Karma Build Guide by MissMeggieV
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.
Alright hey there guys Miss Meggie V here with my first ever build guide and it's on one of my favorite champions in the League; Karma: The Enlightened One.
Karma is classified as ranged support. I like to consider her an ap bruiser with an optional heal. I'll be going into the way I personally prefer to build Karma as a support bottom lane, speccing into an ap bruiser by mid and late game.
This guide is not the end-all be-all way to play Karma but it's what I do with her and it's served me well in the past! I love comments and critiques, like I said I'm new at this so just let me know what you think and send some screencaps of how it goes for you!
I've experimented with support pages, ap pages and tank pages and overall I feel that the best way to take with any supporting role is to go as tanky as possible so you can babysit your carry with minimal interruption. This page is ALL about the early game, taking the heavy armour to deal with harrass from the ad carry and flat ap quints and ap per level glyphs for the sake of harassing in lane yourself.
Armour yellows ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck here, really. At 205 IP a pop this makes you pretty tanky early on in the game in addition to the fact that Karma is.. Sort of tanky-ish as far as a supporting role goes.
AP Per Level blues keep your damage escalating through the laning phase and help a ton with your mid game before you're finished too many of your core items.
In regards to the reds, you can elect for magic resistance, armour or flat ability power, this is up to your discretion. Overall I prefer the magic resistance to ensure I have a solid and uninterrupted laning phase, because I'll be relying on sustain and leveling until I start to get further along in my build.
As a support, survivability and harass is KEY during the laning phase, so aim for that with this build.
I've done a lot of fiddling with this build as well and I try to build her as much for her early game as I possibly can. Karma shines the most late game and is very weak early on so I try to improve on that as much as I can by giving her all around tankiness with SOME damage. Her skills are all pretty high damaging by late game so you sacrifice a lot of survivability by investing too heavily into the offensive tree.
A 21/9/0 build also can work very well with Karma, but it's very reliant on what you're facing and how you're playing. 21 into the offense tree definitely helps her be more carry towards the end of the game but sacrifices a lot of utility early game where she seems to suffer the most. Masteries and runes can vary greatly from playstyle to playstyle, my setup here is more for a passive player early turning into heavy ap damage later on.
If you want to play her more as a glass cannon you can try the second mastery setup and runepage I listed but her skills and items stay the same for me regardless of my runes and masteries.
A huge love/hate thing I have with Karma is her lack of an ultimate. On one hand, you don't have any huge transition period between where you're capable of doing damage and where you're kind of just at that awkward stage of supporting where you just have to throw heals and harass. On the other hand, Karma has very steadily, reliable damage increase in her skills as well as an extra level on each of her abilities.
Your shield is going to be the lifesaver of your lane, flat out. It's a HUGE shield that could potentially be aoe damage if you opt to combine it with your Mantra. As Karma's primary source of damage and protection, I get one point in each ability, but max this as soon as possible. Late game this ends up being your best farming mechanic and reliable damaging spell as well.
Heavenly wave is going to be for the sustain after an engagement or if you or your lane partner have suffered from too much harass. The scaling isn't very strong and if you try to spam your heal you'll run yourself out of mana VERY fast and not have your mantra up at potentially crucial moments. As a secondary source of damage and additional lane sustain, I get my heal first but max it second.
Spirit bond is a tricky skill to use that relies heavily on positioning, but it's got very high damage potential as the game progresses. As you get more comfortable with Karma, play with positioning yourself to be able to hit multiple enemies with the slow and you'll be surprised at how much damage this bad boy can do. Since it requires you to get dangerously close to maximize its damage potential, I try not to rely on it too much and max this last.
This will be the trickiest part, as builds can vary greatly from game to game. Always bear in mind that this is just a guideline. I could write for paragraphs about what is good and what will work but overall this is my reasoning behind this build.
Since I play support, I always start with a faerie charm, a pink ward and two green wards. Ideally you'll be playing very passively and not burning too much mana so you want to be prepared to sit in lane for a while. That means you want to be able to have uninterrupted ward coverage for as long as possible. Wait for the enemy support to ward and counterward with your pink. This makes it a lot easier on your jungler.
Philos and Kage's are for early game sustain and additional income throughout the laning phase. I opt for kage's over heart of gold because I like having the additional damage and because deathfire can contribute to her burstiness late into the game. Ultimately I upgrade my philo stone when I'm approaching the end of my build and no longer need the bonus gold income.
I choose rod of ages as a first completed item because it's best to give her the mana and health to give her a little more survivability as well as coming with a pretty significant jump in ap. I consider this to be my core item.
At this point you can go a variety of ways. You'll start to consider completing those gold gain items that have been your battle buddy throughout the game and really settle into your position as an ap burst hero with an item like deathfire grasp.
Frozen heart is a big MAYBE item. I feel like this will be a core item for your tank so pay attention to whether or not your tank has a glacial shroud. If they do, forgo this option for making a shurelya's out of your philosopher's stone instead for the cdr and awesome active for your team's escapes and engages. Don't make both because the big draw for you is to max out your cdr. Both have 15% and with your ionian boots, getting both would be a waste unless you're building all out support, which isn't what this build is about.
Will of the Ancients is an awesome jump in survivability and ap and flows very well with Karma's kit. If you want some sustain, definitely go for this.
Ryalai's offers tankiness and utility where Karma is lacking it. The slow does work on the aoe from the shield, so it's a strong item to grab on her (even though she DOES have her own slow). It offers ability to chase and escape, overall just a really great item on any ap champion. I tend to not pick this up because it makes her passive not as strong as if she were just to build resistances for survivability and no hp but it's definitely a good pick up if you want to rely more on your spell damage scaling.
Consider anabyssal scepter if you need help surviving burst and avoid staff if you're facing a lot of magic resistance items.
Need a big jump in ap? Why not Rabadon's? Seriously, it's just good, usually I save this as a final item though. I seldom get this progressed in games before they end but this will give you the biggest jump in ap around late game. Very strong final buy if you've made it this far.
Pros and Cons
-Has a very strong late game bringing a lot of utility to the teamfights as well as a ton of burst damage.
-Deceptively weak. Most don't realize just how much damage Karma can do.
-Easy to get people to get greedy for you - You can abuse over-extension and exchange blows in lane while taking little damage yourself because of your shield.
-Not ult reliant!!
-Has a really slow, really passive laning phase. You HAVE to wait for them to overextend to throw out damage or you put yourself at too much risk.
-No built in escape mechanism or heavy cc. You'll rely on ward coverage to deter and escape ganks.
-Relies heavily on tanks and initiators and is pretty useless in a teamfight if she doesn't have her mantras up.
Karma is a versatile mage support/ap bruiser type. She's a champion that can succeed mid but I find her strongest position to be bottom lane as a support and harass for your carry.
The early game; Karma plays a very passive laning phase but is someone that capitalizes on over-extension by being surprisingly bursty. Your goal for the early game is to sit in lane, gather up some gold and keep up with wards in your lane. Overall what I do is hug the bushes in the lane, throw out some awesome harass with my mantra + my shield when the enemy is out of place and let my ad carry farm. Try not to use too many spells because you don't want the lane pushed and if you're spamming you WILL run out of mana very fast. Wait for an opportunity to throw down a nice combo with your mantra'd shield followed by a quick q and then back off. You'll be able to get away with a lot of poke this way, because you can activate your shield on allied minions and stay far away from potential harass while being able to lay it down yourself.
The mid game; Here is where you'll start to notice your damage is picking up. With your assist money and gold generated from your gold gain items, you should be at a completed Rod of Ages by now. Keep your gold gain items and feel free to start getting a little more aggressive in the lane and teamfights. This is going to be a good chance to get a little bit of farm as well so feel free to be a little selfish and take a few jungle camps and lane minions here when you find you don't have anything else to do. You will shine in teamfights and be a total lifesaver for escapes and bad initiates with your massive shield so you should ALWAYS be where things are happening.
The late game; This is where Karma is really going to shine with the right positioning and rotation of skills. Everyone else will be approaching their full builds so this will be your best opportunity to pick up a bit of farm before and after big teamfights. Your spells can easily make or break a teamfight and there are a lot of different things you can do. In an engagement I find it best to throw an exploding shield on either the initiator or the person drawing the most aggro. Your shield does a ton of aoe damage and offers great protection. While your spells are on cooldown or you're waiting on your mantras to come back up, make sure you're using your spirit bond and strafing around the teamfight to lay down some additional damage that way.
Tips and tricks with Karma:
-Use your exploding shield on minions or tanks that are in the middle of the fight. It'll make it so that the enemy team takes some damage right off the bat and gives your team a leg up while giving your shield enough time to get off cooldown to help out whoever starts to get focused by the enemy team.
-Save your heal for when you're backing off of the fight. The scaling isn't strong and it has very short range so it's not worth using your mantra on your heal over your shield.
-While waiting for your cooldown on your q and e, throw your w on the furthest enemy back and walk back and forth from the back, this will damage and slow the enmy while giving your teammates a good speed buff as well. Your w is great utility and damage in a teamfight, so don't neglect it!
Thanks for Reading!!
Of course, thank you for reading my guide, I hope to come out with more in the future and I hope this helps those of you vigilant Karma players out there. Questions, comments and concerns are ALWAYS welcome so feel free!!
Take care, you glorious people, you.