Playing Outside the Box: Carry Catherine

Playing Outside the Box: Carry Catherine

Welcome, I am zam970poodle, a new writer for VainRank. In this new series, “Playing Outside the Box”, I will explain why seemingly wierd strategies work, and in what situations to use them.

We all have played Catherine as a roamer, because that’s how she is meant to be played. However, recently she has become very popular in the jungle carry role. When I first watched a team draft carry Catherine, I was really confused. Why would a character who seems perfectly fit for the support position be viable in a carry role? It turns out, the very same reasons that make her a good support make her a good carry also.

To reveal why carry Catherine is a good idea, let’s look at the second game between Nemesis Hydra and Team Solomid this past weekend.

Nemesis Hydra vs Team Solomid

Carry Catherine

Evil Eight


Team Solomid first bans Skaarf, keeping Hardek off of the hero they lost to in the last game. Hydra responds with a standard Lyra ban. FlashX then denies Phinn from LostBoyToph. This is when Hydra allows for the carry Catherine pick by drafting two squishy carries. Catherine and Adagio then round out TSM’s comp leaving LostBoyToph to play Lance. Let’s delve deeper into this draft. Phinn has a hard time locking down Skye due to her high mobility. However, he is very good at bodyblocking the Forward Barrage due to high health and shield due to his heroic perk. On the other hand, Catherine’s Stormguard can deflect the damage of Kestrel’s Glimmershots but Forward Barrage sneaks under the shield. In addition, the combined Crowd Control of both Phinn and Catherine is enough lock down any hero.

Let’s walk through how a teamfight might go between these two comps. Catherine is likely to engage with Blast Tremor, which, if it is Crucibled, leaves the team open for a Forced Accord. If one of the enemy carries manages to avoid the follow-up Quibble, Catherine can easily lock them down using her Merciless Pursuit. All this time, Adagio is dealing damage in the backline, while also keeping Catherine and Phinn relatively healthy. Just for the benefit of doubt, say that neither Blast Tremor nor Forced Accord land on their intended targets. Even with this idyllic situation, the comp from Nemesis Hydra has no way of getting onto the backline of Adagio, nor would they want to due to the abundance of CC from Phinn and Catherine. The best chance Hydra has is to catch TSM out of position and dance around the CC chains coming out of the jungle duo.

Now that we know how strong carry Catherine can be in certain situations, let’s discuss how and more importantly when to play her. Carry Catherine, and Catherine in general, plays around her cooldowns. Because of this, cooldown reduction items are a high priority. However, it is beneficial to start with a weapon blade for faster clear and basic attack damage before Stormcrown is completed. After Stormcrown, carry Catherine should build utility items, as well as Aftershock for team-wide utility. In addition, Catherine should stun enemy heroes whenever possible, provided that it does not put her in unnecessary danger. In teamfights, Catherine should lock down the highest damage threat and try to land 3-man silences, setting up Forced Accords and other CC.

Although carry Catherine is very strong, she is a situational pick. She cannot deal enough damage to take down tanky junglers like Glaive, and is strongest against double squishy carry comps. She is best paired with roam Phinn, however, Team Secret has seen some success paired with a roam Adagio. In lane, long range snipers or mages that are able to stay behind the front line while doing damage like Adagio or Ringo are ideal. Lastly, carry Catherine takes a lot of team-wide communication, and is probably not the best pick if you are not using voice communication with your teammates. I wish you luck in your off-meta endeavours!

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