Karma Build Guide by Perrrrrrrrrrry
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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.
Summary of Guide Contents
Introduction - Provides some context for the guide -> why I made it and why it's different
Check out this post for tips on how to put together the formatting
Although there are some similar builds in this space (namely, Egypsian_Lover and Furber) I found mine to be unique enough to warrant my creation and sharing of it.
I've been playing Karma since she came out attempting to prove to myself that she is a viable character. Along with the patch that changed how her assists are calculated I have finally come upon a build and playstyle that delivers the greatness I was seeking.
If you are thinking of playing Karma and your initial experiences with her have been.
If you enjoy being the tipping point in team battles, of saving , of being the ultimate bait.
great potential when she has a team that knows how to play with her. She can protect her teammates while also putting the hurt down on the enemy team. With her Spirit Bond skill she can help her teammates escape a sticky situation as well. Karma does something very well: keeping a single target alive. Typically you'll want this target to be your carry, and sometimes it will be yourself. Often what may happen is that you have proven to the enemy team that you are a primary target and you will become the tank. This is where Karma can do a lot of good work thanks to her passive.
Karma in General
Amazing Survivability - she has the most powerful support shield in the game, she heals for a % of missing HP, and her passive gives her more AP for missing HP
Assist Queen - Did you: (a)heal (b)shield (c)speed/slow (d)damage anyone? +1 ASSIST
This Karma Build
Understanding the basic assumptions I am making regarding the relationship between Karma and her stats is helpful to understand how that logic is expressed in the form of playstyle and item builds. It might also give you greater insight into Karma's champ mechanics.
Stats Ranked by importance
2.Cooldown reduction - because it sucks when you or a teammate die because your spell or mantra is on cooldown
3.Magic Penetration - all that AOE spell flinging deserves some magic damage!
4.Magic Resist - all of your magic (AP) damage reduction is applied pre-shield
5.Armor - all of your physical (AD) damage reduction is applied pre-shield
6.Movement - being slow sucks, spirit bond is helpful but does not replace boots 2
7.Health - most important in early game (AP essentially takes the place of HP late game)
8.Mana Regen - possessing good mana regen allows her to stay out more
9.Mana - the sinking feeling in your stomach when your teammate died because you were out of mana
10.Damage - less margin of error on last-hitting minions
11.Health Regen - helps long stints in the field but HP regen is < heal spell < heal pots
12.Armor Penetration - i guess our auto attack still does damage?
13.Critical Chance - it's fun to see a crit pop
14.Dodge - could be ranked 6th if you want to go the dodge mastery/rune/boots route (totally viable but less adaptable)
To give you an idea of how this works, it means I will give priority to masteries/runes/items according to the stats they affect.
Stats with rank 1 > rank 2 > rank 3 > rank n...etc.
Rabadon's > Rylai's because AP > ap+HP but Mejai's > Rabadon's because AP+CDR > AP
Some grey area exists around items with active abilities, such as Zhonya's and Deathfire Grasp, which I highly value and give preference to. This modifier creates outcomes like this Deathfire > Morrello's and Zhonya's > Rabadon's.
Exhaust is #1 for Karma
If team happens to have lots of exhausts then I'll sometimes switch to Fortify and switch out for the master buff in the Defense Tree.
Her Playstyles and Teamfights
Karma has great flexibility in showing up for her team with three primary playstyles:
Off Tank Karma
AP Carry Karma
Of these three roles, she really excels at Support. It is as Support that Karma's true potential really shines through.
Great Team + Support Karma = Amazing Team
Amazing Team + Support Karma = God-like Team
The inevitable flaw in this however is that Karma needs a great team to be an amazing or god-like support.
In other words, with average teams you get outcomes like this:
Average Team + Support Karma = Average Team
Average Team + Support Karma = Bad Team
This dynamic could also be expressed like thisThe chart above shows that Karma's capacity as support is maxed at 10, 7 as Off Tank, and 6 as AP Carry. Her true potential lies as Support given you have the team to unlock her higher capacity.
However, more often than not, I find myself stepping into the role of AP Carry or Off Tank because me team is < great and for an average team having a decent AP Carry OR a decent Tank is > having a decent Support. If no one else is stepping up to the plate, you have to!
Masteries (making an informed decision)
Let's do a compare and contrast:What do you get with the Defense mastery tree?
Utility Mastery - Monster buff last 2.5 minutes normally, this mastery increases duration by .75 minutes (or 45 seconds).
Presence of the Master - Applied first (before blink of an eye)
4% damage reduction is huge and it is applied pre-shield.
Runes and some Viable Alternatives
image here for AP Quints
Early AP for Karma brings great laning presence for harassing (Karma out-harasses most champs when starting with a good chunk of AP and mana regen).
AP also brings better support (heal/shield) which translates to great sustainability in lane.
Note that these benefits are equally valuable whether solo top/mid or with a laning partner.
Mid and Late Game
AP Quints > other runes mid and late game because:
15 extra AP add ____ to Karma's shield[image] and ____% to Karma's
AP Synergies with Rabadon's
AP Synergies with Ardor defensive mastery (explained below)
(fix this ****)
image here for Magic Pen marks
image here for mana regen seals
image here for AP Glyphs
Note: If you don't understanding rune ranks: go here
Core Item Build and some Common Variations
My core build consists of 4 items. By core, I mean items that will show up almost every time, but perhaps it a slightly different order.
The 4 items
Combined with your runes and masteries, at level 18 this will give you:
1. 39.33% CDR
2. ~430 AP at full HP and up to 604 AP at double digit HP (remember Karma's passive, Inner Flame)
3. A 2-second invulnerability from Zhonya's unique active (great when getting focused or when you need an extra 2 seconds on your shield CD)
4. A 44% of champion HP (at 0 MR) magic blast from Deathfire Grasp
Item Build Sequencepretty image that shows building from dorans -> kage's -> fiendish codex -> needlessly -> zon's -> deathfire -> rab's
If I get some early kills/assist and have extra money, if I am favored to be the AP Carry, or I believe my skills far outmatch the other team I will rush rabodons in place of zon's.
Common Item Build Variations
Man keeping you downealisy's tear
Needy TeamCDR boots
Battle of the Magesbysmal septor (lot's of AP on both teams)
Public Enemy #1 = Karmaguardian angles
Recognizing Signals for Adapting
There is an important (and advanced) skill in League of Legends we'll call: Recognizing signals for adapting We'll get to the meaty application of this skill shortly...but first, some theory!
Recognizing: to identify as something previously seen, known, familiar.
Signals: anything that serves to indicate, warn, direct, command, or trigger.
Adapting: adjusting or modifying to make suitable to requirements or conditions.
Recognizing signals for adapting means having the capacity to distinguish and adjust your playstyle, item build, and/or strategy to more appropriately meet the circumstances of each game. Although an important skill for all characters we'll explore how it commonly shows up for Karma.
Because Karma has such a range of playstyles (from Support to AP Carry to Off Tank) it is important to identify the early trends or signals in the game so you can adjust your playstyle accordingly.
Here are some categories of signals to watch out for as Karma:
- team fight initiation is failing, the team dies too fast, you are dying too fast.
Carry Malfunctions -
Adaptation - stop buying wards
AP Carry - your carry isn't stepping up to the plate, you need to take your early advantage and bring your team to victory.
Support - feeding kills and keeping your AD or AP carry alive.
Scenario - The other team is comprised of entirely AD characters, do you:
a) buy armor
b) buy items with magic resist
c) continue on in blind followship with your favorite Mobafire build
It's what allows you to deal successively with variability.
I will spend some time now to go thru some scenarios of what types of things might cause you to adapt your item progression. What I am sharing is a type of thinking about item builds rather than an explicit rule set.
for situational and strategic differences that
If I don't end a game with these items it's because of situational and strategic difference in team composition or how the team dynamics are developing.
If you start rolling people in the beginning or getting lots of assist