Karma Build Guide by NinjaGinge
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
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.
Hey all, this is my second guide, and with any luck it will just as helpful as the last. I've loved Karma since the day she came out but she's never really gotten any attention. Now that riot has brought down supports from heal spammers to more combat oriented positions, I decided I should do some crafting with Karma due to the fact that she is already rather combat oriented. With that in mind I picked up Karma seriously for the second time and began to play around and adjust my old playstyle with her. What I've come up with is a rather expensive build that starts turning Karma into a monster by item 2 or 3 if played correctly. If it were not for the fact that she's a beast with just a few items I wouldn't dream of such an absurdly expensive build. With that said, enjoy. This is Karma: The Unbreakable Master
1. She has strong early game harass.
2. Decent heal on a decent cooldown
3. UBER SHIELD
4. Has the potential to become as strong or bulky as you choose
5. Doesn't draw a lot of attention in team fights usually because of her poor reputation.
6. She's freaking enlightened. Shouldn't we all be so lucky? T_T
1. Mana dependent early game
2. Pretty low base move-speed.
3. No formal ult
This the ability that makes you SUCH A PAIN IN THE ***. As you lose health you gain AP based on the percentage of missing health. Long story short: The closer you are to being dead, the harder you are to actually kill!
Early game any "support" needs an ability to sustain them-self and their lane mate and something to assert some kind of dominance in lane. Heavenly Wave is that move. Its got enough power to do some decent harass if the opponent isn't extremely bulky or stacked up on lots of early MR, and to top it off it has a healing component for you and your ally. Its great stuff and I would never take anything else first.
Your speed spell is something that is often underestimated. It's probably because the slow percentage isn't as large as many other slowing spells in the game. There are lots of cases though where it comes in remarkably useful though and if used correctly its a very important tool for Karma. I will have a separate section for this ability.
Every Karma player has at one point just looked at this spell and laughed to themselves. This. Shield. Is. ABSURD. It absorbs an obscene amount of damage through most of the game, it can be cast on anyone within range INSTANTLY and in the right situations it becomes a surprisingly effective aoe nuke.
How cool is it that you start the game with your last ability? Some people don't like it but I think its badass. It gives you a boatload of versatility really early and it allows you to turn all your other spells into exactly what you need them to be at exactly the right time. While it doesn't get much attention, it really is kind of the behind-the-scenes breadwinner for Karma.
Q: When can you use this build?
Answer: When you are confident that your allies will be mildly competent (mid-high elo or arranged matches). As godly as Karma can be late game she is not GOD. She can not usually save some ally who engages in a 1v4 and expects to make it out alive. It simply doesn't work that way. Karma wasn't made to save the lives of idiots and this build acknowledges that, it was meant to save the lives of people who bit off slightly more than they could chew, people being focused in a team situation, people running from a couple pursuers. What this really means when you put it all together is that you can consistently save the life of anyone who isn't being an absolute bafoon.
Yeah thats right I'm talking to you
Because of Karma playing multiple pseudo-roles, she has a wider than usual range of runes she can work with that would all benefit her in some way or another.
While there are lots of runes that would help Karma here I think anything not offensive would be a waste of rune potential. For that reason I went with magic penetration runes. They make Karma a heavy poker to many champions in lane, and give her a little bit of an edge later when people pick up a little magic resist (probably). An almost equally viable alternative would be flat AP marks for strong early game heals and pokes.
Lastly are Glyphs and while there are lots of things that fit the bill here the decision wasn't nearly as hard. Karma has great natural sustainability and with my masteries and seals I simply don't need mana regen here. What about cooldown reduction? If you look closely the build has the potential to hit the cooldown cap, and while games may not always last that long, I would really hate to risk wasting the space of nine runes that could go to great use. For that reason I settled on Magic Resist per Level glyphs. Karma has a decent natural armor, the build just gives her obscene health and she has spells to shield her and speed her up. The only thing missing really is late game magic resist and these work perfectly. Mana regen runes certainly help early game if you're looking for a decent replacement.
This is another area that gave me trouble when I was deciding how I wanted to use Karma. There are a few reasons I went with this combination. First the easy one: You are above anything else a support (albeit a mildly more combat oriented one). This makes Clairvoyance practically a given for you. You could technically go without it but not only is it a great spell tactically that would force it on someone else on your team, which would almost assuredly do more harm than good. Next is Teleport. I wasn't sure I wanted to use it for a while before I play-tested with it and loved it for her. Karma is admittedly slow both in movespeed and getting into full swing with her build. This means she does the best by spending as much time in lane as physically possible. Teleport allows this while also allowing you to join your allies when they need you at other locations on the map. Its a handy tool that really rounds out this Karma build specifically.
With a loose point from the offensive tree you can instantly turn this spell into something capable of netting you kills and saving the lives of allies. While I don't prefer it I've done it many times to great avail. If you plan on bailing out on Clairvoyance this is my vote for a replacement because it still offers a significant support factor
While I find that I don't usually have trouble getting away from things with all my survivability, this is perfectly viable (particularly against teams with plenty of silence.
This is really just something that makes Karma even more sustainable early game. I don't like it because it isn't a huge help late game but its benefits are obvious none-the-less.
Who doesn't love flash? No one that knows how to use it that's who. Its great stuff and if you're going to get rid of Teleport this is my vote
Another great spell. Can be used for escaping or closing distance to save a life. Its great stuff so don't overlook it.
I roll with a pretty standard 9/0/21 setup for pretty basic reasons. With how I play Karma (detailed later) I really don't need a boost from any defensive masteries so I overlook that entirely. While Karma in this case does have some hitting power she is not intended to be the carry, so there's no way I'm going to even dream of maxing out offensive masteries. For that reason I put only as many points in as I need to hit
and that's it.
For utility I start with Good Hands and Spacial Accuracy for pretty obvious reasons. The mana gain from Perseverance is small enough to where I just feel Good hands is more helpful in the long run. Everything else follows for obvious reasons.
When I go to explain item choice I usually explain all my choices and then explain WHY I didn't build it differently and there's boatloads of detail and work into it, but you know what there isn't a ton to say here so I'll just work from the bottom up and hopefully my choices will make sense. Comment and ask if there's anything that seems odd.
In my opinion there's really only two logical ways to start the game with this build. The first is the ever lovely Dorans Ring. It gives you basically all you need and it keeps you in lane longer actually. I personally think Sapphire Crystal with one of each pot is better because she's already in lane practically forever and the crystal builds into her first item.
Catalyst the protector is easily my first buy. Using Teleport I don't need to run back to lane so I'm not grabbing my basic boots until I have my catalyst to keep me there forever.
Now that you have Catalyst the Protector though Boots of Speed are priority number one right before you finish off your Rod of Ages. Once you've finished your Rod of Ages top off your boots with Boots of Lucidity.
So why these two?
These two items make Karma into and early boss. The unique passive of Rod of Ages keeps your around forever, it gives you health, mana AND ap. Quite literaly everything this item does is exactly what you need early game.
Why these boots you ask? I'm just going to pretend you DIDNT ask. Self explanatory. You save lives with your abilities and you want to do that as often as possible.
As a general rule of thumb, I HATE relying on anything snowball in a build, but the one place I will take it and feel secure about myself is if I'm running support. With the skill set Karma has you almost sure to pick up assists and probably even a few kills here and there. Karma is deceptively dangerous and by the time your opponents realize that in game you will most likely already have some stacks, so while I greatly dislike snowball items in general I absolutely adore it here.
Keep in mind that although you sort of fill multiple rolls, you are above all else SUPPORTING. This means an aura or something is always nice and being able to spam your healing spells is always nice too. Lucky for you this item has both as well as more health. If you're wondering which item to build first just ask yourself how your farming is going. It should be about midgame when you grab this so if you're paying attention you're probably getting plenty of assists and farming like a boss when you get the chance. If this is true then grabbing Kindlegem is the logical choice (and the one I usually take), but if things are slow and you aren't progressing very vast take the Nomad's Medallion first.
Well at this point you can go plenty of different ways depending on the game but these next two are my most common (though the game rarely lasts long enough to reach item 6). What's nice about this build particularly is that by the time you've hit your fourth item Karma is already a machine. At this point the question to myself is generally closer to "What can I do to make what I have better?" than it is to "What else do I need here?". While she hasn't bulked up on armor, magic resist or aura's your health and ability to spam incredible support spells do a great job at occupying opponents and keeping your team alive. So what can you do to make the tools you already have more potent? Keep in mind you've already hit the potential cooldown cap so building cooldown is silly. Something that make you bulkier, your spells stronger and gave some kind of passive seems like it would be ideal and as such I select Rylai's Crystal Scepter almost every time. The added AP and slow effect makes saving lives and taking names even easier than it already was.
The Last Item
You have the most flexibility here out of everything. This slot can got to defensive items ( Banshee's Veil or Frozen Heart depending on enemy team comp), auras ( Aegis of the Legion being my favorite in this case or ap (my favorite). I like to get the AP because that last boost is what allows Karma to shield/heal for up to 1k on any single person with slightly over 2k health (anything not 100% glass cannon, even then though still >900). I find this massive and instant surge of health to be more worthwhile than simple auras or defense for yourself. Simply a preference though.
Your Job(s) as Karma
You do that by saving their lives and making up for their mistakes/shortfalls.
1) Topping off their health whenever it's convenient.
2) Casting all your spells spells and even sacrificing yourself to save the life of any ally that isn't straight up detrimental to your team
3) Traveling to cover a critical lane abandoned by an ally. (Hell I've managed to cover two lanes before. Twice actually)
4) Weakening and slowing opponents to allow your carries to get kills and you to get assists (though if it looks like they wont get it and you can finish the job, do it. No risks in that department)
5) Wards and CV's whenever and wherever necessary. (This isnt a new player guide so I'm not going to outline everything about ward usage and placement)
6) Protecting your carry(s) in a team-fight above all else.
If you are using THIS build and are spending your time doing anything else besides these, an occasional push, and taking the opportune moments to farm like a boss, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG
Strategies for the Use of Single Spells
This move has a few uses and I cant say they are as versatile and creative as the others. You can use it as a damage dealer and a heal spell. Practice a lot and you'll find that the range of your spell when you go to cast it doesn't perfectly represent how far the spell deal damage to opponents. Learn this and you'll end up dealing some nasty damage early on in a few of your games.
Now This spell actually has some interesting uses despite being an under appreciated spell.
The first and most obvious use is for the speed boost alone. If your ally is retreating from an opponent but you are remaining in the immediate vicinity cast it on the pursuer. If you and an ally both plan on bailing from your current situation then cast it on your ally. If there are two opponents chasing the ally then no matter what I would cast the spell on an opponent, and make sure you cast it on the more dangerous opponent. If they are near each other than cast it on the far opponent to damage the closer one and apply the slow to both. If you are not concerned for your own safety you should even consider Mantra charging it so the ally is sure to get away. Lastly the speed boost helps your initiators do their job more effectively.
Another use for this spell is dealing damage. By either casting the spell on an opponent across from you or by casting it on a minion and moving around you can deal damage to just about every minion in a wave. Its not remarkably powerful but it is consistent if you dont want to waste the mana of another spell do deal damage to them. This tactic can be used to damage enemy champions in the same way.
My favorite part of this spell is the psych factor. For some unknown reason, if someone is charging you/your turret in lane and you cast this on them, despite the fact that it does nothing but apply a slow they almost always turn and bail out unless you're way out of possition because they expect a followup. Never underestimate the fear factor of such a simple spell.
Lastly is just for travel. If you need to get anywhere fast and you are unable/unwilling to use Teleport just cast Spirit Bond on a minion or ally and continue on your merry way.
The sheer power and versatility of this spell encourage people to use it more often than they should.
Its primary use early game is for preventing damage. If you anticipate or see an attack or spell about to be fired on you or an ally, a quick reaction can prevent that damage and give you a temporary edge over your opponents. If your lane happens to be going really well then you CAN use it for harass. I don't really recommend it though. Using it for that is a big use of mana and if the tides turn briefly afterwards (due to a mistake or gank) then you're left down one mantra to try and save the lives of you and an ally.
Mid game this thing turns you into a monster farmer. If you're by yourself in a lane don't be afraid to nuke the hell out of a minion wave. Often you'll kill them but if not you can finish them off with Heavenly Wave.
Late game this spell will save lives constantly and in a team fight situation it becomes a nasty nuke.
If the enemy team is accounted for and you're pushing a turret (or as long as you are confident in your ability to retreat successfully), you can cast your shield on turret killing minions, and all of a sudden the duration of your minion wave just went way up. Using it as a nuke to remove the enemy minion wave works to. Its a good strategy, but you have to be careful because it puts your shield on cooldown and you don't want to get caught in that situation.
A Few Spell Combos and When to Use Them.
Spirit Bond and keep on them for the kill.
Mantra you give the combo great damage output and should be casted on an important member of your team who is taking lots of heat in a team-fight, especially if they are in close proximity to multiple opponents (which happens often). This combo will legitimately win team-fights just because of the damage output and how much it throws people off to see that ally of yours still standing somehow.
When Mid Game Goes to Late
I said it once and i'll say it again. You are incredible but you cant save people who are far away from you, and you cant save yourself if the enemy team is around and you have no allies. You'd think this is common knowledge, but so many people **** it up I HAVE to put it here.
This is a highly expensive build that will put you into high gear by your third item. The farther along you go, the more rolls you will find yourself able to temporarily substitute should the need arise in game.
Stay aware of your teammates and yourself and you'll be saving lives left and right. This is how Karma rolls and this is how she wins.