IntroductionHey, my name is Troy and I decided to create this build as a guideline for those who want to start playing Katarina or already play Katarina and want to try something different, while still being effective. While some people may bash my runes, they will be explained later on in the guide, so please bear with me.
Disclaimer : This is a build designed to be used when your team is somewhat decent in the execution of teamfights. If your team is determined to focus the tank every teamfight, then refer to the bottom of the guide where I will explain how to deal with a 1 v 5 situation.
The above summoner spells that I take are usually what I go when I want a very competitive game. I will explain my choices in better depth here.
: This is your initiation spell, your getaway spell and your chase spell. Since I never take flash on katarina, this is what you use when your opponent decides to chicken out and run for his life. It has a fairly long cooldown so make sure that you use it when you need it most. Dropping flash will also let you get a very quick tower dive when used in unison with your ult, as you can get in and get out in a matter of seconds.
: This is your bread and butter spell. With a 90 second cooldown you can use it to harass the enemy to no end. This spell is also your finisher; if your ultimate is on cooldown and they have very low hp, you don't want to shunpo into tower range, as that will most likely cause you to die. Instead, ignite that moron and drop bouncing blade. More often then not, you will get a kill.
: this spell will let you get in, drop your ultimate after being CCed to all hell, and get out in a matter of seconds. If you truly think you can do without ghost, take this spell in a heartbeat. It might just save your life.
: With a 6 second port with a longer range, flash is usually not needed. What it may be useful for, however, is getting those few extra pixels closer to shunpo on a runner. Generally not advised but still viable.
: Placing a ward behind enemy lines when they go to 'B' back to base can be awesome sometimes. In these instances, stealth teleport to the ward and wreak some pretty fun carnage.
Spells Not To Take
; You should be letting your support take this spell. There are many other spells that would benefit Kat a little more.
: No mana, nuff said.
Kat is more of a burst character. If you follow the gunblade build you will need no more CC then the amount the gunblade gives you and the amount rylais slows. Only useful time is when your facing a complete auto-attack team. That's it.
: This is an item for your tank, Kat has more viable spells.
: If you find yourself in a situation where heal would be useful, chances are your already dead.
: Unless your taking the point in rally that gives AP in addition to AD, this spell is not the greatest. You also sacrifice the mastery point in Utility that reduces CDR on spells by 15%
: This is a mediocre spell in my opinion. Others take it on certain character, but I advise you to leave it alone with kat.
: I have seen some players use smite for the extra gold component and pushing, but I dont find it viable myself. There are better choices out there.
MasteriesI tend to lean more to the utility tree when building Katarina the way I do. The reason being for this is because I find that no other mastery tree offers as much to Katarina, as she is supposed to be a caster (At least that's the way Riot tries to tell us how to build her).
I tend to go with the standard 9/0/21 build, and in case you don't know what that means, it means 9 points in Offense, 0 points in Defense and 21 points in Utility.
Offense : The most obvious choice in the offense mastery tree is the 3 points into archmage's savvy, this is just a little bit of AP, but it lets you get farther into the tree, which is what you need. I take a single point in Deadliness just as a filler. Next I take all 4 points into sorcery for the cool down reduction, and a final point into Archaic knowledge for the Magic Penetration.
Utility : This is your main mastery tree, with all the goodies that Katarina needs. Unfortunately, you need to take quite a few fillers, which isn't nice.
First I put 3 Points into Good Hands, for the death re-spawn timer reduction. This allows you to get into the fight a little quicker after you die (which you shouldn't with this build). Obviously, you put the point into ghost, as that is one of your summoner spells.
Next you get the Greed point, just for the little bit of extra money. Here is where you will have to sacrifice a few points into filler masteries. I usually put two points into the buff extension mastery, but you can choose anything else you want here.
After the fillers, you want to take all 3 points into Quickness and 1 point into perseverance. This will allow you to get the 3 points into intelligence, giving a total of 9 % CDR right off the bat. Put one more point into a filler (I usually take perseverance again) and take the Presence of a Master mastery.
RunesFirst of all I would like to state that I am a very large supporter of early game runes. I find that if you can score those few early(and crucial) kills with your early game runes, you will not need to rely at all on lategame runes. Since katarina is a massive snowball, I do not feel the need to take lategame per-level runes. Feel free to argue your points in the comment section below, as this is just my opinion, not the right answer.
Runes are a large choice for katarina, especially early game. You must decide between Cool Down Redution and flat AD/AP runes.
Since marks generally give more attack damage, I take 9 Flat AD runes, giving a decent early game.
Next is your choice between Flat AD or Flat AP seals. This is the hardest choice you have to make, as neither are specialized towards either end of the spectrum. I take the AP runes, as that's how I roll, you can take the AD runes if you choose. I have begun to experiment with HP per level seals, but to no avail.
Glyphs are your no-brainer choice. Early game, the CoolDowns on kat are ridiculous. With a 22 second CD skill and a 10 second Q, you definitely want to reduce those skills to a more manageable level. If you don't like the CDR runes, you can also choose to go flat AP, as that is a less viable, but still useful, choice.
I have always been a huge fan of the health Quints. Even after the ridiculous Nerf that they received a couple patches ago, they are still pretty useful. I take all 3 of them if im playing an early game-lategame carry and I take AP quints if I find that I want a very high burst early game.
Other runes that might be useful are CDR quints, Mpen Marks or armor seals. All of these seem to work pretty well for me, as they give a great laning experience and a perfect midgame teamfight ability.
After a kill or assist, Katarina gains 25 gold and her cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.
This is what makes katarina shine. You generally want to wait until the fight has been initiated and target the opposing team's carries. This will allow you(with 3 kills/assists) to use your ultimate once again.
Q: Bouncing Blade
Katarina throws a dagger that hits up to 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 enemies, dealing magic damage equal to her attack damage plus 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 bonus damage to the primary target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage.
Cooldown 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8seconds
This is the most annoying spell ever invented. This is what you use to harass your lane opponent and is also what you use to deal large amounts of damage once you get killer instincts. Try activating killer instincts while laning before you throw the blade. Not only will the blade do full damage to all enemies, but it will also reduce healing by 50% for a whopping 10 seconds.
W: Killer Instincts
Passive: Katarina's abilities and melee attacks deal 8 / 12 / 16 / 20 / 24 additional damage each hit.
Active: Katarina's next basic ability has a bonus effect.
Bouncing Blade: Deals full damage to every target it hits and applies 50% healing reduction for 10 seconds.
Shunpo: Katarina takes 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% reduced damage from enemy attacks for 3 seconds.
Cooldown 22 / 20 / 18 / 16 / 14seconds
This should be the last thing you max out, but one of the first things you drop in a teamfight. If your opponents have a lot of healing, you generally want to toss your bouncing blade for this effect. This will help your team a lot more then 35% less damage to you for 3 seconds. If your opponents are high dps, low CC, you want to drop the shunpo on this effect. This is also what you use to deal more damage without the need for massive amounts of AP.
Katarina moves to her target's location. If the target is an enemy, she deals 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+75% of ability power) magic damage to the target.
Cooldown 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6seconds
This is the second skill you want to max out. A 6 second port with a .75 : 1 AP ratio, this is your best friend. Set up wards before a teamfight and you can shunpo out of it. Great for chasing runners or for initiating death lotus quickly. You always want to have shunpo up if you have a substantial reason of thinking your going to be ganked, as shunpo can be used on friendly minions.
R: Death Lotus
Katarina goes into a state of extreme focus, throwing 10 daggers over 3 seconds at the closest 3 enemy champions. Each dagger deals 50 / 65 / 80 (+0.5 per bonus Attack Damage) (+25% of ability power) magic damage.
Cooldown 60 seconds
This is katarina's spotlight ability. Tossing daggers with massive speed and healing all the while (if your using my gunblade build), this is the biggest help you can do in a teamfight. What you want to avoid, however, is being stupid with your ultimate. This is a channeled ability, and as such requires you to avoid getting stunned for it to work. Other than these points, spam away. Remember, every kill or assist lowers the cooldown by 15 seconds, so keep an eye out for that lucky triple kill.
Skill OrderThere are two ways that I normally build katarina, and they are both situational depending on your team composition. You must always be aware of how your opponent(s) are building. For example, putting a point into killer instincts before level 6 is crucial if your laning with a mundo, putting a point into shunpo before level 6 is crucial against a lux etc.
I will explain both ways I build her (skill wise) below:
Build 1 :
- This is the build that is mentioned above. It is a fairly well-rounded build with very few flaws that I have found so far. This works on any balanced opposing team, and is designed to take out the carry before level 6 or shortly after. Note that I do not include ultimate in skill order, as any respectable katarina will get ultimate at level 6/11/16
- The reason I like to max out bouncing blade first is twofold. First, this is your only ranged skill outside your ultimate, the only skill that you can poke with. It does moderate to high damage output and can be used in tandem with killer instincts to provide a very entertaining lane experience. Second, this is your last hit ability when facing a double-player lane solo.
- The next skill that I build is shunpo. This is your main initiation and escape tool, and as the cooldown reduces every rank, you will need it if you want to survive. The burst damage is nice, but not nearly as nice as living through a teamfight.
- The last skill that I like to max out is killer instincts. While you want a point in it early in order to get that full damage on bouncing blade. It is useless in comparison to other skills during teamfights. This is the exact opposite in skill build 2.
Build 2 :
- The second (and a bit out-of-the-box) build that I sometimes use is as follows.
- The very first skill I like to max out is killer instincts. Before you call me insane, hear me out. Killer instincts states that it increases (at max level) Each hit from every spell and/or attack. This also means each hit from your ultimate. Not only does this allow you to do massive early game damage without high-scaling items, but it also gives you an output for your shunpo skill, which is the next spell you want to max out.
- Next skill that I like to max out is shunpo. With this build, it is all about surgical hits and getting in and out without dying. You will need the 6 second cooldown if you want to be able to execute this build effectively.
- The final skill that I max out (of course) is bouncing blade. With this build you are designed to roam around, getting kills whenever you can past level 6. You do not want to be weighed down by the excess points into something you will not need midgame. You still take the first point into bouncing blade though, which allows you to last hit effectively.
Here is where I will explain exactly what the crazy double-gun-blade build is for.
The whole premise that I find a lot of people don't seem to get is that katarina is an assassin. She is not supposed to be a suicide bomber every teamfight, she is supposed to be the clean-up crew when all the crowd control has been launched.
What the hell is with the double gun-blade?
Why I like the double funblade (as I love to call it) is the spell vamp and lifesteal component. Excluding the beastly AD/AP that each gunblade gives you, the awesome slow that the active component gives you and the really cool picture, the life steal that your auto attack will give you and the spell vamp that your ultimate gives you is enough to justify paying the hefty amount that each costs. This is the core of the build, as any person can calculate 40 % of 400 damage (each dagger in your ultimate) and how much survivability that would give you.
Rylais Crystal Sceptre
Rylais is the item you get for a bit of survivability and the awesome slow each teamfight. If you play your cards right, you can hit the entire duration of your ultimate on the opposing carry with the slow. Generally a decent 3rd item after boots.
This is an item that requires impeccable timing. If you think your up to the task, try shunpoing into a teamfight, dropping your ultimate and IMMEDIATELY activating the hourglass. This will allow you to drop your ultimate in peace, safe from all the crowd control that might head your way.
This is your no-brainer item. You should get this right before hourglass, as it ramps up your damage output big time.
These should (and always will be) your very first complete item over 1100 gold. You can choose between cool down reduction boots (my personal favorite)or Mpen boots (against a tanky team). Either way, your boots are a must-have for katarina.
Early GameThis is definitely the hardest phase that Katarina goes through. This is where the cooldowns that she possesses are ridiculously high, and by ridiculously high I mean 22 seconds long. Below is the guide for each level , all the way to level 9.
Level 1 :
- This is the hardest part of the early game experience. You will not be able to get a decent amount of last hits if your lane opposition is ranged. You must play this phase carefully, as you start with only a single health potion and a 12 second cooldown spell. Harassing with ignite is one wicked strat here, as they will have very low HP.
Level 2 :
- Level 2 gets a tad bit easier, as you can now effectively harass short range, and you can stop any healing attempts that your opponent may try. You will start to notice that the enemy is becoming less harass intensive and more dependent on farm. Use this to your advantage, as you can drop bouncing blade and walk away unscathed.
Level 3 :
- Level 3 is even easier then the last level. Your bouncing blade will finally do a little more damage to enemies, and will allow for easier last hits.
Level 4 :
- You can now shunpo onto low health minions or your own minions to get in range of a bouncing blade. This will generally catch people unawares and give you a second to retreat before they send their own harass back onto you. Remember to keep getting last hits to support your very expensive build. Be careful of ganks from junglers at this point.
Level 5 :
- Bouncing blade now hurts like a female dog. You should be doing upwards of 200 damage on the first bounce, which hurts any squishy characters that your lane opposition may have.
Level 6 :
- This is where the fun begins. With an ultimate on a 60 second cooldown, no mana worries and a short range port, this is what begins to strike fear in the enemy. You can freely start to harass at will with ignite and any other spell you think are worthy. However, if you do something stupid, you will die. This is also the point at which you can start tower diving as a last resort.
Level 7 :
- Things are a little bit easier on your opponents now. You should not be doing 1/4 of their HP per bouncing blade any more. You may need to play a bit more defensively from now on, depending on your lane opposition. Roaming starts to become effective at this point.
Level 8 :
- You should now dominate the lane and be somewhat close (or maybe done if your fed) your gunblade. You must now decide whether to gank or continue laning. If your determined to gank, make sure that you keep up on levels. If you fall behind, you will not be as effective as you should be.
Level 9 :
- If you are not done your 3/4 of your gunblade by now (as in you have hextech revolver and at least pickaxr) by now, or you have been shut down, you need to work your ass off to catch back up. If you have finished your gunblade, you should be engaging in teamfights with your team or ganking targets who overextend too often.
Mid GameMid game is where all the fun occurs when playing Katarina. By now you should have already completed about half your build, with a decent number of kills and assists. I will explain how to play a decent mid Game if you have been fed, if you have not been fed and if you have been shut down.Hard.
A fed katarina is the scariest thing I have seen. If you have been fed and are past the halfway point upon your build, you should be focusing on pushing turrets down. The biggest thing to remember here is that any stupid move, whether it be accidental or not, will put you at a disadvantage. You (as always) must wait until all the crowd control has been used before you enter the team fight and you must play the game as if you were never fed in the first place. If you force your opponents to go on a diet (so to speak), you will win this game.
This is where you get a little bit tricky. If you play your cards right you can still come out on top. Provided that you follow the rule set provided at the beginning of the guide, you should be all right. Remember to always keep farming large minion waves as they pass. A gold advantage can put you ahead of the game in a heartbeat. Even bigger than this is the XP advantage. When katarina has a large XP advantage over her opponents, life gets a lot easier for her. Always try to keep a level or two difference between you and your opponent.
A feeding katarina isn't nice. Sadly, this is how many games turn out when idiots play her. If you have been feeding the game (be it bad lucky, poor skill level or any combination of the two) you need to play very defensively. You will never initiate a teamfight, you will never join an active teamfight. You will always engage the near-dead carry at the back when you can and be backdooring when you can't. You need to be careful of a perpetual cycle of food, where you will respawn, then die again. If your team starts raging at you because your not in the teamfight, ignore them until you feel safe to start engaging. Feeding the enemy team is a lot worse then not being in a teamfight, especially if your getting stronger as you do it.
Late GameLate game can be one of two things. Icky, or not Icky. Normally, the game should have been over by this point, and you should have been on your way to another awesome game as katarina. However, sometimes this is not the case and a strategy is needed in order to win. You generally want to start taking as many towers as you physically can, as every tower you take makes your respective minions stronger. This will allow you to push multiple lanes without having a hero in the vicinity.
Playing lategame as a katarina will never be fun. By this time, the enemy tank should have magic resistance if they have any clue what they are doing and the carry should have wizened up to all of your sneaky tactics. The way to win here is perfect positioning and a brute force method, where you force the enemy team to either lose towers or fight your team head on. Other than that, you will spend countless minutes waiting for your team to initiate the fight, and in turn, waste time.
Team FightsThe biggest advantage that katarina has in a teamfight is speed. She can get in, get out and get a triple kill faster then the Crowd Control can come off cooldown. There is a very finite process in which you engage a teamfight, which will be mention directly below.
- Never do this, let the tank or someone else initiate. You will have no mercy if you do.
- This is where the crowd control and the ultimate are generally used. You should generally not be here during this phase, even if if looks like a nice opportunity. Patience is what you need here
- This is where you drop the shunpo into the fight. All crowd control should have already been exhausted by this point and this is where you shine. Drop your ultimate and skedaddle, as you probably don't wanna be in there for any great amount of time.
- Your ultimate should be gone, and either way a team should be near dead. If you managed to score an ace, continue on to push the enemy turrets. If you didn't, get back and heal up, wait for your team to revive and repeat the steps above until you do score an ace.
JunglingI will beat you with a blunt badger if you attempt jungle katarina.
Final CommentsThanks for reading this build, if you do. Feel free to leave any comments below, and rate anything above. If you have any questions or concerns you can leave them in the comment section below. Any suggestions are also welcome. Thanks again :)
P.S I don't think I'm the only one who likes kitty kat kat the best ;)