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Katarina Build Guide by Yamikaze

Middle challenger

[Season 10] Yamikaze's Challenger Katarina Guide

By Yamikaze | Updated on July 10, 2020
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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)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)

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Middle Lane
Ranked #30 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
Get More Stats

Ability Order

-Table of Contents-

Hi, welcome to my Katarina guide. I'm Yamikaze, a Challenger Talon player. My peak rank is around 30 on the NA server and I ended rank 100 Challenger in Season 8.

This guide is co-written with Chanseul, an ex-Challenger Katarina main. His peak was rank 58 with 350 LP in Season 8 and has over 3000 Kat games played.
Special thanks to Chanseul for his insights and Hoppermh for the coding of this guide. Enjoy.
Katarina is one of if not the most influential solo queue champion there is not only does she punish uncoordinated enemy players but she also is a champ who fits a certain playstyle she's very different from other assassins in which she has AOE not single target I found this quite interesting additionally her passive allows you to keep up momentum in fights like no other champ.
Conqueror - Pretty easy to proc since you're a melee champ, rly good healing and extra damage for teamfights. Dark Harvest (for more teamfight damage) or Electrocute (for faster first reset) are also good.
Triumph - Healing after each reset to keep you alive in teamfights.

Legend: Tenacity - Pretty good to keep you from getting locked down in teamfights. If enemy team has absolutely no cc, Alacrity is a decent second option.

Coup de Grace - Extra damage to finish off resets. Last Stand is also pretty good, just personal preference.
Sudden Impact - Procs on your e and you can maintain near 100% uptime in fights through resets. Free magic pen for more burst.
Ravenous Hunter - More healing for better teamfights as usual. Ingenious Hunter is also viable versus team comps where Zhonya's Hourglass is crucial in teamfights.

Flash - Always run Flash on Katarina.
Ignite - I run this 99% of the time. Since you have the capability to snowball and kill your enemies early.
Cleanse - I would run cleanse if the enemy team has someone with easy lockdown you know and you need it for 5v5s for example I would run it into Twisted Fate. You want cleanse because if you get stunned the enemy team will most likely follow up while you can't do anything. Personally the only one i find threatening enough for me to take cleanse would be Twisted Fate.
INNATE: Whenever an enemy champion dies within 3 seconds of Katarina damaging them, her cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.

Sinister Steel
DAGGERS: Whenever Katarina catches a Dagger or picks it up from the ground, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies, dealing 75 - 287 (based on level) (+ 100% bonus AD) (+ 55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AP) magic damage and reducing Shunpo's cooldown by 78 / 84 / 90 / 96%.

Daggers last 4 seconds before disappearing.

Voracity: This is the backbone of Katarina's kit. Catching daggers is where you will get both the majority of your damage and your mobility. Basically, both your Q and W drop daggers, which you can then catch after a few seconds by either walking to them or using E. Once you catch them, Katarina spins and does damage in a circle. Also, catching a dagger will significantly reduce the cooldown on your E, giving you near limitless mobility in teamfights. Further, whenever you get a kill or an assist (within 3 seconds), all of your cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds. Remember you can have way more than 2 daggers up at once with resets.
Katarina throws a Dagger to the target enemy that bounces to up to 2 nearby unaffected enemies, dealing magic damage to each target. After bouncing to its targets, the Dagger then lands on the ground 350 units opposite from where it struck the first target. The Dagger always takes the same amount of time to land from the time it hits the first target. MAGIC DAMAGE:75 / 105 / 135 / 165 / 195 (+ 30% AP)

Bouncing Blades: Use this to farm in lane, finish off targets, and, most importantly, set up future blinks. Since the dagger from your Q always lands 350 units on the other side of the enemy target, you will always be able to catch them if they run away with a simple E reset. See the combo section for when to use this in a combo.
ACTIVE: Katarina tosses a Dagger into the air at her current location, which lands after 1.25 seconds, and gains bonus movement speed that decays over 1.25 seconds.

Preparation: Drops a dagger at your current location and gain movespeed. Again, check the combo section for how to use this ability.
Katarina blinks to the target location around the target unit or Dagger.

Shunpo: If the target is an enemy, Katarina deals them magic damage. Otherwise, she deals the same magic damage to the nearest enemy in range. Shunpo has a variety of locations
ACTIVE: Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a dagger every 0.166 seconds to each nearby enemy champion, up to a maximum of 3 at a time, dealing them magic damage and applying Grievous Wounds icon Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds. Death Lotus cannot be cancelled by movement and basic attack commands in the first and last 0.25 seconds of channeling.

Death Lotus: Your bread and butter aoe burst ultimate. Channel for up to 2.5 seconds and deal damage to the closest 3 enemies. Keep in mind each enemy takes the same amount of damage regardless of how many targets are being hit. Thus, you will often find yourself using your ult on even a single target for burst. Generally, you will want to use your ult while your daggers are landing from your Q and W in combos. Again (again), check the combo section for more info.

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

In the early game, your build order can and will vary. For example, if you back with 1200 gold it would be best to buy Sorcerer's Shoes and consumables for burst, mobility, and roam power. If you back with 850, it would be better to buy 2 long swords and perhaps a Refillable Potion if you don't have it already. However, you will always be rushing Hextech Gunblade as it's your first major power spike.

Core Items:

Boots are situational depending it can either be merc treads if they have cc and ap sorc shoes for magic pen or tabis for many auto attackers / ads

Gunblade this is 100% your bread and butter on Katarina not only do the stats fit katarinas hybrid stats but also gives you a nice active which can allow for quicker burst and locking down targets
Core Items

Sorcerer's Shoes
{Rush for Roams}
{Before Gunblade}

Hextech Gunblade
{Boots - (Depending)}

Oblivion Orb

{If the Enemy has Healers}
The active helps get you in and out of fights after diving their backline
Buy if enemies aren't building magic resist
If they have heavy magic resist items run this.
(example a champ with Abyssal Mask)
You definitely want to run this before Zhonya's Hourglass) essentially; (right after Oblivion Orb)

right after Hextech Gunblade you should get void if they rush magic resist

Overall better stat item than Rabadon's Deathcap
The Dark Seal
Start this every game. Don't worry about the 100 mana on this item as it's still extremely cost efficient without the mana. Gives AP and sustain in lane by making your pots stronger.
Health Potion
Start 3 of these versus matchups where you'll be fighting a lot or getting poked down (think Lux or Xerath).
Refillable Potion
Start this versus matchups where you won't need as much health. More gold efficient than 3x Health Potions but less health in lane.
Hextech Revolver
Buy this if you have enough gold to buy the whole thing (1050g). Having this gives you a lot more kill pressure in lane.
Long Sword
Buy two of these if you back without enough for revolver or if you already have revolver. Preferably, you will want revolver + 2x long swords on your second back. Keep in mind that early AD is stronger than early AP, but the AP will be stronger midgame than the AD.
Bilgewater Cutlass
Upgrade your long swords into cutlass after you have revolver + 2 long swords.
Hextech Gunblade
Always rush this. It's your biggest power-spike and lets you easily 1-shot most squishies with the active. Also helps you catch enemies from long range (with E-gunblade). Remember you will usually want to have Gunblade and then upgrade to defensive boots (mercs/tabis) for tankiness in teamfights. However, if you are buying sorcs, you will likely want to have it before gunblade.
Oblivion Orb
Buy this after gunblade for extra magic pen. Usually you won't want to upgrade this into Morello until later on.
Zhonya's Hourglass
As Kat, your role in a teamfight is to quickly burst a target, get your resets, and blow everyone else up. The counterplay to this is for the enemy team to simply kill you before you get your damage off. This is usually when you get your first reset, set up more daggers, but die before they can be E'd to. Hourglass solves this as you can simply drop your daggers, use hourglass, and immediately jump to the daggers after they set up and your hourglass ends.
Sorcerer's shoes
Buy these before or after Gunblade when ahead or if you want more burst in general.
Mercury's Treads
These are good into heavy AP and/or cc teams.
Ninja Tabi
Buy these into heavy AD or auto-attack teams
(think Yasuo, Riven, or even Corki).
Rabadon's Deathcap
]Buy this over Void Staff if the enemy team isn't stacking magic resist. Gives you a ton of AP and thus a lot of burst against targets that don't have much MR.
Upgrade oblivion orb to Morello early if the enemy has a lot of healing you want to shut down (e.g. Soraka or Dr. Mundo). Otherwise, hold onto the oblivion orb and upgrade at 6 items.
Void Staff
Buy this if the enemy team is stacking MR (usually when you're ahead or if a lot of your team is magic damage).
Banshee's Veil
Good into poke mages or heavy magic damage teams. Helps block that first lockdown spell that keeps you from rolling over the enemy team.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Replace your Zhonya's Hourglass with this if you don't need the hourglass active and the enemy team is mostly magic damage. The 300 hp will be more useful than the 45 armor if most of the enemy team isn't doing physical damage.
Quicksilver Sashf
Buy this if you're ahead and the enemy team has a Malzahar. This way, he won't be able to lock you down in teamfights with his Nether Grasp. However, if you're behind, it's usually better to skip QSS as you need the damage and you usually won't be the highest priority target in the teamfight.
Guardian Angel
If you're really far ahead, this is a viable buy as you won't need additional damage. Instead, you will want the survivability that GA provides as you will be a high priority target and dying will give the enemy team shutdown gold. Further, since Kat can utilize both AD and AP, you can still make use of GA's stats pretty easily.

Use gunblade if you have it.
This is where you can auto attack in passive animation, see tricks section.
For more advanced and situational combos, I'd strongly recommend checking
out Katlife's excellent combo guide. It has virtually every combo and goes into
more detail than this guide ever could.
(Reference to here for timestamps)
Resets your auto with e. Good for melee trading or finishing a target after your combo. This combo is not used that often only in close quarters or if your trying to farm minions under tower.
You can use this as soon as you hit level 2 to cheese first blood.
With this combo you want to kite back and bait them out with the dagger you dropped from w and re engage onto your dagger with shunpo most people especially in lower elos will fall for this trick.
Use this when your trying to poke and pressure and you need an instant trade q e in and w than either e out or finish them with e if you can kill.

Combo #1
This is Kat's most consistent and important combo. It allows you to easily chase enemies that are running away. Further, it maximizes your damage output as this combo is set up to hit almost all of your damage. Use this combo when your trying to deal the most damage the reason this combo is particularly a strong combo for damage and if your opponents are trying to run away you can initially engage with e hit your gunblade so they can't dodge your w dagger drop q so if they do dodge dagger you can e right to it with your w dagger passive reset on shunpo.

Combo #2
Sets up a dagger faster than the first combo. Use this build if you want to quickly burst an enemy target. Another difference between this and the first combo is that, instead of immediately using E, you use gunblade instead for faster burst.

Combo #3
This is your setup combo in a fight or skirmish. Q a minion or enemy and then use the dagger it drops as setup for your combo.
First 3 Levels:
Since these first 3 levels are incredibly important and will often dictate the lane (and thus, the game), here's a section dedicated just to this part of the lane phase.
Level 1:
Versus ranged matchups: Your only job here is to play far back and not take poke. Since Kat is melee and is pretty weak early, a single bad trade at level 1 can be the difference between winning and losing a lane. You can almost always secure the first 3 melee minions with your first q when they're all low enough as they all die around the same time. However, if you can't get in range of the ranged minions to q them without getting poked, you can just give up the cs as it's not worth losing lane for 2-3 caster minions.
Versus melee matchups: Getting early cs is easier versus other melee champions. However, avoid trading outside of poking with Q until levels 2 or 3.
Level 2:
Level 2 is where you first have kill pressure in lane.
Versus melee opponents simply use lane combo #2 if they walk into range. You will almost ce
If your opponents are ranged and have a safe playstyle and you can't get an, try using your q on their caster minions what this does is allow you to get the
At lvl 1 your most likely going to be pushed in due to lack of wave clear and for lvl 2 all ins this is okay because when the wave is closer to your side you have a much greater chance of killing the enemy as opposed to it being on their side where they are protected from turret and you're more susceptible to ganks
Level 3:
Level 3 you can start using your more consistent combos this is when your most lethal in lane this is due to her having one more passive dagger drop which allows for yet another shunpo. This is when you can start engaging with E and using combos such as E-W-Q-E this is your most important combo in lane.
Early Phases
In the early phases of the game try to control the lane the best you can this is done by either poking/pressuring your laner, going for early kills and gaining lane priority by pushing in your opponent. look for a kill if its a match up that favors you (mainly control mages with little escapes) or if you have a hard time in lane try shoving waves into the enemies turret and going to roam afterward. When referring to pressure I mean using your q on minions and making it land near your enemies location to pressure them to back off. Remember your daggers are your primary source of damage and enemies will look to avoid those so treat it as a zoning tool.

After laning phase ends (usually when either the first mid or bot turret is taken), your team might want to come mid to start either sieging or defending. Although some assassins will want to swap to a side lane for mid game, Katarina is mostly a team fighting champ, meaning you will want to stay mid and participate in the upcoming fights this is due to her passive voracity when splitting your not making use of it. It's not bad if you need to go sidelines to farm or pressure make sure your team is not about to enter a fight. Also if you do split to take farm try to remember to prioritize teamfighting and skirmishes keep vision in the enemy teams jungle to know when they rotate. In the mid game try to seek fights/ skirmishes kat is a champ who thrives off of teamfights.

In teamfights, the most important thing to remember is not to be the first one to go in. If you go in first, everyone on the enemy team still has their cooldowns up and you will get quickly focused and die. No matter how fed you are, you will die unless the enemy team misplays. Instead, sit at a flank and wait for your team to go in and for the enemy team to burn their cooldowns to go in. This way, not all of the enemy team will be focused on you and you have a much better chance of getting your first reset (which is vital to winning a fight).

The next step is to decide when to go in. This depends entirely on how fed you are. If you're ahead, you can play aggressively and go in almost immediately after the fight starts (as you don't want to have your team fight 4v5 if you're the strongest member of your team). However, if you're behind, you want to be patient and look for a good opportunity to get your first reset. Further, regardless of whether you're ahead or behind, you generally need setup to go in. This will usually be from your teammates' cc or a dagger. Even if you don't plan on going in, you can throw some Q's at their frontline and use the dagger as setup to engage in a few seconds.

While you wait to go in (or even as you're going in), you must decide which target to go for. Here's a hypothetical situation: You've made it past all the enemy CC. Now you can use your full combo to delete one squishy from the teamfight. Do you kill the 10-3-5 Ryze, the 2-3-8 Lucian, or the 0-1-10 Janna? Well, even I couldn't tell you which one to go for. Your mistake was not picking a target before the start of the fight.

Before a fight starts, you want to first consider which enemies you can even 1-shot. This list will usually include the enemy mid, bot, and support. From this list, you want to find the biggest threat to your team. This is usually the enemy that does the most damage but could also include the Soraka that keeps the whole team alive and makes it impossible for you to 1-shot the enemy carries.

Another factor high elo players consider are summoner spell cooldowns. This can be a bit overwhelming if you're newer to the game, but timing summoner spells are incredibly important once you get to around Diamond 1 or above. It's actually pretty simple. To do this, make sure to have your chat timestamps enabled. For example, if the enemy Syndra flashes, click on the flash on the scoreboard (lets say, hypothetically, she flashes at 13:30). Then, when you're walking to lane or backing, simply add 5 minutes to the flash timestamp. Afterwards, type something like "mid f 1830," with 1830 meaning 18:30. You can do the same with heal (4 minute cd), barrer (3 minute cd), teleport (5 minute cd), ignite (3.5 minute cd), and etc. Remember that Unsealed Spellbook and CDR boots reduce summoner spell cooldowns.

Finally, after you've hopefully killed the first target (or two), you can use your hourglass to bait the enemy team to focus you if you have it. Otherwise, just use your resets on the closest targets (target selection is still important here but you really just want to kill whatever you can). After the first reset try to look for the opportunity with the most survivability this can be either shunpoing to your allies or flashing out, killing an opponent it really doesn't matter but at this point you already got a kill maybe two let's say you did this and none of your teammates have died this puts your team at a 3v5 advantage. Let's also say you are worth the equivalent to two of your teammates if you kill 2 and they kill you that basically means it's evenly matched even though its a 4v3 just due to how important of a target you were to kill. Don't forget that enemies will always try to prioritize you so make sure you know your damage before engaging anything. Think to yourself can I kill them and get a reset?

Late Game Kat plays out basically the same as midgame Kat - join teamfights late and 1v5. The only real difference is, by late game, death timers are long and one teamfight will often decide a game. Thus, you will want to play extra safe and only go in with setup (again, cc from your team or a dagger). Katarinas jobs in the late game is super important you have to close out teamfights your job is to stay alive but that can be very tricky tanks are scaling.

Wallhop - Katarina is able to go over thin walls if you set up a dagger right next to it. An example would be the wall behind Krugs or at the back of Dragon Pit.

aa in passive animation - While you pick up a dagger and spin, you can sneak in an auto-attack if you're in range. Handy for sneaking in autos to secure kills throughout the game.

Thank you for reading. I hope this guide was helpful as you learn Kat. Let me know if any of the sections are outdated or if you'd like to see other sections.

Again, special thanks to Chanseul for his help in writing this guide and Hoppermh for the coding.

Be sure to check out Chanseul's stream at STREAM LINK and mine at STREAM LINK.

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Yamikaze Katarina Guide