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Katarina Build Guide by Reppy



Updated on May 20, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Reppy Build Guide By Reppy 149 11 412,640 Views 16 Comments
149 11 412,640 Views 16 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Reppy Katarina Build Guide By Reppy Updated on May 20, 2021
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Runes: Conqueror

1 2
Legend: Tenacity
Coup de Grace

Sudden Impact
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Tenacity/Slow Resist


1 2 3
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Ability Order Standard Level Up

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide


By Reppy
Hello, welcome to my Katarina guide. I’m Reppy, a challenger Katarina one trick who has hit rank 1 Katarina on multiple leaderboards and has peaked top 50 Challenger in the NA server. I stream on , and upload videos on Youtube with Katarina content. Please stop by my stream if you have any questions, I’d be glad to assist you and best of luck with your climb!

Check out my twitch!


Why Katarina?

Katarina, The Sinister Blade

Katarina is one of the strongest solo queue stompers in league of legends. Her aoe and assassin playstyle paired with her high snowball potential makes her a monster at winning games, as well as one of the most satisfying ones with her resets.

Katarina also has a very high skill curve being the hardest champion in the game to master statistically, but don’t let this shy you away from learning the champion.
Season 11 Changes

How to Play Katarina in Season 11

In this season, Katarina is WAY stronger with the new items, even with the removal of her staple item, Hextech Gunblade. With this in mind, your power spikes are dependent on the items you build. Blade of the Ruined King is the absolute STRONGEST item that you can rush in the game and you can 100-0 enemies ridiculously quick.(NOTE that it is a situational item and is strongest only when champions are stacking HP/defenses.) Going items such as Pickaxe or sheen will also be a minor power spike since Katarina’s new kit can synergize with both AP and AD. You want to play Katarina as aggressively as possible when you have these power spikes because you can potentially 1v2 if you play it correctly. Her burst and different build paths will make it hard for enemies to itemize against you, as well as Dark Harvest being one of the main runes to go on her now.

On-hit changes

It has been established that Katarina now has her abilities apply on hit.
On-hit effects are sources of damage which apply a source of damage that applies on hit effects, hits a target, normally this is on auto attacks but due to the changes now Katarina’s daggers and abilities apply them as well.

Front loaded damage vs back loaded damage and how Dark Harvest will be OP

Front loaded damage is damage which is applied immediately. Backloaded damage is damage which tends to apply at the end of combos. Katarina’s sources of front load before used to be her q,e, r, gunblade active and Electrocute. Since her daggers were back loadeds this meant that runes such as Dark Harvest lost lots of value.

With S11 Katarina gaining on-hit, items give her front loaded damage with Sheen procs and Night Harvester/ Luden's Tempest. This means her upfront one shots are going to be more potent as well as making backloaded keystones like Dark Harvest far more viable if not the meta option for Katarina.

Voracity ( Passive)

Whenever an enemy champion dies within 3 seconds of Katarina damaging them, her abilities' cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.

Sinister steel (Dagger pickup) - If Katarina picks up a dagger, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies, dealing magic damage and applying on-hit effects.
  • If you know you’re going to get a kill, and therefore a reset, use all of your remaining basic abilities since you will get the off cooldown anyways.

  • You can wallhop if the dagger is close to a wall and you E (Shunpo) to the edge of the dagger
  • This is your main damage source so make sure you hit this ability on the enemies. It is the most IMPORTANT aspect to your kit!

Video: Passive
Bouncing Blades (Q)
COOLDOWN: 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7

Katarina throws a Dagger to the target enemy that bounces to up to 2 nearby enemies, dealing magic damage to each target.
  • Use this to last hit creeps.
  • Use this to set up yourself to E onto the enemy by hitting an enemy with Q or a minion that would make the dagger fall on top of the enemy.
  • REMEMBER that it hits three targets, no priority on champions, but the dagger will always drop the same position , 350 units behind the INITIAL q target, and ALWAYS at the same time, regardless of bounces.
Video: Q
Preparation (W)
COOLDOWN: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11

Katarina gains a burst of movement speed, tossing a dagger into the air directly above herself
  • Use your W movement speed to dodge skill shots.
  • You can bait them into walking over it when you are being chased down and one shot them before they even know what happened.
  • It is also really good when you E Shunpo onto an enemy and drop the W Preparation dagger on top so it can be mostly guaranteed to hit, as well as giving you a Shunpo reset.
Shunpo (E)
COOLDOWN: 14 / 12.5 / 11/ 9.5 / 8

Katarina dashes in the blink of an eye to the target ally, enemy or Dagger. If it is an enemy, Katarina deals magic damage - otherwise, she strikes the nearest enemy in range, applying on-hit effects in both cases.
  • Use E Shunpo to get out of sticky situations, engage fights, and gap-closing.
  • Katarina’s E Shunpo is one of the most mobile abilities in the game, due to the fact that it can reset on dagger pickup.
  • You can also E Shunpo on Ally structures ( Jarvan IV sword (E), Rek'Sai's tunnel, Thresh's lantern, even Teemo’s mushrooms, etc).
  • Shunpo is an Auto attack reset, meaning you can aa, e, aa in rapid succession for heavy burst damage.
Death Lotus (R)
COOLDOWN: 90 / 60 / 45

Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, rapidly throwing 15 knives at the three nearest enemy champions, dealing magic damage and physical damage per knife, over 2.5 seconds.
Each dagger applies on-hit effects at 25% efficiency
Applies Grevious Wounds to all enemies struck, reducing their healing and regeneration by 60%.
  • Use R when there are champions that are stacked together or when you’re looking for a reset.
  • It applies 60% grievous wounds, which is why Katarina does NOT need to finish Morellos ( Oblivion Orb gives the same amount of penetration).
  • Since Katarina gets resets, you do not need to be stingy with your ultimate. You can look to solo ult one person and hop to the next, with your R being on a low cooldown.
  • Your daggers are your primary damage tool, but your R fills in the gap until your daggers drop.
  • It is hard to get a fully channeled ult due to how vulnerable you are while channeling in place.

Combo 1

Q + E + AA + W + AA + E

Combo 1 Normal Speed

Combo 1 Quarter Speed

Combo 2

E + AA + W + AA + Q + E + R

Combo 2 Normal Speed

Combo 2 Quarter Speed

Combo 3

E + W + R + Q + E

Combo 3 Normal Speed

Combo 3 Quarter Speed

For a more in depth guide to combos check out Katlife's video

Katlife's In depth Combo Guide
Summoner Spells
/ is the best combo you can bring with summoners.

/ Is something Korean players like creammon tend to opt into. This is good for map pressure and lane pressure. It also is good for hard matchups.

/ is what I prefer in harder matchups.

/ is only good for counter ganking or teleporting to a deepward to get an easy kill or two in side lanes or enemy jungle.
Runes Explained
The massive amounts of healing and damage this rune provides is great. Since Katarina is a melee champion, her autos give her two stacks of Conqueror and doing a simple combo on her will almost instantly give her full stacks.
This provides loads of healing when paired with Ravenous Hunter. In a teamfight conqueror really shines, as with her resets Katarina can transfer the damage and healing that conqueror provides to another target. This makes the rune flexible for almost every matchup.
Dark Harvest
Most likely better than Conqueror now since the new builds are heavily burst oriented and it outscales Electrocute with its low cd
Better than the other two options, it heals you after a close fight and can be a factor to you winning a teamfight or a 1v1.
Legend: Tenacity
You always wanna bring this rune as Katarina’s number one counter is Crowd Control.
Coup de grace
This rune is the best rune as killing targets below 40% hp will help you get your resets faster. It is better than last stand because Katarina is already relatively squishy so being low will basically mean you’re already dead.
Cut Down
You can bring this into team comps that have 3+ tanks. It is better statistically than Coup de Grace in tank comps.
Sudden impact
This brings in so much damage into Katarina’s kit as you’re basically a dashing machine.
Taste of blood
This is a preference rune but it helps you sustain very well in lane but it lacks the damage
Eyeball collection
Helps you snowball even harder.
Ravenous Hunter
This is the BEST rune with Conqueror as it heals you tremendously with your whole kit.
Bone plating
Good against other assassins, Katarina loses to almost every assassin in the game. It lowers the burst potential and can help you duel.
If you go resolve, you’ll wanna go unflinching for tenacity.
Starting Items
Long Sword
Usually you want to start Long Sword 3 X Health Potion. This is way more beneficial than a Refillable Potion because you have way more sustain and can last in the lane longer.
It gives u the highest possibility for a first blood early on, get it if you are confident in your kat
Doran's Ring
70hp and 15ap are amazing, it helps with last hitting and gives 3hp PER minion kill, making it an amazing starting item.
Doran's Blade
Only good versus champions that you want to duel early game. It’s extra health and omnivamp help you sustain in lane and it’s actually really strong versus duelists ( Yasuo, Zed, Yone, etc)
Doran's Shield
It is the safest start but offers no realistic kill pressure, build it into very hard matchups.
Examples: Tristana, Zed, Riven, etc.
Dark Seal
This item isn't a first item start any more, but you can get it on an early recall.

Early AD vs Early AP (FIRST BACK)

When Katarina backs, she has a potential of building either AD or AP. Both build paths are very suitable for Katarina since she now scales with on hit. With this in mind, you want to go Pickaxe for Bork as the strongest back or Hextech Alternator for the AP build path
Main build

The Best Builds (Listed from best to worst)

(All Glass Cannon, Subjected To Change Depending On Team Comps/situation)

Night Harvester

Lich Bane

Nashor's Tooth

Rabadon's Deathcap

Sorcerer's Shoes

Void Staff

Guinsoo's Rageblade

Kraken Slayer


Essence Reaver

The Collector


Phantom Dancer

NOTE: In this build you go either Kraken Slayer OR Galeforce

Luden's Tempest

Lich Bane

Void Staff

Sorcerer's Shoes

Zhonya's Hourglass

Rabadon's Deathcap


Blade of the Ruined King

Lich Bane

Nashor's Tooth

Sorcerer's Shoes

Void Staff

Blade of the Ruined King


Lich Bane

Nashor's Tooth

Void Staff

Sorcerer's Shoes

NOTE: This is NOT my personal favorite but it is viable.

Good Legendary+ items:

Blade of the Ruined King
The best first item to rush. It’s overall stats aren’t awful Katarina but the main reason is due to the passive which gives 10% current health damage. This damage is applied on autoattacks, Shunpo, daggers and on your ultimate (at 25% efficiency which is 2.5% current hp dmg per target)

Night Harvester
Night harvester applies a burst of damage when u hit an enemy champion, it gives a cooldown to the enemy champion which lasts a minute long. This gives katarina really strong teamfighting potential and burst. It also has really good component building from Hextech Alternator. This will be your go to mythic item (around 4th item)

Lich Bane
This is a staple item for Katarina. Her Shunpo synergizes really well with Sheen. It gives her a lot of burst potential and it has good AP scalings. You’ll prob get this 2nd / 3rd item

Nashor's Tooth
Since Katarina now scales with on-hit, this item is really good for the on hit and AP it provides. You’ll get this 2nd or 3rd.

Void Staff
This item is still very strong but there is no longer a need to get this immediately by 4-5th item, you can now just sit on it’s base value Blighting Jewel.

Rabadon's Deathcap
This item is best when built last. Since all the other items are now really strong and have different passives, this is a straight flat out AP item for Kat. 6th item every time.

Zhonya's Hourglass
The item still is pretty slow, use it if you need to dodge burst or are playing a heavy diver playstyle.

Legendary+ potential/Situational items

Duskblade of Draktharr
This item currently gives u 1.5 seconds of invisibility which isn't canceled on ability cast, so you could potentially wipe teamfights while being completely invisible. This item will probably get this interaction removed though as it is broken regardless of how you look at it. Abuse it while you still can.

Eclipse is a very strong item, it gives lots of damage and a shield on a 6 second cooldown. Get this if you’re looking for high burst.


Verdant Barrier
This item is great if facing a team with heavy AP in poke damage such as Orianna, Zoe, etc

Negatron Cloak
Great to sit on versus heavy AP teams. Also great item for lots of AP Burst; i.e Evelynn, Fiddlesticks, etc

Seeker's Armguard
Great to sit on versus AD assassins or AD heavy teams.

This item is good because most AP builds will revolve around Lich Bane and it’s passive synergizes really well with Katarina’s Shunpo, it’s high damage will make it very likely to be a first item rush.

Hextech Alternator
Hextech Alternator is a really strong item and builds into Night Harvester, another great item.

Blighting Jewel
Really great item to sit on, builds into Void Staff as well and the magic penetration is really good and synergizes with Katarina’s build.

Honorable Mentions

Morellonomicon / Oblivion Orb - horrible item, even the stats are bad. It’s passive is just basically Katarina’s r and the stats are so low for the price. You can buy other items and make up for the stats in a different item.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This item is also bad, as it has such a bad passive and stats.

Demonic Embrace
This item is ok, it’s used to burn tank champions (kinda like Liandry's Torment).

Divine Sunderer
The item looks compelling at first, but it is outclassed and underwhelming in practice.

Death's Dance
Really bad since Conqueror on Katarina will be pretty bad as well as the passive being so specifically tailored to physical damage.

Negatron Cloak is so much better than Hexdrinker this season because it has better build paths and since Maw of Malmortius is such a bad item (even with the buffs), it’s better to sit on Negatron Cloak for more MR. You lose damage but you have so much more resistance to counter AP champions.

Maw of Malmortius
Maw of Malmortius is bad considering Wit’s End has more MR, has on-hit, and outscales the damage of Maw tremendously.

Ravenous Hydra
This item is awesome when you need to wave clear to roam on Katarina. It has great healing as well and procs on Katarina’s R on multiple enemies.

Mediocre item, it is too slow and not very rewarding, wouldn’t really recommend the item. It’s passive is okay but there are FAR better items.

Liandry's Anguish
The item seems good on paper but seems to fall flat in practice you could prob build this if the enemy has 3-4 tanks but you're still giving up a mythic item for it.

NOTE: (ANY ITEM THAT IS NOT LISTED HERE isn’t worth an explanation either due gold inefficiency or just bad stats overall (crit items have a special explanation below)


Guinsoo's Rageblade + Crit items
Although these items are the most expensive in the game, it is a really flexible build and is the highest damage build in the game for Katarina, just make sure to sneak in a Blade of the Ruined King.
Guinsoo's Rageblade makes you unable to get Infinity Edge and makes your crits do no bonus damage, BUT for every 20% crit that you have (which is every crit item including Guinsoo's Rageblade itself) you get 40 damage on hit, not to mention all the items gives attackspeed/AD, which your death lotus does scale off of.

It’s an okay AD item, maybe one of the better ones. It’s passive is quite unique but kind of useless on Katarina. Although this item does give a better gunblade active. Consider this item if you're going for a crit build (more details later)

Kraken slayer
This item is great when going the Guinsoo’s/Crit build. It has a small burst at the 3rd auto which makes this item really strong after Katarina uses her combo and enemies survive with a bit of hp (her r applies it every 3 ticks at 25% efficiency so 7.5% of your ad as true dmg).
Early Game
In lane, you want to always look to punish mistakes, such as a Twisted Fate red carding a wave or Syndra using Q + E on a wave. Level 1, you want to farm safely with your q, it doesn’t matter if you sack minions (giving them up to help a jungler or getting a guaranteed kill, AS LONG AS YOU GET A KILL). You do not want to get poked out for 1 or 2 minions, as that would ruin your whole laning phase. You want to be completely safe and aggressive when possible. You can be as aggressive as possible when you satisfy two things : You know where the enemy jungler is or if you know you can all in and get out with her reset (maybe even 2v1ing). For roaming, you want to always shove in your wave. You can also fake roam (sitting in bush and wait for the enemy to either face check or walk over a ward for you to jump on them). You can also fake recall to roam, where both laners recall on a cannon wave or when you are on a recall timer and cancel it to roam. This could be bad because your laner will have an item advantage on you and if the roam doesn’t work out, you’ll either be forced to lose a wave or forced to lane against a stronger enemy. Usually, sacking a wave or two is worth it when getting a kill or two in retaliation.

Why should you trade?

Trading allows the enemy to lose an amount of hp generally and ideally lower than the amount you lost. This drops your laners to a lower hp until they eventually get within kill rage, around 70% and below.

Since Katarina is one of the WEAKEST level 1 champions in the game, you do not want to fight level 1. Level 2 and level 3 Katarina is very strong, at this point you should look to trade and maybe even all in, this generally guarantees that you either get a Flash or kill from your opponent. This will require you weaving in autos between your combos and stacking conqueror early. If they do not respect the early power spike, you can look to punish with an all in level 3)

Your basic trade combos are Q + E + W (run away with W movement speed) E + W + Q + E (away from the enemy, towards a minion or ally, so they cannot trade back as fast since Katarina’s combos are within a second or two). You want to chunk out enemies with a trade or two to then all in once they are in the kill range around 70% and below.
Mid Game


You want to SIDE LANE. People ask me why I have good cs scores and how they can improve on getting better cs. You do NOT want to permanently “ARAM”. This means you do not want to be permanently grouped up with your team while there are side lane minion waves pushing into your turrets. Catching side lanes is very important in both EXP and Gold as Katarina (note that Katarina’s daggers gain damage per level exponentially).
You want to side lane as much as possible, even if your team fights without you. (Don’t fight stupid fights you can’t win) This is because you want to be the highest level in the game to output the most damage. If your team fights without you, ping them off or push and get a turret.

You do not want to lose too many minions because otherwise you will fall behind in gold and playing from behind as Katarina is very difficult. If you want to make a play, SHOVE IN YOUR WAVE. Shoving in your wave and moving first will lead to two possible things:

1. Your laner matches the push and catches the wave (meaning you will move to the teamfight first, unless they have teleport and then you’ll force a summoner spell for free) OR
2. They move with you and they’ll be forced to drop the wave and miss out on free Gold and Experience. As well as risk getting killed by Katarina herself while isolated in the jungle.

Playing side lanes is very important and influential into winning the game. Make sure you ward in chokepoints in the jungle so you do not get ganked while farming. You move to the side when the enemy bot or top turret is gone, you move your bot lane to the next objective, and you force the enemy mid or top to play away from your bot lane which makes getting objectives easier. Also do NOT fight your laner in the side lane if you do not know where the enemies are as they can be getting hovered by the enemy team.
Late Game
Although games don’t go very late versus Katarina since she gets outscaled or she is too snowballed to the point where she ends at 15, there are games that get to 35+ minutes. This means that you have to be very careful with fighting the enemy team as most of them will have full builds.

As mentioned before, you do NOT want to go in first unless you have a stopwatch that can bait enemies to use their cooldowns on you. If an enemy priority target ( Jhin, Syndra, Ezreal, etc) sits on your dagger, you can one shot them with your combo and use a stopwatch to get a quick escape since you will get reset (if not you can always Flash out).

At this point in the game, you don’t want to split push, you want to catch waves to make sure they don’t crash at your turret and enemies cannot split push or push to end if they win a teamfight. You want to usually go in when your team engages for you, look for the enemy carry OR an easy squishy that you can kill quickly. Make sure to look for enemy stopwatches as 2-3 seconds can matter a lot in a teamfight.
As Katarina, you are going to be the first person the enemies look to focus. You usually do NOT want to go in first. Doing so will get you focused and killed first.

Firstly, scout what the enemies have. Do they have Flash? Do they have Exhaust, ultimate? Look at your comp versus theirs. Who wins? If they have a weak early/team comp then yes, you want to force a fight that can potentially put them out of the game.

For teamfighting, what you want to do is let someone go in before you and let them get focused. You can either play like this OR if you know that you can kill someone quickly and get out, you can do this also. You want to go on the squishy targets first or whoever your team is focusing to get the easy reset to go on and kill the rest of the team. A successful teamfight/skirmish can lead to Katarina snowballing out of control and this will be an easy victory within the right hands.
Top Katarina Tips for climbing
  • Learn every match up.
  • Learn what you can do and what you can’t do. Knowing your limitations on a certain champion will help you climb out of where you’re stuck at.
  • Learning macro is a big help. It got me to Challenger and knowing when to rotate/split push/fight for an objective is very game changing.
Thank you for reading this guide. I have spent thousands of hours on playing Katarina and I have shared most of my experience with her with you. I appreciate everything, from clicking onto this guide to knowing it is out there helping others. If you have any more questions, feel free to visit my stream ( and from there you can ask me questions live or join my discord!
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