Karma Build Guide by Jackkit
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.
V1 - The original guide.
- Added pictures!
- Changed Glyphs from Greater Glyph of Focus to Greater Glyph of Force (Typo in V1)
- Added "Thank yous"
- Added "Perserverance vs Good Hands"
- Grammatical updates
- Made some pictures larger for ease of reading.
- Moved the order of runes around for ease of reading.
- Added Colour :D
- Removed a few brackets that were in the wrong place.
- Spelling Checks
- Removed the descriptive text of items to in the "Items" section to remove some cluttering text.
- Started adding the "A Typical Game" section.
A big thank you to NecromaticWark and Fanrithir for proof reading and calculations :D
Thank you to all the people who read, vote and comment on this guide :)
Also a thank you to Halipupu for making me rethink a lot of things and redo calculations ^_^
Now read on, friends....
So hai thar....
This is my first guide ever, so be as critical as you wish!
However, please do try out the build in full and get used to its play style before you comment!
Ok, so this is my build for Karma, and I’m going to be detailing my item choices, rune choices, mastery choices, as well as the correct way of using mantra.
As a rule I mainly play support characters, and have found that Karma is one of the best support champions in the game, and by far the most fun to play.
If you like this guide, please check out the advanced guide! It gives more item choices and is just as viable. But get used to the play style of this guide first :)
I’ll be using a few short hands, mainly so I don’t have to type out ridiculous length words every time I mention something
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
MR - Magic Resist
HW = Heavenly Wave
SS = Soul Shield
SB = Spirit Bond
MHW = Mantra + Heavenly Wave
MSS = Mantra + Soul Shield
MSB = Mantra + Spirit Bond
For some reason Karma seems to have drawn negative attention, especially in ranked games. Everyone says that Karma isn't as good as some other support champs. I can only assume that that is because people try and play Karma as a mage early game, which doesn’t work.
Karma is a very strong support early game, and can be played as a mage in later game.
With this build you have INSANE survivability. I have been put in a situation many times, sometimes as early as level 6, where I have been caught by 3 or 4 of the enemy team, and walked away from the fight alive, and sometimes taking down a couple of people as I run.
I'm not trying to brag, I'm just giving you an idea of the kind of survivability that this build gives when played correctly.
A friend and I were having a discussion recently on turning the tides of the battle.
There are many champions that are strong, and can hit very hard. ( Tryndamere, Master Yi, Vayne come to mind) As such, many players tend to avoid these characters in game, or just run the hell away at the sight of them.
However, in my opinion, the players that can turn the tide of a match are the payers who are deceptively strong. I myself have made this mistake a few times, strangely enough when fighting a few other Karma players. Karma is deceptively strong. She can easily 1 on 1 most champions, purely because people don't realise how powerful her passive makes her.
This brings me on to my next point.
This build is all about making Karma pretty much invincible (Hence the title of the guide), focusing on using her passive and Chalice of Harmony to give her ridiculous staying power even when she gets to 100hp at level 18.
Due to her passive, Inner Flame, and Chalice of Harmony working on % of health missing, the lower health Karma gets, the more dangerous she becomes. Although this guide claims that she only has 257 AP, this does not take into account her passive, Inner Flame which adds up to 130 AP corresponding to her missing hp. As I will explain in my "items" section, this also benefits from the 30% extra from Rabadon's Deathcap.
Greater Mark of Insight
I use these marks firstly because Magic/Spell Pen = goooooood and secondly because that’s what I have been using for a long time. When I started playing Karma I was using Greater Mark of Cooldown Reduction, for the extra cooldowns. This was before I properly understood the game, about the 40% CDR cap and primary and secondary runes. So I moved on to spell pen. I haven’t really tried anything else purely because I know that these marks work, and I can’t think of anything else that this build would benefit from. By all means, experiment!
Seals - Greater Seal of Replenishment Greater Seal of Replenishment
Karma has a few mana issues early game, and these counter that. Simple, really. Also the extra mana regen helps more when you get Chalice of Harmony
Glyphs - Greater Glyph of Force
Extra AP. Nuff said. Well... I take the per level Glyphs over flat because This build doesn’t focus on killing anyone or even doing much until at least level 6 anyway, which is when per level overtakes flat in terms of benefits.
Quintessence - Greater Quintessence of Avarice
Yes, I am aware that this will probably get me down rated, but I seriously think that this quintessence is underrated.
Let’s do the math.
Players get 10 gold per 10 seconds, just from playing the game.
These quintessence give an extra 3 gold per 10 seconds
Greed (Mastery) gives an extra 1 gold per 10 seconds.
Philosopher's Stone AND Heart of Gold BOTH give 5 gold/10 secs
10+3+1+10 = 24.
24 gold every 10 seconds, instead of 10.
Which means 144 gold per minute (24*6)
This means, if we assume that the game lasts at least 20 minutes....
2880 gold over 20 minutes, compared to 1200 if there were no quintessences and items.
I’m aware that it doesn’t seem like a lot if you look at it as "1g/10secs", but when you add it up over the course of a game, it is a lot of money.
And free money at that.
This is the mastery setup I use. I find that going further into the defence tree for Strength of Spirit isn't worth is as this build focuses more on Mana regen rather than stacking mana.
I also find that going into the offensive tree is a waste of points as well, as extra CDR isn’t needed, Karma doesn’t do nearly enough damage with her auto attack to benefit from Deadliness , the extra magic pen MAY sometimes be useful, but wasting 5 points to get there isn’t. Other than that, the utility tree is pretty standard. Some people don’t like taking Greed , but as a mentioned above, tied in with the way this build works, it makes a big difference.
One thing to mention is why I don’t take 2 points in neutral monster buffs. Karma doesn't really need them.
A quick word on Perserverance vs Good Hands
So there's been some discussion of whether to take Perserverance (4% health and mana regen) or Good Hands (10% reduced time dead). Either are viable choices in my opinion, and when you start using this guide you may want to use Good Hands to get you back into the fight quicker. I personally use Perserverance just because I don't die that often, but feel free to use Good hands.
Good hands gives you between 2 and 9 seconds less time dead, varying on how long the game has lasted.
If you want to break down and look at the calculations behind the 4% mana regen, it may make it easier for you to decide which one you want to take.
Karma's Mana Regen:
(all figures are in "per 5 seconds". So for example, Philosopher's Stone gives 10 mana per 5 seconds.)
10 Philosopher's Stone
7.5 Chalice of Harmony
12 Morello's Evil Tome
Now we are going to work out the mana regen totals with and without the Chalice of Harmony bonus. For the purpose of this we are assuming that Karma is on 1% hp left, as 0% would be dead :p So this shows the maximum mana regen that is possible (without buffs), and the difference in using Perserverance.
WITHOUT Chalice of Harmony percentage bonus and WITHOUT Perserverance this gives a total of:
Without Chalice of Harmony percentage bonus but WITH Perserverance this total is:
With 99% Chalice of Harmony bonus but WIHTOUT Perserverance this gives a total of:
With 99% Chalice of Harmony bonus and WITH Perserverance the total is:
So theres the math behind it, in plain numbers :D It's down to you whether you decide to use Perserverance or Good Hands.
Just a quicker version of the health regen is below.
22.5 Philosopher's Stone
25 Randuin's Omen
Ok, so you may WANT buffs...
Alright, it’s NICE to have them, but remember that with this build, you are effectively playing healer with max CDR anyway. Talking 3v3, red buff (auto attacks slow and deal damage over time) just isn’t worth it, you don’t need grey buff (move speed) due to your second skill, and green (attack speed + CDR) isn’t worth it because auto attacking is pretty pointless and you have max CDR.
Talking 5v5, blue buff is very nice, but chances are there are other people on your team that need it much more. I would say take it at level 6 (As long as nobody else desperately needs it) to keep you in lane for longer, but then let other members of your team have it. Again, red is the same as 3v3. Baron is Baron, and normally when you get Baron its end game, or as good as.
So then, onto my items section and explanations.
I think now is a good time to mention that it will take practice to manage your mana and health early game.
This build is all about being effective. You need to practice in order to be effective at harassment (which I will mention later), practice in order to manage health and mana, practice in order to manage your mantra properly.....
So yeah, practice, practice, and practice.
But first I will explain my item choices.
Hover over the pictures to see what each item does!
This is a great starting item as it gives you enough health to withstand attacks early game, and tied in with Soul Shield, allows you AND your laning partner extreme survivability until you port back to shop. Also, builds into...
Heart of Gold
This is a great little item, and for 350g you can’t go wrong. An extra 70 hp and free moneys.
Philosopher's Stone Philosopher's Stone
This item is AMAZING. Health and Mana regen = more lane staying power = higher levels = advantage. Also ties in really well with Chalice of Harmony early game for extra mana regen. Also, free gold, which we like.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Yeah....boots. A lot of CDR early game. One reason I don’t get these sooner is because if Karma needs to move quick early game, use Spirit Bond!
Chalice of Harmony
Oh Chalice of Harmony how I love thee.... This is quickly becoming one of my favourite items. MR, 7mp5 and insane mana regen. This is a good a time as any to note that I have hit 100-120 mp5 with this item in my build, which is crazy considering her most expensive spell at level 18 costs 110 mana.
Morello's Evil Tome
Pretty much everything Karma needs in one item. There is no reason not to get this.
Crazy, CRAZY ability power. Makes your shields absorb more, and heals heal more... also works with Karma's Passive Inner Flame which means the more health she is missing, the more dangerous she becomes! It basically means (using just the math from her passive and the 30%) that instead of 130 AP, she gains up to 169 AP.
So this is a new item that I'm adding as a CORE item to this build. I have only just come to realise that I have no form of CC reduction in this build, and it seemed silly. So basically, this item does what it says in the tooltip :D It reduces all forms of CC by 25%. That's pretty damn useful, especially in ranked. Karma will get focused, and getting silenced at a crucial point can be completely devastating for your team. So we NEED this.
So by now you should have 6 items and some spare gold from all the assists/kills you’ve been getting....right? ¬_¬
Even if you haven’t been getting many assists, you shouldn’t be too far behind everyone else in terms of items.
So where to go from here? Well, this is where it comes down to you to make judgement calls.
There are a few choices in my opinion. If you need to keep playing support, Randuin's Omen is a good item for sticking with people. If you want to try your hand at mage (say another support is on your team/ people don’t need to be protected AS MUCH. [Notice I said 'as much' and not 'at all']) Will of the Ancients gives you more staying power for its spell vamp/ AP. If you are taking a lot of magic damage, consider Banshee's Veil, or if you can’t decide, get Rod of Ages.
I'll try and explain the choices for these items below.
This is a fantastic item for dealing with those pesky carries. The active is useful for team fights too. A solid amount of health, armour and regen and some CDR are all well and good, but the main reason for getting Randuins is the slowed movement and attack speeds. For DPS characters, this effectively means that you take 35% reduced damage, which is a large amount.
Will of the Ancients
Spell Vamp means that you get hp back whenever you deal spell damage. More survivability? Yes plox. Also the buff for your allies is good and the extra AP is always nice. In my opinion I would only take WotA if you or your team was already dominating the match, as it assumes that you are playing mage.
Yeah, this item is rediculously good. Health and mana may not seem like much, but 50 MR and the passive make this a crazy item. By end game, when you should be getting this, some mages will be hitting for 500-1000 damage. If you can block one of those spells your survivability goes through the roof. Recommended for magic heavy teams, not as viable if their carry DPS is dominating.
Rod of Ages
Lots of Health, mana and AP. Not much else to say about this, it’s one of those situational items that works well when you just need a bit more of everything. If the enemy DPS isn’t killing you and you can survive the magic damage, use this so that you can cast more spells on your allies rather than yourself.
This item is a perfect anti DPS item. Not only does it lower the amount of damage you take from physical attacks, but with your heals and shields you can effectively get them to kill themselves. (That is, if you keep healing yourself so you end up with 3 times the amount of health that they do, they will be dead :D)
That pretty much covers it for your items. When you have all 6 items and "nothing" to spend your gold on, remember that you can still buy elixirs, they don’t take up an inventory slot and equip straight away!
Ok, let’s talk Skills.
I'm not going to detail which Skills do what, as that can be easily found in game or on many websites.
The sequence is pretty basic if I’m honest, its common sense.
The Priority order is as follows
Soul Shield > Heavenly Wave > Spirit Bond.
Now, I have said that Soul Shield is priority, but what you should be doing is levelling both Soul Shield and Heavenly Wave, while stopping to take a point in Spirit Bond at level 3.
Karma does get her "Ultimate" skill, Mantra, at level 1, and there is no skill points to put into it, which is one advantage of playing Karma.
This is where the "fun" and unpredictability of Karma comes in, and I believe it requires a whole section of its own.
is the essence of Karma, it’s what makes her unique, unpredictable, and as I’ve mentioned before, deceptively strong.
"Mantra - Karma empowers her next ability to do an additional effect. Mantra is available at level 1 and does not require a skill point.
Karma empowers her next ability with an additional effect. Karma gains a charge every 30 seconds up to 2 charges.
The refresh rate is reduced by Cooldown Reduction."
-Taken from The Official League of Legends Website
So again, I’m not going to go into full detail of what Mantra does for every ability, just some basics.
Spirit Bond - Doubles the strength of the move speed increase/decrease.
Soul Shield - Adds an AOE damage component to the shield.
Mantra takes A LOT of practice to master. You can’t just be spamming spells with Mantra bonuses early game. This is one of the main reasons that I play Karma as a support early game. Once you start getting CDR, it becomes a lot more frantic and a lot easier to spam aoe damage and heals, but early game you want to be saving your Mantra for protecting your allies.
Healing with Mantra
SS + MHW is around 150-200 extra hp for an ally, and can make the difference between first blood or not. This combo also helps for tower diving, if your allies get a bit over confident. I have received many a "lucker" and "ty" comments from enemies and allies respectively purely because this combo saved myself or them from dying.
Dealing Damage with Mantra
HW + MSS is the combo that makes Karma deceptively strong. Many people forget that Soul Shield has a damage component to it when used in conjunction with Mantra. I also suppose that now is a perfect time to mention harassment.
Harassment with Mantra
I'm pretty sure that most people don’t know that Karma has one of the longest ranges in the entire game. I’m not talking about her auto attacks here, as they are pretty short range. She can use any allied minion or champion as a boost to her range on MSS. This means that early game harassment is godlike. Again, it takes some practice, and again, I’m not bragging, but there have been times when an enemy champion has run back to their turret, thinking that they are safe on low hp, and one melee minion has managed to get close enough to them for me to use MSS. It’s very easy to turret dive as Karma without putting yourself in too much risk, simply by using the range of MSS to get last hits.
Surviving with Mantra
This is your biggy, the main thing that gives Karma that edge over other support champions. Mantra Spirit Bond and Mantra Heavenly Wave tied in with Soul Shield give you the ability to run into pretty much any fight and survive. It’s also the one that takes the most time to master. You need to be timing your skills so that you always have a Mantra charge spare, or a Soul Shield off cooldown. I can’t really say much apart from practice makes perfect. I can’t tell you how to do this properly as it will always vary from match to match, fight to fight. You just need to practice. This guide isn’t a "use this and you ARE invincible"; it just sets you on the right path so you can practice using Mantra properly.
- getting into a 2v2 team fight quickly is essential. Teleport also means that you can stay in lane much longer, and don’t need to spend ages running back and forth to shop. I should mention here that you ARE a support character, and you should be purchasing wards throughout the entire game. This shouldn’t be too much of a strain on your gold due to the mastery/rune setup that we have going on. Teleport allows you to port to any of the wards you have put down, which allows for much needed fast ganks and jumping into fights that have been ganked by the enemy. Once you practice using teleport + wards together, there will be many more kills and assists.
- For that extra survivability. Great for turret diving.
- Once you feel confident enough using this guide and have begun to control your Mantra, you NEED to be taking Clairvoyance. It’s essential as a support character to be controlling the map.
That’s all I’m going to say on summoner spells for the moment, as those should be the only ones you need. There are always choices like Cleanse and Ghost which may be useful, I’ll admit I did use them when I was practicing, but once you get the hang of it you should be using the spells listed above.
A Typical Game.
This section is going to give a basic run through of a typical game, when to go back to shop etc etc.
I will be using 5v5 for this example.
Purchase your Ruby Crystal and start moving into lane. The quickest way to get to Ruby Crystal is to click on Aegis of the Legion(Reccommended item) and double click on the Ruby Crystal component. 5-10 seconds after the game starts, use Clairvoyance on the enemy shop/summoning platform, to allow you to see which enemy is taking which path, and allow your team to make decisions on who to counter. This is VERY IMPORTANT, and in all honesty, can be key to winning the game.
As this guide focuses on heavy support, you want to be laning with someone. Karma IS more than capable of laning solo due to her tremendous staying power in lane, but if you are a new Karma player or not confident enough using her, go with another ally. There are other guides out there that focus on jungling with Karma, but the runes and masteries that have been set up in this guide do not allow that.
DO NOT TRY TO JUNGLE WITH THIS GUIDE.
Timing is very important. At 1135 gold, start using Recall to head back to the shop. As soon as you have pressed B, open the shop (P by default) and find the Philosopher's Stone (Magic>Mana regen). By the time you have ported back you can simply double click on the Philosopher's Stone to buy it, then click on your Ruby Crystal and upgrade it to the Heart of Gold. The second you have done this, Teleport back to either your tower or a minion close too your laning partner (depending on the situation).
~1425 gold, or when Teleport is off cooldown.
Depending on how many kills or assists have been made will vary when you recall again. If none have been made, then teleport should be off cd around the same time that you get 1200 gold. Use the same method as above to ready Sight Wards or Vision Wards depending on whether the enemy has stealth or not. Buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity and 5 x Sight Ward.
Teleport to middle lane, then Sight Ward these places.
It's now your responsibility to keep these sections warded as best you can. Every time you Recall you should be buying enough wards to keep those sections warded. Remember to buy Vision Wards if the enemy has stealth!
Pros / Cons
-Superb farming ability
-One of the best support champs in the game
-AOEs!!! (Both heal and damage)
-FUN (Kiting people around for a few minutes until your team get there and kill them is the funniest thing to do ever :> )
-Practice is required
-Relatively vulnerable to CC.
-Gets focused in teamfights.
This section is very difficult for me as I am obviously biased :D
I may update this section when I find more pros and cons.
A Final Farewell....
So this is the end!
Please try this build before you rate and comment.
But please do rate and comment! I may write other guides in the future and would really appreciate the feedback.
I do hope you enjoy this guide and I hope that you, along with me, can prove to people that Karma is one of the best support champs out there!