Karma League of Legends Champion Guide and Build

Karma League OF Legends Champion Guide And Build.

Edit: 3/1/11

Release Notes for v1.0.0.112 indicate that all of Karma’s abilities have been buffed as follows:
* Heavenly Wave base heal increased to 35/55/75/95/115/135 from 30/45/60/75/90/105
* Spirit Bond cooldown reduced to 15/14/13/12/11/10 from 20/18/16/14/12/10.
* Soul Shield Increased the shield strength by 10 at all ranks.
* Mantra cooldown reduced to 25 seconds from 30 seconds.
As you might imagine, I’m pretty excited about this. She didn’t need the buff at all… She’s OP (overpowered) as it is! All of this guide was actually written before the v1.0.0.112 patch, but everything that’s in here is just as true now as before the patch because the patch does not fundamentally change Karma, it only makes her better.

General Game Basics

If you are below level 25, PLEASE read this section. If not, you can skip it, but this is very important stuff for you to know and understand.

What follows is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of how to play League of Legends by any means, these are simple basics. This should not be taken as thorough by any means. These descriptions and general rules apply to all champs, not just Karma. There are three basic phases of League a Legends match.

1. Laning (early game)
2. Turn (mid game)
3. Pushing (end game)

As I describe appropriate play with karma, I’ll be referencing her play within the context of these different parts of the game. Moreover, it’s important that you understand in general how each part of the game works. These parts of the game can be generally described as follows.


In the laning stage, you are generally focused on one particular lane (the paths lined by turrets and walked by minions). In general, you are with a buddy on top or bottom or solo in the mid. This persists usually until around the time you reach levels 5-7 (when most characters receive their ultimate (4th) ability or “ult” as it’s commonly referred to. Your main goal is to level up and get gold by killing minions. You can harass enemy champs and they’ll harr*** you back, but getting a kill early is a luxury. It’s nice when it happens, but the early game is generally not the time for living too dangerously by doing things like turret diving (attacking an allied champ by its turret). Generally, try to recall as little as possible while not risking giving the enemy a kill. You may, in the laning stage, take your attention off your lane to decide if it’s necessary to switch lanes with an ally. You may also take your attention off of your lane for more specific reasons. The champion Karthus, for example, often plays mid and may reach level 6 while other champions on your team are still at levels 3 or 4, so he may keep an eye on other lanes to decide when to use his ultimate ability Requiem which deals damage to champions everywhere on the map. Turrets are not your objective at this stage. Your goal is to level up and not die.


In the turn stage, players begin to “gank.” This is when they sneak/jump in and attack, especially stealth units like Evelynn and Teemo or teleporting units like Kassadin and Pantheon. The goal of this is to “farm” your team’s champions. It has nothing to do with turrets or XP, they are trying to get kills for the gold reward they get – which can be quite lucrative. The gold reward they get is higher if the champion they kill happened to be on a killing spree at the time they killed him (bonus caps at 1000 gold for a kill). When a champ accumulates a lot of gold, he is said to be “fed.” Players who die a lot are said to be ‘feeding” the enemy and are commonly called “feeders.” Turrets are still not at all your objective at this stage. Your team’s goal is to get the gold advantage by having the kill advantage. Communication is very important in this stage. Responsible team players will type the name of the champ + “mia” or their lane (bot/mid/top) + “mia” (missing in action) if an enemy in their lane either goes missing mysteriously or recalls and is gone for a prolonged period of time. This is a warning to players in the adjacent lane (or lanes for the middle) to play cautiously. It may be a good time to recall if your health or mana are low. Example: “Kass mia” indicates Kassadin is missing. This should send up alarm bells as he can flash onto you, “silence” you (prevents you from casting), and slow you with no warning. “Bot mia” means a character in the bottom lane is missing. “Bot mia2″ means both players are missing.


The final stage is pushing. Ok, NOW the turrets are your primary objective… right? Wrong. Your primary objective is still killing the enemy team’s champs. Think about it for a second. A turret in the late game is basically just a champion that:
1) Isn’t very powerful
2) Can’t heal
3) Can’t move
4) Can’t respawn if destroyed
5) Can’t consciously decide to target squishys (champs with less health)
Sure. Turrets have a lot of health. But in the late game, you and your team mates can bring one down from full health in mere seconds. The only thing that can kill you is still your enemy champions. In the pushing stage, your goal is to get all your team together and kill the enemy champs so that you can destroy the turrets and work your way up the lane destroying turrets without resistance. This is called “pushing.” The team that wins is ALWAYS the team where everyone works together as a cohesive unit and attacks as a cohesive unit. I say ALWAYS because the only way your team can split up and be disorganized and still win is if the other team behaves even more stupidly, in which case your team was still more cohesive and cooperative than them. You can do the math on stats and abilities and easily see why, and it’ll become way more obvious as I explain how good support characters are built and function, though that’s for later in this guide. A team that splits up gets destroyed. Always, without exception. Big mistakes in this final stage include thinking the following thoughts:

“My team mates are all just sitting here… and their team is all just sitting there. This is a perfect time to go jungle by myself and get some XP, gold, or a buff to give myself the advantage, or maybe head over to another lane to kill some minions.”
You aimlessly wander off without saying anything and it’s 4 on 5, disadvantage your team, and not all your team mates might notice. The second the enemy champs realize you’ve abandoned your team, they’re striking and their team is picking up 2000 gold. Oh, and you’re next. Do NOT do this. You can make your entire team lose doing this; it enrages team mates, it gets you killed, and of course it’s just downright stupid. They are having a showdown for a reason. Your team doesn’t want to split up and give them gold; they don’t want to split up and give you gold. Maybe your team is waiting for them to make a mistake. Waiting is an intense but normal part of the game. Maybe Nunu’s ultimate Absolute Zero (a very deadly storm that slows enemies and causes them massive damage) is 30 seconds from ready… or maybe Karthus‘ ultimate Requiem is nearly ready. Your team mates might be waiting for a reason. Oh, just in case you didn’t know, you can see the status of other players’ ultimate abilities either by hitting tab or by looking at the green light next to their name on the upper left side of the screen. As Karma by the way, you need to pay particular attention to the cd’s (stands for “cooldown,” the time it takes a spell to be ready to cast again) of players like Nunu and Fiddlesticks, and we’ll discuss why in a bit.

“We lost bad in that battle. We can’t take all 5 of them.”
Wrong. Every fight is different from the one before. You probably made mistakes in the previous battle that you won’t make in this next one. Ok, I know YOU don’t make mistakes but maybe one of your mates did. The other team might get over-confident or make mistakes that they didn’t before. Maybe one of your team mates’ ult wasn’t ready before. Maybe one of their ults isn’t ready now. Past performance is no guarantee of future results… unless your past performance includes all splitting up and getting killed one by one and you do nothing to change that. It’s PARTICULARLY insane to conclude “we can’t take all 5 of them” if you weren’t all together for the last battle. How do you know? You haven’t even tried.

“If we split up, it’ll force them to split up,”
Wrong yet again. If you split up, they’ll all stick together and first kill the group of three of you, then kill the group of 2 of you and be 2500 gold the richer for it. Don’t get me wrong: you DO want to split their team up… but not by splitting yourselves up. Think about it… the 5 of them are turret hugging and the five of you are clustered… right in the middle of the map… and maybe there’s harr***ing going on but nobody is stupid enough to dive in… move your team together as a unit to the next lane. Your team has a straight shot and can do this. It takes them a second to realize you’re moving, they don’t have a straight shot, and some get split off wandering through the trees, some have shoes, some don’t, some are faster, some slower, long story short they get separated and arrive in disarray in the adjacent lane to be eaten one at a time. Did that not work? Try it again, or have your tank bait them, but let them make the mistakes so YOUR team is the one that walks away with the gold.

“Player X has tons of armor and won’t die. We should focus him in our next battle.”
You should be targeting their squishier (less armored/lower health/generally do more damage) players first. Your goal is gold. It doesn’t matter if Rammus or Mundo has killed you three times and you’re frustrated, winning is your revenge, not killing them. Play smart for your team. Teams that all attack the enemies’ tanks lose. That’s the whole point of having a tank on your team, after all… to have someone for the enemies to attack while the rest of you chew them up. We all know this of course on an intellectual level but it’s astounding how often I’ll watch an entire random-match team that I’m on all target Rammus.

“We need to stop focusing on champs and start focusing on the turrets.”
You hate to hear this one… for reasons that should be obvious this far into the guide. If someone on your team says this, correct them gently. Also, as Karma you should take careful note of who said it. This is a weaker player who will need additional overwatch and protection.

“Our team is all together and we just took out 2 of them, all 3 left alive are still in the lane with us… but oh no! They have a swarm of 10 whole minions that are advancing on our turret in another lane. Someone needs to leave to go take care of that! *beacon* *beacon* I’M ON IT!”
You can only hope to be lucky enough to have enemies this stupid. If one of your allies beacons a set of minions attacking a turret in another lane, I’m sorry to say it but unless the other team has a player or two just as dumb, you and your team are probably screwed. As Karma, you can only be as good as your team mates. If an ally leaves a great push opportunity to pursue minions, or if (heaven forbid) your entire team splits up after a great fight to go back to individual lanes and farm rather than pushing, you might as well save yourself time and frustration by typing “/surrender.” Case in point…

And last but very importantly…
“[Support character] is feeding; that’s why we are losing.”
That MIGHT be true… The Soraka or Karma on your team might be new to their character and not yet sure how to play them… but that’s probably not the case. What is MORE likely is that your team is splitting up or your team mates or possibly YOU are doing stupid things and putting YOURSELF in dangerous situations and your support character is actually being smart by sacrificing to save you, keeping you alive to defend, preventing you from losing your stacks,* and keeping the enemies from getting extra gold. For myself personally, I can tell you that I almost never get less than a KDR (Kill to Death Ratio) of 1 UNLESS I play as a support character. The number of deaths I get in a game as Karma are directly proportional to how carelessly my team mates play and how much I must sacrifice to pull them out of dangerous situations.

I am not being a prideful/defensive player by saying this; just an honest one. When I play as Kassadin and my teammate Hatazzb plays as Soraka, if I play stupidly he absolutely will die to save me and if he racks up a bunch of deaths playing as Soraka, it’s a sign to ME that I need to check MY play style. I’m probably taking unnecessary risks. This is why the thought “[Support character] is feeding; what’s why we are losing” is a big mistake. Carelessly attributing blame elsewhere prevents you from analyzing your own style of play to see what you might need to change. Usually, somebody is over-extending or getting greedy and that’s why the skull number by your support’s name is trending upward. They are dying to save YOU.

After one game with Hatazzb in which he, as Soraka, had saved me by healing me more times than I could count, I remarked to him that, “It’s like you always know when I’m about to do something stupid and are right there with a heal.” He replied, “It’s not hard. It’s always either you or Cesi.” Your support character knows. Since learning to play support, I’ve learned to watch my team mates much more astutely and after awhile you can see the ones behaving recklessly or downright stupidly with total ease. And if you’re a smart team player, you will reciprocate when the time comes for you to save your support. A good Soraka or Karma can sustain an entire team’s assault with their healing/buffing/shielding/etc. Care for them.

*”Stacks” are essentially bonuses earned for doing certain things within the game. Usually a character loses all or a significant portion of their stacks upon dying. For example, a character who purchases Mejai’s Soulstealer receives 2 stacks per kill or 1 stack per assist, getting increased Ability Power for each stack up to 20 maximum, but loses 1/3 of his stacks if killed. Another example: Cho’Gath receives 1 stack each time a unit he “feasts” dies up to a maximum of 6; his stacks grant him increased health and size and he loses half if he dies. As Karma, you automatically receive “mantra” stacks and each time you use mantra it consumes one of these stacks.

I was criticized by one commenter for not mentioning the strategy known as “backdooring.” What follows is – what I consider to be – an obligatory explanation “Backdooring” refers to the strategy of an attack damage carry ( Master Yi, Twisted Fate, etc.]] splitting off from the group to try to attack a turret, inhibitor, or nexus by themselves in a situation where your own team is entirely unable to win a team fight or gain traction any other way. I was criticized in the comments for not mentioning it in “General game basics.” My reason for originally choosing not to is that the “backdooring” strategy is successful extremely rarely and is very rarely (read: almost never) seen at higher levels of play. I don’t consider it a general game basic by any means. At lower levels of play, the term “backdooring” is really mostly used to refer to the strategy of just splitting up and dying one at a time. It is a viable strategy only occasionally. I would say probably 1 game out of every 200 I’ve played has been won because of successful backdooring. Now that is greater than none, but it’s not significant enough for me to consider backdooring a general game basic or recommend it as a strategy for newer players.

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