[Guide] Katarina: A Comprehensive Guide

12
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hatoreno

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Junior Member

04-08-2010

[Guide] Katarina, More than Meets the Eye

Commonly classified as one of the most underpowered champions in game, many people find themselves in awe when they see the destructive power of an actual effective Katarina player. I know that, when I began fiddling around with this champion, I couldn't understand how this one player achieved a Kill to death ratio of 40/0 with this champion—it took me several poor games to unlock the secret to this dangerous character, and once I did, I never looked back.


Many people who attempt to take up the mantle of the sinister blade simply fail to meet their own expectations; shot down in their prime as players, lacking the exact element that is essential to building the perfect Katarina. Whether you have been discouraged by your attempts with Katarina, or you are just trying to get another perspective on the character, or you're looking for that final touch you need to your build; this is the guide for you.

My ultimate goal in this guide is to expose the fundamental elements of Katarina that should be emphasized in any Katarina build, to explain which form of Katarina is most often successful (AP, AD or Tank), and to provide guidance to those who are seeking to become effective players with Katarina.


Table of Contents:
I. Character Facts
II. Character Analysis
III.Applicative Item Build
IV. Applicative Skill Build
V. Applicative Mastery Build
VI. Applicative Rune Build
VII. Strategic Application
VIII. Logistical Evidence
IX. Miscellaneous / Conclusion

Pt. I - Character Facts
Katarina, like many characters in League of Legends, is extremely versatile in terms of how she can be built in order to be functional. Predominantly, many main advocates of Katarina tote one of two builds – Ability Power, or Attack Damage, as well as a third build which is less common (tank form). The truth about Katarina is that, through inspection of her abilities, as well as her potential with any of the three mainstream build forms, there are certain realities that we must face that define her as optimally functional in one specific form. After inspecting the factual aspects of her abilities, I will go into in depth analysis of them to support my argument for how I know Katarina is best suited to be built. Below are Katarina's abilities, as well as her passive, in raw detail.[/FONT

Inherent Passive:
Voracity - After a kill or assist, Katarina gains 50 gold and her cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.

Champion Abilities:

Q – Bouncing Blade - Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage.

Katarina throws a dagger that hits up to 2/3/4/5/6 enemies, dealing magic damage equal to her attack damage plus 15/30/45/60/75 bonus damage to the primary target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage.

Base Cooldown - 8/8/8/8/8 seconds
Cost – 0 Mana/HP/Energy
Range - 600

W – Killer Instincts

Passive: Katarina gains 4/5/6/7/8 attack damage each time she hits a target or casts a spell. This effect can stack 5 times and lasts 3 seconds.
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's dodge chance is increased by 30/40/50/60/70% for 3 seconds.

Base Cooldown - 22/20/18/16/14 seconds
Cost – 0 Mana/HP/Energy
Range - 400

E – Shunpo – Katarina instantly moves to her target's location. If the target is an enemy, she deals damage.

Katarina moves to her target's location. If the target is an enemy, she deals 90/120/150/180/210 (+0.75) magic damage to the target.

Base Cooldown - 10/9/8/7/6 seconds
Cost – 0 Mana/HP/Energy
Range - 700

R – Death Lotus - Katarina goes into a state of extreme focus, throwing daggers with unrivaled speed at one enemy champion per level of the spell.

Katarina goes into a state of extreme focus, throwing daggers with unrivaled speed at 1/2/3 enemy champion(s). Each dagger deals 50/65/80 magic damage plus the higher value between 50% of her bonus attack damage or 30% of her ability power.

Base Cooldown - 60/60/60 seconds
Cost - Channeled Spell, 0 Mana/HP/Energy
Range - 550
Pt. II – Character Analysis

I prescribe to the belief that, game designers have one theorized use for the characters that they create; Katarina is no exception to this rule. The lines between how Katarina is used, and how she was intended to be used, have been blurred into uncertainty; I would like to lay a few points down on the table, to rectify this situation, and to deliver a rock-solid reason for why one specific build form is supreme for Katarina in her current state

All of Katarina's offensive abilities have decent scaling, in terms of attack damage and ability power; this is why most people build her as a caster or a melee, however, there are certain points to be made that clarify Katarina's intended use. Attack Damage Katarina uses one main harassment skill; Bouncing Blade, coupled with her melee attacks. Ability Power Katarina uses Shunpo, coupled with melee attacks. Killer instincts and Death Lotus provide benefits to both forms, however, one emerges the victor if played to maximum potential.

Bouncing Blade has a 1:1 Attack damage to Damage ratio, making it a better harassment tool. Not only this, but it doesn't involve putting yourself in harm's way as Shunpo does, while Shunpo is only capable of hitting one target for less damage than Bouncing Blade. Ability Power Katarina has weaker melee attacks, which gives her a smaller in-combat damage output (forcing her into a hit-and-run style, which makes her less valuable to the rest of her team). Additionally, Killer Instincts has the added benefit of increasing the damage to full on each bounce for Bouncing Blade, as well as the increased dodge of up to 70% at maximum rank!!! This allows Katarina to be the only champion in game with a dodge rate this high, albeit its short duration (but coupled with the swiftness buff from defensive masteries, Katarina gets a guaranteed 10% movement speed buff for quick getaways, in addition to having Shunpo open by not having to use it to harass).

Death Lotus's damage scaling is either 50% of the bonus attack damage your character has (the attack damage added to your base attack damage from weapons and abilites, such as Killer Instincts), or 30% of your character's overall ability power. Most AP Katarina players wage all of their ability off of this and Shunpo, which shafts two of their abilities entirely, as well as their melee attacks. The fact that Katarina can build more ability power for her ultimate ability is overshadowed by the fact that she can build close to as much attack damage, while still having a ridiculous amount of physical attack damage for her melee attacks, and the 1:1 attack damage scaling on Bouncing Blade.

AP Katarina players will argue that, it is easier to acquire AP than it is to acquire AD, since most AD builds involve the use of Bloodthirsters, whose benefits are lost upon death. The truth is, however, that with the added damage from the weapons, bouncing blade allows Katarina to farm her full build significantly faster than AP Katarina, since AP Katarina's shunpo has a significantly lowered ability to farm minions even with cooldown reduction, as it is a singular target spell with a small bit of burst damage. Bouncing blade has the capacity to kill multiple minions, or champions at once if timing is right.

Katarina's abilities are complicated when examined from an outside perspective, but if you look at all of her abilities from an analyistic viewpoint, it is clear which of the two main build forms rises to the occasion. Tank Katarina is a third option, however, without any form of crowd control, Katarina is outclassed by the various other tanks out there (Rammus: Taunt, Cho'Gath: Airborn, Silence, Slow Shen: Taunt, Stand United, Sion: Stun, Shield, etc…) So, on the whole, I suggest that Tank form be integrated into attack damage form for maximized survivability and damage output, to outclass all of the Katarinas, and to make her the most adaptable champion that is underestimated so heavily it's sickening.

But often, it's rewarding to see their stunned reactions when they get pentakilled by some one they've supposedly 'outclassed'.
Pt. III – Applicative Item Build

First off, I would like to mention that all players should have a level of innovation when entering a game. The build that I am providing is my own personal standard, and I adjust it accordingly when I see the champions my team is facing, as well as their playstyles through experience so I can understand how to better counter my enemies. With a little bit of sense, this build can transform into many different functional adventures—always experiment, and always be open minded to new innovations with this character.
    1. Doran's Shield (+ HP Potions if you're unconfident.)
    2. Heart of Gold
    3. Heart of Gold
    4. Ninja Tabi / Mercury Treads
    5. Bloodthirster
    6. Void Staff
    7. Sell Doran's Shield > Bloodthirster
    8. Sell Heart of Gold > Infinity Edge / Rylai's Crystal Scepter
    9. Sell Heart of Gold > Warmogs Armor / Bloodthirster / Black Cleaver
Katarina is one of the squishiest champions early game. With a base hitpoint of 460 without runes, it's reckless and stupid to try to play this character without any health or armor. Early game survivability is key, and midgame it makes you virtually unstoppable if you know what you are doing. Building the Hearts of Gold gives you more armor and survivability, and leaves your damage exactly where you need it early and mid game—allowing you to save plenty of gold to farm up the rest of your build.

Ninja Tabi should be used in games with champions that tend to confront you in melee with high attackspeed: Teemo, Jax, Master Yi, as well as any other champions that will be beating on you from close or long range are warranting of Ninja Tabi. Games with Ryze on the enemy team, or any other champion with a ludicrous amount of crowd control/stun require mercury treads as a mandatory item. Ninja Tabi coupled with Killer Instincts > Shunpo combo can give you a short burst of 80% dodge, which makes you invincible while you intend on putting out a great bit of damage to give yourself a combat advantage.

Bloodthirsters are excellent damage choices for Katarina, because she has the farming capability to kill an entire wave of minions with one bouncing blade, picking off any additional minions left over with Shunpo. One infinity edge is a good choice, because it gives you a steady amount of damage and an excellent addition of critical chance and damage.

Void Staff gives you 40% spell penetration AND +70 AP, which adds 52.5 additional damage to your Shunpo. With Death Lotus comprised of several separate spells hitting a few targets, each bit of damage lost to spell armor greatly affects the damage output of your ultimate ability, and while this appears to be an item suited to appear in an AP build—it is an essential nutrient in the diet of an overpowered Katarina. Never leave this item out of your build, and always finish it after your first bloodthirster.

Warmogs gives you the survivability to make up for selling the Hearts of Gold / Doran's shield, however, if you have appropriate runes, you may be able to get away with dropping all HP items altogether. This is optional, and may be more useful in games where you are taking obscene amounts of damage in teamfights.

Black Cleaver gives you 75 Damage, and helps you destroy tanks in teamfights. It's optional, and it's definitely a solid choice for any game with a Rammus or Cho'Gath.

Additional Consideration: You may choose to go with Rylai's Crystal Scepter; while this item benefits AP Katarina more, the crowd control it adds to your Bouncing Blade, Shunpo and Death Lotus makes it invaluable, and sometimes worth more than the additional attack damage stacked on your ult.
Pt. IV – Applicative Skill Build

    1. Bouncing Blade
    2. Shunpo
    3. Killer Instincts
    4. Bouncing Blade
    5. Bouncing Blade
    6. Death Lotus
    7. Bouncing Blade
    8. Bouncing Blade
    9. Shunpo
    10. Shunpo
    11. Death Lotus
    12. Shunpo
    13. Shunpo
    14. Killer Instincts
    15. Killer Instincts
    16. Death Lotus
    17. Killer Instincts
    18. Killer Instincts
Keep in mind, it's fair to deviate from this: the important things to take note of, level up bouncing blade first and foremost, prioritize it and Shunpo over Killer Instincts, but pick up more levels of Killer Instincts early on if you are facing a melee heavy team that you will need the dodge bonus for.
Pt. V – Applicative Mastery Build

Take 21/9/0, or 21/0/9. I would say 21/9/0, because it gives you the damage and spell penetration from offensive masteries, as well as the 10% movement increase from nimbleness on your dodges, and an additional 2% increase on your dodge. It also gives you a tiny boost of magic resistance or defense, which can be the difference between life and death in some situations.

Summoner Spells:

Take Flash/Ignite or Flash/Exhaust. Always have Flash for Flash step Shunpo and tower diving with Death Lotus.
Pt. VI – Applicative Rune Build

Quintessence: Movement Speed or Dodge.
Marks: 1 in Cooldown, 8 in Spell Penetration or Armor
Seals: 9 in Dodge
Glyphs: 9 in Cooldown Reduction.

The quints give you an additional 4.5% movement speed, stacked with the 10% you're guaranteed to get with shunpo + Killer Instincts, you'll be moving like a lightning bolt with boots 2! Runes can only give a total of 6% Cooldown Reduction (hidden cap), between Glyphs and 1 mark you'll reach the cap. Take this 6% + Golem Buff and you nearly have maxed CDR for your ultimate ability. Seals further ensure you dodge, and with Ninja Tabi + 70% buff from Shunpo/Killer Instincts as well as masteries, you will be dodging 90.75% of the time for 3 seconds, and 20.75% of the time constant :]

This rune build speaks for itself, and I believe it's optimal if you're building Kat the way I suggest.
Pt. VII – Strategic Application

Early Game:

Harass with Bouncing Blade, prioritize hitting your enemies with the bouncing blade, and minions if they are too flighty to hit. Once they reach 4 or 3 bars and you're level 6, flash shunpo death lotus + Ignite. Ignite doesn't break channeling on Death Lotus, and almost always ensures a kill on one target if you know what you're doing.

Important Note: Move in wide arcs that confuse your enemies, and never come close enough to anyone with stuns or slows for them to hit you; instead, bounce blades off minions and whittle them down slowly. Always use killer instincts to apply grievous wound on tanky characters with HP Regen in your lane, this will help you actually score kills on them (the beauty of Kat).

Mid Game:

Once you down the tower in your lane, as you invariably should :P, begin roaming and ganking, supporting your lane if need be. You should find a good sense of when to be where, and learn in this phase how to be an effective ganker with Kat.

Late Game:

Always wait for your initator to begin, and wait for any visible dangerous crowd control to be used before Killer Instincts > Shunpo > Death Lotus. Always ignite the weakest target to remove their damage output as fast as possible.

Pts VIII + IX – Still to come. I will edit these in once I pull together my screenshots, etc.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Cat or Serpe

Member

04-08-2010

frankly speaking I prefer skipping the whole heart of gold and doran's part, I start with regrowth pendant, then ninja tatabi, the warmog then start stacking BF sword items.
And the results are still godlike


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

ReeYAwN

Junior Member

04-08-2010

While I agree with a LOT of this post... I'm going to have to disagree that AD kat is better than AP kat...

Here's my logic.

1) Magic penetration, I stack it with runes and get all 3 magic pen items in game (haunting guise w/ new Spell Vamp = yum) Boots and Abyssal Sceptre. Puts me at 79 magic pen. That Alone is a LOT of damage, considering i Usually run w/ a fiddle or amumu Magic pen easily hits 90+.

2) Rush Rylai's, not only do you get health, but you also get a TON of slow, every bounce of BB slows, Shunpo slows, and every hit of ult slows. That's Great, specially when ur fiddlesticks Friend is ulting on top of your ult. Now from here item wise You can get a lichbane, or a zhonya's ring, w/e the case may be, the SLOW + Magic pen is a > increase in damage than some stacked bloodthirsters,

3) It's equally easy to farm w/ Shunpo on a CD of less than 6 seconds when it insta kills minions, Use BB to last hit some stuff as well. The Greatest benefit of this build however is the fact u'll be using KI with Shunpo, not BB. the 70% dodge is REALLY imporant, and KI has a long CD so using it w/ BB for and Arguably small increase in damage is not as important as using it w/ shupo for survivability

But that's just my opinion >< Great AD guide overall +1


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hatoreno

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Junior Member

04-08-2010

@ Cat or Serpe:

The 2x HoG gives you a heightened ability to farm your build, which puts you at an advantage over Ability Power in that you can farm up the damage they can, faster.

@ReeYawN:

Even though you can reduce Shunpo to a rediculously low cooldown, it's lackluster in its ability to farm minons swfitly. I can say that, with AD Form, I can sweep an entire wave with one bouncing blade if I have enough attack damage.

#2 - Magic Penetration applies to Attack Damage Katarina, as even though BB and DL are using AD's base damage output, they still reduce the amount of armor the opposing character has to reduce the damage of your abilities. I understand that items in a common Katarina AP build do in fact provide a significant amount of spell penetration that cannot be acquired in AD Builds, however, the AD build I have provided is significantly advantaged in farming minions early and mid game over AP, while you will not have your Shunpo's ability cooldown reduced to the bare minimum.

Cooldown reduction affects AD Katarina as much as it effects AP, and an AD katarina with CDR is even more capable of farming minions than AP is at any point in game. This is a reality that all AP Katarinas should come to stare in the face and accept, because it's entirely factual. Bouncing blade with Killer Instincts on a cooldown as short as Shunpo's deals equal damage to multiple minions, in close to the same amount of time as Shunpo.

It is, overall, AD Katarina's ability to farm items that makes this form supreme over AP. In a contest at 50 minutes in, an AP Katarina will put out marginally more damage than an AD Katarina, but throughout a game on the whole, AD Katarina is more effective as a team player and is close to as effective as AP in endgame. On the whole, AD Katarina is more viable on the basis of this.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Angebeatrice

Senior Member

04-08-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeYAwN View Post
While I agree with a LOT of this post... I'm going to have to disagree that AD kat is better than AP kat...

Here's my logic.

1) Magic penetration, I stack it with runes and get all 3 magic pen items in game (haunting guise w/ new Spell Vamp = yum) Boots and Abyssal Sceptre. Puts me at 79 magic pen. That Alone is a LOT of damage, considering i Usually run w/ a fiddle or amumu Magic pen easily hits 90+.

2) Rush Rylai's, not only do you get health, but you also get a TON of slow, every bounce of BB slows, Shunpo slows, and every hit of ult slows. That's Great, specially when ur fiddlesticks Friend is ulting on top of your ult. Now from here item wise You can get a lichbane, or a zhonya's ring, w/e the case may be, the SLOW + Magic pen is a > increase in damage than some stacked bloodthirsters,

3) It's equally easy to farm w/ Shunpo on a CD of less than 6 seconds when it insta kills minions, Use BB to last hit some stuff as well. The Greatest benefit of this build however is the fact u'll be using KI with Shunpo, not BB. the 70% dodge is REALLY imporant, and KI has a long CD so using it w/ BB for and Arguably small increase in damage is not as important as using it w/ shupo for survivability

But that's just my opinion >< Great AD guide overall +1
Everybody has different playstyles. But AD can autoattack better.

EDIT; If you want a slow and health - Frozen Mallet


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Reaver Forte

Senior Member

04-08-2010

just played this build. was down two deaths in the beginning but caught up real fast. 19-5 endgame.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

EasymodeX

Senior Member

04-08-2010

Your build assumes too much $ to get going. You spend around 3500 to get minor items and boots up. Then a BFS. That is a hell of a long time to wait to get any damage scaling. Ideally you should drop the second HoG and get a Phage in place of it, to get at least a bit of damage going.

Kat is fine at low and mid tier. She is plausible at upper tiers, but is most effective in a counter-heal comp, and has a variety of limitations.

In addition, your analysis and skill order are not coherent; you take KI way too late, and it's pointless.

A more realistic skill build for an AD-heavy Kat would be Shunpo to 3, BB to 2, max KI, then finish BB then Shunpo.

Shunpo gives the most damage per skill point. A few ranks early is a must, but maxing it out can be delayed if you get you BB to nonsuck levels via AD items (and KI). KI is a must to improve your damage output and get the utility dodge. KI's dodge at rank 1 is unimpressive.

Furthermore, the weakness of the Bloodthirster-centric build versus an AP build is that it costs a lot of gold for a pure damage upgrade. The crux of the matter is the "3500 gold before you get damage, because you had to invest tons of gold into HP". In an AP build the HP is typically purchased in order to build a Rylai, much sooner than the BT is complete. The concept is that an AP build invests into damage items that offer other bonuses as well, whereas an AD build buys separate items, delaying one stat or another.


Edit: Also, you should reconsider the Warmog for a Frozen Mallet, for various reasons. This also obviates the necessity of a Rylai. In addition, once you get to the level of FM + HOGs, you should seriously consider an Atma's Impaler, as it will improve your damage in various ways and give you +armor in the package. This can be particularly strong depending on the champion matchup.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Reaver Forte

Senior Member

04-08-2010

again, 14-0-10


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Angebeatrice

Senior Member

04-08-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by EasymodeX View Post
Your build assumes too much $ to get going. You spend around 3500 to get minor items and boots up. Then a BFS. That is a hell of a long time to wait to get any damage scaling. Ideally you should drop the second HoG and get a Phage in place of it, to get at least a bit of damage going.

Kat is fine at low and mid tier. She is plausible at upper tiers, but is most effective in a counter-heal comp, and has a variety of limitations.

In addition, your analysis and skill order are not coherent; you take KI way too late, and it's pointless.

A more realistic skill build for an AD-heavy Kat would be Shunpo to 3, BB to 2, max KI, then finish BB then Shunpo.

Shunpo gives the most damage per skill point. A few ranks early is a must, but maxing it out can be delayed if you get you BB to nonsuck levels via AD items (and KI). KI is a must to improve your damage output and get the utility dodge. KI's dodge at rank 1 is unimpressive.

Furthermore, the weakness of the Bloodthirster-centric build versus an AP build is that it costs a lot of gold for a pure damage upgrade. The crux of the matter is the "3500 gold before you get damage, because you had to invest tons of gold into HP". In an AP build the HP is typically purchased in order to build a Rylai, much sooner than the BT is complete. The concept is that an AP build invests into damage items that offer other bonuses as well, whereas an AD build buys separate items, delaying one stat or another.


Edit: Also, you should reconsider the Warmog for a Frozen Mallet, for various reasons. This also obviates the necessity of a Rylai. In addition, once you get to the level of FM + HOGs, you should seriously consider an Atma's Impaler, as it will improve your damage in various ways and give you +armor in the package. This can be particularly strong depending on the champion matchup.
I enjoyed reading this. I personally like the HoGs, for the G/PS, the health, and the armor. Kat is really a money machine with Voracity - so although this build is a bit costly early game, it's still a viable; but costly, way to go.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Jedo

Senior Member

04-11-2010

tried this guide out and it was really useful

levelling bb early helps with last hitting/lane farming/pushing

thus the 2 HoGs


12