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KATARINA BUILD GUIDE: Every Blade Tells a Story by Sinisteel

by Sinisteel (last updated 1 month ago)

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9
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration(+7.83 magic penetration)
3
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power(+14.85 ability power)
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power(+1.53 ability power per level (27.54 at champion level 18))
9
Greater Seal of Scaling Health(+216 at champion level 18)
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Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details

Starting

5

Full Item Build

View Item Details
21
9
0
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 2/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Voracity
QBouncing Blade
WSinister Steel
EShunpo
RDeath Lotus
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Welcome to my Katarina guide. I'm Sinisteel, a Diamond 1 NA mid laner. This is my very first guide on Solomid, and I hope you all will find it very helpful and informative.

I am VERY obsessed with Katarina's under-appreciated strength. Many people disregard her as a viable champion because her ultimate can be disrupted and her reset mechanic is very hit or miss, but I am here to prove those people wrong. Katarina is EXTREMELY strong after level 6 and has insane teamfighting presence if you know how to use her properly, which I will explain later.

Pros
  • Extremely fun to play
  • Nearly ungankable with
  • Very strong after level 6
  • Destructive ultimate with very high base damage and scaling
  • Low cooldown abilities
  • One of the most powerful passives in the game
  • No mana
  • RED HAIR IS SEXY

Cons
  • Crowd Control destroys her if not played properly
  • Very weak early game
  • Easy to use, difficult to master
  • can be your saving grace or your bane in team fights

Statistics

HEALTH 425 (+80)
HEALTH REGEN. 6.95 (+0.55)
MANA N/A
ARMOR 17 (+3.5)
MAGIC RES. 30 (+1.25)
ATTACK DAMAGE 53 (+3.2)
ATTACK SPEED 0.658 (+2.74%)
RANGE 125
MOV. SPEED 345

Runes

very strong on an AP assassin. I alternate between these and as I find them both to be powerful options. However, taking flat magic penetration is a lot safer, especially if you are new to the melee AP assassin play style. You won't have to worry too much about auto attacking your enemy early on and putting yourself in a dangerous position.

I like to take scaling health runes since Katarina has the lowest base health out of any melee champions at level 18. Since you already build Zhonya's, you don't really need armor so having 216 extra health at level 18 really makes a big difference.

I really like scaling AP glyphs. Katarina isn't a champion designed for the early game, especially with all of the nerfs she has received in the past few months. Scaling ability power glyphs help set you up for mid/late game which is where you will shine. However, if facing someone like or , I highly recommend taking or you'll have a really bad time in lane and will not be able to farm efficiently.

pretty standard for an AP carry. Notable mention goes to . Given Katarina's insane mobility though, I just prefer to use ability power quints.

Masteries

mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 2/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
You deal 2% extra damage and take 1% more damage with Double-Edged Sword. This is huge, especially on a champion like Katarina where 1 reset can determine the outcome of an entire team fight. This point is always worth taking on melee champions because of how much value it provides.

Take 2 points in Sorcery to move up to the next tier of offensive masteries. 2.5% CDR isn't too impactful, but there's really nothing better to take.

Butcher really helps with last hitting so take a point in it.

Take 3 points in Mental Force for a free 16 ability power at level 18.

Feast gives you 3 health every time you last hit a minion. It works very nicely with Butcher so take a point in this as well.

Put a point in Arcane Mastery for 6 flat ability power.

Executioner is a very important mastery on Katarina. As an assassin, you prey upon the weak, so putting 3 points in this ensures a 5% damage increase to enemies under 50% health.

Put 3 points into Archmage for an extra 5% ability power. This increase will be very subtle until mid/late game but it is extremely helpful.

Put a point in Dangerous Game for those clutch moments where you would've lived if you had it. This is probably my favorite mastery in the game.

Put 3 points in Devastating Strikes for an additional 6% armor penetration and magic penetration.

Arcane Blade helps mainly with last hitting. You won't really notice this doing a lot of damage until late game, but I always put a point into it.

1 mastery point for 3% extra damage? I think it's definitely worth taking a point in Havoc this season.

Defense

2 points in Block means you'll be taking 2 less damage from auto attacks which may not seem like a lot but it's pretty significant in pre-6 laning.

Take 2 points in Recovery for an extra 2 health regen per 5. Like Block, it won't seem like a lot but it's pretty important.

Unyielding blocks 2 damage from champions. This means you'll be taking 2 less damage from auto attacks and spells. Take a point in this.

Veteran Scars Put 3 points into this for 36 free health.

16 extra health at level 1, 57 health at level 18. Not the greatest mastery point but there's not really anything else worth while.

Summoner Sets

Primary Set
is a very standard combination that works very well with Katarina's mechanics. Flash ensures that enemies will not get away. Ignite does the exact same thing. If enemies cannot escape your grip, that means you'll be getting resets. Flash is also very useful for re-positioning yourself if you're in a sticky situation.

is not a bad option either. I've used teleport many times and I really liked it but I feel like ignite is simply more versatile. Ignite helps tremendously with pressuring the enemy laner, but Teleport works as a crutch for your early game and a steroid for your roaming. Take whatever you feel suits your own play style.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Starting Items
5
This is my favorite start as of now against AD and AP. All champions deal physical damage in one way or another. In addition, there are very few good starting item sets for manaless AP champions. Cloth armor builds into Zhonya's Hourglass, an item you should be building every game.
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
Very standard if you're not against heavy cc.

immunity for 2.5 seconds. The 2.5 second window is usually enough time for your team to wound/kill enemy champions and get you resets without you dying first.

staple AP carry item. 120 ability power and 30% ability power increase. Not too much to say about this.

70 ability power and 35% magic penetration. Void Staff is a must-have. If your 6 item build does not include one, you're probably going to lose/probably lost already. As a carry, your primary job is still dealing as much damage as possible and Void Staff will enable you to shred through magic resistance and do damage. Don't wait for your opponents to build MR, buy this as fast as possible unless you're extremely fed. Don't count on getting fed because MR will shut you down hard.

Always my first item because of how easy it is to get resets with DFG active.

Gives you a second life in team fights, allowing you to fulfill your janitorial duties if you died previously.

Free ward jump
Build Order
Make sure you these are your first two major items. Magic penetration and movement speed from sorc shoes makes you a deadly roamer and DFG makes you a monster. Don't forget to use its active before you go in.

After that, you can basically buy whatever you feel is necessary. If they're heavy on AD, I'll usually opt for . Otherwise I'll go for .

Once I buy one of those two, I usually go for . If you see 3+ enemies with 90 or higher magic resistance, it's probably time to buy a Void Staff. Don't wait for your enemies to stack MR before you get a Void Staff. As I mentioned earlier, Katarina's ultimate has very high base damage and scaling, so I would most likely build a Void Staff.

From this point, you can just buy anything I've previously mentioned. However, don't feel bound by that tiny list of items. Certain situations will call for very specific items, which is what I will discuss in the next chapter.

Situational Items

Quicksilver Sash
Buy a QSS as your defensive item if you're against someone with a suppression or very heavy cc. If you're locked down, you're not doing damage which means you're useless.
Lich Bane
If you're very fed and don't feel the need to pick up a defensive item, this isn't a bad option.
Twin Shadows
80 AP, 6% movement speed, 10% CDR, and an active that slows enemies. I've tried this as a 6th item and it's pretty nice when I don't need defense.
Mejai's Soulstealer
Just kidding.

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Voracity
QBouncing Blade
WSinister Steel
EShunpo
RDeath Lotus
Max Q first against ranged champions or if you fell behind in lane. It's your safest form of harass and allows you to farm if you fall behind.

Max W second because it offers the most consistent DPS in fights.

Max E last because it's really only useful for its utility.

Put a point in R at 6, 11, and 16.

Skills

Voracity
This passive is the reason why I play Katarina. Instant CD Refreshes for your basic abilities and a 15 second reduction for your ultimate allows you to be a deadly threat in team fights. You kill one target, Shunpo to the next one and assassinate him, and so on. You can ult more than once in the same team fight because of Voracity. It's also great for tower diving, as you can Shunpo out of the tower range as fast as you got into tower range. This passive is what makes Katarina so unique.
Bouncing Blade
Bouncing Blade is your ranged harass and is the only reason you won't get absolutely shredded every single game against ranged champions in the early laning phase. You should always throw this at your lane opponent whenever it's up. It's very easy to zone people out of creeps in the early levels with Bouncing Blade. The only downside of Bouncing Blade is it pushes the lane very hard so play very conservatively with this if you don't plan on pushing.
Sinister Steel
Sinister Steel is a spammable AoE ability that gives a slight movement speed buff. It has 375 range so it is very useful for last hitting if you don't want to leave yourself vulnerable while channeling an auto attack animation on a creep. In team fights, spam this whenever it's up.

It's very smart to max this against a lot of melee champions since it's extremely easy to kite them with it. Most melee champions have 125 range (the highest being 175 without enhancing abilities), so maxing Sinister Steel is a very smart choice. The only melee champions I don't max w against are and . Kassadin will silence you/blink if you get close to him and Riven will delete you from the game if you get close to her.

This is what 125 range looks like:



This is what Sinister Steel (375 range) looks like:

Shunpo
Shunpo is a blink ability with 700 range. Very useful for gap closing/widening and setting up an advantageous position for your ultimate. You can Shunpo to both ally and enemy wards, as well as ally and enemy Thresh lanterns. You can also Shunpo to allied Jarvan IV flags, but not enemy Jarvan flags.

You can Shunpo over literally any wall in the game. Here are some big walls you can jump:






As you climb the ladder, you will notice that your enemies place more wards than before. Here are a couple of cool spots that will help you avoid river wards:


Death Lotus
Death Lotus is a very high damage AoE ultimate that hits the 3 closest enemies over 2.5 seconds. This is Katarina's highest damage output, but it's also on a very short cooldown. It's very optimal to use Death Lotus to harass in lane. In team fights, it's extremely important to keep track of enemy CC usage to ensure that your ultimate won't get canceled abruptly.

When channeling Death Lotus in brush or fog of war, you will not be revealed. Keep this in mind and your opponents will be in for a delightful surprise.

Champion Matchups

Ahri
Difficulty
Favors You
It's very hard for Ahri to land skillshots on a Katarina because of her insane mobility. Laning phase should not be hard, but a good Ahri will punish you with autos whenever she can. If you can avoid her abilities, your laning phase should go by smoothly. Ahri will roam frequently post-6, so make sure you pursue her whenever she leaves lane. Avoid getting charmed at all costs.
Akali
Difficulty
Favors You
Both Akali and Katarina have bad early games. At levels 1-5, you will out-trade her, so push this advantage before she hits 6. You can't 1v1 her after 6 if you're both on equal footings.
Anivia
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
You can't really get close to Anivia because of how powerful her Q-E combo is, and post 6 you'll never be able to out-push her, so just do your best to farm in this lane and roam when you clear waves.
Annie
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Annie is a pretty tough lane. Her abilities have very high base damage, she has a 1.75 second stun, AND she has very high range. Every 4th ability from Annie will stun. You will see a swirling white animation going around Annie when her stun is up. It's very important to watch her stun. If Annie has creeps under her tower and runs towards you with a stun proc, she's not dumb; you're probably getting ganked. Be very vigilant in this matchup.
Brand
Difficulty
Favors You
Avoid his . When he lands an ability on you and hits you with Sear, you will get stunned. It should be very easy to dodge his skillshots, however. This lane shouldn't be difficult for you.
Cassiopeia
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Cassiopeia is really annoying. If she lands one Q on you, she'll be able to spam E and bring you under half health, so make sure you avoid her Qs. Her ultimate stuns you if you're facing her and slows you if you're not, so if you plan on all-inning her, make sure you turn away from her before channeling your ultimate.
Diana
Difficulty
Favors You
Some people say Diana is the counter to Katarina, but I'd like to respectfully disagree with that notion. In order to "counter" Katarina, you need to be able to shut her down early game. Diana is just like Katarina, a weak AP assassin pre-6, but spikes very hard after 6. You can out-trade her very easily pre-6 because her mana will eventually deplete after she Qs you a few times. However, you don't have mana, so you can consistently apply pressure to her and after a while she won't be able to trade back. It's very important to purchase an Abyssal Scepter in this lane.
Fizz
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Fizz can avoid most of your damage with his Playful/Trickster. You can out-trade him pre-6 but you won't win post-6 on even footings.
Galio
Difficulty
Favors You
Although this guy is hardly played, he's worth mentioning. This is basically a farm lane in which you need a lot of magic penetration to succeed. Make sure you have Sorc Shoes, Guise, and Abyssal and you should have no problems with this guy.
Gragas
Difficulty
Favors You
Pretty easy lane, just dodge his barrels which is extremely easy to do as Katarina.
Heimerdinger
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
You can't get close to him without getting wrecked. Honestly, this is probably one of the hardest lanes for Katarina. If you're gonna jump into him, you'd better be sure you can kill him.
Jayce
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
This is similar to the Ezreal matchup, but it's a bit harder because he can inflict a lot more damage than Ezreal if you get close to him.
Karma
Difficulty
Favors You
Dodge her Qs and you'll be fine.
Karthus
Difficulty
Favors You
Easiest lane ever. He literally can't do anything to you. When Karthus uses his ultimate, find something to which you can quickly Shunpo in order to mitigate 15% of his ultimate damage.
Kassadin
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
After his rework, this lane is close to impossible. You can't even trade with him because of his magic damage shield. Consider lane swapping or asking for early jungle pressure or you'll just give a free win to the enemy team.
Kayle
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Pretty hard lane. She can punish you very hard for coming close to her and her ultimate stops all incoming damage for a short duration. It's definitely possible to win this lane though, but Kayle's kit is just really strong against melee assassins.
Kennen
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Kennen is a very strong lane bully and can stun you with 3 marks of his passive. Farm safely until level 6 while harassing him with Q in your creep wave so he can't trade back with anything besides an auto or two. If you decide to all-in him post 6, make sure you're not marked with his passive. He'll either have to blow his ult to stop yours or flash away. Also, once Kennen puts a point into his W, every 5th auto attack will deal additional magic damage and apply a mark of his passive. You'll see his lightning glowing around his shuriken when he has his proc, so make sure you sit back until he uses his auto.
Khazix
Difficulty
Favors You
Not too hard of a lane if you're fighting in the creep wave. Kha'Zix does a considerably higher amount of damage to enemies who are isolated, so make sure you're fighting in a crowd when you duel him. Don't let him Q you unless you're surrounded by allied minions or champions because it'll hurt a lot.
Leblanc
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Since she got her silence taken away from her, this lane isn't too bad. She can still burst very hard, but you'll be able to answer with your own burst now.
Lissandra
Difficulty
Favors You
Her abilities have a pretty short range. Just keep poking her with Q until you're ready to finish her off, but be very careful for her ult.
Lulu
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
You can't really do anything to Lulu after 6 so ask your jungler to come mid before that happens. Don't bother all-inning her by yourself because she'll just ult herself and polymorph you, leaving you in a really bad position.
Lux
Difficulty
Favors You
Lux is a very easy lane for Katarina. All of Lux's abilities are skillshots, so there's no excuse for you to get hit by a binding and combo'd from there. Don't underestimate her though, as her shield is the reason everyone dies when they tower dive her. If you think you've scored a kill on her, you probably haven't because of her shield. Never walk away until she's dead. Barrier is a very popular summoner spell on Lux as well. If she has barrier, definitely don't dive her without an ally.
Malzahar
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Not too hard pre-6 because all he has is his E so you should take advantage of 1-5 and abuse him extensively. Be careful once he reaches 6 because his ultimate suppresses you. Just like with Annie, if you see him walking up to you for no reason, you're probably getting ganked and you should get out of there immediately.
Morgana
Difficulty
Favors You
Another easy lane. All Morgana can do is push. You should never get hit by her Q and if she ults you it's very easy to get out of it with Shunpo.
Nidalee
Difficulty
Favors You
Very easy to harass Nidalee with Bouncing Blades. As long as you don't get hit by her spears, this lane should be yours.
Orianna
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Orianna is tricky because she has incredible harass and her shield can negate a lot of your damage. Her Qs and Ws really add up so be especially careful in avoiding those. Her autos do magic damage as well so her harass is extremely potent even if she has no mana.
Pantheon
Difficulty
Favors You
Pantheon does a lot of damage but the key to winning this lane is out-sustaining his Qs until he's out of mana. For this reason, I'd start cloth armor and 5 health potions against him. You shouldn't have a hard time because you'll out-sustain him and force him out of creeps.
Riven
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Riven is extremely powerful so I would just avoid getting close to her without Shunpo available. You'll never win an all-in against her so don't bother unless she's really dumb and sticks around with low health, but even then it's still incredibly risky post 6.
Ryze
Difficulty
Favors You
He got nerfed to the ground. This is basically as free as it gets for you.
Swain
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Swain can harass very well and has massive amounts of sustain post 6. Your best bet against him is to either all-in him as quickly as you can or farm because he has sustain and you don't.
Syndra
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Syndra can bully you very hard in the early laning phase and she can nearly one shot you if she stuns you post-6. Play this lane with your finger on your E key ready to blink out of her stun.
Talon
Difficulty
Favors You
Pre-6 this is a pretty standard melee champion. He poses no real threat to you and you can definitely out-trade him if you avoid his W. Post-6 he's gonna silence you every time you begin to channel your ult so save it until he silences you. If he doesn't silence you, don't use it because his silence is instant and targeted.
Twistedfate
Difficulty
Favors You
Twisted Fate is pretty easy. He can't really do anything to you. His wild cards are very easy to dodge and if you see him pick a card, you can just move back until it fades. Keep your lane pushed after 6 and follow him whenever you see him leave lane because he'll most likely be ganking a side lane.
Veigar
Difficulty
Favors You
Veigar is another easy lane. He can't 100-0 you until mid game unless you mess up horribly. Make sure by late game you have a Banshee's Veil or you're gone.
Viktor
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Viktor can harass very sufficiently with his Death Ray (the laser) and his Power Transfer provides him with a shield that negates any trading so you'll need to be quick with your Bouncing Blades. His ultimate can silence you, so be cautious when you use your ultimate because he'll use his immediately after.
Vladimir
Difficulty
Favors You
Vladimir is very weak when he has no items. Harass him very hard before his first recall because he won't be able to trade efficiently without sacrificing his health bar because of his E.
Xerath
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Xerath can harass you from very far away, so far that you literally can't do anything to him. Just play this as a farm lane because any good Xerath will never let you jump on him. You should be able to zone him with your Bouncing Blades but make sure you don't get stun combo'd by him.
Yasuo
Difficulty
Favors You
Start Cloth 5 and avoid trading with him before level 3 or so and this lane will be yours.
Zed
Difficulty
Favors You
Zed's a pretty easy lane for you. He plays very similarly to Katarina but his Q is a skillshot while yours is not, so use this to your advantage. Also, your W has 85 more range than his E, so in theory you should be able to hit him with your Sinister Steel without him being able to hit you with his E.
Ziggs
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
He can push you very hard and harass you while you're farming under tower. Pressure him early with your Q and make sure he isn't able to push you without being punished first.
Zyra
Difficulty
Favors You
As long as you don't get snared you'll be fine. Zyra excels at pushing and has an exceptional damage output. Do your best to avoid her Q and make sure you use Shunpo to avoid her E if you know you're about to get hit by it.

Early Game

Katarina's early game is VERY weak. Don't make the mistake of playing ultra-aggressive early on. You're not or . I'll break early game down into sections.

Level 1-2:

At level 1 and 2, you should be playing extremely safely. Make sure you're not missing farm. You should be using to last hit if you are being zoned/harassed.
At level 2, you now have your , making it easier to pick up a minion kill and Shunpo away to avoid harass. If you notice your enemy use a spell to get a last hit, and you know where the enemy jungler is, you should Q E and basic attack a couple of times. Always remember, minion kills are far more important than harassing your enemy, so keep that in mind whenever you go in to harass. Make sure there are no low minions before you harass.

Level 3-5:

When you are level 3-5, you should be harassing with whenever it is up. Do not make the mistake of farming with because it will only push your lane and allow your enemy to get free harass on you. Your goal during these levels is to prove to your enemy that you are a threat while doing your best to keep up in cs.

Level 6- End of Early Game:

You should be looking for kills now. You should have and maybe a or maybe even a . At this point you should be pushing mid with while harassing your lane opponent as often as possible. When your creeps are at the enemy tower, begin to roam to other lanes. (90% of the time, I like to roam to bottom lane simply because your prey at bottom lane are much squishier than that top lane bruiser.) Continue going about in this manner and you will have a successful early game!

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT AND WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT YOUR EARLY GAME PERFORMANCE.

Make sure you look at how many health potions your enemy purchased when laning begins. If you notice he bought a Doran's item, he can only have 2 health potions at most. Abuse this fact and harass as much as you can. Mid Lane is simply a war of attrition in the early levels when no one has recalled yet, so if you started off with 5 health pots and your enemy started with 2, burn those as fast as you can even if it means you have to use a couple of your potions. You'll force your opponent to recall and gain a significant advantage early on, allowing you to roam more effectively without falling behind if your roam is unsuccessful.

Mid Game

You should have a and maybe a now, depending on what you wanted to purchase first. Mid game is all about Dragon and Towers. You should be visiting mid to ensure you are not missing any farm, but your primary focus in mid game is global objectives. Team fights will start to happen at this point. You should be roaming in mid game more than ever because scoring kills at bottom/top will result in towers for your team.

A quick tip for mid game: try to force team fights as much as possible. Katarina is extremely strong in the mid game. Abuse this knowledge as much as you can. If you follow my guide, you will most likely be ahead due to roaming.

If your team has the opportunity to kill Baron Nashor, please take that opportunity. If your team is not 100% incompetent, Baron Nashor + a fed Katarina should ensure a victory for your team.

Late Game

Late game is the phase where everyone hangs out around mid lane trying to bait out Baron fights or take Baron. Late game is all about getting Baron and taking structures. However, at this point, none of this can be accomplished without a team fight. You play a very significant role of a clean-up assassin. The only unfortunate thing about late game is provides no utility at all. She has no form of CC and she does nothing to buff/shield a teammate, etc. So your goal is to do as much damage as possible. However, this is very challenging for an AP caster in the late game because all of your enemies have already stacked a decent amount of MR.

This is where knowledge of your position is critical. As mentioned above, you have no utility, so you want to do as much damage as you possibly can. If you do not have a and , late game will be very brutal for you and your team, and that's not an exaggeration. If you have those items, late game should be relatively easy, but don't get too confident. The moment you personally initiate a fight is the moment you lose. I don't care how fed you are, does not initiate fights in late game. Yes, throw to harass the enemy team before a fight starts. That is perfectly acceptable, but don't go all in until the fight breaks out.

Follow my advice and your team should win the game unless someone on your team makes a stupid mistake which throws the game.

Warding as a Mid Laner

Wards are probably the most important items in the game and they always will be. Vision is undeniably the biggest advantage a team can have because of how much information even a single ward can provide. Knowing where your opponents are and where they are headed allows your team to prepare for fights, catch people off guard, and secure objectives. Just because you're a mid laner, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be buying wards. Everyone on your team is obligated to buy and place wards. Trinkets alone won't win games; you need to be willing to spend gold and purchase real wards in order to put your team in the most advantageous position.

You may be wondering, "where should I ward, Sinisteel"? Here are some great spots to drop stealth wards:






These ward locations are very easy to reach and usually will not put you in a bad position.

Let's move on to pink wards. Pink wards remain visible now and take 5 hits to kill, so you must place them very strategically, even more so than stealth wards. Here are a few locations where you can drop pink wards as a mid laner. Keep in mind you can also place stealth wards in these spots but I prefer pinks because people usually don't check these bushes:




These two spots ensure great vision control on the river. Not only will you be giving yourself vision, you will also help out one of your side lanes tremendously.



This is a great ward to drop in the early and middle phases of the game because it allows you and your jungler to roam freely to bottom lane. If you get kills bot, you can swiftly turn that into a tower and/or dragon kill. The mirror location of this ward spot is behind the purple side red buff. It isn't smart to drop a pink ward there during the laning phase because Baron doesn't spawn until 15 minutes and even then it's very risky to attempt it early. It's much safer and more efficient to put emphasis on dragon control in the early and mid game. As the game progresses, that spot behind Baron becomes increasingly important, but you shouldn't worry about that until roughly 20-25 minutes into the game.

Team Fighting

I already talked about this briefly, but the key to acing the enemy team is your own personal judgment. Your ultimate is still your strongest damage output, but one tiny mistake or misjudgment can render your ult worthless. You can't jump in and start spinning too early because you'll just get CC'd. However, you can't jump in too late when everyone else on your team is dying/has died. Throw / Use your until the time is right for you to . You still deal considerable amounts of damage with your basic abilities, but your ultimate is what truly decides a team fight. It might take a few games, but you will most likely understand what I'm saying when you get put into that situation soon enough.

In regards to your team, WAIT FOR THEM TO INITIATE. As stated before, you should never be the one starting any fights. Period. Also stated before, pay close attention to that or . Make sure their CC is down before going in. The worst feeling EVER when playing Katarina is going in to ult and getting a fraction of a second worth of channeling, then getting CC'd and losing the fight. It happens to all of us and it's horrible. I've encountered that feeling multiple times, but after playing Katarina for a really long time, it happens much less often now. Keep all of these things in mind when you're team fighting.

Roaming

If there's one thing Katarina performs exceptionally well in, it's roaming. She has very high mobility and movement speed, so you can catch out the enemy side lanes very easily and transition those small victories into global objectives like towers. When roaming, make sure you won't be losing any gold/xp in your lane. If creeps end up hitting your tower, ask your jungler to cover mid for you. Roaming is very high risk high reward so make sure you know where all of the enemies and their wards are before making a move. The last thing you want is to get counter-ganked, die, and have your lane opponent 2 levels higher than you. Awareness is the key to roaming.

In simpler terms, push mid and roam. You'll win games. Remember, this is a TEAM game, so if you have the opportunity to put your TEAM ahead of their TEAM, take that opportunity in a heartbeat.

Smart Casting

Some people love smart casting, some people hate it. I am here to tell you: PLEASE SMART CAST IF YOU WANT TO MASTER . I cannot stress this enough. Smart casting is optional on many other champions, but please smart cast when playing Katarina. It really makes a huge difference. If you don't know how to smart cast, open up the in-game menu, click on Key Bindings, find smart casting, and bind the keys to whatever you want. Katarina is an assassin. You want to kill your enemy as fast as possible. Therefore, the split second you would eliminate via smart casting could determine whether you get the kill or let your enemy escape. Also, key bind your items for faster combos, as well as placing a quick to which you can if you need an escape. These split seconds that you save yourself by smart casting really set apart the elite Katarina players from the rest of the Katarina players.

Change Log

7/27/14:
  • Updated runes

6/21/14:
  • Added Yasuo match-up (sorry this wasn't on here before)

6/18/14:
  • Updated masteries and lane match-ups for patch 4.10.

4/13/14:
  • Minor updates to masteries and items.

4/3/14:
  • I'm still alive don't worry, updated the guide for the 4.5 patch.

1/6/14:
  • Updated some screenshots to look more modern.
  • Updated some skill explanations as well as adding some screenshots to the Sinister Steel explanation.
  • Added a new chapter, Warding as a Mid Laner.

1/4/14:
  • Changed masteries again.
  • Apparently I left a couple of champion match-ups blank. Sorry!

12/29/13:
  • Changed masteries a bit.

11/29/13:
  • Completely reformatted the guide in alignment with the new guide beta. This should make the guide much more reader friendly and easier to navigate.
  • Updated the guide for preseason 4.

10/12/13:
  • Doran's shield + 1 health pot added as a starting set.

9/12/13:
  • Added Banshee's Veil to item list, removed Warmog's Armor.
  • Lots of minor updates to the guide.

8/21/13:
  • Revamped guide a bit.

7/8/13:
  • ONE MILLION VIEWS!

6/27/13:
  • Updated some older information.

6/25/13:
  • Guide is now featured!

6/22/13:
  • Diamond now ^^.

6/20/13:
  • Fixed some numbers on Void Staff. (It gives 35% MPen, not 40%)
  • Added more description for starting items.

6/19/13:
  • Polished some of the wording to remove ambiguity and more accurately express what I wrote.

6/8/13:
  • Little bit of editing, nothing major.

6/7/13:
  • Moved around some Summoner Spells

6/3/13:
  • Organized the guide a bit more with more explanation on items
  • Removed from Item Builds (should have done that when they nerfed it)
  • Added to Item Builds

4/22/13:
  • Reworked masteries a bit to better reflect what I currently find to be most efficient.
  • Organized the guide a little bit.
  • Tidied up Runes Chapter.

3/28/13:
  • Took a break from League but I'm back now. Did some minor editing to the guide.

2/8/13:
  • Added Mercury's Treads to Item Builds chapter as a potential option.

2/1/13:
  • Added Elise to Match-ups

1/20/13:
  • Added Barrier to Summoner Spells, removed Promote and Surge.

1/19/13:
  • Added AD Casters and Bruisers to the Mid Lane Match-ups chapter.
  • Added Sightstone as an optional item to build.
  • Slight textual revisions.

1/13/13:
  • More variety and insight on Item Builds

1/12/13:
  • Major update to the entire guide. (sorry I haven't updated in a while)

12/9/12:
  • Major rework to Item Builds chapter because of the December Preseason 3 patch.
11/24/12:
  • Added "Alternate Runes" to Runes chapter.

11/23/12:
  • Completely revamped guide. (sorry for not updating in a while)
  • Removed When to Rush DFG and When Not to Rush DFG chapter.
  • Removed Abyssal Scepter or Zhonya's Hourglass? chapter.
  • Added much more detail to Lane Match-ups chapter.
  • Changed recommended runes.
  • Haunting Guise is now a core item.
  • Redid Item Builds based on the DFG nerf a while back.
  • Updated guide to better suit the new, upcoming S3 mastery page.

10/24/12:
  • Added many pictures to Skills chapter.
10/23/12:
  • Slight fix to Item Builds chapter. (Haunting Guise classified as optional)
  • Added a new chapter, When to Rush DFG and When Not to Rush DFG

10/21/12:
  • Added to Lane Match-ups.
  • Minor fixes.
  • Added an informative paragraph to the end of Lane Match-ups.

10/20/12:
  • Minor textual fix to make the guide appear more appealing.

10/19/12:
  • Rewrote Late Game chapter.
  • Slight fix to Vladimir lane match-up to be more consistent with the rest of the guide.

10/18/12:
  • Slight Change to Masteries with reasons.
  • Added Katarina's Base Stats to Introduction.
  • Added Scaling/Damage to Skills.
  • Added an About the Author chapter.
  • Remade the Early Game and Mid Game chapters.

10/6/12:
  • Made some changes to the Lane Match-ups Chapter.
  • Made Item Builds Chapter a bit more clear with more detailed explanations.

10/3/12:
  • Slight fix to text to remove ambiguity.

10/2/12:
  • Minor fix to Shunpo ability description.

10/1/12:
  • Added Mid Game and Late Game chapters.
  • Added more detail to several chapters.

9/30/12:
  • Added arguments for/against certain popular AP Caster items.
  • Tidied up the guide a bit, made it an easier and more organized read.
  • Added two new chapters to the guide: Argument Against Gunblade and Abyssal Scepter or Zhonya's Hourglass?

9/29/12:
  • Completely revamped item build based on a month of experimenting.
  • Touched up upon explanations and made them more clear.

Final Comments

Thanks for taking the time to read my guide. If you enjoyed reading it or learned something from it, please like my guide. When I see positive feedback, it reassures me that I have done a good job. If you have any questions or are unsure about something I said, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. I'll try to reply as quickly as I can. Have a wonderful day!
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