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Katarina Build Guide by duggy boy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author duggy boy

katarina, a detailed and effective guide to winning mid lane

duggy boy Last updated on June 5, 2012
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e maxed/q maxed/ G Cannon/ hyb

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Middle Lane
Ranked #7 in
Middle Lane
Win 53%
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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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Before you decide whether to +1 -1 or comment please read the guide, tell me any changes you would make or personal preferences and do enjoy playing Katarina the Sinister Blade!
This guide is still in progress.

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Build Explinations and when to use them

Build 1

So this build maxes out shupo first and is for the most aggressive players, you have to be very confident with Katarina, and you have to know who you are up against. Go against people like Brand and Lux, this is because they have very predictable combo's so as long as you can dodoge Sear or Light Binding you should be fine.

Build 2

So this build maxes out Bouncing Blades, this is for the more defensive players, you can stay far away yet still do damage to them, for people less confident with Katarina or just people who just wants to play safe. this best against AD carries who you generally don't want to be in range, EG Ashe, Caitlyn, If your against A long ranged AP carry, IE Ziggs, Veigar, with these guys range you just don't want to get close so this is my choice against these guys.

Build 3

This is the glass cannon build, you should really only use this when they have close to ZERO CC's and the enemy team is always focusing your tank, this is basically when you just want to own repeatedly, you shouldn't go into a game thinking you going to build this. BTW you don't have to follow this ability sequence you can learn your abilities what ever way you like. This has ZERO armor or health bonuses so if you are being focused i advise changing to one of the other builds.

Build 4

This is a hybrid build, this is for the situations where they either start stacking magic resist or your team is AP heavy. this maxes Bouncing Blades because that scales both AD and AP so this can do the most damage, Again don't go into a match thinking your going to build this, cause you know someone will lock in Brand after you said you were mid, this also makes you harder to counter, but so don't have the same damage out put compared to the other builds.

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Pros and cons

space space space spacespacespace

spacespaces Pro

very nice early game harass
no mana
epic passive
amazing escape
ult has small cooldown
ult is god like!
space space space spacespacespace

spacespac Cons

ult stopped easily :(
shunpo to certain targets isn't good
squishy early game
if you get fed they go for you!
melee champ so harder to farm
(not if you dominate!)

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how to counter the cons.

In this section we shall find out how to stop yourself being killed.

My ult keeps getting stopped in team fights :(
two options
1. wait until you see the CC being used
2. jump in but don't activate ult until the CC is used
problem solved.

not everyone is great to shunpo too
wait until they are destracted/used so of there abilities i.e Fiddlesticks with his Drain means when you go in he gets his health back, solution is to wait untill he uses it/ignite him or use your W.
Problem solved.

squishy early game
Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives you lots of health, the seals i have chosen grant resistance and Guardian Angel keeps you going. But other wise play defence and buy Health Potion
Problem solved.

This is probably because your tank isn't being focused, either wait until he is being focused, if that doesn't work tell him to buy some thing like Wit's End or Frozen Heart this should cause them to be focused more so they don't go for you.
Problem solved.

i'm melee so it is harder to farm
be more aggresive, if they know that if they come close they'll be attacked it will force them to back off, easy CS for you, no CS for them, you win lane.
problem solved.

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This will say core item and situational items:

Core early game items

this is my most recommended choice, great for dodging skill shots like Dark Binding, which can save you from some dangerous situations.

very nice sustain, not a bad choice, execellent against Karthus, this is because he has a very spamable poke, this can cause you to be poked down too fast, the shield gives you the health and health regen, so good against poking champs.

this is an aggresive start, extra damage and helps build Hextech Revolver which is your sustain and is essentail for keeping up harass and speed up your health regen (as long as you are using abilities)

Mid game items

This is important, you need this, you should get this on your first back, you need this for sustain so you can harass but get you health back quick, this should give you the advantage.

This makes you tanky sqo you can sustain and harass with your higher max health, the slow from the item means when you jump in it slows them which means they are in range of Death Lotus for longer meaning they take more damage so you get more kill, simple.

This is when your damage scales massively so you get more kills, this is what you need to get that damage up.

Recommended late game items

More resist and more ability power and this lowers there resist so you abilities do more damage, simple really, but essential to make sure you can still do damage to tanks.

This is the point were you have lots of damage and you need the durability to survive the team fights, you can always go for more damage but I prefere the durability.

this item is extra damage and extra spellvamp, i find it is not very important because of the spellvamp from Hextech Revolver i find this isn't necessary because i have enough vamp to survive, but it is needed late game just for the extra health back.

more ability power with extra gold regen. its active is fantastic to take down tanks or just surprise some one to increase your burst damage.

situational items

situational armors

This is execellent if your facing An AD heavy team, with damage dealt back this will just mean a larger damage out put.

this is for when your facing a AP heavy team, with the magic resist and health regen you will be hard to kill and and more durable, not to mention the bonus speed which is fantastic.

more AP

this is helpful if your struggling against there tanks, this will help you shread through their health bar and still have the power to kill squishies quick.

more armor and ap excellent when in a team fight, activate after ult, this makes them stop targeting you and go for someone else, so you can cause havoc without taking damage.

if you are really doing well them you could get this, lots of AP (if you are doing well!) and cooldown reduction if you get to max stacks. this is only good if you are getting kill and not getting killed yourself.

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So, What Boots?

Ionian boots of lucidity

These are the boots I choose in most circumstances, cooldown reduction so i can chase down the last survivers of there team with a mix of Shunpo and just plain running, and this can be done faster by buying these boots, for people who want to be constantly doing damage during a team fight.

Sorcerer's shoes

This is better for focusing down one champ in a team fight rather then several. Also better when you target the tanks, this should be after there carries. Better for the early game 1V1, this can be switched for other boots late game or keep them if you think there is someone in a team fight that is causing damage and has to be stopped this is excellent for stopping them before they can kill.

Boots of Swiftness

this is when you are not facing problems with your cooldowns, with your 1v1 or just focusing someone in a team fight. this means you can chase down the enemy to Shunpo to them to finish the kill, very helpful. Basically if you are winning and just want more kills.

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Summoner Spells

recomended summoner spells

Flash: fantastic, go for chasing, escaping and getting over walls, recomended.
Ignite: essentail early game, great when 1v1 some one with healing spell EG Fiddlesticks

viable summoner spells

Ghost: good for closing the gap to shunpo an enemy for kill (not recommended ghost and flash, only one preferably)
Heal: ...*sigh* i personally dont like this but in 1v1 you can bait them with low health and ult, Death Lotus, if they commit then you can trick them and get a kill. (they probalby won't fall for this twice!)
Teleport: could back door and prevent push.
Exhaust: if you ult and use this they will be in ult longer, ( Flash will couter this pretty easily.)

don't pick

Clarity: you don't have mana.
Clairvoyance:.. you are not a support.
Surge: pointless, you don't need this to do damage.
Revive: you shouldn't be dead.
Smite: this is for jungler, your not a jungler.
Cleanse: you tank should take CC's from enemy team
Promote: pointless doesn't help in an effective way (EG it pushes your lane so you can't get kills)

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This is your team fight sustain you can Shunpo from enemy to enemy. Also good for tower diving early, jump in, kill, jump out. It also means your ult is basically never on cooldown. Extra gold is helpful, if your being kill hungry then this will help if you lose out on some CS.

bouncing blade

Depending which build you are using depends on its uses. Build 1 I use it for mostly farm, last hitting minions I won't get to by running, also to harass if they get to close, max it second and use Shunpo as your biggest damage out put. Build 2 is based of Bouncing Blades you just want to harass by either targeting the enemy champ or targeting minions next to him to let it bounce onto them, this is your main damage out put but I find when you Shunpo onto an enemy and then bouncing blade them I find that because the blade's first bounce is not as powerful as a maxed out shunpo but this does create a good harass so it depends on personal preferences on whether you want to long term harass or have a short burst.

Killer Instincts

this ability underestimated, bonus AD to prevent them stacking magic resist and owning you plus the bonus effect of an ability on activation. With Bouncing Blades this creates a bleeding effect which lowers healing effects. this is excellent against champs like Fiddlesticks with Drain this means you can 1v1 without them getting all there health back instantly, this is not worht using if they have no healing effects. With Shunpo it makes you take less damage depending on the level of this ability. this is the one I use the most because when you go in you need to be able to take less damage then they take, obviously, and this means that you can have the edge.


this is my favorite ability because you can just jump around a teamfight and before you know it you have a penta kill. In build 1 this is your main damage out put and this is why you get more cooldown reduction so you jump around dealing damage to everyone, Voracity will help you do this, early game you just have to harass until there low health, Shunpo onto them, Bouncing Blades and then Ignite, get as many auto attacks of as you can and you should get a kill. In build 2 it is much more of a mobility, so you don't need as much cooldowm reduction, this is just to get into range of your Bouncing Blades or to get into a team fight. Early game you just want to harass with Bouncing Blades and jump in when you get them down in health.

Death lotus

This is essential for early and late game. Early game what you want to do is harass them down to just under half health then Shunpo, Bouncing Blades and Death Lotus, unless they Flash or escape you should get the kill. if they do escape but stay in lane then just Shunpo, Bouncing Blades and that should finish it. Late game when there are teamfights what you have to do is wait until your tank goes in and then Shunpo, Bouncing Blades and then Death Lotus. once this is finished you could have got a kill or 2 so your cooldowns are back, so you just mop up the last of them by Shunpoing to them and finishing them. This Ability is essential for kill late game for the extra damage.

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Skill sequence

This sections split into the two sections for each build.

Build 1

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
This maxes out shunpo first, this build is more of a burst damage effect, harass with the Shunpo, Bouncing Blades combo until there low health then Shunpo, Ignite then Death Lotus. This should kill unless they Flash or use some other escape method.

build 2

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
this maxes out Bouncing Blades first and this is the more harass sequence, with Bouncing Blades maxed out first this means it can bounce from minion to champ and deal large enough damage to make it worth harass. this is less of a burst damage sequence and they have to have lower health for you to kill them quickly.

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This is my chosen mastery chain because this gives you an AP boost woth some magic pen and cooldown reduction. this just gives you the early game advantage of that extra AP means you can go for using Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions still give you the power to get the essential early game kills.

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There are several different choices which you can use to be successful with Katarina, my recommended choices are:

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - cooldown reduction - this is what I recommend you should get, with the early game reduction you can take off about 1 second off your abilities and this is essential for chasing down an enemy that has escaped on 1 bar health. My most recommended rune.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - magic penetration - this is help to max out your damage towards tanks and just anyone in general with a bit of armor. If you do get fed and they try to counter with armor, this will still mean your are scary threat that has to be stopped. it also means if they have to get more armor, their not getting damage. Recommended but not essential.
Greater Seal of Magic Resist - magic resist - Basically just so you take less damage so you can be in lane more so you can deal more damage. Also means late game you don't have to get as much magic resist. Can be switched with other runes but these are my favorite.
Greater Quintessence of Health - health - If you go in your most likely to get attacked back, so with the extra health if you deal the same amount of damage as you take in then you will win the lane because you will have more health and can stay and harass more, is also helps if the enemy champ is a long range poker (EG Cassiopeia, Karthus) you have more health so you can stay in lane for longer. This is good for defensive play but if you want more aggressive look below.

These are some other viable runes:
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - Ability Power - more damage for the more aggressive player, if you are good at Katarina then you could choose this for the extra damage early game to get early kills. this is for the stronger players who are more confident.
Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp - Spell vamp - important for sustain, if you are struggling to stay in lane or just want to speed up the amount of health your getting back then this is your choice. Less aggessive players who still want to stay in lane.
Greater Quintessence of Vigor - health regen per second - this is best against the more poking champions (EG Cassiopeia and Karthus), Excellent because they think they have got you down and before you know it your back up again. This is better in draft/ranked pick when you know who your against, but again this is for the more sustain build.
Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction - cooldown reduction per level - If you find your fine with your cooldowns early game then you can get this and have the extra CDR late game which very helpful late game if you don't get a kill with your Death Lotus then the low cooldowns then you can get going again quick, i have had a 33 second cooldown with Death Lotus with max CDR, so this is worth it if you are confident with your early game and you want to dominate late game.

Any of these viable runes Can be used as glyph, Mark and seal

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how do i beat...?

In this section i will explain how to beat enemy Mids, so you can be successful no matter what.


Difficulty before level 6 - easy-medium
Difficulty after level 6 - medium
Difficulty during teamfights - medium-hard
recommended junglers - Xin Zhao, Nocturne, Udyr

Before level 6 you just have to harass and make sure you stay out of range while her stun is up, shouldn't be too hard. After level 6 you have to be careful she doesn't stun you with her tibbers, because you will be in some deep **** if you are caught out, make sure she has just used her stun before you jump in and Death Lotus, i have jmped in and before 1 second of channeling i was stopped and she got away. During team fight if tibbers is place correctly then i can stun 5 champs and i have seen this done, you have to watch out for that stun then jump on her as soon as you have seen it being used, just make sure she isn't focusing you.


difficulty before level 6 - medium
difficulty after level 6 - medium-hard
difficulty during teamfights - medium-hard
recommended Junglers - Nautilus, Alistar, Shen, Blitzcrank

Before level 6 she isn't hard to beat, just buy Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions so you can dodge all of her skill shots and harass whenever you can (tip: when you Shunpo in watch out for Charm, if she its this she will get all of her combo off, so juke it early by going to the side and not straight on) this shouldn't be to hard to beat. After level 6 she gets a bit harder, with Spirit Rush a good Ahri can get out of you Ult very quickly and then turn around to counter you, what you want to do is wait for your jungler to some in and wait of him to use his main CC and then Shunpo, Death Lotus them. If the CC is long enough then you should get her either low and have her waste her Spirit Rush or got a kill. During team fight she can be easier, this is because her abilities target the closest people or her skillshot that she wants to hit as many people as possible, this means she can get distracted, Shunpo onto her and Death Lotus to kill, simple.


difficulty before level 6 - hard-very hard
difficulty after level 6 - very hard
difficulty during teamfights - hard-very hard
reccomended junglers - Xin Zhao, Nocturne, Nautilus, Blitzcrank

This is the hardest opponent i have come across, if you can change champ or change lane. If you do have to face him then this is what you do, max out Bouncing Blades first (IE build 2) and just harass with that, dodge skill shots and wait until your jungler comes and wait for him to engage, and jump in and ULT, a good ziggs will use a Satchel Charge to stop your ult and escape. After level 6 it is basically the same but if you get out with low health he could still get kill so when you think your safe and dry, be rady to shunpo out of it's radius. During team fights it becomes easier, Instead of just going for you, he will go for the biggest crowd, This is your chance to Shunpo, Death Lotus to finish him. If he tries to focus you down he will be in range of your ult and he will die, if he runs off then their teaam has lost there main damage dealer and you will win the team fight. you must focus him in team fights.


Difficulty before level 6 - easy-medium
difficulty after level 6 - medium
Difficulty during team fights - medium
Recommended jungles - Xin Zhao, Nocturne, Nautilus, Olaf

Before level 6 you just want to farm and harass, she has a long range so want to stay back and be careful, harass when they come to close and Wait Until they Get Low and then go in for the kill, waiting for your jungler should make this easier. After level 6 she isn't much more of a threat, (If you Death Lotus and she uses her ult there is a 50/50 chance of being stunned, tried and tested) If you are stunned before your ult then you can carry on attacking or back off, if she ults you after you Ult and it stuns you then you should probably back off. During teamfights you just have to wait for the Ult from her and then jump in and Death Lotus.


Difficulty before level 6 - medium-hard
difficulty after level 6 - hard
difficulty during teamfights - hard
recommended junglers - Xin Zhao, Nocturne, Olaf (If ult's)

this champ is one of the harder champs to face, if you can change champ then do, but if you do have to face him then you just have to be careful, use build 2 so you can harass from afar. Don't Shunpo to veigar, he will just stun you as you try to get away and then use his combo so be careful. After level 6 He isn't much different but he has a higher damage out put. During teamfights you have kill him first, wait for the stun to be used and then ult to get the kill.


Difficulty before level 6 - easy
difficulty after level 6 - easy-medium
difficulty during teamfights - easy-medium
Recommended junglers - Nautilus, Olaf, Alistar

this is one of the easiest champs to face, with an easy to counter combo he is easy to beat. Before level 6 you just have to dodge Sear then his combo is nothing, if he cant stun you then he can't land pillar of flame so you take little damage. He only get harder to kill after level 6 because when you Death Lotus you aren't moving, he can hit his combo easy, stop your ult and deal a tonne of damage, just wait for after the stun or after he misses before you ult. During a team fight the odds are there will be someone in the way of his Sear so you can deat lotus without fearing being stunned.


difficulty before level 6 - medium
difficulty aftre level 6 - medium
difficulty during teamfights - medium
recommended junglers - Xin Zhao, Nautilus, Alistar

Before level 6 you want to be careful not to engage, wait until your jungler comes, this so he can interupt the Drain channel, hence the choosen junglers, you can't 1v1 him, his Drain is too powerful. After level six he doesn't get much harder, just Shunpo out of range of his ult and it will be a waste, if yo want to attack him, becareful of his Terrify because this will stop your ult, you may also want to Preparation> Bouncing Blades to lower the amount of health he is gettting back. During teamfights you want to becareful of Crowstorm, wait for it to finish before you jump in and Death Lotus.


difficulty before level 6 - medium
difficulty after level 6 - medium
difficulty during teamfights - easy-medium
recommenced junglers - no one's good if he has Playful / Trickster, other wise just heavy CC

This champ can be a trickster (fizz pun), but he is actually quite easy to play against, before you just have wait for him to Playful / Trickster and then Shunpo harass because then he can't escape. This is the same with after level 6 but his Chum the Waters CAN stop your Death Lotus so just be careful. During teamfights he can get easier, this is because he mainly focuses 1 champion, so you can just jump in and kill him while doing damage to other champions.

this secton is still in progress.

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This will discus the main ways of farming with both the builds

Build 1

With Shunpo maxed first you may struggle a little more to get CS without being attacked, just scare the enemy lanner so you can carry on farming without being attacked, If you are still struggling just use your Bouncing Blades to pick off any minions that get low on health.

build 2

With Bouncing Blades maxed first it is very easy to farm, just target a minion on low health and let it bounce to kill some minions, with this build you don't have to zone as much you just have to stay careful and behind minions, don't push, or otherwise you won't get the farm up (just get wraithsa ad go back into lane.

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Early game laning 1~5

Build 1

With shunpo maxed first this makes it harder to harass becuase to deal a larger amount of damage you have to get close making it easier for them to land skill shots, EG Lux with her Light Binding and the rest of her combo. Although this is the hardest to harass it is easier to kill, with the Shunpo> Bouncing Blades> Ignite combo this can deal a large amount of damage and is more effective. It is harder to farm but if you show them who is boss by harassing them so they stay back, leaving you free to farm to your hearts content.

Build 2

With boucing blade maxed first this makes it harder to kill but easier to get the farm. To get kills you just have to harass, if this is by targeting them with Bouncing Blades or just targeting minions near them and letting it bounce. Once they get low (they have to be lower then in build 1) then you can Shunpo, Bouncing Blades and then Ignite to try and get the kill, you have a less damage out put though. This is very easy to farm, just last hit and boucing blade to finish any minion when they are far away, just try to harass if they come too close.

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Mid game laning/mini team fights/ganking 6~12

What to do now?

At this point you should have a reasonable farm, A kill or two and your team should have pushed at least 1 tower, you have three different situations at this time that can occur.

Situation one:
Is where you are just laning, are farming up and not against more then one champ then you should start trying to push, when you kill the opponent lanner you want to push that tower and try and get that extra farm, just watch out for enemy champions disappearing from other lanes.

Situation 2:
When there are more then one enemy champion in your lane then just wait until a friendly team mate comes and wait until the moment to attack, If you can get your tank to help you let him go in and wait until they use there main CC's then dive in and Death Lotus, if there stupid or the tank then they will stay and die, if they are more intelligent then they will get out, but they will still be low on health, chase them down and kill them.

Situation 3:
If you have a jungler then you shouldn't have to do this. Just after you kill the enemy mid and you don't want to farm or push you can gank, Just go to a different lane and go in and attack, you should only do this if: 1. you are fed and then enemy mid champ is dead, 2. you have no jungler, 3. Your friendlies are struggling.

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Late Game Team fights 13~18

At this point Laning is over and it is main stream teamfights. At this points you just have to follow certain steps and you should be able to win at all stages. This is the enemy team,
Veigar, Ashe, Tryndamere, Soraka, Nautilus.

so what to Do? This is what you do.

1. wait for the first engagement.
2. let tank go in and take most of the general CC's (EG Depth Charge from Nautilus)
3. Shunpo, Bouncing Blades
4. you then Death Lotus.
5. Say this kills Soraka and Veigar
6. you then want to jump on Ashe and stop her because she has the largest damage output.
7. Tryndamere is your next target, shouldn't be to hard to kill if your team is still part alive.
8. last off all is Nautilus he should be alive at this point and this is where you magic pen comes in, this should help you finish him off for the ACE

If your Death Lotus doesn't kill who you want it too, this is the general order of targeting.

Veigar> Ashe> Tryndamere> Soraka> Nautilus for the ace.

just make sure you save your Death Lotus for after they use there CC's.

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Team work

Some teams will know how much of a threat you are in a team fight with your Death Lotus and they will save your CC's for you, even past the tanks, this is the point where you are getting focused to quickly and are having to pay the price. In these situation you want to wait for YOUR teams CC's to be used (EG Depth Charge), jump in and Death Lotus while they are Knocked up of some other form of CC, this means you should get about 1.5 seconds of Death Lotus before you are stopped, at this. Point the carries should be Heavily damage and will have to back out otherwise just Shunpo to clear up the remaining kills.

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Ranked Play

When your playing in ranked there are several things you must think before you do certain things, i will give you some tips but if your level 30 then you don't need ay details.

1. during picking stage, if you are banning and you want to mid Katarina you should ban champs like Ziggs.
2. After banning i suggest you should let the enemey AP carry be picked first, then choose Katarina as a counter pick.
3. if you are first pick and thay haven't choosen there AP carry then get a friend to pick a champ you have and let them pick Katarina and switch, this is good because you can pick the less counterable first and then change.
4. Unless you are really confident and your against a champ that is easily counter by Katarina you should wait for your jungler, don't push at all use your jungler to help get the kill.
5. make sure your buying wards, it isn't just the supports job
6. don't get angry if a team mate doesn't do something right, it's a game and no one cares about you ELO unless it is 2200+

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Thank you very much for reading and using my guide, i hope this has helped you be successful at playing Katarina. Dont forget to rate this guide and comment so i can improve and adjust this guide to make it the best.