Riot released more information regarding the Karma rework in League of Legends, and this time we finally get a peak at her new ability set, and some thoughts from the developers on what is currently wrong with Karma, and how the rework will address those issues.
First, the new ability kit. The new Karma kit rework isn’t live on the League of Legends PBE test server right now, but should be up for testing at some point this week.
Karma’s New Ability Kit
Passive: Gathering Fire – Hitting enemy champions with Karma’s spells and basic attacks lower Mantra’s cooldown.
R: Mantra – Empowers Karma’s abilities, adding an extra effect to the next ability cast.
Q: Inner Flame – Skillshot that deals magic damage and slows enemies in an area.
- Empowered by Mantra: Soulflare – Increases damage and leaves behind a zone that slows and, after a brief delay, explodes for AoE damage.
W: Focused Resolve – Enemy-targeted tether that deals damage over time. If the tether is unbroken after a short duration, the tethered target is rooted in place.
- Empowered by Mantra: Renewal – Deals bonus damage and heals Karma for the duration of the tether.
E: Inspire – Shields an ally and grants them a short speed boost.
- Empowered by Mantra: Defiance – Enemies near the shielded ally are damaged while nearby allies are shielded and granted a short speed boost.
This is what Rioter Scarizard had to say about Karma’s League of Legends rework:
Old Karma had issues. What were they?
Karma’s kit was in a weird place, but her ultimate was especially problematic. Her base abilities didn’t feel impactful and only felt effective when supercharged by Mantra. On top of that, when Karma had two charges of Mantra, we had to make both of them weaker to compensate for players double casting empowered spells.
The changes we made to Karma’s kit focused on making each decision fun and meaningful while giving her abilities the focus they needed to perform her intended role. We kept the “empowering”-type gameplay of Mantra, but instead of waiting around for it to recharge, Karma’s basic attacks and abilities now lower Mantra’s cooldown. This rewards aggressive play so you can “buyback” her ultimate. Also, we gave Mantra a single charge to pump extra power into each cast. We also made sure Mantra empowers Karma’s abilities in drastically different ways, leading to more impactful decision-making and a better feeling of accomplishment when you pull off the right move at the right time.
Why was she hard to place in team comps?
Karma had the offensive tools to support her team in small skirmishes but not the powerful defensive abilities she needed to protect a team. Also, her all-purpose abilities are so broad they never felt like the right choice in any situation. All in all, Karma lacked direction.
Why isn’t Karma fun?
The effectiveness of Karma’s abilities relied too heavily on your teammates knowing all their nuances. No matter how hard you were carrying with Karma, your teammates had to be just as good with her for you to be super effective. When an ally’s confused about whether or not he should run from or pass through your Spirit Bond, we probably made a mistake.
What did we like about Karma?
Despite all the Mantra hate we’ve got going on, we actually think the concept is pretty kickass. It’s unique and character-defining to old Karma, and augmenting her abilities with an immense surge of Ionian will is visually and thematically fun. We also liked how Karma could turn the tables on her opponents with abilities that provided defensive bonuses and had hidden offensive power. Finally, Spirit Bond’s “clothesline” gameplay is really cool, but it’d work better on a tank champion that has an easier time jumping into the fray.
Karma’s new role
Originally envisioned as a support, Karma’s fringe successes actually came from players using her in the top or mid lanes as an AP burst mage with support abilities, much like Zilean or Morgana. We like this direction and want to encourage you to boost both her offensive and support abilities by building AP. We also want to make sure she can hold her own as a solo or with a lane partner.
Finally, we’ve updated her skills so allies are reliant on Karma, but Karma’s not reliant on them. She’s got enough power at her fingertips to feel strong as a mage or as a support without teammates having to work in perfect concert for you to be effective.
Karma has always had one of those kits that was set up to allow her to fill multiple roles, but even so there was never a true sense of direction with her, and as the devs have stated, her abilities had so much utility and range of option that they were never really the best choice in any given situation, especially if your teammates did not understand how Karma works. With the rework Karma looks to have a determined purpose in League of Legends that can change slightly depending on what team role she is going to fill. Each ability has been cleaned up and simplified without taking away her great utility. I’m glad they decided to keep some version of her Mantra empowerment, as that is sort of her defining ability. It will be a lot of fun to try Karma out on the League of Legends PBE once her rework goes live, and it looks like she should be in a much better place. Her reworked ability kit also looks like it will be much simpler for the dev team to tweak going forward, allowing them to keep Karma well balanced and viable, which is great for any champion.