Karma Build Guide by KingEmonerd
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Hello ladies and gentlemen, EmoN here, bringing you a guide to one of the best AP-nukers in the game, who also happens to be designed as a support champion: Karma, the Enlightened One. She is completely based off AP, and was designed to be a support champion, since she has amazing lane sustain to her allies. However, she is able to deal exceptional damage through her abilities and by good use of her ultimate, you're able to become the carrying support rather than the carry's support.
To make her more clear, we'll go over her abilities first:
Mantra is her ultimate. On cast, it gives your next cast ability a bonus effect. It requires no skill points and auto-level-ups at ranks 6 and 11. I mention this ability first, so that I can continue with the rest of the guide without you not knowing what I'm talking about.
Heavenly Wave is her Q-ability. You deal magic damage in a cone in front of you. It's pretty simple and clear. On Mantra-cast, it becomes an entirely different ability, in that it becomes a support ability instead. It heals allied units in the cone for a small amount. Really, the base amount is really small. But it all gets better the more AP you have. It increases the heal by a percentage. It heals 5% of the health they've lost at all levels, but it also heals another percent for each 50 AP you have.
Spirit Bond is Karma's second ability. She tethers to a target ally or unit and either speeds them up or slows them down respectively. You also deal an amount of damage to units the tether passes through. It's not a great ability, not at all. It just has its uses at times when you die and need to get back into lane, and your lane partner died as well: you tether to them and speed the process up a little bit. And all a Mantra-charge does, is double the slow of haste. Meh.
Soul Shield is her third ability, and what an ability at that this is. You shield a target unit from damage, for a big amount of damage at that. But with a Mantra-charge, it gets better. You deal amazing magic damage in a gigantic AoE around the shielded unit. The good thing, is that you can use it to harass creep-farming champions. A will drop very quickly to a good combo, providing you have enough AP.
There's a certain way to her abilities. They mostly all make for good harass, and if you have a lane partner that knows how to utilize your abilities, you'll have a way better chance of becoming a supporting carry. Your Spirit Bond is not that much of a great ability, since it's hard to utilize it properly. If you tether to an ally, you'll want to make sure to pass through the unit you're attempting to kill.
Your Soul Shield works the same way. Laning with a ranged DPS champion is not as useful as laning with a melee DPS, since the shield will most likely not hit them because of the range your lane partner has. Making the most of your minions is also very useful. Your cannon minion is worth the most gold, you'll have found out by now. This is the target you'll Soul Shield most of the time. Mantra into a Soul Shield makes for good harass, since you'll be farming creeps like a boss.
Karma's Heavenly Wave is a great harass-tool, as well as a creep-farming ability. Make sure you get every minion in a Heavenly Wave, then get in between the melee minions and the caster minions and Soul Shield yourself: this will most likely wipe out the entire minion wave. Using basic attacks to take out the weakened cannon minion is good for saving your mana when you need it.
Runes, Masteries and Summoner Spells
Your runes should not be focused on being a support, but on being an AP carry. Taking Magic Pen. Marks and Quints gives you about 14 or 15 Magic Pen. before the game actually starts. Taking Flat Armor Seals and Flat Magic Resist. Glyphs maxes out your defensive side, since all champions are weaker than a strawberry in early game. Make sure you survive the first 4 or 5 levels, and you'll have no problem with surviving lane. You could go more offensively with your runes, but since Magic Pen. is at its strongest in Marks, I don't recommend doing so.
For Masteries, you have a few options. Either rely solely on your runes and go for the 9/0/21 build, or play it safe and take 9/6/15 instead (which is what I tend to like more). It increases durability, damage output (15% and 15 Flat Magic Pen. is no chicken-feed), and survivability in lane, as well as make you very much present in lane.
For Summoner Spells, it really depends on who you're laning with. If you lane with a partner that depends on melee hits (rather than ranged hits), you'll want to take Exhaust. If they don't rely on your, take Ignite, since it just might grant you a kill in the laning phase, which makes you more durable. Flash is really a necessity, since Karma has no escaping mechanisms. Sure, you have Spirit Bond, but it won't last forever, and once the tether is broken, you're just as screwed as before, but only shorter on mana. You'll be able to stick to a target just fine, but team fights might take it out on your health really badly.
Karma is, in any and all situations, dependant of her items. Mana Regen, as well as Cooldown Reduction, are very important to playing a good Karma. Why not take these in your runebook? Because there's 3 items that you need that all come in handy, and nearly all provide both of these. You'll want to start out with a Meki Pendant and a few Health Potions. They increase survivability in lane. Simple as that. Next, upgrade the Meki Pendant to a Fiendish Codex. It provides 3 things you'll want: Ability Power, Mana per 5 and Cooldown Reduction. Boots of Speed are not luxurious items: Karma is really, really slow. It really is a pain to not be able to get out in time and get jumped by a single target, and you're just not able to get out.
For Boots, there's two ways to go. Either take Ionian Boots of Lucidity (this prevents the need for another Fiendish Codex), or take the Sorcerer's Shoes. I recommend the Sorcerer's Shoes, since the Magic Pen. really is useful. Also, get another Meki Pendant or upgrade into a Morello's Evil Tome if you can.
You're gonna want to be building as an extreme damage champ, not as much as a support. The fact you can heal is just an added bonus. By now, you'll also want to pick up a Tear of the Goddess, or even an Archangel's Staff. This makes for some mad ability spamming, as well as is does increase your sustainability.
In essence, there's a few items that are key to Karma:
Sorcerer's Shoes. These are replacable by Ionian Boots of Lucidity, since you have a huge amount of Magic Pen. through your runes.
Morello's Evil Tome
This is your key build. The remaining two items are really up to you. For extreme damage output (in the case you have another AP carry that is fed, you'll want to pick up a Void Staff. If they have a fed AD carry, a Zhonya's Hourglass or Frozen Heart might prove handy. A fed mage on the enemy team can be countered through a Abyssal Scepter.
Your playstyle is dependant of your enemies in lane. You're good at dealing damage, and taking health from creeps for your lane partner to pick up. The other strategy might be to harass your enemies, of which you are very much capable, and help your partner pick up the kills and maybe even first blood. Your shield might prove to be a live-saving nuke, as it is also capable of dealing massive damage. Your role is a passive-aggressive role in lane. Harass your opponent as much as possible, but look after your mana and don't forget to keep up in CS.
After your first buying trip, you'll want to have enough AP to be able to keep up with the enemy's harass. It's not that hard, but you do need CDR and AP to do so. Champions like Lee Sin are not as strong as they seem, especially if you can burst him down a little. A shield on the cannon minion is more than capable of taking down 10 to 20% of their health, especially with enough Magic Pen..
Mid game, you're want to be the one having Blue Buff. It's great on Karma, as it increases CDR and MP5. Stick to your lane partner, and be there for the team when team fights in mid erupt. Throw out that shield as much as possible (WITH a Mantra-charge), and heal whenever you can. Speed up allies that need rescueing, heal them, and send them back out into battle. ON max CDR, a new Mantra-charge is ready every 12 seconds (and with Blue, this max CDR is easily reached).
Late game, you're gonna want to be an asset to your team. Stay close to your carry/carries, and shield them if possible. IF you take a kill... No worries, they'll have more than enough by now, or they won't be carrying, now will they?
Karma is a really bursty champette. She is able to deal exceptional damage in short amounts of time, and she is more than capable of doing so within another 10 seconds. Her shield is big enough in late game to protect allies against 3 or 4 turret hits, and it also deals exceptional damage. If your tank is low on health (whilst carrying a Warmog's Armor), just heal them and you give them back just enough so that they can initiate again within 2 minutes (providing you heal enough).
EmoN signing off.