Karma Build Guide by Chud0
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.
People tend to think Karma is a little on the weaker side. I think they just don't quite understand all of her strengths and weaknesses. The key to a good Karma player is to realize what her limits are and when you should or shouldn't use her mantra empowered abilities.
In this guide ill explain how Karma can really excel as an AP mid carry, how to properly use her spells, and when you should and shouldn't use her mantra empowered abilities.
This is my first guide so please feel free to add tips/constructive criticism. If you see the guide and want to down-vote, please message me first and let me know why so i can look into fixing/changing in problems:) thanks
EDIT: After some testing, and feedback from commentators, I have updated/changed the guide a little for the better:)
Now a link to my Stream Below, feel free to check out my Karma play:)
I added a second Build i have been testing with 10/0/20 focusing on the utility tree, specifically the CDR. I've play tested it quite a bit and find that it works very effectively. It focuses on rushing a Morellonomicon for nice early stats and power then getting a Deathfire Grasp for the active to really burn targets down easily with one combo.
Flash - Flash is pretty much a must have for almost any role. It provides way to much utility to give up for anything. It gives escape, chase, and juking potential. Karma lacks a good escape and this feels that role perfectly.
Ignite - I like to take Ignite for my second summoner spell. Karma does good damage.. BUT because sometimes her Focused Resolve is cut short, i really recommend taking this to help finish off that escaping champion or to stop those pesky heals.
Optional Summoner Spells
Teleport - If you really feel you don't need the extra damage from Ignite, Teleport can be a good substitute. It allows quick travel back to your lane after buying or great ganking opportunities by using Teleport to travel behind enemies in their lanes.
Heal - heal can be used in place of Ignite as well. Heal is great for baiting and can work well with Karma's ability to shield and heal herself already(you don't really need it though because of the new buff to Karma's Focused Resolve.
Barrier - This summoner can work well with your already build in shield from Inspire. The enemy rarely expects you to be able to shield for so much damage, combined with your heal from Focused Resolve, it can help turn the tide easily in a 1v1 situation.
None of the other summoner spells should be used they don't provide enough benefit to replace any of the summoner spells mentioned above.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Glyph of Ability Power - We take these glyphs to help boost Karma's early game damage. They are very helpful when you spam your Inner Flame early game. They also work great with your Glyph of Ability Powerx3 so you really pack a serious punch during that early lane phase.
Mark of Magic Penetration - We take these marks to counteract any magic resist items the enemies may buy, not to mention any runes or masteries they may have adding to their magic resist. They provide a nice overall damage boost.
Seal of Armor - Previously i had Seal of Mana Regeneration, which someone pointed out were made pretty null once you had your chalice from your first buy. I've switched to using these armor seals now to help reduce minions damage and early AA damage from your lane opponent when you go in to trade.
Quintessence of Ability Power - We take these glyphs to gain a HUGE boost to our early game damage. Along side our ability power glyphs, and masteries, you are starting with a whopping 30+ ability power.
Lets go over a few of our masteries and why we should take them with Karma
Butcher - We take 2 points in butcher to help our damage against minions and secure those last hits.
Sorcery - We take all 4 points in this mastery because CD reduction is so important on Karma for spamming and for getting that Mantra CD lowered.
Summoner's Wrath - We take a point in summoners wrath to give us that small AP boost while our ignite is on CD. (if you didn't take ignite, you may point this point in another mastery you wish to use)
Blast - We take all 4 points in blast to help increase our early game damage even further and give a slight damage boost to our late game.
Arcane Knowledge - We take a point in arcane knowledge to help give us a little extra magic pen to go with our marks of magic pen and give a little over damage boost.
Mental Force - We take all 3 points. Pretty self explanatory on any AP carry, increases your early damage.
Spellsword - We take a point in this since it provides a nice little bonus to our AA, helping with harassing and last hits.
Archmage - We take 4 pionts in this mastery since it provides a 5% boost to your entire ability power.
Executioner - We take a point in this to help finish opponents off once you have them whittled down from your Inner Flame.
Meditation - We take 3 points in this mastery to help with early mana problems you will encounter from spamming.
Summoner's Insight - This will help get your Flash up faster to help with ganks, escaping, or chasing for the kill.
Wanderer - We take 1 point in wanderer to give a minor speed boost which can help in keeping people tethered when you are using Focused Resolve on them.
Expanded Mind - This talent will give us a bigger mana pool. Allows us to cast an extra spell or two.
Runic Affinity - Last we take runic affinity for when the jungler decides to give us blue so we can help increase the duration. The longer we have blue the more Inner Flame we can cast and the faster our Mantra will be up:)
Now lets take a look at each of Karma's abilites:
Gathering Fire (passive) - An ok ability, i really wish they would buff it with a little of her old flair, but alas dreams are only dreams. Still an ok ability to help keep your Mantra up as much as possible.
Inner Flame (Q) - This is your bread and butter skill. You will be spamming this spell all up in the enemies grill. It has a fairly low Cool down especially once you have your build complete. When you are able to hit a Mantra'd Inner Flame, with a complete build, it can hit for 1800+ AOE damage. This spell is no joke. Use it, abuse it.
Focused Resolve (W) - A very underrated spell in my opinion. This spell can deal ALOT of damage, gives a root, and can heal for 1/4+ of your hp? Chud0 you're kidding us right? NO, i am not. Max this second and watch as your enemies cower in terror at your might.
EDIT: This spell was just changed in patch 3.8. I can't believe the incredible buff this spell received, instantly heal 20% of your missing HP and an ADDITIONAL 20% if you can maintain the spell on them. This brings heal baiting to a whole new level(see tactics).
Inspire (E) - A nice utility spell that offers a shield and move speed. In my opinion, 1 point in this shield is more than enough until late game. Mainly use it so you can lock down your Focused Resolve and hit that empowered Inner Flame. Get 1 point at level 4 and then max last.
Mantra (R) - This ability takes the spot of an ultimate spell. When you activate it you receive an UBER buff to one of your other three spells. I generally will use it on Inner Flame because the damage out put, if you are able to land it, will devastate your opponents.
There are a lot of Karma players out there who like to max Inspire second instead of Focused Resolve. To those people i say, "DO YOU EVEN LIFT'? Most people think that Focused Resolve is too risky because they have to get to close to the target and that they will take more damage than they will deal. I'm here to tell you otherwise, Focused Resolve does a GREAT! amount of damage and if needs be can deal crazy damage and heal you for a very large chunk of your health.
All you need to do, is throw Inspire on yourself for the move speed buff and hit Focused Resolve while you are incredibly fast. Right before your Focused Resolve locks them in place activate your Mantra and shoot your Inner Flame at the target. The stun from Focused Resolve will keep them in range for your entire Mantra'd Inner Flame. This combo can easily take 1/2 of the enemies health.
Next lets take a look at Items for our favorite girl, Karma
Athene's Unholy Grail - is a must for Karma. It gives her everything she loves, AP, CD Reduction, Mana Regen, it's a jack of all trades and therefore a must have on any legitimate Karma player.
Rabadon's Deathcap - another must for any respectable AP carry. It gives too much AP to ever even think about giving this item up. I implore you, build this. I like to rush this item as soon as my athene's has been completed. It will make you a serious threat to your lane opponent as well as in team fights.
Liandry's Torment - A great item for any AP carry, especially in today's tanky meta. This item will add a little bonus damage depending on the enemies current health. This item will also give you a nice little health boost.
Sorcerer's Shoes - Usually the go to boots with this build, mainly because you don't get any extra magic pen out of your core items(you may switch out the boots depending on the enemy team comp but i find Sorcerer's Shoes to be the best choice).
Zhonya's Hourglass - a really good item if the other team is trying to hard focus you. The 120 ability power and the active make it a superb item for any AP carry.
Deathfire Grasp - a good item if you the other team is very tanky or if you are really having trouble with a tanky/bruiser on the other team.
Void Staff - if the other team is building A LOT of magic resist then this item is a must.
Abyssal Scepter - can really help if the enemy has a lot of ability power champs or if they are stacking a lot of magic resist. Gives a nice amount of AP as well.
Pros & Cons
In the lane phase you will be focusing on last hitting as much as possible. Anytime the enemy champion moves up near a creep, shoot your Inner Flame at the creeps and the AOE damage will strike the enemy as well(this is your main way to harass). Don't be afraid to harass with Karma as she is excellent at dishing out damage and taking low damage in return.
Keep an eye out for junglers and try not to over extend as it can sometimes be difficult to escape the jungler, especially a jungler with a gap closer. It's important to keep wards up during this phase so you have knowledge/vision of jungler position.
One or two towers may be down by now and champions have started to roam. If you were successful in taking mid tower then look at which ever lane is pushed to your towers most and try for a gank in that lane(if both are equally pushed try and decide which you would have the easier time ganking).
Karma is an excellent ganker with the move speed from Inspire and the immobilize of Focused Resolve she can easily secure a kill for herself or her teammates.
If you are losing your lane, ask your jungler or any other lanes that have already taken the enemies tower in their lanes to help with a gank or to help push your lane quicker so you can help with objectives such as dragon. As mid you have easy access to help your jungler and bottom lane when they are ready to attempt dragon. It's a good idea to get your lane pushed before you go help so they enemy team has some pressure to focus on as a distraction.
Multiple towers have probably fallen on both teams now and team fights are starting to become more popular. It is important to keep the map warded so you have vision during this time as 1 lost player can easily turn the tide in the enemies favor. Make sure you are sticking together and that you keep important spells with long CD up in case a team fight brakes out.
Karma is great in team fights, the tricky part is deciding which Mantra you should be using to best help the team and ensure that victory. I favor the Mantra'd Inner Flame since it is an AOE beast in team fights that can really lay the hurt on them. However, if you find your adc or yourself dying to fast or frequently, or just notice overall that your team is dying to fast you should be using Mantra on Inspire for the AOE shield and even a lil' damage on the side.
Tips & Tactics
Lets go over some of the tactics and tips of our enlightened one:
Karma is definitely one of the harder champions to play in League, but i promise you if you practice with her and learn how to properly utilize her abilities, that hard work will pay off.
As with any Mid you need to be buying wards and constantly warding in the proper places. Karma is one champion that is especially susceptible to ganks. Other than your Inspire MS buff, you have no real escape abilities. (keep in mind your Inner Flame can slow enemies, so launch that at an income Jungler to help in your get away)
Here's a picture to help visualize good ward placement:
Keep in mind that wards can be the difference between victory and defeat. If you have that extra 150g, don't hesitate to grab a couple wards.
Ask your jungle for blue when available. The mana regen and CD reduction are great to help you spam infinite Inner Flame and give you almost no down time on your Mantra. Don't be afraid to cast a Mantra'd Inner Flame when you have blue buff, even if you miss it will be back in no time.
Always keep an eye out for invaders in your jungle. As mid lane you are the fastest person to be able to get to Top or Bottom lane(apart from the Jungler depending on his position). Always try to keep your map awareness up, if you see an enemy Jungler headed to your jungle or one of your lanes to be afraid to go and help take him out!
The first tactic to talk about is a classic, the "Heal Bait". This isn't the classic summoner spell heal bait, it's with your built in heal on your spell Focused Resolve. In my guide i tell you tell max the spell second, and this is one of the reasons: you are at 1/4 health left, and your opponent is a little under half health, they maybe a burst champion and think they can easily take you out so what do they do? They go all in everything they got on you. You may simply laugh this off at them and watch as the fabled "QQRAGE" encompasses them. Here's how to pull it off, hurry and cast Inspire on yourself while running towards them, then pop Mantra and use Focused Resolve. You'll watch in pleasure as your opponent's health starts drastically dropping and while yours is only gaining. (Be mindful of the enemies Ignite, don't bank on your heal if you know their Ignite is up as it will ruin this plan completely)
The next tactic will explain how to land those difficult Mantra'd Inner Flame. As most of us know it's very difficult to catch an enemy with the second AOE effect of Inner Flame, here is an easy way to make sure it lands. First you cast Inspire on yourself for the move speed buff, then you cast Focused Resolve on the enemy on the enemy. Thanks to the move speed buff this should allow you to keep up with them for the full duration and lock in that snare. Now this is the tricky part, You need to time your Mantra'd Inner Flame perfectly. About .5 seconds before your Focused Resolve snares the target, you need to active your Mantra'd Inner Flame and shoot it at the enemy. Thanks to your snare, they will be struck by the entire combo for a devastating amount of damage. ( if they have a little health left ignite their *** and prosper)
VIDEOS COMING SOON!!!!
Try to use your Inner Flame to farm when you are able to kill one or more minions and, if possible, hit the enemy champion. This will cause your opponent to need to be on the cautious side otherwise you will punish him.
There are quite a few frequently asked questions about Karma, i would love to provide some good answers for.
Q: Why play Karma when there are so many champs that can do her job only better?
A: Karma brings a unique play-style that is both challenging and fun. Karma is actually a very fun champ to play, she is difficult to master but brings a lot to the table. Unlike most face-roll champs you actually need to be a pretty skilled player to make her work but once you understand her she is really capable of amazing things(and lets face it, if you wanted to play boring ole Lux you wouldn't be looking up a Karma guide).
Q: Why level Focused Resolve before Inspire?
A: With the recent buff to Inspire its move speed and shield are sufficient with just level 1. Some believe the shield is better for trading but you really need the extra damage from Focused Resolve to make you a great burst mage and with the new buff it will even heal for huge amounts when coupled with her Mantra.
Q: When should I be taking blue buff with Karma and when should I leave it for the jungle?
A: The first blue should, in almost every instance, go to the jungle. If the jungler is being countered hard in his jungle you may want him to pick up the next blue or two as well to help him catch up and gank faster. That being said, whenever it's possible you should be grabbing blue, it will cap out your CDR and make you spam life away. Blue gives you a huge advantage in lane and will allow your Mantra optimal up time.
A couple of examples of how well you can do with this build/guide:
Here is a ranked game i played yesterday for another example(I'm in silver V ):
Please send me any games you have tried with my build to show others the great results:)
I occasionally will throw up my Stream, Chud_0 on twitch tv. Please feel free to visit and watch as i demonstrate strats and tactics. I will play Karma pretty often on there so please come watch:)
Check Me Out! - Chud_0's Stream
So next time you join a game and pick Karma, even if your team mates rage at you for picking "NOOB CHAMP, GG FEEDING AFTER I AFK", show them what Karma is capable of by using this easy guide to greatness. If you lose the game and confirm to the ragers that Karma is indeed a feeding newb, than you probably didn't actually read my guide and therefore are the noob feeder they accused you of being.