Monday, January 31, 2011

Karma, the gentle breeze or the deadly whirlwind?

What is the first thing you might have noticed when looking at Karma? OMG small boobs WTF *sad face*. She ain’t a looker, although some people might dig gypsy chicks (I, for one, am terribly afraid of all gypsies after reading Stephen King’s Thinner and watching the horror film Drag me to hell). However, I do find her skill set to be very interesting. Let’s take a look at her skills:

Heavenly Wave: Karma sends forth a wave of hidden blades from her fans, dealing magic damage to units in a cone in front of her.
  • Mantra Bonus: In addition to dealing damage to enemies, Heavenly Wave will also heal allies in the cone. The amount healed is amplified depending upon the amount of life Karma, or her allies are missing
Spirit Bond: Karma bonds an ally or enemy creating a beam between them. Bonded allies have increased movement speed and bonded enemies have reduced movement speed. Enemy units that come in contact with the beam take magic damage, and champions who pass through the beam receive the same movement speed modifier as bonded champions.
  • Mantra Bonus: Karma strengthens the bond to double the effect of the movement speed modifier.
Soul Shield: Karma summons a protective shield that absorbs incoming damage.
  • Mantra Bonus: In addition to the shield, energy radiates out from the shield, dealing damage to enemy units around the recipient.
Mantra (Ultimate): Karma empowers her next ability to do an additional effect. Mantra is available at level 1 and does not require a skill point.
Inner Flame (Passive): Karma gains increased Ability Power corresponding to her missing Health.
All this for 3150 IP? Not bad! She has a total of 6 different skills if you consider the activation Mantra effects; similar to Renekton except Mantra is a separate skill. The reason I consider the Mantra bonus skills separately (different from Leblanc’s ult skills) is because the Mantra bonus greatly changes the function of the default skill set, allowing them to be used for different situations. For example, whereas Heavenly Wave’s default effect is used primarily for damage, the Mantra activation for that skill is mainly for teamfight purposes where everyone is bunched up together –healing your teammates while damaging your enemy. If we learned anything from playing Nidalee, we can see Karma is a very flexible character suited for various situations.

Some say she is the next generation Sona or Janna; I disagree. While Sona and Janna focus on friendly (AOE) buffs and they are often fragile, Karma’s skills put her as more of a bulky-support champion with damage output focused on DoTs. The reason I believe Karma plays a more bulky-support role rather than fragile support is due to 2 of her skills: Soul Shield and her passive. The most obvious evidence for her bulky nature is that her passive perhaps encouraging players to build HP on her for the purpose of boosting her damage. Think of Karma as the female caster version of Olaf or Tryndamere who gets stronger with less HP. Also, Soul Shield gives her survivability, and the Mantra bonus encourages her to stay in a teamfight for the DoT AOE damage. Lastly, she doesn’t seem to have any skills that can heal herself unlike other fragile support champions (e.g. Soraka, Janna, Sona, Zilean Revive). All she has for escape is a shield and a slow/speed buff. Therefore, although she won’t be as bulky as Swain, she will likely have more survivability than someone like Janna.

I do see potential in Karma being a potent DPS mage if her AP scaling is good, but most likely she will have a high base damage with poor scaling.  My judgement is based on her character design. I think what Riot is trying to do with Karma is making her strong early game for damage and late game for support. Think about it this way. She only has 3 skills with no ultimate skill; Mantra is available at level 1. Before level 6, she already has 6 skills counting Mantra activation, making her extremely versatile for laning or ganking. The fact that she only has 3 skills which can be levelled up means her skills will be at a higher level than other champions from early to mid game because there are no points put into ultimate.  A higher level skill = more damage. We can also judge her scaling based on her abilities. I am assuming Spirit Bond and Soul Shield both do DoT damage. Because she is more of a support champion than damage dealer, her DoT won’t hurt nearly as much as Cassiopeia’s in late game. But early game is a different story. Spirit Bond is also a very dangerous skill for ganking if used correctly by both Karma and her teammates.

When it comes down to it, I see the most potential in a Karma player’s ability to use Spirit Bond effectively. A well placed Spirit Bond can greatly turn the tide of the battle to your favour. Chaining Bond with your tank that charges in first is one way to do it (chaining it with a spinning Garen must hurt like hell, or perhaps a rolling Rammus?).  I also see potential in the shield usage. In terms of composition, she should be paired up with damage dealers that have a stun for maximum efficiency in chasing. A Zilean/Karma combo could be done for the Lolzies speed buff spam. In terms of items, I would like to see doran's ring, CDR boots, perhaps a Mejai for easy assist stacks from her skills (lol at the assists from Spirit Bonds). From what I have seen so far, she is a great buy for a 3150 IP champion. 

1 comment:

  1. You seem to be missing the significance of this champion.