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Katarina Build Guide by IceLich

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League of Legends Build Guide Author IceLich

Katarina Du Couteau - The Flurry Of Steel (Updated for S4)

IceLich Last updated on December 16, 2013
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Introduction To Katarina Du Couteau- The Sinister Blade

Katarina is a bursty AP Assassin, dishing large amounts of damage. She is also very mobile, allowing you to go on a chained killing spree due to her amazing passive Voracity. She is also an amazing farmer, using her abilities Bouncing Blades and sinister steel. What's the difference you may ask? Unlike other assassins, Katarina uses powerful AOE skills to kill enemies(maybe the whole team). You want to make only one enemy player rage quit? Not enough. Why not make the whole team rage quit with Katarina? Wanna do this? Look no further. Read on.

I'm just a 12 year old kid and I hope you won't mind my childish humor that you would find in this guide. This is also my very first guide and I hope you will upvote my guide. If you don't wanna, just leave constructive criticisms in the comments section below.

I have an aggressive play style and usually I would put offense first, rather than defense. So before giving criticisms, just take note.

Katarina has an unappreciated "overpoweredness" and I hope Riot won't nerf her. Once again, TONS OF DAMAGE! Hail the mighty Phreak, damn the cursed Morello.

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Katarina-Pros and Cons


+ High Burst AOE Damage
+ High Mobility with Voracity and Shunpo
+ Has an escape ability Shunpo
+ Amazing farmer
+ French And Is sexy.
Notice how Katarina is an assassin and the word
assassin has two ***es in it? *Licks Lips*

sinister steel
- Squishy
- Melee
- Ultimate, which is her main source of damage,
is interruptible.
- Considered as a threat and will get focused
-Extremely weak early game,
thus you will have to play safely, making early game frustrating.

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This passive skill is beastly and it really synergies well with Katarina's kit. After killing an enemy champion, the cooldowns of your abilities are reduced by 15 seconds. Voracity allows you to spam all your abilities and completely melt your enemies. It is also really good for turret diving. When you Shunpo in, use your combo and kill the enemy champion, your Shunpo would be refreshed, allowing you to Shunpo out to a ward or minion to escape turret hits.

Bouncing Blade
Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades - Katarina throws her dagger that bounces to the 4closest enemies, dealing 60/85/110/135/160 (+45% AP) magic damage and 10% less damage per bounce. Any spell or attack consumes the mark dealing 15/30/45/60/75 (+15% AP).
COOLDOWN: 10 sec
RANGE: 675

Because it can bounce to different enemies, it is a good harassing and farming tool. When you want to harass, make sure that the enemy is near a minion and throw your Bouncing Blades to that minion. It will then bounce to the enemy. Hwala! You just learned how to harass.

Max this first since it has a cast range of 675 and you can throw Bouncing Blades at a safe distance. Many people like to max this second and max sinister steel first. You canNOT. Bouncing Blades's cast range is 625 while the AOE of sinister steel is 375, making it more risky for you to last hit minions and harass enemies without taking damage.

You should also max this first because of the marks that it applies to enemies hit by Bouncing Blades. If you proc the mark, it will provide you with additional damage, helping you to win trades between you and your opponent.

Sinister Steel
sinister steel Sinister Steel- Katarina spins around, dealing 40/80/120/160/200 (+25% AP and +0.6 per AD) magic damage. When you hit an enemy champion, Kat gains 15/20/25/20/35% movement for 1 second.
RANGE: 375
You should max this spell second rather than max it first as Bouncing Blades is a better spell for farming. You do not need the higher damage early game as you will not be able to get an early game kill without your teammates due to your significantly weak early game.

Into the mid-game, you will need this damage as sinister steel provides you with the most damage among your basic spells. It has a relatively low cooldown of 4 SECONDS! What a bawss spell. Sinister Steel also allows you to chase enemy champions well as you gain a movement speed boost upon hitting an enemy with sinister steel, allowing your to catch up. This can be used the other way round if you are running away from enemies
sinister steel

Katarina jumps to her target, if it's an enemy, she deals 60/85/110/135/160 (+40% AP) magic damage to it. After using Shunpo, Kat gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds.
COOLDOWN: 12 sec
RANGE: 700

Take this at level 2 to escape from early-game ganks, if there are any,I prefer to be on the safe side. This is a utility spell and it should not be relied on for damage. It is used as a gap-closer or an escape skill. If you're being chased by enemies, Shunpo to the nearest ward or minion, creating a large gap between you and your pursuing enemies. After using Shunpo, you receive 15% less damage for 1 second. If you are low on hp and Karthus's ult Requiem is coming your way, time carefully and Shunpo to something, not an enemy duh. You'll probably live. Probably.

Death Lotus
Katarina throws a flurry of blades, channeling for up to 2.5 seconds and sending up to 10 daggers at each of the closest 3 enemy champions, dealing up to 400/575/750(+3.75 bonus AD)(+2.5 bonus AP)magic damage.

Death Lotus is the reason why you are here. This is why you have come to play Katarina. This makes her a total killing machine and completely destroys the enemies around you. If you have killed all 3 enemies that Death Lotus has hit, Death Lotus gets refreshed again, allowing you to cast this spell again. WELL, this is BAWSS. However, even though this is so beastly, it can be countered easily by CCs(specifically Knock-Ups,stuns and snares, slows will not stop your channeling).

This ability also applies grievous wounds to reduce health regeneration of struck enemies by 50%! Combined with Ignite, enemies have 0 health regeneration, allowing you to kill them more easily.

However, you have to remember if you are not fed, you are an assassin, Katarina and you are very squishy indeed. As I have said, Knock-upping, stunning and snaring crowd control spells will stop your ultimate, Death Lotus. Thus, you should wait till the enemies have used most of their CC spells. Then you will jump into the fight and release the damage. Dem, Dat Damage.

Oh yes, if you wanna d*** around, you could just harass the enemy with Death Lotus, it has a short cooldown of 45 seconds and it also deals a lot of damage, forcing your lane opponent to back off and recall, denying him of his farm. It's a really good trick.

Basically, the skill order is like this

sinister steel

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Farming Combo

sinister steel

Harass Combo
sinister steel

All out, killing combo
sinister steel

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Sorcery Katarina relies only on her spells to dish out damage, thus as a caster, cooldown reduction is absolutely valuable.

Expose Weakness Amplifies allied damage to an enemy by 1% for 3 seconds after hitting them with a damaging spell. Katarina is an AOE AP Carry that deals damage to multiple targets, thus you can cause several enemies to take increased damage at once. Gives your team a slight edge.

Mental Force Obvious choice to get scaling Ability Power per level, 16 Ability Power at level 18.

Arcane Mastery Another Obvious choice, you get an instant 8 Ability Power from this mastery, you are a glass cannon Katarina and you want to get as much Ability Power as possible.

Executioner Increases damage done to enemies by 5% when they are below 50% health. This allows you to clean up teamfights and kill them as quickly as possible.

Archmage Increases Ability power by 5%, gives you more Ability power. 'Nuff said.

Dangerous Game Gives you 5% of your missing health upon killing an enemy. This allows you to sustain more in teamfights since you get Health back once you kill enemies.(Note:you are an AOE AP carry. You can kill multiple enemies at once and you can get more health at simultaneously.)

Devastating Strikes It grants you 6% armor and magic penetration. Magic penetration is useful, but the armor penetration doesn't really help unless it's for last-hitting since all you deal is magic damage.

Arcane Blade Basic attacks deal 5% of your Ability power. I guess this helps you for last hitting.

Havoc Grants you 3% increased damage. 'Nuff said.

Double-Edged Sword You could also take this mastery as a substitute for Arcane Blade since it allows you to deal 2% more damage, but you take 1% more damage. It's a really good mastery, but it depends on your preferences also.


Block Blocks 2 damage from enemies' basic attacks. It reduces enemy harass so you can stay in lane longer.

Enchanted Armor Increases BONUS armor and magic resistance. If you didn't build magic resistance and armor runes, this won't affect you since it doesn't work on base armor and magic resistance.

Unyielding Again, this blocks 2 damage from ALL sources of damage. Again this reduces damage from harass and if you get right-clicked, the mastery will stack with the Block one, blocking 4 damage.

Veteran's Scars Grants 36 health. Gives you more health to stay in lane longer. 'Nuff said.

Juggernaut Grants 3% of your maximum health. It helps you to stay in lane longer, like the Veteran's Scars mastery.

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Starting items

This starting item build provides more movement speed and gives you more sustain in lane with 4 Health Potions. It allows you to dodge skillshots more easily and currently in season 4, I usually start with these items.

Doran's Ring provides a measly 60 health and 15 Ability power. The boost in ability power can aid you to win trades, the sustain is less since it allows you to buy only two Health Potions. I don't really like this since you are melee and the health would go to waste.

I used to like this build in Season 3, but this season there are trinkets. The Warding Totem trinket that provides you a free ward. So you don't have to buy so many wards this season. Go for this build if you are going to play extra aggressive and you think that the enemy jungler will camp mid.

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Late Game Items



This is friggin' powerful. gives you an incredible steroid of 120 AP. It's active is awesome too. It deals 15% of the enemies MAXIMUM HP. I say it again, MAXIMUM HP. Not those ****py current hp damage s***. Its passive gives you 10% cooldown reduction. That's pretty neat.You can use Deathfire Grasp's active to finish off low hp enemies who are running away, or while you are dueling enemies 1v1. This will definitely give you the upper hand

This is more powerful than Deathfire Grasp. only does it give you 120 AP, it gives you and additional passive steroid for free. Its passive provides you with 30% of your current AP. CURRENT. CURRENT. WHYYYY. To make full use of this passive, you should get Rabadon's Deathcap later after getting other AP items, but you don't want to get it too late because you want the damage slightly earlier, but not too late, just right.

Gives you 70 AP, pretty decent. only that, but also 35% magic penetration. Coupled with Magic Penetration marks, this will penetrate the enemies magic resistance and squeeze the living daylights of the enemy(sounds wrong).This is worth getting but you should get it only if you see enemies building magic resistance(those filthy creeps).

Hohoho. You're gonna put a "Kill me!" sign above your head once you get this item. Get this if you are stomping the game. You probably won't in ranked games but in public games, you might. Once you kill 10 enemies with Mejai's Soulstealer without dying, you're gonna get a GIGANTIC 180 AP. Dream on, you won't get to 20 stacks. But if you do, GG brah. The enemies are probably gonna surrender.HIGH RISK HIGH REWARDS

I have thought of getting this many times before. But nah. Even though it provides you with an okay amount of AP(80 AP), it's usually for AP champions that don't rely heavily on spells such as Diana, Kassadin and Teemo(that lil' s***). Well you do. There isn't enough time for you to auto attack in between spell casting , so don't get this unless you're bored or being a d***.

Provides you with a pathetic amount of 50 AP and 20% spell vamp. Don't take this. It's not worth it the money. Spell vamp is countered by ignite, so I don't like it.


This item is beast! It can save you from gigantic nukes and other s*** enemies throw at you by activating its passive, stasis.If you find yourself getting focused activate of stasis immediately. Take note that stasis, is like a stun to yourself that makes you invulnerable. It will cancel your ultimate, so make sure you use it carefully. To escape, you can activate stasis and wait for a minion or allied champion to come close to you so that you can Shunpo away to safety. This item also gives you 50 armor, allowing you to minimize physical damage.

This item is kinda situational. I don't really like this item as it only provides you with a decent 70 AP. Only if you are facing a really annoying AP champion in your lane e.g. Vladimir and Ryze. These guys are a thorn in the flesh and you should rush an Abyssal Mask immediately to negate their damage.

Sometimes I like getting Rylai's Crystal Scepter but Guardian Angel seems like a better choice for giving you protection from try hard enemies who are focusing you as Guardian Angel gives you armor and magic resistance while Rylai's Crystal Scepter only gives you health. Rylai's Crystal Scepter is good for chasing too as its passive helps to slow enemies while you use spells against fleeing enemies. This item is quite good because while you are slowing enemies, you get a speed boost from sinister steel also if you manage to slow an enemy with sinister steel.

Warmog's Armor is pretty sweet, giving you 1000 health and increased health regeneration. However, you're not gonna tank damage right? What's the purpose of increased health if you don't have to tank damage? If you find yourself getting focused, get a Guardian Angel or Warmog's Armor, up to your preference. Personally, i'd go with the Guardian Angel.

I like this item a lot. Not only does it provide you with 50 Armor and 40 Magic Resistance, it has a passive which revives you after dying. This is pretty damn good, allowing you to live again. You can Shunpo away to a ward, minion or allied champion after reviving, giving you a clean escape. End of Story: This is pretty darn good and you should get this last for the extra defense.

Banshee's Veil is a pretty neat item, giving you 450 health and 55 magic resistance. Its passive allows you to regain 45 health per second for ten seconds if you have received damage from an enemy champion.Again this is situational. If you are facing high nuke AP champions such as Ryze or maybe a Syndra, you should probably rush this if you are being bullied.

You should also get this if you are facing a Vladimir or a Karthus as they have ultimates you cannot escape from. Banshee's Veil comes in handy, in the case of Karthus. Since Banshee's Veil blocks any spell after a 45 second cooldown and if it is off cooldown, Banshee's Veil helps to block Karthus's ultimate Requiem and saving your life if you are low on hp.

Again, this is situational. You should buy this when the enemy has heavy CC such as Amumu's ultimate, or Zed's Death Mark, you can use this whenever you like, unlike Banshee's Veil.

Other Items

Liandry's Torment gives you only 300 hp, which I find really pathetic. It also gives a weak 50 AP and I don't fancy low AP items on glass cannon Katarina, it really hurts your DPS. If you want to stack health, get Warmog's Armor or Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

You may want to buy this if the enemy team has begun attacking your inhibitor turret or your inhibitor and you want a massive speed boost to stop them from doing so. Absolutely useful and I really like this enchantment.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Seal of Health

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

GREATER SEAL OF HEALTH You need the extra health to sustain better against your opponents who may poke you very frequently.

GREATER MARK OF MAGIC PENETRATION You'll need some magic penetration to get past some of the enemy's magic resistance, coupled with Void Staff's magic penetration, you'll penetrate them all! No seriously. Penetration is important!

GREATER GLYPH OF SCALING ABILITY POWER Scaling ability power runes give you a lot of AP, allowing you to be more powerful late game, benefiting you as a glass cannon Katarina

GREATER QUINTESSENCE OF ABILITY POWER You'll need the AP early game to win trades between you and your opponent and the extra damage for harass.

Other Runes For Consideration

GREATER SEAL OF ARMOR I would usually get this in Draft Picks if I know that I would be facing an AD champion that would would poke the hell out of you, such as Master Yi. I would get Greater Seal of Health in blind pick matches, usually.

GREATER GLYPH OF MAGIC RESIST Again, I would usually choose this in draft pick matches when i know I'm against another AP Champion that hurts alot early game like Ryze or Teemo(That little s***). You should get this to sustain better against them. In blind pick matches, I would just go for the Greater Seal of Health.
GREATER QUINTESSENCES OF MOVEMENT SPEED This rune gives you more movement speed, allowing you to dodge skillshots with more ease. Take this if you want to when you're facing a Karthus or maybe a Cassiopeia.

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Laning (Early Game)

Best. Art. Ever. I know.

When laning as Katarina in the early game, you will usually want to play safe against most opponents since Katarina is very weak early and can be very frustrating.

If you are against strong counters such as Kassadin or other lane bullies such as Syndra, you usually want to play safe since you are melee and you can be hit by their skills easily when you come forward to get cs(creep score). Against these kinds of match-ups, you'll want to farm with your Q ( Bouncing Blades) from a safe distance.

If you are against another champion that is also weak early game such as Akali or Zed, you can safely harass them with your Q->E->W combo, but make sure you don't get hit by akali's Q and her autoattack to proc it since it can hurt a lot.

When you get ganked, you usually want to place a ward down and Shunpo to it to escape. When you ward one of the bushes, you usually want to stay close to that bush since you have no vision of the other and you can stay safe and have more time to escape if the enemy jungler ganks you.

Just stay safe and farm till level 6 when you can get your ultimate Death Lotus and become really strong.

Here is a picture of the mid lane. Credits to silver_taurus on photobucket for the original image, but as you can see, the terrible coloring of the image is by me. When referencing to this image, imagine you're in the blue team.

Green - Safe Zone

-Hard to cs because of scumbag turret
-Super safe, you probably won't get ganked unless there are three enemies trying to dive you

You are very safe in this zone, since you are under protection of your turret, but the only drawback of having the minions in this zone is that they will go under turret aggro and it will be harder to cs with melee attacks(if Bouncing Blades is on cooldown]].

Yellow - Neutral Zone

-Easier to cs without enemy minions under turret aggro
-This is where most ganks from both teams happen and you have to play a little bit safer than when you are at the safe zone.

-Quite easy to escape from ganks when you are ganked in this zone.

This is the zone where the minions will meet and the zone where you will be farming at most of the time in the early game, so deal with it. As long as you keep your wards up, you'll be fine. Warding both bushes with wards is recommended for maximum vision so you can run away before the jungler manages to catch up with you.

Red - Danger Zone

-Extremely susceptible to ganks
-Hard to run away when ganked, it's a long stroll from the Danger Zone to the Safe Zone.

NEVER NEVER NEVER stay in this area for too long. I guarantee that the jungler would definitely come for you if you stay there and 90% of the time, you'll die from ganks, it's very hard to survive while running back to your turret. If your minions are pushed up to the Danger Zone, you should probably recall to base to shop or if you have killed your lane opponent, just tickle the enemy turret with a few hits before going back.

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In teamfights, you should always stay at maximum range away from the enemies, preferably at the range your ADC is at. You must wait for your enemies to blow all their heavy CCs and damage spells before you go in.

While you wait, you can throw in a Bouncing Blades to poke them. After they've blown all their cooldowns, you can clean up the fight. Make sure you have hit them with a Bouncing Blades and then Shunpo in, after doing so you have to activate your sinister steel before unleashing Death Lotus to kill them.

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Coming soon...