This post was made by a major portion of the KatarinaMains community as a means of direct communication between us and Riot games regarding Kat. Our aim is to attract attention to the dissatisfaction, concerns, and rid of the confusion that we ( as a community ) may have between Riot regarding the current iteration of Katarina.
Due to many assassin champions like Rengar, LeBlanc and Fizz receiving beneficial reverts, we decided that it was our turn to send a statement; in hopes of receiving the opinions of Riot and bringing her up to par on what we believe she should be. Ideally, the end result of this change would be to make Katarina more FUN as well as restore the fluidity in her kit (which she lost after the update). I would also like to state that we do understand that Kat is sitting at a reasonable win rate right now. The desired outcome here, is not buffing/tweaking numbers, but QOL changes/mini-updates to her current kit; making her more fun to play. We do not want her to be over-buffed state like during preseasons 7, 8 and the few months following that.
We'd like to send a clear message to Riot saying that we understand you are trying your best to make this game fun for everyone, we do appreciate that a lot.
After the assassin update, Katarina went from zero cast times/delays ( besides her q ) to receiving them on every ability she has in her kit. A negative change for the feel of the champion, she now feels sluggish and awkward to pilot. The delay on her sinister steel is comprehensible due to the damage, improved scaling, and the mobility it now provides. We are willing to accept that delays are now a part of her identity. Even so, we do believe that the delays should be reduced. Perhaps every time she puts a point in her ult or reducing the delay in general, even by a minuscule amount like 0.25 seconds would help to level her out.
Currently, the most unsatisfying and frustrating part about Katarina is her bread and butter ability, Shunpo. It used to feel amazing to use before the update; doing what the spell was intended to do. Here's our problems with the ability:
Shunpo's cast-time is the cause of many spell buffering issues that Katarina has. The most common one is the interaction with Hextech Gunblade and Preparation ( W ). It is extremely disheartening to press an ability expecting an outcome, only to be met with nothing.
The cast time on Shunpo is the cause of many inconsistent interactions with cc and other abilities in the game. Some actually favor Kat - others don't. Some interactions leave the Kat player or the person playing against her, frustrated and confused. For example, it feels awful for the Kat player to react properly to an incoming ability and still get damaged/cc-ed by it. Using Shunpo, only to get hit by Morgana's Q or Blitz's Q at the new location or canceling an enemy ability because it had connected during the cast time ( e.g canceling Vayne's E and Tristana's R, putting the abilities on cooldown even if they connect while she is using Shunpo).
Additionally, Shunpo needs to retain Katarina's basic attack target to Shunpo's target. As of now, it does not interact this way; leading, to awkward situations where the game "moonwalks" you to the pre-selected target instead of attacking the one Shunpo had targeted. Below is a brief example,
Link to Shunpo Moonwalking: https://gfycat.com/InfantileGleamingGlobefish
Previously, Riot stated that the cast time on Shunpo enables the enemies to read when Kat is about to engage and allows for easier tracking during teamfights. However, the daggers ( her passive ) already do an excellent job at this. For instance, if Kat sets up a Q or a W before engaging, the enemy knows the exact area in which Kat will be able to damage. If Kat chooses to engage with Shunpo first and then throw her blades, they will always take a little over a second to fall down, allowing more than enough time for someone to react to the dagger. In short, the enemy always knows where Kat is going to jump because of her dagger mechanic. Unlike Shunpo's particles, her daggers provide a better job at tracking.
Another point of concern is the auto attack reset on this current Shunpo. Clearly, on a spell focused champion like Katarina, it's out of place. It makes her harder to balance, since Riot counts the auto attack reset to be apart of Shunpo's damage, explaining the damage nerfs to Shunpo. Old Kat still had an AA reset on Shunpo but it wasn't as swift as the current version. The AA reset we have now can outright win us the laning phase if the rest of her damage is enough to 100-0 them in the laning phase. We saw this on the released version of reworked Kat. She could kill nearly everyone in the game at levels 2 and 3, and that had a lot to do with the AA reset on Shunpo. Everything explained above covers why her Shunpo does so little damage; this does not mean it is the correct way to combat this. 15-75 base damage is appalling and the scalings are honestly just as bad. ( Maybe a new mechanic could be introduced in place of the AA reset? )
Last but not least, Shunpo does not feel like a true blink anymore. In fact, it feels like a mini-dash. Many also agree that the VFX of the spell could be vastly improved. It's basically a recycled animation of Katarina capturing points/shrines in dominion with an added streak. The VFX prior to the update suited the ability considerably and is preferred by the majority of us. We'd also accept a new visual effect that blends with the current version of Katarina better; if preferrred by Riot to not revert to the original. Essentially, the ability looks incomplete.
For the time being I'd like to add that as a community, we prioritize gameplay over visuals. However, if Riot decides to work on fixing Katarina, updated VFX for Shunpo would be more than appreciated. What would be insane is if Riot had enough resources to update Kat's model to meet the current standards. ( Though, the current one is not bad at all. ) Wishful thinking.
Next, we'd like to express our dislike towards Gunblade and Katarina. She feels like a completely different champion before and after she purchases the item. This sudden power spike is extremely unhealthy and polarizing, especially for opponents. It's extremely disappointing to have little to no way of outplaying Kat just because of an active item, ( "Oh great.. She has Gunblade completed now.. I have to play safe or I die.. ). We really do not appreciate how the item is a must-build every game for Kat to extent where it would determine win or loss. We understand that item synergies are good and will always exist but this one is much too extreme. We'd like some flexibility, variety, and creativity; even in our first item choices, like Pre-update. Yes, Ludens was a very good item on Kat. But it didn't feel awful to rush Abyssal, Zhonyas or Haunting guise before building it.
Gameplay: Katarina feels very clunky and unrewarding to play; her pattern in teamfights can sometimes be very boring and repetitive: Keep throwing out Q's and W's and hope the enemy squishy walks over it, then engage. Old Kat had a similar thought process but not to this extremity. In that identity, Kat had to wait for enemies to use key abilities, then following with Death Lotus on high priority targets. Which one actually involves more planning ?
This current kit leaves Katarina losing nearly any matchup or competent player. Differing from other champions, Katarina is bounded to her daggers, whilst other champions are able to target their "instantaneous" damage. Kat already sacrifices a lot of single target damage because of her AOE playstyle, why does she need to have a delay on every single ability in her Kit? If Katarina is not able to assassinate an enemy squishy effectively, why is she even an assassin?
Furthermore, Katarina's Shunpo refund is extremely punishing and clunky early in the game. A little while after the release of the update, the cooldown and damage (scaling) of Shunpo was nerfed. Since then, Shunpo as well as Dagger damage was nerfed further. We'd like to see Katarina start off with a lower cooldown on Shunpo. The inital intent of her update was to make her stronger in lane. This has not been the case since the release of her kit. She now has one of the weakest - if not the weakest - laning phases in the mid lane.
Lastly, Death lotus whilst an Iconic ability, feels out of place in Katarina's current kit. Death Lotus was great when Old Kat could just blow all her abilities in one go since she actually wanted to channel it until at least one opponent died or her Sinister Steel (W) came back up. Now it's extremely undermined by the dagger mechanic. Death Lotus on the New Kat is now channeled during the time it takes for a dagger to fall down. The purpose of Katarina is to take out a low health target; she should not be looking to wait and burn out an entire heath bar of opponents.
As a champion, Katarina needs some heavy changes. Her intended playstyle has been broken and she feels very stale and clunky. Her Shunpo needs work as it feels dissatisfying to use, Her dagger timings could be changed, Even her iconic Death Lotus feels out of place. All in all, Katarina should be a swift and deadly assassin, focusing on her passive to maximize the amount of DPS and AOE damage she outputs. Currently, she performs with a lag and is extremely unsatisfying to play and play against.
Finally here are some words from fellow Katarina mains:
"Damage is not a concern for me since when it comes down to it I can rely on Voracity to turn games. I do not think anyone can do this when Katarina is held back by delays."
"Voracity as a passive is overshadowed by the new dagger mechanic and it almost feels like Riot could completely remove Voracity and we'd hardly notice the difference. -Lovesick (OCE)
"I just want Shunpo cooldown(or casttime) to be touched up. It's infuriating that until you're level 11, anyone can walk out of Q before E is up, in the EWQE, you are lucky if you can even land the E before the dagger disappears it feels so infinitely long. " -Somekat
"Her Shunpo feels slow, clunky and the VFX are lackluster. The old one was simply better and made me feel the fantasy. I want more flexibility in my build paths. Gunblade shouldn't be a mandatory item every single match. Her model and animations are feeling the age. She is starting to look outdated." -Heilel (BR)
"They should do some minor works on her shunpo to begin with, like removing the cast time, partially revert the cd nerf and fix the interaction with gunblade. If they come up with these changes which I'm really hoping to see, I think she'll be in a better state in every way without killing the counterplay aspect which is frontloaded in her daggers." -Katard (EUW)
"I want katarina to feel rewarding to play well, not to feel rewarding for your enemies playing poorly." -Le Suneater (NA)
"It's important to note that the majority of Katarina mains are willing to sacrifice damage (in daggers) in exchange for more speed and shorter delays" -LiterallyMayo
"It really feels like kat has a disadvantage in lane from the start of the game and you need some kills just to go even with your enemy laner." -KaitoMarmota
"I want gunblade to go off when I try to e - gunblade. Most times it doesn’t go off and it has cost me countless games." -Dbshort2 (NA)
"Katarina is way too clunky at the moment. It's almost never fun to play her at the moment. I don't feel any satisfaction from her current state, the nerfs made her borderline useless. Her E delay, her extremely long dagger delay, relying on Hextech Gunblade. She used to be a really fun champion. Not anymore." -The Red Azrael (EUNE)
"It doesnt matter how good you are, but how bad are your enemies while playing Katarina." -GG NO AD CARRY (EUNE)
"It just feels like Kata is not working anymore (since season 8) as clean and smooth as she used to and as other champions do atm. Increase E refund persentage at early levels, remove E cast time, fix ability queueing and gunblade interaction, make her autoattacks smoother/faster, fix Kata to change her attack priority if she E's on a target the target she E'd on, adjust dagger's drop time and radius. Feel free to balance by nerfing her ulti or her survivability. That's what i wish for." -4nirataK, EUNE (Master Tier season 7, ex rank 2 Kata world, 2.8M mastery points)
“Katarina should be a champion where you are rewarded for your own well-doings, not capitalizing off of the mistakes of others.” - Death By Kat (NA)