Note: I've just begun updating my guide for solo lane karma. Some of the basic information like runes/masteries/skill order is there but the early/mid game sections are not. Working on it! Thanks for your patience. Hi, I'm JYarbz. I'm a diamond 1 player who is slightly known in the community for my nidalee guide at http://solomid.net/guide/view/28999. I've played a lot of karma near the end of season 3 and into season 4. At first I played her mostly support and it was pretty strong. But as patches changed I seemed to never be able to transfer my lead in lane reliably as a support to mid-late game. I started playing her in a solo lane and had a lot more success lately. So I decided to write a top lane guide for Karma. [img=http://i.imgur.com/ffe24Bg.jpg] Artist Credit: Couldn't find it. Someone please give it to me if they know it. [b]Links[/b] Twitter: https://twitter.com/jyarbz Stream: http://twitch.tv/jyarbz Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jyarbz
Leveling R first is a no-brainer. It increases the base for all your abilities by a considerable amount when mantra'd. One rank in ultimate adds to every ability whenever you mantra it. And more of the same with leveling Q up first. It's your main waveclear and damage, there's no comparable option to take over Q. However, what you max last is somewhat of an option and a lot of players do have differing opinions on it. I prefer to max W first since it does more damage and the snare duration is doubled. This puts a high emphasis on one of Karma's biggest hidden strengths which is her mantra W that makes her win pretty much every 1v1 and even 1v2. Her shield only gains 20% movement speed through all 5 ranks and gets the highest amount of movement speed when mantra'd anyways. You are just gaining base shield strength for the most part. This is important, but I feel like solo lane karma is much more powerful in the midgame with a maxed W.
[b]Level 1[/b] Karma has one of the strongest level 1's in the entire game. She has a base damage 155(1.5ap ratio) nuke that's an aoe slow at level 1. As far as I'm aware that's the highest base damage spell at level 1 in the entire game. And it's not even single target, it's an aoe slow. This should lead to your team winning most level 1's or just you winning most 1v1's at level 1 as well. [b]Level 2[/b] You can either take E or W here, and ideally you want to take a second point in Q for the poke at level 3 so you delay the other till level 4. This is important as delaying your shield to level 4 is a somewhat significant risk, especially if you get ganked. However, if you've landed some good poke leading to level 2 then nabbing W here can set you up for a really strong level 2. It's situational. I usually take E to be safe, but if your opponent messes up then W level 2 can be very strong. [b]Laning[/b] Karma tends to be a very strong laner who can poke and kite extremely effectively. Melee champions especially have a difficult time dealing with Karma 1v1. Landing empowered Q's is really strong, but make sure you don't forget mantra W. If you're below half health especially you should consider it since the heal is so powerful at lower amounts of health. It also does a surprising amount of damage even at rank 1 and can really bait out trades or even tower dives. Karma can often survive 2v1 with empowered W.
Midgame Karma can spike pretty hard on 2-3 items. Especially if you're ahead and have [img=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] then your mantra Q's are going to be hitting like a truck. If we assume Karma has 250 ability power at rank 3 ultimate (which is very roughly what you get to with [img=items/athenes-unholy-grail.png][img=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] + runes/masteries) then her mantra Q is going to be hitting for 565 damage before resistances on just the first tick. If the second tick hits then it's an extra 400 damage for a total of 965 damage. That will take most of an ADC's health bar that early in the game. Try to identify what your team needs you to do to win. If you have some really good aoe initiation then it's probably pretty important to find that engage and follow up with as powerful a mantra Q as possible. If your team has tons of damage and doesn't need much from you then maybe you even start putting extra points in shield and look to even put out some mantra E's more often. [b]Fighting in chokes[/b] Karma excels at fighting in small spaces with her cooldowns up. This is because Mantra Q is such a huge nuke with good zone control. She's not quite on the same level as [img=champ/ziggs.png][img=champ/gragas.png][img=champ/orianna.png] but it's still good and if you land a good mantra Q in a tight corridor then it will do a lot of work.
Lategame should mostly revolve around one of 3 things for Karma. This heavily depends on your team and how the specific games is going. [b]Sieging[/b] If your team has effective siege then karma compliments that very well. Not only can she shield the person in front but she has fantastic poke to try to shove the enemy team off of tower. She is also really good at helping your team peel and disengage for your backline when the enemy team is trying to engage onto you. This brings me to the next strategy. [b]Teamfighting[/b] If you are teamfighting as Karma, especially a top lane Karma on a team that probably doesn't have a huge front line, then your primary goal when grouping to fight is looking to kite and peel as much as possible. Your team will most likely work best with the enemy team trying to engage into and you backing up and kiting them. Karma can't just straight up counter engage fights like a [img=champ/nami.png][img=champ/zyra.png] but can assist in it very well if your whole team is on board and doing their job. [b]Looking for a pick[/b] While Karma isn't the most amazing pick champion on her own (due to long duration before snare takes effect) she is really good in combination with other champions who have a single target cc and can set up hers. This enables her to get a full mantra Q and extra cc off on a single target. To most effectively try to create picks in the lategame, you want as many people as possible to have [img=items/vision-ward.png][img=items/greater-lens.png] and to sweep the enemy vision and wait in fog of war for them to facecheck. One of the coolest aspects of Karma's W is also that it reveals stealth, which can be helpful against those champions.
[b]Synergies[/b] [img=champ/drmundo.png][img=champ/shyvana.png][img=champ/singed.png][img=champ/volibear.png][img=champ/hecarim.png] This isn't exactly a comprehensive list but are all bruisers that more or less run at the enemy to do their job in teamfights. Karma's shield really makes these champions better able to close the gap and get where they need to be. [img=champ/orianna.png][img=champ/lulu.png][img=champ/lux.png][img=champ/sona.png][img=champ/nami.png] These are just other champions where you can stack shields/heals on top of targets to make them really tanky. Having multiple champions adding all that utility together can be powerful. It's also very nice to have multiple speedups to give your team a bunch of mobility which most champions on that list as well as a few others have. [b]Defensive itemization[/b] [img=items/banshees-veil.png] Grab this to deal with heavy AP burst and CC. [img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] This can block a lot of damage in a teamfight and is specifically good usually against assassins. [img=items/randuins-omen.png] I would maybe get this in the rarest of situations against an all-ad team if I really needed the survivability on top of Zhonyas.
Thanks for using the guide. Please leave constructive feedback and let me know what was good and what was bad. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Help me help you. :)