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Karma Build Guide by Aeofhel

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Aeofhel

Karma: Top Lane (AP Offtank) PreSeason 6

Aeofhel Last updated on November 16, 2015
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Karma with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Riven Riven is kind of no big deal in this match up. Just poke her and keep out of range of her dash so she can't stun you or knock you up and you'll be A-okay.
Olaf Dodge his axes. They are slow and you are fast. Engage on him when you know his ultimate is down.
Wukong W him when he goes in on you or if he is likely to go invisible. W will give you vision of him. He has to AA to farm, punish that.
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Howdy friends, I'm Aeofhel and this here is my Karma Top Lane AP Offtank guide.
This is my first guide on Mobafire, so any build or guide advice is welcome and appreciated.

Karma is my main champion on The Rift. Karma's utility, ability to play in every lane, and playstyle appeal to me and I hope how I play Karma appeals to you.

Karma is a unique champion. In my opinion, she is an underrated champion too. This build looks to take advantage of her natural damage, while focusing on making her into the harass slinging, scrub kiting machine that her utility and complimentary items provide.
I will try to back up my reasoning to build Karma the way I do as succinctly as possible in this guide.
To be clear, this Karma build is not going to do a ton of damage compared to how some summoners build her for the middle lane, neither will you be immune to death.

As Karma doth wrote, "I have seen two paths, and made another between" so too shall we forge into the mist which is neither AP Carry nor Tank.
Won't you join me for the journey?

Let's GO!

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Pros / Cons


  • -Excellent survivability
  • -Excellent kite potential
  • -Excellent utility
  • -A lot of fun to play
  • -Annoying to play against
  • -You are relevant and a threat all game, especially early game


  • -Lacks damage
  • -Slow wave clear unless using Mantra
  • -Lots of criticism because its not support Karma
  • -Sometimes the enemy will have too much CC for you to kite
  • -No true ultimate/no real power spike

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Summoner Spells

Flash Pretty much a requirement these days, except on some occasions. This is not one of those occasions, so bring Flash.

Teleport An essential for top lane champions. Another excellent piece of utility to add to Karma's arsenal.

Ignite I hardly ever bring ignite. If I need extra kill pressure I might bring it, but Teleport will almost always be better.

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Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Reason to the Runes

Quint of Movement Speed x2

This Karma build relies largely on kiting in duels, and running down enemy squishies in teamfights. Increased movement speed enables that.

Quint of Ability Power x1

You may be an offtank, but Karma can really dish out damage early game. Extra Ability Power here is an effort to maximize her potential in this field.

Mark of Hybrid Penetration x9

" Karma deals in AP", you say, "why would she need armor hybrid penetration?" Good question. Gathering Fire lessens Mantra's cooldown with autoattacks. And if you want that off cooldown, which you should, you should throw out as many AA's as you can manage. The Marks of Hybrid Penetration just make sure you do a little more damage on you AA's along with your traditional Magic Penetration.

Seal of Armor x9

Karma lacks armor naturally. Even if you are facing an Ability Power caster in the top lane, I suggest taking armor in the event you're ganked, or are taking a lot of autoattack damage. Optionally, you can replace some of these seals, or all of them, with Seals of Scaling Health.

Glyph of Magic Resist x6

I'm of the mind that when it comes to runes I would rather be safe than sorry. Karma lacks much natural magic resist, as well. Making her more tanky seems like a no-brainer if we're building her as an offtank. Glyphs of Scaling Cooldown Reduction are a good substitute against a heavy attack damage team.

Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist x3

I just like having these to help scale into the mid game a little better. By level 6 they prove as much magic resist as three Glyphs of Magic Resist anyways. After that its just bonus.

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Skill Explanations

Gathering Fire Your Passive: Extremely important to utilize this for this build, and for Karma in general. Gathering Fire is used to its fullest potential by poking with AA's and hitting multiple foes with Inner Flame.

Inner Flame Max this first. This is your main source of damage, poke, wave clear, and when combined with Mantra to create Soulflare, your bomb.

Focused Resolve Ah, Karma's W. What powers you hold. Use this to help harass in lane, provide your jungler with some solid crowd control during ganks, and set yourself up for a Soulflare they can't walk out of. Combined with Mantra, Focused Resolve creates Renewal and provides you with a massive heal. Casting Renewal is extremely effective if you are being dove at under your turret by an enemy champion or any time a threatening gap closer is used on you.

Inspire Provides you with a hearty, but short, speed boost and a shield. Effective for kiting, activating your Sheen, or blocking some enemy poke. When combined with Mantra to create Defiance, it is a teamfight engage or disengage with its movement speed increase and stronger shield. This is a life saver.

Mantra Your ultimate. Your bread and butter. Your end-all and be-all. This bad boy, when cast before your other skills, takes a mediocre spell and puts it on steroids. My favourite ultimate in the game.

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Offensive Masteries

Sorcery Karma needs the ability power from Sorcery more than the attack speed from Fury .
Double Edged Sword You're Karma, one of the greatest lane bullies in the game. This helps you bully harder.
Natural Talent More bullying power, although taking Vampirism is viable.
Oppressor With all the slowing and rooting you'll be doing, this is a welcome addition to your damage pool.

Defensive Masteries

Wanderer You'll be doing a fair bit of roaming. Seems logical.
Secret Stash Helps with in-lane health and mana sustain. Especially since mana potions are gone now.
Meditation Speaking of in-lane mana sustain. Super useful.
Dangerous Game As Karma you will get a lot of assist. Getting the health and mana back off all of them will be HUGE.
Intelligence I would take this mastery even if it only gave me 5% CDR, but then it increases my CDR cap by 5%! Karma has a very close relationship with how frequently she can cast spells, so pumping out spells that much quicker is SUPER strong on her.
Thunderlord's Decree Just a little bit extra burst. If I'm being honest, I'm not really sure I like any one of the final masteries in the defense tree. I'll have to do more testing and update this.

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Items Explanations

I like to start with Sapphire Crystal for a couple reasons. Mostly, I like having a larger mana pool early on. Karma does a lot of skill based harass in-lane. More mana means more harass. The extra 250 mana means 4 or 5 more Inner Flames before you're out of mana. It also builds into Sheen, which is an excellent item on Karma and especially for this build. It can also build into Glacial Shroud if you're taking a lot of physical abuse and still stays on the build path to Iceborn Gauntlet.

Sheen is a must have for any Karma build. Her passive Gathering Fire works very well with it, and Karma's hunger for low CDR pairs well with with it. The extra mana is a plus too.

Boots of Speed are nice for dodging any pesky pokes in-lane, roaming, escaping, and kiting, of course. They are a nice item to get early with how relatively slow enemy champions will be still. They build into Boots of Swiftness, as well.

Vision Ward is a nice thing to have. Place in a bush near the river to spot enemies and their wards. Karma has good escape, but knowing when you need to escape earlier is nice.

Iceborn Gauntlet is my favourite item for Karma. As one of her first item t gives her early game mana, CDR, damage, and kite capabilities. Really just an awesome item.

Banner of Command is usually built after Iceborn Gauntlet, even against AP champions. Banner of Command offers Karma some much needed stats. The active is nice for pushing out lanes, but I mostly like this item for the ability power, health, CDR, and magic resist. Also, when you get Banner of Command usually aligns with when you'll see increased skirmishes and teamfights, so the UNIQUE Aura: Legion from Banner of Command helps your allies be a little harder to kill.

Luden's Echo is a super fun item on Karma. The flat ability power it offers is great because it improves your damage output, but your Focused Resolve / Renewal scale off of AP, meaning you'll get a better heal and more damage. Speaking of damage, Luden's Echo provides you with an area of effect UNIQUE Passive that deals 100(+10% ability power) damage to four nearby units. This extra burst makes your Inner Flame / Soulflare extra potent. Furthermore, the additional movement speed is great for all of Karma's many movement speed related needs (ie. kiting, escaping, skill dodging etc.).

Zhonya's Hourglass is a great item when facing an AD heavy team. The AP really buff's you up and the armor is nothing to ignore. The true beauty to Zhonya's Hourglass lies in her active ability. Besides the regular ways to use this item, one can cast Renewal and then activate Zhonya's Hourglass. This will result in your gaining health, doing damage, laying out some hard CC, and you've been invulnerable the last 2 seconds. A total bomb wombo combo if you're being dove under turret or just getting wasted by an enemy assassin.

Spirit Visage is an excellent item for our Karma offtank build as well. Providing Karma with additional CDR and magic resist is great if that's the market you're in, but it also works really well with Renewal. The UNIQUE Passive from Spirit Visage makes Renewal's heal 20% more effective. Also, the bonus health is always a good thing on Karma since she is an offtank and Renewal will restore more health if her max health is higher. Lots of value here.

Boots of Swiftness are a great pick on Karma. They have the highest base stats for speed and, given that you're trying to be hard to kill, mitigating the length of slows on you is useful. If you're getting hit by a lot of hard crowd control, you can pick up Mercury's Treads at a loss of movement speed compared to Boots of Swiftness. But you're pretty fast even without them. Both Boots of Swiftness - Alacrity and Boots of Swiftness - Furor are viable upgrades for these boots.

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How to Play Karma Top AP Offtank

Early Game:

Try to poke as often as possible while not running low on mana. Your Q does AOE damage when it hits a target, use this if your opponent is last hitting behind their own minions and try to deny them farm.
All-in your lane opponent if you catch them out of position, but this will rarely get you kills. Most of your kills will stem from ganks and turning your enemy's all-ins against them.
You dominate the early game. Show them who's boss.
Work really hard to get a decent creep score before your first back. You will almost always have a below average creep score, but your kill participation should make up for this in the late game.
You will likely need help to get their tier 1 tower, but it will also be really hard for your opponent to get your tier 1 tower.
Don't be afraid to roam to mid lane to gank if you have Teleport up because your gank success rate is pretty high.

Mid Game:

Get their tier 1 turret down, push the lane out, and start roaming.
Keep an eye out for split pushers in the top lane whilst roaming.
At this stage of the game there will likely be a few champions 'dancing' in the middle lane exchanging pokes here and there, trying to push to a tower. Look for enemies that over extend or are out of position and chase them down. Being an engage with Inner Flame, follow up with Focused Resolve and use Inspire if you need to stay close enough for focused reslove's snare to go off. Weave autoattacks into the combo to take full advantage of your passive Gathering Fire and the passive from Iceborn Gauntlet. Unless I really need to bust those skills out, I will usually weave one autoattack in for every time I use a skill (besides Mantra).
Remember that your abilities can get allied champions in and out of fights with relative easy, so don't feel like you always have to engage if you have good communication because Karma doesn't have the BEST engage. Landing your engage combo on a stunned enemy is super nice. If you have to throw an Inspire onto an allie (or your whole team]], it will be worth it.

Late Game:

A pretty fun stage of the game for Karma. She hasn't lessened in ability in terms of her utility, but depending on the enemy team's composition she may be doing less damage than you would like. Enemy tanks will be too difficult to kill, enemy AP carries, if they are fed, will gobble you up, so your job in this stage of the game is to try to get at their ADC and either: Kill them, or enable your team to kill them. Late game Karma is forced to start acting more like her traditional support role in this way. Except instead of having to worry about pealing for your ADC, you can focus on making their ADC want to delete their gameclient.

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Karma Top AP Offtank is a unique approach to a champion build which utilizes her natural damage, tank enabling abilities, and teamfight utility. Her early game potency, relevance throughout the many stages of the game, and style of gameplay make her one of my favourite champions on The Rift.
If you have any suggestions, requests, or questions feel free to message me in-game or take to the comments section.
If you found my guide useful please do me the service of giving it an 'Up Vote'!
Thanks for making it all the way to the conclusion and Don't Forget to Be Awesome!

Peace, Love, Unity, High five.