Karma Build Guide by Arrya
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.
I have been an avid Karma player for sometime now and have recently tried a different approach to the standard 9/0/21 ap mage Karma. I still use that build from time to time but wanted to give back something a bit different than the already wonderful guides on here. I use this build mainly in normals and have had lots of success. OFC when i try play it in ranked I get trolled and forced into a lane/roll I dont feel comfortable in but there is no reason why this build wont work in ranked, in fact im gonna do it when i get home from work. Partly im writing this guide is because im so bored at work and I wanted fellow mobafire users to check out this way of playing karma and give back some feedback.
Ok lets start, ill try keep it short as there are already some great guides on here that explain the ins and outs of karma play, regardless of build. i suggest you check out The Comprehensive Karma and Karma cdr hp ap support for more indepth information.
ps this is my first guide so formatting might not be perfect so go easy on me. A lot of sections have info that may belong in others but since the so closely connected i have commented when relevent.
9 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
5 x Greater Seal of Replenishment
4 x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power
2 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
1 x Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
These runes are pretty standard, I focus on a lot of AP as we wont be starting with a Doran's Ring so the extra ap is needed for the awesome early harras. Remember you are most probably mid vs another ap caster who probably doesnt have defensive masteries/runes and therefore squishy. We are 9/21/0 karma so can dish out quite a bit of early damage and sustain quite a bit too.
A mix of flat and per level mana regen seals gives us the early mana regen we need until we get tear and into later game where the per levels help out too. And makes up for the loss of mana regen from the utility tree.
I always take
- You are often in the thick of things as Karma, flash is needed to get out of sticky situations! Also great for finishing off that cocky mid who doesnt know how this Karma has got him so low, he is in shock and doesnt want to go back so early. You flash in, mantra shield, q him and he is dead before he realises what good Karma is. No brainer, you need this spell.
- How many close battles have you been in where the opposition escapes by a ball hair. This helps secure those situations, as i mentioned above about the flash-in combo, add this at the start for a guranteed frag. Worth atleast 2 or 3 kills per game.
Other possibles to go with flash.
- If you are forced bot, maybe. I always forget to use regulary so i hate it.
- Get if you are bottom with a mana hungry team mate, helps you both. Only get if you arent building a tear.
- meh could be handy but not for me.
Why You Dont Need The Utility Tree Masteries
I started looking at the defensive tree for Karma due to the way she is in combat and team fights. Her range is not that great and her positioning is ultra important. Which most of the time means getting right in the thick of things to land that group heal plus aoe damage and or that turbo charged clutch shield! CUE defensive tree! I had a look at the the Utility tree and was like what really will Karma miss from there, turns out there wasnt that much that we cant compensate for.
The best Utility Masteries you dont need.
- It does mean the mid you are vs might hit a level before you but with your awesome harras you can zone them or force them back for an early heal, so this can be negated. Plus say it takes an average of 30 mins to hit level 18. 5% level gain means you get to lvl 18, 90 seconds before someone without Awareness. A minute and a half in the course of the game is not much at all. I know it doesnt work like this but just for an idea, thats an average of 5 seconds a level.
- Mana regen runes and an early tear make up for this.
- You get Spirit Bond around level 6 so the speedup and/or slow down on your opponent makes up for this and still allows you to easily escape ganks.
- With the final item build and the offensive mastery Sorcery you end up with a total cdr of 38%, with this mastery you would go over the cap so it would be wasted.
and - They are nice but not all that game changing and only handy if flash comes up at the split second you are about to be ganked
So as you can see the majority of what you gain from the the utility tree can be found else where, through items and runes and masteries. You can say that about any build really and you use runes/masteries to cover any shortcomings I know. But for this guide the end result is that you dont lose a whole bunch from the utility tree and gain a whole bunch from the defensive tree.
Well as you can see from the section above, i dont think the Utility tree is as important on Karma as other AP carries. You arent blowing up people from a safe range like a squish bag anvia, you are blowing them up in their faces. I personally run the same masteries on Kennen for this same reason, you need to get close to be effective.
List and explanation of the best.
, and - are self explantitory. More early resistences and damage reduction are win.
- Strength of Spirit, this is great for self sustain in a solo lane. Along with your heals and mana heavy build. Your regen will be really good.
Early health is good, we arent getting a Doran's Ring as a starting item so this makes up for it.
- 4% Ability power bonus, but hey this is the defensive tree?! I know right, its a free mini Rabadon's Deathcap, I do mean very mini but once your Rabadons is complete, that's a total of 34% extra AP. Not to mention that 34% increases the 3% AP you get from your total mana from the Archangel's Staff passive.
- 4% Damage reduction is nothing to sneeze about, this is mr and armour combined really!
In a nutshell the defensive tree is great for damage reduction on Karma, no matter how good your positioning is, you are going to take some damage if you are doing your job properly.
Now for the juicy bit.
When I was learning Karma I used to always run with Clarity as I was constantly running into mana problems. Karma can be a real mana PIG!
To Solve this I now start with...
which I build into a as soon as I can. First trip back I usually like to have enough money for the tear and Boots of Speed. The earlier you get tear the better, it helps a lot with mana issues and the sooner you start building the mana on the passive the better, later we will build the tear into a Archangel's Staff but only after some defensive items.
- for some much needed CDR, infact I dont know of any other character that needs CDR quite as much as Karma. Sometimes those mantras seem to take forever to come off cd or even just a shield to save you from a gank so you can get to your tower. So getting this early is a must.
- We have so far been worrying about mana and CDR. Now its time to add a little punch to your spells. Buy this but convert it into a higher tier item after we have got some defensive items.
Ok, so are the majority of your opposition physical or magic damage dealers? If its equal more often than not I like to get...
- This item is perfect for Karma, adding much needed cdr, mana and armour. Builds into your Frozen Heart later.
Next item depends alot on how much money I have when I go back or what is happening in the game.
- Ideally this is what you would want to get next so you cam start the passive building stats asap. Health good, mana good, AP good. Remember because we are going to be building our tear into an Archangel's Staff the mana on this item alone will give an extra 22 ap. Making your RoA give a total of 102 AP! not bad eh? Its the same basically as what the passive from Rabadon's Deathcap gives RoA, which is 24 AP. With your build complete and with both passives and Ardor , makes your RoA's base 80 AP into 138 AP!!! Granted not all games get that far but still! This build is based on a lot of percentage stats.
Right so you have some health and your armor should be good enough for now. Next is MR for a bit more surviveability. TBH it varies when I get this. If there is a lot of AP damage, get it earlier, its cheap and provides the MR you need. You dont need to convert this into anything until later for it to be effective.
- MMMMMM I get excited when I buy this. I have a lot of base mana by now and my tear should be 75% charged at least. With the mana from Rod of Ages, Glacial Shroud or Frozen Heart and later Banshee's Veil on top of your base mana. This gives you an extra 130 AP when your mana items are complete. Rabadon's Deathcap takes it to 169! Not bad again.
Next we should complete our first big defensive item. Either
or - Choose the one that fits the game you are in. Lots of physical damage being handed out? Then Frozen Heart. 99 armour and the last 5% cdr that takes you up to 38%. Lots of magic and or cc? Banshee's Veil it is! Its all common sense really.
Inbetween those items you should get
- you can get this before both the completed defensive items if you are dominating, just to give you even more godlike power to finish off the game earlier.
- If you got this far it must mean its a pretty close game. You now have some pretty impressive AP. Your opposition probably has a decent amount of damage mitigation by now... But, i say BUT, that only affects half of your utility... Your mantra'd shield will still be doing a decent amount of damage but the actual shield part of your shield is not affected by MR. This means it gets the full benefit of your excellent ap ratios. The same applies to you mantra'd heals. Your allies get the max benefit from the ap on your heals amd shields! which = win and most certainly turns the tide of the team fight.
ps change the order as you see fit. EG sometimes its better to finish your Rod of Ages before your Glacial Shroud. It also depends on what cash you have when you are back at base. All the items make you stronger. Sometimes its better to walk out with something rather than saving for the next thing and walk out with nothing.
Skill sequence and Combat
This section is a work in progress.
Start with Soul Shield as it offers safer harras and greater damage potential. After that level Heavenly Wave and Soul Shield equally. Get 1 point in spirit shield at level 6 instead of the standard level 5. This is because we lack an ultimate while our opponents certainly does not. With a stronger shield at lvl 5 we have increased damage output which sometimes allows you to land a kill (often first blood) before our opponent gains his ultimate which potentially could even out the battle.
Zone your opponent. Mainly save your mantra's for your shield. Wait for the oppotunity until they are within range of a minion then harras them with your turbo shield. Often they greedily go in for a last hit on said minion and thats when you strike. Serves 2 purposes, they walk away with no cs and a decent chunck of health missing.
Will finish section soon...