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Karma Build Guide by The_Nameless_Bard

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League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Nameless_Bard

Our Most Awakened Inclination - Support Karma

The_Nameless_Bard Last updated on October 30, 2014
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Table of Contents

Quick Guide

Preface

Basic Information

Advanced Tactices

Wrapping Up


Starting Items



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Core Builds



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Boots



Offensive Items




Defensive Items





Synergies & Counters

Karma is good against:

Karma is weak against:

Karma works well with:



Summoner Spells

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Flash is generally a core spell, there's no reason to switch it out for anything. Exhaust tends to be a stronger pick throughout the game, as it gives you a massive damage debuff, but Ignite can be picked up against a high sustain team or against a high sustain support like Soraka (though in the latter situation it's entirely unnecessary).

Runes

Greater mark of hybrid penetration


I like to run a more offensive runepage on Karma, so I run a combination of flat AP and hybrid penetratrion with defensive stats filling in the gaps. However, cooldown reduction can be an option if you prefer it.

Masteries


Click to Enlarge

I prefer this to a 0-9-21 set-up, as Karma benefits highly from CDR and ability power early, which makes this more favorable for her. If you want to run a more durable mastery set-up, I'd suggest 4-5-21.

About the Author


Click to Enlarge
I'm a Silver support player from the North American Server. My main champions in ranked are Nami and Karma.
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Introduction

Karma has been my favorite champion pretty much since her release. She has strong poke, great mobility, and is extremely good at kiting.
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Who is Karma?

Pros

+strong sustain
+strong early game poke
+strong engage/disengage potential
+kites well
+good teamfight potential
+ Traditional Karma looks great in game.

Karma's Strengths

Karma has great poke and mobility, which makes her a strong pick against a lot of the popular supports. She can dish out massive damage on her own, which can be used to carry a lane if needed.

Karma's Limitations

Karma is somewhat squishy in lane, lacks hard CC, and she doesn't have a particular power spike at level 6 like most champions. This can make it possible for a lane to be turned against her at level 6, which can be troublesome.

Cons

-Fairly squishy early
-No power spike at 6
-No hard CC besides a delayed snare
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Karma's Skillset


Innate
Gathering Fire: This helps keep Karma on par with a lot of champions. Since Mantra has a fairly long CD and gives her a lot of damage, it's important to remember to utilize auto-attacks and spells to lower its CD.

Q
Inner Flame: This skill is Karma's main form of harass. It has a fairly small hit box, which means you really have to aim to land it. It has high damage, but the range is fairly short, so you may put yourself in danger if you're not careful.

W
Focused Resolve: This skill is Karma's only source of hard CC. It can also be used to bait enemies, as the empowered version heals Karma for 20%+ of her missing health

E
Inspire: This ability has a lot of utility. It gives strong mobility to a single target and when empowered acts as a miniature Talisman of Ascension almost, which can be a very strong counter-initiation or disengage.

R
Mantra: This skill empowers Karma's other skills. It has a fairly long CD at low levels, so should be leveled as a normal ultimate would to lower its CD.
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Skilling Order


Skilling Priority
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Q E W Q Q R Q E Q E R E E W W R W W
Currently, maxing Inner Flame first is the best option on Karma as it's her main damage skill and its CD decreases with each rank. I prefer to max Inspire second, for the increased movement speed and shield value. I then max Focused Resolve last, as it is equally effective at all ranks. Mantra should be taken whenever it's possible to take it.
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Itemization



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Starting Items

Spellthief's Edge is currently the best starting item for Karma, as it works well with her playstyle. I only recommend Ancient Coin for newer players. If you feel a lane is going to be difficult you can consider it, but Spellthief's Edge is still the best option.

Early game core

Haunting Guise gives a nice boost early game damage, which is something Karma really benefits from. If you're against a high magic damage support (such as Vel'Koz) you can instead get an early Chalice of Harmony. The other items are really just core support items.

Core Items

As Ruby Sightstone is core on supports in general, mentioning it seems almost redundant. However, the health it provides is quite beneficial on a support like Karma who isn't always going to itemize a lot of health. Liandry's Torment gives Karma a nice damage spike, plus a bit more durability. Oracle's Lens is another core support item, that should be bought fairly soon after hitting level 9, as it allows you to gain vision control easier, which is important for keeping an eye on objectives such as Baron Nashor and Dragon .

Talisman vs. Frost Queen's

Karma makes good use of both of these items for entirely different reasons. Frost Queen's Claim can be used in conjunction with Inner Flame and Focused Resolve to keep a target locked down. Talisman of Ascension adds to Karma's utility, but can feel somewhat redundant due to its active being very similar to Defiance.

Defensive Items

These are the best defensive purchases for Karma currently. While Mikael's Crucible is not actually a core item, I find myself building it in nearly every game, so it gets a special mention here. It's one of the best support items, especially on a mage like Karma. Locket of the Iron Solari should be purchased against teams with a lot of Magic damage, especially if it's AoE. Banshee's Veil is more of a selfish purchase, which I would get against champions such as Karthus or LeBlanc to mitigate as much damage as possible. Randuin's Omen still, despite the nerf, remains the most efficient armor item for a support, as it provides health for its armor. This means the item needs very little health within the build to be effective, while Frozen Heart requires more health within the build or the armor is largely wasted. Zhonya's Hourglass is a great hybrid defense/offense item that gives a healthy chunk of AP to boost your damage.

Offensive Items

Karma utilizes AP quite well, so her items often blur the line between mage and support. Morellonomicon is particularly good against high sustain champions like Swain or Nami. Twin Shadows is a great utility purchase that gives a decent amount of AP to play around with. Void Staff is a good buy if you're doing well and they start stacking magic resistance, but this, and Rabadon's Deathcap, are good choices only if you can afford to sacrifice a slot solely toward offensive power.
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Laning

Karma's function in lane is to provide poke, disengage/counterengage, and mobility. Inner Flame/ Soulflare gives Karma a lot of damage and kiting power, while Inspire/ Defiance gives her strong mobility and counterengage. Focused Resolve/ Renewal gives even more chasing power, plus the ability to bait enemies. Generally you want to poke with Inner Flame, using Mantra for Soulflare to deal extra damage when positioning favors it. Use Inspire as needed against minor engages or to help an ally dodge things like Death Sentence (it has a short enough cooldown to allow for this against most champions). Against a full engage, you may want to use Defiance to either disengage or counterengage. You can use Focused Resolve in combination with Exhaust, Inspire, and Inner Flame to help peel for your carry if needed. Largely you're going to be able to keep bush control with proper warding; if the enemies stay behind their minions you might have to get creative with your positioning to harass properly.
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Teamfighting

Largely your function is the same, except now you'll often use Defiance to disengage/counterengage or chase. You can still use Soulflare to deal extra damage and hamper enemies, of course, but make sure you don't need to use Defiance before doing so. Focused Resolve can be used in conjunction with Exhaust, Frost Queen's Claim, Inner Flame, or Inspire to help peel enemies off your carries (or yourself) if needed, but I wouldn't use Renewal unless you don't need to use Mantra for something else.
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Tips 'n Tricks



Utilizing Gathering Fire

Remember that Gathering Fire lowers Mantra's cooldown when she auto-attacks an enemy or hits them with an ability. This is especially helpful early game, when Mantra has a much higher cooldown.
Against a team with strong engage, save Mantra for Defiance, as you can use it to disengage or counterengage if your team is positioned properly. Soulflare is better used when sieging an enemy tower, however you can use it in a teamfight to deal a lot of damage and heavily hamper enemies, again, if your positioning favors it. Renewal is less likely to be used than the others, however it can be beneficial if you want to bait an enemy early or if you need the healing and can afford to use it. Its uses in teamfights are few and far between, as its range is significantly lower than Soulflare with none of the utility of Defiance.
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Synergies


Karma works well with most carries and team compositions, however champions such as Lucian and Tristana can push well early, allowing her to harass more easily. Lucian also makes particularly good use of Inspire, as his highly mobile playstyle only can only benefit from more mobility. In the case of Kha'Zix, Inspire works very well with the active on Void Assault, giving him even more movement speed for positioning.
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Counters

Vel'Koz has a fairly significant range and damage advantage over Karma, which makes this difficult. Karma also has no hard CC to interrupt Life Form Disintegration Ray, which is somewhat problematic post-six. Braum can intercept Inner Flame/ Soulflare with Unbreakable which makes landing proper harass much more difficult. For a similar reason, Yasuo can be a problem for Karma in teamfights.

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Epilogue

Thank you for reading my guide! Comments and suggestions are welcome, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

-Nameless
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Special Thanks