How to Play Against Katarina (6 Tips)
Katarina is by far one of the strongest Mid laners around right now thanks to her versatile build path, play style and recent buffs with more potentially on the way.
With a pick rate of over 4%, a staggering 9.4% ban rate and a growing win rate, Katarina is one of the best Mid laners in the game.
In this guide, we will break down some helpful tips and tricks you can use to counter Katarina in the mid lane before she can say, “Blood for Noxus!”.
How to play against Katarina:
- Pick champions with lots of CC
- Take magic resistance runes
- Avoid dying to Katarina early
- Stand away from Katarina’s Daggers
- Use your range advantage
- Ping when she goes missing
1. Pick champions with lots of CC
Katarina uses her mobility to her advantage to get in and out of team fights, deal an extraordinary amount of damage, dodge incoming damage and overall be a huge nuisance. If you see that the enemy has already picked Katarina, try to pick champions that have CC.
If you’re laning against Katarina, try and pick a champion with CC. Even if you’re not laning against Katarina, you could try to pick a champion with CC as the more CC you have- the better.
CC could be a variety of knock-ups such as Malphite’s Ultimate, stuns like Brand Q, silences like Soraka E or anything that is considered as “hard”. Roots like Zyra’ E are not useful against Katarina as roots do not stop channels. Learn more about CC via the LOL WIKI.
As Katarina’s Ultimate is a channel, you will cancel her Ultimate quickly, which will reduce her damage in skirmishes and in team fights. Thus, picking teams with lots of CC will make it easier for you to interrupt her engage.
Point and click CC like Renekton’s W or CC that’s really easy to hit like Sett’s E will also make it incredibly risky for her to jump on you- which again, will reduce her kill pressure in lane. If you can, try to pick a champion who has CC that is easy to hit consistently, such as:
- Heimerdinger with his E.
- Azir and his Ultimate.
- Brand has his Q (as long as a target is already affected with Blaze).
- Annie can stun an enemy with Tibbers or any ability as long as it’s empowered.
- Garen can silence her with his Q.
- Renekton can instantly use his W to interrupt her Ultimate.
Find more Katarina counters and champions to avoid picking into her on Katarina’s champion page.
2. Take magic resistance runes
Optimise your rune setup by adjusting your minor runes to take magic resistance instead of armor. While Katarina can deal mixed damage, taking magic resistance over armor in the early game will help protect you from some of her damage. In particular, it will help against her Q poke, E all-in and Passive damage.
You can still go double adaptive damage but take magic resistance in the final line for added protection. The magic resistance will be beneficial regardless of Katarina’s build.
Get the latest up to date builds imported directly into your client with the Mobalytics app.
3. Avoid dying early
Katarina is one of the strongest snowballing champions in the game. Once she gets a kill, she can look to kill you over and over again and the more gold she gets, the stronger she will be. Your goal in the early game is to not die to her at all costs.
Avoid going for super risky plays and only go for the calculated ones that will work in your favour. It’s better to play safe if you’re weaker than Katarina in the early game rather than attempting to fight her, die and fall behind. Instead of fighting her, do what Katarina says and “Next time…run!” if she looks to fight you.
If you use all of the tips in this guide, it will help you reduce your death risk during the early game. Find out how good you’re at surviving by checking out the GPI and looking at your Death Risk. There are more tips in the GPI to help you stay alive for longer too!
4. Stand away from her Daggers
Whenever Katarina uses her Q, or W, she will place a Dagger on the ground. She can jump (blink) to these Daggers and close the gap on you. When she picks up a Dagger, she deals damage to nearby targets. Because of this, your best bet is to stand away from these Daggers at all times so she is unable to dish out extra damage to you.
If a Dagger lands somewhat near you, reposition to the opposite side of the lane so she cannot easily jump on it and all-in you. She will still be able to blink to you with her E, but she will not deal extra damage to you.
Throughout the laning phase, try to reposition whenever necessary to get away from the Daggers. Doing so will decrease her kill potential and increase your survivability. If you do not do this, Katarina may look for an all-in or try to land a devastating combo. Learn what combos to be on the lookout for Katarina’s Champion Combos on Katarina’s Champion Page.
However, you may wish to play near her Daggers if:
- Your Jungler is nearby. If she jumps to the Dagger, you’ll force her to overextend, helping you kill her.
- You are looking to trade with her. Champions like Sett or Renekton may want her to engage so they can turn around the exchange.
5. Use your range advantage
Afterall, Katarina is a melee champion which means she needs to get close to the minion wave to secure minions. In the very early game, she cannot use her abilities to consistently clear the wave, so she needs to auto-attack them if she wants gold.
If you’re playing a ranged champion like Syndra, Lissandra or Viktor, try to harass her as much as possible with a combination of basic abilities and auto-attacks.
If you can force her to burn through her health potions or her early sustain, she will have to play safe and be unable to look for a level 3 or 4 all-ins. She may also be forced to recall earlier than she wanted which could result in a poor back timing. If you can get her low, she may have to give up CS for XP, use her Teleport to get back to lane (if she went Ignite TP), and she’ll also fall behind in gold.
Try to harass Katarina when she is last hitting minions as she will focus on securing them. You should also look to commit to trades when her Q is on cooldown as she will not be able to throw it at you. When harassing her, make sure you’re not near any of her Daggers so she cannot blink to them with her E.
6. Ping when she goes missing
A good Katarina will look to roam frequently to get more kills and increase their gold income. If you’re playing safe or ahead, it will be quite difficult for her to kill you without assistance. So, she will definitely be looking to roam around the map.
Place vision in the river and ping her if she goes missing so your allies know that she is on her way. It is imperative that you consistently ping whenever she goes missing, so she doesn’t end up getting a double kill.
Here are some good warding locations to help you spot her as she moves around the map. If you’re interested in more warding locations, check out our in-depth warding guide.
As you can see, there are lots of wards around the mid lane, and in the river itself. Ensure you have these areas warded as Katarina will roam through the river or through the jungle if she roams from lane.
Try to match her roam if you’re stronger than her. If you’re weaker than her, ping and focus on pushing the minion wave so she is forced to return to lane. You could then try to secure extra gold by destroying the tower plates, or you could look to match her roam by taking an alternative route.
Regardless if you’re going to follow or match her roam, communicate with your team and ping that she is missing. Spam ping if needed so your team knows she is on her way.
Katarina is one of the most disgustingly strong Mid laners in the game right now. We hope these tips will help you play against her and reduce her chances of taking over the game.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants’s stream.