That's right, boots of mobility. But before we get into that let me show you my credibility so you know I'm not crazy. Brief history: You can call me dx30, and I play league ALOT. I'm a 2.3k ELO player on the NA server, and I got there largely because I main Katarina. Season 1 I was a sub-par 1300 elo player. Fast forward 2K+ ranked games and I'm 2.3k elo, anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. Now to the images you want to see. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/VPzyU.jpg] [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/JVhyv.jpg] After I started maining roam kata... [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/T1sdd.jpg] Pros: Easy to play, strong mid and lane game, insane mobility, tower diving capability (she can get in, assassinate, get out) Cons: Hard to master, no cc, weak early game, can be shut down easily if you don't know when to jump into fights.
I max Q over W for a few reasons. I know most pros prefer to max W, however I've found that Q is perfect for chasing down stragglers who barely manage to get away in lane roam ganks. W is much better for a farm intensive build yes, however for roaming it is better for damaging other champs because your on-hit marker from your Q will provide the extra damage that will surpass W. Focusing down that single target as fast as possible is essential for roam ganks so you can get the reset and turn on the support / ad carry.
I recommend saving 1080 gold or so (gives you enough money for [imgsmall=items/boots-of-mobility.png] and [imgsmall=items/amplifying-tome.png]) and then starting your roam game. From here you can either build your [imgsmall=items/amplifying-tome.png] into [imgsmall=items/kages-lucky-pick.png] or [imgsmall=items/haunting-guise.png]. If you're confident I recommend [imgsmall=items/haunting-guise.png] because it gives you that needed spell pen, health, and decent ability power. You'll have no issues securing kills from your roams with haunting guise. From there you can build your [imgsmall=items/deathfire-grasp.png] because the kills will most certainly roll in. [imgsmall=items/sorcerers-shoes.png] The more conventional choice of boots for katarina. I found myself attempting to roam often with them but the 413 movespeed simply wasn't enough and bot lane skirmishes would be over by the time I got there. [imgsmall=items/boots-of-mobility.png] Viable? Absolutely. [imgsmall=items/boots-of-swiftness.png] These offer the equilibrium between roam potential and the ability to chase down stragglers bot lane. You won't have to worry about getting tapped by a minion and losing 50 movement speed with these bad boys. [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png] This is good to take early if you see that their AP carry is getting decently stronger than you. [imgsmall=items/deathfire-grasp.png] Essential on Katarina, perfect to open with before you jump in to get that extra chunk out. This coupled with ignite and your full combo will almost always devastate bot lane and secure you atleast one kill. [imgsmall=items/haunting-guise.png] Great early game item to compensate for your lack of magic pen that you'd have from sorc boots. [imgsmall=items/hextech-revolver.png] and [imgsmall=items/hextech-gunblade.png] My philosophy behind these items is that your money could be better spent on more burst. Why spend 1200 early game on hextech revolver for a measly 10% spell vamp when you can farm an extra 235 more to get more health, ability power, and magic pen? Just doesn't work for a roam intensive build. [imgsmall=items/mejais-soulstealer.png] If you're 5/0 and doing really well, you're definitely going to get more kills. Go for it :) [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] This should always be your third item, the ability power it provides is huge and you'll hit that much harder. [imgsmall=items/rylais-crystal-scepter.png] I never recommend getting this. Late game you're not going to be utilizing the slow because nearly all of your abilities are AoE, and the 500 health is nice, yes. But I have a better alternative. [imgsmall=items/warmogs-armor.png]. Late game warmogs is way better than rylais for a good amount of reasons. The extra 1000hp it gives you over rylais will simply put, keep you alive MUCH longer in teamfights so you can get that extra reset. The damage potential warmogs offers over rylais makes it the better purchase. So farm that extra 700 gold and get a warmogs! [imgsmall=items/void-staff.png] This should be your 4th / 5th item. It makes you hit way harder. You can sell your haunting guise for this or keep both, then sell haunting for a different end game item. Void staff is a must. [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] I mostly get this after mydeathcap, the survivability it offers in fights is great since you're going to get focused. [imgsmall=items/guardian-angel.png] This is a super useful item on any hero, but on katarina it offers a chance to get that last reset, and also gives you a pretty nice amount of tankyness.
9/22/2012: Guide uploaded. [This is my first guide, improvements to come :)] Feel free to suggest anything you'd like to see in the guide! 9/23/2012: Added item explanations. 9/25/2012: Revised optimal build for boots of mobility.
I don't play Katarina in what most would call an "orthodox" play-style. (Sorc boots -> hextech revolver -> deathcap). I prefer to play her much similar to the style in which she was built; hyper aggressive. My Katarina playstyle in a nutshell: Buy boots of mobility, ROAM ROAM ROAM farm ROAM ROAM ROAM. Don't be afraid to roam, there hasn't been a single game I've played at 2k elo - 2.3k elo where I haven't been successful with roam ganks. "But dx30, what about pre 2k elo?" Well little Timmy, I didn't create this build until I hit 2k elo :), I know for a fact It'll work at lower elos because my lower elo friends have been using my build with great success. Here's the basic overview of how you're going to play her. IN CHAMP SELECT: Ask your jungler and support to go [imgsmall=champ/amumu.png] / [imgsmall=champ/sona.png] respectively. These two are PERFECT for initiation and setting up kills for my favorite hyper-carry eastern european assassin (Katarina sounds like an eastern european name, no?). Any jungler / support with hard cc is really optimal, but I've found through numerous games that Amumu and Sona are the best. Your team has to build around you for you to be an effective, optimal killer late game. Level 1-5: Focus on farming and getting up to rougly ~1080 gold so you can purchase [imgsmall=items/boots-of-swiftness.png] and [imgsmall=items/amplifying-tome.png] I RARELY roam pre 6, if there's a pressing matter like jungler ganking our top lane and about to tower dive I'll run up top in hopes of a kill / reset (often it works), but other than that you should really focus on farming your lane. Level 6 and beyond: It begins. This is where you shine. What you're going to want to do is push the lane out, and observe what's happening in both bot and top lanes. Examine your bot lane, you should roam if you have these supports: [imgsmall=champ/sona.png](If she's level 6) [imgsmall=champ/taric.png] (Stuns set up perfect ganks, OR you can ask your team to eat a stun to bait in the opposing duo bot so you can shunpo in) [imgsmall=champ/leona.png][imgsmall=champ/lux.png] (Both great for landing their roots, Leona being the better if she's good) [imgsmall=champ/lulu.png] (Is excellent with her slow / polymorph). Your worst enemy support (On either team) is this lady [imgsmall=champ/soraka.png]. Thats right, Soraka. She's inadequate at setting up positioning for your roam ganks and if she's on the other team she can shut you down by simply using her E. You can still roam against her, it will just be more difficult. If you don't have any of these supports you can still roam, just make sure the opposing lane is either ridciulously pushed up against the turret, or if they're lower than 60% hp. Your opening with DFG -> Q -> E -> W -> R -> ignite will almost ALWAYS result in a kill. Teamfights: You're NOT an initiator. Let your team be four meatshields who dish out and take damage, jump in, get a reset, and the fight is yours for the taking. Why no spell vamp?: I used to run spellvamp on Katarina, but I have my issues with it. It provides lane sustain, but here's the problem; you're not going to be in your lane for very long post level 6, you need to hit and run roam and burst out as MUCH damage as you possibly can, as fast as you can for efficient roam ganks. Rather than blowing 1200 on hextech revolver you can spend 1080 to have boots 3 and an amplifying tome, creating a much more powerful and controlling monster than revolver. Once you have your [imgsmall=items/deathfire-grasp.png] their entire team will fear you. Why is a ward in my core?: Ward hop! Master this! Practice it! Always try to have atleast TWO wards on you at all times. I can't count the amount of times wards have either saved my by ward hopping out of a sticky scenario, or have secured me a kill by smart-casting a ward into a bush there an enemy tries to juke me. Final Notes: I'll have videos of my Katarina plays soon.
There are champions who you will absolutely 100% win lane against, but that doesn't matter. You're not trying to win lane, you're trying to win the game, and roaming will greatly increase your odds of doing so. [imgsmall=champ/ahri.png]Difficulty: 5/10 You shouldn't really have much trouble with her, you're fast enough to dodge her skillshots and you can win trades with Q-> E -> W All in all, don't get charmed and you'll be okay. [imgsmall=champ/akali.png] Difficulty: 7/10 At level 6 you can't trade with her, but you can always outroam her :) [imgsmall=champ/anivia.png] Difficulty: 8/10 You constantly have to be out of her harassment range, at level 6 she can do 50%~ or more of your health in one stun. [imgsmall=champ/annie.png] Difficulty: 9/10 In my opinion she is your absolute worst matchup. Target spell stun, infinite lane sustain with Q rewarding all its mana back, and her burst destroys you. You're going to need jungle help because if she's aggressive in lane your jungler needs to punish her big time. [imgsmall=champ/brand.png] Difficulty 4/10: Yeah he has stuns, but they're semi-hard to land on the agile, attractive Katarina. Avoid his skill shots and he's nothing. [imgsmall=champ/cassiopeia.png] Difficulty: 6/10 She's your sister (In the lore). If she's good at harassing you in lane then you're going to have trouble csing, so just stay back and farm passive. [imgsmall=champ/chogath.png] Difficulty: 6/10 Eventually he'll just out-tank all of your damage. If you don't efficiently roam you're going to have a lot of trouble with him late. Try to shunpo behind his silence on reaction and you'll be in good shape. You can outharass him if you play it very carefully. [imgsmall=champ/diana.png] Difficulty: 8/10 Avoid trading, you'll lose every trade and she can nearly 100-0 you in one full ult combo. Out roam her and you'll be fine though. Play passive, and roam. [imgsmall=champ/evelynn.png] Difficulty: 5/10 I'd say it's a pretty even matchup overall. She can dish out the same amount of harass and can also roam just as well as you (If not better due to stealth). Harass her with Q to keep her off you. [imgsmall=champ/fiddlesticks.png] Difficulty: 8/10 Super annoying fear drain combo, you won't win trades and you can't 1v1 him. But you can outroam him big time. Lane phase will be difficult though because he has two ways to get you out of your ult (Silence + fear) [imgsmall=champ/fizz.png] Difficulty: 7/10 A good Fizz will harass you and attempt to force you out of lane. Farm with Q and stay back. Ask your jungler to pressure your lane so he stays away from you. [imgsmall=champ/galio.png] Difficulty: 6/10 You can't 1v1 him but you can certainly outroam him. Steer clear of his ult in teamfights though. [imgsmall=champ/gragas.png] Difficulty: 7/10 Another champion who you can't 1v1. I put him above galio because he can roam almost as well as you, and he can hit you out of your ult and destroy you 1v1. [imgsmall=champ/heimerdinger.png] Difficulty: 100,000,000 / 10 You can't harass him because he'll just fire rockets at you. You can't ult in on him because he'll be surrounded by turrets and blind you with his E. QUEUE DODGE IF YOU SEE HEIMER ON THE OTHER TEAM. Or you can just roam and win the game. [imgsmall=champ/janna.png] Difficulty: 4/10 Annoying at best, harass her with Q, get your farm up, and roam. [imgsmall=champ/karma.png] Difficulty: lol / 10 Roam roam roam. [imgsmall=champ/karthus.png] Difficulty: 3/10: He can't hit you out of your ult, and you can 100-0 him after decent harass at level 6. Super easy to push him out of lane and make his ult useless. [imgsmall=champ/kassadin.png] Difficulty: 9/10 He can out-harass you, and essentially out roam you. His Q will silence you for ages. You have your work cutout for you. Harass him pre 6 in lane, get your jungler to gank him. You got this. [imgsmall=champ/kennen.png] Difficulty: 6/10 Hide behind minions to avoid his skill shots, you can harass him if you feel confident enough to. In teamfights you can burst him down before he can stun you with his ult. [imgsmall=champ/leblanc.png] Difficulty: 8/10 You can't trade with her and she can roam nearly as well as you. Stay back, ask your jungler for help. [imgsmall=champ/lux.png] Difficulty: 5/10 She can 100-0 you if she's good and fed, other than that, dodge her skillshots and you're good. [imgsmall=champ/malzahar.png] Difficulty: 7/10 You can't trade with him EVER and you'll need to buy a quick silver sash [imgsmall=items/quicksilver-sash.png] after your DFG. [imgsmall=champ/mordekaiser.png] Difficulty: 4/10 He'll farm way harder than you, that's about it. He can't hit you out of your ult and has less teamfight presence than you. Roam and win. [imgsmall=champ/morgana.png] Difficulty: 6/10 Avoid her dark bindings and harass her in lane. [imgsmall=champ/orianna.png] Difficulty: 5/10 You can dodge a slow moving ball, but in teamfights if she's good she'll be ulting you every time when you ult in. [imgsmall=champ/ryze.png] Difficulty: 6/10 You can't 1v1 him after lane phase. Harass him only with Q, never shunpo in on him. [imgsmall=champ/sion.png] Difficulty: 8/10 He can completely negate a big bulk of your damage, and stun you out of your ult. He can kill you in lane if he's efficient at Q + W harassment. [imgsmall=champ/swain.png] Difficulty: 7/10 You can't 1v1 him in lane and he'll win every trade. Your time to shine is when you're able to start roaming and teamfighting. [imgsmall=champ/twistedfate.png] Difficulty: 9/10 You can't 1v1 him at all and his ult can severely screw you over if you try to roam gank. Be very cautious of his ult and you'll do okay. [imgsmall=champ/veigar.png] Difficulty: 8/10 The tiny master of evil is very difficult to lane against because he can 100-0 you at level 6. Harass with Q, stay back and farm. [imgsmall=champ/vladimir.png] Difficulty: 7/10 Wins trades, can pool out of your ult. Past that you wreck him in teamfights. He can't roam, you can. [imgsmall=champ/xerath.png] Difficulty: 8/10 A good xerath is extremely scary. He can 100 to 0 you at level 6 with a full combo (Though you shouldn't ever really get caught). He's also a beast in teamfights with a well placed ult. You can harass him in lane if you're feeling brave and agile. [imgsmall=champ/ziggs.png] Difficulty: 4/10 You can out harass him in lane if you dodge his skill shot / minefield. He's sub-par compared to you in teamfights. [imgsmall=champ/zyra.png] Difficulty: 7/10 She has really strong harass and can still freaking attack you even though she's dead. Her teamfighting potential is almost as good as yours, but she doesn't get resets, you do!
[imgext=http://i.imgur.com/1UGDx.jpg] 3 ms quints (makes it that much easier to position) 9 ability power glyphs (Good for early game harass) 9 seals of hp / level (This coulped with your hp per level mastery will make you pretty tanky end game.) 9 marks of magic pen (Good for dealing that much needed damage for early game roams) [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/hmr9Y.jpg] Standard AP mastery pages, but since you don't have silly mana you get to put more points into being tanky! If you get full build you'll have around 2400 hp and some decent armor and MR. You'll have a leg up on most AP mids.
http://www.twitch.tv/dxfirty I'm always willing to answer any questions! I try to stream every day from 5pm~+ pst.