Build Guide by Monkys
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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.
1.1 Changed Rylai's Out for Will of the Ancients. Rylai's wasn't cost effective enough when also buying Rabadon's Deathcap. You can still sub in Rylai's for Deathcap, but I'd only do it when you're really farming well and getting Kills/Assists.
Karma's got to be my favorite support/utility in the game. This guide is just a basic intro for people trying to get a feel for her. I know how much everyone likes being an AP burst carry(including myself), so I wrote a guide that caters more towards being a carry with heavy support. Just something fun to play around with.
Marks - Marks with 99% of all casters are Magic Pen, so pretty easy to choose these.
Seals and Glyphs - I personally like Mana Regen. Even without cooldown reduction, Karma burns through mana pretty quickly, so stacking mana regen runes makes staying in lane as well as teamfights much easier.
Quints - I like a couple of options here. Both movement speed and AP quint work quite well. It's honestly up to you on what you use. I've used AP in this guide just as an example. Most of the time I usually stick with Movement Speed quints. This allows me to escape and chase without having to use Spirit Bond("W") and allows Karma to save some mana. AP quints work very well also. It gives you more damage early game and better heals to yourself as well as your laning partner. Either work.
I used a basic 9/0/21. It's a standard mastery set with a point in Blink of an Eye and 3 points in Meditation.
- Deals Magic damage in a cone.
- With Mantra - Heals herself as well as allies within the cone.
I love to Max this ability out first. It's good AoE damage early game and let's you heal yourself and your lane partner for a decent amount. This translates into more minion kills and being able to stay in your lane longer. Later Game, it's not that great for damage because the AP scaling on it is a lil low, but it's an incredibly effective AoE heal in team fights. What can I say, who doesn't want an ability that deals AoE damage is enemies and heals your team at the same time.
- Increases Movement Speed to Karma and Targeted ally.
- Slows targeted opponent and does damage to any enemy that walks through the beam.
- With Mantra - Doubles the effect of Spirit Bond.
I usually only take one point in this early game. It's a nice ability to have don't get me wrong, but because this guide is more focused on burst damage, this ability isn't as need. Max out Karma's Fan and shield first taking points in Spirit Bond as required.
- Creates a shield that absorbs a flat amount of damage.
- With Mantra - When Soul Shield is cast, the shield deals AoE damage to surrounding area.
I love this ability. After maxing out Heavenly Wave, this should be next. The shield is a great ability because hey.... it's a shield, but that's not why I love it so much. With mantra, you basically have Zilean's Timebomb except instant. I love it for when I lane with Melee champions as well. When they rush in, I wait for them to get close, and throw a Mantra'd Soul Shield on them. This deals damage and helps save your teammate.
Dorans Ring - Great starting item. Gives Karma some much need HP and Mana Regen. Also, the 15 AP is nice. This way Karma is less squishy, got a little more damage and heal, and good starting mana regen.
Boots of Lucidity - I love these boots for Karma. They're cheap only 900 all together plus 15% Cooldown Reduction. Boots are always situational, but these are my first choice. Regardless, Rush boots after a dorans ring.
Kage's Lucky Pick - This is kind of optional and can be skipped if you want to rush straight to a Deathcap. I buy it anyways because regardless you're going to pay for it eventually when you get Deathfire Grasp. For about 700g it's 25 AP and an addition 5g per 10 seconds. I figure if you're getting it anyways, might as well let it pay for itself.
Rabadon's Deathcap - This is such a good item. It's expensive, but the amount of AP received is worth it. Once Karma has this, her damage is great as well as her heal, and her shield can easily change team fights.
Deathfire's Grasp - Two things : First, it's good AP, and it's active makes Karma a much better AP Burst. Since Karma doesn't have a normal ult, this give another spell to be used for damage. Secondly with DFG, masteries, and boots, Karma now has 39% CD reduction. That's 19 second Mantras and 3.5 second Heavenly Waves. In teamfights, you can now heal your team as well as do good damage three to four times by the fight's end.
Will of the Ancients - 50 Ability Power and Unique Aura = Allies receive 30 AP and 20% Spell Vamp for 2100g. Great item for yourself and other casters. The spell vamp alone is worth it. Between the AoE from Heavenly Wave and the AoE from Soul Shield, Karma can heal for roughly a 1/4 of her life each cast. I put this in instead of Rylai's because it's just way more cost effective. 2100 vs 3200. Plus It's a bit more helpful for your team.
Abyssal Scepter - Good AP and Magic Resist. Helps negate some damage from other casters and lowers magic resistance of enemy champions.
Last Item - If the game's not over by now, item choice is up to you. I like to get a Banshee's Veil or Guardian Angel. It's completely at your discretion.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Up until this point, the advantage's gained from Karma's passive have outweighed the cons from low health. It's late game now, and everyone should be hitting like a Mack Truck. You need health. Plus the extra AP and slow make for better support. Rylai's is just a good all around item. Something else to consider: If you feel like Karma is too squishy for you Mid game, you can swap out Rabadon's Deathcap for Rylai's in the item sequence. I hit and run a lot, and Karma's Soul Shield and Spirit Bond are usually enough for me, but that's my playstyle. If you wanna be beefier, get this instead of Deathcap.
Play Style and Team Fights
This item build for Karma leaves her a little squishy. I purposely do this to take advantage of her Passive Ability.
Inner Flame - Karma gains increased Ability Power corresponding to her % of missing Health.
Karma is a great harassment character. Early game used her fan to farm and harass. Also use it to heal yourself and your lane partner as needed. When you can use a Mantra'd Soul Shield to also harass or burst damage when fighting. Keep in mind, Heavenly Wave used in conjunction with Mantra allows you to do damage and keep yourself and teammates in the fight. This is pretty much how I play Karma the whole game. Use heavenly wave to heal and damage groups of enemies, and soul shield to save teammates and be bursty.
Mid and Late Game are all about team fights. Karma does a lot of damage, but remember this is a team game. At the onset of a team fight, your job as Karma is to do damage as well as save teammates. It's a chore, but well timed Mantras can make it easy.
Usually a tank will initiate and try to push to the squishies. Karma's shield allows him to get in close with out taking substantial damage. It's also a great point to use Spirit Bond. This will speed up your tank and allow you to damage enemy champions in the process.
During the fight, cast Heaven Wave to do damage, use mantra in conjunction to keep your teammates alive. I can't tell you how many 2v3's I've won already because I kept my shield on the tanking champion and used Mantra+Heavenly Wave to heal my teammate and myself.
Now we can't win all team fights. That's just how it goes, but when retreating Karma's abilities make it much easier to get away. IF you're running from other champions, there are a few options.
First, Shield whoever is taking damage. It lengthens their life and might be just enough to help them get away. Secondly, use Mantra with Spirit bond. This is Huge! You can double the effect of the spirit bond allowing you and a teammate to run much faster or slowing an opponent enough that he can't continue chase.
Finally, Mantra with Heavenly Wave. Heal yourself and teammates. Everyone is running for their lives, but usually the chasing opponent is at lower amount of health as well. Healing yourself and a teammate can mean being able to stop and finish off the pursuer. Just remember, this is burst caster build. Karma hits hard, so it doesn't take much of an advantage for you to kill someone. It's the high amount of AP this build has that allows Karma to be burst damage and support.
Have fun. I love this character. She's a great all around caster. Please leave me any feedback, questions, or comments you might have. Good Luck out there.