Hello! As the title gives away, I want to discuss Katarina, the Sinister Blade. I'd found several old recordings of Katarina plays I've made, and I was hit so hard with nostalgia that I wanted to post my opinions and ask Riot a few questions (the video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZCoBBHloB8&feature=youtu.be ).
When I first started playing her, she was vastly underplayed compared to today. She was underestimated because of this, but also because she required a different mindset to exploit her true potential. And yet, she was very fun to play. Harass with small pokes, attempt to CS, and go in for the kill when you were confident.
Below I'm going to review how her abilities were used last year, for those that hadn't played yet then. I'll mark the beginning and end of this section, so please skip if you already know how her skills worked. But first, let's get her abilities, shall we?
Katarina throws a dagger that will bounce from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage. The blade won't bounce to hit the same enemy more than once on the same cast.
Cooldown: 9 / 8.5 / 8 / 7.5 / 7 seconds
Magic Damage: 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+0.8 per bonus attack damage) (+0.35 per ability power)
Maximum Enemies Hit: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
(Passive): Each of Katarina's autoattacks and abilities will deal extra damage per hit. This gives extra damage to each Bouncing Blade bounce and each Death Lotus dagger.
(Active): Katarina's next basic ability within 15 seconds will have a bonus effect:
Bouncing Blade: Deals full damage to every target it hits and applies 50% healing reduction for 5 seconds.
Shunpo: Katarina takes reduced damage from enemy attacks for 3 seconds.
Extra Damage: 8 / 12 / 16 / 20 / 24
Cooldown: 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds
Damage Reduction: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 %
(Active): Katarina moves to her target's location, appearing behind it. If the target is an enemy, she deals magic damage to the target.
(Active):Cooldown: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds
Magic Damage: 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+0.75 per ability power)
You'll notice quite a few key differences. But first, let's talk about her poke: Bouncing Blades.
Currently, it is a relatively long-ranged skill for a targeted ability. Even better, it bounces, thus extending its range. It has a below-average AP scaling, but it's fine due to Katarina's passive and her being manaless. Cooldowns are relatively the same, as is the base damage.
What makes the pre-rework and post-rework Bouncing Blades different?
- Bounces: Her old skill started off bouncing between two enemies. It was impossible to hit the enemy by tossing it into a group of minions. However at higher levels, one could always toss one into a batch of minions and expect a good bounce to hit the enemy champion. Because the bounce was completely random, it was possible to hit the enemy champion before nearby minions, making it quite a fun skill to use.
- Range: Her range was lower. This forced her to either use a KI'd blade, or to receive some easy harass from her opponent.
- Mark: Currently, she has a mark as part of the damage portion of her Bouncing Blades. This Mark needs to be proc'd by an Autoattack or any of her other abilities.
- Ratios: Her old Bouncing Blades had a very high AD ratio. This, combined with several other factors (sustain, ult), made Gunblade a very powerful item on her. The removal of the ratio is what lost her this item.
Killer Instincts (KI, for short), was an ability that had a good passive and a great active. Its what allowed her to poke in lane and reduce the effectiveness of health pots. Her KI was her on-the-fly decision-making skill; do I want damage and healing reduction, or damage reduction? The passive gave her a little more "oomph" in her abilities. It was great on her ult, where it increased its damage by over 20%.
Shunpo seems the same...
Very wrong. Shunpo was her highest-damaging skill. It had a massive .75AP ratio with 240 base damage. But it was her only escape. Kat players almost never used it in lane because without it, she was very susceptible to jungler ganks. In teamfights, it was a scary ability, because of how often she could apply this huge damage.
Nox, how come you never talk about her ult, her glorious Death Lotus?
Well, this is what Riot tried to fix. I won't paste the entire thing because the mechanics are the same, but here is her base damage:
Magic Damage Per Dagger: 50 / 65 / 80 (+0.5 per bonus attack damage) (+0.25 per ability power)
Compared to today's version:
Magic damage per dagger: 40 / 50 / 60 (+ 17.5% AP) (+ 30% bonus AD)
Her ult was her main damage source. It channeled for 3 seconds, the same as Nunu's ultimate. If you watched the video I posted above, you'll notice that the ult does a significant amount of damage, rather than my Bouncing Blade or Shunpo. However, that was apparently her problem; she relied on getting a good ultimate off in a teamfight - but was that bad?
That wraps up the comparison of her skills.
So why did I make this thread?
Well, as I stated above, the reason for the Kat remake was to reduce her need for her ultimate in teamfights. 3 seconds is by no means a short time in League fights, and a good team wouldn't let her get a full channeled Death Lotus. However, look at the recent patches.
Voracity, a year ago.
This was Kat's attractive feature. Not her Bouncing Blade, Shunpo, breasts, but Voracity. With it, one can turn an even teamfight into a snowballing victory. But a year ago, Katarina was underplayed, undervalued, and in the general public opinion, underpowered. She was an off-pick, and only a select few played her (Scarra).
In the game, it allowed her to escape, or to engage yet another enemy. However it wasn't the monster it is today. Because of her three AoE skills, Katarina presents so much of a threat to teamfights. It's very scary for a Kat to get a reset in the middle of your team, because you know that everyone's health will be getting chunked very shortly. Last year, it was one target that Kat had to choose to get her next reset.
Kat had three damaging skills, and one that offered her utility. Her main damaging skill was a 3 second channel, and her nuke was one that placed herself at the mercy of the enemy team. Her Bouncing Blade was her only ranged harass, and it itself was a very short ranged skill. Resets were manageable, because all she had was an autoattack inbetween the resets. Her next ability was 7 seconds away; an eternity in teamfights.
Voracity Combined With AoE is the Problem. The Cause? Sinister Steel.
Let's take a look at Kat's weakness pre-patch.
*Shunpo was her only escape.
*She had two skills outside of her ult to chain resets.
*She had to choose between healing reduction and damage reduction.
*She had to choose between dealing reduced damage through Bouncing Blade chains, or getting in close for a full-powered hit without KI.
*Most of her damage relied on getting a good ultimate off.
*She had very little waveclear.
Let's take a look at these post-patch.
*Shunpo was her only escape. Her W offers her a repeatable speedboost.
*She had two skills outside of her ult to chain resets. Now 3, and two AoE skills that are doubly helpful.
*She had to choose between healing reduction and damage reduction. Now done for her, but both in an undesirable manner.
*She had to choose between dealing reduced damage through Bouncing Blade chains, or getting in close for a full-powered hit without KI. Harass is now cheap and easy.
*Most of her damage relied on getting a good ultimate off. Her ult means nothing compared to one reset, because of her 3 abilities.
*She had very little waveclear. Bouncing Blades, Sinister Steel. She can not be pushed anymore.
And it's no wonder people are complaining about her.
Questions for this thread's readers.
Was focusing her damage on her ult really a bad thing?
She had good poke in-lane with her KI'd Q, but how is her old harass any better than current Kat's?
--- To Clarify the above point, Riot didn't like that Kat had safe harass from all the way down the minion line, yet currently her harass is nearly unparalleled due to manaless and low CD.
With 3 AoE abilities, resets come easier than ever, because one reset "preps" the next reset. Is this the cause of her problems?
Riot, my questions for you, if I may.
Is it a conceivable notion that we might get to see Old Katarina again?
Are you satisfied with the rework's results?
Do you plan on keeping her the way she is? (I.E. Flat Number Changes, not Mechanics)
Sorry for the long post, guys. Katarina is my favorite champion, and its that passion that drove me to write this extensive post. I want to see how old Katarina would do nowadays, but I also want to see her balanced again.
100votes, and great guys helping out with keeping this thread alive. Thanks.