Karma Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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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.
Hellooooo! Ecco the Dolphin here with a guide for the almighty Karma. She is a very interesting champion who got reworked roughly a year ago. Overall, people seemed displeased with the remake but as the year progressed she began to see some play and this year she has seen a good amount of play as a support. Now, as Burgerking showed us in the LCS she is actually a very strong mid-laner. Extremely safe to pick blind as her laning is very well rounded and safe. She is really fun to play so I suggest you try her out mid and see how you like it!
- Absurdly strong and well rounded laning phase.
- Poke damage with AoE slow.
- High burst.
- Extremely mobile.
- Has a shield.
- Has a make-shift Talisman of Ascension that shields everyone.
- Has the ability to heal herself.
- Good wave-clear.
- Doesn't have a "real" or game-changing ultimate.
- Has a lot of consistent damage and burst with Mantra Q but doesn't have a real devastating burst chain of spells.
The composition that I have laid out above is very poke heavy with strong disengage, decent engage and looooooooooooooooooots of poke damage. This composition is made to be a ball of poking death that wins purely by taking objectives and forcing engages on low health teams. Karma is best put into this kind of composition because it makes best use of her kit. She has consistent poke with her Inner Flame, kiting potential with her Focused Resolve and even more kiting/disengaging potential with her Inspire.
I'm having trouble putting it into words but Karma is just good at what she does. She is a very mobile, tanky, poking champion who has pretty much one spell, her inner flame, that does all of her damage for her. She is very straight forward with her spells. If you were to put her into a heavy engage composition she would serve decently well with her mantra-ed Inspire helping the team follow-up but she just doesn't have that oomph. She just doesn't have something like an Orianna Command: Shockwave that that kind of team would need to help close out a strong engagement and end games. You can throw her into any composition and she will do decently well but a poke composition really takes full advantage of her.
Sooo I actually take ignite on her. I typically only take ignite on assassin champions but I feel like Karma is the black sheep of the AP mid family. With the mobility and defensiveness of her Inspire, I don't think it is necessary to take either Barrier or Heal on her. It just seems overkill and would also make her have literally no kill potential in lane ever. Her kit is all about poking down and with Ignite you actually have that extra oomph to finish someone off.
|...|| greater mark of hybrid penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Because her laning is so aggressive and you /will/ be the bully, I run very aggressive runes. Putting in hybrid penetration marks with four magic penetration blues to make up for the loss of magic pen in your marks helps put a lot of pressure on your lane opponent. Scaling health yellow is just by far the best thing on ranged AP mids in my opinion. They scale so incredibly well and, definitely on Karma, you shouldn't be needing that extra bit of health pre-6 to justify taking flat health.
The one thing about this rune setup that is open to change is the five magic resist glyphs. If I am against an ad champion then I am going to switch these out for scaling ability power.
These are my standard masteries that I'll be running the majority of my games. It is very well rounded, giving you a lot of damage through the offense tree and a little bit of extra mana-regen and other utility aspects in the (surprise!) utility tree.
This is the defensive route to go for Karma's masteries. You are losing out on lowering the cool-down on your Summoner Spells, extra time with buffs, mana-regen, etc to make yourself tankier and have some health-regen. Typically I go this if I am going to be trading a lot of auto-attacks in lane or taking some harass (such as being against a Ziggs). The other time I would go it is if I was facing a lot of assassins. This extra health would make it harder for them to burst me down and I'd overall stay alive longer in team-fights and in general.
Pretty standard skill sequence here. The only thing I ever change is that if I know my jungler will be ganking my lane when I'm level 3, I'll put a point in my Focused Resolve for more kill potential.
Gathering Fire (Passive)
Gathering Fire is a very, very boring passive. It is good at what it does, but besides that there really isn't anything to discuss. The more you hit your enemies with spells and auto-attacks, the faster the your Mantra comes off of cool-down.
Inner Flame is /the/ Karma spell. Whenever I think about Karma it is this spell. Probably because this is pretty much her only damaging spell. I mean, her other two spells do damage (Inspire only with Mantra) but the damage output from her Inner Flame compared to the others probably something like 10:1 at least. So, Inner Flame is a fantastic spell. It is very low-cooldown, fairly low mana cost, is decently long ranged, is AoE, and also slows. It is pretty much a jack of all trades and it is the only reason Karma is relevant at all.
To go over Mantra Q, it is important to know that it increases the range of by roughly a teemo. When it reaches max range and explodes into the giant AoE that then explodes itself shortly after, that entire circle does the initial burst damage. It is nice to keep this in mind on a target who is running away and would otherwise be barely out of range of your normal Inner Flame. Also nice when you have a bunch of clumped enemies and want to bring them all to half health in one spell!
Focused Resolve is a pretty cool spell. It is a leash that does bleed damage with a slow until the timer expires and then does a decent spike of damage and roots the target. It is fantastic for kiting as well as keeping yourself in range of a target. Peeling back from a tank and you want him to get the hell off of you? Inspire yourself and Focused Resolve him and there is no way he will catch you. All-ining your opposing mid-laner and don't want them to get away? Time for some Focused Resolve.
Mantra combined with Focused Resolve is a very overlooked combination. I don't think many people even know what it does because I literally never see it used which is a shame because it is amazing. Initially, on cast, it heals you for 20% of your total missing health and at the end of the leash, another 20% of your missing. Let's say a Kha'Zix is trying to finish you off when you're low health. You're at 400/2000 health so it's pretty late in the game. He jumps towards you, you use Inspire on yourself and Mantra + Focused Resolve on him. That's 320 health you gain instantly. 320! That is a lot! That brings you up to 720 health with a shield on yourself. That is a lot harder to kill than it was just a second ago. Don't forget about this option as it can save your life!
Inspire is a fantastic spell. It gives a crazy amount of movement speed with a decent amount of shield while being on a fairly low cool-down. You can use it on your tanks to help them close the gap to engage, use it on yourself or your adc to help them kite and create space from the tanks/assassins, or shield someone from burst damage.
Mantra with Inspire is actually pretty underused as well. It acts like a Talisman of Ascension that also shields everyone on your team and does AoE damage around your initial target. Pretty good use of Mantra if you ask me. If there are a lot of teammates clumped up and you need a follow-up on an engage or are disengaging then this is a fantastic choice.
The standard starting items on every ranged AP mid champion this season. Works very well on Karma so no reason to change it!
On your first back you're going to want at least 1020 gold for a second Doran's Ring, an Amplifying Tome, a couple Health Potions, and a Stealth Ward. You're going to want to build towards completing your Morellonomicon and pick up Sorcerer's Shoes soon after. The reason that I go Morello over Athene's Unholy Grail is because it is 400g cheaper, gives 15 more AP, and applies Grievous Wounds. You don't really /need/ the mana-regen from Athene's and spending more for less AP doesn't help you dominate your lane as hard as you possibly could. Athene's is still a strong choice that I would go in certain match-ups (typically against burst AP champions like Fizz or LeBlanc) if I'm feeling pressured.
After my Morello, I follow it up with the standard mid-game core of Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff. It will give you a lot of mid-game damage as well as helping you scale strongly into the late game.
Once your core is completed, you have two more items to complete. Which one you are wanting to complete first though is situational. If they have a lot of front-line, health stacking champions (such as both a Dr. Mundo and an Elise) then I'd get Liandry's Torment first to help tear through their large health pools. It also gives you a bit of extra magic-penetration which makes you doing practically true damage to squishier targets who only build one mr item. If you're under hire risk of being bursted or would rather just go straight AP for your 4th item, then you can pick up Zhonya's Hourglass. Very rarely do I get Zhonya's first because of how great the synergy is with Liandry's with her Inner Flame slowing for the extra damage.
|...||Going into laning phase, from the very beginning we are going to be very aggressive. Throwing out a lot of Inner Flames to harass them and auto-attacking them when it is safe. Once you have a point in Inspire, you can trade even more effectively as you will be blocking any damage they throw back at you as well as some minion fire. Be careful not to be /too/ aggressive as your mana is limited. Mostly going to be auto-attacking them when they're going for last hits and harassing with your inner fire. Remember that your inner fire doesn't have to hit them directly so exploding it near them on ranged minions is a good way of harassing while pushing the wave as well!
Speaking of pushing the wave, Karma is one of the very few champions who can get away with having it pushed early on in the game. She is so safe with her Inspire and her Focused Resolve that it should be nearly impossible to die early on. Just because you are a safe champion though doesn't mean you have play stupid reckless. Keep pushing the wave, auto-attacking when possible, and harass with your inner fire. Mantra Q when it is guaranteed to hit for extra damage or when you /really/ want to shove the wave.
Typically I don't roam very often on Karma unless there is a very obvious time presented to me. Such as if their bot lane were both ~30% and trying to stay under tower. My Mantra Q would probably one shot either of them so it is worth my time to shove mid and at least put pressure/secure kills if possible.
|...||Once the laning phase starts to come to an end your team should become a ball of poke. Roam around, siege turrets, get vision out, dance around dragon and just poke. If they try to engage on you before you get strong poke off, it is best to disengage with Mantra + Inspire if it's up or with spells from the rest of your team. If you get good poke off and think you can win when they're forcing an engage then by all means, fight it!
For fights you want to stay far back near your adc and just pump out a ton of Inner Flames, Inspire those who need to move faster (whether to chase or to kite) or shield damage, and Focused Resolve those who are trying to get to your back-line. Once the dust starts to settle from the initial fight you can start to position yourself more aggressively to try and finish off their priority targets.
So overall you and your team will just be annoying and hard to engage on while you slowly get objectives and build a lead. If you and your team ever get engaged on when you shouldn't and get destroyed in a team-fight, that one mistake could very well cost you the game. Being behind on a poke comp is very hard to come back from since you are innately weaker than them already.
|...||Entering the late game, you should continue sieging turrets and dancing around objectives (which will now be Baron). When you are going to be sieging, do your best to get other lanes pushing first to put more pressure on the other team and potentially set up a 5v4 siege situation. Your positioning in team-fights should be the same as mid-game. You should be a second support to your adc while dealing out consistent damage with Inner Flame. Don't dive or force things too hard as death timers will be extremely long and mistakes will quickly end to a lost game for either side. Siege and poke away to your heart's desire and peel for that adc!|