Disclaimer: Don't blame me for your failures. Everyone has bad games and if you want to truly excel at a particular champion, you must practice and challenge yourself. As of this guide, I am a top 25 player: in the most recent Elo listing, number 15. In the previous, number 12. I am not claiming infallibility; simply that what is being said here has been tested, confirmed, and effective for the purposes of high tier play. Your experience will vary depending on the tier, opponents, and team-mates you play with.
If you end up liking this guide, up-rate it!
* I am currently proposing a change to Death Lotus (found here: http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board...ad.php?t=42039). This simple change may make Katarina more viable overall, specifically in higher tier play. Post your thoughts there on whether you feel that would be good, or bad.
UPDATE 1/13/10: Finally, there's a response on the exact mechanics of Death Lotus. These are the official details - 30/45/60 Magic Damage Base, plus either 55% Attack Damage or 40% Ability Power, with a total duration spanning 3 seconds at 3 dagger ticks per second (9 total daggers thrown per target). Hits either 1, 2, or 3 targets simultaneously depending on level.
Thread discussing this and also Imp. Rally mechanics (which is on page 3) - http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board...ht=Riot+Veigar
UPDATE 1/17/10: Added FAQ at the end of this post and going into Post #3.
II. In-Game Setup
III. Game Strategy
IV. Juking/Situational Builds
A basic note out about the effectiveness of Katarina in any game is to make note of what other champions on your team have been chosen. For optimal efficiency, there should be at least two stuns and slows that your team-mates can use to help you pin down enemies either in ganks or team fights. Without a decent amount of disable, Katarina is not nearly as potent. While having a team without much disable capability is unusual, it happens, and is not pleasant. Make a concerted effort to balance out the team if you're able to, even if it means choosing another champion.
There are two main builds that I've used. One focuses on supplementing offense, the other on defense. Generally, you want to stay away from any mastery lines that base their augmentation around mana.. because of course, Katarina has none. For this reason, most of the Utility tree is fairly worthless.
Defensive Mastery Build: Attachment 10688
You get 60 bonus health with Veteran's Scars (Ardor is mostly filler towards Tenacity). Other benefits are small bonuses to armor/magic resist, and dodge (which will also boost speed with the extra focus talent). This helps survival early on particularly well. Early survival helps snowball to late game. The rest is spent in offense for the typical options - most importantly, Archaic Knowledge.
Offensive Mastery Build: Attachment 10689
Most important abilities in the Offensive tree are: Archaic Knowledge, Improved Rally, and Havoc. All of these improve your magic damage in a fairly significant way when coupled together. You will notice late in a game with these focuses active. In addition, Heal gets slightly improved in Defense, and we go again up to Dodge with a little MR. Some may ask: Why not get Brute Force? Well, I'll tell you why simply: both Sunder and Alacrity will outperform Brute Force over the course of a game, specifically once you've attained more than about 100 attack power.
Note (1/5/2010) - The offensive build is what I use the most now. I also place a point in Cripple (to improve Exhaust), taking the point out from Archmage's Savvy, which is largely useless.
Rune Build: Attachment 10690
Marks: There are two paths you can take with this - either straight Greater Mark of Malice (Tier 3 Crit Rune) or Greater Mark of Insight (Tier 3 Magic Penetration Rune). Don't waste IP on physical attack runes, as they do not provide the same type or quality of boosts. For optimal efficiency, use one of the above.
Seals: Greater Seal of Evasion (Tier 3 Dodge Rune). These will help induce the Defensive Mastery Tree focus called "Nimbleness" that increases your movement speed by 10% any time you dodge. You'll hover around 8% in a game with talent + runes assuming no other modifiers. These are also important for survival early in the game when harassing an opponent with Shunpo, or dealing with aggressive ranged champions.
Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Celerity is a staple for many builds, and is no different here. Cooldown reduction is great to have, as the item build simply allows very little room for the addition of such items for Katarina.
Greater Glyph of Insight (Magic Pen) - I am now in the process of thoroughly testing magic penetration builds to assess their effectiveness. At the moment, it is at least as efficient as Celerity, when you factor in early game effectiveness. For a specific reason, cooldown reduction on Kat isn't as important: and that's because of her innate special ability (Voracity) that reduces cooldowns by 15 on kills or assists.
Quintessence: Greater Quintessence of Fortitude (Tier 3 HP Rune). This is pretty much a given in high tier play. Like all health items and runes, these were recently nerfed, but not hard enough to justify taking out of builds. Because of my aggressive playstyle, early game is very important to me, and these allow a little more leeway in that regard.
With Defensive Mastery: Two choices here. Ignite + Cleanse, or Heal + Cleanse. It depends on your mentality. For the more aggressive user, go Ignite. If you feel that you need to fall back on Heal, then take that, as it's already included in the build. You can also switch these in and out depending on your team setup as far as summoner spells is concerned. Due to Cleanse's recent nerf, Ignite or Heal + Exhaust may also be a viable option.
With Offensive Mastery: Several choices are available. Heal + Rally is very viable. Essentially, though, any combination of Heal +, Ignite +, or Exhaust +, Rally and Cleanse will give you relative safety. Experiment and find what suits you best.
My personal affinity is either towards Ignite + Rally or Exhaust + Rally. My style of play is fairly aggressive. Cleanse has gone totally out of favor (for me) due to the removal of the magic immunity on cast.
Note (1/5/2010) - Exhaust becomes more useful than Ignite late game due to the increased prevalence of enemy physical carries.
II. In-Game Setup:
2. Bouncing Blade
3. Killer Instincts
5. Bouncing Blade
6. Death Lotus
8. Bouncing Blade
10. Bouncing Blade
11. Death Lotus
13. Bouncing Blade
16. Death Lotus
Item Build Progression:
1. BUY: Doran's Shield, 1x Health Potion
2. BUY: Boots, Heart of Gold
3. BUY: Heart of Gold -OR- Phage -OR- Aegis -OR- Giant's Belt (to start on Warmog's)
--You may sell Doran's Shield at this point if necessary.--
4. BUY: B. F. Sword x2
--You may sell Heart of Gold at this point if necessary.--
5. UPGRADE: Boots to Mercury Treads -OR- Sorcerer's -OR- Ninja Tabi
Note: Update 1/18/10 - Soul Shroud is a viable upgrade from Giant's Belt. 15% CD Reduction aura is great for you and your team. It is also very uncommon - so you'll be unlikely to impede on any other builds. It is also much cheaper than Warmog's.
Old: At this point, you will want to get started on a Warmog's Armor or Frozen Mallet if you haven't. If you already have the Giant's Belt, then you should upgrade now before the next step. Discretion should be used after this point since the game can take many different turns. If you fear for your survival during team fights, you'll want to upgrade/buy in that direction. If you are largely safe, then you can continue piling on damage.
6. BUY: B. F. Sword
7. UPGRADE: 2x B. F. Sword to Bloodthirster
8. BUY: Void Staff
9. UPGRADE: 1x B. F. Sword to Infinity Edge or Bloodthirster
End Game Build (rarely ever happens, but this is what it would be): Boots of Choice, Warmog's/Frozen Mallet/Aegis/Soul Shroud, Bloodthirster x3 or BT x2 + 1 IE, and Void Staff. - Note that Void Staff may not be entirely necessary if your opponents aren't stacking MR, and you can throw in another survival or damage item if needed.
Remember: Item builds are not to be adhered to 100% of the time. You should make use of your ability as a human to assess the way the game has gone so far and where it may be headed, and then use your best judgment to adjust your build as necessary.
III. Game Strategy
I personally prefer to solo mid. However, if you are an inexperienced Katarina player, you should probably start honing your abilities in a lane with another player, preferably one with a stun. Your team-mate does not necessarily need to be ranged, as Katarina has some fairly hefty early harassing capability. The key to early game is being both elusive and aggressive at the same time, and yet being deceptively passive all the same. This would at first thought seem to be a conceptual impossibility, but when you are finally well-acclimated with Katarina's potential you will see this for its true glory.
So here is your bread and butter for harassment: Around level 3, start passively sweeping by in semi-wide arcs behind your creeps, slicing forward and back with the movement of enemy champions (as if in a dance). Always, always be moving back and forth, especially against skillshot champions (do not be idle). Hide behind your minions and use them as a wall, keeping distance from auto-attacks and spells. As you do this, activate Killer Instincts and the targetting for Bouncing Blade with Q (this champion is not for clickers - just a warning, you will probably not do well) and any time an enemy champion gets near enough, sweep forward and hit them with it, then immediately turn back and do as normal, making sure to last-hit any minions with either Shunpo or Auto-attack (hence, being passive-aggressive). Also, use side lane Brush to your advantage if able.
If you find that your team duo (or you solo) are harassing enough to keep the enemies on the defensive, start weaving a Shunpo in on enemy champions. The key here is to Shunpo, auto-attack ONCE, and then immediately turn tail and run. Use Bouncing Blade in unison when it's available. Now, this comes with a fair amount of risk if you're playing against champions with stuns and other disables. You must use good judgment. Death is rarely ever necessary. Champions with skillshots can be tricky. Again, a key concept here is deception: be unpredictable. If the last time you did this maneuver you went back one specific direction, then go a modified route next time. Never be predictable.
Now, on the converse, if you are being harassed, do not fret. Use Bouncing Blade and Shunpo to last-hit minions and simply concentrate on avoiding damage and staying in your lane. Also, as a general note, if you find that your harassment is largely ineffective due to healing, focus on farming and simply be ready for any opportunity that arises.
You may have the opportunity for a few kills early in the game. You have greater opportunity if you take Ignite as a summoner spell. You can also goad other champions into fights they can't win with Heal + Rally.
At Level 6: With Death Lotus, you now have some prime killing/ganking potential. You will also have 1 rank of Killer Instincts. Most champions, except for tanks, will be killable when they go below half health. So, keep the harassment up on them - if they stay, if they decide not to err towards caution - make them pay for it. Bouncing Blade -> Killer Instincts -> Shunpo -> Pin yourself just slightly behind them, as long as you aren't in enemy tower range, and begin to Death Lotus. If you have Ignite, you can use this in the middle of channeling Death Lotus (it does not break channeling, same as other Summoner spells) for some nasty damage at level 6. Alternatively, Exhaust also works well during a Lotus.
About Killer Instincts: One level is all you really need until it's the last thing to rank up. Use KI with Bouncing Blade to debuff healers. Otherwise, use KI + Shunpo when initiating against physical carries, or when running from them.
Around this time - you should have farmed enough for at least Boots and Heart of Gold. If you have not, work more on your last-hitting. Get these items when there is a lull in combat. The next set of items (Giant's Belt, Another HoG, Phage, or Aegis [this item is for situations in which your tank doesn't intend to get one, or if you have no tank]) are also possible in addition if you've had an especially terrific early game.
This phase of the game is still mostly about laning, but now ganking is going to play a larger role not only against you, but for you. Do as you have done for most of early game: harass, farm, kill when able. Your next goal is to get enough for one of the second tier items if you haven't yet. If you have time, you can also grab a Lizard Buff, which will help with chasing down champions and give you extra harassing damage.
If you have Heart/2nd Tier Items, you can consider tower-diving for some kills. You won't take too much damage so long as you make it quick.
Team Fight Strategy: Because ganking, and eventually team fighting is now becoming important, it's time to explain the mentality and considerations you must take before initiating combat with Katarina.
As Katarina, you should be one of the very last to get into a team fight. If your team has enough health to withstand the first barrage of enemy abilities, let them soak the damage and stuns/disables, and then go in for the clean-up. Typically, you'll enter as you normally do to kill a champion: choose the squishiest target with the least health, and one that lacks an escape mechanic. As you rank up Death Lotus, focus more on getting in an area where your ult will hit the max amount of squishies. For now, though, at rank 1 Death Lotus will only hit one player, so make sure it counts.
If you find that your Death Lotus is successful, then immediately search for the lowest target within immediate vicinity, and Shunpo/BB them as necessary. Continue doing this as long as you are able. If you're low on health, or cornered, remember - SHUNPO can be used on ANY friendly or enemy target. Use it both as initiater, and escape mechanism. If you're using Rally, pop it right before you ult.
Katarina is the type of champion that for the majority of the game, because she cannot really keep anyone off of her once initiated (Shunpo'd), you're either all in or all out. What I mean by this is, if you're going to initiate, make it good or don't do it at all. This bridges on general team fight strategy and mechanics, though, so you'll have to use and cultivate your own judgment in specific situations.
By Level 11: You should have at least a couple kills under your belt and have one B. F. Sword, possibly two. If you find that your enemy team is composed mainly of magic damage and disables (somewhat common), then you can forgo the second B.F. temporarily to get Mercury Treads earlier. If there are significant physical carries, you want to get Ninja Tabi. If the game lacks any clear direction towards magical or physical damage, then you can forgo both and upgrade to Sorcerer's for the extra magic penetration.
If you purchased a Giant's Belt at this point to augment health in the Tier 2 range, then now is also a good time to start to upgrade to Warmog's. I wouldn't do this before your first B.F. Sword, though.
As I've already explained most of what there is to know about Kat, the rest of the game will be largely dependent on your team setup, coordination, organization, etc. Katarina is very team-dependent, and you will usually fail if you don't have a decent supporting cast. Never bite off more than you can chew, and never go in first (unless you're playing as Tankarina).
Continue farming your items, moving as a team when necessary, and being as badass with clutch kills as possible. Elixir of Fortitude is also a very good item to get if the team fights are even: it may be just enough to put you over the edge, as it provides health and attack for a cheap 300g.
As a last note: In order to truly excel, work on your reflexes and timing. You must be able to identify, very quickly, the next target on your hit list in a team fight. Never stop, never slow down, and never let the other team recover. Be as elusive as possible, and make sure you use Shunpo just as often to escape as you do to attack. In the end, it is your job to finish what gets started.
IV. Juking/Situational Builds
The Art of the Juke: While some have suggested that juking ultimately died when they chose the current fog/vision mechanics, there are champions that can still excel at this. For those unacquainted with the word, to "Juke" someone is to deny them a kill by means of deceptive movements, often by utilizing a mechanic of the game in a fashion that is abnormal (for example: using fog of war and brush to briefly impair the vision of your opponents, and then moving in an unexpected way while they've lost sight). It is something that is regarded as being difficult to teach, and is normally something learned through practice and experience. Because of Shunpo, Katarina has a fair amount of Jukability (har har, making up words ftw). Below I will briefly go over and list a few examples.
"Save Me Po!" - Sometimes there's just no avoiding the gank. You're being chased, and you've got nothing to Shunpo to (such as in the forest, or after a minion wave is down). But luckily, you're on vent (and inevitably cry, "Save me bro!"), or a team-mate notices you're in danger and decides to come and help. Noticing this, you quickly bring up targetting for Shunpo and spam furiously as soon as your buddy gets in range and ... POOF, you're running free from what was guaranteed to be a death. Occasionally this doesn't work, but you should always be thinking about trying to escape if there's even a single option available. Players screw up, and every second is a second longer that you give them to make a mistake that hopefully turns in your favor. Furthermore, doing this can also set up counter-ganks.
"Wardpo" - Smart players buy wards. Most players don't think much of the common Sight Ward to begin with, but a bright idea springs up every once in a while. The key to this: know which slot the ward is in, or be quick with your mouse, and drop a ward over a ledge, a forest, anywhere to get away from the gank: and then Shunpo to it. Yes, Wards count as friendly units, and this could save your ass. An Example: you just finished at dragon and the enemy team is coming in for kills, meaning you're surrounded, and no friendlies are in sight. But wait! You've got an extra Sight Ward! Throw it up over the lower ledge and Shunpo your way to safety.
The "Brush Up" - Enemies are hot on your tail, and there's nowhere else to go but into the brush to try and throw them off. The key here is timing: as soon as they pop in, you Shunpo out on the farthest unit and immediately run the opposite direction. The hope is that there's just enough of a delayed reaction on their team that they're thrown off to the point where they cannot hit you with any abilities, ensuring your relative safety and enabling you to set up the next Juke opportunity if they continue chasing.
Related to the above is the "Touch and Go" - Every once in a while, a simple direction change can throw off the enemy team. This is available mainly in situations where you're in complete open field, none of the above Jukes are possible, and they're right on top of you. Most teams will be somewhat spread out: ranged in the back, melee as close as possible. You realize if you keep running the same direction, you're going to die, so you've got one last option: Shunpo onto the enemy last in line and make a run for it the opposite direction.
Situational Build: Auto-Attackarina
Consider before you try - So the enemy team is just chock full of disables? At least 3 of them have low-cooldown, reliable stuns? Well, you know if they're halfway smart, you won't be getting your ultimate off more than a second or two. So now's the time to show the other side of Katarina: the auto-attacker.
1. BUY: Doran's Shield, Health Potion
2. BUY: Heart of Gold, Boots
3. BUY: Phage
4. BUY: B. F. Sword
5. UPGRADE: B. F. Sword to Infinity Edge
-- May sell Doran's or HoG after this point.
6. BUY: B. F. Sword
7. UPGRADE: Phage to Frozen Mallet
8. UPGRADE: Boots to most appropriate choice.
9. UPGRADE: B. F. Sword to Bloodthirster
10. BUY: Warmog's Armor (start with Giant's Belt)
11. BUY: Bloodthirster
Final Build: Boots of Choice, Frozen Mallet, Warmog's Armor, Infinity Edge, 2x Bloodthirster.
Build as normal up to the 2nd Tier items, which should now predominantly include a Phage. Your first major damage item should be an Infinity Edge ASAP (that means before you buy any more B.F. Swords). Why? Reason is fairly obvious: again, you can't count on your ult for damage anymore. They won't see you as much of a threat once your ult is down.. so make them pay for making your game rather miserable. You'll easily be able to crit for 300-400 with IE, and then the rest you build towards attack damage: a Bloodthirster or two, maybe even a Black Cleaver. You should invest gold into a Warmog's or upgrade Phage to Frozen Mallet near mid-game, and make sure you take Elixir of Agility to boost attack speed. You'll still try to use your ult at the best times, and you'll still have plenty of attack damage, but you'll also be able to tear through their back-line with crits. This is also an alternative build to the traditional "augment the ult" build that this guide basically espouses.
Situational Build: Tankarina
Consider: So you either have no tank, or you have a "soft" tank (such as a Nasus, Blitzcrank, Sion, etc.) on your team. You need some beef, and someone who will draw fire. This is where the Tankarina comes into play. This basically emphasizes early game survivability with moderate damage capability. Notice that most of the items are the same, but the suggested item path is focused on upgrading survival first.
1. BUY: Doran's Shield, Health Potion
2. BUY: Heart of Gold, Boots
3. BUY: Giant's Belt
4. BUY: B. F. Sword
5a. UPGRADE: Giant's Belt to Warmog's Armor
5b. BUY: Aegis of the Legion (if no one else is getting) - note that you'll need to upgrade the Giant's Belt to Warmog's later, before Number 8, if you opt this path. And you'll also want to skip the other options in Number 8.
-- Can sell Doran's or HoG at this point, or whenever necessary for item space.
6. BUY: B. F. Sword
7. UPGRADE: Boots to Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads
8a. BUY: Force of Nature - for heavy magical damage.
8b. BUY: Guardian Angel - for heavy physical, or high death rate.
8c. BUY: Giant's Belt to be upgraded to Warmog's Armor - if you need more health.
9. UPGRADE: Both B. F. Swords to Bloodthirsters as gold is available.
10. BUY: Atma's Impaler
Final Build: Upgraded Boots, Warmog's Armor, 2x Bloodthirsters, Force of Nature/Guardian Angel/Warmog's Armor, and Atma's Impaler.
The strategy: You play as the tank, basically. Instead of going in last, you're going to go in first. Lead with KI + Shunpo, and make sure your team knows to back you up. You will soak up initial stuns, damage, etc, and hopefully have enough health and regeneration to weather the current. If successful, you will normally be able to Death Lotus a fair amount, and the damage done will be more than most tanks can muster. Additionally, Kat's innate mobility allows you to get away from dangerous situations more readily. The only thing you're really lacking is CC that most other tanks have to lead with. The goal is to get enough attack damage to still be a considerable threat if left alive, yet have tank-inspired survivability to outlast the initial barrage, allowing the rest of your team to mop up afterward.
V. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Note: Many of the answers are paraphrased from my replies in this thread. Don't expect grand explanations. I'm writing this so that these questions aren't repeated as often. Most of these questions have to do with the base build, not Auto-Attackarina or Tankarina.
Q: Why Void Staff over an item like Rylai's Scepter?
A: Rylai's Scepter (about 3100g) costs more than Void Staff (2300 gold). While Rylai's offers better overall stats in terms of survival with extra health, this is usually already accounted for in my build with items like Warmog's, and additional health is usually unnecessary at the point in the game where you'd get either of these items. The AP on both items is largely wasted - so we're left with what effect they'll give. Void Staff offers 40% Magic Penetration, while Rylai's offers a slow on spells. In late game team fights, it's usually you getting annihilated, or them getting annihilated - thus the slow is redundant. In some cases, Void Staff may not even be necessary, if for instance the other team decided not to stack MR (in which case you're probably shredding them). Typically, Void Staff is useful against anything greater than 70 MR.
Q: What about cool-down reduction items like Spirit Visage, Brutalizer or Frozen Heart?
A: I've considered items like these before, however, you're always sacrificing health in order to get them. Having low health, even visually, not counting defensive stats or effective health, will make you a huge target (even more so than normal). Voracity, Kat's Passive, will give you instant cool-down reduction if you're playing well and getting kills/assists. So if you're doing well - CD reduction is superfluous beyond her ultimate. If you're doing bad - it's useful, but your health takes a huge hit over my suggested build choices, resulting in death. Frozen Heart is a great item, don't get me wrong, but it has mana as a major cost and there's no reason why your tank shouldn't get one sometime in the game against physical carries.
The only CD reduction items you should consider in an item build are Soul Shroud and Haunting Guise. Soul Shroud offers a little over 500 health and a 15% CD Reduction AURA for the entire team (and mana regen, but you aren't worried about that). Guise is cheap at 1337 gold, and gives you 20 Magic Pen/10% CD Reduction, the other stats don't matter much.
Q: Why not Black Cleaver?
A: Its similar cost to Bloodthirster does make one think at first that they are comparable items, but this quickly loses its validity when you factor in actual mechanics of the game. Katarina is not an auto-attacker in a normal game. Even when you gear to be an auto-attacker, you're looking for quick hits and quick kills - you're really not there to debuff, and with her slow attack speed, the debuffed armor doesn't stack high enough or fast enough to make a difference except against tanks, which are dealt with last anyway. 15 minion kills and Bloodthirster is better than Black Cleaver. Anything more is gravy.
Q: Exhaust vs. Ignite, which is better?
A: This is a case of one being better early, the other late. Ignite is somewhat better early, because even if your opponent has Flash, they're still going to be taking that damage. Whereas, if your opponent has Flash and uses it to get away from Exhaust + Rally combo, you just wasted Exhaust. Clearly, however, Exhaust is much more potent late game when considering the effect of enemy physical carries. As a result, even though my original stance was that Ignite was great, I have shifted towards using Exhaust so as to have an option of shutting down carries late game. So for me, Exhaust > Ignite.
Q: Must Rally be cast before using Death Lotus to get the full double-dip bonus?
A: Yes. The reason for this appears to be that Death Lotus' initial cast takes your Attack Damage at that instance and uses it for the entire duration for calculations, whereas the Improved Rally bonus of 20% extra base magic damage is calculated on each dagger hit. So in order to get that 20% bonus AD, Rally must be dropped before casting Death Lotus. This also applies for Taric's ultimate and any other boosts.
Q: When is a good time to head back to base and buy the first set of items?
A: While a large part of this will change game to game, the general idea for buying is either you're low on health and need to rest, or your opponent has made a trip back to base and bought items - thus shifting balance in their favor. In either instance, for the beginning of the game, you should try to aim to go back at either 1300-1400 gold, or 2300-2500 gold. This allows you to buy 2-3 items, immediately giving you a huge boost to survival.
ATTENTION: FAQ WILL BE CONTINUED IN MY NEXT POST OF THE THREAD. I have run out of room in the OP!
As someone who has maintained about a 90% winratio on 2 accounts as Kat by following Furor's previous advice.......I can say that I am unhappy with this being posted.
As much as it is nice to see the help offered, I don't want Kat to become overly cookie-cutter mainstream.
Oh, I guess as an add-on, for me exhaust + lotus works very well when solo queueing both for dealing with early-mid game 1v1 encounters with physical carries (who can otherwise kill me right through lotus depending on their build), and with ensuring a very fast kill right after hitting 6 usually.
V. FAQ Continued from Original Post...
Q: Why are you ignoring my build suggestions/shooting them down?
A: This guide is assuming a certain level of competency among opponents. It does not assume you will get First Blood, or any kills at all before level 6. This is because it is fairly normal to NOT get kills against competent opponents. Guides that assume far too much will largely be ignored by me. Also, posting your own guide in my thread is asking to be ignored, as that has nothing to do with my thread. If you want to be responded to, keep on topic, and don't type like a 3-year-old.
Q: Why the prevalence of survival items so early? Why focus on these items over damage?
A: The goal in the game is to not die. Deaths are rarely ever necessary. Having extra health also perceptively changes the health bar so that you look like less of a juicy target. Speaking personally, I almost always go after the lower health target first; and that remains true for pretty much any top tier player. If you have low health, you're guaranteeing being focused and dying too often to be effectual, no matter how much damage you get. Heart of Gold represents the perfect combination of health, effective health (via armor) and late game viability (via gold income). It is, to say the least, a constant in my builds. You may get away with low health in low tier games, but I assure you, that if you ever start climbing the Elo ladder, you will be brutalized by not having survival items.
Q: When would a crit and crit damage mastery/rune build exceed the usefulness of magic penetration?
A: Late game, with appropriate items (such as Infinity Edge), mostly in an Auto-Attackarina type of build. That build is actually quite viable in most games, you won't notice a huge decrease in your overall potential of Death Lotus, and you'll be able to slice through enemies like a hot knife through butter.
Q: Why not get Banshee's Veil?
A: Banshee's Veil can be pierced relatively easy by AoE spells, which means nobody even has to target you. In a team fight, you always Shunpo into a dangerous area with lots of spam going on, so chances are you're going to get hit by some kind of AoE spell during that time (this isn't even counting inconsequential single-target nukes), making the Veil pretty useless. Additionally, some of its cost is mana, and you have to ask whether the benefit will offset the cost sufficiently. It does have nice magic resist, and I have considered it, but I think you're better off going for Warmog's 99% of the time, since it takes up a survival slot.
As a result, competent players won't be fooled and will usually bypass it with some sort of spam spell.
End of FAQ for now, will post more updates in the future as I go through the rest of the thread. I hit several main topics, though. If there's something that you want to see answered here, then ask.
I'll add 2 more things since I am wanting to play Mundo more anyway:
"The Juke" - works on mediocre players to avoid certain death. While being persued by 2-3 champions, run at the nearest brush. As soon as they cross the threshold in persuit, shunpo back behind (the shunpo almost always positions you behind) the trailing champ and back over the brush threshold.....then continue in the opposite direction (the direction you were coming from). If you can pull it off, it feels absolutely great, and I have gotten much good feedback from pub teammates who have seen it work.
"The Risk" - Getting a kill on lotus means insta-shunpo. Therefore, if I am quite certain my lotus is going to get that kill, I can shunpo+lotus in a very dangerous position with a plan to immediately shunpo out again. The risk involved is that if you do not get that kill for whatever reason, then you are probably dead
Juking - I may add a section on this at a later point.
"The Risk" -aka suiciding- generally not worth doing in a high tier game. One death at a bad time could easily get your Nexus pushed in during a competitive game.
Also, forum formatting sucks. So bear with the huge wall of text. I'm doing my best to try to make it look neat.
Excellent guide - I definitely need to try this out. I haven't played Kat very much, and I think it would be interesting.
I just have one question, however. Why use Void Staff? I find Rylai's Sceptre to be superior for the slowing effect it grants after you use Shunpo, and on top of that, you get 550 more HP and +80 AP. In addition, Kat doesn't use mana, so the +250 mana that VS grants is pointless.
I get the 40% magic penetration part with the Void Staff, but how effective is that really?
Again, I haven't played Kat much, but Rylai's seems to be more useful for the HP and slow.
Finally a Furor kat guide.
1. You say alacrity and sunder both out perform brute force in the long run, but what about lethality? I don't get any crit runes nor any crit items so I find the extra damage on brute force more useful.
2. Do you head back to base as soon as you have enough gold for boots/HoG?
3. You dont really comment much on exhaust. When you are solo queueing you can't really rely on allied stuns and slows so I find it really useful. I assume you don't use it much because of cleanse and merc treads being common in your ELO range?
4. Black Cleaver. I usually get Bloodthirsters myself, but Blackcleavers are cheaper, and you dont need to worry about dieing or farming minions before a fight. Haven't really tested them enough to have a strong opinion though.
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