IntroductionI play Katarina very similar to Akali, as well as building AP with her. She has mobility and the damage to assassinate runners and the carries that sit in the back. The key to her is to know when to jump in at the right time. Did the enemy team use most if not all of their stuns/cc on your team already? If so, shunpo in and use your ultimate. If not, keep poking them with healing reducing daggers. You will lose all of Katarina's potential if you jump in too early or too soon.
In solo queue, first picking her usually isn't a great idea. For obvious reasons, if you first pick her then the enemy team will probably stack stuns to lock you down if you get caught or attempt to use your ultimate on top of them. Picking another champion for someone else and picking her 3-5 pick is probably the better idea.
Katarina is a strong poking champion and late game carry (if doing well). I think she is very underestimated among the other champions that can snowball extremely well.
I take 9 in offensive and 21 in defensive. I get defensive mastery mainly because I want to stay in lane for as long as possible as well as being a lot tankier when jumping onto the enemy. The magic penetration in the offensive mastery is good enough, so fulfill the rest of the talent points in the defensive tree.
I get full magic penetration marks and quints because her Q benefits greatly from this rather than flat AP (because her ratios are kind of bad). It also helps with shunpo and your ulti. Pretty much helps with all of your damage, unless you go AD.
After that, I get full armor and flat MR from seals and glyphs to have stronger resistances.
Get ignite because it helps with your damage (which is your main purpose) and also you benefit from the extra +10 AP from your mastery build. When you get first blood or finish off a kill with ignite, you will be glad you got Ignite.
I like to get Ghost rather than Flash mainly because I already have a built-in Flash in the skillset (shunpo). When in a hurry to intitate, Ghost will still complete the job as well as having further increased movement speed throughout the entire battle. Flash is usually better on most champions, but on Katarina it feels like Ghost gets the job done better.
Rarely do I replace iIgnite with Exhaust. If I do this, it is mainly to fit the team comp better. But I usually want to keep my damage and have someone else get Exhaust for me.
Flash is still possible. It is double flash in combination with Shunpo but I still like Ghost better because Shunpo is a low cooldown and Flash is a very high one.
The recent buff with Katarina with using Shunpo on wards are one of the things that highly convinced me to reuse Ghost instead of Flash.
However, I always get flash if the other team has a threatening amount of CC (alistar, fiddlesticks, jarvan, etc.). Avoiding these stuns when there is nothing to shunpo to is best.
After a kill or assist, Katarina gains 25 gold and her cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.
This is such a good passive that I decided not to get any CDR runes because of this. I usually don't build any CDR items because of this either. If you win a teamfight then you would be able to use your ulti twice and if you're lucky, three times, because of this passive.
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
Probably one of the best poking abilities in the game. Great counter to healers if used in combination with Killer Instincts. Use on creeps during laning phase if the enemy champion is near them and it will sometimes strike them with your daggers, keeping you in a safe position while dealing damage to them. Great farming ability as well.
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 5 seconds.
Shunpo: Katarina takes 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% reduced damage from enemy attacks for 3 seconds.
/ 20 / 18 / 16 / 14seconds
A good poking ability with Q (and reduced healing effects) as well as a great initiator with E. When approaching a lane or a fight, I like to use this ability earlier so I can activate my W again sooner than I usually can.
Use this ability with Q when someone is low so they cannot be healed by someone like Taric or Soraka, or a healing skill like Warwick's Q.
Use this ability with E when initiating into a big group of enemies or in a big mob or creeps. If you foresee yourself taking a lot of damaging when using shunpo to ulti, use this ability with E instead of Q.
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
Katarina's most versatile ability. You can jump to allies, enemies, creeps, and wards. This is why you should mainly build AP, because you can get Katarina's full potential because Katarina's E ability scales with AP only.
Also a great juking ability because it teleports you BEHIND the desired target, so when using this ability to poke in lane, try running behind them first (using a brush is good) then Shunpo onto the enemy champion to poke them and then swiftly return to your side of the lane.
You can buy wards and keep them in your bag if you need it to escape. Place it on the ground (or preferably over the wall) and Shunpo to it to quickly escape if you're in danger.
Careful when using this ability. Sometimes you will need to save Shunpo for when you run out instead of jumping in. If you Shunpo into a bad position, you may be forced to waste flash. The majority of the time you will use this ability to engage, but that is not always the case.
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
Usually a very hard ultimate to maximize because of all the stuns and silences that are implemented into the game. You'll hardly ever find yourself in a team where there is not one stun or silence. To safely maximize this ultimate's damage, try jumping into the crowd of enemies when their stuns/silences are on cooldown or using this ability in the brush where you cannot be seen (similar to Nunu's ultimate).
Because of this ultimate's fragility, I tend to buy Banshee's Veil so I can channel this ultimate even longer. It is rare that you channel your ultimate to its fullest.
I stack Q first because it is the safest damaging ability and last hitting. I stack E next for the extra damage plus for a faster cooldown. W last because the bouncing blade effects stay the same and you wouldn't really be jumping in and ulting (while taking a lot of damage) until team fights that come later. And obviously stack R whenever it is up.
The magic penetration runes and offensive mastery provides enough damage, so no need to get a small boost in damage at level one. Boots is ideal, because moving fast in lane is important. The pots is just extra sustainability.
I get Doran's Shield when I'm sure that I'm solo against a strong AD carry. But during this meta, AD carries usually duo lane bottom. So you will hardly encounter an AD carry in a solo lane.
Rylai's Crysal Scepter is core because of the +500 HP it provides and the slow that can work well together with your ultimate. Also, the Bouncing Daggers helps keep the enemy slowed by at least 15% and 30% to whoever you Shunpo to.
Hextech Revolver is also very good because you can sustain any lane and any team fight by just using Bouncing Blades repeatedly or using your ultimate. Sometimes I don't get this item if I have a strong healer on my team (say Taric or Soraka).
If things are looking good:
Katarina snowballs very well if you're team is above the other. Her Bouncing blades and ultimate ensures assists or kills almost every fight. Plus, Shunpo + Flash ensures that you get away after you kill someone or assist (Shunpo will be up again if you get a kill or assist after using it).
These are basic damage items for Katarina. The spell penetration helps Katarina loads because you get most of the damage from her Q base. Hextech Gunblade is a nice damage item as well as massive spellvamp
that can also slow enemies - good for her ultimate. Rabadon's Deathcap is very expensive and should probably be bought as a last item because her Q scales weak off AP and survivability should be priortized over this much damage. Void Staff should be build as the next item immediately after they start buying heavy MR (your magic penetration runes and you sorcerer's shoes should be enough for a good while).
Katarina's ultimate forces her to jump in the front lines sometimes, so you need to get some defensive items on her or she will be shut down. I almost always get Banshee's Veil every game because there is always at least one stun on the enemy team. I only get Zhonya's Hourglass if they have heavy AD or if the enemy team's AD carry is the only one doing all the damage to you.