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Katarina General Guide by GreenCold

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League of Legends Build Guide Author GreenCold

Katarina - It was knife to know you

GreenCold Last updated on April 10, 2014
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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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Hello there everyone and welcome to my Katarina guide.

I currently have ~1000 wins and katarina was one of my earlier champions. Even after all this time I have found that Katarina still is one of my favorite champions in the game. Her AOE burst can be insane, you can take out almost every Champion in the game with a single rota, and your passive just kicks backside in teamfights, plus you hardly have any cooldown on your ultimate at all if you play her correctly.
Although Katarina is a fairly easy champion to play, it requires some skill and knowledge of the champions in the game to be still able to play Katarina on a higher elo due to the fact that her ultimate is channeled, therefor cancable (is that even a real word?) and you won't be of much use with your ultimate.

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Pros / Cons


+ easy to play
+ no mana costs
+ strong teamfights
+ fun champion
+ strong roaming
+ good waveclear
+ very mobile in teamfights due to Voracity and Shunpo

- squishy
- easily shutdown by cancelling ultimate
- hard to find back into game if losing
- Ultreliant
- hard to play if enemies know how to play vs Katarina

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These are relatively self-explanatory I think.
Seeing as you are an assassin and your job will be to deal damage I would always take 21 points into the offense tree.
You will obviously not need any sort of attack speed, so Sorcery will be what you will take. Feast (I mean the mastery, not Cho'gath's ultimate) will give you slightly some more lanesustain, which cannot hurt, especially seeing as the amount of life generated upon killing a minion has been increased from 2 to 3 in the patch 4.5.
Otherwise you should take the pretty standard AP path, providing you with some AP, some MP, and somewhat stronger basic attacks with the help of Arcane Blade .
Now seeing as you don't have any mana, it's not worth it to put any points into the utility tree. The only thing that might be useful in the utility tree would be Fleet of Foot which would mean that you would have to sacrifice 3 points for movementspeed which then cannot be put into the very valuable Veteran Scars and Juggernaut .

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For Runes I usually take very standard AP-Runes which you should own anyway.
- 9 x Mark of Magic Penetration
- 9 x Seal of Armor
- 9 x Glyph of Magic Resist
- 3 x quint of ability power

For Special circumstances you could/should (depending on how much IP you wish to spend, or already have spent on runes) replace some runes with others:
Versus a full AD-Team (which does happen occasionally) you can replace the Glyph of Magic Resist with Glyph of Ability Power
After the Runechanges in patch 4.5 you can also think about replacing your Seal of Armor with [seal of scaling health]] when facing an one or more AP-Opponents. Seal of Scaling Armor can also be an option when facing a single AP-Opponent, but fear a lot of AD damage later on when the teamfights commence.

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Flash helps you to bridge that last small gap to kill an enemy when chasing; Helps you escape if you flash over a wall, I would never play a game with Katarina without flash. Ignite will help you pick up a kill that is likely to flash away, reduces healing on ADcarries, Dr. Mundo or other champions who lifesteal or spellvamp a lot of health plus it now grants vision while the DOT (damage over time) is ticking. If you are sure that you can win a lane without ignite, or will lose it with or without ignite or you just want that extra bit of roaming power Teleport will help you to get around a lot faster and it will make your roaming stronger (you can teleport on the lane and suprise the enemy, or you can teleport back to lane, so you don't lose your turret. Later on in the game you can even teleport in their base (assuming you have a ward there) and xPeke their nexus.

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Now to the Itembuild:

In my build you can see three possible starting oppertunities; I have commented on them shortly in the notes already and will go into further detail now.

Starting option #1 ( Boots of Speed and 4x Health Potion)
This is how I start most of my games, it's not really a very strong beginning, but it is a solid one. The Boots of Speed help you dodge skillshots, and the 4 Health Potion help you sustain on the lane a lot. Another upside when beginning like this is, that if you notice the enemy jungler invading your jungler early, you can aid your jungler a lot faster.

Starting option #2 ( Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potion)
This is the ideal build versus an AD opponent for obvious reasons. The Cloth Armor will build into Seeker's Armguard for an additional 860 gold preferrably on the first back, and the 5 x Health Potion will grant you an insane amount of lanesustain.

Starting option #3 ( Doran's Shield and 1x Health Potion)
An alternative to Starting option #2 giving you some health, some passive health regeneration and some autoattack damage reduction. To be honest I hardly ever start like this because the Starting option #2 is safer, seeing as it gives you 5 Health Potion instead of 1, plus builds into Seeker's Armguard and later into Zhonya's Hourglass which is a very strong item anyway. It's worth to mention though, and possibly stronger when facing very autoattack reliant opponents like Yasuo.

First back and early items
As mentioned earlier, building Seeker's Armguard when facing an AD opponent is very advisable, possibly finishing Zhonya's Hourglass straight away. Even though only giving you 5 Armor more than Seeker's Armguard when fully stacked, it does provide you with an invaluable active which can be used to block that last tick of Ignite, can save your life in possible early teamfights by popping the active just after finishing your ultimate or upon getting focused and can even block the complete damage of Zed's Death Mark.
On an additional note, this item gains further strenght seeing as the current meta is very AD-heavy. Toplaners are almost always AD currently, the ADC is AD anyway, the jungler is mostly AD too (or their magic damage is very low) and even the midlaners are sometimes AD now (I have played more than one ranked game vs a full-AD team recently).
Make sure though that Zhonya's Hourglass is your 4th item at the latest, you will need the active throughout every game. And seeing as in every game which is not trolled there will be an ADC on the enemy team, armor is never a wrong thing to buy.

Another early item you will want to get is Haunting Guise, it has an insane early power and I have hardly played a game with Katarina without building it. You can finish Liandry's Torment early if you are facing a lot of high-HP opponents, but seeing as this is almost never the case, I would stall finishing Liandry's Torment until late game. It just isn't as strong as other items in early and midgame.

Finish Sorcerer's Shoes after Haunting Guise or Seeker's Armguard depending on which you have built first, but i would definately build Haunting Guise at an early point of the game, no matter what.

If you have faced an AP-Opponent, and have now completed Sorcerer's Shoes and Haunting Guise you have 2 oppertunities: you can either build Rabadon's Deathcap for more damage or Zhonya's Hourglass for more armor and an awesome active (I think i have stressed the importance of this item enough now). No matter which path you have chosen, finish the other item directly after that.

The reason I haven't mentioned Abyssal Mask yet, is because like I said, you usually face a high amount of AD and the MR is not always needed. If you are losing a lane vs an AP-Opponent, you should think about this item though, especially as it also has an aura that grants you 20 magic pen. This item is even superior to Void Staff as long as the enemies have less then 100 Magic resist.
Although almost never happening, you should definately buy Abyssal Mask if the opponents have more than 1 AP opponent, possibly even 3 or 4.

This is usually the point where you will have to decide if to buy Void Staff or not. As mentioned just recently, Abyssal Mask is superior to Void Staff as long as the enemies have less then 100 magic resist.
This is also where I (and you) will usually finish Liandry's Torment, the unique passive won't be very strong if none of your enemies have built any HP, but seeing as usually at least 2 do, it is worth to buy this item.

I will now explain when to buy these situational items:

- Guardian Angel
Buy this if you find yourself dying a lot in Teamfights, and Zhonya's Hourglass alone doesn't suffice to ensure your survival.

- Rylai's Crystal Scepter
I do not usually buy this item, although it is important to note that this item doubles the damage of the dot of Liandry's Torment. It does provide you with a decent amount of health which is of use not only to increase the likelihood of your survival, but also helps vs true damage dealing oppenents like Darius, Cho'Gath, Master Yi etc.

- Deathfire Grasp
While you would think that Deathfire Grasp is a must on every assassin, I do not completely agree with that on Katarina. You do not really have any single target burst, but an AOE burst, and you should be bursting their whole team anyway without Deathfire Grasp due to your high damage and your passive Voracity. It is still a decent item though due to the high amount of AP it provides, and if you find that you are not dealing enough damage to burst down their Champions, it is worth to think about buying this item.

Last but not least, the item that I am never really sure about: Hextech Gunblade
Now for me this is a touchy subject with Katarina. It isn't exactly a bad decision on Katarina seeing as both your sinister steel and your Death Lotus both scale with AD ( Death Lotus even with 375%), and the spellvamp is really a nice thing to have seeing as you can farm junglecamps with hardly losing any HP at all. You do not profit from spellvamp that much though, seeing as the amount of life you can spellvamp is lessened when using AOE spells, and Katarina only has AOE spells.
The active on the other hand is again something nice to have.
In my opinion it really should be up to every individual Katarina player whether to buy this item or not. Just give it a go and see how it works for you.

Please note
that you should not view any build that you find on mobafire as the only correct way to build a champion, especially if you look at the succession of buying the items.
It is possible that there will be games in which you will want to build unlikely items like Randuin's Omen due to the high amount of attackspeed reliant opponents.
Or maybe even Lich Bane which is usually a bad decision on Katarina due to the fact that you do not really deal any autoattacks except when farming, because you need the extra pushing power and damage on turrets.

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When to pick Katarina, Gameplay, Teamfights and what your job is

When to pick Katarina

Katarina is a strong champion, no doubt about that, but she is definately not a solid pick, or a champion you should carelessly pick as firstpick in soloqueue.
In my opinion there are 2 requirements that have to be met, to make Katarina as effective as possible.

Requirement #1
You have to make sure that your oppenents have as less possibilities as possible to cancel your ultimate. What can cancel your ultimate? Every single from of crowd control (CC) except slows, even the Anivia wall and the Trundle pillar can cancel you if placed directly beneath you.
So pay close attention to what they pick, you do not want to be useless.

Requirement #2
Your team. You need a team with strong engage and tanky players, your job as an assassin (later more) is to engage only after your opponents have blown their cc so you can do as much damage as possible with your ultimate.
Most importantly: STAY AWAY FROM DOUBLE ASSASSIN TEAM COMPS! I have had to experience this more than once, when unexperienced players pick Kha'Zix jungle without paying attention to what the rest of the team picked. Double assassin is not necessarily bad every time, I have won games like these, but that was more luck than anything else.


Before reaching level 6 you should only have one single aim: farm! As a Katarina it is very unusual to win your lane before level 6. It is possible of course, and you should definately harass your enemy with your Bouncing Blades as often as possible, but if you are not stomping your lane just try to farm safely with your Bouncing Blades and sinister steel.

As soon as you hit level 6 you have to decide between the following:
- If you can, kill your laneopponent possibly with the help of your jungler, an experienced jungler will know that you getting your ultimate will give you a great spike in your strength, and will try to snowball your lane.
- Go back and buy your first items (safest)
- Roam top or bot if the lane is pushed, make sure you have enough HP though, and that your oppenent cannot take your middle turret while roaming, because you will probably have to back after your gank.

Sometimes it is advisable to completely rota your laneopponent just to bully them out of lane, your ultimate has a low cooldown even without your passive Voracity and can help you dominate your opponent.

PLEASE NOTE that Katarina is a very snowball reliante champion, if you fail your lane, fail your farm, and fail your roams, you will be very useless.

Make sure that you do not forget to farm! Farm = gold = items = strength = win

If you do well on lane, your team will not directly profit from it, unless you roam. You can push out your lane, and then try to snowball other lanes, or save lanes which are having problems (do not try to help a lane which is feeding horribly, ganking that lane may result in both you and your lanepartner dying, giving a double kill to the enemy, maybe even a shutdown if you managed to aquire some kills, and increase the snowball of that lane even further)

Teamfights and what your job is

You are an assassin! In my opinion the assassin is one of the, if not the most difficult role in the game. I have found very helpful videos on the internet to teach you how to play an assassin, and I will link them at the end of this chapter. There are about 13 videos and each is about an hour long, but they are highly informative and have helped me a lot understanding this game.

If you do not want to watch those videos for whatever reason, I will now describe to you as easily as possible what you do as an assassin in teamfights:
Basically you derp around the place where you expect a teamfight to commence very soon. Try to stay out of sight, so the enemies do not know that you are there. You then have to wait for your bruisers and tanks to engage upon the enemy team, or that the enemies have engaged upon you. Pay close attention to the their CC and cooldowns, the optimal point for you to engage is as soon as every threatening CC has been blown.
Now your targets are the enemy Carries and squishies, you will want to try to take out the ADC first, who (if he knows what he is doing) will stand at the background of their team.
If you have done well that game, the ADC should be dead within seconds, you just Q W E R on the adc, wait until he is dead and your passive kicks in, and then reapeat Q W E to the next higher priority target, or the next squishiest champion. Note that after 3 kills your ultimate will again be off cooldown and you can cast it again. If done correctly you cast your ultimate twice in a single teamfight and they will simply melt away.

Another tactic that I have found to be quite effective if your ADC is very fed and the enemy team has one or two assassins of their own, is to stick around your adc, and burst the enemy assassin as soon as he tries to burst your adc, this will ensure that your ADC stays in the teamfight to do a lot of damage and you can just cleanup their team as i have described just now.

Here is the video that I have been talking about. Watch it, it's worth it

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Thank you for reading my guide on Katarina!

This is the first real guide that i have published until now, and it is therefor far from perfect. I would appreciate it a lot if you could leave some constructive criticism in the comment section, and i will do my very best to improve this guide as much as I can. In addition, feel free to tell me if you disagree with anything that I have written, or think that I have forgotten anything.

Thanks again for your attention, cheers!
Such Green, Much Cold


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