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Pro Play: Katarina And How To Enable Her

This week in Pro Play, we looked at Katarina and how she has been performing in competitive.


Following her rework, Katarina showed up firstly in the hands of SK Telecom T1 Mid Laner Laner. Bjergsen, Sencux and Kuro all followed suit, in an attempt to replicate his success, but all came out with losses and rather poor performances.

Katarina is very dependant on being picked after seeing the opposing mid laner, as she can get countered or put into a poor matchup if she’s picked blind. We looked at matchups that are favourable for her and also champions that are played with her to allow her to play more aggressively, go in and assassinate her targets.

 

 Be sure to subscribe to LolKing's YouTube channel for upcoming stat videos, and other League of Legends coverage!

 

 

 

 

Understanding The New Katarina

Written by Hexadecimal

 

About the Author: Hexadecimal is a multi-season Challenger mid laner and extensive guide writer here at LolKing. If you’d like to learn more about how to play the new Katarina check out his detailed guide found here.

 

It seems that most players are divided when it comes to the reworked Katarina. Some think she’s weak - believing she relies too much on her new dagger mechanic. While others think she’s too strong - feeling like she has infinite dashes and no counterplay.

My goal with this article is to help clear up some of the misconceptions of Katarina, give you a better understanding of the Sinister Blade, and explain where she stands in the current meta - so let’s jump right into it.

 

Analyzing the Data

 

As I just mentioned, when the reworked Katarina was released a lot of players thought she was too weak - often quoting her abysmally low win rate. Who could blame them? On release she had a win rate of 42.97% - the lowest of all mid laners at the time. However, as players learned how to play her,  her win rate increased rapidly an average win rate of ~49%.

 

 

The thing about Katarina is that she has a high skill floor/ceiling and difficult learning curve - meaning it not only takes a lot of time to master her, but takes just as much time to get a hold of the basics. Champions like these have always been traditionally hard to evaluate based on their win rate.

This is because their high skill floor and steep learning curve can result in the majority of players having less than desirable results, leading to losses, while a minority of players who have mastered the Champion can get pentakills and hard carry. This volatility in performance, in my opinion, is the reason why the community is so divided on how strong she is.

 

Understanding the Changes

 

How I learned to love knife juggling

 

The most important change to understand is how Katarina’s damage almost entirely comes from the Daggers she picks up. Prior to her rework, Katarina’s abilities would all have their own distinct purpose. For example, Katarina’s Q ability was mainly used for wave clear and harassing the enemy. Now, the main priority of her Q is to drop a Dagger near the enemy and instead rely on her passive to do damage when she picks it up.

The same concept applies to rest of her basic abilities. Her W no longer does flat damage when activated. Instead, it tosses a Dagger at her current location that only does damage once it’s picked up.

Similarly, her E’s cooldown is now reduced every time she picks up a Dagger. This is the most important thing to understand: Katarina’s playstyle is now completely reliant on playing around her new Dagger mechanic.

 

 

How I learned to love Attack Damage on an AP Carry

 

The other important change to understand is how strong Attack Damage is on Katarina in the early game. In fact, I would argue that if your rune page/build doesn’t take advantage of this then you’re playing Katarina wrong. If you look closer at Katarina’s new abilities you’ll find that they have terrible AP ratios while having strong AD ratios. In fact, every ability except her Q, which has a subpar AP ratio of 30%, has better AD scaling than AP scaling.

 

Passive: Voracity

Whenever an enemy champion dies that Katarina has damaged in the last 3 seconds, her ability cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.

Whenever Katarina catches a Dagger,  or picks it up from the ground, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies, dealing [75 - 311 based on level] (+100% bonus AD) (+55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AP) magic damage and reducing Shunpo's cooldown by 78 / 84 / 90 / 96%

 

E: Shunpo

Katarina dashes in the blink of an eye to the target ally, enemy, or Dagger. If it is an enemy, Katarina strikes for 30/45/60/75/90 (+50% total AD)(+25% AP) magic damage - otherwise she strikes the nearest enemy in range.

Katarina can blink to any location near the target.

 

However, it’s the AD ratios on her Daggers and E ability that are the most imperative to understand.

 

Her Daggers have an AD ratio of +100% bonus AD and her E ability has an AD ratio of +50%. Remember how every time you pick up a Dagger it reduces your E cooldown? Well, they do something else you might not know: they reset your auto-attack timer. This means you can auto-attack, E, then immediately auto-attack again. It’s these AD ratios and synergistic interactions that unlocks Katarina’s true power.

 

 

Now you might be wondering, if Katarina’s AD ratios are so good why do we bother building AP at all? Well, although Katarina has superior AD ratios early on, her passive’s AP ratio actually scales with levels - maxing out at a 100% AP ratio at level 16.

At the same time, you will always be able to have more AP than AD in a full build. This is due two reasons:

 

Firstly, each AP item will give more ability power than an AD item will give attack damage;

Secondly, Deathcap is a item unique to AP builds which increases your overall ability power by 35%. What this means is that even though you may have better AD ratios early on, the higher amount of ability power you’ll obtain in a final build will make up for the weaker AP ratios.

This is also why you should purchase a Hextech Gunblade first, as it gives both Attack Damage and Ability Power, bolstering our early game while still setting us up to transition into an Ability Power build in the mid to late game.

 

The level 2-5 Cheese (Forever Provolone)

 

Most players aren’t aware of how strong Katarina’s early game is and will often fall prey to it. The early game AD ratios combined with the synergistic qualities of her Daggers and E ability result in Katarina having one of the strongest early games of any mid laner: specifically levels 2-5.

A big part of Katarina’s strategy is taking advantage of this phase of the game, setting up a kill, and snowballing off of it.

 

With an AD centric build aimed towards maximizing your early game strengths you will be able to all-in and kill the majority of mid laners if they stand near one of your Daggers. This only becomes even stronger once you’re level 3 and have access to your W, which grants you another Dagger to utilize.

 

Why does this work so well?

It’s because as a mid laner you’re often facing AP casters. These AP casters typically have weak early games in comparison to Katarina as their abilities only scale off of ability power. This means they need a few items to really start packing a punch.

At the same time, you can almost think of your auto-attack as another spell - a spell that has an AD ratio of +100%, a cooldown of around 1.5 seconds, and can also be activated twice in 0.1 seconds using your E’s reset mechanic that I discussed earlier.

It’s your stronger auto-attacks over AP mid laners that are the nail in the coffin for them. With all this being said, you should still be wary of AD mid laners as they will also be benefiting from the early game advantages of attack damage. Talon comes to mind as a good example of someonewho can match Katarina’s early game damage.

 

Tanks and Shields and Peel, Oh My!

 

So, where does Katarina stand in the current meta?


Ironically, the pre-season assassin patch likely did just as much to harm assassins as it did to help them. This is due to the introduction of the support item Redemption and the changes and price reductions to other support items. These buffs to support itemizations meant that it’s now more difficult for melee assassins to secure kills in team fights - something that’s extremely important for Katarina due to her reset mechanic.

 

 

At the same time, the mastery Courage of the Colossus was introduced, which buffed crowd control tanks. Crowd control tanks are direct counters to assassins like Katarina.

However, this isn’t the whole picture. When trying to figure out how strong a Champion is in the current meta it’s important to see how they fair in their most popular lane matchups. Overall, Katarina has fairly decent matchups, with win rates against most mid laners ranging between 48-52%

 

 

 

Although Katarina has decent lane matchups it looks like the meta as a whole is helping to keep her, as well as many other melee assassins, in check. Even when mastered, she seems to be plagued with the same issue spread among the other melee assassins: too susceptible to being shut down by the enemy’s team composition. A problem other meta mid lane Champions such as Syndra and Orianna are immune to.

 

Catch-22

 

It isn’t all for naught though and it doesn’t mean Katarina should hang up her daggers. You have to keep in mind that different elos often have different metas. In my experience, the meta I’ve described above only starts to have an effect around mid Platinum elo and becomes more important the higher you climb. Below that, the reverse almost happens, where the lower your elo the more of an impact a high mobility assassin such as Katarina can have.
 

In a way, this is a catch-22; the lower in elo you are, the less likely it will be that you’ll have the skill to master a Champion such as Katarina.

At the same time, due to the meta, the champion itself becomes weaker the higher in elo you go, which is exactly where you’ll find the players who can master her difficult learning curve.

 

 

Still, if you’re up for the challenge, mastering Katarina can yield massive dividends. It’s especially potent in the Bronze to Gold elo brackets where, with her early game Attack Damage build, players will fall victim to her level 2-5 all-in. All the while still remaining perfectly viable, although admittedly less strong, up into Diamond.

 

If you liked this article, be sure to check out my full Katarina guide here.

You can follow me on Twitter, where I answer any and all questions you might have about League of Legends.

You can also follow me on Twitch, where I teach you how to improve and climb the ladder.

2017 International Events And The Evolution Of The Wildcard System

Recently, Riot announced the locations of the 2017 International events.

The Mid Season Invitational, MSI for short, will be held in Brazil, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while Worlds 2017 is heading to China; to Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing for the Finals.

 

Tied to those news was another announcement:

 

“All 13 professional LoL Leagues will participate at MSI and Worlds.

Starting this year, all 13 regions will participate at MSI and Worlds 2017. We’ll be retiring International Wildcard-exclusive events and will no longer use the IWC classification.”

 

For Wildcard regions, this is a reward for the hard work and dedication in what is constantly an uphill battle to prove their worth, to prove that they deserve to sit at the big boys table.

 

 

History of the Wildcards

 

Season 3

 

Back in Season 3, the Wildcard system was introduced, as a means to give teams from regions without premier leagues a way to qualify to the World Championship. At the time there were only 5 participants coming in from Brazil, Latin America, Oceania, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Gaming Gear EU ended up making it at the time and were the first team from a minor region to step foot at a World Championship, but they were no match for their opponents and were completely demolished in every match. In the end, the team managed to grab a win before going home, but largely because they were facing an already eliminated TSM who even picked Teemo.

 

Season 4

 

Fast forward to Season 4 and Riot added an extra slot for wildcard teams. In that year, Dark Passage (Turkey) and KaBuM! e-Sports (Brazil) represented the minor regions. While the turkish side left without managing to grab a single win, KaBuM, who were already eliminated from the tournament, managed to take down the number 1 seed from Europe with a well executed pick composition, shattering Alliance’s dreams of making it to the bracket stage.

 

 

This win was considered by many the first ‘legitimate win’ by a wildcard team. Even then, it was just a BO1 Win and was considered a fluke for many. Rather than praise for the Brazilian team, most of the community heavily criticized Alliance’s inability to take the win.

 

Season 5

 

In Season 5, the Bangkok Titans (South East Asia) were put into a tough group and went out with a 0-6 record, but in Group A, paiN Gaming had a solid showing taking down the Flash Wolves and Counter Logic Gaming and finishing their group in 3rd place.

 

Season 6

 

If 2015 showed progress, 2016 was a year of incredible growth.

At MSI, Supermassive (Turkey) took a game from G2 Esports. At Worlds, INTZ (Brazil) pulled off an incredibly clean game against LPL Champions EDward Gaming and lastly and most importantly, Albux NoX Luna (CIS) did the unthinkable: to make it out of the Group Stage, beating the ROX Tigers, G2 Esports and Counter Logic Gaming.

Throughout the years, Wildcard teams have showed consistent improvement, backed by increasingly better performances and for that they have been rewarded.

 

 

The Play-In Stage

 

To replace the International Wildcard Tournaments, Riot is introducing the Play-In Stage, where all former Wildcard Teams will participate to qualify to the main event.

This might seem similar to the old system, but there’s a key difference: Wildcard teams will face off against some teams from main regions before the main event begins. They are all now legitimately a part of the main event and not segregated in a minor, qualifying tournament.

 

This change in the system allows for two things:

  • All Minor Region teams will now get to face off teams from major regions, gaining access to more international experience
  • More Minor Region teams can make it to the main event but in order to do so, they will have to beat teams from major regions.

 

The second consequence of the system change allows for teams to really prove that they deserve to be in the main stage of an international event and helps to fight the stigma that minor region teams had an easier qualification path than other teams from main regions.

 

Gaining access to face off international teams more often, whether in official matches or scrims is incredibly valuable for these teams and will ultimately contribute to the continued growth of these regions, as they look to cement their position in League of Legends History.

 

 

The Mid Season Invitational Format

 

Given Korea, China and Europe's superior international results in the last two years, the #1 seed from these regions will qualify directly to the MSI Group Stage.

LMS and NA did not perform as well as the other major regions over the last 2 years, and as a result, they will start in Play-In Stage, Round 2 where they will face 2 of the best teams from the remaining regions, as pictured below:

 

 

Three teams will advance from the Play-In Stage to face-off against CN, EU, and KR in the Group Stage. The Group Stage will stay the same as it was in 2016 with 6 teams participating in a Best-Of 1 double round robin.

 

Implications for Worlds 2017

 

"Similar to 2016, the top regions at MSI will secure the top 4 seeds at Worlds Group Stage.

Additionally, the highest ranking region of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR will gain an additional seed at Worlds: their #1 seed will start in the Group Stage, and their new seed (the #2 seed from that region), will start in the Play-In Stage.  If two regions out of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR finish top 4 at MSI, both of their #1 seeds will start in the Group Stage as top seeds, their #2 seeds will start in the Play-In, and the remainder of the Play-In will adjust accordingly."

 

For more information on the 2017 Mid Season Invitational, click here

 

 

Worlds 2017 Format

 

Worlds 2017 will be a 24 team-tournament with teams from all 13 LoL professional leagues participating across multiple stages.

As the region that has performed the best overall throughout 2015 and 2016, all Korean teams will directly be seeded into groups.

12 teams will play in the Play-In Stage. 1 team from each of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR will face the #3 seeds from NA, CN, TW and EU. 4 of these teams will qualify from the Play-In Stage to the group stage.

 

 

For more information on 2017 Worlds, click here

 

Patch 7.3 Rundown: Nerf ALL the OP champions

After Lethality Buffs on Patch 7.2, Riot is toning down some assassins and fighters who were too oppressive. The trinity of OP champions, Camille, Rengar and LeBlanc have all been nerfed, alongside nerfs to Mage Supports.

 

Check out the full changes below to get ready for the patch to hit live

 

Champions

 

Camille
 

Nerfs to Precision Protocol, Tactical Sweep and Hookshot

What's New:

Precision Protocol (Q)

  • Bonus damage on second hit lowered to 80% from 100%

Tactical Sweep (W):

  • Slow lowered to 80% from 90%
  • Slow now decays to 0% over the duration

Hookshot (E):

  • Mana cost increased to 70 from 50
  • Stun duration lowered to 0.75 from 1 second.
  • Only grants bonus attack speed on enemy Champion hit

The Hextech Ultimatum (R):

  • No longer persists for its full remaining duration after Camille dies. Now dissipates within 1 second after Camille dies.

Ivern

 

Nerfs and bugfixes to Daisy

What's New:

Daisy! (R):

  • Daisy's Armor and Magic Resist per rank lowered to 15/40/90 from 20/60/120
  • Daisy no longer regenerates 3% maximum health per second while out of combat
  • Daisy will no longer start attacking the ground and teleporting out of control
  • Daisy will no longer become invisible in rare circumstances

Jayce
 

Nerfs to To The Skies, Thundering Blow and Transform

What's New:

To The Skies (Melee Q)

  • Bonus damage on second hit lowered to 80% from 100%

Thundering Blow (Melee E):

  • Mana cost increased to 55 from 40

Mercury Hammer (R):

  • Bonus AD ratio lowered to 25% from 40%

Kha'zix

 

Nerfs to Taste Their Fear and Evolved Reaper Claws

What's New:

Taste Their Fear (Q)

  • Bonus AD ratio lowered to 120% from 140%

Evolved Reaper Claws (Evolved Q):

  • CD Refund on isolated targets lowered to 45% from 60%

LeBlanc
 

Changes to Sigil of Malice

What's New:

Sigil of Malice (Passive):

  • Damage from levels 1-6 lowered to 30/40/50/60/70/80 from 40/55/70/85/100/115
  • Damage from levels 7-13 lowered to 90/100/120/140/160/180/200 from  130/155/170/180/190/200/210
  • Damage from levels 14-18 unchanged 220/240/260/280/300

Malzahar

 

Nerfs to Void Swam

What's New:

Void Swam (W):

  • Voidlings spawn after 0.35 seconds after cast, rather than instantly
  • Cooldown between casts is now 1 second
  • Past 600 Units, Voidlings move 10% more slowly for every 100 additional distance farther they are from Malzahar

 

Rengar
 

Nerfs to Savagery, Battle Roar and Thrill of the Hunt

What's New:

Savagery (Q):

  • Dash distance lowered to 150 units from 200

Battle Roar (W):

  • Empowered cast no longer gives crowd control immunity for 1.5 seconds

Thrill of the Hunt (R):

  • Camouflage duration lowered to 12/16/20 from 14/22/30

Tristana

 

Small buff to Rapid Fire

What's New:

Rapid Fire (Q):

  • Duration increased to 7 seconds from 5 seconds

Vi
 

Nerfs to Base Stats

What's New:

Base Stats:

  • Attack speed lowered to .625 from .644

  • Movement speed lowered to 340 from 345

Vladimir

 

Changes to Transfusion, small buffs to Base AD

What's New:

Base Stats:

  • Base attack damage increased to 55 from 52
  • Base attack missile speed increased to 1600 from 1400

Transfusion (Q):

  • AP ratio increased to 60% from 55%
  • Base damage increased to 80/100/120/140/160 from 75/90/105/120/135
  • Crimson Rush's bonus damage lowered to 85% from 100%

Zyra
 

BNerfs to Plants AI and Deadly Spines

What's New:

Plants:

  • Removed a rule that told Thornspitters and Vine Lashers to always target nearby enemy champions on-spawn instead of the closest enemy unit, even if the ability that spawned them didn’t hit a champion

Deadly Spines (Q):

  • Mana cost iincreased to 70 from 60
 

 

Practice Tool

 

Practice Tool will be rolling out region-by-region on the updated client later during patch 7.3! In the meantime, you can learn more about the Practice Tool here.

 

 


If you'd like to check the full changes, make sure to click here for the official Patch Notes

Countered - Episode 4: Malzahar

Welcome to Countered!

In this series we look at popular or problematic champions and discuss ways of dealing with them.

For our fourth episode we're looking at Support Malzahar! Last time we looked at Darius

 

Malzahar recently appeared in the support role after the patch 6.23 changes to his voidlings. With reduced pushing power he disappeared from the mid lane and shifted to the support role instead.

So what makes him strong? Voidlings do a ton of damage right from level 1, his Lockdown is incredibly potent, with a Silence and Supression and finally, he’s more durable than your typical mage due to his passive Void Shift.

 

His main weakness is that he's not a very mobile champion and is quite easy to kill once his passive is down. He also has relatively low range on his spells. Despite Call of the Void being a 900 range ability, he needs to get closer to cast Malefic Visions and his Voidlings only have a 450 cast range, so in this regard he has to expose himself much more than other mage supports.

 

While Malzahar bullies most melee supports and does relatively well against some ranged matchups, there are still ways of beating him or straight up countering him. We decided to highlight 3 Counters.

 

Watch the video below to learn more about how you can counter Malzahar

 

 Be sure to subscribe to LolKing's YouTube channel for upcoming stat videos, and other League of Legends coverage!

 

 

 

 

Learning with LolKing

If you want to learn the Darius counters we mentioned above,
click on the guides below!

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