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Karma Build Guide by ColdStuff

Middle [Season 13] Masala Chai's In-Depth Guide to Karma

Middle [Season 13] Masala Chai's In-Depth Guide to Karma

Updated on January 11, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author ColdStuff Build Guide By ColdStuff 33 2 104,008 Views 2 Comments
33 2 104,008 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author ColdStuff Karma Build Guide By ColdStuff Updated on January 11, 2023
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Karma
    Solo Lane Karma
  • LoL Champion: Karma
    Support Karma

Runes: Supportive Utility

1 2
Summon Aery
Manaflow Band
Gathering Storm

Font of Life

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


1 2 3
For Kill Pressure
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

[Season 13] Masala Chai's In-Depth Guide to Karma

By ColdStuff

No mortal exemplifies the spiritual traditions of Ionia more than Karma. She is the living embodiment of an ancient soul reincarnated countless times, carrying all her accumulated memories into each new life, and blessed with power that few can comprehend. She has done her best to guide her people in recent times of crisis, though she knows that peace and harmony may come only at a considerable cost—both to her, and to the land she holds most dear.

Hello, my name is Masala Chai, I'm a Karma OTP in Diamond (all-time peak, D1 100 LP, April 2022). I've played her for over 6 years and have nearly 1.5 million points on her. I play her in every single role (bar jungle) and love the utility that she brings to the table wherever she goes.

In this guide, you'll learn the fundamental skills of Karma and teamwork within League of Legends, the dynamics of her abilities, and how best to support your team to enable and empower them through shields

"I have seen two paths, and made another between."

Neither as focused on damage as Brand, nor as focused on peeling like Janna, Karma occupies the space between fierce battle mage and enlightened enchantress.

Karma excels in heavy bruisery fights where she can dish out damage, shield her teammates and empower them to tip the scales in your team's favour. With her low cooldowns come mid-game, she can masterfully punish her enemies and protect her allies.

A well-piloted Karma will be able to cruise through the early game and set-up her team for success with her incredible utility. A poorly played Karma will miss out on the duality aspect of her kit.

Karma's Strengths

Strong early game damage
Fantastic AoE Utility
Can push waves easily and quickly
Great poke
Decent roaming potential
Jack of all trades
Karma has a great number of strengths in the early game with her ability to establish lane dominance or "priority" and her good duelling prowess. Her late game utility generates a lot of "time", something that is very valuable in higher brackets of play, especially pro. She excels at doing a lot of things, and her kit is highly versatile.
Unfortuantely, Karma suffers from being weaker at protecting her carries compared to Lulu, Janna, and Sona, and having lower damage output compared to Seraphine, Brand, and Zyra. She has many of the classic weakness and strength profiles of many other enchanters in League.

Karma's Weaknesses

Mid AP ratios on Inner Flame
Burst stopped by frontline
No instant hard CC
Master of none

FLASH: Flash is nearly mandatory on all champions.
IGNITE:Ignite greatly enhances your ability to generate kill pressure in both a duo and solo lane. Karma doesn't have a lot of kill pressure to begin with, so this is a pretty nice summoner spell in lower elo MMR bloodbaths.
TELEPORT: Teleport is such a great summoner as it allows you to not lose out too much if you die in lane, AND gives you global map pressure if you have a turret and/or ward or minion (post 14 minutes) nearby to teleport to. I don't recommend this for most brackets lower than high Platinum, unless you are taking her top.
EXHAUST: Exhaust is excellent vs assassin and divery champs like Zed, Talon, Irelia, and Samira. If your ADC elects to take Exhaust, run Heal.
Gathering Fire
Karma reduces Mantra's current cooldown by 5 seconds for every enemy champion she damages with an ability.

Karma excels at harassing lane opponents, and her passive makes her quite potent with a bit of Ability Haste. With more Ability Haste, your abilities are up faster which allows you to refresh Mantra more often, which also has a lower cooldown because of Ability Haste. It is for this reason that Hextech Dragon is quite powerful with Karma.
Inner Flame
Karma fires a blast of energy that explodes on enemy contact, dealing 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+40% of ability power) magic damage to enemies in the area and slowing them by 35% for 1.25 seconds.

Mantra Bonus - Soulflare: Inner Flame deals 40 / 100 / 160 / 220 (+30% of ability power) extra magic damage and leaves a circle of flame at the impact area or upon reaching maximum range, slowing enemies for 50%. After 1.5 seconds, the circle erupts, dealing 50 / 150 / 250 / 350 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to enemies in the area.

This is Karma's bread and butter damage ability. It provides wave clear, poke, pressure and is likely going to the Mantra that you select in early landing phase before your shield scales up. This is also your highest potential way to refresh your Mantra via Inner Flame as it triggers on each champion hit. For example, if you hit 2 people with both hits of Soulflare, you will have reduced your ultimate's cooldown by 20 seconds.

Focused Resolve
Karma forms a tether to target enemy champion, revealing and damaging the target for 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 (+45% of ability power) magic damage over 2 seconds which goes up to a total of 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+90% of ability power) magic damage in total (one tick at the start of the cast and one at the end). Gathering Fire is applied every time this ability damages. If the tether is not broken after the 2 seconds, the target is revealed and rooted for 1.4 / 1.55 / 1.7 / 1.85 / 2 seconds.

Mantra Bonus - Renewal: Focused Resolve increases the duration of the reveal and root by 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 seconds and heals Karma for 20% (+1% per 100 ability power) of her missing health immediately plus another 20% (+1% per 100 ability power) of her missing health if the tether remains unbroken.

Her primary CC ability is maxed last in favour of Inspire and Inner Flame, but Focused Resolve is great for setting up ganks when your jungler comes, revealing champions that have in-combat stealth such as Kha'Zix and Akali, and getting guaranteed refreshes by triggering Gathering Fire. Her empowered W, Renewal, greatly enhances her duelling potential and can be used to bait enemies in a dive, get some sustain when you are low, and become deceptively tanky.

Karma shields target ally, which absorbs 90 / 135 / 180 / 225 / 270 (+50% of ability power) damage for 2.5 seconds and grants the target 40% bonus movement speed for 1.5 seconds.

Mantra Bonus - Defiance: Inspire's shield overflows with energy, increasing the target's shield amount by 25 / 80 / 135 / 190 (+50% of ability power). Allied champions gain 30% of that amount as a shield, and are also hasted by 12%.

In most games, max her shield second. It enables you to absorb poke from enemy laners, disengage and engage, and trade effectively. Early game, this shield makes it difficult to duel Karma in solo lanes (especially when you consider it in conjunction with the other tools she has for duelling, especially Renewal. In the later stages of the game, this ability is key for protecting her carries.

Karma empowers her next ability cast within the next 8 seconds, adding an additional effect. Empowered abilities share the same cooldown as their basic form.

Karma begins with one rank in Mantra and can increase it at levels 6, 11, and 16. Ranks in Mantra improve the additional effects of empowered abilities.

Karma's most iconic ability. Use Mantra in key moments to greatly enhance your utility, damage, and duelling.

The General Philosophy of Items

Early priority of ability haste
Karma scales incredibly hard with ability haste, and typically in older iterations of Karma you usually attempted to cap your CDR as soon as possible. With the item shake-up in Season 11, you want to either get a Lost Chapter ASAP if you intend on going Sorcerer's Shoes, or rushing Ionian Boots of Lucidity. If you're worried about the lack of Faerie Charms on the first back. Karma doesn't tend to have early game mana problems (unless you're really spamming Inspire off cool-down).
Building Items for Win Conditions
Assuming absolute item balance, the majority of your item purchases should be focused around giving your team the best champ to accomplish its win condition. Staff of Flowing Water might synergize well with Karma's kit, but Ardent Censer might be a more prudent third item as it enhances Kog'Maw's fast attacks by allowing him to get even greater use out of Bio-Arcane Barrage. However, if your Hecarim is the one who is 1v9ing perhaps the ability haste from Staff of Flowing Water is more appreciated.
Ability Power vs Shield/Heal Power
If you intend on pursuing a mage build and thus using Mantra to empower Inner Flame for the most part, ability power will be your best scaling stat. Conversely, if you intend on playing a more supportive build, Shield/Heal Power will give your team incredible survivability.



Bandleglass Mirror mythics are your bread and butter items when you're playing Karma in a supportive context. While each of them has their own unique utility that they bring to the table, each of them are better suited for one game to the next (assuming absolute balance)
Moonstone Renewer is great for Karma since it enhances her supportive capabilities and her duelling prowess by giving her stronger Inspire and self-healing from her empowered W, Renewal. While you make concessions in damage potential, Karma's damage output is fairly inconsistent to begin with. [/b]
Shurelya's Battlesong empowers your team with a speed boost effect and is quite potent with Ingenious Hunter. The Mythic passive of 5 AH per completed item makes this item very good for Karmas wishing to spam their ultimate, particularly for Defiance. However, this comes at the cost of on-demand protective power when compared to Radiant Virtue and Locket of the Iron Solari, and sustain when compared to Moonstone Renewer. AS OF PATCH 13.1, THIS IS KARMA SUPPORT'S BEST MYTHIC
The premier damage mythic, and on paper a solid midgame option. This gives your Q Inner Flame and W Focused Resolve, the ability to apply a mark that detonates when a champion procs it. IMO however, Imperial Mandate is a trap. Your ranges are too short to justify exposing yourself to use it effectively in the late game, and you can't transfer a buff that applies it for you on behalf of a mage or ADC like Nami's Tidecaller's Blessing. It's good on Nami and perhaps Maokai, but not many other champions.

Lost Chapter Mythics greatly enhance your offensive capabilities and have unique niches when playing Karma as a more battle mage intensive character.
The premier burst pick. The item gives a lot of flat pen that allows you to burst squishier compositions that haven't picked up a lot of MR. You will need to supplement with a bit of ability haste, so items like Cosmic Drive and Horizon Focus will help you with your Soulflare uptime
Excelling into tankier compositions, Liandry's Anguish gives a very nice AH passive, a solid DoT that helps a lot with waveclear and high HP targets, and. I would suggest building Void Staff, particularly if the enemy team starts itemizing a lot of Magic Resist.
Everfrost enables you to lock down targets, thus ensuring that both hits of your RQ can hit, thereby ensuring another RQ out the window. However, the active requires you to be in a somewhat closer range, and the jury is still out on the mythic passive. Solid item, just not as good as the other two described

Due to Karma's versatility, these mythics are fine options on a game to game basis.
An interesting choice that synergizes well with shield and heal effect items like Staff of Flowing Water and Chemtech Putrifier. The items' ultimate passive is incredible for teamfighting, HOWEVER, it largely disencentives Karma's ability to poke out enemy teams with Soulflare. AS SAD AS IT IS, AS OF PATCH 13.1, THIS IS SOLO LANE KARMA'S BEST MYTHIC
Very similar to Radiant Virtue, cheaper, and an on-demand Defiance, albeit without the movement speed. However, Radiant Virtues' passive is significantly stronger due to how empowering that effect is.
Night Harvester is cracked, especially with a rune page that utilizes First Strike. Because of Karma's low mana costs, and her scaling with CDR, this is legitimately not a bad item. This item gives the highest amount of burst from full against any target.
A worthy consideration, especially on Grasp of the Undying "Tank Karma". If you take this, you are a terrible person.


Moonstone Renewer

Chemtech Putrifier

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
In support-oriented games, this will likely be a very good item set-up. Moonstone Renewer can be replaced by any other enchanter mythic such as Shurelya's Battlesong or Imperial Mandate, or one of the more support oriented "Other Mythics", such as Radiant Virtue or Locket of the Iron Solari, depending on how you wish to enhance your team. Chemtech Putrifier gives one of the strongest healing reduction effects in League of Legends and gives nice stats such as a good chunk of ability haste, mana regen and ability power and Ionian Boots of Lucidity increases your uptime by a lot. Supplement this build with supportive sets and you'll be set to go.

Luden's Tempest

Cosmic Drive

Sorceror's Shoes
A damage-oriented Karma build. Luden's Tempest and Sorcerer's Shoes give a lot of flat magic pen to burst down backlines, while Cosmic Drive helps make up for the relative lack of ability haste in this build. Supplement this build with AP legendary items that offer a bit of ability haste, such as Horizon Focus or Zhonya's Hourglass or greatly enhance your offensive power such as Rabadon's Deathcap or Void Staff.
This is pretty much regurgitating what most guides on YouTube will cover in terms of how to play the early, mid, and late game as a support or mage. I highly recommend Phroxzon's YouTube series on League fundamentals.



Karma for the most part as a mage like Zyra or Brand in the early game. You can cheese the enemy lane level 1 by firing RQ Soulflare at them as they enter lane from leashing.

When paired with a poker like Caitlyn or Ashe, Karma becomes especially potent. You want to ideally push the lane quickly so that you can get level 2 spike and harass them off wave. Ideally, you want to position yourself so that you can hit both your lane opponent and the wave with your Qs. By pushing the wave early, you can generate leads that favour you during trades. Look for opportunities to punish with your empowered Q Soulflare when they root themselves for a bit to last hit. Ideally, at least 90% of your Mantras in lane should be empowering Inner Flame.

Try to stay relatively parallel with your lane partner, as if one of you is further up than the other, it becomes harder for the other to follow up in trades.

Solo Lane

The rules of gameplay are fairly standard for most control mages, and Karma falls under this category. There are a bunch of guides on how to conduct wave management on YouTube.

In most lanes, you want to push the wave early with your auto attacks and Inner Flame. Ideally, you want to position yourself so that you can hit both your lane opponent and the wave with your Qs. By pushing the wave early, you can generate leads that favour you during trades. Look for opportunities to punish with your empowered Q Soulflare when they root themselves for a bit to last hit.

You can actually roam quite early, provided that you aren't giving up a lot of EXP or resources to do so. If you keep your lane opponent shoved in, you will have the priority to be able to help your jungler at river fights to secure Scuttles or assist during invades.



As you transition to a more of a supportive role, the name of the game is vision control. Focus on protecting your ADC in fights and from picks, and look for deep vision within their jungle and around objectives to help your own team generate picks and favourable fights.

Solo Lane

In most games, you'll likely be relegated to a side lane to farm after your ADC comes to siege mid turret after either they or the enemy botlane collects first turret. From here, prep for fights at Dragon or Rift Herald , and continue helping your team within skirmishes that may break out.



You have the most important job in the game at this point. You need to establish vision control around high priority objects such as Baron Nashor 's pit, and prepare for Elder Dragon fights. Don't get picked, focus on protecting your carries in fights, and if all goes well, you should have priority over an objective when fights break out.

Solo Lane

If you built Karma as a mage, you have two options:
1. Poke out the enemy team from objectives with Inner Flame and Soulflare.
2. Attempt to deal as much damage as possible in a concentrated team fight using all of your abilities.
3. Transition to a playstyle akin to support Karma.

The second one is more realistic than the first, as the first will expose you to all-ins. I wouldn't recommend it if the enemy team has a lot of engage courtesy of something like a Jarvan IV or a Blitzcrank.

The third option, is generally better if your toplaner, jungler, or ADC is POPPING. But you spent all this gold for damage right?

If you built Karma with supportive items, your job is much more straightforward. You need to protect your stupid ADC, jungler, or toplaner from their own stupidity. Use Defiance in fights to enhance their combat capabilities, while refreshing Mantra with Inner Flame and Focused Resolve.
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ColdStuff Karma Guide
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[Season 13] Masala Chai's In-Depth Guide to Karma

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