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Champion Relaunch: Katarina, the Sinister Blade

By NeeksNaman [1]

This patch, we'll be overhauling one of our classic champions: KatarinaSquare Katarina, the Sinister Blade. Although Katarina's manaless, cooldown-based abilities put a unique spin on her gameplay, she's historically faced a number of challenges in the very early game and in team fight situations. In this update, we've made a few changes to her kit aimed at addressing these difficulties, while retaining the core elements that make playing this Noxian femme fatale a fun and satisfying experience. We also gave her a complete visual upgrade, including a new model, animations and spell effects on all of her abilities!

Katarina's New Abilities

Voracity old

Champion kills or assists reduce Death Lotus Death Lotus' cooldown and refresh your basic abilities.

Bouncing Blades
Bouncing Blades

Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them. Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark to deal additional magic damage.

Sinister Steel
Sinister Steel old

Katarina whirls her daggers around her, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area. If she hits an enemy champion, Katarina gains Movement Speed for a short duration.

Shunpo old

Katarina instantly moves to her target's location and takes reduced damage from enemies for a short duration. If the target is an enemy, she deals damage.

Death Lotus
Death Lotus old

Katarina becomes a flurry of blades, throwing daggers with unrivaled speed at up to three nearby champions. Daggers deal magic damage and Grievous Wounds icon reduce incoming healing on targets hit.

Katarina Screenshots

The first problem that Katarina players often faced was weak performance very early on, primarily related to the steep damage curve of her core damage ability, Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades. While Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades scales dramatically as it levels up, early on it ricochets only a few times, dealing relatively low damage. This forces Katarina players to play conservatively early in the laning phase, encouraging passive play until Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades can be used to harass effectively.

To address this disparity, we normalized the damage inflicted by Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades and made it bounce the same number of times at every level of the skill. In addition, each ricochet will now select the nearest available target instead of bouncing randomly. This change should both facilitate interesting counter-play for opponents and open up new harassment opportunities for advanced Katarina players who are able to predict where their daggers are going to bounce.

In addition to her early game difficulties, Katarina's reliance on the massive damage potential of Death Lotus Death Lotus has always made her a challenging champion to balance. A fully channeled Death Lotus ultimate could quickly reduce a team to ashes, but a well-timed interrupt from a canny defender could quickly transform Katarina from a maelstrom of death into an easy kill. For this reason, we decided to move the healing debuff from Killer Instincts Killer Instincts onto Death Lotus Death Lotus and decrease the channel time slightly. This reigned in the overall damage numbers slightly, replacing some of this raw punishment with a bit of utility gave us the opportunity to make remainder of Katarina's kit more dangerous.

To accomplish this, we swapped Killer Instincts Killer Instincts for a spammable, area-of-effect attack that grants Katarina a brief speed boost when it lands. This new ability, dubbed Sinister Steel Sinister Steel, gives Katarina superior mobility and allows her to continue laying down damage on multiple targets during a team fight if Death Lotus Death Lotus is interrupted by a stun or knockback. For a little added kick, Bouncing Blades Bouncing Blades will now apply a debuff that is consumed to deal bonus damage when Katarina strikes the target with an attack or ability. These changes should give Katarina the extra damage she needs to play aggressively right out the gates and the flexibility necessary to keep her damage potential high once the team fights start.

2017 Season Update

KatarinaSquare Katarina's still the same Death Lotus whirlwind of Bouncing Blade blades, but now we're adding more lightning-speed Shunpo Shunpo-shenanigans to help you get the Voracity reset. [2]


Whenever an enemy champion dies after being recently damaged by Katarina, her cooldowns are significantly reduced.

Bouncing Blade
Bouncing Blade

Throws a dagger, dealing magic damage to the target and two nearby enemies before falling onto the ground.

If Katarina picks up a dagger, she Sinister Steel flourishes, dealing magic damage in an area around her.


Tosses a dagger in the air, gaining movement speed for a short duration. After a brief delay, Katarina can pick up the dagger.


Instantly blinks to target enemy, ally, or dagger. Upon arrival, Katarina deals magic damage to the nearest enemy. If Katarina targets a dagger, Shunpo's cooldown is massively reduced.

Death Lotus
Death Lotus

Become a flurry of blades, rapidly throwing knives at the three nearest enemy champions and dealing massive magic damage over the duration. All enemies struck receive Grievous Wounds icon Grievous Wounds, reducing their healing.


2017 Season - Login Screen03:16

2017 Season - Login Screen

Season 2017 Theme
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