Not Updated For Current Season
My name is Ross and I'm a plat one support main from Australia (Currently making the climb back since preseason). The meta decided by the upper echelons of league have created some what of a static roster for supports. At the moment tank seems to be in with a splash of utility. You have your Alistar's, your Trundles, Thresh makes an appearance and every now and then you'll see a Janna or a Bard. (of course you see everything at one point but this is just what is being played a lot of the time)
But I'm here to tell you that at lest one underrated champ is possibly the biggest sleeper OP the support world has ever seen. I'm talking of none other than Karma.
Pro's & con's
Has some of the highest amounts of utility in the game
High bust early game
Capable of singe handed invades
Literally has the best shield in the game (imo)
Doesn't fall off late game
Ult level 1
Has a hard time with full on engage
Requires high manna management early
Squishy lvl's 1 -3
High learning cap
Why she is sleeper OP
When people see Karma they instantly think of her as a early poke champion that can do moderate damage during laneing phase. However, while her Q is a strong ability during the early game (and it's something that you always max first) it's Karma's E that demands all the attention.
I apologies but we are going to have to do some math.
At level 18 Karma's shield blocks 190 damage of a single unit and gives it a 60% MS buff. Going off the runes, mastery's and Items I recommended you have at lest 125 AP (that can be acquired early on in the game), which means that her shield at max rank protects people for 252.5 damage as the ration on it is 50%. Now I know that's not a huge amount but wait...When you empower her E it gives an addition 240 damage with another 60% AP scaling (75) which adds up to a whooping 567. I know what you are thinking, 'yeah that's OK, but it's nothing write home about'.
This is achieved with only 2 AP items and runes. All of which you would build normally as a support.
Don't you ever, EVER, forget about locket.
With Locket at lvl 18 it adds another 345 damage to your shield. So to the main Target that you use your E on get a 912 shield that lasts up to 4 seconds. Then the secondary effect kicks in. Everyone else within range of this gets the same MS buff and half of the shield that the first target received. So that's 456.
If you manage to pull off a 5 man E ult with locket, that's a grand total of 2737 extra damage that the enemy is going to have to bring to the table.
Yes, every shield after that will prevent 345 less damage until your locket is active again but that is a moot point. Because with the 45% CD mastery that shield is on a 3.6 second CD and your ult is on a 16.2 second CD. If you manage to land an entire W after you have ulted that will reduce the timer by 9 seconds, in which I would imagine that you would have followed up with a Q or some AA's. Meaning the the CD is really 16.2 seconds or under! the quickest you can get it down to is around 4 seconds. There is also the added bonus of Windspeaker's blessing giving all shields a 10% buff in strength AND up 22 extra armor. (that could boost the overall damage prevention by 266.6).
So in summery, During a team fight, Karma can shield one lucky champion for 836.25 and anyone else for half that amount, plus a 60% MS buff then consistently shield people for 262.5, only then to have her ult off CD to start it again.
As the game goes on her empowered E becomes the only thing that you should be focusing on in team fights to mitigate the initial damage in a team fight. If done right you can turn around most situations.
Karma's other abilities.
Karma's other abilities while not as numerically powerful are formidable none the less. Karma support, plays as a pseudo peeler being able to simultaneously slow/create a slowing field, root, and speed up all at the same time. The one way to prevent this cycle is to take her down first. Many opponents don't fully understand this (just the other week the enemy jungler didn't know Karma could heal).
Use Karma's Q as much as you can once you have the sustain to do so. You may actually find that you can fight autonomously quite well. Always use your W on the enemy that is making a B line to your back line. and always shield your carries if they need it. Also keep in mind that if you front line is doing all the peeling for you it doesn't hurt to shield them, giving them an added measure of disruptivness.
Her other abilities don't scale as well with AP but your Q will hurt during all stages of the game. (Note: all her abilities do scale quite well as AP but when you are on a supports income they don't)
Build order and Masteries.
The first few item that you build are pretty stock standard depending on the situation. If you're going well and trading even then sight stone and sweeper is the was to go (always buy a pink) if they are pushing up on your tower and you don't have a good gold flow upgrade spelltheifs and wait around till you can get some wards. (Ideally always try and get sight stone).
From there you have some options. You can either upgrade to Frost Queens if you want some more map control. If the opposing team is AD heavy you might want to opt for an early Zeke's, if they have more AP then Locket might be the option for you. It is integral to remember that a lot of your utility does come from the few AP items that you buy. So try and ensure that you do have zeke's and Frost Queens by games end. During the late game it might be tempting to build more AP (we've all done it) but in my experience, having mikeals is the best option. It pushes you to the threshold of CD gives insane manna regen, gives a large heal and an extra QSS. Way more cost effective then any AP item that you might purchase.
Go pure AP, yes the damage is insane, and yes the shields are huge, but if you want to win consistently I recommend otherwise.
Go anything other than Frost queens, the passive is to strong at the moment for mage supports and Karma already has the Talisman active innately, come to think of it she also has the shield of targons...
Combine the sightstone and gold gen item. It offers less in almost all aspect. Plus Sightstones passive to reduce CD of items is amazing considering you usually have up to 3 active items.
On the whole Karma isn't a tanky Champion. But with this Item spread it allows her to have a bit of everything to help her survive.
(If you really don't want mikeals then try for a Zz'rot portal. that thing is broken on anyone that has space to buy it).
A lot of people go Thunderlords decree to try and maximize her damage early, but the later the game goes the more redundant this is. Where as Windspeakers blessing is good throughout all stages of the game. With an added 10% to shields and increases to armor this really is the keystone that makes sense. The second biggest mastery for Karma is the 45% intelligence mastery. Karma is all bout CD so the more the better. Everything else on her mastery page is up to personal taste. However I would always try and grab secret stash mastery as it gives really good sustain early game.
Harrass, there is a reason that Karma has a reputation as a high damage mage support, and that's because she IS a high damage mage support. The aim of the game in lanning phase is to harass the enemy AD or Support out of the lane. This can be hard early game as she does have some demanding manna costs so it's best to wait till around level 3 before you really start going ham. Ward up and never miss an opportunity to try and land E to reduce your ult CD.
Karma has two main roles during the mid game. The first is to help pressure the other lanes and adding that 'team fight' feeling that you get when you start seeing the other team getting their **** together and roaming as a group. The second is to buddy up with the jungler. We've been over how much utility that she offers, so naturally if you can apply that to the one champion whose role it is to gank then you will reap rewards untold. Also it gives you a good opportunity to grant vision of the enemies jungle. (Always be warding)
Shield everything. One V One = Shield, Small skirmish = Shield, running from/ too objectives = Shield.
Make sure you have identified the carry on your team and do your best to keep them alive. That's it. Use your W to root them, and your q to slow them and then start the process all over again.
Karma might not be the most popular support in the game but that doesn't mean she doesn't have a place on the fields of justice. I enjoy playing Champions that are a bit left of center as it livens the game up instead of the same generic 10 - 20 champions that are always in rotation.
I encourage people to play things such as Urgot top, jungle Sej, mid Karth...the list goes on. Because while it is important to win (losing in ranked is never fun) it's also important to enjoy the champion that you are playing, not because the LCS told us to but because we want to.
This is my first guide so I don't know how to make it a visual delight, but I hope you enjoy it anyways.
Bonus shield increased to 30 / 100 / 170 / 240 from 30 / 90 / 150 / 210.
AP ratio increased to 60% AP from 30% AP. Edited accordingly.
Shield reduced to 70 / 100 / 130 / 160 / 190 from 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200
REMOVED: Targeting minions
Bonus movement speed reduced to 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 / 60% (Inspire.png Inspire's rank) from 60 at all ranks