Karma Build Guide by The_Nameless_Bard

League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Nameless_Bard

Our Most Awakened Inclination - Support Karma

The_Nameless_Bard Last updated on December 13, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R


Natural Talent
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Offense: 0


Defense: 18

Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Utility: 12

Threats to Karma with this build

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Threat Champion Notes
Taric There's really nothing Taric can do to you, just poke him down.

Table of Contents

Quick Guide


Basic Information

Advanced Tactices

Wrapping Up

Starting Items

Core Builds


Offensive Items

Defensive Items

Synergies & Counters

Karma is good against:

Karma is weak against:

Karma works well with:

Summoner Spells

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 that is particularly effective against high damage assassins like Zed. Ignite is largely unnecessary (and Exhaust is much better late game), but it can be picked up against a high sustain team or against a high sustain support like Soraka.


I like to run a more offensive runepage on Karma, so I run a combination of flat AP and magic penetration with defensive stats filling in the gaps. I have three different basic pages I've tried based on the enemy team composition and their bot lane composition.
The one in the cheat sheet tends to be my preferred page. This is easily the most generic page I've tried, generally usable against all compositions. This one tends to work against high AD compositions, but is not optimal if the team has much in the way of magic damage.


Click to Enlarge

This is a pretty generic offensive support mastery page. I have tried quite a few set-ups and Karma's variability allows for multiple options. I've experimented a lot with Windspeaker's Blessing and, as of late, it seems to be the most consistent keystone mastery for her.

About the Author

Click to Enlarge
I'm a support player (and not very good jungler) from the North American Server. My main champions in ranked are Nami, Karma, Soraka, and Janna.
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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?


+good sustain and decent ability to counteract poke with Inspire
+good at establishing an early game advantage
+strong counterengage/disengage
+kites well and is a fairly safe pick
+ 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. She's also probably one of the safest of the mage supports.

Karma's Limitations

Karma needs to establish an early advantage 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 (if she doesn't already have a strong advantage), which can be troublesome.


-Generally needs to establish an early advantage
-Lacks a true ultimate, which allows lanes to be turned against her at level 6.
-No hard CC
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Karma's Skillset

Gathering Fire: This helps get Mantra up more often, which is pretty huge. Since Mantra has a fairly long CD (especially early) and gives Karma a lot of damage, it's important to remember to utilize auto-attacks and spells to lower its CD.

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.

Focused Resolve: This skill contributes to Karma's ability to lock down targets even further. It can also be used to bait enemies, as the empowered version heals Karma for 20%+ of her missing health, plus increases the snare duration by a good margin. You can also use this ability to help ensure the second hit of Soulflare lands if you time it properly.

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 (and gives a very strong shield to the target), which can be a very strong counter-initiation, disengage, or for soaking up a lot of damage on a single target who needs it.

Mantra: This skill empowers Karma's other skills. It has a fairly long CD at low levels, so should be leveled like a normal ultimate 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
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 its snare is effective even at one rank (though ranks do increase its duration). Mantra should be taken whenever possible, as the empowered abilities are increased in strength by putting ranks in it.
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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

Frostfang gives you even more damage and gold generation, so I generally recommend grabbing it right away unless you need Sightstone on your first back. Always buy Control Wards whenever you can and try to deny vision to the enemy with them if possible. Sightstone can help against high burst by giving you extra health, plus early vision denial with Sweeping Lens can allow you to set up ganks or give you brush control in lane.


Core Items

As Sightstone in some iteration is core on supports in general, mentioning it seems almost redundant. Ruby Sightstone is generally my preferred option as of late due to the item active CDR it provides. However, Eye of the Watchers provides quite a few things that are beneficial on a support like Karma who isn't always going to itemize a lot of AP items plus the CDR and slot efficiency are pretty great as well. Frost Queen's Claim gives Karma a nice damage spike, plus CDR, a decent active, and mana sustain. Oracle Alteration 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 .

Defensive Items

These are the best defensive purchases for Karma currently. While Locket of the Iron Solari is not necessarily 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 against a lot of AoE magic damage. Mikael's Crucible should be purchased against teams with a lot of hard CC. Randuin's Omen is a bit more of a selfish purchase on Karma, plus the new changes make it useful in a much more specific situation. 20% CDR is nothing to sneer at and Frozen Heart also gives a lot of armor. The aura is particularly good against AS heavy carries like Vayne. Zz'Rot Portal is an odd one, but it's quite good to grab on supports in general, even if Karma herself doesn't benefit massively from its stats. Banner of Command can be nice if you want to start a slow push against a team with mostly AP champions, as they have trouble pushing it out of a lane. Redemption has a very strong active, plus the increased shield/heal passive and a mix of good stats for Karma. I find this item tends to be particularly good with Locket of the Iron Solari for mitigating burst when necessary, as it both increases the shield from locket and gives you the ability to simultaneously AoE heal your allies and damage your enemies. Banshee's Veil can be a very effective purchase against champions such as LeBlanc and Syndra, blocking part of their combo and generally giving you a nice mix of MR and health to mitigate magic damage.

Offensive Items

Karma utilizes AP quite well, so her items often blur the line between mage and support. Liandry's Torment is particularly good against health stacking or tankiness in general, it also gives Karma a lot of damage and can be rushed if you're ahead. Morellonomicon is a great hybrid utility-offense purchase that gives a decent amount of AP to play around with. Zeke's Harbinger is definitely not a bad item overall for Karma: it gives decent stats and it can easily get your ADC to 100% crit chance when it's active. Ardent Censer gives you a decent boost to your shield's value, while also allowing you to give an AS boost to an ally or even your entire team if necessary. Athene's Unholy Grail is a decent purchase for Karma overall, granting a lot of CDR, mana and health regen, and a neat passive that she can quickly stack in order to give her allies extra healing.
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Karma's function in lane is to provide poke, disengage/counterengage, and mobility. She excels at abusing early advantages, so press anything you can. 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. Usually you should 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.
Spoiler: Click to view
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Largely your function is the same, except now you'll sometimes use Defiance to disengage/counterengage or chase. You should still focus on using Soulflare to deal a lot of 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, you can use Soulflare to hamper them and hopefully get some extra damage onto their back line. Defiance is better used as a counter-engage or disengage spell during teamfights, however you can use it to give an ally a massive shield that can turn the tables in a fight. 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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Karma works well with most carries and team compositions, however champions such as Lucian and Sivir can push well early, allowing her to harass more easily. Lucian makes particularly good use of Inspire, as his highly mobile playstyle only can only benefit from more mobility. Jhin is a personal favorite of mine to support with Karma as that combination becomes quite strong after a few levels and Karma can somewhat make up for his lack of mobility with Defiance. In the case of Poppy, Inspire/ Defiance works very well with her kit, giving her a quick burst of speed she can use to catch someone off guard with Heroic Charge. In general, Karma works best with high mobility/burst carries, teams who like to siege towers, and teams with strong engages.
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Zyra has a fairly significant range advantage over Karma, which makes her difficult for Karma given her damage output. Yasuo and Braum can be a problem for Karma in teamfights because they can pretty easily block Soulflare and Inner Flame with Wind Wall/ Unbreakable. Karma can gain an early advantage against an unskilled Braum, but her lack of hard CC makes it harder post-six. Karma struggles, in general, with champions who can ignore her poke or just poke from a greater distance.

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

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Special Thanks