Karma Build Guide

The Sivir-less Sivir Composition! (In-depth) (WIP) (5.18)

Updated 1 year ago
Skill Order
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Karma is a fairly high-damage mage with moderate crowd control and offers some fairly unique and powerful utility that other mages cannot offer. Functionally Karma plays a similar role to characters such as Lulu and Lux, having a decent amount of damage output that begins to fall off, but makes up for it by having defensive utility to keep the teams other damage threats alive. Karma doesn't quite have the utility of a Lulu, or the damage of a dedicated mage, but instead has a compromise of both, which has it's own pros and cons, which I'll go into more detail on in the guide itself. As a quick disclaimer, I'd like to say that not everything in this guide is set in stone. If I recommend Athene's against Diana as a mid lane matchup, but you see the enemy team has something like Vlad top, Vayne ADC and Soraka support then go for a Morello instead to counter the large amounts of health regen that team gets. Adapt to your matchups and never go 100% the same build every game unless you somehow end up against the exact same champion lineup WITH the exact same champion lineup. And now, onto the guide! [i]CHANGELIST: 27/09/2015: Added Leblanc, partially added Viktor 23/09/2015: Added Morgana to the matchup, cleaned up some of the mastery details, and added to the \"items not to build\" list 22/09/2015: Added ability orders to individual matchups. 21/09/2015: Added Diana to the matchups, fixed the guide that I accidentally deleted. Whoops! *) Added more item information. 15/09/2015: Added Irelia, Lulu, Nasus, and Orianna to the matchups, added late game, added summoner spell details beyond ignite V1: Added Runes, Masteries, Items, Early Game, Ability Details, Pros and Cons *) Matchups for: Aatrox, Ahri, Akali, Anivia, Annie, Azir, Cho'Gath, Darius, Dr. Mundo Ekko, Fiora, Garen, Gnar, Maokai, Quinn, Riven, Veigar, Wukong, Yasuo and Zyra. Will be adding more soon![/i]

[b]1) Laning Phase[/b] As mentioned in the \"early game\" section below, Karma has a fairly safe laning phase. Whilst you can look at it in more detail in that segment, the basics are this; Karma has fairly high damage output from a fairly long range that can be difficult to dodge, especially if your opponent is melee, she has a fairly decent escape tool and also has a suprising amount of durability that make her fairly difficult to gank. [b]2) Item statistics [/b] Most mages generally scale well with mana regeneration, ability power, and magic penetration, but Karma actually scales well with a wealth of stats. In additioned to the aforementioned mana regen, AP and MP, Karma also benefits from cooldown reduction, movement speed, and resistances that can make her both strong at dealing damage in the late game and also soaking it up. Because she has a fairly strong benefit from all these statistics, you can build a much wider range of items to help benefit your team, thus putting you into a range of team comps. Speaking of which... [b]3) Team compositions [/b] Like Lulu, Karma is a supporty mage with a decent lane phase, but I feel Karma actually fits to more team compositions than lulu. Whilst both have a lot of carry protection that makes them adept in juggermaw compositions, Karma brings a lot more straight damage, making her slightly stronger in poke compositions, her AOE shield makes her a strong pick in AOE or Wombo-combo comps as they enable her team to engage or continue chasing the enemy team, and her slow from her Q combined with the high burst it offers also makes her a decent asset in pick compositions. [b]4) Safe pick in almost all scenarios[/b] Karma's kit gives her an absolute tonne of options. She has CC, sustain, burst, mobility, durability and long range. As such, she's a difficult champion to be caught out, and still has a lot of options when directly caught (R+E for the big shield, then Zhonya's, or R+W for the missing health, then Zhonya's to further regen, or R+Q to do a lot of AOE damage onto targets). She's one of the few champions that I consider somewhat difficult to feed on, as her kit allows for a lot of safety whilst not forcing her to be 100% passive.

[b]1) Tank/Bruiser top lane meta [/b] Whilst Karma isn't bad against tanks and bruisers - in fact I'd say she's quite strong against them - she does run the risk of making your team squishier overall if you pick her in the top lane, making her very all or nothing in those situations, as without a proper front line you cannot teamfight if your team is even slightly behind, and as jungle is currently focused on carry style junglers, you run the risk of not having a dedicated tank outside of Leona/Nautilus/Braum/Alistar in the bot lane, who aren't as tanky as dedicated top lane farming champions. However, if your team gets a lead, you can very much still snowball them to victory before the enemy team can get items and out-teamfight you- this is more of an issue of if you fall behind. [b]2) Mid lane Karma's main drawback [/b] Karma in the mid lane has a slight problem of being slightly between dedicated support/utility mages and fully dedicated damage mages. As such, if you're ahead, you can't snowball quite as hard as a dedicated damage dealer such as Cassiopeia or Leblanc, but if you're behind you don't offer quite as much protection as someone like Lulu or Orianna or even someone like Azir with his big CC wall. You can still deal good damage and still dish out some strong utility, but you're very much a jack of all trades, master of none type pick, which is good when you're in a neutral scenario where you're neither winning nor losing super hard, but if you're either completely ahead or completely behind then you don't do quite as much as either of the previous categories. [b]3) Extended teamfights [/b] Despite Karma having some decently high burst from her R+Q, you will have to accept the fact that to win teamfights as Karma, you need teamfights to go on longer. As such, you have to keep yourself safe, as getting caught out and dying after a single rotation of spells will often not be enough, which thankfully is fairly easy to do between your slow, root, and speed up (and the mantra form of these three spells). The main reason for this is due to the way mantra is designed. It's not a big AOE death ultimate like Death Lotus, Shockwave or Requiem where you press R, do a tonne of damage, and it goes on cooldown. Instead, Mantra is designed to have a smaller impact than the previously listed ultimates, but be available more frequently, which makes it great for extended fights as you can get multiple casts of it, but worse for shorter fights as it simply doesn't do the damage or bring the utility of other ultimates in the game, which does limit you to a certain playstyle in teamfights that may be hard to adjust to for traditional mid-lane players.

[b]Level 1 invades/counter-invades[/b] Because Karma has such a strong level one with her burst damage from R+Q doing approximately 1/3 of most champions health bars at level one, as well as a strong 50% AOE slow, Karma is a surprisingly strong threat in assisting teams with, or against invades. Keep a distance from enemy champions, as you're still fairly squishy and thus vulnerable if you get hit with any form of hard crowd control, and then throw your R+Q out if you either see the enemy team grouped up, or a squishy out of position as the damage will be enough to force a summoner spell, secure a kill, or generally put the enemy team on the back-foot. [b] The top lane Jungle Camp [/b] Because of Karma's high start-game damage, she can clear a jungle camp fairly quickly before recalling and teleporting back into lane. First, activate your ult at 1:47, then fire your Q at 1:55 when the camp spawns, and pop a health potion. Continually throw Qs and auto attacks at the camp (though it's better if you don't re-cast your mantra'd Q), until you kill the camp. After clearing either the raptor or wolf camp, recall, buy two health potions, a mana potion and a ward, and level up your W, then teleport into lane. Immediately tether your lane opponent if they get in range, then throw your mantra'd Q at them, then resume your regular playstyle from there. [b]Laning Phase[/b] Karma is a fairly safe laner both in the mid and top lane position. Generally top lane allows you to be more harass focused due to the fact your enemies are melee most of the time, where they are forced to stand next to their minions to secure last hits, making it easier for you to land your Q, and they don't often have waveclear that can immediately kill the wave, whereas mid lane they do have that waveclear, and the fact that most mid laners are also ranged champions means that you can't reliably harass them as much, forcing you into more of a push/anti-push role for the first 10 minutes. Regardless of what lane you're in, you want to use Mantra for your Q as much as possible as it is your primary form of damage output. Your main combo is to use your E to soak damage and get into position for your W. Once you land your W on someone, fire your R+Q just as the root is about to end and it forces opponents to take both ticks of your R+Q damage. After that, play a little more passively, using your Q to harass opponents until your ultimate comes off cooldown, and sticking to shorter trades. When ganked, you'll want to activate your shield immediately for the damage soak and movement speed buff, and then immediately after use mantra whilst retreating. If you're still in danger after using your E, use your mantra'd W, as you'll regenerate a lot of health. This is especially useful if your opponents tower dive you, as it makes you difficult to burst down, and the root duration will often net you a kill if your opponents stay underneath your towers auto attack range. If you get out cleanly with your shield, use the opportunity to land a mantra Q onto your opposing laner for the additional harass damage or possibly the kill, or onto the jungler if you either can kill them or if you cannot hit your lane opponent. Make sure to kill as many minions as possible in the lane phase in order to make sure you have enough mana to keep harassing repeatedly, and be careful not to use too many W's, as that's the fastest way for you to drain your mana. [b]Roaming/TP Ganks[/b] Karma is a fairly decent roamer. Whilst she doesn't bring as much burst as an assassin, or as much control as someone like Azir or Viktor, she has a nice compromise of the two, as well as some team utility with her shield(s). When roaming, look to hit your R+Q onto as many people as possible, as at this stage most tanks will still take significant damage from your R+Q, and the mantra reduction from hitting multiple people will mean that if the fight goes on for longer, you'll have mantra up again for another use. Once you've fired your R+Q, you can use your W either as an offensive tool to catch out a low health target for you and your allies to kill, or to help peel off an enemy headed towards you or your allies, and use your shield to either move your frontline into position, or to protect yourself or your other damage dealers to keep them alive as long as possible. If you successfully get a few kills bot, you can take dragon quite easily even on low health due to your shields you can off your team, or the self heal from your mantra'd W on the dragon if you're the only one on low health.

As Karma, you have a bunch of options for purchasing on your first back, depending on your lane opponent, item builds, and team compositions. Generally speaking, Karma always wants to get mana regen, 40% CDR, and ability power as soon as possible, but you can use your first back to give yourself a fairly flexible range of statistics, before transitioning to the same set of core items: [b] 1) Morello Rush v1 [/b] Items on first back: Fiendish Codex + Forbidden Idol Stats gained: 30 AP, 20% CDR, + 50% Mana regen (+ 3 to 9.8 mana per 5) Gold required: 1420 gold Rushing for morello gives you a slight boost to your mana regeneration and ability power, but the main strength of this early item rush is the early CDR that it gives you. Now because the mana regeneration on this early build is weaker than the other two, you cannot throw out abilities as frequently, but it does make you safer, as whilst you can't use your CDR to spam without mana draining yourself, you can use the decreased cooldown for more mantra casts. In short, buying this item set doesn't give you much AP scaling but gives you more frequent access to your fairly high base damages. [b] 1) Morello Rush v2 [/b] Items on first back: Doran's ring x2 + Forbidden Idol Stats gained: 30 AP, 10% CDR, + 50% Mana regen (+ 3 to 9.8 mana per 5), 120 health, 6 mana per 5, 8 mana returned per unit killed. Gold required: 1400 gold This is the slightly delayed Morello rush. This gives you solid durability for early fights, good mana regen for lane sustain, a solid amount of damage, and a little bit of CDR. Compared to the other Morello rush, you can harass more efficiently, but you have to be more careful with your mantra casts, as a wasted mantra spell will have a significantly higher cooldown due to the lack of CDR it gives you. Go for this option over the first version of the Morello rush if you either want to push your advantage against your enemy further, or if you're behind and looking for the dueling power. [b] 3) Athene's Rush [/b] Items on first back: Chalice of Harmony + Dorans' Ring Stats Gained: 25 Magic Resistance, 50% Base mana regen (+ 3 to 9.8 mana per 5), 60 health, 15 AP, 3 mana per 5 (doesn't stack with chalice), 2% of missing mana every 5 seconds, 4 mana returned per unit killed. Gold required: 1300 gold This one give you the least amount of AP, but the highest amount of mana regeneration. Whilst you don't get much immediate fighting power out of this path immediately, you get much more pushing power due to your higher regen, a better and more forgiving harass game as you can more frequently throw out spells without running your mana pool dry, and you become significantly harder to shove in. With that being said, the main weakness of this build path is the lack of any immediate CDR: as a result, missing mantra spells is incredibly punishing as not only will you have the longer cooldown on mantra, but your other spells have a longer cooldown too, making it more difficult to get mantra back. [b] 4) Mana regen substitute [/b] Items on first back: Doran's Ring (x2), Aether wisp/Blasting wand/Amp tome + boots Stats Gained: 120 health, 60 AP, 6 mana per 5, 8 mana per kill + (30 AP AND 5% movespeed) OR (40 AP) OR (20 AP + 25 move speed) Gold required: 1650 gold (Aether Wisp/Blasting Wand) OR 1550 gold (Amp tome + boots) Ok, so the aim of this build is the same thing, but it leads on to different build paths. In short, Aether wisp is to rush for Luden's Echo before getting either Morello or Athene's, Blasting Wand is for the early Rabadon's Rush, and Amp tome + Boots can be for a range of items, but you typically want to transition into either Rabadon's or Zhonya's from it. Regardless of what you build here, in short you get a ton of mana regeneration (as long as you can CS properly), a decent amount of AP, and a good amount of durability, and if you get either Aether Wisp or Tier 1 boots and an amp tome, you get some moderate mobility here. This is by far the strongest first back strategy in terms of immediate power spikes for Karma, but it comes at the cost of having no additional CDR from the first back, and delaying your major CDR items in favour of AP. Because of this, this item build is best for when you need more AP, either if you need higher burst damage or more durability from your shield, but isn't good when you need the immediate CDR spike of Morello or Athene's, as you are pretty much forced to get a large AP item from these build paths. Go for this path if you're up against a bursty champion with little to no harass, as it greatly aids your all-ins without taking away from your harass.

[b] Pre-teamfight Preparation [/b] As standard for every champion, try and get down as much vision control as you can. If you can see your enemies, then you're much less likely to be taken by surpise and start the teamfight on the backfoot trying to re-gain control . In addition to the defensive benefits of getting vision, it also helps you with the next part of pre-teamfighting- poke. Karma is a phenomenal champion for poking down squishies. Karma's R+Q after two or more ability power items can easily half-health an ADC or mage, so landing one before a teamfight can put you ahead before the fight even fully starts, and repeated regular Q harass can aid in weakening tanks without you commiting your ultimate in case you need it for an R+Q, R+W or R+E later down the line. [b] Teamfighting; You engage [/b] The best way to help engage as Karma is to either R+E everyone to rush in, using it in a similar way that Sivir uses her ultimate, but with a little more durability that makes enemy counter-engage slightly weaker. Throw out Q's towards the nearest target to get your ultimate off cooldown, and stay close to the backline, rooting the enemy tank or assassin, and using your shield to protect your carry as it has a very low cooldown at this point. After one rotation of spells, you will almost always have your ultimate back, so then use your ult accordingly. If your team is winning the fight or the enemy team groups up, then use your R+Q for the additional damage and potential extra procs of Mantra from the increased AOE and double proc. If you are dropped down low, use your R+W, using Zhonya's if you feel like your shield won't be enough to save you, or if your shield is on cooldown, and use R+E if you need the additional chasing power or the additional damage mitigation if the enemy team has strong AOE. You rarely want to go in towards the enemy damage threats, mostly keeping your distance unless you can net a kill with an R+Q and W. Constantly throw out spells and auto attacks when safe to do so, as your main power comes from Mantra, so having it up sooner greatly improves your teamfight impact. [b]Teamfighting: The enemy team engages [/b] When you see the enemy tank/bruiser engaging into your team, your immediate instinct should be to use your R+E, W them and throw your Qs at the enemies following behind to slow their engage, then when your Q comes back, ult + Q onto the enemy team as they will almost always group quite tightly after, allowing you to do the most damage and get mantra back as soon as possible. After that, repeat the process; throw out Q's, W's, E's and auto's to both keep you and your team safe, whilst getting mantra back on cooldown. R+Q for the extra damage, long range kiting and mantra procs, R+W for the defensive heal and additional single-target peel, and R+E for falling back and mitigating damage. Try and keep your ADC safe for as long as possible, as they are often much stronger at dealing with tanks than you are, although if you find your ADC is behind, focus on self preservation and dealing as much damage as possible when safe to do so.

Whilst not the be-all and end-all of understanding how good you are at a champion, there are certain things that should be showing up fairly regularly in games that are fairly even and not just 1-sided stomps. Assuming the game had a lane phase where not many kills happened, causing most of the kills to happen in skirmishes, teamfights, and making picks, then as Karma you should have; 1) High damage dealt to champions: Due to your constant early game harass, you should have a fairly high amount of damage dealt to champions, as there isn't a single character that can withstand your damage in lane for a particularly long time through damage mitigation, so your damage purely from harass should be quite high. Your teamfight damage is also quite high between your Q, R+Q, and W, so you should be looking to be at least the third highest damage dealer on your team, assuming no-one on your team gets super far ahead. 2) Low death count Now this isn't always going to be possible. Sometimes you'll get camped, or sometimes you'll die in lane and get snowballed on, and these things can happen to anyone on any champion, but generally speaking Karma is fairly difficult to kill in one versus one scenarios due to the defensive utility from her R+W, E, and R+E, and her constant poke and harass from Q, R+Q and W makes it risky for opponents to all in her, and it's the same in teamfights, except you'll have possibly peel from your support, access to Zhonya's in a lot of matchups, and more CDR which means even more R+W, E, and R+E casts for defense. 3) High assist count/low kill count Karma's all-in burst can be quite strong end game, but realistically you're not the sort of champion to be constantly aiming for the enemy back-line. Rather, you aid your own back-line and whittle down the enemy front line, so you're probably going to find yourself getting assists as the other damage dealers on your team get the kills for you, however having kills on Karma isn't a bad thing, so if you find yourself with a lot of kills and little assists, it's not the worst thing, just expect to get a lot of assists when playing Karma 4) High contribution per kill This ties into the last one- if you're protecting your backline, and your backline is getting a load of kills, then you'll find that you get assists and thus a large contribution per kill.

Character Type: Lane Position: Attack Range: Lane difficulty: Teamfight Difficulty: Overall Difficulty: Ability Order: Summoner spells: Itemization: Runes: Masteries: Additional Notes:

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