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Katarina Build Guide by Dracono

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Dracono

She's all Smoke and Daggers: Katarina build

Dracono Last updated on April 8, 2012
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Team 1

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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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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**Edit 15/08/11: Yea so apparently this website decided to be a ***** and post each paragraph three times...
***Edit 16/08/11: fixed it
****Edit 16/08/11: put in BBCode for the guide, colored some things in, underlined key parts and added Overviews on items and why Ionian Boots of Lucidity over Sorcerer's Shoes
**Edit 06/11/11: Changed quints, I played a few games with Flat AP, much better early game start. Also added situational Void Staff and quoted Incendiax's Vladimir guide on MPen boots vs CDR boots
**Edit 08/02/2012 adapted Kat to Ziggs Patch. New Items, Masteries and runes, Enjoy!

More suggestions on what more i should explain are welcome :)

Hello and welcome to my build for Kat. This is my first Guide, so bear with me and play nice :) This is a really basic build, no shock value components, just playing Kat the way she as originally intended. I play an AP Kat because she works best that way, all her abilities depend on AP whereas only two use AD. Not to mention her most hard hitting ability is pure AP. You're welcome to try an AD Kat, I have, but this is my preference, and its served me pretty well. This build works only for Mid Lane

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Pros / Cons

Why Kat and why this build? Well here's a few reasons:


Huge Damage output in little time due to low CD
Her passive allows easy getaways from leftover enemies using her Shunpo
Her ulty targets multiple champs at once, as does her Q which is good for harassing
She's one of the best escape artists in the game
Spell Vamp earned early game adds to laning time and team fight survivability with her ulty
Best Assassin EVAR
Gets out of ganks in a blink of an eye

Despite all the defensive measures taken, shes uber squishy
Vulnerable to CC, especially in mid ulty
If you find yourself with no abilities you're useless

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This is a really easy explanation. Kat is all about nukes. Therefore she needs lots of magic pen to nuke through.

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration and Greater Quintessence of Ability Power work exceptionally well at eating away at tanky MR. I would use the Quints only if you aren't level 30 yet though, once you can fill out your marks, switch out the quintessences for Greater Quintessence of Ability Power, for that early game boost Kat usually needs.

I prefer to go with Greater Seal of Magic Resist because I'm mid lane. Obviously, counter attacks from other AP mids is your priority concern early game. Early MR just keeps those hits from dealing too much dmg, especially when combined with her Preparation + Shunpo

Lastly, Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction, because if Kat's a hopping with her Shunpo, you'll have a very happy team. (or mad if they get mad about ksing...) Kat uses no mana, so if her CDR is high enough you can literally just spam her abilities all day long. Late game I'm firing off a Bouncing Blades every 3 seconds or so, combined with killer instincts every two shots. That's 511 damage to every enemy champion in a team fight every six seconds or decreasing 10% per hit for every second shot (minus armor), and I can stand to the side and shoot these, never mind when I actually decide to Shunpo in and pop my ulty.

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Pretty straight forward. Kat's extremely squishy, so 9/21/0. She needs that defense, and the bonus experience and movespeed just doesn't quite cut it for her survivability nor power, and it wouldn't make sense to expand anymore on offense masteries, since without the defensive masteries you're dead in seconds. If you haven't reached level thirty yet, fill out the offensive before defensive, best to get a kill and die then live but miss out on the kill, or else that's a waste of unearned gold!


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Summoner Spells

As far as Summoner spells are concerned, I like to think my Exhaust and Flash combo works best. Lemme explain.

Exhaust is beautiful for Kat early game. It can be used to escape ganks and slow victims. Even if the situation looks hopeless, you can always Exhaust a champion and turn things around. One thing few people note is the Ad reduction and Ability Damage reduction. When you've nerfed a champion to one third of its power, its like being hit with a stick early game. HOORAY! Need I point out also: Preparation + Shunpo + Exhaust + Death Lotus = Same effect as if you'd had a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, just gotta be a bit nimbler is all.

As for Flash... I can hear you screaming "NOOB, KAT HAS A FREE FLASH!" Well, yes, yes she does. But what happens when your minion is just a little too far for Shunpo to reach and you have an angry Alistar breathing down your neck, rearing to headbutt you. SHUNPO 2.0! You don't need a target for this one, so escapes and chases just became that much easier. it's also crucial for that extra surprise in ganks. If you're target is mid-lane and you're chilling in the bushes, you gotta walk out to get them cause you're Shunpo won't reach, wasting a valuable few seconds of surprise where they won't have gotten far. So what you do... FLASH, KILLER INSTINCTS, SHUNPO, DEATH LOTUS (and if they still ain't dead...) BOUNCING BLADE! I fail to see how any champ down a third to half health could survive that depending on their beefiness.

Other viable choices include:
Ignite for Flash - Feeling insecure about the whole flash idea? That's cool, this can help with that first kill a bit.
Teleport for Flash - Don't wanna leave you're lane much? Like to telegank? feel Kat's movespeed is too slow to walk places? Try this out, works wonders.
Cleanse for Flash - Say you're stunned and you can't use Flash, this could come in handy, though I can't say it'll do you much good when you're set upon by a sprinting Yi who can't be slowed.

Why not Ghost instead of Flash? I believe Ghost to be a wonderful summoner spell... For melee or ranged Dps. For a spell caster, you don't have to be neck and neck the entire time, in fact, its preferable if you aren't so they can't hit you back. Also, when escaping, Ghost still leaves you vulnerable to stuns, slows, taunts, sleeps, snares and suppresses, whereas Flash dips you out of their range.

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Here's how this works. Kat is all about reaction time. if you get easily distracted, don't play her. If your girlfriend is on the phone with you, don't play her. If you're eating don't play her. If you have ADD, DON'T PLAY HER! I think you get it :).

Kat's passive, Voracity, is an awesome idea. its like Yi's ulty, but for all her abilities, combined with the fact that she makes an extra 25 gold for kills and assists. Basically, if you kill an enemy, all your abilities are refreshed, save your ulty, and you can Shunpo back out before their teammates realize what happened. Mid game, if you score a double kill, chances are your ulty will be ready in about ten seconds after. Late game, you've got it already. Even if you only get two assists, you're ready to go again. That's the beauty of it. Once you kill a champion, you aren't spent, you're just getting started.

Bouncing Blades This is your beginning skill, but you'll save the other points for later. This is you farm ability. It's also great to combine with Preparation to hit the enemy champ with while they're healing, since that combo reduces their healing by 50%. A Mundo is using his Sadism? Smack a hoe with a Bouncing Blades infused with your Preparation. Same with Warwick when he uses his ulty, or Soraka, Taric, any healer really, or even if they're just low hp and decide to use a Health Potion. This ability becomes great late game, since you can hit up to six enemies with it, so team fights are key to throwing them in every few seconds. Mix it with Preparation and each bounce deals full damage. Pretty Killer, wouldn't ya say ;) (just wanna point out that the ability never swings back after and hits the same enemy, it'll stop after hitting every unique enemy it can reach within its quota.)

Preparation is a pretty cool ability, but can be a bit disappointing when you find yourself out of usable abilities and this is the first one to pop up. Passively, the ability increases your auto attacks' and spells' damage by 8/12/16/20/24. That's kinda cool I suppose, nothing big, but I suppose it helps top off some of the damage being avoided through ARMR and MR. The really cool thing about the ability is the active. Once activated, the ability can be combined with either Shunpo or Bouncing Blades. With Shunpo, it will reduce damage taken by 15/20/25/30/35% from overall sources for 3 seconds. It also causes you to jump behind the enemy instead of in front. This way when diving in with Shunpo, you're much less likely to become pounded to death by the sheer activity going on in a team fight. When combined with Bouncing Blades, each bounce will deal full damage rather than lose 10% per hit, and will leave the target with a grievous wound, cutting its heals by 50% for 5 seconds. This way in a team fight, their allies can't heal them mid-fight as effectively, and you can hit all of them equally.

Shunpo is by far Kat's coolest ability. It's her best inta-nuke, and acts as an escape/chase mechanism nearly as good as Kassadin's Riftwalk or Irelia's Bladesurge. She can use this ability on friend and foe alike to teleport to that location, dealing nice damage to enemies. Plus she leaves purple smoke where she left and where she appeared :D This ability is what makes Kat. Combined with Preparation, she can Shunpo in, take minimal damage, then back out again. Early game, Combine this with Bouncing Blades to harass, throwing a blade in first, then jumping on them.

Death Lotus is quite honestly one of the most devastating ultys if used effectively. Hits up to three champions ten times. This can nuke most champions to a third of their health beginning game. When in mid, Preparation, Shunpo, Exhaust then Death Lotus can kill most mid champs. In a team fight, chuck 2-3 rounds of Bouncing Blades in, Preparation, Shunpo, then Death Lotus, nice triple kill dude, now Shunpo the next ***** and show him who's boss.

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How to Play

Use Health Potions only when under a third health, otherwise just regen a bit before jumping into the fray.

Early game, throw bouncing blades at creeps to farm them, and keep your distance from the enemy. once you have a point in every ability, commence throwing blades at the enemy every few times it pops up. Be attentive, and try not to push your lane. When they reach half health, you're ready. Get close enough to Exhaust, Shunpo on them, auto attack till Exhaust fades, then chuck a Bouncing Blades at them. If they were half health they're dead. If not, Shunpo again if they aren't already at their turret. Congrats on your first kill.

Continue on like this, don't push your lane. After a kill, return home, let the minions go fight each other, or pull them off your turret before leaving. Once you've gotten a point in Death Lotus, kills should be really easy. I'd stack about three, maybe two if you aren't having the easiest time, then push the hell out of your lane. Once you've gotten up to the turret, back off and find a gank. Your initiation should look like this:

1v1: Exhaust, KI, Shunpo, Death Lotus, possibly a Bouncing Blade
1v2/3: Bouncing Blade, Exhaust the beefiest one, KI, Shunpo the same guy, Death Lotus, Bouncing Blade (Try not to 1v3)
1v4/5: Don't do it.

When I say beefiest, I don't mean their tank, I mean the healthiest of their carries

In a team fight:
3/4/5v3/4/5: KI, BB, BB, KI, BB, BB, KI, Shunpo, Death Lotus, KI, Shunpo, BB. Repeat till all them ****ers be dead.

Tower Diving shouldn't be done, unless they're a guaranteed kill, because then you can Shunpo back out. Or Flash, but how often is that not on Cd...

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Here's where everything makes a difference for Kat. Start off with an Amplifying Tome. This provides you with some nice AP to start off with, good for harassing, and easier farming. After your first kill, get your Hextech Revolver. Once you have this you should be out of Health Potions. That's okay! Just make sure that if you find yourself running because you're low health, Shunpo to enemy minions for that extra health you're screaming for! Its also an amazing item for jumping into a fight in progress and just whipping out Death Lotus. Unless they stun or silence you, most damage output will be nerfed by the amount of health you're sapping! When you have that, get your Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Why these and not Sorcerer's Shoes? Well your runes already give you a substantial amount of magic penetration, and to me, boots are for movespeed, the added bonus is just that, a bonus. That 15% CDR contributes more to your movespeed than the magic penetration, as your shunpo recharges 15% quicker, allowing you to teleport quicker, therefore making you faster. I suppose if you feel like being anal amount the damage you deal in one shot you can get the Sorcerer's Shoes, but personally I find it a waste of some perfectly good CDR.

I'd like to quote Incendiax on his Vladimir guide for this next little part, as he puts MR vs CDR in perspective really well:

"While Sorcerer's Shoes are amazing earlygame since you reduce most enemy champion's Magic Resistance to zero with Runes, Masteries + Boots, it falls off once they buy a Banshees Veil, or any magic resistance item, which is too common. They now have 85 MR, but you're only piercing 35 of it. The question is, are you going to buy two more items to counter their ONE? If you have even an IQ of 50, you'll realize the answer is: no.

Now consider it with Cooldown Reduction (Lucidity). Assuming you buy a Void Staff with these boots in this scenario. You start off the game with your same old 15 Magic Penetration, and they still have 35 MR. You do slightly reduced damage early on before they grab any Magic Resistance. 17% to be exact, but the 15% CDR lets you skillspam at a rate of comparable damage output. Now they buy their Banshee's Veil, and you buy your Void Staff. 85-15=70. 49% of 70 is 34. So you're mitigating 15+34= 49 of their Magic Resist, while with Sorcerer's Shoes you were only mitigating 35.

Now let's compare both Boots having a Void Staff. Sorcerer's Shoes is 20(+9) MPen off the top which immediately cuts their MR down to 56. Factor in the 15% from masteries and 40% from the Void Staff (totaling out to 49% due to multiplicative stacking) and they’re left with 29 (rounded from 28.5). Lucidity results in a remaining 43 MR, due to the lack of MP boots. The difference equals out to 14 MR. This may seem very substantial, but keep in mind that with Boots of Lucidity, you can land 17 transfusions in a minute compared to a flat 15 (~117% speed).

Let's do some math.
100 / (100+26) = 79% of Tooltip damage with Sorcerer's Shoes
100 / (100+36) = 73% of Tooltip damage with Ionian Boots of Lucidity

In terms of damage lost off Tooltip, it's a measly 6% difference, in terms of damage lost off of Sorcerer's Shoes damage, it's 7%. You're making that damage back and dishing out more with the 15% CDR. Not to mention the higher their MR, the less effect your Sorcerer's Shoes will have on your damage ouput. If they've got 200 MR the damage difference is something like 1%. Making Ionian Boots of Lucidity a much, much more viable option. Especially post-nerf."

Quite honestly, I use this for just about any AP carry. I understand that sometimes this could be a bad idea, due to early game mana thirst, but considering Kat doesn't use mana... Well..

Survivability at this point is key. Pick up your first part of Rylai's Crystal Scepter; a Giant's Belt. Super key item, as I've finally just broke the 1k mark for health. Build it to a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item is beautiful because it just goes so well with your ulty and for chasing. It makes your ulty like Nunu's, except DoT and twice as devastating. You can also stop enemy chases cold with a Bouncing Blades or slow them with your Shunpo for the rest of your team to catch up! Combine this with an Abyssal Mask (THE SCEPTER DUO OF DOOM!) and you have an awesome ulty! not only does Abyssal Mask give you MR for the added defense while you're a spinning death machine, and the extra ability power, but it lowers all hostile MR around you!

Talk about meet my boomstick!

Here's a list in case your head is spinning:
Jump in with extra dmg resist from killer instincts + MR from Abyssal Mask
That Shunpo blows off a good chunk of health from the mag pen in Abyssal Mask and slows the champ you hit
You start using your ulty, Champs are:
    Their MR is lowered
    your AP is increased from Abyssal
    Receiving ten daggers in their ***es each, which late game adds up to about 1000-1200 dmg each.
Not to mention the fact that if you kill all three of them in that one go (assuming you're attacking three), you've got something like a five second CD on your ulty to pop on the last two. Pentakill? You'll have earned it.

You're gonna wanna pick up a Rabadon's Deathcap just before your Abyssal Mask. This item is a nuke accelerator. Its like strapping five H-bombs to your back and flying into a nuclear reactor. Taking WrathofVulk's advice, I get it a little bit earlier, it helps with your all out destruction earlier.

At this point, I Might Branch off into a couple of items.

If the enemy team is really beefy, and has piled on that MR, pick up a Void Staff. Combined with your masteries, this nerfs their MR by 50%, plus Abyssal Mask and your Runes.

If there's a lot of Magic damage flying around, I'll pick up a Lich Bane. This item will make those chases amazing, and will provide you with a little bit more MR and AP. Lich Bane's Passive is outstanding for Kat, since she can now melee attack for a ton of damage after a Shunpo. This changes your skill sequence in a fight a bit. It should look something like this:
Preparation, Shunpo, Auto-Attack, Death Lotus, Bouncing Blades, Shunpo/Auto-Attack, Auto-Attack.
End game, your melee attacks are dealing about 470 damage, plus 150 physical. That's a nice lilttle chase breaker combined with Shunpo.

Probably my favorite scenario, however, is if they have a lot of AD damage. In this case I pick up Zhonya's Hourglass. This is a really fun to use item, due to its active ability. Picture this:
A biiiig team fight breaks out at Baron. your entire team is there, and so is the other team. Because you're missing from the fight, your team is retreating. Now, you could just jump in there and pop Death Lotus, but chances are they'll stun you, silence you or knock you up. With Zhonya's Hourglass, you can jump in and when they all panic and start throwing all they got at you, you pop the active, sit tight a couple seconds, then pop Death Lotus and eat their faces. Shunpo Jump around until the rest are dead.

Then finally round it off by finishing your Hextech Gunblade. Some might ***** and moan saying "Why not a Will of the Ancients?". Stfu trolls, I'll explain. While yes, Will of the Ancients is cheaper, by the time you reach this point in the game money is no longer an object, or shouldn't be. If the enemy team hasn't already surrendered to your godliness, they will now. the added attack damage boosts both your ulty and Bouncing Blades. In addition, you're given a new nifty ability to use when all your abilities are on CD (though I've never actually had to use it, I've used it for kicks rather than bouncing blade once or twice, just to see. Nice slow, OK damage, good backup plan.)

Quick overview in order of purchase:
For that extra AP early game to help farm and harass
Longer laning time, extra AP, survivability when you've thrown yourself into a fight
Even more movespeed, in both movement and abilities
Extra AP again, a slow to keep enemies within range of your ulty, to catch up to them or to slow them for a getaway
Massive AP boost, nuke accelerator
AP, MR and magic penetration for your ulty
Mag pen, MR or ARMR, plus an assortment of new abilities to make you more potent
AD bonus for your Death Lotus and Bouncing Blades, topping off your spell vampirism, more AP and a nifty new backup plan ability

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So there it is. My beautiful little girl's going off to be bred into a killing machine, never have I been so PROUD :') But seriously, try her, with this build, she rocks. Please vote fair too, if you were stuck in a team full of spell casters against a very well balanced team, it obviously wasn't the build that sucked, it was your team. Play responsibly, be a good Samaritan and Tank when you need to. Thank you, hope this helped!