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Katarina Build Guide by Kuro_Shiro

Middle Katarina S11 AD/AP On-hit Builds (Current Meta)

Middle Katarina S11 AD/AP On-hit Builds (Current Meta)

Updated on December 12, 2020
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kuro_Shiro Build Guide By Kuro_Shiro 430 32 869,700 Views 27 Comments
430 32 869,700 Views 27 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Kuro_Shiro Katarina Build Guide By Kuro_Shiro Updated on December 12, 2020
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Runes: Standard AD/AP

1 2 3 4 5 6
Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Sudden Impact
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist


1 2 3
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Middle Lane
Ranked #30 in
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Middle Lane Ranked #30 in
Middle Lane
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More Katarina Runes

Threats & Synergies

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Champion Build Guide

Katarina S11 AD/AP On-hit Builds (Current Meta)

By Kuro_Shiro

This guide does not cover the very basics of Katarina's kit. If you'd like to learn Katarina’s basic combos, i'd recommend you check out this guide.

Table of Contents
Why Katarina?

Kata’s Positives

High Skill Ceiling
High Damage
High Mobility
Versatile Build Paths
Possibly the best passive
Katarina is one of the most rewarding champions to master. She has one of the most extreme snowballs in the game and can usually carry incompetent teammates when ahead. Her passive Voracity is practically the best in the game since it allows you to use your abilities repeatedly in teamfights as long as you manage to secure resets.

With Season 11 and Katarina’s passive, E and R getting buffed with on-hit effects, her builds paths have expanded to the point that she can build most of the items in game and she can still benefit from them. She can go AD/AP or even tank and still be relevant.

Like your typical assassin, Katarina is extremely squishy and is shutdown by pretty much every form of CC . Unlike most assassins though, her laning phase is extremely difficult. You have to learn to weave in auto attacks and you won’t win trades even if you get your full combo off in most matchups.

Katarina’s also one of those rare champs that have no utility in their kit, which makes her rather useless if she falls behind since all she brings is raw damage.

Kata’s Negatives

High Skill Floor
Vulnerable to CC
Bad when behind
Difficult Matchups

Conqueror is Katarina’s best rune. It’s the most consistent as it gives you extra Adaptive Damage and Healing per stack, synergizes well with pretty much every build, and remains relevant in every stage of the game. With Conqueror, you can 100-0 your most of your opponents and cheese first blood at levels 2-3 with Ignite. (More on that in the Matchups Section <TBA>)

Fleet Footwork is pretty much a requirement since it gives you healthier clears if you’re going jungle. It’s not worth taking it into lane as it gives you very little kill pressure both in and out of lane in exchange for an easier time in the laning phase.

As for Press the Attack and Lethal Tempo however... They aren’t worth it.

Triumph’s the best and only rune we can take here since we don’t have any Mana/Energy in our kit for Presence of Mind and Overheal only works well with lifesteal builds. Triumph restores 12% of your maximum HP per takedown which keeps you healthy in teamfights and the extra gold is great for early game.

Legend: Alacrity is my personal favorite “Legend” rune. It gives you a small amount of early game attack speed that increases with every minion and champion takedown, which is extremely useful in the laning phase and with the S11 update, gives you better AD scaling on Death Lotus.

As for Legend: Tenacity, it’s really useful against team comps with point and click CC that you can’t avoid. I rarely take this rune since you’re meant to stay back and wait for your frontline to get CC’d as Kat before you jump into fights.

Coup de Grace is the best rune here since Katarina is meant to go in, assassinate the person with the lowest HP and jump to the next person. Last Stand isn’t really worth it with the current items (such as The Collector) since you’ll usually die before you manage to take advantage of it. Cut Down is a semi-decent option against tanky team comps but doesn’t have much use anywhere else since Kat has high base HP.

Sudden Impact is a really important rune since it’s one of the rare sources of magic pen. The magic pen and lethality is really good both inside and outside of the laning phase since it effectively nullifies the magic resist rune your laner takes, and makes your autos deal more damage with lethality.

Taste of Blood is a decent second option against tougher matchups but I rarely take it since the magic pen from Sudden Impact is too valuable.

The only real choices here are Ravenous Hunter and Relentless Hunter. I take Ravenous most of my games since it gives a whopping 11% Omnivamp at max stacks. Relentless Hunter is good for roaming/moving around in the jungle.
Build Explanations
Standard AD (AD Burst)
This should be your go-to AD Build against squishy team comps. The shield from Eclipse lets you survive for longer in teamfights and the movement speed lets you stick to a target easier for your auto attacks to land. Playstyle: Heavy use of Abilities and Auto Attacks.
Alternative AD (Anti-tank)
This build is better against 2+ tanks. With Kraken Slayer every third attack, (daggers included) deals true damage. Titanic Hydra gives you more health and %health damage. Playstyle: Heavy use of Abilities and Auto Attacks.
Standard AP (Solo Carry)
Your go to AP build. Going Bork rush is viable here for an easier laning phase. It scales off of levels and is affected by Riftmaker's damage increase. This build is mostly geared towards AOE damage and Demonic Embrace synergizes well with Riftmaker. Playstyle: Heavy use of Abilities with some Auto Attacks.
Burst AP (Nuclear One-shots)
Build against a team full of squishies. I recommend starting Doran's ring/Dark Seal here since they're better for short trades. If you don't fall behind, you'll likely be able to one shot people with just your E. Build Mejai's Soulstealer if you get fed and replace Zhonyas with Void Staff if needed. Playstyle: Only abilities.

Off Meta

Grasp Build (Tanky, Off Meta)
Build this when your team doesn't have a tank/is very squishy. Currently, Sunfire Aegis is an overpowered item, and it synergizes well with Kata's ult. There's not much else to this, just play like a tank. Playstyle: Sit there and take it.
Irelia Build (Bruiser, Off Meta)
Item Breakdowns
Recurve Bow
The single best back for Katarina. Gives you so much kill pressure by being able to simply E and auto people to death in lane. Builds into both Bork and Nashor’s.
Demonic Embrace
It synergizes really well with Riftmaker. The burn is really good since you’re mostly focused on dealing AOE damage with the Riftmaker build, plus there’s the added bonus of extra health and armor/magic resist.
Nashor’s Tooth
Out-damages Death Cap at every stage of the game. Provides a lot of damage with the added bonus of some attack speed. Solid first item.
Sorcerer’s Shoes
Regardless of AD or AP, your daggers still do magic damage. Unless you really need Tabi/Mercs, you should always build Sorcerer’s Shoes.
Hextech Gunblade
I can’t believe it... You’re really gone... How am I meant to survive without you?!? Oh wait... Wrong type of breakdown, please move on. Nothing to see here.
The Collector
The execute is really nice for Katarina. It lets you secure resets easier and provides you with a larger margin of error in teamfights.
Lich Bane
Provides a nice amount of burst and some movement speed. I wouldn't recommend building this with Riftmaker since spellblade only procs on one person, even if you use it on a dagger. Synergizes really well with the burst build of NH.
Guinsoo’s Rageblade
Amplifies on-hit effects, with the added bonus of attack speed and 2 physical damage on-hit per 1% of critical strike chance.
More TBA
Mid Lane Katarina

Viable Builds:

AD Standard
AD Alternative
AP Sustain
AP Burst

Starting Items:

Doran’s Blade (Early Aggression)
Good start for both AD and AP builds. Lets you have better all-ins and a good amount of damage for early dueling.
Doran’s Ring (Sustain/Poke)
Good start for AP builds. Gives you a good amount of sustain with its passive.
Doran’s Shield (Difficult Matchups)
Good into extremely difficult matchups (Like Lucian and Tristana) for both AD and AP builds. Gives you some health and more health regen.
Dark Seal (Easy Matchups)
Good for snowballing with an AP build. You should take this into easy matchups or ones where you’re confident.
Cull (Easy Matchups)
Similar to Dark Seal with easy matchups but for AD.

When should you go AD/AP?

General rule of thumb is to go AD when your team is mostly AP, and go AP when your team is mostly AD.

However, i’d recommend you go AD in a difficult matchup as AD gives you a much better laning phase. I usually back at 1000 or 1300 gold to buy a recurve bow and boots. This gives you a lot of kill pressure early and you can zone matchups like Kassadin or Yasuo away from CS.

Alternatively, going bork into an AP build is also viable.

Which is better, AD or AP?

Short Answer: Neither

Long Answer: It really depends on your team comp and play style. Playing Standard AD is akin to a more bruiser like play style. Going AD lets you stay in fights and auto people to death while waiting for your abilities to come back up. You jump into fights and stick to people, autoing them to death and jumping to the next. Irelia-lite if you will. Going AP Burst however, lets you play like an actual assassin. Jumping in, assassinating squishes and jumping out. AP Sustain is a sort of middle ground. You still do a decent amount of damage with autos and you won’t die if someone grazes you. You aren’t limited to just these 4 builds either. The beauty of Season 11 Katarina is that you can build anything from Sunfire Cape to Night Harvester, and still be useful. So you should go out there, have fun, and test out anything you can think of.

More TBA
Top Lane Katarina

Viable Builds:

AD Standard
AD Alternative
Grasp Tank
Irelia Build
AP Sustain

Starting Items:

Doran’s Blade (Early Aggression)
Good start for both AD and AP builds. Lets you have better all-ins and a good amount of damage for early dueling.
Doran’s Shield (Difficult Matchups)
Good into extremely difficult matchups (Like Lucian and Tristana) for both AD and AP builds. Gives you some health and more health regen.
Cull (Easy Matchups)
Similar to Dark Seal with easy matchups but for AD.

More TBA
Jungle Katarina

Viable Builds:

AD Alternative (Currently the best build for Jungle Kat)
AD Standard

Build Order:

Emberknife, Refillable Potion -> Recurve Bow -> Tiamat -> AD Build


(Start bot side and ask for a heavy leash)
Red -> Raptors -> Gromp -> Blue -> Scuttle -> Gank Top -> Recall
Blue -> Gromp -> Red -> Raptors -> Scuttle -> Gank Bot -> Recall

Important things to remember:

1. Make sure to go Legend: Alacrity and attack speed rune here, otherwise you’re useless.
2. Remember to “wiggle” every time you clear camps, since this stacks Fleet Footwork and makes your clears healthier.
3. Don’t miss your daggers otherwise you’re ****ed
4. Make sure to use your Shunpo as much as you can. (Reset it with daggers as much as possible. Don’t waste a single one.)
5. First back Recurve Bow and rush Tiamat
6. You should be able to solo dragon at around level 7~ and Baron/Elder around 16-17 (If you haven’t fallen behind.)

Fine Print:
Do note that I do not endorse going Katarina Jungle in your ranked games as getting invaded once will probably lead to you inting. I am by no means responsible for any loss of lp, broken keyboards, or angry teammates. Have fun!

By playing Kat jungle, you hereby relinquish ownership of your soul to me. Good Luck!
Matchup Breakdowns

Mid Lane:


Top Lane:



Item Imports

Meta Builds

AD Builds

AP Builds

Off Meta

Tank Build

Irelia Build

Support Build (Warning: Untested/Troll Pick)

Take Glacial Augment or Grasp with this

Support Build

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide