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Katarina Build Guide by Qzaster

AP Carry Qzaster's Recipe for Dzaster Feat. Katarina

AP Carry Qzaster's Recipe for Dzaster Feat. Katarina

Updated on April 27, 2016
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Qzaster Build Guide By Qzaster 11 5 139,597 Views 29 Comments
11 5 139,597 Views 29 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Qzaster Katarina Build Guide By Qzaster Updated on April 27, 2016
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Katarina
    Cooking with Kat
  • LoL Champion: Katarina
    Killer Kat


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Caution: Contents are highly flammable and toxic. Handle with care.
Wow you actually found this! CRTL+F "Secret Ingredient" for your prize!
The 'Killer Kat' builds are in no way sanctioned for use in ranked games. They are meant to be fun builds and I am not responsible for any griefing/rage quitting they may cause on either end of the field. That being said if played correctly, these builds can help you achieve everlasting glory on the Fields of Justice.
This "Secret Ingredient"
Enjoy at your own risk.

Hello and welcome to my first ever Recipe for Dzaster feat. Katarina, The Sinister Blade. My name is Qzaster, and I will be your waiter for the evening. I have played Katarina since Season 3 and have had a pretty successful run with her (average 55% win-rate) over the course of nearly a thousand games,achieving Gold in Season 5.I may not be the best player around but I do know my Kat Facts (text *STOP* to unsubscribe)! This guide is geared to a more noob-friendly crowd, favoring aggressive builds and strategies, but can still be utilized by you higher-ELO folks; just remember to take my advice with a pinch of salt! (Getting tired of my CORNy food puns? I've only just begun.)
Remember, if this recipe helps you play Katarina and/or open up your own restaurant, please upvote, subscribe, or donate!

Important Patch Information: Starting on 6.4, Katarina received a buff to her Q, Bouncing Blades; basically each bounce does not lower damage (previously 10% decrease per bounce) and the detonation deals more damage, somewhat making up for the damage nerf on her E (from a previous patch). This means you can actually farm a lot safer/better as well as harass from a safe distance!

Today's recipe calls for 2 cups of AP, 1 Tbsp of Magic Penetration, and a pinch of CDR. With proper timing and execution you'll be more fed than your fat uncle after Thanksgiving dinner, so without further ado.. Let's get cookin'!

+Spammer: She doesn't require mana/energy
+Déjà vu: Her Passive ability resets cooldowns after kill/assist
+ Shinigami: Great escape/gap-closer
+ Spin2Win: Her ult deals TONS of damage to multiple targets
+ Blind Love: Clear fresh wards single-handedly
+ IN-N-OUT: Great tower diving capabilities-and fries!
+The reason why janitors unionized: Amazing clean-up potential
+360-No-Scope: No skillshots
+Ménage à trois: Lots of AoE damage
+MEOW: She's HOT
- Hunter-not Gatherer: Difficult to farm early game
- Up Close & Personal: She's a melee champion
- Diet: She's squishy
- Date-Rape: She's vulnerable to being drugged and raped (CC'd and killed)
- Bukakke: She's vulnerable to gangb*ngs (being focused in teamfights)

My theory for building Katarina is "Offense is the best Defense":
More AP-> More Damage-> More Kills-> More Resets-> Even More Kills-> More Objectives-> More Wins-> More ELO-> Nirvana
So there you have it, AP will help you attain Nirvana.
cookie "Secret Ingredient"
While the main focus is to build AP, you're also going to need MP and some survivability (you can't kill if you're dead).
Katarina's kit is very versatile and ranges from single-target assassinations (killing) to taking out entire enemy teams (more killing...ok maybe not so versatile). With the proper build, you will be able to carry out your role as the team's APC/ Assassin and lead your team to victory! You're done with the appetizer, now on to the main course!

18 Ferocity/ 12 Cunning/ 0 Resolve

Core Masteries

  • Sorcery: Despite popular belief, Attack Speed will not help you kill your foes faster, grab this one instead.
  • Double-Edged Sword : As you will quickly learn, offense is the best defense for Katarina.
    Kills = Resets, which in turn = escapes. This reasoning voids the drawback to this mastery since securing the kill will also secure your safety. Additionally, since Katarina is melee she gets the better bonus.
  • Natural Talent : Some AP eventually is better than no AP ever. The AD isn't bad either.
  • Bounty Hunter : Helps you get up to 5% increased damage, which works a helluva lot better than Oppressor since you have no innate CC in your kit. TIP: Remember to try and score a kill on each member of their team to max out the potential of this mastery!
  • Wanderer : Helps you roam and get to lane faster.
  • Assassin : Katarina.
  • Merciless : Adds that little *umpf* when your opponents are low.
  • Dangerous Game : The mana refund really helps you replenish ..PSYCH.. Just making sure you were paying attention. Getting some health back every kill helps you continue your chain of kills.
  • Precision: I previously had Piercing Thoughts and Deathfire Touch , but after some deliberation I decided to go with this and Thunderlord's Decree (as I'll explain in the next point). Intelligence isn't a bad choice per-say because CDR is always nice but I decided that MP is a more valuable stat for Kat, who already has pretty short cooldowns.
  • Thunderlord's Decree : This mastery actually packs quite a punch. Initially I disregarded it because damage every 30s sounded a lot worse than Deathfire Touch 's 3s. However, after some testing I discovered that every damaging ability only RESETS the tick for DFT and does not stack. For Katarina, who busts out her combo nearly under a second,this mastery is not used to its full potential as opposed to another champion such as Brand who deals plenty of DoT. Thunderlord's Decree works well with Kat's 3-piece combo and adds a nice bit of damage to her burst. On another note, Thunderlord's Decree scales a lot better than DFT because of the per level dmg. That being said, DFT may be useful with the Tanky/Damage build.

    Viable Masteries

    This is a list of viable masteries from the Resolve tree, incase you want to play it safe..seriously, notice how Dangerous Game isn't on this tree?
    • Recovery : Health regen sure beats increased BONUS armor/MR when you are not going to build much of either.
    • Explorer : Gotta go fast! ~Kata~ Gotta go fast! ~Kata~. Sonic fans will get me. This really helps you roam and even escape from some hairy situations.
    • Veteran's Scars : More health can help put some meat on your bones.
    • Insight : More Ignite and Flash? Yes please.

Core Runes

Viable Runes

So now that you've prepared all of your ingredients, you are ready to cook! Here's an example of a typical game with Katarina. Note that each game is unique and will require adjustments made at your personal discretion.*NOTE* This chapter of the recipe pertains mostly to lower tier games around Bronze/Silver ELO. If you're in Gold+ you should be able to differentiate the strats that will/will not work in your tier and adjust accordingly. If you thought the prep time was long, cooking isn't for you .

Early Game

Standby Phase
Typically you will start the game with boots, 4 pots, and your trinket. Your other option is the AD Start (see build notes above). Go to the side that your jungler is starting his/her route and place your trinket in the river bush at around 1:00~ and stick around near the ramp into river until about 1:20 in case of an invade. The first minion will usually be ready to last-hit at around 1:30 so be in lane by then. Your trinket will last long enough to keep your jungler's first clear safe and will be off CD by the time you need it (when their jungler is ready to gank).
First Blood is as easy as 1-2-3
*This method is detrimental to your laning phase (makes you lose farm and take more damage than necessary) and is recommended for those who like to live on the edge and snowball, AKA Kat mains*
At Lv.1, you want to keep your distance from the enemy champion and farm with your Q, trying to ensure each one last-hits as well as pokes your opponent. At Lv.2, you will get your E and use it to proc Q marks on your opponent whenever it is safe. This usually means that your opponent is overextended (lower chance of gank) or when there are few to no enemy minions in lane (less aggro during trade. If you feel riskier you can choose to trade when you simply have more minions than opposing ones so if your opponent trades, they'll draw more aggro than you. Continue the farm/poke process until you hit Lv.3, when you'll get your W. At this point you can harass with your full combo, Q-E-W and lower your opponent's health even further. Remember to use a health pot anytime you fall below 1/2 of your max health. If you are doing all of this successfully, your opponent will be near critical health soon; smell that? it's first blood. At this point they will be near/under their own tower for safety, so oblige them by staying near your caster minions and baiting your opponent to get closer. The next part requires some practice and experience to gauge the distance/damage required, but basically you will want to Flash and E onto your opponent, W, Ignite, and Q/AA if necessary to net the kill. In most cases you will be under tower aggro, but you should only take 1 hit if you're fast enough with the kill and ward-jump out of range after resetting your E.
Early Laning
While the above scenario applies to match-ups where the difficulty rating is about 1-4, or you are significantly better than your laning opponent, most ranked games will pit you against an equally skilled foe. For this scenario, use your Q to do a majority of your farming and focus on getting CS and keep an eye out for ganks. Sounds boring but it's the general principle of League. Any lane, any game. When you can't flat out beat your opponent by outplaying them, you have to get an advantage by farming, and acquiring gold->items->stats.
Laning Phase
It's okay if your farm isn't stellar up until this point. It's a universal truth that farming early is difficult with Katarina. Don't sweat it. Do raptor and wolf camps if you need to. Your ideal goal is to reach ~860 gold as soon as possible so you can buy a Blasting Wand or Aether Wisp. If you're forced to recall due to low health, try and do so when you have at least 435 gold to buy an Amplifying Tome, and if you're desperate you can get a Cloth Armor for 300g. Any amount less than 300g then at least say "mid summoners down" even if it's not true.. gotta save face at least. And remember to always push your lane before recalling!
From Lv.4-6, you will continue your poke/farm strategy and try to go for another kill once you hit 6. You should have backed at least once at this point, purchased your first core-path item. If you successfully bought Blasting Wand on your first back, go straight into your Void Staff or possibly Abyssal Mask (only if you really need MR). If you instead got an Amplifying Tome on your first back, now is the time to purchase your next path item. Choose between Seeker's Armguard if you're behind or Aether Wisp if you're ahead. Use any spare gold for wards, as this is the prime-time for ganks.
Once you hit Lv.6, you're ready to roam. If you haven't bought your first core-path item yet, use the gold from roaming to do so. My most frequently used method for roaming is to wait until the enemy bot lane is low and pushed in, or under tower, and then push out my lane to sneak away towards bot. Making note of any wards, and jungler positions I go to either the enemy's tri-bush or river bush and signal my teammates to engage. If the enemies are low and under tower, even better! Jump IN, clean up, N jump back OUT. Also, don't hesitate to KS- you farm CHAMPIONS, not minions. They'll thank you later..probably.

Mid Game

Objectives Phase
If everything is going according to plan, you're snowballin' so hard Olaf is getting jealous (Frozen reference- sorry ). This is the point of the game when you want to focus on getting objectives such as tier 1 turrets, dragon, and core items. You should already have your first core path item at this point. Focus on finishing your Zhonya's Hourglass or Luden's Tempest (which ever you started earlier), then getting a Rabadon's Deathcap. After you finish the Deathcap, go ahead and finish the Zhonya/Luden (the one you did not finish earlier). Start helping other lanes if you take down your turret first, and continue to net kills and farm. This is a great time to set up vision for the next phase of the game.

Late Game

Team-Fight Phase
It's officially late game once you group up with your team and hunt for stragglers like a pack of hungry wolves. This is of course the most crucial part of the game, where a single death can spell defeat.. all the more reason to kill. Make sure at this point that you definitely buy your Void Staff if you have not already (replacing Abyssal Mask) since most people will have MR at this point. Also make sure to buy Elixir of Sorcery and upgrade your trinket with any excess gold after finishing your build. Objectives during this phase are Aces, Baron, Dragon, inhibitors, and the Nexus. These goals will usually go to the team that wins team-fights, so let's get into your role during a TF. Usually you will want to stay behind your tanks and spam Q until someone engages. Ideally however, you want to try and flank the enemy team so you can EITHER start the fight off by taking out a high-priority target, using Zhonya's Hourglass to await resets, then jumping out- OR take out any fleeing targets and clean up the fight. For the most part however, you do not want to initiate the fight unless you're sure you can make it out; you're much more valuable alive than dead. Once the fighting erupts, stay evasive and wait for the squishy carries to misstep or become vulnerable otherwise. This is when you want to jump in and kill them, then peace-out. If you don't get the opportunity to take out high-value targets, that's fine. Just pay attention to what CC's the opponents are using and position yourself for a nice cleanup after the fighting dies down. 99% of team-fighting for Katarina is TIMING. Knowing when to go in, get out, and run away is the most crucial part of this champion, so learn it well.
Recipe for Dzaster: Timing

End Phase
While taking down the Nexus make sure to show sportsmanship and say "ggwp" to your opponents, then go ahead and tell them to report your useless jungler for unskilled. Also make sure to do a victory /dance in front of their fountain to establish dominance. Perform a mid-air Zhonya freeze frame for bonus points. #KatKarryKomplete #KKK
GG No Re

Core Items

Katarina's glass slippers. They're a perfect fit, providing good MP and of course more MS. All you need now is your Prince Charming . And Enchantment: Homeguard.
Here it is! The newest 120 item and boy was it worth the wait. This item is glorious on Kat, providing the ever helpful MS, tons of AP, and an AoE proc to top it off! Doesn't get much better than this. Helps mobility, power, and increases damage output all at once with a decent build path.
The go-to item for when your opponents stack MR. It's most viable mid to late game when people start building defensive items. I prefer this over Abyssal Mask late game because it provides more 'MP', and at that point in the game 50 MR isn't gonna help much.
A vital component to your build as it provides a large amount of AP, and has an amazing active. It can save you from dying and even give you the few seconds you may need for your Shunpo to get off CD and escape! Also provides a decent bit of armor for AD heavy teams you may face.
They should just rename it Katarina's Deathcap. There is no viable build that does not include this godly item. The item performs best after purchasing a few core AP items so that its passive can be maximized.
Everyone deserves a second chance, especially Katarina. It gives good hybrid-defense stats and the wind-up time for its active will usually get most of your abilities off CD.

Situational Items

Good amount of health, lots of MR, health regen, and most importantly a spell-shield every 40 secs! It does wonders against burst champions since they usually need to land their entire combo to wipe you out.
Very situational item used mostly for its active. Works wonders against Malzahar and Zed's ultimates and for heavy CC. The major drawback to this item is that it doesn't build into anything useful for Katarina, so you have to sell it off eventually.
An okay amount of health, with a small amount of MP and AP. The item is not very gold efficient, and its passive isn't too great on for your kit. Combine with .
A solid amount of health combined with a good amount of AP and negligible passive (reduced version of the slow applies mostly). Best offensive-health option since Rod of Ages is inefficient on Katarina.
A somewhat lesser version of Banshee's Veil because it does not provide a spell-shield. However it does provide increased healing effects, which mostly does not apply to Katarina. Combine with .
This provides a good amount of utility (CDR/spellvamp) and AP. It should be noted that most of Katarina's abilities are AoE and will therefore only receive 33% of the spell vamp she has. However, as long as you hit at least 3 targets with a skill, you will still get 100% of the spell vamp bonus with every cast. For example: Dealing 300 single-target damage with 10% spell vamp will heal for 30; Dealing 300 area of effect damage with 10% spell vamp will heal for 10 for each enemy affected, healing for 30 if 3 enemies are affected.

Item Combos

Liandry's Torment & Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Liandry's Anguish's passive 'burn damage' is doubled against champions with impaired movement and Rylai's Crystal Scepter slows champions struck by your abilities. This combo is good against tankier teams because you can't burst them down instantly. It provides lots of health for survivability and deals damage based on current health, giving you some DoT as well as kiting power with the slow. This combination gives 700 health, 180 AP, 15 MP, burn damage(12% of current health), and a 20% slow.
Spirit Visage & Will of the Ancients

The only time you want to consider getting Spirit Visage on Katarina is when you pair it with Will of the Ancients. Put together, the CDR amount doubles and most notably, WotA's spellvamp gets amplified by Spirit Visage. This combo is a good method of sustain. This combination gives 400 health, 80 AP, 20 CDR, 24% spellvamp, 55 MR, and 100% base health regen.

Itemization Procedure

First back-

Second back/First Core-Path Item-

At this point the General Build is simple. Finish Sorcerer's Shoes. Buy the Enchantment: Homeguard early if your base is getting shoved into- otherwise get Enchantment: Alacrity if you are ahead. Your first core item should either be Zhonya's Hourglass or Luden's Tempest, depending on your first core-path item ( / ). After that, build your Rabadon's Deathcap. Next, finish the core item you did not get earlier ( or ). Finally, top off your build with a Void Staff for late game MP and Guardian Angel for survivability. Don't forget to upgrade your trinket and get your Elixir of Sorcery!

sinister steel sinister steel
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Voracity: Every time a target you dealt damage to within the last 3 seconds dies, it reduces your skills cooldowns by 15 seconds. This means every kill/assist you get automatically resets your Q,W, and E regardless of their rank.
Tips and Tricks
Spoiler: Click to view

Bouncing Blades: A multi-target spell that marks targets for extra damage. You will want to use this skill to start your combos, farm, and poke.

You're going to want to max out Bouncing Blades first only if you are completely zoned out and cannot touch farm. It will make farming considerably easier and also help you poke. After Patch 6.4, you will want to max Q first 99% of the time.
Tips and Tricks
Spoiler: Click to view

sinister steel Sinister Steel: A close-range AoE spell that damages and gives a MS boost if you hit an enemy champion. This skill is great for wave-clearing, proc-ing marked targets, and as a harassment tool.

You're going to want to max out Sinister Steel first if you're facing a low-mobility champion, as it is easier to harass them from close range. For the most part, I tend to max W first mainly because your E allows you to close gaps. Assuming you always chain Q and W together, the damage dealt is always the same, regardless of which skill you max first. However, your W has the added bonus of giving a MS buff and having a much lower CD than your Q, allowing you to use it almost twice as much (great thing considering you don't require mana). Therefore, the only times you should max Q are situations where you cannot consistently chain your Q and W together (usually against ranged/poke heavy opponents).
Tips and Tricks
Spoiler: Click to view

Shunpo: A targeted 'blink' ability that allows you to instantly teleport to a target, dealing a bit of damage to it as well as gaining 15% DR for 1.5s afterwards.

You're going to want to max out Shunpo last since you'll use it for utility, making one point in this skill enough.
Tips and Tricks
Spoiler: Click to view

Death Lotus: An AoE channeled ability. This skill deals high amounts of damage to the 3 nearest champions. Since it is channeled, it can be easily interrupted in a number of ways- it's your job to prevent this from happening.

You're going to want to max out Death Lotus as soon as you can.
Tips and Tricks
Spoiler: Click to view

Recommended Summoner Spells

Ignite & Flash

These two will be your primary Summoner Spells. Ignite adds additional Katarina power..KILLING..Killing power. Sorry, the two are practically synonymous . And Flash of course, because it is one of the greatest utility spells in the game. Most importantly, remember D is for DEATH and F is for FLASH. Just like there's a proper way to install your toilet paper roll (over), D for Ignite and F for Flash is just HOW IT SHOULD BE.

Other Viable Summoner Spells

  • : This Summoner Spell can be useful for certain scenarios. I like to grab it for high burst champions that also have a stun ( Annie, Syndra, etc) because you can still use Summoners while stunned!
  • : Good for when teamfights break out and you're not present. Tell your team to place a call ( ) to 1(800)-KLEAN-UP and port in to take out the trash.
    Tips and Tricks
    Spoiler: Click to view

    Zed Counter Tip

For Dzert, here are a few helpful notes!

  • Your most basic "Kill Combo" is as follows:
    Bouncing Blades > Shunpo > sinister steel > Death Lotus > Ignite. The reasoning behind this is that your Q marks the target for extra damage which you then proc with your E, and once you're next to them you can W and use the MS boost to reposition yourself ahead of your target to finish them off with an R. They will take damage for longer if you positioned correctly. You can use ignite to secure the kill if you think they'll make it out of your ult alive.
  • During the early game, most mid-laners will place their trinket on one side and will stay closer to that side to prevent ganks. This method does not apply to Katarina as it is more useful to hold on to your trinket for a quick ward-jump if a gank does come. However, this does not replace the need for vision, and you should ward whenever possible.
  • One of the advantages of being a mana-less champion is that you start off with 4 Health Potions (600 'extra' hp), whereas your opponent will usually start with a Doran's Ring and 2 Health Potions (360 'extra' hp). This means you can be extra aggressive early on, since you effectively have 'more health' and no mana to worry about.
  • Try not to level up your first ability until it is absolutely necessary. This comes in handy when there's a surprise Lv.1 invade or early gank and you need E to escape rather than Q.
  • Maximize your lane-time by shopping efficiently. You can leave the spawn fountain with -5g. This means that you are able to start leaving the platform when you are 5 gold short of your purchase, and still be able to buy your item at the last moment, before leaving the 'purchasing range'. For example, if you're waiting to buy an Amplifying Tome, you can command your character to leave the base at 430g, and by the time you reach the required 435g, you will still be in range to make your purchase while still moving. Shopping on the go has never been easier.
  • Quick-cast ALL of your abilities, as well as two of your item slots and your trinket. The two item slots will house your stealth/vision ward(s) and any active items you may have. Quick-casting works great on Katarina because it helps cut down the time to cast her abilities and items, which really helps with getting faster ward-jumps and combos. If you're not familiar with her abilities' ranges, activate the "Show Range Indicator" option for Quick-casting.
  • If you're losing your lane hard, AP should be your second priority- BUT a priority nonetheless. Many people build full defensive items ( Thornmail, Spirit Visage, etc) and become useless.
  • Bonus: Bind your /laugh to a key and spam it in lane every time your opponent misses a skillshot/fails to kill you/dies. This simple tactic can really mess with their psyche and throw them off their game . Plus.. you know, #SWAG.

Thank you for taking the time to read my recipe, I really hope it helps~
If you happened to like my guide go ahead and upvote, subscribe, or donate! If this guide was sub-par and/or offended you, vote accordingly but please leave feedback so I may improve it. As a reminder, everything I put on here is a reflection of my personal experience with this champion and you may or may not agree with it. As such, feel free to PM me with any questions/concerns you may have or leave a comment.

Have fun Dishing out Dzaster!

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