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Katarina General Guide by nilire

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League of Legends Build Guide Author nilire

Spinning and winning - a Katarina guide.

nilire Last updated on June 20, 2014
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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: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Hello, everyone! I'm nilire and Katarina is my very best.

Katarina has been my favorite champion for longer then I can remember and I really liked playing her, so I thought, why not make a guide? NOTE: This is my first time ever making a guide on mobafire so sorry if it's not the best.
My stats for Season 3 and Season 4(6/18)S3:


But enough about me, lets get to the real star: Katarina

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+ Great mobility.
+ Almost all AoE.
+ Cooldown resets.
+ Snowballs well.
+ No mana
Katarina has a TON of AoE which is really good in teamfights. She has a great mobility spell which makes her really mobile and slippery. Probably the thing which makes Katarina, well Katarina is her cooldown resets which also makes her snowball REALLY hard. And one of my personal favorites is that she has no mana.


- Squishy.
- Countered easily.
- No CC.
- High skill cap.
- No sustain.
As most you know, there are many reasons why Katarina isn't picked that much in LCS. Probably one of the biggest reasons is she brings no cc or sustain. She is countered quite easily by simply saving your cc or bursting her down first. And last but not least she is really squishy.

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Mastery Explanations

Katarina is an assassin so naturally she will be taking 21 in offense. We don't go into the utility tree at all because she does not use mana and defense would be more beneficial to her.
Offensive Tree

Tier 1: For the first four mastery points needed to get to tier 2 in the mastery tree, cooldown reduction will benefit Katarina most as it is a little bit useful early game

Tier 2: Since Katarina has almost all AoE damage, Expose Weakness will be very useful to you and your team. We take Mental Force because we scale off of ability power rather than attack damage.

Tier 3: Executioner is taking because Katarina needs to get resets off of low health champions, which is why this mastery is ideal for her.

Tier 4: Dangerous Game is the perfect mastery for Katarina in my opinion. Having a close fight with your opponent leaving you with 30 hp and a few ticks of Ignite left? This will save your life. This also allows you to turn on half health opponents who are chasing you while you are low health for a surprise multi-kill (or single kill). Archmage gives us ability power.

Tier 5: Devastating Strikes gives us some really useful penetration for that pesky base magic resist your enemies have. Arcane Blade works on towers (believe it or not), which can make you late game hit turrets harder marksman can (but not faster) and is surprisingly strong.

Tier 6: Yay we've reached the end of the tree have a free 3% extra damage with Havoc

Defensive Tree

Tier 1: Both Block and Recovery will help us during laning to sustain vs ranged mid laners with irritating auto attacks.

Tier 2: Unyielding and Veteran's Scars will make us a bit more resistant to damage while making our hp bar look buffer early game.

Tier 3: Our last point shall be spent on Juggernaut which gives us a health percent increase that will stack with our masteries, runes, and base health to give us a nice beefing up.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

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Summoner Spells

Flash is a great for initiations, surprise kills, escapes, jukes, and hilariously bad fails. This is a must on most champions, and even when it isn't I usually take it :P

Ignite is very good for finishing off people and also chasing through lots of bushs. A really troll trick when in a really close fight is to Ignite and then Zhonya's Hourglass.

Teleport is the spell you would use when you are playing top lane as Katarina to be able to roam with Teleport. I would rarely if ever use this spell in mid.

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Voracity: This is probably what makes Katarina what she is, cooldown resets provide her with massive mobility, damage, and dive potential.

Tips and Tricks
  • If the enemy is at low health under tower, quicky combo and then instantly Shunpo out.
  • If a jungler is ganking and the laner is low health, kill him/laner and Shunpo away.
  • Sometimes surely killing a low priority target to get a reset is more important then uncertainly trying to kill a high priority target.

Bouncing blades: This is Katarina's ranged poke/cs spell

I prefer maxing this over Sinister Steel because it offers more burst, lowers the cd (while Sinister Steel's cooldown doesn't go down) more reliable poke, and is better to cs with in lane.
Tips and Tricks
  • Use this to farm in lane safely and poke the enemy.
  • Remember that this ability bounces, use that to your advantage.
  • Sometimes after using this you want to want to wait a half a second for it to reach the target before comboing, so the mark won't get wasted. (Common mistake)

Sinister steel Sinister steel: Early game you use this to get easier cs or to harass minimally, use this when chased/chasing to get a nice speed boost.

I max this second, after Bouncing blades because it doesn't reduce the cooldown and is less reliable then Bouncing blades. BUT if you are vs a melee match-up I take an extra point in it at level 4 then max q.
Tips and Tricks
  • If you e+w instantly it hits in both areas. (this is hard to do.)
  • If you are vs a Twitch or Shaco, after they use their invisibilty if you use this and you get a speed boost it means they're there.
  • If you are going vs a melee, use this as much as possible to harass.

Shunpo: This is Katarina's gapcloser (a great one at that) and is what makes Katarina so mobile and "slippery" in synergy with her passive this makes Katarina able to do many jukes.

This is Katarina's one point wonder XD.

Tips and Tricks
  • You can Shunpo to literally all units except enemy Jarvan IV flags and Thresh lanterns
  • If a jungler is ganking Shunpo to him or an ally creep to escape.
  • Use this to dodge cc or poke.

Death Lotus: This is Katarina's main damaging ability, once you get this in lane poke them down and at around 60% hp combo onto them for an easy kill.

We max this, as always, whenever possible.
Tips and Tricks
  • You can ult while being snared.(Amumu, Lux, Morgana etc..)
  • You don't HAVE to Shunpo onto them before ulting. (Common mistake)
  • The icon only lights up if there is an enemy champion around (bush or stealthed) use this.

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Ability Order

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

I like to max Bouncing Blades because Bouncing Blades deals more burst damage than sinister steel. It also lowers the cooldown of Bouncing Blades while sinister steel stays at the same 4 second cooldown. Versus melees that you can reach easily you can also choose to take an extra point of sinister steel at level 4.

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All in sinister steel

Running away sinister steel

Wave clear sinister steel

Zoning >> minion >>

All in harass sinister steel

Sneaky kill in lane >> minion >> sinister steel

Teamfights sinister steel >> Repeat

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Viable boots



Example full build

Item Explanations

The standard pick here is Sorcerer's Shoes, but if you're having troublepick up one of these:
  • Mercury's Treads Are good when you are vs a bursty mage like LeBlanc or Veigar
  • Ninja Tabi These are good for when you are vs a hard AD lane such as Kha'zix or Talon.

The first item which I have had the most success with for Katarina is Deathfire Grasp. This is because in lane Katarina will be able to burst her opponent 100-0, and snowball really hard. Next up you will wanna either pick up your Rabadon's Deathcap or your Zhonya's Hourglass depending on if you are getting focused really hard, against a fed adc, or if you are doing quite well. In total these items will give you:
  • 516 ap.
  • 35% magic penetration
  • 50 armor.
  • 10% cooldown reduction.
  • Two great actives (Stasis and Deathfire)

Choose one of these for a last item:
  • Guardian Angel is the standard pick if you can trust your team to do damage.
  • Abyssal Mask is what you get if you can't trust your team to do much damage/or you have lots of ap casters. But still I normally get Guardian Angel

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Item Order


Starting Items

Normally you would start boots and 4 health pots, but if you're vs an easy match-up ( Karthus) or think you can win lane easily and are confident, pick up Amplifying Tome. If you want to start tankier but with a little less movement speed you can go Doran's Shield


First back

On your first trip back to base this is where you decide wether or not you will go
Zhonya's Hourglass>> Rabadon's Deathcap>> Deathfire Grasp
Deathfire Grasp>> Rabadon's Deathcap>> Zhonya's Hourglass

Mid game

At around mid game you should have two of your core items, either Zhonya's Hourglass and Rabadon's Deathcap or Deathfire Grasp and Rabadon's Deathcap

Late game

Around lategame you should have your core and boots finished.


Full build lategame

At this time you should have about all of your build finished.
For the last item chose either Guardian Angel or Abyssal Mask.

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During laning phase you generally wanna just cs and poke your enemies whenever possible. If you manage to poke them down to 300-400 health (before level 6) do your all in combo with an auto and ignite for a surprising kill. One trick I like to do with Katarina is to buy a blue potion at level 6 for added burst. Once you reach 6 you get a few options:
  • Kill the enemy laner.
  • Roam.
  • Keep farming. (if behind)

Mid game

This is when you must be roaming practically constantly, killing your enemy laner constantly, and generally getting fed. During this time your team may start to group (so may the enemy team) this can be either good or bad. It is good if you play your teamfights right, but if you start to play wrong or throw. Your main priority in teamfights should be the adc. (You can go or ).

Late game

Teams are grouping up, objectives are key, and deaths are worth A LOT. Don't be afraid to use your ult to get a free kill late game, for the cd is lower then their death timer. But don't do anything too risky, for it might be a bait. Just as mid game your main target is the adc. If you can kill the adc and ap carry in a teamfight lategame, you will almost surely win the teamfight (and even the game sometimes). When the enemy team is doing baron wait for your team to go in and then go in, but sometimes its better to not contest baron at all.

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How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

How to play against

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Tips and tricks

  • If someone places a ward next to you, auto attack it once, then Shunpo to it, and auto it twice again the ward will break, but be careful for this may put you in a bad position.
  • If you are surrounded, kill the squishiest target, flash away and ward jump.
  • Don't be afraid to Death Lotus without shunpoing.
  • Don't forget about sinister steel's speed boost.
  • Your ult will light up if someone is nearby, even when in stealth or in a bush.
  • Never initiate teamfights unless you are REALLY fed and they are really squishy.
  • During laning phase if you poke them down enough, your level 4 combo will do around 400 damage with ignite and an auto.
  • If you Death Lotus inside the fog of war enemies will not be able to see the blades.
  • Death Lotus has the range to hit people over walls.

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  • January 17, 2014:Guide Published.
  • January 18, 2014:Minor typos, and fixes.
  • March 15, 2014:Major update: Added Chapters and new build.
  • March 26, 2014:Changed name a few times, came out with Spinning and Winning - a Katarina Guide.
  • April 21, 2014:Added Runes, Summoner spells, removed one build, and Ability sequence. Match-ups and synergies coming soon!.
  • April 23, 2014:Added first 6 match-ups, more coming soon!
  • June 17th, 2014: Diana, Malzahar, and Fizz added to match-ups. One combo added and one typo fixed. Masteries added!
  • June 18th, 2014:Stats added.
  • June 20th, 2014:Small typos fixed here and there.


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