, but it has received recipe changes. It now has a B.F. sword as part of it's recipe and a Cloth Armor - I would avoid buying this on Katarina - It is mostly ment for AD fighters/AD carries now such as Wukong, Riven, Jinx etc etc.
A great item to have for those AD assassins like Zed or Yasuo but that's not always the reason we get this item. Zhonya's Hourglass active is what makes it what it is. Annie flashed in your range to throw her tibbers? pop Zhonya. Zed uses Death Mark on you? Pop Zhonya. Syndra uses her ult? Pop Zhonya. Zhonya's Hourglass just adds so much more flexibility to your kit allowing you to make risky plays and make strong initiatives.
This item simply compliments Katarina's playstyle in every way.
If you are a ranked Solo queue player, this is by far the most important thing to keep in mind. EVERY League Of Legends player needs to know this, period. If you want to have better vision control overall, you need to understand how every lane manages their wards. Learning Katarina is not just understanding her mechanically, but understanding the entire game as a whole is truly mastering the game and allows you to perform at an extreme rate with Katarina as you begin to understand ward patterns and many other things such as the enemy player's behaviour, etc etc.
Mid Lane Warding | Indepth Precision
Here are my preffered warding spots when playing mid lane for both control wards and totems. It's a video showing the indepth precision with the warding and how it should be done inside bushes, even the placement of it matters and determines how much it actually reveals.
My Katarina Montages!
I will post my latest Katarina Montage here when I do make them.
1/2/2017 - Katarina Montage #17 - 'If you don't fight, you die.'
Here is one example of my coaching session with a viewer on my stream who requested a coach session on Katarina. My coach sessions can take up to 3 hours as I really like to go in detail and explain all the mistakes that are done in the game, I only coach Katarina players.
And yes, the coaching is free. Here is an example of a coach session:
Katarina Full Ranked Games | My Episodic Series
If you guys would like to learn just how exactly I play Katarina, I have a full playlist dedicated to that on my youtube channel. I have ALOT of parts and ALOT of matchups, so maybe you'll learn a few things here and there.
Here is one of my episodes just to give you an idea:
Follow me on my
You can see me live, you can ask me questions on twitch chat directly and I will answer them on the spot. I pretty much play Katarina whenever she's not banned.
Want to contact me? Still want more information?
Click here for my Facebook fan page
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Hope you guys found this helpful.
Thanks for reading!
Check me out on twitch livestream if you are interested in seeing more of me playing as Katarina, I can give you advice LIVE. All viewers can chat with me.