The dust has settled: What went wrong with Karma?Mon 15th Jul 2013 - 2:52pm Category: League of Legends
Quite a few months have passed since the release of the newly reworked Karma, and unfortunately it seems that the highly anticipated rework didn’t quite go as planned. Both her play rates and win rates are in consistently bottom 10, and this trend doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. I have my own thoughts and opinions on what went wrong with the Karma rework, and I’m going to try to convey my message as clearly as possible.
Branching Paths, Branching Power
One of my biggest issues with the Karma rework is the fact that they tried to balance the love of Karma in both the Supportive, and AP Mid roles. With the patch preview showing both options off, people would be left to their own devices to figure out what she did best. To me, this was an issue in Karma’s overall champion design simply because it means her kit in either of the two roles can’t fully be utilized without making a champion that’s too powerful.
Karma’s mid lane prowess is probably the best current role to play her in simply because she has decent wave clear, low cool down poke, and good ways to initiate team fights. Her problem however is that she falls under the Zilean curse. She’s got a great early and mid game, but falls off late as a mage, slowly transitioning to a more supportive role. That's not to say she can't do her job well, it just means that she becomes bottlenecked, fitting into less team comps, in general. Furthermore, her initiation is reliant on having her team with her in order to fully utilize it's effectiveness. This means that she's a stronger pick when there's better co-ordination within a team in team ranked play, compared to solo queue, which might answer for her lack of success in most games so far.
Karma as a support, for me, has too many issues. She doesn’t provide enough utility to her partner, and the crowd control that she does have is very weak in a 2v2 matchup. Unlike most other supports which have a way to prevent someone from auto-attacking you via knockbacks, knockups or stuns, Karma can only root a player in place or provide a slow to prevent them from pressuring too far. Although she does provide decent poke with her Q, Karma just lacks any inherent synergy with most of the currently popular AD carries that are being played.
What’s next for Karma
I feel like Karma fell flat simply because they tried to make her a decent AP mage, yet a good support as well. She falls a little lackluster in both categories and thus feels out of place if you put her in either of those two roles. If Riot had reworked her with the sole purpose of being an AP mage but had utility like a Lux or Morgana she’d be in a better spot. Likewise, if she was reworked as a full dedicated support, the same argument could be made.
That being said, I probably would avoid reworking her again, but instead just continue tweaking her numbers until one of her two roles really begins to shine. Obviously buffing things such as AP ratios would really help out the mage side of Karma, whether it be her shield numbers, or her damage. Alternatively keeping her damage in line, you could look to buff her mana costs or cooldowns for certain abilities which might get her to fully utilize her kit in a supportive situation, as these are key components to making a support worthwhile.
Overall, though, I feel that the ball was dropped when they tried to get her to fit into two different roles, as she doesn't seem to fill either of them with great success.