My thoughts about the PBE Karma Changes

Update No. 2: Riot staff Rick Maher (ricklessabandon) presented a new change list: Overall, I like this change list. Her lane looks a bit worse in my opinion (Mantra W base damage). Her mid- to lategame looks a lot stronger (passive buff and W ratio). Nice Karma Support changes with less mana problems (E mana cost) after trades and more utility even with less AP (Mantra-W root, more speedbuffs due to the lower E CD). I fear targeting monsters will be too good. If you loose a trade in mid, you could go to the Raptors or Wolves and heal almost full with a M-W. Consider reverting it if it turns out too strong. However, my concern is her becoming too strong in mid. This **will** hurt her early laning a **bit**, but it looks like will also buff her late- and midgame a **lot**. We will see on the PBE. I hope she will not be too strong with these changes. Rick, I hope you will consider just _reverting_ all or most changes if this turns out too good or too bad. I don´t want Karma to be in a state of borderline broken or borderline useless. I don´t want Karma to go through month or balancing, and in the end maybe (my greatest fear) really get changed to fit a different playstyle. I will have to test this next week. We Karmains should decide after playtesting it! Update No. 1: The new changes now only remove the bonus damage from her M-W, but increase the root duration. This is still better than removing the burst heal, but it will still hurt her Solo lane a lot. Without the bonus damage on it her trades will still suffer a lot. Her lanebully nature will be removed. Yes, she will be a lot better late with the passive and shield changes, but why change her identity if she is just fine how she is right now? Just reducing the mana cost on her E and/or W would be all thas is needed. As a Support, just poking with your Q i fine, but if you use your W and E intrades, you will be oom is no time. The chages are still a lot better than the old ones, but I still don´t get it. I just want context why Karma has to be a better support and a worse solo laner. Original version: First off, the changes, for everyone who did not see them already: Now, I don´t want to sound like someone who just complains about one of his favorite Champions getting changed, especially since I did not test the changes on the PBE yet (bad connection from Europe, can´t play with 500 ping). However, I think as someone who has played and loved Karma since her rework was released, and as someone who is very interested in game design, I can judge changes that don´t change mobility, missilespeed or -width or range by just looking at a text. To explain my problems with the changes I have to go somewhat in-detph, but I will leave out some details just to save time. I guess you will either have to trust me, as Karma is my most played champion, or ask directly if something is unclear. I will gladly answer. To start this off, some questions to the devs: 1. Why does Karma need to be changed? 2. Do you realize these changes will hit her 1vs1 potential, early bullying and safety very hard, an therefore make her almost unplayable in the mid- and toplane? Is this intended? 3. Are these changes targeted at her low popularity and win rate right now? If I was to answer the first questions, I would state the following. I think Karma´s identity and overall kit do not need changes, since she is almost compleately in line with [The Design Values of League of Legends]( and fills her stategic niche as a utility mage, similar to Lulu. However, she still diferenciates clearly from Lulu in her playstyle and the focus of her strength and weaknesses, as well as clear counterplay on every ability and playmaking options for Karma. her build path and ability usages are diverse as well. I will not elaborate this further due to time saving issues, but if requested or need I can further explain any of these poins. There are some problems about her in right now. Her E and W mana costs are pretty high, but you can ply around them. Her Mantra-E is not really clear. Why is the shield the secondary targets get a portion of the damage dealt by the shield? First, I will explain how Karma´s Mantra-W (M-W) and Mantra-E (M-E) are used right now (or how I think they should be used). Her M-W is her best tool for any 1vs1 situation. I will deal a lot of single target damage, as well as heal Karma. It is her strongest tool to survive, as it grants a strong instantaneous heal. It is makes Karma great at turning, due to the instantaneous heal and good damage. It is her best tool for lane trading in solo lanes, as it will deal both damage and heal her. It is the reason why her Lv 2 is one of the strongest in the game. She can M-W her opponent and then Q them, dealing the damage of 3 regualar abilities (thanks to Mantra) and healing her, if the enemy makes the mistake of stepping too far forward. Her M-E is great for engaging and disengaging teamfights, getting out of dagerous situations with her teammates and as a great AoE ability in teamfights, granting good AoE damage, a strong AoE speedbuff and an AoE shield. Since it has a great radius and is almost instand, you will usually reduce Mantra´s CD by 6-10 seconds, making it even better in teamfights. Another main usage is for waveclear. Due to the nature of her Q, hitting multiple minions is hard if the travel in a line. If the minions are already fighting, you can hit 3 at once, but you will still need 3-4 for Qs to clear a wave. With Mantra-Q, you will hit 3 minions as well, most of the time, so you still need 3 Qs. With the Mantra-E however, you will only need 2 Qs, one for the melee and one for the caster minions. This is a lot faster, and is safer to do if the enemys are pushing against you, as you can just cast the M-E on a minion or an ally frontliner. Now, why do I disagree with the changes to her W and E? W: 1. Taking away the bonus damage from her M-W will make her really weak early. Her M-Q still deals a lot of damage, but it is really easy to avoid. Her W only roots for 1 second early on.If the enemy has some sort of dash, they will always be able to dodge the explosion, no matter what. If you fire the M-Q before the snare kicks in, they can dash insantly, and since the root will not interupt it mid-air, they will avoid the M-Q entirely. If you wait with fireing until the root kicks in, they will be able to dash it once the root ends, as the delay on her M-Q is 1.25 seconds, not counting travel and cast time. It will also take away a big part about Karmas mastery. A good Karma player knows how much damage their Mantra adds: Pre Lv 16: Q both hits > W > E > Q only impact hit After Lv 16: Q both hits > W,E > Q only impact hit So not only do you heal a lot less with the M-W, you also loose damage if you use it. And if you use Mantra-Q instead, you will still loose out on damage compared to life, as well as not geat a heal at all. It will be impossible to win matchups against anyone with a dash or blink, and every other matchup is a lot harder. Top lane will be unplayeble and midlane will be so weak, there would be no reason to pick her over someone like Lulu or Ori. Right now you don´t pick Karma to be strong in teamfights. You pick her to win the lane. She is like the Cait of the midlane: Really strong early, bad midgame unless she snowballs her lead, good lategame/teamfights. 2. It goes aginst [The Design Values of League of Legends]( 2.1 Clarity: All of her spells are really clear in what they do and hw to play aiganst them (exept maybe the Mantra-E, but I will get to that). I will focus on the W, but if needed I can also explain why that is true for her Q and E and R as well. Her W will tether, deal damage and root after a while. If you mov away, it breaks. So far so easy. If used with her Mantra, she will have bigger tether. You would naturally asume that is deals more damage then the normal one. On Life that is true. It will also heal. Natural, one will loose Hp and the other one gains it. And yes, the change making it a portion of the damage dealt seems more natural, but it has mayor blance issues tight to it, as I explained in 1. and will explain in 2.2 . I do not get howerver, why it would increase all other damage dealt to the target. You could add another visual effect like a breaking shied, yeah, but I still don´t really get it. The thing I get even less is why it would heal evryone else who hits the target? It is a tether between Karma and a champion. Why would it heal everyone else? You would have to remake the entire visuals of the ability. I feel like this change is compleately unnecessary, so why change os much? 2.2 Meanigful Choices Not only will it remove her viable spots in top- and midlane, if will also limit her possible build path. It is actually viable to play her as a bruiser in the toplane with RoA, Frozen Heart and Liandry´s as core items, utilyzing her high base damage, scaling with CDR and her % heal on the W. Removing both her damage on the W and the % heal will make this impossible. Right now she can work as a Mage-Support, holding her own against carrys, even with limited gold. With the W changes, she will rely entirely on her team to make the plays for her. 2.3 Mastery Knowing when and how to use what Mantra bonus is Karma´s bread and butter right now. There are countless factors to be included right now, and even the best Karma players still make mistakes. You are always wiser after it all is over. You learn every game, and it is a neveranding journey to master Karma, but a pleasent one, because you will discover new facets every game. I will no elaborate this further, because it would be as long as this text already is. If there are questions, I will answer however. With these changes, every mantry bonus has basicly one use only, maybe 1.5 or 2. It make her a lot easier to pick up and learn, but it will also limit her choices a lot (this is a bit overlapping with Meanigful Choices). 3. A cohesive Kit and Champion Right now Mantra has a clear effect: It **adds** _bonus_ damage to a spell and adds **one** bonus effect. Her E has no base damage, so all it gains is the base damage of Mantra. Q deals a bit more and gets a slowing field that will explode and deal bonus damage. Her W gains bonus damage and the heal. Karma´s spells build upon one another. Her new M-W however does not fit in her kit in my opinion. If she uses it, it will not really work with either of the other spells. They are still useful to keep in range of the tether to apply the root, but they no longer work well for turnig for example. You can no longer bait the out of position once you are low, and then suprise them with the W heal and damage, E shield and Q damage. What has healing teammates to do with what the new karma stands for? This is something the old Karma did, but the new is not the type for it. Finally I want to talk about her bad-ish position in the meta right now. She has 3 clear enemys: Tankyness, CC (any kind, but hard CC is even worse) and hard engage. The current League of Tanks is full of all of them. She works best against squishier champions. She works well with hyper carrys, but not as well as a Janna or Lulu, since she is a lot more offensive. In the midlane she is weak midgame, and relys on poke. Tanks are strongest in the midgame, and the whole game is midgame focused right now. Tanks also just ignore her poke, since they have a lot of HP and regen early, with items like warmogs being so popular, or they just engage before their team gets poked down. In the pro scene, in the midlane she struggles because of her bully nature. Pros play a lot more careful and don´t let a bully snowball as much. And as a Support, mages are just not wanted. Right now high CC and hard engage or disengage are wanted. Karma does a mix of both, but that is not her focus. She wants to be a second AP carry in the lategame, but pros don´t play support like that. Karma is also a lot about mindgames, and the better coordinated the enemy is, the harder is it to trick them. She could use some love, and some clarity changes to her Mantra-E. The CD and Mana changes to ger E are nice. The passive buff is nice idea. Following up with some of them is good idea. Not as much as suggested right now. 3.5 sec on her passive is crazy, she will get her Mantra down to ~10 seconds effective cooldown already after Lv 16. 2.5 seconds would be pretty strong already. I think some very light number changes are all Karma needs. I feel like she is one of the best designed champions in League, and I really hope it stays that way.
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