Karma Build Guide by gleebglarbu
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
|...||Hello, I'm Gleebglarbu, a challenger support who plays for C9 HyperX Tempest. Karma is a situationally strong pick that fits well as a disengage tool in poke comps. Her Mantra empowered E, Defiance, is great for keeping distance while poking the enemy down as well as closing the gap to engage once the enemy team is weak enough to fight.|
Karma is rewarding to play and once you understand how to properly use her Mantra in different situations you can dominate the early lane phase and use your Defiance to choose your own fights. The areas Karma lacks in are not having any quick, AoE lockdown and not having a true ultimate. This means you'll want to make sure the rest of your team has some hard CC already when looking to pick her. You'll also need to be weary bot lane if you don't manage to get a lead by the time the other support is hitting 6, especially if it's one with a big power spike and lock down, such as Annie, Thresh, or Leona.
- High poke in lane phase
- AoE movement speed steroid with Defiance
- Can bait easily in 2v2 fights with proper use of Renewal
- Dominant pre 6 laning phase
- Strong level one bot with Soulflare
- No on demand hard CC
- High mana costs
- No power spike at level 6
|...|| greater mark of hybrid penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
9 x Greater mark of hybrid penetration
Your skills all do magical damage but you also auto attack often in trades. This makes hybrid pen runes ideal for maximizing the damage you can output during the laning phase. If you are up against a lane with very high burst damage you can opt to switch to Greater Mark of Armor instead, but you will diminish your ability to poke them out of lane as easily.
9 x Greater Seal of Armor
These runes are very effective at mitigating physical damage. They are mandatory as a support because you will be taking physical damage from the enemy AD, the enemy support, and creeps in lane.
9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Karma wins by getting a big lead early game in bot lane and snowballing that advantage to win the game. Ability power helps you crush your lane by making your early game even stronger. This set up leaves you pretty vulnerable to magic damage burst though so make sure to position well and not get caught out.
3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These quints are taken for the same reason as glyphs, getting 26 AP from runes alone gives you a huge amount of extra damage and lets you dictate the early lane phase. If you are not comfortable positioning on Karma you can try using Greater Quintessence of Health at first to make your lane phase a little more forgiving if you make a mistake and get out of position but I'd recommend the ability power once you can position well and take advantage of the extra damage it brings.
0/9/21 works well on Karma and gives her a good mix of durability, gold generation, and utility. The 9 points in defense allow you to not die instantly if you get caught out in a trade bot which allows you to play much more aggressively. The utility tree has a multitude of useful points for Karma, ranging from Intelligence which is great when you are building both Talisman of Ascension and Mikael's Crucible most game to Culinary Master which can be incredibly useful at saving you from dying to DoT ticks like Ignite.
Ancient Coin is a great start for Karma because of her need for mana regen to stay in the lane and continuously poke the enemy support and AD. Coin also gives you enough gold to get 4 potions which further increases your staying power. Warding Totem is a good early trinket choice that you can use to help keep vision up in the botlane until your Sightstone complete, at which point its value diminishes greatly.
These are the basic items you'll want to have completed by the end of the laning phase. Sightstone takes care of all your warding needs on the new patch with the exception of still needing to buy Vision Wards separately. You can reach your personal ward cap with this item alone, meaning there is no reason to keep your Warding Totem anymore so trade it out for a Sweeping Lens. Nomad's Medallion is gives much better gold generation than the Ancient Coin as well so make sure to not sit on it for too long before upgrading. The increased regen is also nice but the main reason to upgrade it early on is the gold gain.
These are the items you'll want to have completed each game under most circumstances, but the order you build them in can vary depending on the situation you're in each game. Talisman of Ascension is usually the first full item you'll want to complete each game because the active is great for disengaging and the CDR allows you to get your Mantra spells off much more frequently. Mikael's Crucible is usually completed second but if the enemy has crowd control abilities that need to be removed from important carries on your team such as a Terrify you can opt to go for Mikael's Crucible before Talisman of Ascension is finished. I usually upgrade to Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Oracle's Lens when its convenient for me with the amount of gold I have when I get to base, but against champions like Teemo, Kha'Zix, or Vayne, upgrading to oracle's lens earlier rather than later will help you
|...||This item provides a great magic resist aura and active that can be useful against heavy AoE based AP teams. If the enemy team has multiple sources of magic damage or AoE damage it can be a great pick up for teamfights.|
|...||Doran's Shield can be taken as a starting item replacement instead of Ancient Coin when the enemy bot lane has a lot of burst and an easy way to engage on you and lock you down. The added durability helps you survive their damage and live long enough to poke them out of lane. An example you'd want to take this against is Annie Draven because Stand Aside can easily lead into a stun followed by tons of damage from both Annie and Draven. If you start Ancient Coin against a lane like this you can go from 100 to 0 before you have time to retaliate if you get CCd.|
|...||These can be used as a situational replacement to Ionian Boots of Lucidity when you want to focus more on mobility and roaming. Your Inspire and Focused Resolve can catch an enemy mid laner off guard if you walk up behind them and can set up kills. These boots also give you better vision control because you spend less time walking around to ward each spot and are able to go for more risky wards knowing that you can quickly walk away as long as you don't get put into combat.|
Mantra should be skilled up at 6, 11, and 16 because ranking it up app
Inner Flame should be maxed next because the base damage increases and gives you strong poke and kill potential in lane. Maxing it allows you to go for 2v2 kills at 6 when you combo Crescendo, Power Chord, Hymn of Valor, and Ignite. Use Mantra on this skill primarily in lane phase to get more poke damage.
Inspire should be maxed 3rd because the amount of the shield goes up with rank and the movement speed boost scales from 40% at rank 1 to 60% at rank 5. You usually Mantra this ability to escape ganks, start fights, and kite in teamfights.
Focused Resolve should be maxed last because it has the least benefit from maxing it when compared to your other three skills. The root duration and damage do go up but it is more important for you to have high poke damage in lane and a strong speed up in the mid game. Mantra for this skill is most often used when you are fighting 1v1 or 2v2 to bait the enemy into thinking they can kill you with your ridiculous heal.
Taking Flash is 100% necessary on Karma, otherwise you would be much too vulnerable. Flash is an invaluable skill for positioning yourself and
Ignite gives you a lot of kill potential in bot lane and is really good for snowballing soloqueue matches. Exhaust is a viable alternative against heroes like Yasuo and Graves who have very telegraphed burst.
Karma's lane phase is based around getting an advantage pre 6 and using it to snowball the lane from there. Her level one is incredibly strong because of how much damage Soulflare does. The initial damage alone has a base value of 105 and the detonation hits for 50, allowing you to out trade any other duo lane at level one, especially if it lands on both the AD and support. You can also focus on pushing the lane up so you can poke the enemy duo at tower. Make sure to keep vision up in the river with your trinket though, if you ever get caught in hard CC like a Death Sentence or Annie stun you can easily die if the jungler shows.
When team fights start as Karma you need to look at both your team and the enemies and decide how to use your speed ups. It depends and can change from fight to fight, but if the enemy team has a really fed carry you will want to speed up your divers to help take him out of the fight. If the opposite is true and you have fed carries that need to be protected you want to focus on using Mantra empowered Inspire to protect them. Also make sure you keep track of item actives in fights, Mikael's Crucible and Talisman of Ascension can decide a team fight.
Synergies and Counters
Karma works well with most ADCs, but there are a few that are especially strong with her. Caitlyn, Jinx, and Lucian all have a mix of either good range, trading, or poke. Any of these laners will work well with Karma and help you get a lead in the laning phase.
Karma can do well in lane match ups vs Thresh, Annie, and Leona, but struggles in lane against champions with sustain. Sona and Nami can both mitigate her poke and out trade her once they get a few ranks in her skills with makes it very difficult to snowball the lane. It's also difficult to play Karma into Caitlyn because her long range auto attacks can easily poke you out when you try to trade and you have no sustain aside from Renewal but that requires an enemy champion to be near by and stay in range.
I hope you enjoyed my guide for Karma! She is one of my favorite champions and her kit is very fun to use, allowing you to exert massive pressure on the enemy duo lane pre 6 and disengage fights with ease. This guide should help you on your way to becoming an expert Karma player. If you want to see me play, you can follow my stream at www.twitch.tv/gleebglarb1