1st option (recommended)
Hey guys, I'm BesTibi on the eune server and I decided to share my experience in supporting primarily with Karma, and later on I'll add more champions to my "experienced" pool. I started this because the fact that as Karma, you can carry your team, made me cheer up. So just to keep it clear, I played my 10 provisional matches in ranked flex 5v5 and got placed in bronze IV (I finished in Silver III in season 6, so it's not a big surprise), and I realized that I've got a lot better chances as a support. Let me explain why!
Why would you play support in lower elos?
This one's quite simple to understand once you saw your true potential as a support carry. I chose Karma long ago, and I was great with her since the beginning, and I'm just getting better and better. So in this game you can choose to deal tons of damage, weaken and cc your enemies, pick off the ones out of position, and to peel your allies and help them getting better in teamfights. I chose this one as this has the biggest effect on your team. Karma's kit is based around providing tons of shield, movement speed to catch up with the slippery ones, damage in the form of poke and AoE effects, a little snare to stop flankers from being efficient. Aiming for these is so damn efficient for your team's progress that you can't resist to do something like this. Solo carrying as an assassin can turn tides, as you can just tilt because somebody's performance is not enough to not lose fights.
Every bright person knows that warding and vision control is an important part of the game. By destroying the enemy towers you gain access to large areas where your enemies will be in constant danger once they lose vision control. Your general role as a support to keep the map warded so you won't have trouble with the enemy's surprise attacks.
And your role with Karma is to keep your teammates alive, deal damage to enemies, lock down the focused target or the flankin' Xin Zhao for a moment while your team melts their hp bar. This is simply done using Karma's kit.
Don't misunderstand your role! You're not front line, you are just a player who protects carries/the teammate who has to be protected to win the fight.
Gathering Fire is an incredibly useful passive. Every time you damage enemy champions with an ability or basic attack, your cool-down on Mantra decreases a few seconds. This means that if you land your inner fires and basic attacks and Focused Resolve, you will be able to ult like 5 times during one single teamfight.
So Inner Flame is your poke ability. It's a projectile that damages in an area, so after a while you'll learn how to poke your enemies by hitting minions with Inner Flame, just be careful not to push lane that much. I always start with this ability, and usually max it second.
This ability is your cc. It's a short time snare, works like Ethereal Chains but it's not a skill shot, you only have to keep up with the enemy. Don't worry, Focused Resolve really focuses on your target, so you'll gain vision of her, so she can't just hide in a brush. If you have Inner Flame up, then you can secure the snare, but only do this if you haven't got any better usage of your q. Soulflare is another option of course, but don't waste Mantra for that in a teamfight, your team will need your shield!
I rank up this ability first at level 2-3, depends on the lane's advantage and max it last.
I usually max this ability first(from the first 3 basic abilities). This is the shield you want to give to your allies. The shied comes with a nice movement speed buff, so it can help your teammates dodge abilities, survive Curtain Call, Ace in the Hole, etc. Don't be selfish, only cast it on yourself if you want to get to a place, and if you can't save your allies, save yourself, you have a nice outplay potential and defending power.
Last but not least, your ultimate: Mantra. This is actually 3 ults in one. Just like with Heimerdinger, Mantra empowers your basic abilities. You'll have it ranked up since the beginning. It's got a low cool-down, so you can use it early too, as it recharges faster when you poke your enemies. Let's see the empowered abilities!
First off, here's Soulflare. It is a skill shot that deals AoE damage on impact, leaving a slowing field behind, which will erupt and deal damage once again. This is a nice damaging ability for defending turrets from minion waves, or to kind of chunk squishy enemies' health. I only use Soulflare in teamfights, when I know that we don't need movement speed and shield because we are way better, and we deal a lot more damage than them in the same amount of time.
The perfect lock-down ability. The snare it provides is way longer than normally, it heals you nicely, you'll need this when there is a slipppery enemy. you'll cast Renewal on them, and just follow with Inspire (alt+e to cast it on yourself). I don't really use this ability, as we don't really need it. It's still useful to pick off out of position targets when your team goes for them.
The ability you'll use the most. It gives a huuuuuuuuuuuge amount of shield on the targeted champion, and gives half that shield to allies nearby, so your whole team flies forward. put it on your lovely adc, or the initiator, if she's low on health.
A tip: Don't be afraid to cast Defiance on yourself. Your survival is important for your team. A dead Karma won't give shields for his teammates! So if you are getting focused by a greedy Xin Zhao, ult+alt+e, so you'll save yourself, and cc the guy instantly, just kill him fast.
So you want to start with Spellthief's Edge, warding totem (trinket) and a few Health Potions. Poking the enemy will give you gold, so it's really good for you.
Try not to go home if you can't buy Sightstone! Once you've got that, immediately swap your trinket to Sweeping Lens. If you can afford a Control Ward, buy it. The remaining gold can be spent on parts of items and pots.
You can build two different ways: You can go for Frost Queen's Claim and Ruby Sightstone, but I recommend you Eye of the Watchers. It's only one item, and you won't lose the gold gaining passive. Your absolute core item is Ardent Censer. Try to pick up Sorcerer's Shoes or at least Boots of Speed.
After Ardent Censer, your build depends on the situation. You can build Mikael's Crucible for it's active effect, or Locket of the Iron Solari, also for it's active: surprisingly a shield!
The last two item slots are kind of for your protection. I recommend you buying a Luden's Echo as a last item, it will just be so nice to use Soulflare.
You can also buy Morellonomicon to provide grievous wounds to be able to deal with sustainers.
In the lane, you want to keep bushes warded, and just go and poke the enemies hard! If you pretend greediness, like a troll who tries to zone them outta the lane, then their Thresh may get salty enough to cast Death Sentence and then you will simply sidestep using Inspire on yourself. Then go and hit them with inner fire. Be sure to be ice cold when their jungler comes to gank. Your goal is to keep your adc safe! So you can cast Defiance on your adc, and then just follow her while casting Focused Resolve on the most dangerous enemy, usually their adc. Try not burning your Flash, if your Inspire comes up in time, then you are safe for another while, and they may not even want to chase you under tower, as you will slow them with inner fire and snare them with Renewal, as Mantra's cool-down will be over, according to the damage you dished out using abilities and auto attacks. I only wrote it like that as I could manage to do that at 5 mins, so it is possible. I had to burn my Exhaust though, but that was only because their adc was low and I knew we would kill them in a 2v2.
Warding and roaming
So, warding is very important. Vision control wins games in lower elos easily, and it's a key point in high elo too, and by the way you just picked Karma support to carry your team to victory, which means you know you will ward and clear wards a lot, and just use Karma's kit to it's maximum potential.
There are warding spots I often put wards, like the tribush, the river bush, middle of the river, dragon pit, ward in the river at mid lane. I ward these spots most of the time, and always try to have a Control Ward in a bush where we can get ganked from and it's behind us. If you really want to, then roam to mid to help, but I only recommend this once you've got your adc secured, and before taking drake, while the enemy mid laner has a nice advantage. Once you've got bot lane and mid lane, search for a ward sweeping plant in the jungle, and use it to check their jungler's presence around the dragon, and then take the dragon, ask for help from your adc and the jungler. As soon as you bought sightstone, you want to get [[sweeping lens just to swap to oracle alteraiton at level 9. Once you've got this, you want to clear their wards, so you should push bot lane's turret, then make mid open, and if you've got some time, make it to top too. Once done, clear wards in their jungle and around lanes.
Laning phase is over
Taking team objectives, zoning people out of the lane will make you have the advantage. Try to poke your opponents using Inner Flame and Soulflare, but don't ever initiate this way, you'll regret that. You need Mantra to provide shield, so using Soulflare and not fighting after makes your Mantra up again, especially if you can damage them randomly.
Keep that in mind that your simple presence makes your team better, so you don't have to be front line all the time, and you just can't flash out of a fight if it's not lost for sure. And a fight can be won until the moment when the last of your allies die. I had a Riven top ally recently, and she got a pentakill with not more than 200 health. My shield and cc was enough for her to simply not die, and when somebody refuses do die in a fight, she will deal damage. It worked, the game announcer voice shouted pentakill in less than 20 seconds.
So your flash is not a tool to save your life, it is a tool to give some more time to your abilities to recharge. When I get flanked by random assassins, I just cast Defiance on myself, cast Inner Flame and Focused Resolve the enemy, if I need a shield to survive, I just flash away, get Inspired and slow the greedy one with Inner Flame again while my team takes the kill.
I can't stress enough that your kit is built on outplaying your enemies. This means that you have to be calm, and actually you'll be calm, after the very first moment you survived 1v5 without using any summoner spells, while taking half of everyone's health. This feeling makes you feel protected. 170 hp and Lee Sin is approaching? Who cares? you can dodge him using Inspire, and you can just cast Renewal on him to regain health, if you are confident enough.
Wall of fame?
So in this chapter, I will add and upload replays from replay.gg and I recommend you to watch them fast-forwarded, and just rewind and slow down tricky parts. Try to analyze the way I play, and how did we achieve our goal with my shield. I don't say every play's roots come from my technique, I only say that my effect helped our team to be a lot better, than our opponents. And there will be replays when I just flashed for fun, that was because I was premade with my adc. So, as soon as I upload a replay, enjoy it! :)
here are the links: http://www.replay.gg/search/eune/bestibi#1567882023
Ending and TL, DR section
So, first the TL, DR:
Read build notes, check passives of the items I recommend. Ward smartly in bushes, river, dragon pit, etc. Don't be afraid of getting killed, you are Karma! Own your opponents with ease, and make your team shielded till victory! Negative attitude is not a solution, even when your adc picks Volibear vs a lane of Leona and Draven, you can win that one too(I did).
So, thanks for reading my guide, or at least the TL, DR section. I hope you enjoyed it and learned the way of Karma support.
Here's one more story you may be interested in. One of my very last games I did something I can't understand right now. Our lane had my friend's Ezreal and my Karma, the enemy had Leona and Miss Fortune. I was keeping miss fortune under control while my friend was approaching the lane. I started to fight with half of my health, and took a large portion of mf's health. and before I could even die, I just cast Renewal on mf...I knew it would restore me health, and Inspire was on cd... Ezreal killed mf with ease, and thanks to this move, I didn't die in that game at all.