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Katarina Build Guide by AreYouOnDrugs

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author AreYouOnDrugs

Katarina, how to successfully climb out of ELO hell

AreYouOnDrugs Last updated on May 9, 2012
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Middle Lane
Ranked #7 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9


Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Katarina is a champion that can either dominate a game, or cause your team to lose. Whether or not this happens is up to you. In this guide, I'll be explaining how to:

  • Counterbuild
  • Escape ganks
  • Ward areas
  • Win lanes

Pros / Cons


+ Great mobility and able to escape any gank
+ Can instantly burst down squishy champions
+ One of the best mid game champions in the game
+ Great at cleaning up any team fight


- Focused hard in team fights
- Ult can be canceled easily and is unreliable
- One of the worst early game champs
- Cannot carry a team late game

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: These are by far the best runes in the game. 4.5% movement speed can be the difference between a kill and a death. Chasing or running away from an opponent is something that Katarina does often, so getting the extra movement speed is a must.
  • Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: These are pretty standard for any AP caster.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: // I like these over the per level because Katarina is weak early game and needs any defense she can get.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: I chose these over health seals because the armor not only lessens the damage from ranged attacks, but also from minions when you harass your enemy.

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For masteries, I like to go the tanky route because my build is pure damage. I like to put points in Mercenary because Katarina will always be in the action and get many kills and assists. If you'd like, you can go 21-9-0, putting points in any places that give you AP.

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Skill Sequence and Abilities Explained

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Your passive is what makes Katarina not only viable, but extremely fun to play. It allows you to bounce around enemies and get easy penta kills. It also gives you 25 gold for each kill or assist you get.
Your q is used to harass and farm. Use it whenever you can.
Your w is used to deal full damage with Bouncing Blades, 50% heal reduction for a few seconds, and to take less damage for a few seconds if you use Shunpo. A trick I learned from watching someone play (scarra) is to use your w as much as you can, since it has a 10 sec cooldown or so at lvl 1, and it lasts for about 6-8 seconds. Activate Preparation, then wait for the right moment to use your Bouncing Blades. Next thing you know, your w is already back up and you can do more damage.
Your e is a great skill, but should not be maxed over your q. Preparation and Bouncing Blades does more damage with Bouncing Blades maxed. When using Shunpo, use it wisely. If you are hugging the tower, then you may use it to last hit a creep. If you are pushing a lane and worried the jungler may gank, then keep it to escape. It can also be used to harass. When your enemy uses their abilities, shunpo in and run back to avoid taking damage from auto attacks.
Your r is a great ultimate. It can easily burst down any champion, but it can also be shut down with any cc. Use it only after the enemy's cc is down. Great times to use it are when you hide in a bush and an enemy appears. Activate your ult, wait for them to realize what is going on, and then Bouncing Blades and Shunpo for the kill. Death Lotus can also be used to notify you of nearby enemies. Since it is a channeled ultimate and can only be used when enemies are nearby, you can stand near a bush and your ult will tell you if an enemy is in there or not. Lastly, DO NOT RELY ON YOUR ULTIMATE. It can be shut down so easily, so do not Shunpo into the middle of a team fight and activate your ultimate. Know when to use it.

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I always start off Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion. This not only gives you sustain, but also allows you to chase, escape, and dodge enemy abilities.

Your first trip back home, depending on how much gold you have, you will buy one of the following:

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When and When not to pick Katarina

It does not matter if their team is CC heavy. Katarina can still do well, as long as you have a good jungler. Now Katarina does not necessarily depend on ganks, but since she is a melee, the enemy usually pushes to your tower, allowing for some easy ganks. In this section, I'm going to explain when you should pick Katarina based on certain junglers.



Bandage Toss stuns, and Curse of the Sad Mummy holds the enemies in place. What more could you ask for when you want to use your Death Lotus?


Mainly what you should get from this section is that Katarina works best when your jungler has a stun type of CC.

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Rylais vs. Gunblade

I've seen this debate multiple times between Katarina players. In my opinion, gunblade scales better for Katarina than rylai's.

Rylai's is only good to build if you're not the main source of damage and you don't plan on getting kills. The health and slow is nice, but it does not give you as much damage output than Hextech Gunblade.

This is a necessary item for all Katarina players that want to get kills and carry teams. It gives her spell vamp, life steal, AD, and AP. It also has an active slow that slows more than Rylai's does. It is an all around better item for Katarina, especially now that Will of the Ancients price went up.

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As you can see, these are the common places that I like to ward. When on the red side, I place a ward on the side where the enemy's wraiths are. If you are worried about ganks that are not from the bush, then place the ward in the second bush so you can see them going around. As the game progresses, warding their blue will help you see where the jungler is and allow you to go in for a kill or a steal. In this meta, warding is key. Always have wards with you. Not only to see where the enemy is, but also to help you escape. If you are being chased by an enemy, you can place a ward down and shunpo away. Each trip back home you should be buying a ward or two.

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Early/Mid/Late Game

Katarina's early game is her weak point. During this phase, play passively and try to last hit as much as possible without taking a lot of damage. When last hitting, you can either throw a q, or run up to the minion and kill it, only if the enemy has just used an ability. Do not use Shunpo unless you will not take any damage and have not pushed the lane at all. If you're going against an easy lane (such as Karthus), then you can harass by waiting for them to use an ability, then use your Bouncing Blades, Shunpo onto them, and if they start backing off, auto attack a few times. If they do not back off, then you should run immediately. If the enemy has pushed you to the tower, then ask your jungler for a gank. Ganks pre-6 depend on who your jungler is. Most of the time, it will make your enemy waste their flash. Getting a kill before 6 is very rare.

This is where Katarina shines. By now, you should have bilgewater cutlass and a nice ultimate waiting to be used. Let your enemy push a little bit, and keep harassing them with Bouncing Blades. Ask your jungler to come gank, then activate your ultimate and use your bilgewater cutlass to slow them down. This will almost 100% of the time get a kill. Not only does she dominate her lane mid game, but she can also roam to other lanes. If you see another lane struggling, go over there and relieve some pressure.

Katarina's late game depends on how well you did mid game. If you are fed, then you will be focused. Although getting kills is what an AP carry like Katarina should do, you must remember that this is a team game. Katarina WILL be the focus of team fights, so allowing your teammates to get kills will allow YOU to be focused while your team focuses their carries and wins the team fight. It is all about cycling kills. It is really hard to carry a team late game because Katarina's ult can be shut down instantly.

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Katarina is one of those champions that you do not instalock and call mid. She should be chosen first, then allow your team to pick around her. A good player may play Katarina well, but she is only as good as her team. Katarina does not rely on ganks from the jungler, but it allows her to get fed. It is always good to have a jungler that has a stun, such as Amumu or Nautilus or Udyr. These champions allow you to Shunpo in and use your ultimate. Even if their team is cc heavy, Katarina can still be a dominant threat. Allow their team to focus you, pop your zhonya's, and then clean up the kills.

Credits to jhoijhoi for showing me how to make a guide.