Katarina Build Guide

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Razid's In-depth Katarina Guide - "The Lotus of Death"

written by sandreid

Katarina Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    External Image

    Greetings Summoners!

    A little background:
    I started playing League of Legends when Garen and Malzahar had just come out (Summer 2010), and I've enjoyed the game ever since.
    The first Champion I ever tried was Katarina, and ever since that first game, I've loved playing her.I've played Katarina as my "main" ever since, and I still absolutely love to play her after some 800 games with her.

    In this guide I will share my experiences and tell you guys how I like you build and play her.

    This is still a work in progress. I will continue to add new sections and edit old ones, if I ever change my opionions.

    This guide is my first. Please remember to rate, so that other people can find it.
    If you like the guide, please comment, so I know if it's something I should keep on doing :)


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    IF YOU DISLIKE THE GUIDE, PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO COMMENT WHY, INSTEAD OF JUST VOTING IT DOWN.

    Thanks!

    Colors in this guide:
    Purple = Quintessences.
    Light Blue = Defensive, Glyphs, Cooldown Reduction, Summoner Abilities, Spells and Items.
    Light Green = Utility, Ability Power and Magic Damage.
    Orange = Offensive, Attack Damage, Spells and Physical Damage.
    Red = Magic Penetration and Marks.
    Brown = Hybrid.
    Turquoise = Fun facts.
    Pink = Champions.
    Yellown = Seals.
    GreyMaps


    With that said, lets dive right into it:

  • Runes

    Rune build 1 - Lategame Death Lotus burst:

    Quintessences:
    3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - +4,5% movement speed. Again, this will make you get in
    Shunpo-range of your targets faster, or in a lot of cases, in time. This can, and will, make the difference when you're escaping, or chasing someone down. With these 3 Quints you will run faster than champs having Quickness from Utility (Support and Casters with mana). Carriers will either have to have items like Phantom Dancer, Youmuu's Ghostblade or Trinity Force to be able to run away from you. And only if your Ghost is on cooldown! Casters will be forced to get either Lich Bane or Boots of Swiftness to run faster than you. And the same goes for the tanks, who will be forced to get Shurelya's Reverie or [item_text=Force of Nature] to get away from you.
    The real beauty of having these Quints is that it's quite tricky for the enemy to realize you are faster than them. They can't see it on your items. Only by selecting you and inspecting your Movement Speed.

    I said
    Katarina IS her Death Lotus. While I still mean this, and I want to maximize the damage of it as much as possible, there are still a few exceptions, and this is one of them. I could take the flat AP or Magic Penetration Quints for a little more damage, but I simply believe that picking up kills, that would otherwise have gotten away, is much better, when you have 2x snowball items.
    The same goes for escaping: I rather survive, and keep my stacks, than do a little extra damage, that might/might not have done a difference.


    Marks:
    9x Greater Mark of Insight - Giving you 8,5 Magic Penetration.
    Katarina is an AP champion. She does Magic Damage, and 99% of her damage in teamfights are from abilities. There is no denying that! If you play Katarina as an autoattack champion, you're doing it wrong.

    Seals:
    9x Greater Seal of Force -
    +0,1 AP / level (+1,8 AP @ level 18) giving you a total of 16,20 AP at level 18.

    Glyphs:
    9x Greater Glyph of Force -
    +0,17 AP / level (+3,06 AP @ level 18) giving you a total of 27,54 AP at level 18.

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    Total Stats:
    +8,5 Magic Penetration
    +4,5% Movement Speed
    +43,74 AP @ level 18 (+58,61 AP @ level 18 with Rabadon's Deathcap and Ardor).
    This build will make your Death Lotus hit as hard as possible, while still being able to chase people down. It's good if you are against a team with few interrupts to Death Lotus and it is the build that will make you hurt the most, in general, lategame.
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    Rune build 2 - Early game Bouncing Blade burst:
    3x [rune=Greater Quintessence of Insight]
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Strength
    9x Greater Glyph of Insight

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    Total Stats:
    +19,0 Magic Penetration
    +3,87 AD.
    This build makes your Bouncing Blade hit as HARD as possible early game. With this rune build your Bouncing Blade will at rank 1 hit for 63,09 damage instead of 50,26 damage (Rune build 1) against a target with 30 Magic Resist. That's a 38,4% increase in damage! (Calculations will be added soon)A hard hitting Bouncing Blade will harass the enemies out of the lane and give you more life from Spell Vamp, when you get Hextech Revolver.
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    Why do you use AP per level runes, and not the flat ones like (Greater Glyph of Potency)?

    I build Katarina as a "Death Lotus-killer". I want to buff her Death Lotus's damage as much as possible, simply because, let's face it: Katarina is a "one-trick pony". Thats all she can do.
    Her damage, is and always will be, from Death Lotus. Sure, Shunpo does a lot of damage, and so does Bouncing Blade, but it's not killing people by themselves. Even if you are fed enough to kill people with those two abilities alone, you would have to use Death Lotus to get them low enough to kill them in the first place.



    What does this have to do with the runes?
    The AP you get from runes like Greater Glyph of Force exceeds runes like Greater Glyph of Potency at level 6. Greater Glyph of Force giving 1,02 AP at level 6, and Greater Glyph of Potency only giving 0,99 AP at level 6. Which means that you will already at level 6, get more AP by having Greater Glyph of Force and Greater Seal of Force, and they only get better with every level after that! And since this guide is about maximizing the damage of an ability you get at level 6, there is no point what so ever to take Potency over Force.

    Level 5:
    Greater Glyph of Potency at level 5: +0,99 AP
    Greater Glyph of Force at level 5: +0,85 AP

    Level 6:
    Greater Glyph of Potency at level 6: +0,99 AP
    Greater Glyph of Force at level 6: +1,02 AP

    Fun fact: Greater Glyph of Force gives +209% Ability Power compared to Greater Glyph of Potency at level 18.

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    Why not get more survivability?

    Again, I'm not a big fan of building Katarina tough, or atleast not in normal games. If her Death Lotus gets interrupted, which it will, you being tough, ain't gonna do you no good. You will most likely die anyway. Your damage and Shunpo are your real lifesavers. If you want to play Katarina in Ranked however, I recommend you check out my "Ranked Matches"-section.

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    Why not get CDR runes?

    I've been using full CDR all the time since I started playing LoL up until a month or so ago. After doing some testing, I realized that CDR for Katarina isn't doing much of a difference. Death Lotus is, as said earlier, your primary damage source. The cooldown of Death Lotus with this build http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/1340040001000000003304021000300001000000000000000 is 43,5 seconds. Going CDR (Seals & Glyphs) would reduce the CD to 36,77 seconds. You will however lose up to 43,74 AP (58,61 AP if you have Rabadon's Deathcap and Ardor).
    Because of Katarina's passive, Voracity, CDR is simply not worth the rune slots. Getting 3 kills / assists in a teamfight will, with CDR, reduce the cd of Death Lotus by 3 x 15 seconds, which of course is 45 seconds. So even though you don't have CDR runes, your most important ability would still be ready.
    Stacking AP / level runes abuses Voracity to the maximum. You feed on the fact, that you want stuff to die. How do you get kills and assists? You make sure your enemies die, by doing as much damage as possible with Death Lotus! Even if you get interruped, you did more damage than you would have done otherwise.
    To put it simplee: You get far more CDR by stacking damage and killing players, than actually taking CDR.

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    Since Death Lotus scales better with AD than AP (0,50 AD compared to 0,25 AP), why don't you use AD / level runes?

    Simple! Rabadon's Deathcap and Ardor makes Ability Power superior. Death Lotus scales only with bonus AD. AP / level runes are almost twice as good as AD / level, when it comes to Death Lotus damage. A hybrid between the both is however really a close 2nd, and would actually be better Bouncing Blade-wise because it scales much better with AD:


    Ability Power:
    Seals: +0,10 (+1,80 AP at level 18) AP * 9 = 16,20 AP at level 18
    Glyphs: +0,17 (+3,06 AP at level 18) AP * 9 = 27,42 AP at level 18

    27,42 + 16,20 = 43,74 AP

    43,74 AP +34% (30% from Rabadon's Deathcap and 4% from Ardor)(43,74 * 0,34 + 43,74) = 58,61 AP

    58,61 * 0,25 = 14,65 Bonus Magic Damage to Death Lotus at level 18.


    Attack Damage:
    Seals: +0,06 (+1,09 AD at level 18) AD * 9 = 9,81 AD at level 18
    Glyphs: +0,04 (+0,73 AD at level 18) AD * 9 = 6,57 AD at level 18

    9,81 + 6,57 = 16,38 AD

    16,38 * 0,50 = 8,19 Bonus Magic Damage to Death Lotus at level 18.


    Hybrid:
    Seals: +0,06 (+1,09 AD at level 18) AD * 9 = 9,81 AD at level 18
    Glyphs: +0,17 (+3,06 AP at level 18) AP * 9 = 27,42 AP at level 18

    9,81 = 9,81 AD
    27,42 = 27,42 AP

    27,42 AP +34% (30% from Rabadon's Deathcap and 4% from Ardor)(27,42 * 0,34 + 27,42) = 36,74 AP

    9,81 * 0,50 = 4,90 Bonus Magic Damage to Death Lotus
    36,74 * 0,25 = 9,18 Bonus Magic Damage to Death Lotus

    4,90 + 9,18 = 14,08 Bonus Magic Damage to Death Lotus at level 18.
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    Why would you gimp yourself earlygame by using AP / level runes, when Katarina is one of the best earlygame harassers in LoL?

    I like to play it safe. This snowball-build is very powerful, but only if you don't feed the enemies. If you do, its most likely "gg" right there. You want primarily to kill enemy champs AFTER you've gotten atleast one of your snowball items. Before that point, its nice, but not as important as after. After you've gotten your hands on both snowball items you will either be extremely rewarded for killing, or extremely punished for dying. The effect is (of course) the double, compared to just have a single snowball item. Great care must be taken with both of them!
    Besides, the AP you get from Force compared to Potency is almost identical at level 4-6. So it will only make a difference at level 2-3, since doing anything at level 1 is basically suicide for Katarina.
    I will explain my playstyle in the laning phase later in the guide.

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    Recommended Runes:

    Quintessences:
    3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - Great synegy with
    Shunpo
    3x Greater Quintessence of Potency - Good for
    Shunpo's damage early game
    3x Greater Quintessence of Strength - Good for
    Bouncing Blade's damage early game
    3x Greater Quintessence of Insight - Almost doubles
    Bouncing Blade's and Shunpo's damage early game. If you don't plan on getting Greater Quintessence of Swiftness then I STRONGLY recommend getting these!

    Marks:
    9x Greater Mark of Insight - A must-have. There is no discussion!


    Seals:
    9x Greater Seal of Force - Good for offense at level 6+
    9x Greater Seal of Potency - Good for offense at early game
    9x Greater Seal of Might - Okay for offense at level 6+
    9x Greater Seal of Strength - Good for offense at early game
    9x Greater Seal of Vitality - Good for defense at level 6+
    9x Greater Seal of Fortitude - Good for defense at early game


    Glyphs:
    9x Greater Glyph of Force - Good for offense at level 6+
    9x Greater Glyph of Potency - Good for offense at early game9x Greater Glyph of Insight - Good for offense at early game
    9x Greater Glyph of Might - Okay for offense at level 6+
    9x Greater Glyph of Strength - Okay for offense at early game
    9x Greater Glyph of Shielding - Good for defense at level 6+
    9x Greater Glyph of Warding - Good for defense at early game


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    When you want to maximize Death Lotus damage, why don't you have AP or AD per level Quints, instead of flat ones (See "Recommended Runes" just above), so you do more damage late game?

    Simply because it takes them too long to be superior to the flat ones:

    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP.
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +0,43 AP / level.


    +Ability Power at level 1:
    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP (3x Quints = +14,85 AP)
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +0,43 AP (3x Quints = +1,29 AP)

    +Ability Power at level 10:
    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP (3x Quints = +14,85 AP)
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +4,30 AP (3x Quints = +12,90 AP)

    +Ability Power at level 11:
    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP (3x Quints = +14,85 AP)
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +4,73 AP (3x Quints = +14,19 AP)

    +Ability Power at level 12:
    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP (3x Quints = +14,85 AP)
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +5,16 AP (3x Quints = +15,48 AP)

    +Ability Power at level 18:
    Greater Quintessence of Potency: +4,95 AP (3x Quints = +14,85 AP)
    Greater Quintessence of Force: +7,74 AP (3x Quints = +23,22 AP)

    You need to be level 12 before the scaling ones are superior, and still at that level it's only by 0,6 AP, and that's only IF you have all the 3 Quints. If you don't have all 3 Quints, the gain will be even less.
    That is definitely NOT worth it, if you ask me. The game is most likely already tilted to one team at this time in the game. You having +0,6 AP isn't gonna change a damn thing. Besides, the % your Quints will give you of your total AP at this time in the game, will be WAY lower than early game. You ain't gonna feel that 1 extra AP. Even at level 18, there's only a (23,22 AP-14,85 AP) 8,37 AP in difference, and at that point in time, you should have some 700 AP. Thats a 1,19% difference...

    Fun fact: You will hit level 12 at about the 15 minutes mark (13,5 minutes after the minions have spawned) in a game, if you're in a solo lane. Level 6 only takes about 6 minutes (4,5 minutes after the minions have spawned).

    Fun fact: Greater Quintessence of Force gives only +56% Ability Power compared to Greater Quintessence of Potency at level 18.

  • Pros and Cons (With Katarina, as well as with this build)

    I've played Katarina with a lot of different builds: AD, AP or Hybrid. Went full AD when I leveled my summoner up about a year ago, back when AD was the shit. I've been playing full AP ever since the Rabadon's Deathcap was introduced. I never really gave the Hextech Gunblade a chance, and have generally just been laughing at Katarina's stacking Hextech Gunblades. I have, however, learned a lot since then:

    The goal: To make Death Lotus deal as much damage as possible!

    Note: This can be accomplished without sacrificing damage on the other abilities!

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