Karma Rework Preliminary Thoughts

Karma's rework is on the Public Beta Environment and is being fine-tuned for full release. What's good and what's bad about it?

I have expressed my excitement for the imminent reworking of League of Legends champion Karma already.  Now that we have the information on the actual changes and how they effect her gameplay we can start actually discussing the practical difference in how she’ll play, even if the specific numbers on her abilities are not yet finalized.

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We’ll start with her new passive/ult since they are basically the same ability.  Gathering Fire is said to increase in effectiveness over the course of the game, the eventual bonus doubling from what’s displayed in the image above.  Riot stated clearly in their Reddit AMA this passive is designed specifically to make it possible for Karma to become a Mantra-spamming machine in late game, able to sling spells (her Q, to be specific) to fire off an ult-boosted spell every ten seconds or so.

Personally, I cannot help but agree with the statement of one of the people asking questions during the AMA when he said this passive feels like something that could have been included in Mantra itself, with either her original passive in place or an entirely new one.

Time will tell, however.  I am leery of anything that starts with an argument about what can be done with maximum Cooldown Reduction, as Riot seems to be doing with this passive.  Being required to be effective with Karma has always required the player to build CDR, but adding in a passive based on reducing cooldowns seems liable to make the problem worse, not better.  I’d prefer to just lower the overall cooldowns a bit and get a new passive, but we’ll see how it plays.

Karma’s new Q is Inner Fire, an AoE skillshot nuke, and one that seems fairly average in virtually every respect.  The damage isn’t exceptional, the AoE slow could be cool but is fairly minor and lasts for less than two seconds, and the cooldown is in the same range as other skillshot nukes.

The Mantra effect is pretty nice, with extra initial damage, a drastically enhanced slow effect, and a second AoE damage nuke after the slow wears off if they don’t escape, which is quite a few effects to add.  One thing I especially like about Soulflare is that it no longer needs to hit a target to take effect, it will explode on reaching maximum range as well.

Karma’s original Q was the ability that was most troublesome to balance.  The fan-shaped AoE meant that either it was too strong or too weak, depending almost entirely on how well Karma’s team could coordinate their positioning.  A simple skillshot nuke is not a bad change.

Focused Resolve is the ability I am most uncertain about in Karma’s rework.  The damage is the same as her Q (initially at least) but it has over double the cooldown and the damage happens over two seconds.  The root is neat but unlikely to go off against any champion with a flash or gap closer or even disable they can target Karma with.

The Mantra effect is also my least favorite of the rework.  It over doubles the damage and heals Karma for a like amount of that extra damage, but her other abilities gain significantly more utility with a Mantra charge than glorified spell vamp.

This is the ability I was most curious about.  Karma’s shield has always been, without a doubt, the best shield effect in League of Legends.  Even without a Mantra charge it could easily block more damage of any type than the Barrier summoner spell and the AoE nuke applied with a charge was just as strong.

The new version is a bit uninspiring (ironically for Inspire) but has some very strong potential.  The shield itself still looks solid, though the 20% movement seems tacked on with a duration of only one and a quarter seconds.  The Mantra effect changes from her original version in that it does less damage, but shields allies near the target as well, which is an exciting change I look forward to using for clutch moments in-game.

Karma has always been fun, and her rework does still look to be that.  She’ll be slightly less quirky in how she works but also looks like she will be able to add more to a team directly, regardless of that team’s placement capability.  I’ll be trying her out extensively on League of Legends once her changes go live.


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Wokendreamer
Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.