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!
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.
With Katarina you will be diving into the enemy team a lot and this rune allows her to get some extra health when you get unique takedowns.
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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