Karma is a very solid solo queue pick right now. As a utility mage often played as a support, Riot has given her all the small buffs and tweaks she needs to excel in the midlane. Now, her damage is on par with other midlaners while still fitting into her traditional roles as a poke champion and a utility peeler. BUT WHY KARMA? NO ONE EVER PLAYS HER AND ESPECIALLY NOT MID LANE! Let me show you. [vid=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMgB4ve8tBo] tl; dr PROS: High utility, high poke, good peel, great kiter CONS: No blinks / dashes, caught between utility and damage so is a \"compromise\" champ that can't solo carry due to lack of hyper poke scaling or hyper utility scaling. About me: I am angievulpix, Platinum this season and have recently been picking up Karma as my go to blind pick in solo queue. She does well in most matchups and has no \"hard counter.\" I have seen her potential and have been practicing her in normals and succeeding in ranked with her. I currently have mastery level 5 with her and play Karma a lot on my ranked 5's team. SKIP THIS PART IF YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW BROKEN KARMA IS: Let's take a look at some of her significant numbers: [img=skills/karma/q.png] Her Q is a long range skillshot with AOE damage and slow upon hitting a target. It has a decent base damage 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 and a solid 60% AP ratio. Now her empowered Q is where it gets crazy. Her ult empowers her next ability, and when she empowers Q,this is what happens. Essentially, the range is increased by about 250 units due to the hitbox. Second, there is immediate bonus damage of 25 / 75 / 125 / 175 (scales with levels in R) and 30% AP. The slow is increased so that enemies are more likely to be slammed by the last part: a secondary explosion of 50 / 150 / 250 / 350 and another 60% AP. Let's add all these up for a level 16 empowered Q. 260 + 175 + 350 = 785 base damage AND .6 + .3 + .6 = 1.5AP ratio. We're talking ONE SHOT here people. With ONE ABILITY. ON A VERY LOW COOLDOWN. Let's say we have 700 AP. 785 + 1050 =[big] 1835.[/big] That is INSANE. For your point of reference, a max range Nidalee spear with 700 AP at max rank does 860. If you want anything COMPARABLE, you would have to go to the ultimate oneshot champ: Veigar. At max rank 700AP vs. ANOTHER 700 AP champ Veigar ult does 1760. IF his target has 0 AP he would only do 1200. Veigar's ult has an 80 second CD. SO YOU CAN SEE HOW KARMA'S NUMBERS ARE OFF THE CHARTS. Magic resist here is ignored because it proportionally would reduce all the damage. By the way, a lot of people think Karma only does damage with Q. For the most part, this is true, she is a poke champ that kites in and out of fights with her shield and spams q. BUT DID YOU EVEN LOOK AT HER W? [img=skills/karma/w.png]Karma's W is a tether that does damage over 2 seconds if unbroken and at the end roots the target. The cast range is 675 but you can tether up to 1000 units away, so people can't run that easily. Ok so the base damage is average - (60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260) and it is applied as DPS so it seems like it's not a lot, but WAIT THERE'S MORE. She has a [b]90% AP RATIO[/b] ON IT. At 700AP we're talking 630 scaling here. Most other champs don't have even CLOSE to 90% on a single skill (except non mage champs like Warwick and Nunu, not to mention broken champs like Veigar but his W is a skillshot so it's \"balanced\"). Now let's look at her empowered W: The initial empowered cast of W heals Karma for 20% of her missing health. That's a free 1/5 of your missing hp back, so if you had 1 hp left...ULT W AND GET 1/5 OF YOUR HEALTH BACK. Not only that, but if the tether isn't broken...GET ANOTHER 20% OF YOUR MISSING HP BACK. So from 1 hp after you heal back to 1/5 of your missing hp, you would heal another 20% of the remaining 4/5 which is 4/25 which is approximately 4/24 which is 1/6 so overall you can heal back to [big]36.6% of your hp back[/big] (basically 40% from 1%!). But wait...there's the root...remember? When it's empowered your root has bonus duration. . .THAT IS LONGER THAN A MORGANA SNARE HOLY COW GG RIOT. POINT AND CLICK SNARE LONGER THAN MORG? WTF 3.25 SECONDS???? This is what makes Karma an incredible peeler and kiter, in addition to being hard to kill. Her empowered W will heal her when you're about to kill her and then you'll be snared for 3.25 seconds. [img=skills/karma/e.png]Her E is less broken, but is essentially a shield with movespeed. HOWEVER! Her empowered ultimate is the baby of Locket of the Iron Solari [img=items/locket-of-the-iron-solari.png] and Talisman of Ascension [img=items/talisman-of-ascension.png]. That's right. It gives a shield to nearby allies and a massive speed buff all in one. That's a value of 2100 + 2750 = [big]4850 gold in one ability[/big]. 5k gold can be anywhere from 1/4 - 1/2 of what you will make in an average game, so Karma saves a lot of gold and gets the value out of it anyway! So, just looking at the numbers and theorycrafting, we can see that Karma is in a really good spot and has a lot of potential in solo queue with her poke, damage, utility, and peel. Let's learn to kick butt with her.
Start Q so you can apply the level 1 poke pressure with empowered Q. Level W next if you want to do more damage and go aggro, or level E if you are scared of a gank and need to run! Max Q for the poke damage. Next max W for the root duration increase and damage amp. Finally max your shield. With new Karma buffs, the W has a huge AP ratio and the shield base damage was nerfed, making it much more efficient to max w second. The bonus damage on her empowered abilities scales off her ult, so level it at 6/11/16! R > Q > W > E
Karma is very strong in the early game because of her ult being available at level 1. If you can find them guarding a bush or facechecking, you can R-Q them for massive damage (see Q description!) before running away. In lane, Karma plays well from the side of the wave, which gives her the necessary angle to throw Q's between the melee and caster minions and hit the enemy champion who typically will hide in their minions. Karma has solid level 2-3 all-ins, just run up and tether and chase and when they are rooted, throw a R-Q for massive damage and slow. By level 4 you can E, W, to be able to stay in range during the tether and then R-Q, just make sure not to use all your mana right away. On the other hand, if you are on the receiving end of an all-in you have three choices, because you have three great abilities! 1) You can R-Q in an attempt to outburst them and counter kill them. 2) You can R-W to root them and heal yourself. 3) You can R-E to get a massive shield and block their damage while running away. It is up to you which to do, but usually you want to shield on high burst champs (LB), heal when you're not ignited and the enemy needs to stay near you to do DPS (Fizz autos, Talon, Zed), R-Q to trade back a squishy nonmobile champ (TF). Usually a smart laner will only all-in you if you have used your ult recently, so if they all in you and you don't have ult, flash away unless you think an E-W is enough to disengage.
Though Karma lacks a level six ult that is comparable to other midlaners, she slides into a more versatile champ that can excel in several mid game scenarios. 1) Roaming. Karma is an excellent roamer, being able to shove lane out with Q, forcing her enemy under tower. Then, she can use E speed buff to quickly get to bot or top lane. When you get there, either speed up your CC (i.e Maokai Top, or Blitz bot) or be the CC and speed up yourself! Q to slow and then W to snare them. Hit them with an R-Q and your allies should finish them off. On your way there, feel free to pick up Scuttle with W and then Q-ing it repeatedly. 2) Skirmishes. When you and your team start looking to dragon or moving into the enemy jungle for vision, follow them and help out because Karma is a monster in skirmishes. I think Karma's best bet in skirmishes is to R-E and give her teammates the shield and speed boost. The shield adds a deceptive amount of HP to your team in skirmishes. If you see a squishy, though, you can look to R-Q them to force them out of the fight or kill them. If you get dove by a Zed, you should R-W to save yourself! 3) Picks. If you start to roam with your jungler and/or support, you can go deep into the jungle to get vision to set up for picks, where you catch someone who is out of position or roaming solo. Karma is great for setting up for picks because you can easily speedbuff your way through the enemy jungle dropping wards. Once you set up vision, you and your support/jungler can catch someone out. Usually you will speed up your jungler so they can close the gap, then R-Q to mega slow the enemy and then walk up and W to snare, then finish with another Q.
Karma is a late game beast because of her scaling damage and utility, making her excellent for teamfights and sieges. Remember that Karma has excellent poke and waveclear and team utility, so stay with your team to try to poke out the other team off objectives like Baron or towers. You can also siege towers by rapidly clearing enemy minion waves, or you can antisiege in the same manner. Try to always grab blue buff and scuttle crab.
Before teamfights, abuse Karma's kit of poke and utility. R-Q constantly into their team, especially if you can flank and poke out their ADC or enemy mid. Use R-E to help your team kite back or initiate. However, tell your team not to fight until you've landed some solid poke. During the fight, stay close to your ADC to protect them. If anyone comes near you or your ADC, Q them to slow and do damage, E yourself or your ADC to absorb any incoming damage or to kite back and W the diving enemy to root them or force them away. Throughout team fights always look to pop squishies with an R-Q or to save your ADC with an R-E.
Karma is a poke and utility mage with crazy good versatility and a strong kit with insane numbers.