Build Guide by korobug
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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.
Pros / Cons
Excellent harassment from a very safe distance.
Fairly good level of survivability mid to late game.
Highly underestimated, you might get a few free kills.
All of her spells can be used aggressively or defensively.
Mantra is very easily wasted.
Extremely vulnerable to silences.
Useless without mana.
Karma, in my humble opinion, is by far the most underplayed, underestimated character in league of legends. My last two games I was capable of taking out two champions at once with her, mind you they weren't the best players, it's far more than people give her credit for. Upon her release, I found masses of people excessively casting Spirit bond, and rarely using her Soul Shield or Heavenly Wave effectively. She is hard to play, and she is incredibly risky, but hopefully with this guide, and a bit of time to learn what she has to teach through experience, I hope to make a few, if not good, than decent Karma players.
Karma has an extremely versatile set of skills, and starting with her mantra is a huge advantage over other characters early game. I have not had anyone harass more strongly than me on my lane in early game. Not only is she capable of providing a fairly consistent and mid damage harassment, she can hit both enemies at once while buffing a minion or allied champion. This is the reason I will always get Soul Shield as my first skill.
My next skill is simple, Heavenly Wave, due to the lack of allies who are capable of properly utilizing Spirit Bond, it's a no brainer. I'll likely change this if there is some miracle where a large group of people learn how to use it effectively and not die at the same time.
Spirit bond comes third for obvious reasons, I don't rush my shield before it as it becomes extremely useful when chasing, fleeing or clearing a wave of minions.
After I have my three spells I rush my shield and fill in the gaps with Heavenly Wave, I get spirit bond last due to the lack of ability to use it effectively with the rest of my team.
NOTE: Do not deny yourself a second shield level and delaying spirit bond if you're against a tanky character and really need the extra harass.
That early shield level is also helpful against a tougher character while solo-ing, just make sure you won't regret the ability to slow them down for a level.
In coordination with the runes I have, and Karma's annoying CD when your team needs alot of casts, Ionian boots and Deathfire is extremely helpful. Deathfire also helps you get some kills you wouldn't normally get, as with my early games as karma, I found people getting away with about 20% of their life. The order for your boots and Deathfire aren't really solid, you always get meki first, but after that it's what you need the most first, more movement speed, or a nice damaging spell.
Will of the ancients is simple, it's not too expensive and it buffs the allies that you should constantly be around, it also gives a small boost to your survivability.
Now, most of my games don't last past the will of the ancients, but when they do I need mana, so what better item than archangels staff, paired with clarity you should have more than enough mana for a team fight or two. It also gives a pretty nice AP boost, always nice with Karma.
Now, the Rabadon's and Void staff rarely come into play during my games, but I always get Rabadon's first UNLESS one or more of the enemies are packing magic resistance. Only get Void staff first if one of these said enemies are actually a threat.
Clarity; Okay, this should be obvious. Karma is a mana dependent character, you run out of mana away from a tower and you die. Now, a good trick with this spell, which works with alot of characters that rely on mana, is to let the enemy think you're waiting on a recharge, and when they go for the kill you cast clarity, mantra shield, and then line and Hwave them. It's gotten a ton of kills for me. It also helps to lane with a character such as Cho'gath and get the clarity mastery to better benefit your team.
Exhaust; I've seen alot of guides calling this useless on Karma due to her Spirit bond, but it can actually be used to supplement it, if not just better on its own than bond. It also helps you get kills you wouldn't normally, where the enemy escapes during your cooldown. Regardless I almost always use it, though there is an alternative to it.
Clairvoyance; This is a highly possible alternative to exhaust. If you get to the point where you don't need exhaust anymore, and you know entirely what Karma can and cannot do, you should be ready to swap. Mind you this spell takes time to learn, and if you can't utilize it well enough it's useless, and you'll likely just have it taking up a slot. I'm not going to go over everything the spell can and cannot do here, but I'll leave you with it being extremely useful to keep track of enemies, planning a gank, countering a gank, and sweeping the bushes in early game laning. Don't use it unless you're learning or already know how, and have a team that actually communicates.
First things first, if you're using Clairvoyance, swap out the Exhaust mastery for the Clairvoyance one right now.
The defense masteries are mainly there for a tiny boost to survivability, with those I've found myself getting out with around the 100 life points I wouldn't have had without them.
Presence of the master is primarily to lower my clarity cooldown, and it helps a ton on it. It does help a bit with exhaust or clairvoyance, but not nearly as much due to their lower cooldowns to begin with. I've maximized cooldown and mana regeneration with my utility masteries, and a very small AP boost in my Offensive masteries. I don't see too much to explain in them as they seem pretty simple to me, the little experience boost in utility is to help the shield level up mainly, to help early harassment, but throughout the rest of the game extra experience is never a bad thing.
The runes are simple, maximize Cooldown and Ability power. With the items and masteries you get a little bit more than your 40% Cooldown and a nice little boost on your Ability power. Mana regeneration is taken care of by clarity, and then archangels staff if the game lasts that long, aside from that I don't see too much more to say here aside from those are by far Karma's two most important stats.
Karma farms extremely well, and it's simple. You see a large group of minions you walk into the middle of them, mantra shield, and either bond one of them and take a stroll around them in a circle, or you make a well placed hit with heavenly wave and most, if not all of them will be dead. I'd say she has one of the best mid-late game farms of any character, the bigger problem is finding the time to do it with all the help your allies are going to be requesting once they realize how effective you are at keeping the whole team up.
Teamwork Is Essential
Okay, so lets give the spirit bond spamming Karmas some credit, they had the right concept at least. You NEED to focus on your allies as this character. You will likely be able to do a bit of work solo at some point through the match, but she is heavy on being a team supporter. You mantra shield your tank to deal damage to the enemies around him and give him some leverage on their damage, you mantra and Heavenly Wave when your team is together and they all need life, even call them out on it to get them together and help out more if you need to. Spirit bond the people who need to get away or around quickly and you can always use a normal shield to deny your enemy a kill and spirit bond them to let them quickly flee from the fight. If you aren't a team player, don't even touch this character.
Karma is extremely squishy, and considering most of her spells don't have that much range if you're not working with a good ally, she can be far harder to use than she should be. If your team forces you onto the middle lane, or you're paired with a jungler, you're going to have some hard time alone.
You have to completely change your style from team play to a borderline AP burst/tank. That title isn't even very accurate, it's hard to categorize what she becomes when she's alone. I took on an evelynn and a cho'gath alone on bottom lane recently, I was paired with a jungling WW. The main way to deal with it is to use your shield sparingly, and try to consistently hit both of them with your fan. If they have stuns it's next to impossible to lane alone. Same with an enemy armed with silences. If they don't have either of these you should be able to manage, if you get good enough with Karma you'll likely be able to score a kill or two. If they do have stuns or silences you have to find some method of switching lanes or getting someone with you. It is managable, but it's overly difficult and not at all fun.
In the end a good Karma is extremely helpful to a team, even if half the players don't realize that your shield just saved them or they stand there and die because they didn't expect to survive that Veigars nuke. If you get a team who will communicate and coordinate with you, you should have a very good game with her, if not, try to find a group, right now I'm a level 21 consistently playing with a level 30 as Karma, and he'll vouch for me saying Karma is one of the best supports in the game.
NOTE: Keep in mind this is the first build I've created, so I'm not entirely sure what to type up and all. If there's anything you'd like added, please send me a message or leave a comment saying what it is and I'll gladly oblige.
Thanks for Reading!