Karma League of Legends Champion Guide and Build

Karma League OF Legends Champion Guide And Build.

1)

As any mage, Doran’s Ring is a smart way to start. You can’t predict where the game is gonna go at this point and it’s a lot of bang for your buck. Health, mana regen, AND 15 ability power is just a LOT of value to start off with.

Alternatively, you could start with a Sapphire Crystal (commonly called blue crystal) -because a Sapphire Crystal can build into either Catalyst the Protector or Glacial Shroud – and a couple of Mana Potions or Health Potions (often abbreviated in game as “pots”).

I’m about 50/50 on this these days. Some matches I prefer to start off with the power of Doran’s Ring… but you’ll discover as Karma that you’re very hungry for your mana engine at the start of the match. Powerful abilities and health are only good so long as you have mana to cast and be useful. Catalyst and Glacial Shroud weigh in at a cost of 1325 gold and 1525 gold respectively, making it quite appetizing to get an early start.

The next item is where it gets complicated.

2)

You’ve been laning for awhile now and this is where you start to make decisions that will shape what kind of Karma you’re going to be in this round. This decision may decide the outcome of the game, no pressure. Ask yourself:

A) Are all or most of the enemies mages? If yes, go Catalyst -> Banshee’s Veil. The magic resist is essential.

B) Are you up against all AD characters (this would be rare)? If yes, go with Glacial Shroud -> Frozen Heart. The armor will prove useful.

C) Answered “no” to both of those? In most rounds, you’ll play more of a mixed group. In THAT case, you should ask yourself:

Do you know your team mates?
Are your team mates doing average or better this round?
Do they generally work well together?
Are you coordinating via skype or have you played with them long enough that you understand each other’s strategy as a group?
Are none of the enemy mages distinguishing themselves as challenging?

If you answered “Yes” to all of those, go with Glacial Shroud -> Frozen Heart.
If you answered “no” or aren’t sure, your safest bet is Catalyst -> Rod of Ages.

You’ll probably end up going with Rod of Ages most of the time.

As with any character, if you have money left over on any of your recalls while working on building your first big item, grabbing basic boots is a good idea.

You need a mana engine so these are pretty much the only three starting items we’re considering at this point.

3)

If you haven’t bought them yet, it’s probably time to pick up those basic boots.

4)

Do you need Ionian Boots of Lucidity yet? Depends. Again, this is situational. If you went with Frozen Heart and have team mates who understand the squishier path you’ve chosen for their sake, you can probably save boots of lucidity for later. You’re already getting some good cooldown reduction from Frozen Heart. If you didn’t go with frozen heart, you need the cooldown reduction you get with the boots.

In almost all games you’ll want to get those level 2 boots now. In most situations, you will want to get to at least 30% cooldown reduction before the pushing stage of the game. More than that is generally overkill, but less usually means dying while everything is on CD.

5)

Pick your subheading based on your decision in step (2)

5a) – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

If you answered yes to (A) and went with Banshees veil…

Then you also got your shoes, per (4). You need cooldown reduction but Frozen Heart is a huge waste of money if you aren’t against AD characters and you could really use an AP boost at this point as well. Rod of Ages gives you more AP than Deathfire Grasp or Morello’s Evil Tome (and also gives you health and bonus mana) but at the same time the cooldown reduction of Deathfire Grasp or Morello’s Evil Tome translates into your shielding and healing being more readily available. Make your decision carefully based on the game you’re in. It might make sense to build Fiendish Codex (which can build into either Morello’s or Deathfire Grasp later, and then build Rod of Ages.

Rarely will you find yourself in this situation. I must emphasize this. Deathfire Grasp and Morello’s Tome are NOT normal parts of a balanced Support Karma build. “How do you decide which one?” you ask? I’ve got a graph below comparing the two and explaining how I make my choice. You ask “What about Shurelya’s Reverie or Spirit Visage?” I’ve made a couple notes about those below as well.

5b) – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

If you answered “yes” to (B) and went with Frozen Heart

…that means you aren’t against mages so you won’t benefit from banshees veil’s effects and you don’t need the cooldown reduction of Deathfire Grasp or Morello’s because you’re supplied sufficiently by Frozen Heart and Ionian boots. You will benefit most from Rod of Ages. After that, get those level 2 boots.

5c) – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

If you answered “yes” to all the questions under (C) above…

Is your team doing aweful because of a fed mage? Build Banshee’s Veil. Jump down to (6)
Is your team is doing aweful for some other reason? Build Rod of Ages. Jump down to (6)

Is your team still doing ok? Well then you might as well build all-out super-aura-buffer-Karma. This is rare.

Get Will of the Ancients
Get your level 2 boots (if you haven’t yet)

Based on the situation you’re now in, you should build these next three items in whatever order you feel is most appropriate.

Abyssal Scepter
Soul Shroud (if your mates need its aura, otherwise forget it)
Aegis of the Legion

If you started off with Frozen Heart and built all that, here’s what you’re now doing for your team mates that stick close to you:
Boosting nearby allies’ +30AP, +20% spell vamp +10% cooldown reduction, +12 armor, +15 Magic Resist, +8 attack damage
Docking nearby enemies – 20MR, -20% attack speed

If your team mates are smart, respect that you’ve built squishy for them, and are willing to stay together to protect you and benefit from your auras, the enemy team is in for a massacre.

By the way, if you are new to the game and are wondering how to fit all that, remember that Doran’s Ring becomes cheap in the long run and you would sell it.

5d) – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

If you find yourself looking at 5d, you probably started with Rod of Ages (as indeed you will most games). You already bought the boots per heading (4) so you at least have some cooldowns. Your options are much more wide open now which is nice but also challenging when it comes to deciding what to buy. It’d be nice to have one other cooldown reduction item besides your boots but you don’t necessarily need it immediately. Take a look at the scores and builds of enemies.

Fed mages? Go to Banshees Veil next. Then go for your cooldown reduction item of choice (I generally prefer Frozen Heart to Morello’s or Deathfire Grasp).
Fed AD characters or an even mix? Get your cooldown reduction by pursuing frozen heart.

6)

Whew!!!! Ok, stop. Take a deep breath. I know this is a lot of info but look! Now you’ve got at least Doran’s ring, two big items, and level 2 boots. We’re a LONG ways into the game. If you die this late in the game, you’re getting a nice 30 seconds to make up your mind about what to buy so there’s no rush… ;)

Again, the emphasis of all of this is that you build for the situation you are in. Let’s say your team has firmly taken control and has taken out two inhibitors and you’re all about to go in and finish mopping everything up. Just spend all your gold on AP items. You’ve got no reason to save anything at this point, right?

If not, let’s put our thinking caps back on and focus on what our team needs most. Now, I cannot possibly give you “what ifs” for every situation you could be in at this point. This is FAR into the game and the possibilities are endless… All I can do is encourage you look at what everyone else has built, see who is fed and who isn’t, and make decisions about what will best benefit your team based on that. I’ll give you a few general tips, tricks, and hints… and then I’ll show you two extreme situations in two opposite directions (Tanking as Karma and AP Carrying as Karma) to give you an idea of the wide range of potential directions your build could take depending on the situation you find yourself in.

First, a general exercise. Let’s try this. Abyssal Scepter vs. Void Staff for Karma. Think about it for a moment. Did you pick Abyssal? I really hope so. It has the same ability power as Void Staff. It lowers enemy magic resist across the board by 20 and all your team mates reap that benefit. You also get 57 magic resist out of the deal. Void staff is a little cheaper and gives you 40% penetration. You MIGHT consider it only if the enemies are all AD and you are the only mage on your team AND you are playing as AP Carry Karma (conditions for which are discussed below, don’t laugh till you’ve read it), but this situation is extremely rare. Under any other situation, your team is just going to benefit much more from you carrying Abyssal Scepter than carrying Void Staff. It’s not like you’re targeting their tanks first anyway.

Abyssal Scepter is GREAT for Karma in almost ANY situation or almost ANY build. In games that go more than 45 minutes, it’s in my build 98% of the time. It is the most consistent item that I pursue in fact. It’s not a question of “Do I or don’t I want it?” It’s always a question of, “What do I buy first, the AP part or the MR part?” They’re both so yummy for Karma. Obviously you should choose based on what’s going on in the game.

Now… let’s say you’re in a situation where you’re thinking, “Yeah but THE TEAM really need this other thing right now more.” Right, buy that instead. That’s building situationally. Heck, you might have noticed that as early as finishing your first item and drastically departed from your original direction in your build. Just tonight I played a match where 20 minutes in we were getting hammered and in my brain something just snapped, “I need 40% cooldown reduction NOW.” I jumped straight from my boots into Fiendish Codex, we rolled the map, and 13 minutes and a 6 kill spree later we got a surrender.
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By the way, don’t be afraid to ask your allies what they need or what they think the team needs or what you should build. Some people are afraid they will look “noobish” if they ask. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing something or being new, but secondly consulting your team mates about what the team needs is a sign of SKILL in this game. You’re foolish not to do it.

As you obviously know from just glancing at her stats, Karma benefits well from ability power & magic penetration, general defensive goodies, and auras that help her team mates. Obviously if it has “attack damage” or “attack speed” in the description, it’s out (except Lich Bane as mentioned below in special cir****tances only). Other than that, pick whichever of these three categories you think your TEAM will benefit most from you having and go with it. You’ll get a taste for some of my favorites below.

Read through a couple of the special build situations to jog some of your thoughts about how to finish out your build or just building situationally in general. These are descriptions of more radical situations but you can easily read these and see how my mind works and how I approach playing Karma in different situations.

Special Build Situations

Karma is designed to be a critical part of a complete team composition. That said, sometimes things go awry. Sometimes a player lags out, sometimes they disconnect, sometimes they have to go and just leave, sometimes a team member TELLS YOU they are going to get a snack or go to the bathroom and be right back but you don’t read the chat box and start the game without them and his character gets chosen automatically… grr. Anyway, sometimes you are laning with a carry and you end up accidentally getting several of their kills early on. Sometimes other players fall flat on their faces. When this happens, it’s time to adapt to the situation. Because Karma naturally has both high health and high ability power and her first item is usually Rod of Ages, she can change to a tanking or AP carrying role more easily than most characters. It should be rare that you do this, but sometimes you will have to because the situation absolutely demands it. The following suggestions are not intended to be read as advice to “do this often or if you feel like it or if it matches your style.” These are specific measures called for by only very specific situations and I rarely employ them.

Semi-Tanking as Karma

Karma can make the adaptation to tanking very easily. Rod of Ages, Banshee’s Veil, Frozen Heart, Force of Nature, and Aegis of the Legion round out a very armored and very magic resistant build. You’re no Rammus by any means but… sometimes it’ll do. Only do this in situations where other players are not better endowed for the task whether because they have been gold-starved or they are unwilling to or for some other reason. Very importantly – communicate to your team mates that you are tanking and they should let you be targeted first. The image way up above in the “General Game Basics” section illustrates a logical situation for tanking with Karma. M4g0t and I were laning together and we went 9 and 1 in our lane. I kept getting the *unlucky* last hit on his kills and over-farming the minions. Teemo on bottom fed VERY hard, getting 11 deaths before managing to steal his first kill from M4g0t. M4g0t ended up gold-starved while their Olaf (attack damage) got fat and full on teemo kills. I adapted by adding Frozen Heart to rod and veil and we gained traction in our next team fight. I then added thornmail and we gained a LOT of traction when olaf targeted me. Adding Aegis, I was able to withstand full-on attention from their entire team for very prolonged periods that would normally give any team all the opportunity it needed to mop up the kills. Had our Jarvan IV not then skipped out on two team battles, the tanking adaptation would have saved the game. What’s important to note about this situation is not the loss, but the fact that building as tank was the correct decision and would have saved the match.

Just remember: it’s OK to walk away from a lost game feeling really proud of how you did. I had a streak of 6, made myself the tank, absorbed 52,700 damage, healing 21,000 damage, and I made the best decisions for the team. Just remember: it’s not about how well you play as an individual AND it’s not about how well the team does; it’s about how well you play as a team mate.

Oh, and of course, here’s a crushing win with “tank Karma.” What… you thought I wouldn’t deliver? Rammus disconnected before minions spawned, 4 vs. 5 all game. Stepped up to the plate… Hard.

While we’re on the subject of tanking, it makes sense to talk about Shurelya’s Reverie and Spirit Visage. Shurelya’s is another legendary item, another whopping massive amount of gold. The cooldown reduction is nice… but again, I would not add Reverie if you already have ionian boots and another source of cooldown reduction like Frozen Heart because you won’t benefit much from the extra cooldown reduction past 30%. You also really don’t need the health regen; you are a healer and shielder. You don’t really need the mana regeneration either. Also, you already have something that boosts team mates’ speed and that is spirit bond. In that light, this is a huge waste for Karma in 99.8% of matches. The one exception that comes to mind is if you are tanking or semi-tanking against a team of all mages so the armor of Frozen Heart won’t benefit you. This situation is insanely rare though… and in that situation you already have Rod of Ages and Banshees Veil so you still don’t need the mana. Spirit Visage is a a cheap build, it shouldn’t be Legendary Tier. I guess if you were in a hurry for some CDR as a tank against all mages under desperate cir****tances it might make sense… but the MR and health it grants is just not enough to warrant using up an item slot with it… and frankly, for cooldown reduction, I’d probably still choose Morello’s over either of these because I’d prefer the extra ability power to the tiny amount of health or magic resist offered by Shurelya’s Reverie or Spirit Visage. Has your experience been different? Feel free to share!

AP Carrying as Karma

15 Minutes in. You just bought Rod of Ages. You have 5 kills, 1 death. Everyone else on your team has maybe 1 or 2 kills and maybe 2 or 3 deaths. It might be time to go completely off the rails and pursue Rabadon’s Deathcap, or… even Mejai’s Soulstealer. As a general rule, you really would like to avoid this situation… but don’t be fooled… Karma can be very powerful and… when no one else is clearly stepping up to the plate… you might be called.

Here’s a little secret: Fed Karma is seriously an amazing thing. Don’t tell Riot. Give her a little ability power and she does horrific amounts of AoE damage in team fights. Conditions for building AP Karma are very rare, but you might run into this situation so we’re going to discuss it a little.
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Yes, that’s right. Battle of the supports. 4 healers… and twisted fate… Sum, Hata, Blackcraft, and I were trying to be silly with the composition (Hatazzb had long joked about a team of all healers), it was a pre-made of 4, and twisted fate was the random 5th guy. He spent most of it soloing and jungling. You can see from adding up the assists though that this was basically a battle of healers squaring off against a pretty standard team composition. I suspected from the outset that if we were to have any chance of winning, Blackcraft would need to get fed so he could tank successfully and I would need to get fed so that I could AP carry. Janna and Soraka are obviously not carries and twisted fate couldn’t be assumed to be good since he was a gift of the matching system and not in our skype call. The third morde kill sealed the deal for me and I went all AP. After Rabadon’s, I chose Abyssal because Anivia had been well-fed and was causing considerable damage and I needed the MR of abyssal, not the extra penetration of Void Staff. You can see it didn’t go on quite long enough but my next item was going to be Lich Bane (and this is the one time when it does make sense to buy Lich Bane as Karma). With my runes, I finished at almost 500 AP… and this wasn’t that long of a game. I had a killing streak of 13, which stands as my record killing streak with Karma. My sprees don’t always go dub-digits… but when they do… check ‘em! The one death I had was incurred in their base while we were finishing them off and I’m still not sure exactly who killed me or how… I just kinda spaced out because we were all laughing on skype with disbelief that we were actually going to come out of it with a win.

So yes… Karma CAN carry… but only under very rare or… intentionally ludicrous conditions should you attempt such a thing :)

Since we’re talking about AP Karma, it makes sense to talk about how to choose between Morello’s Evil Tome and Deathfire Grasp.

As you can see, Morello’s is cheaper and better in all of those categories, leaving the Unique Active of Deathfire Grasp its only advantage. It makes sense to purchase Deathfire Grasp as AP Carry Karma because it adds a powerful nuke to your arsenal, one you absolutely need.

And there’s an example of that situation. I got fed early and decided to go full AP. Right decision all the way. I was able to feed Cait some kills in the mid game and my shields became so overpowered that they couldn’t farm any of our champs. I used to recommend always choosing Morello’s Evil Tome unless you were playing AP Carry Karma because it’s cheapter and that extra ability power translates into more powerful heals, shields, and AoE damage in team fights. However, after re-analyzing the math and recognizing that the extra 5% CDR of Morello’s is not benefiting you because of the cap, and re-figuring that the price difference is largely negated if you purchase Kage’s Lucky Pick earlier, and realizing that the extra 10AP pales in comparison to having that much extra damage capacity for your team from Deathfire Grasp’s active, it’s my recommendation that any Karma player who does not take Frozen Heart should choose Deathfire Grasp over Morello’s Evil Tome… that is unless you are the sort of player who has trouble remembering to use unique actives… If that’s the case, you should be taking Morello’s Evil Tome until you have practiced using unique actives in AI games and are comfortable choosing Deathfire Grasp.

A final couple notes: if you are building AP Carry Karma and opted to go with cooldown reduction runes (at least 10% worth) and didn’t take magic penetration runes, you should skip your second cooldown reduction item altogether because you’ve got nearly 35% already from your masteries, runes, and boots. Instead, Haunting Guise is a reliable choice. It’s a quick build and, in tandem with your Abyssal Scepter, will give you the magic penetration you so badly need as a carry.

Another option which I prefer more is to still build Deathfire Grasp but actually build Mercury’s Treads instead of ionian boots. This option is highly preferable, especially if the enemy team has a lot of CC and/or little magic resist. Mercury’s Treads are a fantastic item on AP carries. That 35 tenacity is big… and that unique active on Deathfire Grasp is pretty critical for AP Carry Karma, as is discussed further in the 502 chapter.

So to Summarize

In short, round out your build with whatever is best for the situation you are in… and you can see how diverse the potential situations are. You’ll usually go with some balance of ability power and health. Karma starts with plenty of both and benefits best from a combination of complimentary items. No single build is going to suffice for every game. Period. Curious about another item or concept not mentioned here? Ask :) Remember, our entire emphasis is on building for the situation you are in, not memorizing a formula. Take lessons from everything you’ve seen me write here… and remember you won’t always pick the right item. Learn from it, take that lesson, and use it for a crushing win next round. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll go out on a wild limb and gamble and pick EXACTLY the right item (like my Fiendish Codex pick tonight)… in which case, use that for a crushing win THIS round. Remember, every item pick is important even down to the last pick of the game. Always be learning, always be thinking… every build item is important… be thinking carefully down to the very last one.

Other Items I’ve Seen People Pick as Karma

Archangel’s Staff/tear of goddess – You will occasionally run out of mana with Karma and it’s tempting to think “I need a boost.” Archangel’s Staff just gives Karma more mana than she needs and leaves her too vulnerable in the early game. Building it in the later game might make some sense as a source of ability power for AP Karma. Because Archangel’s Staff converts 3% of your maximum mana into AP, with your base mana and the mana from Banshees Veil, Rod of Ages, and Glacial Shroud combined you’re looking at getting about 174.6AP out of Archangel’s Staff when it reaches its own maximum mana bonus… and that’s nothing to sneeze at. That said,

Rabadon’s Deathcap is still better, even without Abyssal Scepter… and you’d probably be getting Abyssal Scepter also… leaving me to wonder when you’d even find time for this item. It is true though that Archangel’s Staff is cheaper than Rabadon’s but because you’d probably be starting off with a Blasting Wand, by the time you’d have the cash to finish Archangel’s you’d easily have the cash for Needlessly Large Rod ( Blasting Wand can combine with Tear of the Goddess to build Archangel’s Staff or it can also combine with Needlessly Large Rod to build rabadon’s). I can see buying Archangel’s Staff… as a final 6th item for AP carry Karma when you already have Rabadon’s… or if your team is about to make the final push and you can’t yet afford Rabadon’s but you’re sure you won’t be back to buy again. The other thing you can’t even see played out in these numbers is that Rabadon’s is also giving you its 30% bonus on the bonus AP from Inner Flame and your runes. It is, hands down, the better buy in almost, almost, almost every single case.

Secondly, if you’re using all your mana as Karma (whether as AP Karma or no), don’t freak out. Be proud of your team mates and yourself. You are running out of mana because they are taking a LOT of damage for you but managing to stay alive to receive healing and shielding… and you are healing and shielding a lot. Running low on mana as Karma in the late game is actually a very good sign for your team. If you are running out of mana, your team should probably move back while you recall. This is especially true if you built the super-buffer Karma. Communication is key here.

Mejai’s Soulstealer/ Leviathan – This is an expensive build and these would be a cheap way to get some health or ability power. Now you aren’t an assassin but… with the right team mates, you might have only 0-2 deaths per match (as mentioned above) and upwards of 30 or 40 assists. Getting one of these around the turn of the game is actually a very viable option… and especially if you are building AP carry Karma… Outside of those cir****tances though, I’m very hesitant to plug it into my build for the raw psychological factor of it. As lifeguard Karma, not having stacks means you have nothing to lose and aren’t hesitant about sacrificing yourself to save your teammates when the time comes… and it very well may come sooner or more often than you’d like it to.

Rylai’s Crystal Scepter – On the surface, it seems like this would compliment Karma very well. Like Rod of Ages, it has tons of health and ability power – two things that you really want as Karma. But… you’d never build this as a first major item because it lacks an engine for your mana. It also lacks cooldown reduction so it probably wouldn’t be a second major build item either. It seems like a viable option for Karma in the late game… or if for some reason you started off buying Frozen Heart and decided you didn’t need the mana supply from Rod of Ages… until you notice that Rod of Ages is 70 gold cheaper while the bonuses for it actually cap HIGHER and with a bonus mana supply. That leaves Rylai’s with the slowing effect (35% for one target, 15% for multiple targets)… and you have a spirit bond to slow down enemies already.

So… there are two views on this… one is that you can get it in addition to Rod of Ages and have a bonus slowing effect for your spirit bond… the other is that Rod of Ages is cheaper and you really don’t need that extra slowing effect. I tend to lean in that latter direction. It makes no sense as an early item and after that it just seems very expensive for marginal extra benefit. This might be off-topic but I have the exact same response when I see people buy this for Kassadin. They already have a slow and silence… wouldn’t they rather spend less money to have have more health, the extra mana from rod of ages and all the extra ability power from the bonus of rod of ages combined with the 3% of its mana being turned into ability power by their archangel’s staff? It just seems like a no-brainer when you think about it.

Zhonya’s Hourglass – On the surface seems like a very viable regular build option for Karma. It’s got armor, it’s got AP, what’s not to be liked? Actually though, you should only build it for Karma in a very limited number of very specific situations and we’ll talk about why. In situations where you need armor, Frozen Heart is going to be more beneficial for your team because of the aura (-20% attack speed to nearby enemies) and better for you because of the cooldown reduction… and you can pursue your ability power with another team-benefiting aura item like Abyssal Scepter. However, there are cir****tances where Zhonya’s Hourglass does make more sense. Let’s say you’ve already got the cooldown reduction you need because you have your shoes and maybe you rushed Fiendish Codex for some reason (perhaps building AP Carry karma). Well, the cooldown reduction of frozen heart is now worthless to you (because it would put you over 40% CDR) so if you find yourself needing an armor item, Zhonya’s makes a lot of sense because it also helps with your AP. Maybe you find yourself going semi-tank and you want an armor item but also some ability power… Maybe it’s your 6th item slot and you find yourself thinking “I want armor and ability power and this is the only way to get both.” There are only a few reasons why you’d build this. You would never want to pick this any earlier than 4th major build item though… remember, there’s no mana engine, there’s no cooldown reduction, and if you can get what you need with a combo that offers your team some auras in the process, it’s usually worth it. Here’s the thing about Zhonya’s that precludes me from building it very often as Karma: because of the way she plays and functions I never find myself saying “Man, I would have lived there if only I’d had Zhonya’s stasis ( Hourglass’ active).” I think you’ll probably see why when you get to the gameplay section of this guide. Additionally, Karma needs magic resist more than armor. Abyssal Scepter is way cheaper, has that magic resist, has an aura, and is almost, almost, almost always the better choice. It would be an enormous mistake to make Zhonya’s Hourglass a standard part of any Karma build. I’m about to illustrate why.

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Karma has a constant (non-climbing) base stat of only 30 magic resist while her armor base stat climbs with her levels, peaking at 78. So… a Karma with only Frozen Heart has more armor (almost 200) than a Karma with a Banshee’s Veil and Abyssal Scepter combined has magic resist.

Here’s the logical situation to build Zhonya’s Hourglass. I started off with Rod of Ages because I wasn’t sure what direction the battle would take. Dr. Mundo then got disconnected for the first 20 minutes and through some lane swapping I ended up against Urgot in the middle and managed to keep him starved while getting myself fed through minion farming. The early gold and XP advantage yielded me some kills and I began building AP Carry Karma. The enemy AD characters then started to gain traction and focus me… hard… “But, Abyssal Scepter’s aura could have really helped out your Karthus!” you say. I did notice Hatazzb pwning face, but check the builds again. Notice anything? That’s right: the enemy team built no magic resist. Also, Hatazzb had Sorcerer’s Shoes already. Abyssal Scepter might have taken their magic resist into the red for Hatazzb, but its benefits were simply outweighed by those of Zhonya’s Hourglass in these particular cir****tances. Had I actually remembered to use Zhonya’s Hourglass’s active when it was up, that 4 deaths would have been a 2 and the enemy would have been shorted 1500 gold or so. If you’re curious, Rabadon’s and Lich Bane were the final 2 items I would have built had this gone on long enough. By the way, you don’t even want to know the kind of damage I was doing to that Warmog’s Armor-and-no-magic-resist- Rammus with Deathfire Grasp’s active.

Force of Nature/ Quicksilver Sash – I haven’t actually seen anyone else take these as Karma… However, in light of what we just discussed with regard to Karma’s base stats for armor and magic resist, the mitigating effects of an additional magic resist item would be very helpful for a tanking Karma, particularly against fed mages. Remember that second screenshot I keep referring back to? Force of Nature would have been a better choice than Thornmail because most of the damage being done was magic damage. I actually like having that mistake in there though because it illustrates the importance of choosing situationally down to the very last item.

This all just further illustrates just how much Abyssal Scepter is the dream item for Karma. It has magic resist she almost always needs, ability power she strongly benefits from, and a lovely aura for her team mates. It also illustrates why Frozen Heart is such a great item for Karma. Frozen heart combined with your base states puts you at almost 200 armor which is plenty, it gives you cooldown reduction you desperately need, and it also has a nice aura for your team mates.

Mercury’s Treads The problem with merc treads… ok screw it, there is no problem with Merc Treads. EVERYBODY loves merc treads, if you didn’t know it before, they are considered by most players to be one of the best items in the game, period. Magic resist and 35 Tenacity? Out of a pair of boots? Seriously? So awesome. The problem is that you need cooldown reduction and much more than most champions because of Mantra’s high CDR sensitivity. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are a cheap and early form of it, making them practically a given for Karma in the early game. Additionally, as a support in late game, if you are being targeted – as I pointed out before – you can self- shield and dump your Mantras to try to stay alive while your carries tear the enemies up. Really this is ideal – you’re more beefy than your carries anyway. The point is: if you must choose between CDR and tenacity, CDR is preferable because you’re already pretty beefy, the enemies should be targeting your carries first if they are smart, and you are more likely to save your carries with CDR. If though, you end up with the chance to pursue a third CDR item in the late game ( Morello’s Evil Tome, Deathfire Grasp, etc.), feel free to sell back your CDR boots, eat the 300 gold loss, and pick up some merc treads. This is the point that Jhoijhoi and Jebus McAzn make with Berserker’s Greaves and Mercury’s Treads (once you’ve gotten plenty of attack speed from other items in the late game, sell the one and get the other). It’s extremely pragmatic for carries (who are more likely to be CC’d). I rarely buy Mercury’s Treads as Karma, but I would definitely not write off their viability. Also, as I mentioned above, if you’re carrying CDR runes instead of AP runes, that’s a great reason to consider picking up a pair of these bad boys.

Ninja Tabi No. If you are facing heavy AD champions, Frozen Heart is a much better choice. If you choose to pursue your armor through Zhonya’s Hourglass, then you really need the CDR boots because you aren’t getting the CDR of Glacial Shroud/ Frozen Heart. I’ve never built Ninja Tabi for Karma and never will.

I am also very open to any input anyone else has on any of these items and their viability. This is a community, if you think I’ve underrated… or overrated an item, don’t just vote my build down, give me your reasons and I’ll try it and I’ll give you feedback as well. I’ve played Karma more than all the other champs combined but maybe you approach things differently and have thought of an angle I haven’t! Also, if you’re curious about something not listed here, ask!

A Note on Aura Items

Do keep in mind that aura items like Abyssal Scepter, Frozen Heart, and Aegis of the Legion grant unique Auras. That means your team has very little benefit or no benefit from a second aura. For example, if you and I both build Aegis of the Legion, you and I each benefit from each other’s aura, but our nearby team mates do not benefit twice (once from each aura); they only benefit once. Consider this when making build choices. Pay attention to what others have already built. If one of your team mates asks, “Can someone build Will of the Ancients for me?” and two of you build it, he only benefits once, so do communicate. Know who’s doing what. I can’t emphasize more strongly that it’s ok to ask things like, “What should I build?” Bad team mates build the same thing every match and call communicative team mates “noobs” for asking questions. Good team mates communicate and adapt to the situation.

Quick-Reference Flowchart

Here’s the long-awaited quick-reference build flowchart. I’ve omitted super-aura-buffer Karma from it as including it would result in an information overload and make the chart too difficult to read. The chart does not include any explanations as to the reasons for anything. That is what the above discussion was for. I am including this chart as a quick reference because it has been repeatedly requested. DO NOT USE THE CHART BY ITSELF WITHOUT READING THE GUIDE AND EXPLANATIONS, THEN COME BACK AND DOWNVOTE BECAUSE IT DIDN’T GO WELL. Mobafire doesn’t allow links to rapidshares, photobucket is just a horrible website in general with absolutely atrocious bandwidth limits, and imageshack will not let me post the file without automatic re-sizing… so… I’ve split the image into two smaller images. Unfortunately, it still resizes them. If you want to save them to your computer, you’ll have to save each half (top and bottom) and piece them together in paint. Sorry for the inconvenience – unless someone can suggest a hosting site other than the three aforementioned ones, it’ll just have to remain this way. I’ve spent around 50 hours of my life trying all kinds of fixes and frankly I’ve had it with trying to find a hosting service that is run with any degree of competence. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you check the change log.

DO NOT USE THE CHART BY ITSELF WITHOUT READING THE GUIDE AND EXPLANATIONS, THEN COME BACK AND DOWNVOTE BECAUSE IT DIDN’T GO WELL.

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