Karma Build Guide by Lugignaf
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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.
You may be thinking to yourself, "Karma has no real damage. Just a shield and a sub-par cone heal/hurt." This is where you get proven wrong however. Karma has some amazing harass and denying skills along with the strongest utility in any support. Heal that scales off your team being "bad" and damage that scales off her being hurt. She's meant to be played as a support like Zilean is. AP carry early, support like crazy with that AP later. That said, time to nuke my life back.
Pros and Cons
+ Both a shield and a heal. Ignite will never get you or your teammates.
+ Strong AoE damage makes a good one an asset in a teamfight.
+ Speed boost and a slow in one move makes chasing strong.
+ Speed-farms with Mantra+ Soul Shield
+ She's part support and can afford to buy wards.
- You're at your strongest when you're almost dead and you'll probably stick around longer than you should.
- Spirit Bond is the hardest skill to use in solo queue and will get very little use other than the speed bonuses.
- Improper use of the shield will kill you or an ally.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These are pretty standard caster runes other than the fact that I take no defensive runes. The reasoning for this is that you deal the most, and heal the most, while you are injured. This may not sound like that good but, it makes your shield stronger and it makes your strongest, but hardest to use nuke, even stronger. Unfortunately, you will have to buy items to compensate.
Alternate Quintessences are as follows:
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude: more health is never a bad thing.
Greater quintessence of ReplenishmentGreater Quintessence of Replenishment: Your mana regen is pretty terrible compared to the spells that you need to use in order to keep lanes pushed/harass. This helps.
Both of these masteries are fairly useless. Perseverence is less useless though because Expanded Mind only gives bonuses off our base. That means, no bonus from our Tear of the Goddess/ Archangel's Staff or Frozen Heart. Useless to everyone really.
Honestly, this is the spell to have. Everyone should be toting around flash. Especially someone with no real escape skills like Karma. Flash lets you get in close for that last healing wave or back the hell away because you're over-extending like an idiot.
Ignite is an all-around good spell for you. It helps get some interesting first bloods as well as defend against other healers you may come up against. If you're going mid, this is a necessity.
If you are going more support-y, this is a great spell. You can still take Ignite but, thy carry you are supporting might get mad when you accidentally kill the target with ignite. If you take it, take the mastery as well. Drop a point out of Perseverence for the CV mastery.
Teleport is a nice luxury you can have. It gives you a free recall every now and then to buy wards, a build item, etc. Again, if you plan on taking it drop a point out of Perseverence for the teleport mastery.
Here's where your passive comes in handy. You can trade blows with an opponent for a while and, when they finally decide to towerdive you, you pop fortify and turn around to nuke them. I would not recommend this until you get good at the combo of R-E-R-Q for a quick turnaround kill.
This is one of the oddest passives in the game. It gives AP based on your lack of health. try to think of it as the Berserker Rage for AP, only on a smaller conversion ratio.
You get anywhere from 30 to 140 AP. It sclaes like this: 30/50/70/90/110/140. Levels that it goes to that are: 1/3/6/9/12/15. You get the maximum amount of AP at, or below, 30% of your max HP. You get nothing for being at full life. It gets amplified by Rabadon's Deathcap and Ardor . It makes a great bait skill as it amplifies your shield's strength in both offence and defense.
Skill 1: Heavenly Wave
Shoots out a small cone in front of you. Approximately a 60% angle if the wiki is to be believed. Basic use of the skill does damage. When used with your ult, it heals for a flat amount and an AP modifier plus, a percentage of the targets' missing HP. 5% of their missing HP +2% extra per 100 AP is nothing to laugh at. It's a great AoE heal. It heals almost everything. Heals invisible units in the cone as well as minions and you.
If you are using this and a shield to save an ally, this should be used second as it will heal more unless you're already at full HP.
Good teammates to link this to are Talon and Katarina. Their blink moves will immediately deal the damage to the person they jumped to and make it harder for them to get away because of the slow.
If you lose sight of the target you've linked to, the tether will stay pointed in the direction that it was when you lost sight of them. This goes for enemy Spirit bonds as well.
Skill 3:Soul Shield
If, for whatever reason, you get put in a lane with a melee champ like solo top (which you can handle semi-decently by the way) it works as great harass when they go to last his creeps as it can be used to shield creeps right at the last second. Ultimate trolling there.
SKILL OF ULTIMATE POWER!!! MANTRA!
Mantra is a very interesting skill. It is technically an ultimate like Nidalee's in that it changes your skills. It's automatically available at level 1 and requires no points put in it.
Whenever you repspawn, you have your max charges available for it. The cooldown for getting another charge starts as soon as you have one or fewer charges.
After using a charge, you have roughly eight seconds to cast an empowered spell before you end up wasting it.
With a cooldown of 12 seconds at max level, with max CDR, there should be very few moments when you aren't ready for a teamfight to erupt unless you're out of mana.
From the start of the game (0:00-2:45)
Doran's Ring is your item. Get a second one if you feel like you need it and aren't dominating your lane hard enough.
Mid-early game (First blood-Level 9)
Work towards either Hextech Revolver or a Tear of the Goddess depending on the harass going on. After you finish one, get Ionian Boots of Lucidity, for the homeland, and quickly go for the other one.
Mid game (First tower down- ~25:00)
After the first tower goes down, you should be trying to assist in other lanes. You're going to be slow as hell getting to other lanes because you have nothing to tether to with spirit bond. Once you get there, your ganking is not that good. Your only real "gank skill" is your Spirit Bond. If you can damage them with the chain by linking it to a minion, do it. If you're with a partner in the bush, link it to them if they have an "On command" blink like Riftwalk, Arcane Shift or, Distortion. Again, jump-to-target blinks or dashes work the best.
Endgame (About the time everyone groups up, baron is constantly warded or an inhibitor has gone down)
By now most people will have full build. If you do not, you should continue to ward. Every time there isn't a teamfight, you should be farming/pushing waves with your Soul Shield+ Mantra/ Heavenly Wave combo. You will tear through minions like paper. You should always be watching the map. No exceptions.
After you've pushed a lane past the river, it would be in everyone's best interests if you recalled and bought wards/another core item.
You should be in the back!
If you get forced to the front by Fling/ Rocket Grab/ Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverse/ etc, shield bomb yourself! Then proceed to leash the farthest behind opponent with Spirit Bond. Mantra-d if you need to.
CDR is the most important stat!
If you can guarantee that you will have blue buff/blue pot up most of the time, trade out your Ionian Boots of Lucidity for something else. Best choices would be either Mercury's Treads or Sorcerer's Shoes.
If you chose not to take Ionian Boots of Lucidity at all and also refuse to take some CDR from masteries, Morello's Evil Tome and Frozen Heart will cover your CDR needs exactly while giving some nice tanky stats.
AP/Defenses are secondary!
The absolute best item for Karma, IMO, is Abyssal Secpter. It provides almost everything that a caster and a support would need. The aura that reduces MR, some MR for yourself and, AP. Will of the Ancients is best used in a caster team comp. Doesn't matter if they are traditional casters like LeBlanc or more awkward casters like Pantheon, Will of the Ancients helps most teams.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a nice addition as well. Health and AP are never bad things. Keep in mind, unless you hit them with the chain of Spirit Bond, you will only be applying the 15% slow. If you take this, take out Will of the Ancients. Especially if your team lacks casters.
Yes Rod of ages is a decent item but, it's taking up a slot that you could be using for another CDR item or another stronger AP item. If you are going on a stalemate in your lane, Catalyst the protector into a Rod of Ages is a pretty good way to win it because of the Mana/HP regeneration upon leveling.
Honestly, you can go aura-***** Karma but, you are getting little effectiveness out of it.
What team benefits from a support with items like Aegis of the Legion; Mercury's Treads; Zeke's Harbinger; Soul Shroud; Frozen Heart? You can't heal for much unless you do it way later than you should be and your shields will be terribly weak.