Katarina Build Guide by aethelthryth
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Hi everyone! Today we will be talking about a very agressive Katarina AP build that focuses on an extremely strong early-to-midgame which pays off with an incredible lategame if executed correctly. This build works perfectly for as well as a midding Katarina as for a laning Katarina. It's prime goal is an early first blood which gives you enough gold to open with a very quick Kage's Luky Pick.
For runes we take Armor Penetration Marks, Evasion Seals, Flat Ability Power Glyphs and Flat Ability Power Quints. With them Katarina becomes an extremely potent early game harass unit that can easily claim a quick first blood with the help of Summoner Ignite and Summoner Exaust. Also her high ability power allows her to open up with Boots if Speed and 3 Health potions insted of a Tome.
For Mastaries we take an agressive 21-9-0, puting a point in both Cripple and Burning Embers. Cripple helps your chasing (and Katarina is a very viable chaser),while the ability power from Burning Embers pushes your early game agvantages even further. In Defens you go as far as the speed bonus for dodging. Keep in mind that with our Dodge seals we will be benefiting a ton from that.
Our Item Build is pretty straight forward. You open up with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions. After you use them up (around lvl 6) you should have enough gold on your first recall to upgrade into Sorcerer's Boots and buy a Kage's Lucky Pick. Keep in mind that the Lucky Pick needs 11 minutes to pay back the upgrade and another 15 to pay back the Tome. So don't be hasty on selling it back. Kage's Lucky Pick isn't only a late-game mini-investment since the bonus AP you get from it is more than enough to compensate for the slower Rabadon's Deathcap you will build later. After the extremely important Lucky Pick you want to get your Hextech Revolver and make a descicion: Will you make it into a Will of the Ancients or a Hextech Gunblade. If you have a single good caster on your team it is a mandatory condition that the Katarina has the Will of the Ancients, since she will benefit the most out of it. Your first lategame item is the Rabadon's Deathcap. If your game is perfect you will be able to get it after the Boots, Pick and Hextech around 19-22 minutes ingame. Keep in mind that your core midgame structure is: Boots, Lucky Pick, Hextech. When you get the Deathcap you become an unstopable killing machine. After the Rabadon's you will usually want to go for Rylai's Crystal Scepter for it gives you enough durability to stand your own against enemy DoTs and chipping damage and weight less for your support. A constantly backing Katarina is bad Katarina. Anyways if you see you are far ahead of the enemy team you should go for an early Void Staff to really make them surrender early on. This is about the core lategame stuff you need in general. Situationally you will want to get: Abyssal Scepter, Banshee's Vail, Mejai's Soulstealer or Zonya's Hourglass. I really encourage Katarina's to buy Banshee's Vail against CC oriented teams, as they usually keep a single disable for Katarina to get the most out of a fight. If you block it the fight is yours. As for Mejai's: It is a great item, but only make it if you are certain of your position and skill. Otherwise the investment is not worth it. Also make it before the Deathcap.
Most people start Katarina with Shunpo, which after the last change is even better! After all Shunpo is probably the most versetile skill in this game! Amd yet I still perfer to start with a point in Buncing Blade. It allows me to support my jungler, if they start at blue, and Bouncing Blade has two huge advantages over Shunpo: It has a shorter cooldown, which means that the harass DPS you do at lvl 1 is the same and it doesn't put you in the middle of a minion wave. Anyways I still max Shunpo by lvl9, then Bouncing Blade by lvl13 and finally Killer Instincts. It is important to note that you first point in Killer Instincs must be on lvl3, so you can play around with your Shunpo, especially after the recent change. As on every other champion I put a point in Katarina's Ultimate, Death Lotus, at lvl6, 11 and 16.
For Summoner Spells I take Ignite and Exaust. They help me build a strong early game and secure an easy first blood against most champions. Many players rely on Flash, but after the recent nerf, Shunpo + Wards is much more viable and consistant.
Pros / Cons
Katarina has a massive early game burst.
Katarina can quickly destroy enemy teams after reaching lvl6.
Katarina is incredibly mobile and a perfect Turrer Diver.
Katarina has the BEST passive in the game.
Katarina has one of the sickest ultimates.
Katarina is a Redhead and scores the easiest Pentakill in the game.
Katarina is very brittle and squishy.
Katarina has a channeling Ultimate.
Katarina dies to a single stun.
Katarina gets focused a TON.
Katarina is useless if she get underfarmed.
Katarina has an ugly sister.