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Karma Build Guide by bobsalad

Support S11 Challenger Karma support in-depth guide

Support S11 Challenger Karma support in-depth guide

Updated on September 22, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author bobsalad Build Guide By bobsalad 60 2 108,050 Views 10 Comments
60 2 108,050 Views 10 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author bobsalad Karma Build Guide By bobsalad Updated on September 22, 2021
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Arcane Comet
Nimbus Cloak
Absolute Focus

Biscuit Delivery
Time Warp Tonic

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

S11 Challenger Karma support in-depth guide

By bobsalad
Hello, I'm Cloudy and I onetrick Karma since the end of Season 6. Before that I played Maokai and Yorick support but switched to Karma since she was the strongest meta support at the time. I hit Challenger with Karma in Season 6, 7, 8, and 11. I quit for most of Season 9/10 but started playing again and was the number 1 ranked Karma in the world in Season 11.
About Karma
Karma is an enchanter with a uniquely strong early game. She scales well like other enchanters but can also pressure the lane early.

Gets ultimate at level 1
Long range poke
Higher damage than other enchanters
AOE Shield for teamfights

Not as much peel/cc as other enchanters
Easy to gank
Need to get ahead early

While most other enchanters max their heal/shield utility ability first, you max your damage ability on Karma so she plays more aggressive than other enchanter supports. Because she doesn't have a real ultimate, she will get outscaled by most other enchanter supports. You need to get ahead early with your strong early game so laning phase is the most important part of the game for Karma.

These runes help you achieve your goal of getting a lead early game.

Arcane Comet
Enhances your poke, Inner Flame slows them so your comet will hit unless they have a dash. Summon Aery has a shorter cooldown and also works on autos so I would take it into easy lanes that you can trade aggressively and auto them for free (Bard, Janna, Sona etc).
Nimbus Cloak
Some people take Manaflow Band but it is not necessary. Karma mana regen has been buffed many times and she will almost never go oom. Nimbus Cloak lets you chase enemies down for kills or escape from ganks better.
Absolute Focus
Bonus AP is better for early game. It only works if you are above 70% hp so if they have a lot of poke you can take Transcendence but you can heal up poke with your potions so I will still take Absolute Focus almost every game. Transcendence also has better scaling so you can take it if you think the game will go late.
The only viable rune here. Gathering Storm is not worth it for an early game dependent champion like Karma.
Biscuit Delivery
Possibly the best rune in the game. You want to trade hard with Karma so even though they nerfed the sell gold you should be getting good use out of all 3 biscuits anyway. Try to wait until you are low mana/hp before using to get the most out of it.
Time Warp Tonic
Most underrated rune. The movement speed helps your spacing in trades a lot and the instant health regen can save you in some situations. If you can't get used to this rune, Cosmic Insight and Perfect Timing are decent too.
Spellthief's Edge
Self explanatory, start the game with this item. Do not ever go Relic Shield.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Best boots almost every game. If the enemy is full AD or AP you can get Plated Steelcaps or Mercury's Treads but even then Ionian Boots of Lucidity is probably better. I recommend rushing tier 2 boots every game. Usually you can get Boots and Refillable Potion first back then upgrade boots next back. Make sure to get a Refillable Potion if you are running Time Warp Tonic.
Shurelya's Battlesong
Best mythic every game. Movement speed from the active and passive enhances Karma's job of speeding up her team. The passive buff also works on your entire team when you Mantra Inspire. Before Patch 11.16 moonstone was viable into tanky comps but since Mantra Inspire movement speed was nerfed from 60% to 12% on secondary targets I think shurelya is mandatory.

Chemtech Putrifier

Staff of Flowing Water

Ardent Censer
Karma can apply these item effects to everyone on your team with her Mantra Inspire AOE shield so these are the best items on her. In terms of item strength I would rate Chemtech Putrifier > Staff of Flowing Water > Ardent Censer overall but of course it is different depending on your teamcomp. You should build 2/3 of these items or 1 of these and Mikael's Blessing. In the late game you can sell your boots for another one of these items.

Chemtech Putrifier is best when enemy team has lots of healing. Note that most teams have some kind of healing from runes or items and when the enemy does not have a ton of obvious healers your teammates are less likely to buy Grievous Wounds items, making this purchase more effective. If you are building this item you can tell your team to not buy antiheal and use that gold for other items. Your top/mid might be splitting and may still want to buy antiheal but your adc should never buy exec if you are building this item. If your team already has many sources of antiheal you can skip this item.

Staff of Flowing Water Good for ap/spellcaster champs. A lot of champions have random AP ratios somewhere in their kit so this item is almost always better than ardent. Remember that you are an ap/spellcaster champion also.

Ardent Censer Weak item overall but still good if your team has 3+ autoattacking champions.
Mikael's Blessing
Situational item that is very good when enemy has impactful cc such as Elise cocoon, Fiddlesticks fear, Zoe bubble, etc. I would rush this item after your mythic if it looks good for your game. It also gives 50 MR which helps you not get one shot by AP champions.
Vigilant Wardstone
Always finish off your build with this item. It only upgrades after level 13 so most games you will not get to this point but it has good stats for low gold and lets you place one extra Stealth Ward and Control Ward.
Gathering Fire (Passive)
Karma reduces Mantra's cooldown by 2 / 3.5 / 5 (based on level) seconds for each enemy champion she damages with an ability, or by 1 second whenever she uses her basic attacks against them.
  • It works for each champion you hit with your Inner Flame so your Mantra will come off cooldown very fast if you hit multiple enemies. Don't be afraid to use Mantra later in the game on Inner Flame if you can hit 2+ enemies even if Mantra Inspire is better.
  • If your Mantra is almost off cooldown you can auto attack right before casting your ability so you can get your empowered ability

Inner Flame (Q)
RANGE: 950
COST: 55 mana
COOLDOWN: 8/ 7.5 / 7 / 6.5 / 6
Active: Karma fires a burst of spiritual energy in the target direction that detonates on the first enemy hit, dealing magic damage to all enemies within the area and slowing them by 35% for 1.5 seconds.

Mantra - Active: Inner Flame detonates upon hitting an enemy or reaching maximum range, dealing increased magic damage to enemies in the area.
A field lingers around the detonation for 1.5 seconds, slowing enemies within by 50%, after which it explodes, dealing magic damage to all enemies within the area.
  • This ability has a high splash radius (280) so you can hit enemy champions when they are standing close to their minions.
  • I usually put 3-5 points in this ability based on game state (3: when behind to even 4: when ahead 5: when you're goombastomping). It is also better to put more points if enemies are squishy as your damage matters more.
  • After Patch 11.16 I prefer to always full max Q since they nerfed scaling on E.

Focused Resolve (W)
RANGE: 675(cast) / 825(tether)
COST: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Active: Karma exerts her will over the target enemy champion or monster, dealing them magic damage and forming a tether between Karma and the target for 2 seconds, during which the target is revealed.

If the tether is not broken by the end of its duration, the target is dealt the same magic damage again and is revealed and rooted for a duration.

Mantra - Active: Focused Resolve's root duration is increased, and heals Karma for 20% (+ 1% per 100 AP) of her missing health on-cast and once more when the tether is not broken by the end of its duration, or if the target dies while tethered.
  • Works on jungle monsters so you can use Mantra Focused Resolve on camps to heal when you are low.
  • Reveals targets which is good against champions like Twitch when he goes invisible and also useful if enemies try to go into bush because you can still see them.

Inspire (E)
RANGE: 800
COST: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
COOLDOWN: 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8
Active: Karma shields the target allied champion or herself for 2.5 seconds and grants the target bonus movement speed for 1.5 seconds.

Mantra - Active: Inspire's target receives bonus shield and all allied champions in a radius around them receive 30% of the total shield's amount.
  • When picking a target to use Mantra Inspire try to shield someone who is standing in the middle of your team so you can hit as many teammates as possible with the AOE.
  • If you are running towards a teammate you are trying to save and you cannot reach them before they will die, you can shield a teammate in range near them. The AOE range of Mantra Inspire is 700 (longer than Caitlyn auto).

Mantra (R)
COST: None
COOLDOWN: 40 / 38 / 36 / 34
Active: Karma empowers her next basic ability within 8 seconds for an additional effect.

Karma begins the game with one rank in Mantra.
  • Cooldown starts when you use Mantra not after you use your empowered ability. Usually you should just cast your empowered ability immediately otherwise the enemies will see it coming and walk away but sometimes it is useful to use it early so the cooldown starts ticking down.
  • You can use Mantra early to save a few seconds on cooldown when you anticipate casting a spell in the next 8 seconds. One situation is if you are hiding in a bush or out of vision and an enemy is walking up. Another situation is when an objective is about to die you want to Mantra Inspire right after for the teamfight. For example you are hitting dragon/baron/tower/inhib and it is about to die, you know your team will want to engage or disengage right after. So you can use Mantra early then use Inspire as soon as the objective goes down.
Laning phase
The most crucial part of the game for Karma is laning before first back. You need to poke them down and get a CS/plate/kill lead otherwise your champion will not be as useful as others. Karma usually has a low winrate not because she is weak but because you need to play precisely early game to have impact. I will show some early game tips to help you get a lead.

Level 1 refillable
Buy Spellthief's Edge only and leave base with 100 gold. Look to get 60 gold from spellthief by running mid/jungle entrance or while you are getting a lane ward. Recall and buy Refillable Potion. If you can't find someone to get gold off of, recall before 0:50 and buy 2 potions.

Only do this if they do not have kill threat on you level 1 such as Blitz or Naut hook. If you are going for a lane ward level 1, you should go for this tactic since you are going to recall anyway.

Level 1 warding
You may have seen many junglers ward their entrance level 1 then recall and swap for sweeper. This tactic can be applied similarly with Karma.

At level 1, run straight to lane and ward a lane bush.

Recall and swap your trinket to Oracle Lens. When you go into lane, this will allow you to get bush control. You can see the enemy if they try to hide in the bush and also Oracle Lens will deny bush vision if they try to ward the bush. It is important to get bush control as Karma as it is much easier to hit q from the bush because they cannot see you walking up.

I would not recommend going for a level 1 ward against a hard engage support with a ganking jungler. Instead, you need to keep your warding trinket to not die to ganks. Also it is not useful against champions that do not care if you deny them vision of the bush, for example Ezreal can just Q blindly into the bush.

Ideally on Karma you do not need to leash. If you have to leash, I recommend using Q and no more than 5 autoattacks on the buff. It is important to get to lane first and start pushing them in. Do not use Mantra to leash, you can get a guaranteed hit if you Mantra Inner Flame while they are walking into lane.

Early game strategy
You want to push in the wave while also poking the enemy. You should be permanently autoattacking the wave when you aren't trading and try to hit the enemy champion and minions at the same time with Inner Flame. Autoing minions with high health is usually better so you do not make it hard for your ADC to last hit. Get used to the splash range on Inner Flame. Here are some examples where your Q will hit.

Near melee minions:
Near caster minions:

I find it easier to hit splash on ranged minions than on melee minions. It is good to stand away from the minion wave either towards the bush or towards the river to get a good angle. I prefer standing in the bush over standing on the river side. If you walk out of the bush before autoing the enemy champion and walk back in you will drop minion aggro, but if you auto them while you are in the bush you will keep minion aggro and will need to walk very far back to drop it.

Make sure you are pushing the wave but also do not mess up/take cs from your ADC. In general I think killing 1 minion to hit Inner Flame is worth it but 2+ and your ADC might get mad.

Once you push up to the enemy tower, it is even easier to hit them because it is predictable when they stand still and go for the last hit. You should usually wait to shoot your Q while they are hitting your ranged minions. If you hit them while they are csing the melee minions you might take tower aggro since they will stand further back. But while they are csing the ranged minions usually they are standing perfectly on top of their own ranged creeps so it is easy to splash Q damage on them. You should also try to auto the tower when possible to stack your Spellthief's Edge. When poking them under tower, after casting Inner Flame, walk back and you should be out of turret range before it hits. Don't walk back into turret range for a few seconds or you might take aggro from Scorch and stay out of range of their engage while in turret range. Note that sometimes your Arcane Comet will come off cooldown after your Inner Flame hits but will still proc off Scorch so make sure you do not take turret aggro from comet also.

Ranged supports(Janna, Lulu, Nami, Soraka, Sona, Seraphine, Bard, Yuumi):
You should win trades 1v1 against all of these champs. Only Lulu and Nami will win trades if you walk too close but you can outrange them. Get bush control by walking into the bush at the start of lane and sweeping the ward if they place one down. Walk out of the bush and auto them then walk back in the bush so they cannot trade back onto you. Use Inspire on yourself to mitigate damage when they trade back onto you. If you hit them with Inner Flame you should be able to get a free auto while they are slowed.

Ranged "supports"(Brand, Velkoz, Xerath, Zyra):
These champions usually outrange you. You should try to bait their skillshot before going in for Q. They have easily dodgeable skill shots so you have good all in kill pressure on them. You can just run at them shield yourself and use Focused Resolve then focus on dodging their skillshots. Zyra is the hardest of these matchups since her plants will block your Inner Flame. If you come out of lane even you are doing well since their items are much more expensive than yours.

Hook champions(Pyke, Blitzcrank, Thresh, Nautilus):
These champions have high range engage threat level 1. You should try to push them in so you have more minions to stand behind and block the hook. Stand on the opposite side of the enemy support and push in the wave with Inner Flame and autos level 1. Once you are pushing it is hard for these champs to engage onto you with so many minions to block their engage.

Melee engage(Leona, Sett, Alistar, Gragas, Rakan, Galio, Rell):
These champs are easy to space and are not as useful until level 2-3. You want to zone them off the wave starting level 1. You can start to zone when you are about to hit level 2. Once you start to get the push level 1 you can walk into the 3rd bush and they will not be able to walk up since you will get level 2 first. As long as you do not walk into melee range their champ is useless. Even after level 3 it is easy to outrange their engage and poke them down. Some of these champs like Rell/Rakan/Sett have strong level 1 so you can play against them level 1 like they are hook champs.

"Potato" champs(Braum, Tahm Kench):
Same idea as the melee engage champs except even after level 3 they do not have good engage. They should not be able to play the game you can just walk up and auto them for free. Stay behind minions when possible so they can't Q you and only walk outside the minion wave to hit your own Q.

Inner Flame range
Note that while normal and empowered Q projectile both have 950 range, empowered Q is longer range because enemies in the AOE field will still get hit by the full projectile damage

Normal range:
Empowered range:

It is much easier to hit your empowered Q so you can aim it directly at their champions instead of trying to splash on minions.

Karma can die to ganks easily since you are always pushed up and don't have good escape. Here are some good places to ward in the early game.

On Karma you want to pressure early and force the enemy to back and miss cs or kill them before recalling yourself. Do not push in the wave and "cheater recall" you should stay in lane as long as possible and try to not back until the enemy does first. Recalling early can throw the entire game since the enemy gets to recall and heal up and you lose all your pressure. This happened in an LCS game and I highly recommend listening to this analysis of why its bad (timestamp around 31:00 until 36:00).

After a kill or if the enemy reset, help your ADC push in the wave without taking any cs. Try to hit as many minions as possible with Inner Flame without killing them, usually this means using it on the 3 caster minions. Once you push in the wave, you can recall and it will bounce back. Make sure you ward the third bush in lane before recalling.

This is especially important against engage supports that can hide in the bush and try to kill you when you come back. The ward will spot them coming into lane and keep you safe from cheese.
Mid/Late game
Once laning phase is over, you should move mid with your ADC and ward the sides. You can't really make plays by yourself, just go walk with your jungler or solo laners if they are looking to make a play.

Here are some good places to ward in the mid game.
Green = Stealth Ward Pink = Control Ward

Blue side:

Red side:

You want to ward more on the Dragon side if Dragon is spawning soon or more on the Baron side if Baron is up and Dragon is not.

Stay near the back and make sure you are not getting flanked. Karma has probably the worst peel of any enchanter so warding is extra important. You want to get to objectives first and ward where the enemy will walk in. If you are late usually you want to walk as a team through the river and not through the chokes in the jungle so you have more room to dodge while kiting back. You do not have any way to get over walls without flash so be careful not to get stuck in a bad position. Keep this in mind before you blindly follow your frontline. Sometimes they will go too deep and if you help them you will get caught. You will get one shot by almost every champion in the game. Try to play front to back. You should use Mantra on Inner Flame if enemies are clumped or use it on Inspire if your team is clumped, try not to use it on Focused Resolve. Use Inspire on champions that want to go in and benefit from the movespeed, for example Udyr, Hecarim, Wukong, Sylas. While they do their own thing you should stay near your carries and peel with Focused Resolve and Inner Flame slow.
Skin Ranking
Personal skin ranking from best to worst
Odyssey Karma
Satisfying autoattack sound, nice splash art, cool orb thing above head
Dark Star Karma
Cool sound effects, empowered Q looks like normal Q, pay to win
Winter Wonder Karma
Cute skin, feels like you're throwing snowballs
Ruined Karma
Nice sfx but not a fan of the aesthetic
Dawnbringer Karma
Cool recall
Conqueror Karma
I like the color scheme
Traditional Karma
Long dress makes the walk look funny
Sun Goddess Karma
Splash art is nice, in game is meh
Sakura Karma
Not bad for the cheapest skin, I like the fans when you dance
Warden Karma
Its ok
Order of the Lotus Karma
Don't like the outfit
Original Karma
A little boring but clean, splash art is nice
Thank you for reading my guide! It is my second guide after my Maokai guide from Season 7. I wanted to write this Karma guide to share my passion for the champion. While Karma can be one of the most boring champions to watch and is probably the least montage worthy champion in the game I think there is some beauty in having your first 5-10 minutes determine the entire game. I love the unique aggressive playstyle of Karma compared to other enchanters and I hope this guide will help you win your lane.

Feel free to leave any thoughts or feedback in the comments. If you want to watch me play or ask questions about support/Karma I started streaming here!
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S11 Challenger Karma support in-depth guide

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