Although Karma’s primary role has always been support, she’s been used regularly as an off-meta mid lane pick

Even professional mid laners such as Bjergsen have played full AP Karma on stage and performed extraordinarily well.

And it all comes to the simple fact that Karma with a full set of AP items is a completely different beast.

In this guide, I’ll focus on the essentials of AP Karma. I’ll talk about the runes you need to take in season 13, which items are optimal, as well as the Summoner’s Spells you should run.

I’ll also include in-game tips, so scroll down and learn how to play AP Karma in League of Legends.

AP Karma Build – Runes

AP Karma rune page
  • Arcane Comet
  • Manaflow Band
  • Transcendence
  • Scorch
  • Cheap Shot
  • Ultimate Hunter

The Sorcery rune page with Domination secondary is the overall best one for AP Karma. It provides more upfront damage, bonus ability haste, and better mana management.

The keystone, Arcane Comet, activates when you hit an enemy champion with one of Karma’s abilities. Its damage is decent in the early game and it scales well later on.

The rune helps you do a lot of poke damage and be a lane bully.

Manaflow Band increases your maximum mana and mana regeneration. Initially, it has the same cooldown as Arcane Comet so you can stack it simply by dealing damage with your abilities.

With Transcendence, you get extra ability haste during the early game. Later on, the rune also refreshes a bit of the cooldown on your basic abilities with each champion takedown which is definitely helpful for Karma in teamfights.

Scorch helps you deal bonus burn damage to your enemy during the laning phase. It has a short cooldown so you can always rely on it for a bit of extra damage.

From Domination, Cheap Shot is a rune I always take. It’s great on Karma because you can root enemies with your W and blast them with your Q.

Cheap Shot allows you to do bonus true damage to immobilized targets, so there’s no reason not to take it.

And Ultimate Hunter is simply there for more ability haste. Karma relies on ability haste to be an effective mage in League of Legends, so Ultimate Hunter helps tremendously.

Note that you can also go for Summon Aery here instead of Arcane Comet. And there’s another rune page with First Strike that usually players combine with Night Harvester. So test them all out and see what works best for you.

Read Also: AP Machine-Gun Lulu Build Guide

AP Karma Build – Items

AP Karma item build
  • Luden’s Tempest
  • Cosmic Drive
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap
  • Void Staff
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity

Even though every AP item works well on Karma, the best mythic one is Luden’s Tempest. We mainly take it for its upfront burst damage and synergy with Arcane Comet.

Combined, those are big sources of extra damage that enhance Karma’s Q power throughout the game.

But the stats that Luden’s Tempest provides are also very helpful for Karma.

Your second item should always be Cosmic Drive.

It’s a fantastic item for Karma because she can quickly activate it with any of her combo (the item requires 3 separate attacks/abilities) to get bonus movement speed and ability power for a couple of seconds.

Rabadon’s Deathcap is the absolute best item you can buy for maximizing your damage. It gives you a lot of ability power and it also boosts your total AP by 35%.

It’s a must-have item for the late game, both for doing more damage and having larger shields.

Another necessary purchase for AP Karma is Void Staff. Magic penetration directly increases your damage potential and this item gives 40% of the stat. 

As for defensive items, the most useful one is Zhonya’s Hourglass. It’s an excellent item to build against AD champions but it also works well into AP assassins. It grants lots of armor, and ability power, but also the Stasis effect.

Since this build gives enough magic penetration, the choice of boots usually falls down to Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Ability haste is more important than AP on Karma, so go for those.

Read Also: Full AP Soraka Build Guide

Situational and Optional Items

Depending on the matchup and how well you’re doing, you can also swap one or two of the items you see above for more situational ones.

For example, you can start the game with Tear of the Goddess and later upgrade it to Seraph’s Embrace if you know that the match will go to late game.

Chemtech Putrifier is a good item for countering healing in League of Legends. And Banshee’s Veil can help you combat mages in the mid lane.

So, build accordingly!

Skill Order and Summoner’s Spells

Karma Q

The recommended skill path for Karma is Q > W > E > R

The most important spell in Karma’s kit is the Q. It’s the main damaging ability and it’s the first one you need to max out. Next is W for the increased damage and healing. And then comes to shield. 

Remember, the more AP you build the bigger your shields are, so you don’t need to prioritize maxing E early on.

The choice of Summoner’s Spells should almost always be Flash + Ignite, no matter the role. But you can sometimes swap Ignite for Exhaust or Teleport according to the situation.

Read Also: Full AP Thresh Build Guide

How to Play AP Karma – Tips

Karma's Q damage

Abuse Karma’s Early Game Damage

Everybody can agree that Karma is among the most powerful early game champions in League of Legends.

Because of the fact that she can use her R since level 1, she can empower her Q to deal insane amounts of damage during the laning phase.

The most common way to abuse Karma’s power early on is to use this combo E (self) + W + R + Q. What this combo allows you to do is run toward your opponent, cast W to root them, and then blast them with empowered Q.

Not only is it easy to execute, but the combo does a really broken amount of damage while also keeping your protected. It works especially well against melee opponents, so don’t hesitate to bully them.

Read Also: Full AP Sona LoL Build Guide

Don’t Forget to R + W to Heal Yourself

The healing from Karma’s empowered W is truly broken. Seriously, it can get you from 20% HP all the way up to 80% HP with a single cast.

And so, it’s really important to use Karma’s W for healing whenever you’re on low health. This spell can help you survive in sticky situations as well as negate a lot of damage.

For example, you should use it immediately after Zed ults you to heal through his damage and survive his burst. But overall, it’s never a bad time to spend Karma’s ultimate on the W.

AoE Shielding is More Useful in Teamfights Than Burst Damage

AP Karma shielding power

When late game teamfights start to break out, it’s really essential for you to keep a calm mind and use Karma’s R accordingly. 

In many situations, you want to empower your E so you can shield your teammates. Since Karma’s shields are really huge and even grant movement speed, they can help your team win fights even when you’re from behind.

Of course, if an opportunity presents itself and you have a clear shot at taking down an enemy with empowered Q you should take it.

But overall, late game is where Karma’s role is more of a support rather than carry, even with this AP build.

Read Also: Full AP Janna Build Guide


I’ve been playing Karma AP in the mid lane since season 3. Many things have changed throughout the years but Karma’s potential to bully mid laners in the early game has stayed the same.

And with the current runes and items, she’s stronger than ever.

So, I really recommend you try out AP Karma!

Last Update: March 2, 2024