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Katarina Build Guide by Flink

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Flink

Katarina - Blink of an eye

Flink Last updated on September 12, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

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Hello and welcome to my guide of playing Katarina the Sinister blade, this build is based on my experiences of playing Katarina, i use it for ranked play (even though i think Katarina is not that good of a choice in ranked games), in which i have over 70% victories with Kat, aswell as, if you want to have some fun and annoy people with your op'ness, normal games.

There were times when i cried whenever i got a decent Kata against me, then one day i bought her and then i thought: "Damn.. where was i earlier..."
She's one of my mains now, i've fully mastered Katarina thus learning how to counter her if one gets in the way..

Read on and have fun fellow summoners, let's start!

The abbreviations used in this guide:

AP - Ability power
MR - Magic resistance
CD - Cooldowns
MP - Magic Penetration
AOE - Area of effect

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Pros / Cons

- Awesome passive - Voracity.
- Based only on cooldowns, no mana and no energy, awesome!
- Amazing damage output.
- Very mobile with Flash and Shunpo.
- Eats squishies alive.
- Death Lotus rocks the socks off of everyone!

- Kind of squishy without Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
- Often is the first target in teamfights.
- Cannot engage teamfights.
- Death Lotus can be easily countered, i'll explain how to deal with this later on.

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Magic penetration marks for some
early game damage and flat armor
seals combined with a Doran's Shield
will make your laning phase a lot easier.

Flat AP glyphs and flat AP Quints
will help you with your harrassment
as it gives a great boost to your
earlygame skill damage output,
Shunpo for example.

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For masteries i use my standard 21 - 9 - 0 build, because i've tried a few others, like 9 - 21 - 0 but that's just a waste of the talents that the offense tree provides, and in my opinion, my 21 - 9 - 0 works the best for Kata.

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Summoner Spells

For summoner skills i use and or , the ignite and exhaust ar situational, i prefer ignite over exhaust most of my games, because i love dealing more damage over reducing enemy's damage, but yeah, why not, exhaust works fine aswell. All other summoners spells in my opinion are just useless to Katarina.

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Skill Sequence

The main skill in my build is Shunpo, max it out first, it does insane damage on squishies like Ashe, Master Yi, Soraka and others, especially the filthy rat Twitch!

My skill sequence is as follows:
I max out my Shunpo out first then i focus on Bouncing Blades and level up my Death Lotus whenever i can, i put 1 point in Preparation at level 7, because you don't actually need it earlier than level 6.

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I start off with a Doran's Shield, which gives me both survivability and some health regeneration for laning. It's essential for kata to get a lot of lasthits.
When you have around 1600 gold, go get yourself a Hextech Revolver, Boots of Speed and a Health Potion or two. It's really important to get your Sorcerer's Boots early on, because they give a great boost to your early game damage output.
Katarina is all about ganking, if you manage to set up 2 or 3 early ganks, you will succeed, that's why you have to always be aware of overextending enemies waiting for their *** getting kicked.
The focus is on the Hextech Gunblade this item is the core item for Katarina, once you get one of these babies, you can shine with your Bouncing Blades which is an extremely good harrassment tool and very good for killing minions.
So, after you've got your Sorcerer's Shoes and a Hextech Gunblade, you should either go for a Rylai's Crystal Scepter or, if those guys can't do much damage to you or are just too stupid to focus you, go for an another Hextech Gunblade.
Afterwards you should either get a Void Staff or an Abyssal Mask basing on your enemy team's setup, or maybe a Zhonya's Hourglass if you're getting over focused.
And at last, the allmighty Rabadon's Deathcap, the best AP item available, will make your enemies regret not ragequitting after the first 10 times you've killed them.
So about the item choice:

- They talk for themselves, MP for the WIN!

- This is one of the core items, it provides an AOE slow when you channel your Death Lotus spell and is actually really good for chasing down fast enemies who are trying to get out of range.

- Also one of the core items, but you'll need x2 of these babies.. Provides awesome Spell Vamp and Lifesteal for staying alive while channeling Death Lotus

- An awesome item for Kat, especially if the enemies are stacking MR, gives a great boost to your AP and MP. (Situational)

- You should get this item if you're getting over focused, gives some armor and the active skill of this item can save your *** a few times. (Situational)

- Buy this if you need lack MR and some badass damage output at the same time. (Situational)

- This is... SPARTAAAAA!! Well not really, but adds INSANE amounts of AP, which will make your enemies cry.

One more thing:

Sometimes, when i see that the enemy team isn't that good and has almost no potential of winning and because i'm confident enough when i play Kat, i choose instead of , because at 20 stacks it gives reduced CD's and a great amount of AP, but i do this in very rare cases.

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I will explain the way of playing Katarina through different phases of the game.

Early game - Get as much lasthits as possible, and be aware of who you are laning against, champions like Master Yi are very easy to kill with Kat, and yes, you should try doing that. Be aware of what is happening in the middle lane, because ganking under level six isn't a problem for Katarina as well.

Mid game - You should gank a lot and always participate in teamfights, because you're the main source of damage in 5 vs 5 fights.

Late game - Stay with the team, you need to be there for them, ALWAYS, it's as simple as that, you are the main source of damage and your Death Lotus can always turn teamfights around.

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Solo lane/Mid lane

Katarina is an exceptionally good mid/solo laner, because of the low cooldowns and no spell cost, creep lasthitting is really easy, and harrassing the opponent is not a problem too.

The mid lane tactic is as follows:

Last hit creeps all the time, as i said this is vital to kata. Harrassing your enemy is easy, be aware when your enemy casts his spells and they are on cooldown, and then just Shunpo to them, Bouncing Blades and a fast click on them for an auto-attack, then run back. If you can manage getting your opponent low by doing that several times, you might even get a kill if they're stupid enough, or just force them to go back, which gives you free farm or time to gank.

If you get a self healer against you, put 1 point in Preparation at level 4, so you can reduce the amount of their healing with your Bouncing Blades. (See below)

These guys:

I know that having Sona Soraka or Master Yi against you in a solo/mid lane is nearly impossible, but still, **** happens.

Examples of playing mid/solo:

Scenario 1:


And so here we are, the minions have already started kicking each others brains out.
Ashe is a really easy opponent for you, the only active spell she can cast is Volley. Whenever she uses Volley, you
Shunpo to her and Bouncing Blades and continue last hitting. It's even better if she tries to harrass you, stay behind your creeps and when she vollies, kick her ***. Upon reaching level 6, if you manage to get her around half hp, wait for a moment and Shunpo => Death Lotus + Ignite* and she's almost 100% dead, but this can be countered with a Flash or an Exhaust so be aware of your enemy's summoner spells.

*NOTE - Ignite Can be used while channeling spells like Death Lotus, it doesn't break the cast.

Scenario 2:


This duel is a little harder.
Vladimir is quite an annoying champion with his self healing spells, so as i mentioned, you should
put 1 point in Preparation at level 4.

As your opponent is a little beefier and can Sanguine Pool, killing him will be quite hard. If i play against vladimir, i concentrate on lasthitting minions, but if i see that the Vladimir isn't that good, i harrass him all the time after he uses his [Q] spell. When you reach level 6, if going for a kill with your Shunpo + Death Lotus + Ignite combo, be aware, because he can dive into his Sanguine Pool and you'll go away with your ultimate and ignite wasted, what you have to do is be patient, see if he uses his Sanguine Pool on minions and then you can Shunpo on him and kick his ***, because the pool has a relatively big CD. If he's not that stupid, try provoking him: when he's at around half health, Shunpo and Bouncing Blades and he might just think you are going to ult, and he'll Sanguine Pool that gives you 10-15 seconds
(if i remember the cooldown of Sanguine Pool right)
of freefarm, or a kill, if he comes too close.

Will be adding more soon, good luck.

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Tips and Tricks

is kind of a tricky champion, i'll tell you a few things (tricks) you need to know.

1. Shroompo - If you manage to get a Teemo in your team, it's a great advantage for you, escaping unexpected ganks with your Flash up and your Shunpo which can be used on Teemo's shrooms will be very easy, and the shrooms can help you chase enemies aswell.

2. WTFJH (What The F*** Just Happened?) - This is my favourite, i've done it a million times. So it goes like this: you're pushing your lane and harrassing your enemies really hard, if you manage to get them under 300 hp at about level 3-5 it's pretty much always a kill, what you need to do is wait in the bush which is closest to the tower and wait for a moment, when your prey comes too close... BAM! Shunpo => Bouncing Blades => Ignite and just run away or Flash your way out of there. I get FB this way quite often.

3. Diving for doublekills - This can also be done under level 6 and due to her passive Voracity is an absolutely amazing trick, it involves lane pushing and harrassing just as the previous one. So you push the enemy till they tower hug with about 200-300 hp both, wait for your creep wave to start damaging their tower and go in Shunpo one of them => Bouncing Blades him (he should be dead and the CD should be refreshed due to Voracity) and Shunpo to the other one, if he's still alive, finish off with Ignite and guess what, you got your Shunpo up again (Must love Voracity) and safely Shunpo out to your minions, or Flash if it's a really bad case.

4. Your part in the teamfights - Your playstyle in teamfights should be as follows:
NEVER engage a teamfight first, the best thing to do is to wait till the fight has fully engaged and there's no turning back, that's usually about 2-3 seconds, then you come out of nowhere Preparation => Bouncing Blades (Should hit MOST of your enemies, it's awesome because of the full damage from 2 Hextech Gunblade and the healing reducement ) => Shunpo in the middle of the action and Death Lotus... after the dust settles, you should have atleast a doublekill in your gold bag.
*NOTE - If the enemy has massive AOE damage or they're just smart enough to focus you, Preparation into Shunpo for the damage reducement it provides and you should be fine.

I will be adding more stuff here, good luck on testing this out summoners!

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Team setups & Counters.

Is a highly team dependant champion, in the first part of this chapter i will be explaining which are the best champions to team up with.

- Due to Event Horizon which is a huge AOE stun and can be a real pain in the *** to your enemy, placing your Death Lotus will not be a problem, just remember to not engage first or you will get pasted in a blink of an eye.

- Crescendo is an AOE stun that makes your enemies dance, what can be better? Have you ever tried dancing while someone is throwing knifes at you? When the teamfight has engaged just wait for Sona to make her move and you should get a decent placement of your Death Lotus.

- A great partner for Katarina, Absolute Zero is a good spell combo with Death Lotus because of the AOE slow it provides, and noone will probably want to stay in the range of absolute zero, that's why you don't have to worry about getting over focused unless the ultimate is cancelled, too bad for you.

- Unstoppable Force is an awesome disable for the whole enemy team if it is placed good enough, Death Lotus right after Malphite does his thing, and you should get a kill or two.

It's never been so easy to get rid of the enemy carry with a Jarvan IV on your team, just let him Cataclysm the enemy carry, Shunpo in and unleash your Death Lotus, the carry should be dead, but remember, it can be countered with a Flash, so be aware of your enemy's summoner spells.

- Idol of Durand is one of my favourite and in my opinion the strongest combos with Death Lotus. If Galio lands a good Idol of Durand, you can Shunpo in and do insane damage while not even getting touched.

- Even though it's really hard for Cassiopeia to land her Petrifying Gaze good, if she can get at least 2 or 3 of your enemies stunned including the carry, you're good to go.

- Annie is an amazing nuker, Summon: Tibbers with her Pyromania stacked up so she can stun the enemy team by just dropping the bear and then bursting her skills out while you're channeling your Death Lotus, this can be very deadly.

- This little mummy can be a real pain in the *** in combination with Katarina,
he has one of the best ultimates in the whole game, placing your ultimate after Curse of the Sad Mummy is as easy as slicing butter.

- Solar Flare slows enemies in an area and stuns the enemies which are in the center of it, jump in with your Death Lotus afterwards and throw some knives at them!


Even though Katarina is a very strong champion, she's extremely easy to counter with any stun, fear, knock up, taunt or silence effects. Let me explain something:

Your arch enemies are:

I know i'm missing some, but i just don't feel the threat from the other ones.

As you can see, you can get countered by most of the league champions so now i'll explain a little bit how to avoid getting kicked in the face while spinning.

You must be patient and be aware of what spells your enemies have used to be safe to jump in and unleash your Death Lotus, for example you're playing against a Galio, you might just want to jump in and throw knives at everyone, but once you do that Galio will cast his Idol of Durand and cancel your ultimate and you are most likely dead. Instead of jumping in right away, wait for him to ultimate first and then jump in and kick their ***.

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Katarina is a great champion, as she is really fun and at the same time a little difficult to play. You've got to have good reflexes to be good with Kata, fast hands is the key to success. I see Katarina as a highly spell vamp / lifesteal dependant champion.

Here's some of my games:

I actually played these 6 games for a screenshot to put in here, and that's what i got.

If you're new at playing katarina my advice is to not give up if you're getting melted every single game, when you get used to Katarina's skills, it will get in your bones and you'll have absolutely no problem kicking ***.

Good luck & have fun.

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11\09\2011 9:43 AM - Added a screenshot of last few games using this build.
11\09\2011 9:54 AM - Added Zhonya's Hourglass to the situational items.
11\09\2011 10:03 AM - Added Exhaust to the summoner spells section.
12\09\2011 7:43 PM - Changed the sequence of item buying, because it was wrong.
12\09\2011 8:01 PM - Overlooked and tested a little bit and added 1 point in Preparation at level 7.
12\09\2011 8:47 PM - Added a chapter about Mid/Solo laning, and some examples.

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Thanks for reading my guide, please comment on it and don't forget to vote.
If you have any suggestions / improvements or screenshots of you using my build, feel free to send them to me.

*Special thanks to QQexe for helping me with my grammar.