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Katarina Build Guide by cazcappy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author cazcappy

Katarina AP mid cazcappy Build & Guide

cazcappy Last updated on October 14, 2012
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Middle Lane
Ranked #7 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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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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Hello this is cazcappy from the NA server of League of Legends. I started playing League pretty recently actually but have gained quite the affinity for Katarina the Sinister Blade. After playing her extensively I can say that in the short while i've played while Katarina can be quite the easy character to play; most people still play and build her wrong. After much trial and error (and winning matches) I have found what I believe is the best way to build and AP Katarina. I also have Mid in the title because face it Katarina is an AP mid and while she can lane as well the mid lane is the best option.

PS yeah I did make this guide already as a guest, but now that i'm an official member i'm remaking it if in any case I can edit it in the future.

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Pros / Cons

Pros of Katarina
Burst damage potential (possibly the highest in the game)
easy to pick up
great gank potential
finishes up in team fights
ability to jump in do massive damage and jump out
Late Game Monster
Katarina is a great option against: Karthus, Veigar, Ahri, Kog'Maw and just about any squishy mage. (this is based off personal experience...and yes Kog'Maw is not a mid but mid/late game I look for him everytime because Katarina melts him almost instantly)

Cons of Katarina
Squishy Squishy and Squishy
in team fights will almost always be instantly focused
Easily susceptible to stuns, silences or any move that will interrupt her ultimate
Can have a rough start early game
Katarina struggles against: Ashe, Annie (mostly due to her stun and Tibbers), Vayne, Diana, anyone that has a stun, silence, or CC that interrupts Katarina's Death Lotus. (this list here is based off personal experience)
*side note on Diana* I've personally always done well against her but you need to learn not you run...Diana will just catch you and kill you while you run...if Diana surprises you just fight on and more often that not you can win with Katarina*

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Katarina is AP based and runes are pretty easy to choose for her.

3 Greater Quintessence of Potency. I mean let's face it the extra 15 AP is pretty sweet especially at early game which is Katarina's toughest phase.

For marks I go with 9 Greater Marks of Insight. This gives Katarina an extra 10 magic penetration which makes cutting through magic resist easier and helping cancel any magic resist items your opponent might get.

9 Greater Seals of Potency here is good. Katarina as an AP mid and the extra AP here will give her about 25 AP at the start when combined with the quintessences.

9 Greater Glyphs of Warding
With Glyphs the ability to have more magic resist is pretty handy. Combined with the fact Katarina faces lots of mages and other AP characters this gives you enough magic resist early game that you won't need to use any magic resist items later on and can focus more on building for damage.

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Mastery trees are a little more complex than normal. Most people like going with some form of a 21-9 ratio with Masteries.
Offensive Mastery Tree: 21 points. With Katarina everything revolves around her abilities which go off her Ability Power and her cooldowns. That means you want the 17 points the offensive tree into the following.
4 points in Mental Force
4 points in Sorcery
3 points in Alacrity
1 point in Arcane Knowledge
4 points in Blast
4 points in Archmage.
1 point in executioner

again these will improve her ability power and cooldowns which are the most important things to a Katarina.

Defensive Mastery Tree: 9 points. Here is where you augment Katarina's offensive capabilities with a touch of surviveability for that early game factor and just so she lasts longer in general.
3 points in Resistance
3 points in Hardiness
2 points in Durability
1 point in Veteran's scars.

This will help give Katarina a little more Health for the beginning while raising her armor and magic resist to help counter early pokes and ganks.

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Summoner Spells

This chapter is a little shorter. Summoner spells all depend on your efficiency with Katarina and you can choose whatever you want. However I prefer flash and ignite, though depending on your strengths and weaknesses with Katarina Ghost and Heal wouldn't be bad options either.

Flash: Makes a great offensive and defensive tool when combined with her Shunpo Ability. She can shunpo in, do her burst damage and then flash out of danger. Or even using both to catch up to an enemy or to escape is also handy. The cooldowns for flash are long, but I think it's worth it.

Ignite: So you jump and gank a target early game, do your burst damage, they're almost dead and then they try to flash and run away to survive. Whoops...I seem to have ignited you and now i'll sit back, laugh, and farm minions while you run away and then die because well you're health ran out because of my ignite. Don't burn this early in fights, use it to finish off the enemy.

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Skill Sequence

Bouncing Blades - Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them. Her next spell or basic attack against a marked target will consume the mark and deal additional magic damage.
Throws a dagger dealing 60/95/130/165/200 (+0.45) magic damage. The dagger bounces to the 4 closest enemies dealing 10% less damage with each bounce.

Enemies hit are marked for 4 seconds. Katarina's basic attacks or spells will consume the mark dealing 15/30/45/60/75 (+0.15) additional magic damage.
Cost:No Cost
Range: 675

Bouncing Blades upgraded lvls: 1,4,5,7,8

Bouncing Blades out of Katarina's 3 regular abilities is her most damaging and her most ranged. This makes it imperative to learn first, both for early farming and harassing your opponent and keeping them off the farm. I always max this ability first, for the damage from the initial and the consumed mark and the harrassment ability. This should be your first ability to max out.

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 a burst of speed for a short duration.
Whirls daggers in a circle dealing 40/80/120/160/200 (+0.6) (+0.25) magic damage. If she hits an enemy Champion, Katarina gains 12/20/28/36.5/44% movement speed for 1 second.
Cost: No Cost
Range: 400

Sinister Steel upgraded lvls: 3,9,10,12,13

Sinister Steel is Katarina's best way to farm minions mid-late game. Since farming and gold are keys to the game this should be maxed 2nd and is also useful in those tight team fights for damaging multiple foes.

Shunpo - Katarina instantly moves to her target's location and takes reduced damage from enemies for a few seconds. If the target is an enemy, she deals damage.
Moves to a target's location. Deals 60/85/110/135/160 (+0.4) magic damage if the target is an enemy.

After using Shunpo, Katarina takes 15% reduced damage for 3 seconds.
Cost:No Cost

Shunpo upgraded lvls: 2,14,15,17,18

Shunpo should be your 2nd ability to get, once you level up, mostly as a survival tool. it's great to shunpo in and out of minions early and then farm them with sinister steel and it's good for using to survive dives and ganks. However since it only affects 1 target at a time you don't need to upgrade it until the late game as you have bouncing blades and sinister steel for better farming. But again get this lvl 2 as once you have all 3 abilities it's nice to hit minions with a bouncing blades, shunpo in, finish them with sinister steel and back out before the other mid champion can do anything about it.

Death Lotus - Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, throwing daggers with unrivaled speed at up to three nearby Champions. Daggers deal magic damage and reduce incoming healing on targets hit.
Becomes a flurry of blades, throwing daggers at the closest 3 enemy Champions dealing 400/500/600 (+3) (+1.75) magic damage over 2 seconds.

Daggers apply Grievous Wounds, reducing incoming healing by 50% for 3 seconds.
Cost: No Cost
Range: 550

Death Lotus lvls upgraded:6,11,16

Katarina lives and dies by her ultimate so upgrade whenever possible. Just when using beware of champions that have stuns, silences, or any move that can interrupt and stop Katarina's ultimate.

Voracity - Champion kills or assists reduce Katarina's cooldowns by 15 seconds.

her passive and fantastic ability. Refreshes instantly your Q,W, and E abilities because of their short cooldowns giving Katarina one of the best penta-kill threats in League of Legends.

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when farming minions and neutral enemies; remember this order.


that's all you need to know to farm well with Katarina.

Also watch where you place your "Q". A well placed Bouncing Blades often times will also catch the other mid champion and harrass them as well as helping you farm.

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And now for the most important Part, Katarina's items. Many times I have seen Katarina hindered or her abilities not maximized; because people don't know how to build Katarina efficiently and effectively. I have come to find this is the best possible item combination on Katarina I feel makes her maximize her potential.

Starting Out:

Boot of speed + 3 health potions.

One of the most common startups for most characters but the boots is important for a faster moving Katarina and the 3 health potions let her farm longer before recalling as you don't have mana to worry about with Katarina, just health.

Early Game:
Kage's Lucky Pick + Sorceror Boots + Hextech Revolver

Most Katarina build mistakes take place early game and it costs you big time.

First get the Kage's pick...this is vital to get first. Sure it only gives you 25 AP but passive gold ability people!!! just think 5 extra gold every 10 seconds, doesn't seem like much but after 10 minutes? 300 extra gold accumlated...600 after 20 minutes, this means being able to get Rabadon's 5 minutes faster just from the extra gold you pick up! I recommend recalling and getting it once you have the 765 needed gold. Also it builds into Deathfire Grasp later which has an amazing active ability for Katarina and will be in your final build. Then you can go either Sorceror's Boots or Hex Tech Revolver. Ususally you get the boots first because they're cheaper and easier and give you more movement speed as well as magic penetration to increase the damage your abilities cause and cut through an enemies magic resist. Then get the Hextech Revolver. We get that for the 40AP +12% Spell vamp. It's for that spell vamp that makes the Hextech Gunblade a good piece for Katarina to own but early game, just the revolver works fine.

Rabadon's Deathcap + Void Staff.

Get the Rabadon's to really shoot your AP up in the higher numbers, it gives 140 AP + an additional 30% AP. I when building Rabadon's wait and get the needlessly large rod first and then blasting rod before finishing the deathcap. as for the void staff, 70AP + 40% of magic pentration...that force of nature the other teams tank just got...not that good now with all that magic pentration Katarina has, your damage will cut through champions like butter.

Late/End Game:
Zhonya's Hourglass + Deathfire Grasp + Hextech Gunblade

Katarina will always be a squishy character and because of her burst damage rate is always one of the first to die in team fights. That's why you get the Hourglass. an additional 50 armor to help last longer as well as it's awesome active. 2 seconds where you can't be touched and give your teammates more time to attack the enemy since they'll be focusing you and will be doing nothing for those 2 seconds. Also the 100 AP complements Katarina even more. Next is turning your Kage's pick into the deathfire grasp; again keep the pick until you're ready for the grasp so you keep getting the gold passive as long as possible. The deathfire grasp is possbily my favorite item due to it's active ability. It gives you 80 AP, a nice cooldown reduction for making your ultimate ability cooldown faster and it's active does 25%+4% of your opponents max health for every 100 AP you have. At this point in the game you should have enough AP that makes the active ability able to almost take out 45-50% of an enemies health in one do that in a team fight on a tank, and then use your regular abilities to take out the enemies squishy champions and your teammates will love you.

And then you finish with the Hextech Gunblade....since you have had the hextech revolver the gunblade hasn't been necessary since you've still had spell vamp...but now 70 AP, 40 AD, 20% spell vamp now and 15% life steal for healing and farming minions with your auto a nice active to keep foes from running away to keep you from finishing them. Great way to end a great build.

*Note* (Depending how the match is going you could theoretically build the gunblade before the grasp or even the hourglass but it's preference at this point and i'm using the order I think is the most effective.) Also instead of Gunblade you could change out the revolver at the end for a 2nd Rabadon's but I prefer the Gunblade for the spell vamp.

This is my build for Katarina and I hope you learned something and you'll start using this build and you can show me personally how much better you are with this build if you match up with me on the servers.

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Unique Skills

Compared to most Katarina builds I find this one is not only effective, but it will also build faster than the other builds and allow you to finish items earlier and faster while being more effective early and mid game while still pwning late game.

Also remember while mid, if your opponent recalls you can stay and farm but katarina is also excellent at ganking other lanes then and helping your teammates.

Once Katarina reaches lvl 6 I usually find it effective that my enemy thanks to bouncing blades is about half health or lower and have used their health potions and are in prime position for a turret dive...shunpo in, use death lotus and sinister steel, use bouncing blades and ignite to finish them if they aren't dead already and flash out of turret range or run through the enemy jungle to escape.

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This is my build for Katarina and I hope you learned something and you'll start using this build and you can show me personally how much better you are with this build if you match up with me on the servers.

AP not AD.
Katarina is best as a mid
Don't start team fights, jump in the middle and wreak havoc.
Don't just use the items I build, use the actual order for maximum efficiency.
Have fun with Katarina, she's extremely fun and easy once you learn her.