Katarina is a mid-lane magic damage assassin. She is a melee champion and can struggle a lot in the early game when trying to walk up and last hit minions. Once Katarina hits level 5 and gets access to Death Lotus (Ultimate) you have a great opportunity to roam around the map and get advantages elsewhere or try to engage on the enemy mid-lane champion to try and get a solo kill. One important thing to note is that Shunpo's (3rd Ability) cooldown gets reduced when picking up daggers from the floor so make sure you keep that in mind as this gives Katarina a lot of mobility!
Whenever an enemy champion dies that Katarina has damaged in the last 3 seconds, her remaining ability cooldowns are reduced. This passive can sometimes make Death Lotus (Ultimate) available multiple times during a teamfight which can be huge!
When using other abilities like Bouncing Blade (1st Ability) and Preparation (2nd Ability), daggers will be left on the floor for a while. When Katarina picks up the Daggers, she slashes at all nearby enemies dealing magic damage.
Katarina throws a dagger, dealing magic damage to the target and 2 nearby enemies. The Dagger then ricochets to the ground behind the initial strike point.
This makes it a really good ability to set up Shunpo (3rd Ability) allowing you to jump behind the enemy to do a lot of damage. Bouncing Blade can be used as a poking tool in the laning phase as Katarina has no mana so you don't need to worry about not having enough mana to use abilities.
Katarina tosses a dagger in the air and gains a short burst of movement speed. You want to use Preparation just before using Death Lotus (Ultimate) so you will be able to get more damage from your passive as you're moving around in your ultimate.
In other situations, you can use Preparation before you engage so you have a dagger that you can use Shunpo (3rd Ability) to jump back to, or to deal a bit more damage when you jump onto the enemy with your passive.
Katarina blinks to a location near a dagger or unit, dealing magic damage to the nearest enemy. You can also blink to allies, minions, blast cones and honey fruits. If you pick up a dagger. your Shunpo cooldown will be greatly reduced.
Most of the time you want to dash to a dagger so you can use the ability again after a few seconds. However, you can use Shunpo to dash elsewhere and use Preparation (2nd Ability) to drop a dagger on the floor so you can reset the cooldown.
Katarina rapidly throws blades at the 3 nearest enemy champions dealing magic damage and applying grievous wounds. This means most of the time you don't need to buy items that have grievous wounds because your ultimate will help you reduce the healing of the enemy champions.
Katarina can move and throw blades for a few seconds. Before you use Death Lotus you want to try and use Bouncing Blade and Preparation before so you can catch daggers as you are moving around in your ultimate.
Katarina builds ability power items to help with her damage from her abilities and passive. Hextech Gunblade is a unique item for Katarina and a must-buy. The physical and magic vamp you get from Gunblade is important to her survivability when you jump into the enemy team. Also, you can get a 40% slow that can help reduce the distance between you and the enemy so you can easily Shunpo (3rd Ability) to them. After Gunblade it's all about buying more magic damage to help you kill the enemies. Infinity Orb is great as you can deal more damage to low health targets and Rabadon's Deathcap gives you a lot more ability power to help out.
For runes we have the following:
Katarina likes to get in and amongst the enemy team using her spells and auto-attacking a lot. This allows her to stack quicker and once you hit an enemy with 5 abilities or auto attacks you deal more damage.
A very unique rune that works great with Katarina and her aggressive playstyle! You will be in fights a lot so being able to heal a bit of health per takedown is nice and doing more damage to champions on low health works well with Katarina's Ultimate, Death Lotus, to deal more damage.
As a melee champion, it is very helpful to have more health regeneration especially for the laning phase as most of the time, you will be poked out by ranged champions.
A great rune for if you get low in the landing phase and need that extra bit of healing and get some free money.
Katarina struggles a lot in the early game as a melee champion. Most of the time you want to stay back and use your Bouncing Blade (1st Ability) to last hit minions or poke down the enemy. Once you hit level 3 you will have all Katarina's basic abilities available to you, this allows you to combo your abilities to jump around with Shunpo (3rd Ability). One important thing to know is you can use your Shunpo to jump to minions, monsters and even plants. This can be great for escaping the enemy or going into team fights early on.
When you reach the mid and late game and get a few items this is where Katarina starts to get really strong. When you are grouped with your team and about to have a team fight the best thing you want to do is get to the enemy backline. You have a lot of mobility when comboing your abilities. Your Ultimate Death Lotus is a huge team fight ability allowing you to move around when active so you can deal a lot of damage.
Katarina may take some time to master and to understand how her combos work. I'd recommend going into practice mode and learning her combos before jumping into a game. Once you get the hang of it she can jump around dealing a lot of damage and killing everyone in her path.
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