Karma Build Guide by GrizzlyDuck

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author GrizzlyDuck

Talon mid? I got this, AP KARMA!! Epic

GrizzlyDuck Last updated on July 18, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Introduction: AP vs. Support

Hey guys, today I bring you a Karma build and guide. This is my first guide and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. Karma can be played in any lane, but in this guide, I will be focusing on how to play her as a AP mage carry. You might ask yourself if Karma is a better AP carry or a support champion. In my honest opinion, I'll pick AP Karma > Support any day. I'm not saying that Karma is a bad support, because Karma can be a great support with the right duo partner, it's just that Karma is not a Janna, Soraka, or an Alistar.

The reason I prefer AP Karma > Support is because I believe she is one of the best AP carries in the game. I think this because Karma is crazy hard to face and is difficult to counter. For mid lane players, you know what I'm talking about when you have to challenge a Mordekaiser, Morgana, or even a Talon. When those champs come up in champion selection, you might ask "What champ will counter those?", Karma always comes to my mind.

Please NOTE that this is a work in progress, thanks.

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The Pros and Cons of AP Karma

Pros of AP Karma:
-Very high damage output.
-High sustainability.
-Passive works very well if AP carry.
-A lot of people underestimate Karma.
-Does not need to level up her ultimate.

Cons of AP Karma:
-People rage/question Karma mid.
-You can only hold up to two mantras at a time. Must use mantras wisely.
-Must master for effective counter for hard mid laners.
-If you decide to use shields on your initiator in team fights, you become vulnerable.

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I use these runes to maximize my effectiveness in mid.

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

The extra AP given to me from the start of the game makes my ability to trade hits absolutely crazy. The reason i get AP/lv is for when I buy my Rabadon's Deathcap.

If I did not use any AP runes or AP items when I get my Rabadon's Deathcap, I will only have about 182 AP. I usually get Rabadon's Deathcap around lv 10 or 11. So the AP from my runes and kage's lucky pick will add up to about 280 AP. And I'm just getting started.

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Masteries: 21-0-9 Standard mage masteries


I use these masteries because I wanted some mana regeneration. I chose Mana regen. > Magi. Res. & few health(21-9-0) because i already have a heal and a shield. If I am challenging a high harass mid like cassiopiea, Mordekaiser, or Ahri, I would consider using 21-9-0.

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Summoner Spells

Flash, my favored summoner spell. Flash over walls and avoid sticky situations.

Ignite, in middle lane, it is very useful for that extra damage. I like the extra AP since I put a point in Summoner's Wrath .

Ghost, in my opinion is not as useful as flash because Karma already has a speed boost/slow.

Exhaust, optional. Exhaust your enemies to guarantee first blood, or to easily get away from an unexpected gank.

Heal, R+Q is your heal.

Revive, no.

Surge, for AD champions.

Teleport, decent for other lanes. Mid is relatively fast to walk to.

Cleanse, useful, but you have enough sustain. Leave cleanse for the tanks/bruisers.

Clarity, you won't run out of mana, unless you suck at conserving your mana.

Clairvoyance, good for supports, but you are an AP carry.

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Skill Explanation and Sequence


Inner Flame: This is a very good passive. It really comes into play mid-game to late-game, when all the fights are happening. During fights, the enemy bruisers/dps will try and kill you(if they are any good). When you get lower and lower in health points, the more AP you get. It makes you have a fighting chance when two or three jerks try to gank you.

Heavenly Wave (Q): This ability is the key to become a good Karma player. Heavenly wave is your main damage dealer that comes up every five seconds. Use Heavenly Wave with a Mantra for an AOE heal. It isn't as good of a heal as Soraka's Astral Blessing, but the key word here is AOE. Instead of focusing to heal one member of your team, try to heal all 5 at once.

You're going to want to max out Heavenly Wave before Soul Shield and before Spirit Bond.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use Heavenly Wave to farm and harass your opponent.
  • Remember that AOE heal is better than single heal.
  • If you are using Smart Cast, try and get used to the range of your Heavenly Wave.

Spirit Bond (W): This is a very unique CC skill. It slows your enemy WHILE speeding you up. It also damages units who happen to pass through the beam! Using Mantra with Spirit Bond will double the effect.

At the start of team fights, I put Spirit Bond on either my initiator or an enemy tank. Using Spirit Bond on my team will speed them up and damage enemies who walk through. Using Spirit Bond on an enemy tank/bruiser will speed my team that are near the beam and will slow the your chosen enemy

You're going to want to max out Spirit Bond after Heavenly Wave and after Soul Shield.

Tips and Tricks
  • In team fights, always have it on either your team or an enemy.
  • Speed up yourself and a creep to get to lane faster.
  • I don't recommend using one Mantra with Spirit Bond at the start of a team fight. Save them for Soul Shield.
  • When chasing down someone, use Mantra for 2x the slow!

Soul Shield (E): This skill is what makes or breaks Karma players. What you have to understand is that Soul Shield does not have to be used with a Mantra. You can just use a shield to shield yourself or teammates. If you feel like being more of a support mid, don't use your Mantra on shield and use them for Heavenly Wave.

You're going to want to max out Soul Shield after Heavenly Wave and before Spirit Bond.

Tips and Tricks
  • Remember that you do not always have to use Mantra with Soul Shield.
  • Try using Mantra with Soul Shield on a melee creep to hurt enemy champions trying to last hit.
  • You can put a Soul Shield on a creep to tank the tower while you push.

Mantra (R): Mantra is your ultimate that you do not have to level up. Since you don't have to level it up, that means you can level your other three skills up to six times! Use Mantra with your skills to enhance the effect and/or add something special when you cast them.

Tips and Tricks
  • When you are about to go into a team fight, pop Mantra early so that your 3rd mantra has time to refresh.
  • Max stacks of Mantra you can hold is 2. Use Mantras wisely.
  • Cooldown reduction also helps your Mantra refresh faster.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Other guides, they tell you to max your Soul Shield first, but the reason I say to max first is because it is your constant damage dealer and has about half the cooldown of Soul Shield.
Yes, I know that Soul Shield does more damage, but leveling up Heavenly Wave first will make you have way more sustain and better harassing capability in lane. And also because Soul Shield is harder to land due to the fact that you or a creep has to be near your enemy.

*I highly recommend using smart cast on all your skills. It makes casting combos way faster. This is my opinion and if you like different key bindings, I can't force you.

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Boots of Speed& Health Potionx3

I start with boots and three potions so i will be able to stay in lane if I do get harassed. The boots helps me get right into the enemies face and harass with my Heavenly Wave.

First recall:

philosopher's stone& sight wardx2

I farm and harass until i have about 900+ gold. First item I get is philo's stone, because I want the sustainability and mana regen. for more harass capability. The wards are for the two river entrances.
Since I will be harassing and farming, my lane will most likely be pushed. I do not want to get ganked when I don't have enough gold for my second GP10 item.

Second recall:

Heart of Gold& kage's lucky pick& sight wardx2

I go back when I have another 900-2000 gold. If you happen to get ganked or felt like going back, just buy one of the two remaining GP10 items. I recommend heart of gold, for more sustain. Then two more wards again for the river.

Third recall:

Ionian Boots of Lucidity& Rabadon's Deathcap& sight wardx2

You might have noticed that I buy a lot of wards. This is another good thing for building GP10 items. When your opponent isn't building GP10 items, he has less gold and is not able to buy as much wards as Karma. Also since Karma is just an epic aoe farmer, I doubt you would be losing in farm.. If by some reason you are at your base before you have enough gold for Rabadon's Deathcap, just buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Blasting Wand.

Like I said earlier, I would usually get my Rabadon's Deathcap at around lv 11. At that time I probably have around 150 cs(around 17 minutes). The farm and three GP10 items will definitely get you the gold you need for Rabadon's Deathcap.

Forth recall/Mid-game:

OK, now you have to make a decision between
Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Athene's Unholy Grail or Deathfire Grasp

Do you need more sustain in team fights?

Are you spamming like crazy but think you can handle yourself in team fights? Is there a fed Dr. Mundo or Garen on the enemy team & do you think you don't need health yet? Whichever is the situation, I highly recommend Rylai's Crystal Scepter after that item you are going to buy. It is a must have.

Why Rylai's Crystal Scepter and not Zhonya's Hourglass you say? Because of your

Inner Flame really benefits from having a lot of hp. In team fights, it's pretty obvious the enemy team will try to kill you because by this time, they are wondering to themselves "Why didn't we ban Karma!??" Team fights, you will be bouncing around 600-700 AP because most likely you will be around half health.

End game:

Just finish the build with either Void Staff or the last one you didn't pick up from what I recommended.

If you are actually finished with the build and you have not won yet, you have the choice to just keep buying elixers or change your Ionian Boots of Lucidity to sorcerer's boots.

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Tanky vs. GP10

I have seen other guides for a middle lane Karma. Some suggested to try the tanky mage build( Rod of Ages& rylai's crystal sceptar).

I want to compare the ROA & Rylais build with my GP10 build

Core items-

Item Sequence

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Rabadon's Deathcap
  • HP(mid-late game) - About 3600
  • MP(mid-late game) - About 2200
  • AP - 400+
  • Build cost: 9740+
  • Finish core @ 35-40min.

Core items-
Item Sequence

Heart of Gold


Rabadon's Deathcap

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
  • HP(mid-late game) - About 2700
  • MP(mid-late game) - About 1500
  • AP - 370+
  • Build cost: 9095+
  • Finish core @ 25-35min.

Tanky mage:
  • Wins in HP and MP
  • A little more AP than GP10 build
  • Costs more
  • Takes a bit longer to get
GP10 mage:
  • Loses in HP and MP
  • 30 less AP
  • Costs less
  • A lot faster to get
What I am trying to get is that my build compared to tanky mage builds cost less and is way faster to get. The reason for this is the GP10. When rushing Rod of Ages, you will most likely have to focus on farming.

Most Ryze players would try to rush Tear of the Goddess and Rod of Ages. That takes about 20-35 minutes, and they have to farm up to 150-200+ creeps to finish the recipe for ROA.

When I first played Karma, I used the tanky mage build to work with my passive, but after a while, I noticed I was staying in lane for way too long. GP10 helps me gain the gold when I decide to counter-jungle and/or gank other lanes. Once I am done doing that, I go back and farm mid-lane some more.

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Laning and Warding

Early Game:

Please NOTE that this is a work in progress, thanks.

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  • Boots
  • Harrass & Farm
  • Three GP10 items
  • Rabadon's
  • Eat up enemy team in team fights with AOE
  • Rylai's
  • (You'll probably win by this point.)
  • Athene's
  • Deathfire
  • Lucidity -> Sorc boots
  • WOA or Void Staff
  • Profit

Update Log:
[07/17/2012] - Published guide.
[07/18/2012] - Added 'Tanky vs. GP10' 'Laning and Warding(under construction)' and 'Skill Explanation' sections and changed masteries.

Please NOTE that this is a work in progress, thanks.
Special thanks to JhoiJhoi, her making guide tips helped out alot -->here!