Katarina Build Guide by Etheldreda
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Hi, everyone! Today we will be talking a bit about Katarina. She is a melee assassin with a powerful early game that can wear down an opposing champion on a couple of seconds. This build concentrates exactly on a strong early game that can easily transfer into a mighty endgame. Everything we will be using in this build: Masteries, Runes and Summoner spells are focused around this early game. The recent mastery tree changes make Katarina an even stronger burst assassin.
For runes we take Magic Penetration Marks , Magic Resistance Seals , Flat Ability Power Glyphs and Flat Ability Power Quints . All of them allow you to apply pressure to your opponent in the early game, making it hard on them to be able to survive all that pressure. The reason why we are taking the Magic Resistance Seals is that with Katarina you will want the middle lane, which will be mostly occupied by enemy casters. The Flat AP Glyphs and Quints provide you with TONS of Ability Power right of the bed, which on the other hand allows you start off with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion, rather than Amplifying Tome which give you the extra mobility you can use and makes you more durable in game.
With the new Mastery Tree you can easily play a very aggressive Katarina with all of the Ability Power bonuses you can shave off for yourself. Ability Power ( Mental Force Blast Archmage ), Magic Penetration ( Arcane Knowledge ), Cooldown Reduction ( Sorcery) and Bonus Damage ( Havoc Executioner ) is all you need with this champion. As for the rest of my points - I take Veteran's Scars for extra durability during the game.
As the title of this guide says: the first thing you want to make is Kage's Lucky Pick. The Pick is great item to start with. It gives you a bit of extra power and income. The upgrade of the Tome costs just 330 and with the Kage's Lucky Pick making you 30 gold each minute simple maths shows it: It pays off 11 minutes after you build it. Wait it gets even better. After 14 more minutes it pays for the Amplifying Tome too which means that after 25 minutes of you having a Lucky Pick you will make tons of gold after selling it.
Enough with the picky :) The core build for your early game is Kage's Lucky Pick + Sorcerer's Boots + Hextech Revolver. This provides you with a ton of damage - just the thing you want to have. Depending on the enemy team your next purchase can differ, but in like 95% of the time you will get the Needlessly Large Rod for the early Rabadon's Deathcap. Right after you want to buy your Giant's Belt as the first item for Rylai's Crystal Scepter. After it you should have just enough health to claim your own in the fight and your Death Lotus will be much more scary. After you reach the lategame you usually want to get a Void Staff and start just killing a ton of people. If the enemy team is AP heavy get a Abyssal Mask, if they are AD heavy get Zonya's Hourglass. This is your full build.
Katarina's lack of mana limits the items that are really good on her. Some are still pretty awesome though.
Once you reach a super late game against a CC heavy team, don't be afraid to pick up a Banshee's Veil. With Katarina you want to be the last person engaging into a fight, so the chance of a more than a single Stun or Fear spell hitting you is kind of slim.
Lich Bane is something you want to consider too. With so much AP and a guaranteed hit after Shunpo you can quickly burst and destroy an enemy befor then can even flash away after your E.
Mejai's Soulstealer is an item I DO NOT like to get as Katarina, the reason being I am very brittle. Thpugh if your early game starts incredibly successful get one! If you feel confident you can fill it up - do it. Get these tons of AP and CDR.
Hextech Gunblade is an item I used to play a lot with, before I completely discovered the miracle of Will of the Ancients. I still reccomend getting it if you find yourself in an AD tight team, even after the nerf. It remains a strong and consistent little trick.
Skills 'n' Tricks
Katarina has an amazing set of skills with her. Her passive, Voracity, is probably the BEST passive in the game. It helps you both farm and kill a ton - do you need something more? Even better is that it works on assist, so even if you missed a kill you can immediately join the fray again. It is important to note and know that after 3 kills/assists you can use your ultimate again (if you have blue buff on or wait just for a few seconds), assuming you opened your combo with it.
Bouncing Blades is the skill I usually open with. As I mostly play mid, with it I can pull the blue buff for my jungle and start harassing right on. It has a shorter CD then Shunpo and it doesn't put you in the middle of a minion wave once you start wearing down your laning opponent. I max Bouncing Blades second, after Shunpo.
Preparation is that kind of spell, that is just incredible. Katarina's W is where it all counts. When it is passive you get a bit of bonus damage on your basic attacks, but when you activate it the party begins. Preparation gives a bonus effect on your next ability. If you use your Bouncing Blades while Instincts is active you do equal damage to all targets it gets + it halves the healing they receive. If you use Shunpo insted you receive less damage for a period of time. With the recent change of Katarina Preparation also affects the place where Katarina will appear after Shunpo. If you don't have it active she will show up in front of the target. If you activate it though you get behind. This is very crucial for successful harassment and team fights.
Shunpo is our most versatile trick. It has incredible range, dose a ton of damage and allows you to both engage and fall back quickly. Also it's short cooldown makes it reset every time after you assist or kill an enemy, which means that in a team fight you can simply "jump" from one target to another picking an easy penta kill :)
Death Lotus is the ultimate ability of Katarina and your ticket to killing people. The most important thing about it, though, is it is channaling, therefor interpretable. So don't forget one thing: Your name is Katarina, not Ramborina!!! Always engage last in a team fight, when your opponents have no or very little CC options.
Even though it may seem very easy to lasthit with Katarina this isn't the story. Her low basic damage doesn't help a ton when you want to pop all of your cooldowns on an enemy player. The best thing you can do to help your lasthitting is to force your opponent out of his comfort zone and back him to a turret, denying him access to the minion waves. Remember that smart people will fear you a lot. Use that to your advantage.
DON'T PLAY KATARINA with random people. NEVER do that. They will probably flame you all game, steal your kills and deny your defensive use of Shunpo. With Katarina you want to carry that game, you want to jump walls on your teammates and you definatly want your team to play for you. If they do all of that - they must simply treat you like a princess - you have an easy game before you.
Pros / Cons
Katarina has a massive early game burst.
Katarina can quickly destroy enemy teams after reaching lvl6.
Katarina is incredibly mobile and a perfect Turret Diver with Shunpo and Voracity.
Katarina has the BEST passive in the game.
Katarina has one of the sickest ultimates.
Katarina is a Redhead and scores the easiest Pentakill in the game.
Katarina is very brittle and squishy.
Katarina has a channeling Ultimate.
Katarina dies to a single stun.
Katarina gets focused a TON.
Katarina is useless if she get underfarmed.
Katarina has an ugly sister.