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Karma Build Guide by IAmMakattack

Middle platinum

IAmMakattack's Season 9 Karma Mid Guide

By IAmMakattack | Updated on July 29, 2019
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Runes: Standard Runes

1 2 3
Sorcery
Summon Aery
Manaflow Band
Transcendence
Scorch

Inspiration
Magical Footwear
Cosmic Insight
Bonus:

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist

Spells:

1 2 3
Kill Pressure
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LeagueSpy Logo
Support Role
Ranked #24 in
Support Role
Win 51%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

IAmMakattack's Season 9 Karma Mid Guide

By IAmMakattack
Introduction

Who am I?

Welcome to my Season 9 Karma Mid Guide! I am Makattack, and I play on the NA league servers. Karma is my favorite champion, and I have been playing her for over five years.I have nearly 2 million mastery points on Karma accumulated two accounts. My then-main account TNHA Baritone got perma-banned, and since then I've taken time to stabilize my mental fortitude and increase my game-knowledge. Remember, always mute toxic players.



and


Isn't Karma a Support?

To the average LoL player, Karma would appear to be an enchanter. Although enchanters' primary focus is on protecting and amplifying their allies, Karma also has traits that would make her a burst mage. This is why I play her in the mid lane.

Why even play Karma at all?

With her area-of-effect shields and mid to long-ranged poke, Karma is an incredibly resourceful teammate. Instead of solo carrying, Karma rallies her allies by supplementing the team's damage output with her poke and protecting them with her shields. Unfortunately, this strength has an underlying weakness. Karma is often unable to carry games by herself. It's important to understand Karma's strengths, weaknesses, and limits before playing her.


This guide is not for players that are new to League of Legends. If you're knew to Karma, I suggest you acquaint yourself with Karma's abilities here. This guide does not cover them as they are quite basic and easy to understand.
Pros and Cons Back to Top
PROS


Strong early

Generalized kit

AoE shields

Good burst

Hard to Kill
CONS


Scales poorly

Mediocre wave-clear

Little Crowd-control

Countered by Mobility

Hard to solo carry with
Runes Back to Top

Runes

Sorcery
Summon Aery
Manaflow Band
Transcendence
Scorch
Inspiration
Biscuit Delivery
Cosmic Insight
9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
8 Magic Resist

Keystone Options:

OR

These two are the only acceptable Keystones for Karma mid. Most prefer Summon Aery because it can't miss, and it also works on Inspire. However, Arcane Comet out-damages it.


Primary Tree:

OR AND AND OR


Take Nullifying Orb into magic damage assassins. Why? The extra mana from Manaflow Band won't mean anything if you die because you didn't have the shield. In any other situation, take Manaflow Band for more mana. Transcendence is the only good second-row option for Karma because it gives cooldown-reduction. Scorch and Gathering Storm are both viable third-row options. If you think the game will go on late, Gathering Storm is better.

Secondary Tree:

OR OR AND


For the secondary tree, Inspiration is the best option for Karma, and Cosmic Insight is an absolute must. Other good choices are Minion Dematerializer, Biscuit Delivery (a powerful option in combination with Corrupting Potion), and Perfect Timing. I prefer Perfect Timing into assassins and Minion Dematerializer into regular match-ups. The stat options don't have any hard requirements. The defensive stat option should be based on the damage type of your enemy.

Shards:

OR AND AND OR


For the secondary tree, Inspiration is the best option for Karma, and Cosmic Insight is an absolute must. Other good choices are Minion Dematerializer, Biscuit Delivery (a powerful option in combination with Corrupting Potion), and Perfect Timing. I prefer Perfect Timing into assassins and Minion Dematerializer into regular match-ups. The stat options don't have any hard requirements. The defensive stat option should be based on the damage type of your enemy.
Combos Back to Top
Combo #1: Safe Poke Combo

Inner Flame ⇒ AA ⇒ AA ⇒ Renewal / Defiance (if they retaliate)

If the enemy retaliates, you have three options: dodge their attack, use Defiance if it's burst, or use Renewal if they're going to full-on commit. This combo does not do as much damage as if you were using Soulflare, but it does give you safety.

Combo #2: Aggressive Poke Combo

Soulflare Focused Resolve ⇒ AA ⇒ AA ⇒ Inspire (to disengage)

Ideally, you want to rely on the slow from Soulflare to ensure that Focused Resolve roots the enemy. Because you don't use Inspire for the haste, you can save it for if when they retaliate or for disengaging. This combo is a bit riskier, and I wouldn't do it unless the enemy has an important spell on cooldown.


Combo #3: Input Buffer Snipe

Inspire Inner Flame / Soulflare Flash


This combo is a trick used to snipe targets that are out of your Inner Flame / Soulflare range. This is perfect for sniping low health priority targets; because it requires flash, you should only use it when certain that it will kill the enemy.


Combo #4: The All In

Inner Flame Focused Resolve Inspire ⇒ AA ⇒ AA ⇒ Soulflare ⇒ AA ⇒ Ignite


If the enemy flashes, you don't have to flash after them. Having Flash up is a large advantage. However, if the enemy is dead, your team could use the numbers advantage to secure an objective. Knowing this, only flash after a kill when you are absolutely certain that you can secure it.


Karma's kit is more poke-oriented as opposed to engaging, so she does not have definite combos. Still, I felt like these were some noteworthy starter combos to point players in the right direction. These are just suggestions; feel free to experiment.
Lane Phase Back to Top
Laning:

In the laning phase, Karma wants to farm up as much as she can while poking at the enemy laner with Inner Flame and Soulflare when possible. Throwing at Inner Flame at minions that are near the enemy laner will damage them if they're in the impact radius. In addition to poking, Karma players should look to take short trades when the enemy's spells are on cooldown and when they attempt to kill minions. Remember to use Warding Totem to protect yourself from ganks.


Wave Management:

There are three kinds of tactics that one can use to manipulate the wave. Identifying and understanding how to use these tactics alone can win your lane. Below is the YouTube video that I used to learn how to control waves. I highly recommend you watch it, even if you think you have a good idea of how to control your waves.



Warding:

Karma isn't as mobile as Fizz, but she also isn't as immobile as Lux. She's moderately difficult to gank, and a good player will make it near-impossible for a jungler to gank Karma. Warding is among the top three most important things to know about laning, if you're not warding properly, you're going to fall for ganks. Here is an incredibly detailed guide to warding in ALL roles by Mobalytics.


General Guidelines for After Lane Phase

Towards the end of lane phase, grouping and rotations become common. Roaming to other lanes is an option. Karma's a better champion when there are more teammates near her. She thrives in this part of the game. Remember, while Soulflare might seem like the most attractive choice in a skirmish, Defiance might be the best use of Mantra to ensure that your allies live. It's better to prevent an ally death, and maybe get a kill than trade a kill for a kill.


As a team, you should focus on objectives instead of kills! Objectives win games.
Items Back to Top
Starting Items:


This is the standard early item purchases for mages. It gives ability power, health, mana sustain, and health sustain. The only alternative would be Corrupting Potion.
Basic Items Options:


Whether it's a skirmish at scuttle or first blood, most games will force you to back early. Pick up some of these items to give you more ability power and sustain when you return to lane. Before going back to base, make sure you have 75 spare gold to pick up a Control Ward. In most cases early, it's worth more than having another item.

Intermediate Item Options:


The first intermediate option that you want to purchase is Lost Chapter. It gives mana, ability power, and cdr; these are stats that Karma wants. If you're scared and versus a physical damage threat, pick up a Seeker's Armguard.

Boot Options:


Next, you want to upgrade your boots. Purchase Mercury's Treads if the enemy has hard CC or high magic damage. Purchase Ninja Tabi if the enemy has auto-attack based champions or high physical damage. If you are ahead or neither of the above situations applies, purchase Sorcerer's Shoes.

Core Items:


You should make this purchase every game on Karma mid. This is where you'll start to approach 45% CDR. Luden's Echo brings a big power-spike for most mages, and Karma is no different. Make sure to pick Farsight Alteration and use it to prevent face-checking and provide vision on objectives.

After Core Options:


At this point, you want to look at the enemy team as well as your own team. Usually you'll want to upgrade to Morellonomicon if the enemy team has a lot of sustain. If they don't, purchase Ardent Censer (or Athene's Unholy Grail want a bit more MR and sustain for your team). It's usually a good time to pick up Rabadon's Deathcap as your 4th or 5th item.

Situational Items: If versus multiple health-stackers, build Liandry's Torment; if these tanks build MR, pick up a Void Staff. Zhonya's Hourglass is a great defensive item choice to complete your build, but can also be bought early if a physical damage enemy is fed.
Match-ups Back to Top

Extreme

ZED


Extreme

YASUO


Extreme

IRELIA


Major

AHRI


Major

AKALI


Major

MALZAHAR

Artillery Mages

These champions out-range and out-push Karma. These champions have a peel spell that prevents you from initiating on them. Watch out for Light Binding, Sleepy Trouble Bubble, Satchel Charge, or Shocking Orb. Try to trade when those abilities are on cooldown. Focus on dodging their poke while properly managing the wave. Due to their immobile nature, freezing early can make for easy ganks.


Magic Damage Assassins

Karma struggles versus mobile champions, but can still out-trade all of these champions in the first three levels. From levels 4-6, these champions become dangerous. It's best to freeze the wave at your turret for safety. Keep the cooldowns of their mobility spells in mind, and time your poke and trades with respect to those cooldowns. If you're playing correctly, these champions will look to roam after level six because they simply cannot 1v1 you. Make sure to ward, hard push the wave, and ping MIAs. Take Nullifying Orb into these match-ups.


Mid-Range Mages

These champions can match Karma's early damage; they also have high cc, burst, or survivability. Dodging (or shielding) these champions' main damage source is very important to winning the trade. Avoid extended trades. While you can bully them, these champions' true potential is seen in team-fights. Taliyah and Twisted Fate have high roaming power to make up for their low kill pressure in lane. With the exception of Vladimir, these champions have potent CC abilities, which make it very easy for them to coordinate ganks. Building Mercury's Treads would be optimal into most of these matchups. While being a bit more niche, Cleanse can get you out of a lot of sticky situations when versus these mages. Be sure to keep track of their ult cooldowns, and coordinate with your team to prevent these champions from dominating in team-fights.
Conclusion Back to Top
Thank You!

If you've come this far, that means that you've read through the entire guide. It was fun and enlightening to make. I want to thank the following outstanding summoners for aiding me in the completion of this guide.

  • K3V BOSS (NA) for trying (but failing) to convince that Zed isn't broken

  • Reia (NA) for being my test dummy in the combo videos

  • Rampagè (watch his stream) (NA) and WL Deelun (watch his stream) (NA) for advising me on several difficult matchups

  • Mom Gay (NA) for helping with revisions

  • Hoodstomp for the brilliant match-up coding template

  • r/Karmamains subreddit, which I humbly moderate with help from Levıathan (NA)

  • SilentSlayer (NA), Suddy (watch his stream) (NA), Golkuris (watch his stream) (NA), Kim Sang Hoon (KR), and never left me (BR) for showing me that Karma is viable even in high elo!

  • JhoiJhoi for their brilliant guide and the champion match-up template


Lastly, I wanted to thank the reader (yup, I'm talking to you) for viewing this guide, and I humbly ask that you provide any noteworthy feedback. All of the information here came from my experiences playing Karma, and I understand that they might be different than yours. I hope that you take the knowledge given to you in this guide and climb the ranks of LoL. Stay safe!
League of Legends Build Guide Author IAmMakattack
IAmMakattack Karma Guide
IAmMakattack's Season 9 Karma Mid Guide