Yesterday, I had one of my best games with Katarina. Our whole team overperformed – think we forced a surrender in a little over 20 minutes – but one kill stands out. I told deathmanjustin, who is a terrific teammate, to show in mid. He did and my opponent, Teemo, got distracted for just a second. He turned to face deathmanjustin and fire. I had been a bit low on health and running away and healing. In a second I turned around, shunpo’d (teleported) behind Teemo, hit W for spin attack, R for finisher. Teemo was dead in the time he could blink. Stat line for a game that ended quickly: 4 kills, 4 assists, no deaths.
I’ve been playing with Fiora and Mord, too. But there’s nothing so far quite as exciting or engaging as playing Kat. She has a strong midgame and endgame; early game, her mobility makes her very dangerous. Moreover, you don’t just sit around doing one thing over and over in lane. More on that later. Her attacks have a number of different uses – increasingly, I’ve been using Death Lotus (her finisher) to keep people away from turrets and push them to areas where my teammates can pick them off. Powering up her Q skill early gives me a decent ranged attack to taunt others with. My Kat feeds on overaggressive opponents and makes the most of tanks in front of her. A game doomed from the start – we were 4 on 5 from the outset – almost became winnable because a tanky Singed was willing to stand in front of me and lure attacks and attention. With that, I quickly racked up multiple assists and kills using shunpo, spin attack, finisher, dagger or some other combo. It wasn’t enough, because my other 2 teammates decided that they didn’t need to participate in the battles we requested them to. So it quickly became 5 on 2 and we hit surrender.
I’ve run into a few terrible Kat’s who have no idea how to play the character. One was really clueless, jumping into 2 on 1 encounters far from the turret. Trust me: it’s a lot better to turret hug than go out and die. You can get levels hanging around your minions killing. Another was just pretty useless. The latter is who I’m aiming for with these comments – Kat never should be useless. She does a lot of things and you should always be thinking what you can achieve in game with her. Remember: stats don’t matter. Luring an enemy into a gank will not get you a kill or assist. It may get you killed. It is, of course, excellent teamplay and the sort of thing you do to win and build credibility.
From what I’ve been seeing, the advice people need is what to do with Katarina early. Tuoooor’s discussion of item builds in his guide is excellent – I’m almost studying it, it’s that good. After the initial Boots of Speed and 3 health potions, I think that you have to make a call whether you need the Sorcerer’s Shoes or not immediately. Use O around 5 mins and bring up the scoreboard and see where everyone is. If people aren’t upgrading the shoes or defense, the Amplifying Tome – +20 ability power – will be how you snowball the game. It’s dirt cheap and makes your laning and killing wraiths with Q & W that much more effective. Moreover, when you Shunpo (ap damage), W (ap damage), R (ap damage). The Tome can turn into the Lucky Pick, which ensures an edge in getting your endgame setup.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t been worrying too much about health. I use Kat’s mobility to get out of bad situations and I’ve been remembering the various characters I’ve fought and scouting from there. I’ve been working on being situationally aware. I use the scoreboard (O) to look for people not at my level to target. I think future Kat builds will focus on giving her more health in addition to ap. A tanky Kat dealing consistent damage while staying in encounters longer will probably be a lot for any team to handle.