Karma General Guide by feluriel
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Karma Support build Top and Bo
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.
Introduction - Why Karma
Karma is not only the least expected champion, but when paired up with ANY good tank, she is the ultimate support character. Picture this: a champ, that can deal good damage, shield friends, farm minions, push, defend, heal, and so much more.
In my opinion, Karma is one of the most difficult, and dynamic champions that exists in the game. This is clear when we see(or don’t see) the amount of players that master her.
This is a quick guide on how to be the ultimate support and later in game the ultimate Pusher.
Karma is a b****
Role - Why support?
Well, for most players who have not played in serious matches, it will be a simple summery. A support champion excels when the rest of your team consists of cooperative players. If you are playing in a premade, or you have a decent tank or off-tank, the survival chances will increase drastically. This is important. If the enemy team does not get fed, due to lack of kills, your company has a grand advantage.
Try pairing up with a champion that can do decent damage and can also take some beating. My preferred partners are Renekton and Garren, but basically any champ with some sort of survival skills can fulfill this roll.
Your “Soul Shield” is in this case your best tool. After using your mantra, you can not only buff your partner, but also use them as a attack beacon. Follow up the shield with Heavenly Wave (also under effect of mantra) and you have a lot of damage, combined with a good fortification, and any damage that might have been dealt to your helper in the short time, will be recovered and probably topped.
In many situations, your entire team can be recoverd through two Heavenly Waves. This is great in case of a 5 on 5 encounter, and can often turn the fight to your favor.
Abilities - No Ultimate?
Yes, one major factor to consider when playing Karma, is that she has no Ultimate. This has many Pros and Cons.
PRO: The point you could have spent on an ultimate, is instead used to further elaborate on her skills. In this case, I chose to have Karma with a level 3 Shield. Starting at level 3, her abilities start becoming rather good. This adds a lot of simplicity to her game-play.
CON: Like all good things, there is a hook. Consider all other champions you have played. What is the Ultimate? In general, it is a game-changer. Mordekaiser can finish off an enemy to quickly get a minion that can fulfill the perfect roll of being cannon fodder, or even a tower-dive option. Evelynn can slow down an entire squad of enemy champions, dealing decent damage(if building AP) and even shielding herself for incoming damage. There is now “Epic” trick that Karma can pull out of her hat, but if played correctly, she can easily make up for the lost Ultimate.
Abilities - So, whats so special about her abilities?
Karma has 4 abilities like any other champion, but there is an important twist! Each ability has two levels to choose from. Different times, different methods.
Heavenly Wave: This ability is her primary healing ability (when under Mantra). At level one, I choose to take this ability, since it is easy to heal yourself and allies in dire need. However, it is important for Karma to feed as soon as she can in the game, so that she doesn't fall behind. This ability can take out at least 30% of the health of all minions in front of her. And, if used with Mantra, it can restore your minions for nearly the same amount.
Spirit Bond: This ability I choose only in the end of the fight. Since in the early minutes of the game, there is very little “ganking” going on, it is not too important to slow enemy champs or speed up your friends. You should try to stick primarily to your AOE abilities as long as you can. But keep in mind, that a slow enemy is a dead enemy.
Soul Shield: At first underestimated, but if you fully comprehend this ability, you can use its massive damage range and it's shielding properties to take on 5 enemy champions long enough for your reinforcements to fall in. Use your off-tank or tank as a massive barrier to block all damage, preserve their health, and top it off with AOE damage. If you are stuck with a team that doesn't communicate well, you can even use this ability to turn a simple minion into a decent exploding tank, and if you need to escape, this will ensure that the enemy cant land too much damage on you as you make your escape.
Mantra: This is by far the most difficult and important aspect of Karma to rely on. Every ability she has, gains great properties when combined with Mantra. Read above to see how they combine.
There is not much to say to this, besides that, since she is a support, Utility is the most important Masterie field for Karma. When maxed out,her cooldown is seriously reduced and her casting is simplified a lot.
What do I do as I progress?
Early game: When you start off, you hold the key to success in a shared lane. I don't advise playing her in the middle unless you intend on using the minions as a barrier. However when paired up, remember that your survival is the top priority. As long as you live, so does your partner. If he/she dies, be patient, play defensively, and wait for them to return.
Mid game: A tower has fallen. There have been a bunch of kills already, and now it is time to really go for the kills. Your main job now is tailing any champion in the team, and sustain them while you are blasting at the enemy. If you coordinate correctly, you can easily take down 3 three enemy champions when paired up.
Late game: Alright, Everyone is fed or dead. Your job now is to push push push! With your Mantra Soul Shield, and your Heavenly Wave, you begin cutting down minions. In general, one Mantra Soul Shield and one Heavenly Wave is enough to finish off an entire enemy minion squad. Get the idea? At this point, you will get most of your money and most of your xp from farming minions. You should try to have twice as many minion kills as anyone else in your team. If you combine this strategy with teleport, you can surprise the enemy by soloing a tower or even an Inhibitor.
Items - Whats so special about the gear you chose?
Karma needs: Mana regeneration, ability power, mana, and armor. If the entire thing can be topped of with spell vamp and cooldown reduction, then you have a perfect build.
Remember that you are the most squishy champ in the late game, so after reaching level 12(or something like that) you should try to build up some armor.
However your main focus is ability power. Start by having a lot of mana regeneration in early game, so that you can hold off long against the enemy. Most games are lost due to bad coordination and time wasted running around and not concentrating on the fight. The longer you hold your ground the more buffed you become.
What is Tailing?
Tailing in modern terms, is following someone (with a car or on foot) weather they want it or not. Try to always keep someone else between you and an enemy. Remember to keep them in casting range, and try not to be too close to the enemy. You are not an assassin, so don't chase down anyone that is low on health and running away, and tower-diving is probably not the best idea.
Wait! I don't get any kills?
Yes and no. you will probably not have many kill-shots. In your first few games, it is nothing unusual to have less than 5 kills. However you will be fed through assists. Try to get 5 kills and 15 assists in your first fight. After that, try to sneak a few kill-shots and more assists. In a good game, you will have 10 Kills, 5-10 deaths, and about 20-30 assists. And try to have about 200-300 minion kills.
Consider also changing partners. When the tank that you were supporting has struck 10-15 kills, go ahead and follow someone new. Consider slowly feeding your team. From experience, most of you know, that two overfed champions can practically lead the entire game.
They want me! Only me! What do I do now!
When you notice the enemy team becoming smarter, and starting to kill you first so that you cannot support your allies. That's when you build a bit of armor. Not too much, but enough to keep you running long enough. Let them chase you! Keep yourself full health and armored, slow them down with your Spirit bond, and kite them into your towers, or into a trap with the rest of your team.
What do I need to expect in a bad game?
This is simple to foresee. Since you are the weakest in the fight, you will find, that you are a primary target in fights. You will be killed in a few shots, and progress is slow. In this case, it is probably best you stick to jungle hunting. If you cant rely on your team, they cant rely on you. Ignore bad tanking and low damage, and do the best you can to feed up and push every tower you can. Sometimes its best to take down 50% of a tower than some useless enemy that would just revive to “Gank” you once more.
Karma is the least played champion on all servers. That gives her the cutting edge when it comes to surprise team setup. Not only is it still somewhat of a mystery, as to how she is played perfectly, but she is also unpredictable. Most seasoned players don't know how to counter her. The only reasonable strategy I can think of when facing her is to ignore any dps that you might encounter, and take her down before she can heal herself or her allies.
Another strategy to consider is being a jungle support. If you have 3 very capable players(one for each lane), you can take a decent player and jungle at a phenomenal rate. Surely the xp will be rather low, but a surprise attack into any of the other lanes, followed by a serious push on a tower, can make a huge difference. Consider helping the tank get the red buff(attack) and then let him help you get the blue buff(mana) the result can be very effective.
Remember that if you have a fair tank to help you in combat, you can ask him to set up some kills for you, or even agree that you have the right to kill-steal whenever you want. Since you will have a hard time getting many kills when playing a support, they might be willing to grant you that wish.
Summary - Any final tips?
You are a support! Remember that. This is the Karma support build. Your task is to push and heal. Make sure not to try hunting enemy champions, since that will most likely get you killed. You are next to the inhibitors, one of the most important elements in the team. Make sure your team understands that.
I am by all means, not a professional player, this is how I spend my weekends, but I have had some surprising success with karma, and I decided to share that with all of you.
I hope you see the same potential as I do when playing Karma in the battlefield.
PS: I will try to update this build as frequently as I can. Whenever changes come through a patch, I will make a new one. If you have any specifics you wish to discuss, please leave a comment. Tips are also very welcome.