Karina Indepth Full Guide: The KoF SK Queen


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May 1, 2019
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Karina is commonly known as the SK Queen (Secure Kill Queen). She is a balanced Hero as of Patch 1.3.60 S11 META. She is not as OP as Gusion but she is much easier to use especially for average game IQ players.

Disclaimer: Please take note that this Guide is Subjective and Timely. This will not cover every possible situation in the recent meta but I will try and give you as much information as possible.

SWOT Analysis

  • Very high single target damage
  • High snowballing potential
  • Very good at baiting and luring enemies High secure kill capability
  • Great juking capability
  • High mobility using First skill
  • Very good at farms and objectives
  • Very good at tower diving

MLTL&G Dictionary
Juking means to confuse enemies in order to escape or to trick them

  • No solid blink skill
  • Very vulnerable to CC
  • Double Tank Line-Up

  • CC Tank Teammate
  • AoE Burst Mage Teammate
  • CC and Debuffer Support Teammate
  • Melee and a semi-tank Fighter Teammate
  • Frontline Killer Marksman Teammate
  • And a high sustain for herself when she has a Magical Lifesteal in her Build because of her First skill's Magical Critical Damage.


WARNING: Do not use Karina when three or more of these heroes are present in the enemy team in draft pick.
  • Akai - His ult can lead you to danger
  • Kaja - His ult also can lead you to danger
  • Aurora - Her second skill can freeze you before you can kill anyone
  • Helcurt - You'll be silenced to death
  • Saber - The counter God which counters everyone also technically
  • Martis - Don't let his first skill CC you
  • Ruby - Another CC hero that can kill you in a teamfight or solo in mid to late game
  • Nana - Beware of Molina

Not so threatening but be careful with this heroes too:
  • Cyclops - His ult and burst damage
  • Fanny - Can locate you before you can even plan to backdoor
  • Natalia - Same reason with Fanny
  • Lancelot - Second skill immune plus multiple dashes and burst damage
  • Hayabusa - Can kill you 1v1 or even recounter you in teamfights
  • Vexana - Don't let her first skill hit you
  • Chou - Beware of his knock-ups
  • Hylos - You can't kill Hylos easily. You might be dead before his because of his second skill
  • Kagura - You can't touch her without getting burst damage depending on how skilled the user is.
  • Harley - Once you've backdoored, he can go to the backline immediately using hat tricks.

Skill Strategies

Combo Hit (Passive). After attacking a target twice in a row, the third attack will deal extra true damage equal to 10% of Hp already lost by the enemy (previously 8%).

This is why she is really good at executing low health enemies, farms and objectives.

Example: When your opponent is at 50% HP, your third attack will deal 5% Enemy Max HP plus your attack's damage.

That is why in order to maximize this, the best skill combo would be:

Activate Immune to enter a Fight (1st skill) > Ult > Basic attack (triggers 1st skill's Critical Magic Damage) > 2nd (triggers Passive)

Elusiveness (Skill 1)

Karina enters a state of Elusiveness for 3 seconds, making her immune to basic attacks and raising movement speed by 35%. In this state, her next basic attack will slow down the enemy and must be a critical hit, dealing extra 165+ pts of Magical damage. Getting a kill or assist will reduce this skill’s cooldown by 60%.

This is her core skill. Prioritize this over second skill in leveling up.

What separates a pro, a good, and a bad Karina is this skill. This is her main source of mobility. It is not a dash or a leap so it can't go through walls and obstacles but this skill provides her more if used properly.

This may not provide you an instant blink but this skill is spammable, has basic attack immune in it, and can do critical hit.

First let's talk about the mobility it provides...

A regular leap or dash can only bring you in a certain location without being able to getting you back unlike special dashes or leap like hayabusa's shadow, kagura's umbrella, harley's hat, natalia, lancelot, selena, and others that are able to bring us to the safe place after engaging. This skill is the unique version of those special dashes. In that 3 seconds duration, you should be able to finish your job.

When chasing marksmen and other basic attack typed heroes, you need to get close to them with this skill BUT DON'T USE THE BASIC ATTACK IMMEDIATELY

Most of the time, you will use your skill 2 first then do the S1 basic attack because you have to maximize that 3 seconds basic attack immune of it.

You can also taunt enemies to cast and waste their skills on you. Just run around and evade their attacks. Baiting and luring with this also work really good. Just go towards them carefully, pretending that you are trying to kill one of them, so they will probably go towards you, or even chasing you, spamming their skills to chase you. But you have to do this carefully in the safe distance or it will backfire. This skill also gives her good roaming potential. Just keep spamming it when you're crossing the map.

This skill also block the increasing damage of turret, same like natalia's smoke bomb. This is what makes her a very good tower diver.

Dance of Death (Skill 2)

Brandishes double swords, dealing 260+ pts of magic damage to surrounding enemies. Getting a kill or an assist will reduce this skill’s cooldown by 60%.

This is her AoE skill, her main wave-clearing tool, and her easiest marking tool. What good about this skill is she has no movement penalty when using this skill. It means that you can move while using this skill just like when you are aiming to hit the opponents with Gusion's Daggers.

What good about this skill is not the damage, but the AoE mark. You can maximize your passive by putting marks on the enemies in the area so that you will only need 2 more attacks to trigger your passive.

Shadow Rush (Ultimate)

Rapidly rushes towards the target, dealing 430+ pts of magic damage. Killing any enemy hero will immediately end this skill’s cooldown. An assist will lower the remaining cooldown time by 80%.

This is why she is really good at executing and getting savage. But still, you have to be wise at committing whether to dive or not. Most of the time, when Karina doesn't get a kill after diving with this, she'll be dead because good enemies will always lock you whenever you are in their vision. She's not as easy to use as you what might think.

I already mentioned the Full Skill Combo which is 1 > Ult > Basic Attack (triggers First Skill) > 2 (triggers Passive)

No Ultimate Combo

1 > 2 > Basic Attack > Repeat


Emblems: Mage Emblem is the best for her in my opinion. The talent depends on how you will use her.

Mystery Shop - When you are aiming to end the game quickly. This is also recommended when you are not good in Farming.

Magic Worship - Every skill combo, you will get an extra damage that can secure kill the opponent.

Impure Rage - The best thing about this talent is the Mana Regen. This will give Karina Mana Sustainability to perform her combos more and spam her skills.


Flicker - since you do not have a pure blink skill, this is a bit necessary. Best paired with Mystery Shop Talent and use this when your team already have two retribution users.

Retribution - Best paired with Impure Rage Talent. You can farm more often.

Other tips: When you do not use Impure Rage talent, make sure to get buffs because you really need the mana reduction from the Buff.

Item Recommendations:

Jungle Item:
  • Use Pillager Axe when you have equip Retribution as your spell.
  • Otherwise, only buy Hunter's Knife when you equip Flicker.

  • Rapid Boots - for Fast Movement and you really need this since you are a melee hero. Good for a midlaner Karina
  • Arcane Boots - to deal more damage. Best for a sidelaner Karina.
  • Tough Boots - You will need this in late game. This reduces the CC effect and gives you Magic Resistance.
  • Demon Shoes - if you cannot get a buff because your teammates are buff dependents.

Core items:

Calamity Reaper - amplifies your skill plus basic attack combo.

Concentrated Energy - for your sustain. Please take note that this is now a Magical Lifesteal Item and not a spell vamp. You will get the heal from her first skill. This is still good because she has already a built-in Spell Vamp (a hidden stat).

Holy Crystal - the purpose of this item is simply the burst magic damage coming from its natural +100 magic power and unique passive.

Situational Items:
  • Winter Truncheon - Only use this item when you know how to properly use its active skill. Practice makes perfect by the way.
  • Lightning Truncheon - for that extra damage based on your Max mana.
  • Clock of Destiny - High Magic Power in Full Stack. Deadly when paired with Lightning Truncheon.
  • Necklace of Durance - to counter HP Regen Dependent Heroes.
  • Glowing Wand - to deal more damage to Tanky Heroes.
  • Divine Glaive - to deal more damage to Heroes with Magic Resistance Items.
  • Bloodwings - for a High HP along with your High Magic Power.
  • Immortality - for super late game.

Set Builds:

Beginner's Build (Damage focus)
  • Arcane Boots
  • Calamity Reaper
  • Concentrated Energy
  • Holy Crystal
  • Glowing Wand
  • Bloodwings

Lollipop Build
  • Arcane Boots
  • Clock of Destiny
  • Lightning Truncheon
  • Calamity Reaper
  • Concentrated Energy
  • Holy Crystal

Midlaner Tip: Use Rapid Boots
Sidlaner Tip: Use Arcane Boots


Early Game

Try to reach Level 4 as fast as possible. There are many ways to do this. Just take note of the following:
  • Buy Hunter's Knife as you start the game and prioritize Pillager Axe if you are going to get it.
  • Get buff when you are not solo mid. Kill the buff along with a teammate.
  • Play Safe early game
  • Get a gold crab


You should have already at level 4 before the 3-minute mark. After unlocking your ultimate skill, you have to roam mostly to mid. ALWAYS.

Get buff when you don't have one already. Get gold crab whenever possible. Aim to get a full 10 stack for your Pillager Axe before the 10-minute Mark. For Karina, best farming comes from kills. Yet, experience still best comes from Jungle Monsters. When you get 10 stacks for your Pillager Axe, that's the time you will be more focusing in kills.

Defend your lane as much as you can until the first outer turret of your opponent in your lane has been destroyed.

Spam first skill in to move around the map faster.

You can solo turtle when you already got Concentrated Energy (third item after boots and Calamity Reaper) or at Level 8 whichever comes first though it is always better to have a teammate to help you.

And an important tip, use the bush to ambush lone enemies. You can win 1v1 most of the time as long as you are ahead in terms of item and experience level.

Late game

Don't forget to sell your jungle item.
Don't forget to switch to tough boots and build Immortality in the Super Late Game.

Advance and Pro Tips Summary

1. In a teamfight, engage towards the backline after your enemies cast their CC skills or the first wave of damage and skills. Backdoor method is the best to engage safely.

2. If fighting against Karina, you may counter using Magic Resistance Items, Dominance Ice, Anti-HP Regen Items, and CC skills of course including slow debuff.

3. Do not immediately cast the enhanced basic attack coming from your first skill to utilize the three seconds immunity and movement speed buff.

Note: But you have to cast it within your Elusiveness State which is within 3 seconds.

4. Engage using your first skill.

5. Disengage using your first skill also.

6. Her first skill also block the increasing damage of turret, same like natalia's smoke bomb.

7. Tower Dive whenever you are to secure a kill but save your first skill to escape safely.

8. Move while using your second skill. Never forget that.

9. It is safe to use your ultimate skill immediately as long as you can secure a kill. It will reset immediately after the kill unlike Martis who needs to use his Ultimate skill to actually kill that hero to use it again to other heroes in a teamfight.


You may comment your questions in the comment section below. For those who are already Pro in using Karina, please add info for this guide because I know that I have still a lot of info that I haven't mention. Thank you for reading.