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Katarina Build Guide by Kusoku

Katarina Du Couteau: The Sinister Blade

Katarina Du Couteau: The Sinister Blade

Updated on March 10, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kusoku Build Guide By Kusoku 19 0 170,142 Views 54 Comments
19 0 170,142 Views 54 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Kusoku Katarina Build Guide By Kusoku Updated on March 10, 2012
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LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash



Hello, I'm Kusoku, I was introduced to MobaFire by a friend, he showed me his guide here and I liked the way he put some things on it. I have decided to check some Katarina guides that were put on this site. As I read them I found points that I agree/disagree with. Nevertheless there was always this lack of information I find very useful for Katarina players (or simply some guides were denying those information). Then I've decided to make an account and put my first (ever) guide to Katarina (I was really shocked about all the formatting that could be done).

In this guide I'm putting all my experience from playing Katarina (she was my 2nd champion on League of Legends - and my main since then). The cheat sheet shows basic build for Katarina, for some time I had only Core Items, but I think it's better to show full build and write about other possibilities in guide.

Thank you for reading my Katarina guide and I hope it will help you (at least some of you).

You can find Abbreviations that could've been used here
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Katarina Du Couteau: The Sinister Blade

Voracity In my opinion it's one of the best passives in-game.

Decreases skill cool downs by 15 sec after every kill/assist (only Death Lotus is not reseted, since all other skills have lower cool down). Also grants us extra 25 gold for every assist/kill.

Tips & Tricks:
  • Allows you to make many surprising maneuvers, like sudden tower dive with Shunpo which would be deadly to you after your kill, but thanks to it you can make your escape again with the same skill.

Bouncing Blades Powerful harassing tool as well provides good farming mid-late game.

Bounces from 2-6 targets, on higher lvl you can use it to harass enemy from almost safe place, because it will bounce trough minions/enemies to your target (sometimes it will not jump like you want it to and might end not hitting the target you wanted).

Tips & Tricks:
  • It deals magic damage (not physical like some think).
  • Try to hit the furthest minion you can afford to hit your target, as it grants you the best chance to actually hit your enemy, as well as almost safe place, from which is easy to avoid enemy attacks.
  • Every bounce without Preparation results in damage lowered by 10% so try to reduce the count of bounces to get maximum damage output, although sometimes it may be not safe and not recommended.

Preparation Buffs Bouncing Blades, Shunpo and increases normal attack damage.

Activating it before Bouncing Blades will sustain the damage on each bounce as well as give to enemies debuff which decreases heal effects by 50%. Activation before Shunpo results in lowered damage (15-35%) we receive for 3 seconds.

Tips & Tricks:
  • Activate it as often as possible or use it right before skills for some tactics.
  • On lvl 2 of this skill duration is almost as long as cool down of this skill, so you can activate it earlier and wait for cool down almost to be up and then use it 2 times almost in the same time.
  • Use Preparation while the blade is going to the target (but before it hits). Thanks to it your power will not decrease after each bounce and you'll surprise enemy by sudden power up activation and half heal debuff. You may also activate it after it hits but it will sustain the damage that was lowered (not the full damage it had on beginning).
  • Using it right before Shunpo is probably one good habit, as it will help to lower damage you always receive and sometimes it is this the thin line that keeps you alive.

Shunpo Great way to get to the enemy or escape.

It's an instant movement to the target, which puts you behind the target and attempts physical attack right after using it. It can be used offensively as well as defensively. Closing the gap, dealing damage on target or using on nearby minion to dodge skill shot, widen the gap.

Tips & Tricks:

Death Lotus Enemies nearby be aware, because death awaits you. Even though it's simple to break, in my opinion it's still one of the top ultimates in-game.

Deals massive damage up to 3 enemies in range by throwing 10 daggers over 3 seconds each dagger deals 50/65/80 basic damage (+0,25 AP and +0,5 AD). But even though it's a powerful ultimate DO NOT BE CARELESS every stun/knockback/silence is able to break it and you'll be in a very uncomfortable position, so you need SOME common sense: be patient and watch carefully when enemies are throwing their CC skills, then use it.

Many times I have seen Katarinas go alone into a group of full HP enemies and ultimate, and wind up dying without getting any kills from the situation. Although Katarina is able to pull off some crazy stunts, try not to get too cocky.

Try to keep from using your ultimate unless in team fights, ganks or situations where you can guarantee dealing enough damage to kill your target(s).

Tips & Tricks:
  • Try to use Preparation+ Shunpo before Death Lotus which will minimize damage you receive and may give you enough health to fully cast Death Lotus, which also enables safer tower dives for your combo.
  • Remember that most champions with CC will try to save a skill for your Death Lotus like Talon's cutthroat. Try waiting till everybody gets engaged in fight then use powered Shunpo followed by Death Lotus.
  • Death Lotus also hits units on stealth, you may also take advantage of it to notice incoming gank (because your ultimate becomes available whenever some champion is in its range).
  • Be wary when using items, they break your ultimate on usage.
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Pros / Cons


  • No Mana
  • Ridiculously low cool downs
    (especially thanks to Voracity)
  • Great harassing skills
  • Very good farm mid-late game
  • Amazing damage output
  • Great Chaser / Escaper (even without Flash, but I use it anyway)
  • Multi-Target Ultimate


  • Early game farm is weak
  • Death Lotus is easily interrupted by CC
  • Usually you are the first target
  • You need to depend strongly on team in fights (especially for Death Lotus)
  • No Crowd Control
  • Death Lotus broken by item usage (even pots)

Things needed to master Katarina:

  • Common sense
  • Good reflex
  • Map awareness (I still kind of lack in here xD)
  • Good way of positioning yourself
  • Good sense of timing
  • Keeping calm in fights (sometimes you can just lose fight you could win,
    because under pressure you panic)
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Full Range and Zone of Katarina Skills

Before we start on range/zone of your skills let’s look closer at the mechanics of Bouncing Blades and how it will bounce (it's not full Bouncing Blades bounce count).

Bouncing Blades - Route of the blade:

1. Dark Blue Line - way to the first target
2. Dark Blue Dot - first target
3. Light Blue Line - possible route to the 2nd target
4. Light Blue Dot - most probable 2nd target
5. Orange Line - way to the 3rd target (both ways possible)
6. Red Dot - 2nd/3rd target of Bouncing Blades
7. Red Line - way to the 3rd/4th target

So now that we know how the Bouncing Blades works, we want to know the full Range of Katarina skills. Basic range is very simple as we can light it up moving mouse cursor above the skill we would like to use. But what about the range that is not visible? (bounce of the Bouncing Blades, Shunpo + Bouncing Blades)

Bouncing Blades - Full (possible) Range

And to put all that knowledge to work lets finish up with Zoning Tutorial by Shurelia

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Skill Sequence

I have for you 3 skill sequences each has its good sides and require different style of play. I like to play using the Common skill sequence. However there was time I used Close Combat Style all the time


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

I use this build almost always on mid/side with ranged/mage enemy champions.

We maximize Bouncing Blades while taking 1 point each into Preparation and Shunpo then we (always) take Death Lotus as soon as we can, after it on lvl 8 I take another skill point into Preparation and after maxing Bouncing Blades I maximize Shunpo finishing with Preparation.

Why I take 2 points into Preparation? Because of its cool down and the way I play with Katarina I'll tell more about it inTactics below.

Q: Could you tell us why you put a point in Shunpo at level 1 if you max Bouncing Blades first? Isn't Bouncing Blades a better farming/harass ability then Shunpo?

A: On first lvl's Katarina has to last hit minions almost like melee AD champion, whenever she gets Bouncing Blades or Shunpo first. Second thing is the damage of those skills on lvl 1. While Bouncing Blades has 67 (with bonus AP) damage on first target and 61 damage on second target, you may hit enemy champion ONLY once with this skill. On the other hand Shunpo deals 95 damage to single enemy, we have single burst on enemy champion + single AD attack almost instantly after Shunpo and we can use it to dodge enemy skill shots (like Brand's Pillar of Flame).

Although you should start from Bouncing Blades on lvl 1 if you are against champion with low cool down range skills like Ryze and his Overload because he will burst you down if you'll try to fight against him in close range, farming minions also can be hard with him, so you probably will have to use Bouncing Blades to last hit minions.

Other case would be to be able to pull blue/red for your jungler

Conclusion: Shunpo on lvl 1 is more concerned about early 1 vs 1 fight.

Close Combat style:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Like the one before but we switch maximization of Bouncing Blades with Shunpo

Like the title of this sequence says it's more compact way of playing with Katarina, it's play style is fit to play using Ionian Boots of Lucidity and CDR Core as you will depend mostly on Shunpo's cool down, but Basic Core also work with it. Best enemies for this strategy are melee champions.

Risky one:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Truthfully now I'm practically not using this strategy anymore.

In those two we simply ignore Preparation for raw power output (on single player at that because Bouncing Blades is losing 10% of damage each bounce), but with power we have risks, we are more squishy mostly because we can't use Preparation+ Shunpo combo for lowering received damage.
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Killer Instincts:

I give 2 ability points in it because after you activate it lasts more/less as long as CD to the next Preparation so if you use it right before it ends you might use it again after a second or 2.

You also should activate Preparation as soon as it's on CD usually I throw Bouncing Blades or Shunpo or even both of them then use Preparation. Other way it's to activate it right before using a skill or right after you throw Bouncing Blades (you may also activate it after few bounces but it sustains lowered damage so -10% for each bounce).


Although Katarina isn't the best of farmers early game, just make sure you stay back and last hit when possible. If a wave of minions are low on health use Bouncing Blades on them to get a few last hits.

Mid-late game is where Katarina shines with farming. You simply annihilate minions with your Bouncing Blades.

It's a bit harder to farm while going with Shunpo maxed first (close combat style), since you'll be restricted by Shunpo's cool down. It's more concerned with damage output on 1 enemy than minion waves or multiple enemies.

Common abilities:

You should place yourself behind minions, sometimes far from minions (on the side or so) if enemy champion can get you easily even behind them (ranged like Caitlyn or mage Brand) and when you attempt to harass enemy try to throw at the most far away minion that with Bouncing Blades will reach enemy champion. Use Combo Preparation+ Bouncing Blades to make harassing more effective and Preparation+ Shunpo make great finish with Death Lotus (but have common sense use your ultimate when you know you will kill with it - or at least that you have chance of killing)

Close Range:

I called it Close Combat because this strategy works best against melee range champions. Simply focus on enemy Champ you want to harass and use Preparation+ Shunpo and run away from him you can also throw Bouncing Blades to add some more damage and when you know your ultimate will kill him just Preparation+ Shunpo+ Death Lotus.
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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration provides us with very high damage output through the Game, those runes also have very important meaning in this build mechanics.

Greater Seal of Armor are one of the greatest runes that give us survivability in Game, thanks to them we are more resistant to AD champions as well as we take less damage from minions.

Greater seal of vitality
Other possible runes are Greater seal of vitality. For some people those might seem more useful than Greater Seal of Armor, because when we use Preparation+ Shunpo we reduce health we receive a bit better than with simple armor (but you don't always remember about activation or use up Preparation to power Bouncing Blades).
Greater seal of vitality

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power we take those because on lvl 6 they have slightly more AP than Greater Glyph of Ability Power and as said earlier we want to maximize damage of Death Lotus.

Little math about scaling vs flat AP:
0,9 / 0,17 per lvl= 5.823529411764706
meaning at lvl 6 we have more AP from scaling ones

Other worth mentioning runes are Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction which are providing us with better cool down reduction but those runes are making most of use Early Game, Late Game we use them to get as close as we can to the 40% CDR limit (considering you don't have blue golem's buff and/or Elixir of Brilliance).

Like previous runes Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction are providing us with better cool down reduction, the difference is that those runes get better only on lvl 13, so it's up to your choice if it is more benefiting to get the flat ones or stick with worse cool down reduction till lvl 13.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power starting 15 AP for higher damage from skills early on as well as damage for Death Lotus on lvl 6 is higher than from Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed had to give them very much thought, but finally decided to add them. They are giving us 1,5% movement speed each. But to have them we really need to sacrifice 5AP for each Greater Quintessence of Ability Power which is our starting power source, so decide for yourself what benefits you the most.
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Basic Masteries:

I take "9/21/0" mastery build. Katarina is a bit squishy at the core, so defensive masteries beefs us up a bit. I really liked old defensive masteries and especially Tenacity , but Evasion and Honor Guard gives us Tenacity like effect but instead of 1 point we need to spend at least 5 points.

The offensive tree is just like the old one and the new defensive mastery tree is very flexible for Katarina you may spend your points however you see fit for her.

Let’s play with math:

Let’s say that we have 4% damage reduction (1% Honor Guard - 2 mastery points; 3% Evasion - 3 mastery points;) and a skill shot that deals 500 damage (past MR reduction):

500 x 4% (area effect skill shot) = 20 HP SAVED
500 x 1% (not area effect) = 5 HP SAVED

But if we take 5 points in other masteries we would have Vigor (3 points), Indomitable (2 points) or Tough Skin (2 points) to choose from (took as example only lowering damage masteries):

Tough Skin + Indomitable + Vigor single minion attack:
4 + 1 per 5 seconds = 5 HP SAVED // 1 point Vigor
2 + 3 per 5 seconds = 5 HP SAVED // no Tough Skin

Tough Skin + Indomitable + Vigor minion group(6 minions’ not counting siege minion):
6x4 + 1 per 5 seconds = 25 HP SAVED // 1 point Vigor
6x2 + 3 per 5 seconds = 15 HP SAVED // no Tough Skin

Tough Skin + Indomitable + Vigor champion attack (skill included):
2 + 1 per 5 seconds = 3 HP SAVED // 1 point Vigor
2 + 3 per 5 seconds = 5 HP SAVED // no Tough Skin

Conclusion: The number of saved HP is small however we would spend our mastery points in those skills. For me Indomitable is the most benefiting mastery for 2 mastery points that leaves on what the other 3 masteries we would like to spend. I take Evasion which is very good in team fights and on instant AoE damage skills.

Offensive Masteries


In those masteries I took "21/9/0" (first masteries) and "21/0/9" (second masteries). We are ignoring squishiness of Katarina and utilize even more destructive power. Also Offensive tree is very inflexible for Katarina.

But there are very big Cons comparing to defensive masteries:
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a must have, we cannot exchange it with any other situational item.
  • Damage output is practically similar to "9/21/0" until we get Rabadon's Deathcap.
  • Boots is the only viable starting item, taking Doran's Shield is almost suicidal, you need to depend on dodging skill shots, you are too squishy to take them head on.

Descriptions and Comments of Used Masteries:


Summoner's Wrath You are using exhaust, ignite or ghost? Ofc we need it. Thanks to it our Exhaust additionally lowers MR and armor by 10 each.

Mental Force +3 AP just simple as that.

Sorcery Very useful, mastery gives 4% CDR. One of the most important masteries on out early game.

Arcane Knowledge provides us with 10% magic penetration.

Havoc 1,5% more damage output to our already devastating attacks.

Blast +18 AP at lvl 18, not that much but if we want to proceed in Offensive tree we take it.

Archmage +5% more AP. Our Katarina can get around 600 AP (without rabadon's bonus) AP so +30 AP.

Executioner +6% damage output if enemy has less that 40% HP. In our case getting enemy to 40% health is just a matter of seconds as our Death Lotus has potential to take the whole HP in just 3 seconds.


Resistance Additional 6 Magic Resist, who wouldn't want this from Defensive tree.

Hardiness look above (6 Armor instead of MR).

Durability +108 Health at lvl 18.

Indomitable lowers damage received by 2 (might be exchanged).

Veteran's Scars +30 extra health for 1 point, pretty good exchange ;)

Evasion reduced damage by 3% from area effect abilities. (might be exchanged)

Enlightenment Fills the 2% CDR hole while having Golem's buff and Elixir of Brilliance for complete 40% CDR limit.

Mercenary Additional 24 gold for every kill//assist, we are now almost like with old Voracity. (might be exchanged)

Juggernaut 3% more health and 10% lower CC effects. We take it mostly for extra health since CC is not so useful for Katarina - doesn't prevent breaking Death Lotus - but ofc still very good effect.


Summoner's Insight We are using Flash so these -15 seconds is very useful.

Good Hands -10% of time spent dead, Katarina with 21 in offense is very squishy so this is brilliant here.

Improved Recall recall lasts 1 second less - useful.

Swiftness 2% more movement speed is great as we will need to dodge many skill shots.
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Summoner Spells


Flash a great chasing/escaping spell.

If you have problems with escaping (no nearby targets to Shunpo or your Shunpo is on cool down) and you know death awaits you Flash will probably save you, you can use it to jump behind walls or simply create more distance (where you might have some target in range you could Shunpo to).

You see enemy under tower and some minions close by, you know that if you run towards him, he will run back not to be in your range of Shunpo. You Flash to close the distance and then he probably will be in your range of Shunpo after you kill him you Shunpo right away (thanks Voracity) toward those nearby minions.

Exhaust one of my favorite spells, slows Movement Speed by 40%, lowers Armor and Magic Resist by 10 (with Mastery point invested into it).

You know that enemy champion will kill you if he gets to you, Exhaust will lower the damage dealt to you as well as slow enemy champion so you can make your escape safer.

Your Death Lotus has only 550 range so you want to slow him from the moment you start casting your ultimate to deal him most damage possible. but unlike items which are breaking your ultimate if used while channeling, Exhaust can be safely turned on while channel, without you to worry about breaking your deadly Death Lotus.

Other good spells for Katarina:

Ignite just burn those pests that lived through your skills.

Cleanse if you are scared of CC use this but remember using it after Death Lotus is kind of a waste of ultimate (I'm considering someone just disrupted your ultimate), so you want to use it before Death Lotus to launch it after all CC went gone and you have free will then. But I prefer making Quicksilver Sash or Banshee's Veil instead of taking this skill.

Ghost good for chasing/escaping but I still prefer Flash.

Not Recommended:

Heal hmmm yes you can heal yourself to sustain a little more damage, but let's get real if Katarina needs to heal herself and can't escape you will probably die anyway, there are always moments it will save you but I still don't recommend it.
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Core Items

Basic Core:
CDR Core:

Those are my preferred Core Items for Katarina, past those I mix in Late Game Items or/and Situational Items (sometimes I get Quicksilver Sash before Abyssal Mask). I do not include Hextech Gunblade as Core Item since I almost never end making it. It's an expensive Item and after little nerf last patch it's even less worth getting it. Usually I tend to hurry Situational Items while still relaying on Hextech Revolver.

Void Staff is a very uncomfortable item for me. To have enough magic penetration and deal significant damage you need it, but there are many important items at this stage, it should be made as 5th item, can be made as 4th while sacrificing some sustainment.

After Core Items I mix in Late Game Items with Situational Items, depending on what I actually need. You might find that making all the Items from cheat sheet above is not always beneficial to the games you are playing. (it's just that those are the most basic Katarina builds)

Sorcerer's Shoes grants us higher movement speed and 20 points of magic penetration.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity grants us higher movement speed and 15% of cool down reduction.

Hextech Revolver is a great item it provides you with decent AP as well as spell vamp thanks to which Katarina survivability increases and is cheap only 1200 gold.

NOTE: Multiple target abilities (Bouncing Blade and Death Lotus) grant 1/3 spell vamp, 5% with the Hextech Revolver, 8% with the Hextech Gunblade mentioned later.

Rabadon's Deathcap This item is just amazing. It adds 140 AP plus 30% of your total AP. So we usually end with 600-700 AP thanks to the boost.

Void Staff is a great item for Katarina, provides 70 AP and 40% of magic penetration

Abyssal Mask is an excellent for Katarina, it provides us with nearly everything we need: 70 AP, 57 magic resist and aura which is lowering nearby enemies’ magic resist by 20. And why I think:




Abyssal Mask with Sorcerer's Shoes grants us more penetration than Void Staff at least up to some point(with Ionian Boots of Lucidity it's the other way around because you don't have so high basic magic penetration)

NOTE: Arcane Knowledge and Void Staff stack multiplicatively and sum up to 46% magic penetration.
(1.0 - 0.4) * (1.0 - 0.1) = 0.6 * 0.9 = 0.54 = 54% of original resist that means:
1 - 0,54 = 0,46 = 46% penetration

50 Magic Resistance vs Abyssal Mask:

50 Magic Resistance vs Void Staff:

80 Magic Resistance vs Abyssal Mask:

80 Magic Resistance vs Void Staff:

100 Magic Resistance vs Abyssal Mask:

100 Magic Resistance vs Void Staff:

200 Magic Resistance vs Abyssal Mask:

200 Magic Resistance vs Void Staff:

Conclusion: Because most champions have less than 80 magic resistance (even with 1 MR item), we will deal more damage using Abyssal Mask while using Sorcerer's Shoes.
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Core through the Game

At the beginning you need to choose how you want to start.

Boots will give you +50 movement speed so easier and faster positioning yourself + you also get 3 Health Potions which means 600 HP recovered.
Doran's Shield which gives us extra 100 health, 8 HP reg / 5 sec (which means 200 health recovered in 2 minutes 5 sec) and +10 armor (somewhere in-game you will sell it to get other HP giving item or because you will be out of space).

You should try to last hit minions as often as possible while using all your skills, if you can you should try to throw Bouncing Blades in a way that will harass enemy champion. On some champions using hit and run strategy (with Shunpo) is very benefiting, since you will deal more damage than most of the champions, but champions with fast CD's (like Ryze) will be able to simply obliterate you so do not even attempt it.

Usually I go back first time when I have gold for both Boots and Hextech Revolver (means 1550) and Sight Ward/ Elixir of Brilliance if I have enough gold for it.

If I need to back off earlier and don't have cash for Hextech Revolver I upgrade Boots and few Health Potions/ Elixir of Brilliance/ sight wards (if possible also Amplifying Tome).

From this point on you should start ganking, but do not neglect farming on minions, do it when you can and DO NOT force it while you know you'll be sacrificing tower.

You should back when you have enough cash for your Shoes ( Hextech Revolver if you upgraded shoes earlier) or even with enough cash for next item ( Blasting Wand/ Needlessly Large Rod).

You are past the point you needed to choose which boots you need to buy. If you went with Close Combat Style you'll probably want cool down reduction so go with Ionian Boots of Lucidity take Void Staff instead of Abyssal Mask but you still can go with Sorcerer's Shoes used on Common Style.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity allows you easily gaining 40% CDR using Elixir of Brilliance and blue golem's buff which means you can Shunpo every few seconds. But then again if you choose Sorcerer's Shoes using Elixir of Brilliance, masteries and blue golem's buff we have already 40% CDR, meaning with Ionian Boots of Lucidity we lose the whole CDR bonus, then again we don't have blue golem's buff all the time and then we make use of those boots. Some like to have near 40% CDR all the time ( Enlightenment + Elixir of Brilliance + Sorcery + Ionian Boots of Lucidity gives 37% CDR).

Thanks to Voracity I still think it's better to have Sorcerer's Shoes + there's a little bonus while we take those boots to our last Core Item about which I told earlier.

For this Item you may need to go back to base twice or more times (depends on games, sometimes once will be enough). To maximize damage you want to get it as fast as possible, so on first back off you buy Needlessly Large Rod on second Blasting Wand and finish it (or finish it on 3rd run). Sometimes you will need to sacrifice your damage and buy Negatron Cloak or even finish whole Quicksilver Sash or Abyssal Mask to actually survive damage output from their AP casters before finishing Rabadon's Deathcap.

NOTE:AD champions usually do not deal enough damage to kill you (without items on lvl 18 you will have above 100 armor) but if you'll still need some armor Chain Vest will be enough.

Usually I go catch the Negatron Cloak first and collect rest of the gold needed for it. If I'm forced back earlier I buy Blasting Wand and finish it on the next run. But remember that finishing Quicksilver Sash or Banshee's Veil before Abyssal Mask might sometimes be a better solution.

If you went with CDR Core then you probably would want to go with some defensive item before grabbing Void Staff, but if you want faster damage output then without Void Staff you won’t have enough magic penetration to do so. You need to decide what is more important to you here.

Past this point I mix in Late Game Items with Situational Items, depending on what I actually need. You might find that making all the Items from cheat sheet above is not always beneficial to the games you are playing.
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Late Game Items

Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a great synergy to your skills by giving slow to enemies as well as good source of health and AP.

Hextech Gunblade one of the great items for Katarina the only down is its price it provides us with AD and AP as well as spell vamp and vamp, as well we have slow effect on use but you cannot use it while channeling Death Lotus because it will break it, you need to do it before or after finishing.

NOTE: If we want damage then Gunblade is better than WotA, if we look at price then its other way around.

Zhonya's Hourglass provides armor and great amount of ability power, active: God mode for 2 seconds :P, the active is terrific when against enemies such as Karthus Requiem, especially if you might die from it, as well as AoE and CC ultimates such as Kennen's ( Slicing Maelstrom along his passive Mark of the Storm) and the second burst of Morgana's Soul Shackles (to prevent the stun). It also works great when you are using your Death Lotus in a big team fight, you can pop the active once you're done if you are taking heavy damage, to let your teammates come and push them away from you. You can also use the active if you need to get away from someone, you are about to die, etc; activating the hourglass can give you the vital 2 seconds you need for a teammate to come to you to Shunpo to, whether in a team fight or not. Great for getting out of sticky situations, and it lets you be more risky.

Not Recommended but Plausible:

Lich Bane it's a great item thanks to its properties. It gives extra AP, magic resist, movement speed and its boosting your 1 attack by the amount of your AP (an attack usually occurs right after Shunpo).

Even though, I still do not recommend it. For starters if we play Katarina we do not intend to hit enemies but burst them out with skills, if skills aren't enough usually you would back off to wait for CD and save some HP from very possible harass or counter action of enemy. Also making it before Rabadon's Deathcap is a bit useless because it would give about the same damage as Sheen from doubling our attack damage. Second it’s a very expensive item: 3470 gold. As I wrote above, making it before Rabadon's Deathcap is kind of missing its point, so if we have our core items (all items from early-mid game) I would prefer making Hextech Gunblade for 2400 gold (upgrading Hextech Revolver) which will give us more/less the same amount of damage in skills or making any other of Late Game / Situational Items. And last we do not need 350 MP that Lich Bane is providing us with, the only item I consider good even though we lose mana boost is Banshee's Veil.
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Situational Items

Survival Situational Items

Banshee's Veil Some health as well as magic resist and shield from 1 skill every 45 seconds, it's a great item where enemies have not too many CC, it'll support you to throw Death Lotus quickly without too many worries.

Randuin's Omen If enemies have many annoying AD and don't have too many CC directed at you that could disrupt Death Lotus, provides armor, health and mass movement slow and attack speed slow on nearby enemies as well as health regen and 5% CD.

Guardian Angel source of additional armor and magic resist that may save your life, as well as passive that is giving you second chance (750 HP after death - 5 minutes CD after use) of coming back with your high damage output or just stalling for some time in which your team mates might come. Usually you would prefer making other items as most of them are often coming handier than guardian, but overall it's still a very good item.

Team Play Situational Items

Will of the Ancients a great team play item which will also give you good bonuses. This item gives you 50 AP and an aura which gives +30 AP and +20% spell vamp. You should make this item if you have many skill using champions and only you make spell vamp, it'll increase survivability of the team in range of your aura.

NOTE: Preferably used as a substitute of Hextech Gunblade (at least by me).

Situational Items against CC

Quicksilver Sash magic resist as well as Cleanse every 90 seconds if enemies have many CC
or champs like Blitzcrank, Fiddlesticks etc. it's a must have, usually I make it before Abyssal Mask.

Mercury's Treads It's an item good to have against heavy CC teams, as you will be focused with CC, gives you 35 tenacity as well as movement and 25 magic resist. With this item you should make Void Staff instead of Abyssal Mask to maximize damage. Other way around if you want survivability against spells.

Moonflair Spellblade It's the same group as Mercury's Treads but also gives you ability power (50 AP and 35 tenacity) for the price of 1200.

Very Risky Situational Items (Stackable items)

Mejai's Soulstealer Nothing else at this price (let alone most other items) can provide this much AP. Plus, with the Rabadon's Deathcap, not even including the bonus % AP masteries, the total 180 AP from this item with full stacks turns into 234 total AP. And getting stacks, especially with Kat, isn't as hard as it may seem. Your abilities are so devastating early through late game that you are guaranteed to get a lot of kills and assists. And if you lose some, just get them back! Once you get full stacks, you get 15% CDR, which will allow you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. This includes spamming your skill combo with your Death Lotus.

Sword of the Occult is another stackable item that has use in Katarina damage output. For me it's even less reliable than Mejai's Soulstealer because of the effect on 20 stacks, however Death Lotus has higher additional damage from physical damage ratio (+0,5).

I decided to mention Mejai's Soulstealer and Sword of the Occult because if you are successful of gaining stacks on them it's the cheapest and fastest way to high damage output. 1 of those items is powerful and hard to manage but if you go with both its doubling the damage output but at death its double the price of normal 1 snowball item damage loss.

However, those are NOT the most reliable items, use at your own risk. If you are having a good game, try to pick it up early. If not, don't bother risking losing an item slot and a lot of damage AP/damage and some gold.

I'm not a fan of snowballs (stackable items) I used them early on but as games went by I decided not to use them, at least not on Katarina I find other items I mentioned more useful, rather than risking the game and making a gamble of: "I will manage to keep stacks = win, otherwise probably loss"
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Champions you should be really carefull with

One of the champions that is not hard because of CC (which she has thanks to Pyromania) but because of the fact that she can kill you in a combo. Working with Banshee's Veil should solve the stun from Pyromania problem as well as part of the damage she would put on you.

Against him a Quicksilver Sash is a must have (especially if u are mid against him), why? Because his Nether Grasp is broken after use of Quicksilver Sash but you must use it after he uses it on you. Suppress and damage will be null filed. You also need to watch out for Call of the Void which will silence you.

He has 2 skills’ you need to watch out, Rupture which will launch you into air and silencing Feral Scream. Best way to fight him out is to evade Rupture (it's easy to evade this one because it shows a space - center of skill - and it'll strike around it). Feral Scream is kind of annoying since he may target it easily and silence you, Banshee's Veil is the fastest way against it (but it’s possible to evade too, or simply withstanding it).

It's very annoying opponent, his Reap is silencing you and has higher range than any of your skills and 3 second scare from Terrify. Reap silence is not very long but the bad thing is that it can strike you up to 3 times which can be devastating to us. In the 3 seconds (up to 6 seconds if fiddle skillfully struck us with both skills), we may simply be eaten alive since we can't deal damage nor run (even with Flash). Best way to fighting him is Quicksilver Sash but you may try with Banshee's Veil on your own risk.

Has also 2 CC skills Pulverize and Headbutt, but both of those skill have pretty high cool downs, so it's easy to strike Death Lotus just after he used both of them. If you find that he always saves 1 of those skills to counter you make Banshee's Veil. Killing him may be hard since his ultimate Unbreakable Will lowers your damage and he may heal up with Triumphant Roar.

Guess what? Yes 2 CC skills xD Powerball, Puncturing Taunt. Powerball is easily null filed because is breaks even on minions (still watch out especially if Rammus has Flash), but real pain is Puncturing Taunt since it allows Rammus to drag you around to many uncomfortable positions and traps (like Teemo's Noxious Trap) + you may not do anything for 3 seconds. Banshee's Veil should be enough.

Simply too many CC ( Rocket Grab, Power Fist and Static Field) that can break your Death Lotus). You should especially look out for the Rocket Grab+ Power Fist combo, since it can deal a bit of damage and put you in a very uncomfortable position (like middle of enemy team).

Solution: Quicksilver Sash and wait for his skills to be on CD before Death Lotus or Banshee's Veil if you are confident in dodging Rocket Grab and Power Fist.

Heard many times that this is problematic champion against Katarina well it's not as hard as it seems. The item I would grab is Banshee's Veil. Try to harass him using Bouncing Blades before he gets in range to cast his spell (you can always use Shunpo to evade Pillar of Flame) or after you evade his spell shot.

Now the key of successful way of killing him is evading his 1st skill shot which probably will be Pillar of Flame 2nd would be absorbed by Banshee's Veil and now to stun you with Sear he needs to use up his ultimate Pyroclasm to run away if he doesn't he's risking his life waiting for CDs. But if he uses Sear and misses then all you have to worry is that if you are able to withstand the damage from the rest of the skills.

He has very bad passive working against Katarina: Mark of the Storm. Meaning Banshee's Veil won’t help too much since it's working only for 1 skill per 45 seconds. So most important thing is to evade his skill shots as much as possible, if you can't dodge them then making Quicksilver Sash and using it after 3rd charge of Mark of the Storm. Especially watch out Slicing Maelstrom since it can give you 3 marks in about a second.

She's another champion that can almost 1 shoot you. Most critical is her silence in Sigil of Silence (after she strikes you with any other ability it gives silence). You won't be able to use skills for 2 seconds. But at lvl 6 she may silence you up to 4 seconds using Sigil of Silence and Mimic + any other skill to activate Mimic's silence. Best way is to wait for Distortion to be on cool down since it’s her main skill enabling harassing and escaping. After it's used up harass her with Bouncing Blades through minions. Getting Banshee's Veil is also a very good idea since it will stop at least one skill (which probably will be Sigil of Silence) and save you high amount of damage.

You should be careful around her since she can stun you with 2 skills. First one Shield of Daybreak she may easily put it on you thanks to her other skill Zenith Blade so trying to use Death Lotus on her is like waste of ultimate since she will break it with Shield of Daybreak but if she used it up remember she still may have Solar Flare. Making Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash is more than enough to fight her.

Morgana can be hard to fight against too many AP champions thanks to her Dark Binding, Black Shield and Soul Shackles (and her spell vamp from Soul Siphon). You lose ability to use Shunpo until effect of Dark Binding wore off, so better dodge this skill well. Black Shield is very good damage reduction against your skills since they are all dealing magic damage. But Soul Shackles is almost not a worry to you. To stun you it needs 4 seconds, that means you have 1 second for reaction and using Death Lotus (to have full channel of your ultimate - 3 seconds). You may get Banshee's Veil but I think you may not need even that.

It's a bit tricky lineup her ball is able to deal pretty high damage and to dodge it you can't be looking at Orianna but on the ball. Try to imagine a circle around her ball, it can go in straight line from its position to the edge of the circle (+ there's Oriannas range). And the skill you should be careful with is Command: Shockwave as it's able to disrupt your Death Lotus. Best choice is Banshee's Veil but if you get hit by sole movement of the ball, you will lose Banshee's Veil passive and get hit by Command: Shockwave.

It's one of the champions that making Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash is simply not worth. Riven has 2 skills that can disrupt your ultimate, first one is Broken Wings because of this skill it's not worth to make Banshee's Veil since every hit will take out the passive of Banshee's Veil but only the 3rd one will disrupt Death Lotus. Second skill is Ki Burst it inflicts 0,5 sec stun which means making Quicksilver Sash to get out of its effect is meaningless since it will wear out before you will even react but it's still able to break your Death Lotus channeling. My strategy is to wait till both skills are on cool down an withstand the damage (so Randuin's Omen is the best choice against opponents like this, preferably against few AD not only Riven).

Very hard against:

He's very mobile thanks to his Riftwalk and has silencing Null Sphere against you (it's breaking your Death Lotus) + his passive Void Stone works against you (it lowers magic damage received by Kassadin). If you try to force harass him he will probably harass you even more, so focus on farming. Banshee's Veil is a must have on 1 vs 1 in team fights just be sure he used up his silence.

A skilled Vayne will always Tumble away from your Bouncing Blades harassing, force harass probably will work against you because of her passive Night Hunter (as well ultimate Final Hour) and she has also Condemn which is able of breaking your Death Lotus, focus on farming

Rest of the champions is not posing too much of a threat (if I didn't forget any more annoying champions like those above) and can simply be solved with either:
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Champions with helpful skills/ultimates to Death Lotus

Black Shield+ Death Lotus
Soul Shackles+ Death Lotus

Morgana is a perfect partner for Katarina (my personal favorite), she may easily catch a single enemy in Dark Binding creating an opportunity to kill single enemy, but her other spells are even more useful for us. Black Shield is preventing part of magical damage to go trough as well as giving us immune status to all stuns, silences, snares (till it breaks) which means we do not have to worry about broken Death Lotus, also getting in to bunch of enemies with Soul Shackles near its full channel state will give a perfect moment for striking Death Lotus.

Curse of the Sad Mummy+ Death Lotus

Bandage Toss and Curse of the Sad Mummy are two very good skills helpful to Death Lotus. While Amumu uses Bandage Toss to stun the enemy and move himself to the target, which makes easier to use Curse of the Sad Mummy, it's the perfect chance to use Death Lotus since enemies are unable to attack neither move.

Idol of Durand+ Death Lotus

Another great partner, his Idol of Durand is taunting all nearby enemies, so we may go with Death Lotus and deal massive damage before they could even break it.

( Pyromania+ Summon: Tibbers)+ Death Lotus

Annie is a very good partner, thanks to her Pyromania with Incinerate or Summon: Tibbers, which will stun multiple enemies giving the perfect opportunity for Death Lotus.

Intervention+ Death Lotus

Little Intervention preventing damage of enemies we jump into.

Solar Flare+ Death Lotus

Solar Flare gives us very comfortable position for Death Lotus because it stuns enemies in center and slows nearby opponents.

Absolute Zero+ Death Lotus

Very big massive slow from Absolute Zero will almost make sure our Death Lotus to be in range the channel time.

Cataclysm+ Death Lotus

Jarvan IV may greatly help our Death Lotus by trapping them in Cataclysm, although it is not disabling their ability to attack nor using CC, prevents only escapes.

Crescendo+ Death Lotus

Crescendo is a pretty nasty stun for enemies before Sona, but we are not whining about it, since its Death Lotus time.

Slicing Maelstrom+ Death Lotus

Kennen has a stun thanks to Mark of the Storm and his ultimate Slicing Maelstrom makes possible stacking 3 of the marks on multiple enemies, which is the perfect moment for Death Lotus.

Event Horizon+ Death Lotus

if we place ourselves inside our Veigar's Event Horizon it will prevent enemies from funning out of our Death Lotus range.

Command: Shockwave+ Death Lotus

Being in the center of the Command: Shockwave greatly assists Death Lotus, since she may use it to pull running enemies and help us to get our full casting time and damage from Death Lotus.

Unstoppable Force+ Death Lotus

Unstoppable Force gives us a bunch of enemies flying for a moment in the air unable to do anything, another good situation for Death Lotus

Sanguine Pool+ Hemoplague+ Death Lotus

Sanguine Pool+ Hemoplague is one nasty combo assisting Death Lotus, while Hemoplague is boosting our damage, Sanguine Pool is slowing enemies running from us.

Cyclone+ Death Lotus

Cyclone as we deduct from its name, its throwing bunch of enemies into air unable to do anything and looking at Death Lotus draining their life

I do not recommend champions such as:

Explosive Cask+ Death Lotus = You're doing it wrong

Why? Well his Explosive Cask may throw enemies way out of Death Lotus range.

All other champions that are considered good are those that have stun or a crowd control, I didn't speak of them here because it's simply disabling 1 opponent and are not as useful as those above.
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FAQ (for now item related only)

Q: You got Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Exhaust. Do we really need double slow?
A: Yes, since I use Exhaust most of the times early-mid Game, and I rarely end with Rylai's Crystal Scepter at all usually I take it to buff some HP or change it with other situational Item (The build showed in the beginning is in case of 100% unnecessary changes which almost never happens in games above 25 lvl), also it is Late Game Item for me, so sometimes I get it in 40 minute of the game.

Q: Should Rylai's Crystal Scepter be before Abyssal Mask?
A: It may be a bit related to my play style, but even tough Rylai's Crystal Scepter provides us with slow and health, Abyssal Mask gives MR penetration and Magic resist. I have played for a while with both items as first in this place. My conclusion was that even though I were more benefited with defensive part (thanks to Preparation + Shunpo and that extra health), I lacked damage output that provides Abyssal Mask with its magic penetration (we still have some survivability not as much as with extra health - 'cause of AD champions).

Q: Why Zhonya's Hourglass? Doesn't make any sense to me.
A: It has many usages, Katarina usually is targeted first, because of her high damage output on multiple enemies. Sometimes if you initiate too early u would've ended up dead but 2 seconds are blissful for Katarina, as I wrote before with normal build and Golem's buff and Elixir of Brilliance you have 40% CDR. Katarina's Shunpo have about 3,6 CD time, then its more than half of time of her CD on an escape ability. You may always use it before/after ultimate to save some HP on team fight. Zhonya's Hourglass is also granting us 50 Armor great damage reduction against AD based champions. Usually if I do not get Zhonya's Hourglass then I get Randuin's Omen.

Q: Why you don't add Ninja Tabi as situational item?
A: Actually I never ended up making Ninja Tabi on Katarina (not even once). If you didn't notice already Katarina with only Doran's Shield have above 100 Armor (at lvl 18, also depends on which runes you use), so she's pretty resistant to AD attacks. I like to get Sorcerer's Shoes most of the times (maybe it is also true that I never ended up against full AD based team).

Q: Have you considered Will of the Ancients instead of Hextech Gunblade?
A: Actually yes I did consider it. Here you have calculations I made:

Hextech Revolver cost: 1200

Hextech Gunblade +56,5 damage to Bouncing Blades and +375 to Death Lotus cost + 2425
Will of the Ancients +28 to Bouncing Blades and +200 to Death Lotus cost + 900

So it's 1525 difference in gold.

NOTE: Death Lotus full cast damage. Shunpo not counted 'cause it has almost the same damage stats.

So it's still good to get Hextech Gunblade, Will of the Ancients when you want to support your team with spell vamp and 30 AP aura and save some cash.
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I would like to especially thank:

wRAthoFVuLK and his Katarina Guide, because of the few things I based on in my guide (Farming, 2-3 item descriptions, a bit of Death Lotus description).

Jhoijhoi and her Guide to Making a Guide which enabled me to make most of the formatting made on this Guide. Also thank you for older banner and dividers(Jhoi's sig store).

LaCorpse for awesome guide bundle that came straight from LaCorpse's Signature Café.

I would like to thank all the reviewers that answered my requests and provided me with a great feedback that helped me making my guide even better: Jhoijhoi, SirSpankAlot, Icuonuez.

Everybody who have read and commented my guide :D
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Change LOG

One of my best games:

Older Changes (main ones):
  • Changed Core items in build order into full AP build.
  • Added conclusion about Hextech Gunblade changes
  • Corrected Cheat Sheet Item Order
  • Added Ability descriptions
  • Added FAQ (it will be updated every once in a while).
  • Full Grammar check (used some online free grammar checking, so I'm not sure if everything is ok now, if you manage to notice some errors then let me know about it in the comments)
  • Corrected beginning of the guide (intro, appearance, organization etc.)
  • Corrected Masteries
  • Corrected visual appearance (I think I did it xD)
  • Date changes in Change LOG instead of versions, also shortened change LOG since some of the changes weren't that important.
2011/11/16: 2011/11/24:
  • Added more runes.
  • Added other possible masteries.
  • Added CDR Core.
  • Corrected guide visually.
  • Made Range/Zone Section.
  • Hextech Gunblade back to cheat sheet after spell vamp nerf on Will of the Ancients.
  • WotA related info.
  • MS Office Word spell and grammar check :D
  • Death Lotus info: all item usages (even pots) are breaking it (got to know it painfully last game)

To do List(for now at least):
  • Any changes that I’ll find necessary

Low priority:
  • Dominion part on Katarina - I'm not sure if I even make part about it, since Dominion didn't get to me as much as I tough it would and I don't like playing it too much, but who knows maybe it'll change. (+ it's almost like writing a new guide within a guide since there are other priorities)
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League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide