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Katarina/Strategy

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< Katarina

Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia


Skill usage

  • Katarina's main combo is  Bouncing Blades, followed by  Shunpo into  Sinister Steel Sinister Steel's movement-speed boost is also effective in escaping retaliation.
    • If you are close enough, a safer alternative would be  Bouncing Blades -->  Sinister Steel (to proc the mark) -->  Shunpo (escape to a minion, champion, ward or trinket).
  • When facing a team with healers, use  Death Lotus in order to hit as many enemy champions as possible, hindering their healing capabilities.
  •  Katarina can easily escape  Bullet Time,  Absolute Zero,  Grand Skyfall,  Cannon Barrage,  Cataclysm, or even an enemy  Katarina's  Death Lotus by using  Shunpo on a unit that's out of range. She can leave the area of effect of special abilities unless she is affected by an interrupting crowd control effect like a knockup, stun, silence, etc.
  •  Katarina can use  Shunpo to Sight Wards, Vision Wards,  H-28G Evolution Turrets,  Jack In The Boxes,  Demacian Standards,  Noxious Traps Zyra's plants ,  Lanterns  and trinkets so keep an eye on the battlefield and coordinate with your teammates to give you an easy escaping route.
  •  Shunpo will always place her on the opposite side of the target from her current location. This is a buff for chasing enemies, but can put you in some less-desirable spots as well.
  • With quick reactions,  Shunpo can be used to dodge skill shots like  Flash Frost and  Enchanted Crystal Arrow.
  • When the enemy is low on health behind their tower, consider a  Shunpo into  Death Lotus combo, as very few champions can withstand the onslaught at critical health. Plus, you can Shunpo out again if your kill was successful. An inexperienced player may not expect the sudden tower dive, though a stun will shut you down quite quickly. Make sure you have enough health to make it out alive.
  • This strategy can also help you in team fights. If you see an enemy who has low HP, you can  Shunpo in, kill them, and then  Shunpo out right away. Be mindful of stuns.
  • A surprise  Death Lotus can turn the tide quickly. This is best used in coordination with hard AoE crowd control, as not having any form of crowd control can leave Katarina vulnerable during  Death Lotus. If your team can keep enemies from escaping, Katarina can put out tons of damage.
  • Remember that many forms of crowd control will interrupt  Death Lotus, specifically any stun, polymorph, suppression silence, knockup, knockback or forced actions (taunt, charm, flee or fear) . Enemy tanks will save their crowd control abilities such as  Shen's  Shadow Dash or  Rammus's  Puncturing Taunt specifically to stop you.
    • Additionally, moving during the cast time of  Death Lotus will also interrupt casting, so once committed to the casting, remain stationary for the full duration.
    • Try waiting until the other team is already engaged with your team before using  Shunpo followed by  Death Lotus.
  •  Death Lotus also hits enemy champions which are stealthed. Furthermore, it becomes usable when a stealthed champion approaches  Katarina, so keeping an eye on its icon may notify the player of incoming ganks.
  •  Katarina is one of the few manaless champions and is based entirely on cooldowns. Use this to your advantage by using spells whenever possible.
    •  Bouncing Blades makes for an excellent last-hitting spell as it keeps you at a safe distance while allowing for easy farming and doubles as a harassment tool. Try to time the skill to kill as many minions as possible with a single use in order to avoid having the skill on cooldown when other last hits become available. For easy harass, use it on the minions as they're lined up walking into lane so the last bounce jumps to the enemy champion in the back.
      •  Bouncing Blades becomes an even more effective farming tool when farming under a turret. From early to mid-game, it does just enough damage to allow easy auto-attack last hits on caster minions once they have taken a single turret shot. However, the same is not true for melee minions. Cast  Bouncing Blades on the caster minions once the melee minions have been killed to utilize this strategy to the full effect.
    •  Shunpo and  Sinister Steel can be used to quickly and effectively farm minions while directly under your tower, especially at higher levels. Wait for the tower to fire at minions once or twice before jumping in for the last hit.
  •  Death Lotus' channel is not interrupted by using summoner spells, with the exception of Flash and Teleport.
  •  Death Lotus' channel will be interrupted if you activate items such as Health Potion, Deathfire Grasp or  Hextech Gunblade, so use these items first. Zhonya's Hourglass will also cancel the channel, but can be used to prevent significant damage.
  •  Voracity is deceptively strong. A full combo of  Katarina's abilities does nearly as much damage as a fully channeled  Death Lotus to the target, allowing Katarina to snowball quickly after her first kill/assist and clean up very effectively at the end of a teamfight. Alternatively, getting a reset on  Shunpo can allow her to escape a bad situation.
  •  Katarina's  Death Lotus should never be used haphazardly in team fights, as it is incredibly easy to interrupt. It is important to carefully time your ultimate so as to exact its full potential; thus try to delay using  Death Lotus until after your opponents' crowd control abilities have been exhausted in order to channel it fully. 

Build usage

  • Because  Katarina does not use mana, any item that includes mana or mana regeneration is inefficient if built on her.
  • Katarina is can easily fall behind due to her bad early game so it always a good idea to start off by rushing a Deathfire grasp to instantly burst your lane opponent even if they bought magic resist
  • Although two of her skills scale with her attack damage ( Sinister Steel and  Death Lotus), all four of her abilities deal magic damage, so magic penetration is very useful.
    • Sorcerer's Shoes is therefore the preferred choice of boots, regardless of whether you're doing an attack damage or ability power build.
  • Although both  Sinister Steel and  Death Lotus scale from both ability power and attack damage, the ratios across her entire kit heavily favor ability power. In particular,  Bouncing Blades is her safest and most reliable ability for farming and harassing and scales only on ability power.
    • In addition, since  Sinister Steel and  Death Lotus only scale off bonus attack damage and since ability power costs less gold than attack damage, she will deal more damage through her spells when building ability power than she will when building attack damage.
  • Since  Sinister Steel and  Death Lotus are both point-blank-AoE abilities,  Katarina must take more risks to take advantage of attack damage.
  • The combination of offensive and defensive stats on Zhonya's Hourglass and Abyssal Scepter make them excellent choices for  Katarina. In particular, the active on Zhonya's Hourglass can be used to try and bait out hard CC that might otherwise interrupt  Death Lotus and/or kill her.
  • Hextech Gunblade used to be one of best items available for  Katarina, but reduced AD ratios and a shorter channel time have made it less optimal. It's still a very fun item on her, especially later in the game when its huge cost is less significant.
  •  Voracity makes  Katarina naturally snowball, so you probably don't need snowball items like Mejai's Soulstealer if you're doing well, and won't get much value from them if you're not.
  • Building some survivability is a good idea, as  Katarina is naturally fairly squishy and has no crowd control to keep enemies at a distance. Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Haunting Guise are good choices for increasing durability. If you can time the active well, Zhonya's Hourglass can prevent a lot of damage, otherwise Guardian Angel can be a good choice.
    • Purchasing an early Hextech Revolver and later a Will of the Ancients or Hextech Gunblade can allow for good sustainability within lane and after a fight. Use your  Bouncing Blades along with your  Shunpo and  Sinister Steel freely on a minion wave to gain health back and reduce unnecessary recalls.
      • This is typically a last-resort option and should only be bought if a lot of damage is being sustained in lane. Buying this item will allow you to clear your minion wave and immediately farm the wraith or wolf camp without losing too much health to the jungle creeps.
  • Keep one or more Sight Wards or even a trinket in your inventory to  Shunpo to. This can help you to make a quick escape, or to catch up to a fleeing enemy.
    • It's usually a good idea to have two or even three Sight Wards in your inventory at all times. They can be used to ward the mid lane and prevent enemy ganks or escape extremely persistent chasers like  Master Yi,  Renekton, and  Kassadin.
  • Katarina benefits greatly from the ability power and cooldown reduction of Deathfire Grasp and Blackfire Torch. These items are both particularly useful against tankier opponents.
  • As an assassin (and because of  Voracity),  Katarina is countered by tanky opponents. A Deathfire Grasp or Liandry's Torment/ Blackfire Torch will help you burst or harass down these challengers respectively.

Recommended builds

Summoner's Rift
Starting Boots of Speed item Health Potion item4 Warding Totem item
Essential Haunting Guise item Sorcerer's Shoes item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Rabadon's Deathcap item Void Staff item Deathfire Grasp item
Defensive Guardian Angel item Rylai's Crystal Scepter item Zhonya's Hourglass item
Consumables Health Potion item Sight Ward item
The Howling Abyss
Starting Boots of Speed item Frostfang item Health Potion item5
Essential Haunting Guise item Sorcerer's Shoes item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Rabadon's Deathcap item Hextech Gunblade item Void Staff item
Defensive Rylai's Crystal Scepter item Zhonya's Hourglass item Twin Shadows item
Consumables Health Potion item
The Crystal Scar
Starting Boots of Speed item Amplifying Tome item Health Potion item3
Essential Haunting Guise item Sorcerer's Shoes item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Wooglet's Witchcap item Void Staff item
Defensive Rylai's Crystal Scepter item Hextech Sweeper item
Consumables Health Potion item
The Twisted Treeline
Starting Boots of Speed item Amplifying Tome item Health Potion item
Essential Haunting Guise item Sorcerer's Shoes item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Wooglet's Witchcap item Void Staff item
Defensive Rylai's Crystal Scepter item Hextech Sweeper item
Consumables Health Potion item

Countering

  •  Katarina lacks any ability to heal herself. It is a good idea to harass her in lane at early game to make her under-farmed and under-leveled.
  • Picking champions that have targeted abilities, such as  Ryze and  Malphite, are strong counter picks to  Katarina because she relies a lot on dodging skillshots with  Shunpo and she is less effective against tanky opponents.  Ryze,  Annie, and  Diana are particularly good counter picks because they can out-trade her before level 6 and can still become very tanky.
  • Much like  Mordekaiser,  Katarina is a devastating AoE and single target threat, but she entirely lacks crowd control, making her an easy target for ganks if she doesn't have  Shunpo up. While  Shunpo is on cooldown, she becomes vulnerable to a gank so long as you or your jungler have both an immediate gap-closer and CC. She can escape from junglers like  Udyr rather easily because of the movement speed buff from  Sinister Steel, but has a harder time against junglers like  Xin Zhao and  Lee Sin.
  • Similar to  Malzahar Katarina is extremely devastating, but is instantly shut down by CC. However,  Malzahar is at least protected from his target's retaliation, while  Katarina is still easy prey for champions with strong or delayed crowd control like  Viktor,  Cassiopeia,  LeBlanc or  Malzahar himself.
  • Putting yourself into untargetable status allows you to entirely ignore  Katarina as she completely lacks DoT damage, likely ruining  Death Lotus. Champions who can reliably do this are  Elise,  Vladimir and  Fizz.
  • Saving your crowd control in order to interrupt  Death Lotus can negate a large part of her damage.
  • Prepare for a next round of  Katarina abilities right after she gets a kill or assist as all of her abilities' cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds from  Voracity. After two kills,  Death Lotus will be on a 10 second cooldown and after three kills it will be off cooldown.
    • The full round of  Katarina abilities deal almost as much damage as a fully channeled  Death Lotus on a single target so don't expect  Katarina to be extremely reliant on her ultimate for damage.
    •  Death Lotus has a short to medium cooldown at all ranks, and with one or two kills or assists she will have it very quickly. With enough cooldown reduction  Katarina can even channel it twice in a teamfight. As such, killing her is likely a higher priority than killing any other team member, perhaps even the enemy AD Carry.
  • Even though some of them scale with attack damage, all of  Katarina's abilities do magic damage. They can always be countered with magic resistance, regardless of whether she's doing an attack damage or ability power build.
    • If she has built a Void Staff, building health items will become more effective than magic resistance once you have more than about 50 MR.
  • Moving away from a minion wave when she throws  Bouncing Blades can help you dodge it.
  •  Katarina is one of the few assassins to have a weak laning phase, she cannot sustain well, has only 1 ranged spell to harass with and is extremely squishy, instead she shares a similar power curve to  Poppy. Her late game is extremely powerful due to  Death Lotus, which will decimate up to three of your team members if not stopped. Prevent her from snowballing, even in the late game. All it takes is one or two kills at any point in the game for her to become a threat.
  • When facing her in team fights, save your hard crowd control when she begins channeling her  Death Lotus. This will leave her in an extremely vulnerable position and strip her of her main damage source.
    • Catching her off-guard or out of position can leave her without enough health to engage in the team fight, giving your team a huge edge.
  • Always keep an eye out for  Katarina during team fights as she will do her best to sneak around your team's front line and  Shunpo to a squishy carry sitting in the back line.
    • Because of this threat, picking ADCs with hard CC such as  Draven,  Ashe,  Quinn,  Tristana, or  Vayne and saving their CC for when  Katarina uses  Death Lotus can be quite effective.
    • ADCs with escape mechanisms such as  Ezreal,  Tristana,  Graves,  Corki, and  Caitlyn can be equally as effective against  Katarina if the player has quick reactions to escape  Death Lotus while it channels before taking any significant damage. Not only does this deny Katarina a kill and, thus, a reset of her abilities, but it leaves her extremely vulnerable to damage from all members of your team.

Champion Spotlight

Katarina Champion Spotlight06:50

Katarina Champion Spotlight

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