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Katarina Build Guide by Prynce

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Prynce

[Patch 6.9] Katarina, the Pride of League.

Prynce Last updated on May 8, 2016
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Middle Lane
Ranked #7 in
Middle Lane
Win 53%
Get More Stats

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.


Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12


Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Katarina with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Yasuo Start Cloth Armor, max W and try not to get hit by his Q. Kite a bit backwards, use the MS given by W to do so and be sure to squeeze in as many auto attacks as you can. It's pretty hard to use wind wall on a Katarina that jumps and uses ult, so keep that in mind when he's at half health and if you have ignite up, pretty nice opportunity to push him out of lane, or to score a kill.
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Why Katarina?

Katarina is a hyper-carry assassin that specializes in short team fights and small skirmishes. She delivers large amounts of insane AP damage in short periods of time and compliments a variety of players who have different playstyles. She can make great picks on enemy carries and can collapse really well with smart roaming. Her mobility and kit allow her to pick up kills efficiently, she commands a lot of respect before significant teamfights, and honestly, she is a lot of fun to play.

In the hands of good players, Katarina can be the bane of any player’s existence and in the hands of a smart player, Katarina can be most violent champ you've seen. You should definitely add her into your champion pool if you’re looking for someone to climb solo queue with or looking for some satisfying gameplay.

You should invest time into learning how to play Katarina properly if you feel like you want to learn how to carry your team in teamfights, how to roam efficiently and appear like you are some type of Super Saiyan God.

+ Easy to snowball
+ Manaless abilities
+ Great in teamfights
+ Great map presence
Katarina is a hyper carry, her build is generally straight forward and it is extremely easy to get familiar with her kit. She has a simple and effective play style, most of which is punishing players for poor positioning. She has manaless harass, an escape and a passive that benefits from both small and large skirmishes. She’s an incredibly active champion, using Death Lotus properly will probably factor more into a team fight than most champions at the moment. Finally, the most impressive skill in her kit is her passive, Voracity. It allows her to constantly and consistently pick up kills and to be active in skirmishes. When you factor everything together, Katarina is the definition of what it means to be an assassin in League of Legends.

- Weak laning phase
- Weak base stats
- No sustain, cc, or utility
- Easy to disrupt her combos.
Katarina is a high risk, high reward champion. Sadly, it is quite a number of risks. Her weak base damage makes laning incredibly frustrating and she does need a few items to get rolling. She doesn’t fare well in most Mid/Jungle matchups and doesn’t provide any CC for your team. Speaking of which, CC of any kind used on her will usually result in Katarina blowing Zhonya’s, a flash or giving up a kill. Her ult can be interrupted quite easily and one mistake with a poorly timed shunpo or ult can result in significant losses in the game. Although it sounds cliché, the difficult part in playing Katarina is knowing when to go in during a fight.

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Sinister Steel
I’m Prynce, currently a Diamond V Katarina player on the NA server. I’ve been playing ranked since Season 2, and been a Katarina main since season 4. She is my most played champion and my favorite champion in League. Back in season 4, I was a mid and jungle main and I was constantly frustrated with the changing meta and what not. I decided to YOLO it and spam Katarina. Ending up climbing from Plat V to Diamond V pretty quickly just with Katarina and I’ve been spamming her since. I currently have a 60% win rate with her and I’ve made the “toplist” of Katarina players on more than one occasion. I really would like to share my personal experiences with Katarina and give her some much deserved attention!

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Katarina's Skills

(Passive) Voracity
Scoring a kill or assist will reduce the cooldown of Katarina's abilities by 15 seconds.

This is primarily why Katarina does very well in team fights. A 15 second reduction on her cooldowns will allow her Shunpo constantly, which can be used aggressively to pick up more kills or passively to back out after picking up the needed kills. Keep in mind that because of a recent nerf to Katarina, you’ll only be able to get the “reset” when enemies die within 3 second of being damaged by Katarina. Generally speaking, your job is to both assassinate enemy carries and clean up teamfights, Voracity makes this incredibly easy to do so.

Bouncing Blades (Q)
Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking each enemy hit for 4 seconds. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage. Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark on the target and deal additional magic damage.

Katarina’s bread and butter ability. Use it to CS during the early game and to constantly poke the enemy mid laner out of lane. What’s important to note is the mark it gives, as consumption of this mark does impressive magic damage. Early game, it has a high cooldown and it spamming it constantly will end up pushing your lane.

Sinister Steel Sinister Steel (W)
Katarina whirls her daggers, instantly dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. If she damages an enemy champion, she gains movement speed for 1 second.

Katarina’s pushing ability. Typically, we use this ability to proc Katarina marks for some pretty impressive trading ability and to push lanes before we roam. We max Sinister Steel against Yasuo and Zed matchups, as the movement speed given by hitting it on enemy champions is enough to kite back and run away from melee range. Generally, we max this second.

Shunpo (E)
Katarina teleports to target unit and gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, the target takes magic damage.

Katarina’s escape, and my favorite ability on Katarina. It’s an instant warp on any object, besides turrets and inhibitors. We max this last because it doesn’t really scale well and you only need the one point in general. We tend to max this last, but I do grab this level 2, just in case of a sneak jungler ganks. Shunpo shouldn’t be used to harass opponents, as I notice a lot of novice players tend to do so without vision. Keep in mind that is has a relatively high cooldown. Without her Shunpo, Katarina is incredibly vulnerable to harass, ganks and all ins.

Death Lotus (R)
Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a barrage of up to 30 daggers at the closest 3 enemy champions within range. Each dagger deals magic damage and applies Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds, reducing regeneration and incoming healing by 50%.

Katarina’s Bankai. You want to use this when as much of the enemy’s CC has been used, their resources have been used, and/or if they are generally low on health. It scales incredibly well with AP and if used well and can absolutely melt enemy teams. Although most CC can interrupt it, keep in mind that CC is the bane of any champion’s existence. If done quickly, you can melt champions before they have time to react. I tend to use Death Lotus to push champions out of lane so I can get some lane pressure. Keep in mind that if you are not roaming or if there isn’t a huge teamfight that is going to happen soon, you can use your ult to do so. Most mid laners have one ability at most to interrupt Katarina, so pay attention to when this is used to harass, Shunpo in and push them out with a fully channeled Death Lotus.

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Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

This rune page is what I primarily use against standard mid lane matchups. The Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed gives you enough MS to help dodge skill shots and certain AOE harass given by most AP mid laners. Movement speed also makes roaming to bot lane more efficient and helps you position better for teamfights. I think these are the best quints for Katarina at the moment. The Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are pretty standard, as is the Greater Seal of Scaling Health.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

I usually bring these runes against a Yasuo, Zed, or Talon matchup. The scaling armor is really nice, if you consider that 3/5 of their team will most likely deliver damage as AD. I do start with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potion into this lane, I max Sinister Steel and I rush Zhonya's Hourglass while picking up a Doran's Shield along the way. Since AD mid laners typically will try to poke you down before they all in you, I bring the Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to help with trades and farming, as you could score solo kills in these lanes with 15 extra AP or shove the lane quicker and proceed to roam.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
This is a pretty standard rune page for most mid laners that does benefit Katarina. I usually bring this into lane when their junglers are going to farm Devourer and I’ll have a bit of leeway to harass the enemy down more and go for really aggressive trades. This is pretty nice against favorable matchups, or against “counter picks” like Vladimir and Kassadin as it really helps you trade well and CS under tower efficiently. This is also a pretty optimal rune page to bring if you can’t afford Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed.

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Early Game

Sorcerer's Shoes Katarina primarily deals magic damage and these boots compliment her the best. It’s pretty simple, you want to maximize damage output, and considering the amount of magic penetration they give, then these are ideal.

I advise against Boots of Mobility, as the spike with Abyssal Mask is more important than the roaming. Remember, having both Sorcerer’s Shoes and Abyssal Mask will provide consistent damage output during teamfights, which is more valuable than roaming. Boots of Mobility won’t compliment Katarina’s damage and its active will be rendered useless once in combat, which you often are when roaming anyways.

Abyssal Mask Funny enough, I was never a big fan of Abyssal. The MR it gives is incredibly beneficial for Katarina to survive most harass in lane and the MR reduction it gives is incredibly nice. It’s pretty cost efficient, the only down side is that it falls off hard in the late game so you’ll end up selling it. I recommend rushing this against all your AP matchups.

Mid Game

Zhonya's Hourglass You get a small window of invulnerability, though the stats are incredibly nice, the active is the most beneficial thing about Katarina. A really smart use of Zhonya’s Hourglass can turn a teamfight and can turn the game. I tend to use it to bait the enemy jungler into my team or to mitigate the damage done by their mid laner. Keep in mind that once you leave stasis, you will be vulnerable to enemy retaliation so be ready to Shunpo to safety or for a reset.

Luden's Echo The movement speed is beneficial for her roam and the AOE splash combined with Bouncing Blades gives pretty decent pushing abilities. It’s easy to charge this item by roaming and once used, along with Thunderlord’s Decree, a mark given by Bouncing Blades, it can seriously hurt an enemy carry. Because it builds out of Needlessly Large Rod, it really compliments her ability power ration well and is great item for her to deliver some serious damage.

Mid Game -> Late Game

Rabadon's Deathcap This should be made shortly after completing both your Luden’s Echo and Zhonya’s Hourglass as it will increase your AP based on how much you have. Pretty standard for AP carries to take. You shouldn’t rush this, but this will help you assassinate enemies faster because of the huge jump in AP.

Void Staff Void Staff should be made as your 3rd/4th item. The reasons being are that tanks with high base stats have been thriving as of late. Most players tend to build this item 5th/6th item and to be quite honest, that is a really bad habit. The reason being is that Katarina does not excel in late game and most Katarina games should never extend to full build games. The reasons being are that there are too many resistances and too many risks to her toolkit once other champions hit full build as well. This will hinder her ability to output damage and to secure a reset off her passive. Void Staff as a 3rd/4th item lets you bypass any resistances made in the mid game and lets you bypass any early/mid teamfights where tanks tend to thrive. It is the most effective magic penetration item in the game and the 70 AP it gives is pretty substantial. Don’t skimp out on this item and don’t forget it while you go into the mid game / late game transition.

Interesting Items

Mejai's Soulstealer It’s okay to grab this if you’re snowballing your lane, but I don’t really think it’s cost-efficient. You can invest the gold into something more practical. Not a horrible item but as of Patch 5.23, it is more beneficial to get the stats given by other items.

Hextech Gunblade This isn’t really a horrible item. All the stats compliment her ratios and the sustain is pretty nice. Not too many people know how to play against this, but keep in mind that it is incredibly expensive and slow down your build, therefore your damage output won’t be as high as it could be.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter I wouldn’t include this item into your core build, maybe you can grab this if you’re being taken down quickly. The extra health can keep you in fights a bit longer and the CC on whoever is hit with your abilities is nice, but your job isn’t to provide CC. Your job is to assassinate enemy carries. Because it builds out of Needlessly Large Rod, it’s not a horrible item, but I’d leave this near the late game as there are better items to buy.

Liandry's Torment This item is most effective against teams that are stacking a lot of health. I know with Rod of Ages being incredibly popular in mid lane, as well as the trend of tanky champs that are showing up in top, jungle and support, then this isn’t a really terrible item. Enemy players will try to stack health to mitigate the damage you deliver, but your job is to assassinate the carries and this won’t really help.

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Early Game

I pretty much define “Early Game” as the interval of time that takes place before huge team skirmishes start to happen. During this period, you want to invest in your gold income by snowballing your bot lane and farming well in mid lane. It cost about 3500 total to afford both Sorcerer's Shoes and Abyssal Mask and this is a core build for Katarina because her damage spike’s incredibly well with these two items and it is important to have these items for early to mid-game skirmishes and for dances around Dragons.

Getting into lane, your primary focus until level 5 should be to farm as well as possible. Although you should definitely keep your eye out on skirmishes bot lane and in the jungle, you should invest in the idea that sometimes you might not always pick up kills around the map. Guarantee your income by farming in lane and leaving your lane only when you’ve pushed it to their tower.

It is my understanding that most “First Blood” kills take place in bot lane, it is a really favorable lane to roam to after pushing mid. However, take notice that of what the enemy support is. Brand, Soraka, Morgana, Nami and Sona all have low mobility which makes roaming to this lane attractive. Braum, Tahm Kench, and Blitzcrank are a bit more difficult to kill early game but definitely worth putting behind. Leona and Thresh tend to play pretty aggressive so they might blow cooldowns near the beginning of a skirmish, definitely worth keeping in note if you’re able to observe bot lane well enough to know when to roam bottom lane to do so!

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Mid Game

After getting Sorcerer's Shoes, Abyssal Mask and some of Luden's Echo / Zhonya's Hourglass, this is where you thrive. Rush Luden's Echo if you're ahead, as it is an excellent item on Katarina with its MS stats and wave clear potential. This will help you increase your snowball, which is important because your snowball is your pressure in both teamfights and in rotations.

However, Zhonya's Hourglass should be made if you're behind and/or if the team has pesky players that are preventing you from thriving in the teamfight. Please keep in mind that with your Voracity and Shunpo, there is some pretty outstanding outplay potential with Zhonya's Hourglass. Timing of Zhonya's is important on any champion, but with Katarina it is a bit more important as quick decision making is essential for Katarina to conquer in teamfights.

At some point, both Luden's Echo and Zhonya's Hourglass should be completed as their actives are essential and compliment Katarina very well. Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff should be made in respect to what the enemy team is building.

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Late Game

Since Patch 5.23, late game is incredibly rare. With Katarina and her kit specifically, you should look to end the game in the mid game before enemy champions have enough income to build resistances. Late game is a bit more difficult to play as one mistake with Katarina and you're pretty much useless.

At this point, you should have either a Void Staff or Rabadon's Deathcap made. Your Abyssal Mask does't scale at all and only provides flat resistances and MR reduction. This is incredibly lame, so start thinking about selling this for a Guardian Angel or a Banshee's Veil.

Remember, it is incredibly attractive to ace an entire team and get reset after reset after reset. However, this is an incredibly tunneled way of playing Katarina. Remember, she excels in short team fights and assassinating enemy carries. You and your team should be making picks on enemies that are caught out of position and trying to fight a 5vs4.

Using her ult and kit to make picks late game are smart ideas. She has relatively short cooldowns at this point, which you can abuse to make these picks happen, but a flash late game is incredibly important. Making these kind of picks and understanding how players position will make closing these games less stressful and less difficult.

Simply put, you need to play the 5vs4 teamfight. Why stress yourself out trying to wait for CC to be blown and cooldowns to be used? Katarina excels in short team fights, having one less enemy player is already incredible as it means that One player is providing less damage output or peel for their carry. During the late game, look for picks with your team and prevent that player from being part of the teamfight one way or another.

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I have no experience with making guides, so if I can clarify something, please let me know! I hope I made a difference.

All the best ^_^ !