Karma League of Legends Champion Guide and Build
Karma League OF Legends Champion Guide And Build.
Season 2 Update
So Riot’s recent changes are aimed at smoothing out the distribution of choices for summoner spells, making the less popular ones more appealing and the more popular ones slightly less appealing.
As such, I’m not changing my basic recommendations. My most conventionally appreciated top picks Flash and Clairvoyance were nerfed in terms of cooldowns and, in the case of Flash, range, while my less popular top pick Heal was buffed. These three all remain as the most viable picks on Karma because of the particular utility each of them affords her.
That said, what you choose is, to a much greater extent than before, a matter of personal preference.
Flash – Your main goal as Karma is not kills. That said, you will definitely get kills and a big portion of the kills you do get will come from flash. You can flash to an enemy, self-mantra+shield, and wave them. No one ever expects an assassination from Karma. You can flash to an ally who has been ignited in order to shield and heal them. You can use it to bait. In a team fight, if you are getting targeted and have suffered significant damage, you can flash back behind the group out of immediate range to deny the enemies a kill and live to support your team. It might buy you an escape by yourself in the right cir****tances. When you’re by yourself, it probably means your team mates are either dead or ran and you’re a slower champ so unless you flash over some rocks or trees and spirit bond a jungle minion to make your escape, solo escapes are tough as Karma. The main reason I carry flash is because, having first learned to play with Kassadin, I find it entirely unnatural to play without some sort of teleport at my fingertips in the event of an intense situation of any kind. Obviously the epic cooldown on flash and heal means you must use them both very wisely.
“Damn you and your flash kills, you ****ty karma!” – DarktheGreat (playing as Annie)
Clairvoyance – Map awareness wins games, plain and simple. I couldn’t say it better myself, so I’ll just quote veteran user Jebus McAzn, “Clairvoyance… …has a use in scouting enemy jungle paths, Dragon timings, Baron timings, and counter-ganks.” For this reason, it’s considered by many to be one of the best picks for support characters. Additionally, you’ll also be warding as support and it’s not unlikely that you’ll be in the bottom lane where you can easily ward dragon periodically in the early game. Clairvoyance is an essential summoner skill for any team to have at high elo.
Heal – Heal is often frowned upon, particularly at high elo. The guide has taken a lot of downvotes (from bad players, trolls, and frankly people who are just too lazy to read) because I’ve kept this on here so I hope you’ll appreciate the fact that I’ve stayed the course and kept it! There’s a million reasons for this. It helps with first blood. It makes you a better support asset in team fights. You can combine it with your mantra+wave heal, shield, and spirit bond to really pull an allied champion out of the jaws of death. You can also use it to bait. Keep in mind, Karma’s passive is an increase in AP corresponding to her missing health. You can pretend to recall by your turret or pretend to stupidly stay in combat with no health left. When they pounce (and oh, they will, you are a squishy looking support and NOBODY pass** that up), you mantra+self-shield, mantra+wave, Heal, and Flash out leaving your friendly champ or turret to mop up what’s left of whoever took the bait. This build of Karma is VERY difficult to kill in the laning stage of the game for exactly this reason. Like I mentioned, I killed both Mordekaiser and Malphite with no help from my laning partner or turret before minions even spawned using this heal in combo with my mantra+wave heals.
Remember how I said at high elo, every team need clairvoyance? At super high elo, people will naturally assume that you are to take Clairvoyance because you are considered “support,” so you should definitely take it. At middle-tier elo, if someone else takes Clairvoyance, that also makes your decision easier. At lower elo, I’d recommend Heal over Clairvoyance because at low elo your problem is not so much what you can’t see as it is that team mates do not pay attention to what you can see. People tend to die not because they couldn’t see it coming but because they weren’t paying any attention and simply didn’t see it coming, if that makes sense.
Heal is definitely not for most champions, Karma is the only one I ever take it on, and I certainly don’t take it every match… and like I said, while people who have never played Karma or read the guide consistently drop by and downvote, leaving behind such enlightened comments as “lawl, heal, gg,” I keep this on here as a top pick for Karma because it’s been consistently vetted as a viable top pick by multiple high elo Karma players. I don’t care about having the highest guide score as much as I care about being honest and accurately representing Karma and the best choices for her. This is one of them.
Fortify/Garrison – Garrison is the new version of Fortify that was introduced with the advent of Dominion style gameplay. I usually never take this on Karma, generally tanks take this. If your tank doesn’t take this, you might consider taking it instead. Remember the game is more about kills than it is about turrets. But… as Karma, you could actually use this when baiting if you’re luring in a turret diver… remember it also doubles the firing rate of the turret… so I can see how you might like this. I don’t use it personally because I find Heal to be a more effective baiting tool since it can be used outside of turret range… but I can see many merits to carrying this for your team, particularly if your team has a lot of late-game blooming characters (for example: Rammus).
A quick note about map awareness
Clairvoyance and Fortify/ Garrison are both – what you might choose to call – “high map awareness” summoner skills. “Map awareness” is more than something you buy, it is the most important skill you develop as a player. The single biggest thing that differentiates the players at the very top from those at the very bottom is their differing degrees of awareness. You’re learning about “role awareness” right now – how to play different kinds of champions… so hey, you’re getting better as you read this (maybe!) If you are going to take Fortify/garrison] or [[clairvoyance, you should be practicing checking the minimap no less frequently than 4 times per minute (preferably more often than that), and also every time there is a ping. You should be checking the chat dialog constantly, and at all times you should have a general idea of where your jungler is at.
This takes work to get good at… but if you want to use Clairvoyance and Fortify/ Garrison properly, you need global map awareness constantly. These skills will force you to improve your gameplay. Like I said, usually someone else will take fortify, but bear this in mind especially with clairvoyance.
Semi-off-topic… You should always always always play with the game sound ON and all other external music OFF, as a matter of courtesy to the people you are matched with. Pet peeve
Teleport – Could be nice instead of flash since Karma is slow. Do keep in mind though that as Karma you won’t be recalling too many times and when you do, spirit bonding a minion or allied champion can help you (and them) get back to the battle faster. Flash is preferable. I never take Teleport as Karma.
Clarity – Your mana problems aren’t too severe and you will fix them early… so think about your team composition. If you’re with a bunch of characters with mana issues (examples: Kassadin, Kog’Maw, Rammus), or if your laning partner really wants you to carry this for them, fine. Other than that, I say forget it. Running out of mana doesn’t stop pushes the way that dying does.
Ignite – I’ve changed my mind a lot on Ignite for Karma. Make no mistake, it used to be awful… and it still is if your goal is to emphasize her support characteristics over her damage outpoint. However, with masteries tree re-arranged so that you must no longer drop Archaic Knowledge for Burning Embers, I see greater viability for it. Pure carry isn’t your primary role as Karma. You should not be aiming to carry in most matches. Better idea: have your laning partner carry Ignite. They don’t need an escape if you are their escape. That said, when you ARE building for damage output, planning to solo the mid, or even just for fun or experimenting, Duskmelt has demonstrated at this point that Ignite does have viability on Karma and I can’t argue with it. On 11/18/11 I moved this out of “Avoid Taking” and into “Possibly Take.”
Surge – While I haven’t personally play tested this, the AS numbers don’t look mathematically like they’d benefit you in any way. The only use you have for your auto-attack after the laning stage of the game is in tandem with Lich Bane and that’s only as a pure AP Carry Karma which is in unusual situations… and even then, your auto-attack is only useful every 2 seconds, contingent on the cooldown of Lich Bane’s active. Whether the AP increase could dovetail with Inner Flame in a way that makes you even more deceptively powerful is something that has yet to be play tested though, like I said. Until then, I’m not comfortable recommending it. Feel free to leave feedback about your experience with Surge in the comments section.
Revive – As a support, you may have to sacrifice for team mates and you may think it’s nice to come back from the dead quickly. That said, in many rounds where you play with good team mates, you may only die 0 to 2 times and this is sitting in your summoner skill slot just wasting space. If you died during the pushing stage of the game, it’s often because the rest of your team mates died first and it won’t do you much good to respawn before them anyway. I don’t hesitate to assert that you will probably die more often BECAUSE you took this instead of something useful, entirely negating whatever positive benefit it may have had.
Cleanse – A great way out of lockdowns. You cleanse, you flash, and then you run away. Bad news though: Karma is slow except for the effect of Spirit Bond and we’re talking Ryze speeds here. Taking Cleanse means you have to leave the Heal summoner spell which is just too valuable for your team. If you’re with your team, Heal would be better than Cleanse for obvious reasons. If you’re getting targeted with the team, self-shield, use all your heals, and hopefully by the time that’s done your mates will have mopped up enough kills to save you. If you die, no biggie, you died for your team. If you’re not with your team, you’re dead anyway.
Exhaust/Ghost – Spirit Bond performs both the tasks of slowing enemies and speeding up allies. In that context, these both seem redundant. Furthermore, given the contexts in which you as Karma would try to use these, it’s unlikely the exhaust or ghost would have saved your life in any case. We’ll talk about why. Flash is both more likely to nab you a kill OR save you than either of these.
Promote – Sub-optimal for you throughout the entire laning stage because you don’t need any help with farming and the Flash+ Heal combo is more likely to net you kills and assists through assassinations and baiting.