Build Guide by Mitch Bade
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.
Heavenly Wave base heal increased to 35/55/75/95/115/135 from 30/45/60/75/90/105
Spirit Bond cooldown reduced to 15/14/13/12/11/10 from 20/18/16/14/12/10.
Soul Shield Increased the shield strength by 10 at all ranks.
Mantra cooldown reduced to 25 seconds from 30 seconds.
This was a very nice buff! Slightly better heals and the Soul Shield buff means a little bit more damage with shield bombs. Spirit Bond definately had a high cooldown on lower levels, so this is nice too.
The crazy part is the reduction of Mantra cooldowns! Now this build will give you stacks every 15 seconds!
Morello's Evil Tome cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 15%
Morello's Tome just got way more cost effective! This means we will have 35% CDR from the Boots and Morello's. This gave me the ability to change the Masteries up, while still achieving max cooldown reduction. I will be testing them out, and will apply the best options to this build shortly.
Hello Summoners! My name is Mitch Bade, and after many games with Karma I feel like I have to share my knowledge about her. I've tried many builds, and I believe this one to be very successful, and it gives you room to adjust to different enemy team compositions.
I've been playing League of Legends for about 6 months, and I have about 700 games under my belt. I love to play the underdog champions. You know the ones that are un-loved, under appreciated, and forgotten. This is my first guide, so I hope you enjoy it!
Karma, the Enlightened One, has a pretty bad reputation among the masses of League of Legends. This saddens me! Many people tried her a few times, and did not know what her role was in the team. I also find that many people don't really know what to do when Karma is on their team. In the champion spotlight, they showed a very bad support build, and I blame that for the confused people who tried her and failed.
Karma's skills are all based off of good AP ratios, and her "support" role increases as her AP increases. She is not to be played as a mage carry like Swain, Veigar, Vlad, etc. However, as you get some experience playing her, you will be racking up tons of assists and many kills. This guide will cover a lot of things you need to know when playing Karma, so it will be a pretty long read.
The key is to get MAX Cooldown Reduction ASAP. You can cast shields every 6 seconds, and they last for 5 seconds! She becomes an awesome support when you build CDR, AP, HP, and some resistances.
I will leave the Rune selection up to you, but I will give you some examples of what I use and what is best.
This build allows you to skip Cooldown Reduction Runes, and I will explain CDR more in the Item section of this guide.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Getting Spell Penetration in Offense, and filling the Utility Tree. Karma has the potential to deal a lot of burst damage, and getting the CDR in both trees is a must with this build.
Having 9% Cooldown Reduction from Masteries allows for this build to achieve Max CDR with the first two items. You want to be able to shield and heal your allies as much as you can.
I use Ghost / Teleport.
Ghost, because it lasts for a long time with the mastery, and it has tons of good uses.
Teleport, because you can farm non-stop, save turrets, teleport to dying allies, or continue to push after blue-pilling.
These spells have insane amounts of utility, and I just beleive that these give karma what she needs the most.
I haven't tried Heal or Clarity, but if you want to then go for it.
I also don't believe a support should be using Exhaust or Ignite.
CORE BUILD: Ionian Boots of Lucidity Morello's Evil Tome Rod of Ages
This very inexpensive core build maxes out CDR, and it works so well for me. It gives Karma all the stats that she needs to be awesome--HP/AP/CDR.
Abyssal Scepter and Zhonya's Hourglass will give you massive AP while providing much needed Armor and Magic Resist. These items were made for Karma. A protected Karma is a Karma that can protect her allies. If you need more HP, then replace Abyssal Scepter with Banshee's Veil.
At the start of the game you will want to grab:
On your first trip back:
Sight Ward if you can
Then after a while:
At this point, you should maybe be at the end of the laning phase, but that's not really important. The reason why you haven't purchased any HP yet is because once you get a feel for Karma, you shouldn't be dying in the laning phase unless you get tower dived by 3-5 people.
Morello's Tome instead of Deathfire Grasp?!
Yes. Morello's Tome is extremely inexpensive especially since it was buffed to 20% CDR. The point of this build is to get max CDR as soon as possible. I will explain it even further in the later chapters.
+ + Masteries = 40% Cooldown Reduction for ~3200 Gold.
Catalyst the protector ->
Rod of Ages is a much better choice for Karma than Rylai's Scepter, and since you spent a very small amount of gold on the previous two items, you should have time for it to charge up to full 80 AP, 630 HP, 700+ MP.
Now you have your Core build!
The next 3 item slots require a bit of thought.
If you need the Armor.
If you need the Magic Resist.
If you're slaughtering the other team.
If you're doing not so well, or getting targeted.
It always depends on how well your team is doing, what stat the other team is stacking, and if you are dying a lot. Here are some other good items to choose from if you don't want any of the previous 4 items:
(huge AP boost for mid-late game)
(get it early on your own descretion)
(great when you have 2 other AP champions on your team)
(if they focus you with crazy autoattacks)
(yeah I said it! Get to your allies faster, awsome HP Regen, and best MR)
(the only other item with Armor that is worth buying)
Skills and Very Important Tips!
Ok, you don't ever have to follow a strict sequence, but this is what I know works best.
E > Q > W
W and E should be set to Smart Casting
This makes it much easier to use your Soul Shield and Spirit Bond when you're in a pinch. I like to leave Q as it is, so I can aim it perfectly to heal and/or harass.
Karma only has three skills and they go up to level 6 each:
I made this spreadsheet to show how well her skills scale with AP:
This is Karma's passive ability. It gives you more AP as your health gets lower. However, don't intentionally keep your health low to get more AP. It's a great passive, and it makes her deceptively hard to kill because she heals more, shields more, and deals more as she gets focused.
Shield AP Ratio = 0.8
Damage AP Ratio = 0.8
This is the most important skill she has. It blocks all types of damage, and it lasts for 5 seconds or until they burst through it. If you use a Mantra Stack on this skill, it will shield the target and immediately deal magic damage in an Area around the shielded target. The amount of damage it deals is equal to the amount of damage the shield blocks.
5 Second Shield on a 6 Second Cooldown, with max CDR. EPIC.
-You can double the range of the Mantra Shield Bomb by placing it on a target that is closer to the enemy or enemies you want to hit.
-You can Shield an ally or allied minion in order to push a tower longer. The shield will block up to about 4 turret hits as you get more AP.
-Shield your carry instead of your tank. Most of the time the enemy team will focus your carry. Whoever the enemy team is focusing you should shield. Save Mantra for turning it into a Shield Bomb in team fights. That way you can save a life, and hit as many enemy champions as possible.
Things you can shield:
-Allied Teemo Shrooms
-Allied Pets (TIbbers, Morde's Ultimate Pet, Malzahar Voidling, etc.)
Things you can't shield:
I haven't tried shielding wards yet...
Damage AP Ratio = 0.6
Heal Percentage AP Ratio = 0.02
This is your next most important skill. It deals damage in a good sized cone, and it is your lowest cooldown. With this build you can have it at less than 4 seconds. If you apply a Mantra stack to this spell, it will deal damage in a cone, plus heal all allies in the cone including yourself.
This spell heals for a flat amount + 5% of missing health. It adds 1% for each 50 AP you have.
-During team fights, try to position this spell to hit as many enemy champions, while healing as many allies at the same time. If you position it right, you can turn the tides of battle in your favor.
-This spell will hit squishies very hard, just like your shield bomb, but on a lower cooldown.
-Use Mantra stacks to heal your allies while pushing a tower, or in-between fights. You can push for a long time if you take care of your allies.
-Heal minion waves in order to push a lane hard.
AP Ratio = 0.7
This spell has so many uses it's not even funny. It is on the same cooldown as Soul Shield so try and use it at the perfect time. You should only need 1 or 2 levels of this spell for early and mid game, so that is why I level it last.
You cast this spell on an any ally, or enemy. It will speed up the anchored target or slow them down if the anchor is an enemy. It will deal high amounts of damage to enemies who get touched by the tether between you and the anchor. If you apply a Mantra stack to Spirit Bond it will only double the speed buff/debuff effect.
-Anchor to a minion in order to get back to your lane quicker.
-Anchor to the enemy that is chasing you in order to make a clean escape.
-Anchor to an ally who is inside the enemy team. That way you deal tons of damage to as many enemies as you can in team fights.
-Speed up your allies who need to escape.
-Speed up your allies who need to catch a running enemy.
-Anchor to the enemy you and a teammate are ganking.
-You cannot anchor to wards, even though the champion spotlight shows that.
This is your ultimate, and you have access to it starting at level 1. With Max CDR and the recent buff to Karma you will get a stack every 15 seconds, and you can only save up 2 stacks at a time.
v188.8.131.52 patch reduced the cooldown from 30 to 25 seconds!
-Save stacks for team fights when they can do the most.
-Decide which skills you should apply stacks to on the fly! It is rare that you should ever need to use them on Spirit Bond.
-If you have 2 stacks and you know you will be using a stack in the next 8 seconds, then hit R and you will have 8 seconds to apply it to a skill, and another stack will already be charging. This requires practice, but it will help in team fights.
-Use stacks to heal your team after you ACE the enemy team, so you can keep pushing.
Other Awsome Tips!
-A well placed shield can protect you or an ally from an Ult from Karthas, Ezreal, Ashe, Lux, etc.
-She can solo a lane very well! If they are trying to zone you out, then level up your Soul Shield. Shield bombs on your minions will tear them down quickly, and allow for them to get ganked by your team.
-Laning against Nasus or Veigar can be fun! You can deny them last hits on your minions with your shield! They will get mad, but it will stop them from gaining permanent stats!
-Spirit Bond is hard to master. It has the highest AP ratio of all her skills, but it is the hardest skill to hurt them with. It does not deal damage to the Anchored enemy, so if you want to hurt your target then anchor to something around them.
-When you have Banshee's Veil, you can use your Soul Shield on your allies a lot more, instead of on yourself.
-Karma deals a lot more damage than you think! In the laning phase you want to try and be aggressive while conserving mana and Mantra stacks for important moments.
-If you are pushing a tower, then try to have wards nearby or be aware of enemy MIAs. Sometimes it isn't worth it.
-When you need to heal yourself or your ally with Heavenly Wave and a Mantra stack, try to position yourself to also hit minions or nearby enemies.
-Heavenly Wave + Mantra heals for a base amount + % missing HP. It will heal for more when you or your allies have lower HP, but don't let them die because you wanted to wait.
-Soul Shield works great for tower diving allies!
Karma can handle a solo 2v1 or 1v1 lane very well. She has awesome survivability and can harass with the best of them!
Karma should be last hitting minions only, but if you have to hit some minions in order to harass the enemy then go for it. Her attack animation is easy to last hit with, and she has a nice amount of AD to start with.
If the enemy is a melee champion, then you will be able to harass from a distance with Soul Shield bombs, and Heavenly Wave. If he dives, flashes, or warps right next to you to beat you down, then quickly shield yourself. A shield bomb would work even better. Most likely he will be behind your minions so he will draw creep aggro, and it gives you the chance to use Spirit Bond on a minion right behind him which will cause him to take damage from the tether.
You can also deny him last hits by shielding your minions right before they attack it. Karma can easily destroy minion waves, so if you are pushing him hard then make sure you have wards and map awareness to protect you from ganks.
Most duos will try to zone you out of getting experience if they're smart enough. This is when you should level up Soul Shield more, because you can drop bomb after bomb on your minions to harass both of the enemies. Even if they keep you tower hugged, it is easy to last hit with your skills under the turret.
Sometimes that is exactly what you want them to do! Let them overextend after you've beaten them both down to under 50% HP, and ask your jungler or teammates to gank them. Use your Spirit Bond on them to slow them down to keep them from escaping!
This is a situation where the Teleport summoner spell is very important! It should take you 10 seconds to recall to the shop, buy items, and teleport back. They won't have any time at all to push your tower, and you will maximize the amount of experience and gold you get overall by staying in the lane. I usually recall every time the Teleport spell is ready to be used, so I can hurry back without missing a beat.
Duo Side Lane
Karma works very well with a melee champion as a partner. When your ally engages the enemy you immediately drop a shield bomb on him to protect him and burst both of the enemies down. If you need to, use your 2nd Mantra stack on Heavenly Wave to heal him and burst the enemies down some more. This is an easy way to get first blood!
Sometimes it is better to cast Spirit Bond on your partner so you can both catch up to the running enemy. Keep you and your partner healthy, and since he is melee, you should be shielding him from harassment as much as you can. It is easy to shield him from skill shots like Mundo's Cleaver and slow missles like Kassadin's Silence.
Karma's shield can also counter Maokai's Sapling toss, which we all know is pretty annoying early game. Once you guys kill the enemies in your lane, use your shield on minions to push the tower. Heal the minions and you can take the tower down in one fell swoop. A couple shields, and heals keep the minions alive long enough for the next wave of minions to arrive at the enemy tower.
Laning Phase Tips
-If you are badly hurt and are hugging your turret, save your Mantra stacks. The enemy will most likely think you are an easy target to tower dive and kill. However, when they come at you drop a shield bomb on yourself, and heal yourself and hit him with Heavenly Wave. With her passive people will underestimate Karma, and end up dying. They won't do that again will they?
-Map awareness is the single most important thing in the entire game! Try to buy a ward or two on your first trip back to the shop. Teleport back and drop them down. This should give you lane dominance, because you can be as cocky as you want since you know nothing is behind you.
-Try to gain control of the Dragon as early as possible! Gold is your friend, and if you control the Dragon, then you will have a huge advantage over the enemy team. If not, then at least ward it, so you can gank them when they think they are safe.
Minions / Creeps - After leveling up a bit, you can clear entire minion waves with Heavenly Wave and a Shield Bomb. I recommend doing this at Neutral Monster Camps as well.
Blue Golem Buff - You should not need this. My build gives you Max CDR with only 3200 gold, so you can let the ally who needs it most have priority on it. If nobody is taking it then grab it.
Dragon / Baron - Mid-Late game it is easy to help your teammate's tank them, because you will have a 5 second shield block all the damage, and you can cast it every 6 seconds. You can solo dragon later on, but it takes a while so be careful.
This is the range of Heavenly Wave for the damage and the heal:
This is the range of Spirit Bond, but after you cast it the link between you and the target can stretch pretty far:
This is the range of Soul Shield. This is also the size of the AOE damage it does when you apply a Mantra to it. As you can see, you can reach pretty far when using shield bombs:
These are some of my recent normal solo queue game scores. Nothing special, but notice even when my team loses I do well with this build.
Pros / Cons
-Pretty tanky for a nuke/support
-Can save lives in many ways
-Greater damage than some other supports
-Best shield ever
-Always someone to heal, someone to shield, someone to speed up, someone to speed down, someone to kill. Pay Attention!
-Feels good to deny the enemy kills, and save your allies
-Difficult to master
-Requires allies to know how to play along side Karma
-Medium Risk, but High Reward