Riot is forcing Karma back into support role in major League of Legends update

Riot Games

Karma is one of League of Legends’ most flexible enchanters, seeing play in top, mid, and support. However, a new set of changes in Season 11 will see the Enlightened One fulfil her supportive fantasy more with big early game nerfs.

While Karma is predominantly picked as a support by casual players, in professional play, the Ionian enchanter is known as one of the game’s most flexible picks.

Support Karma dominates solo queue with 91.2% of her playrate and a 47.73% win rate in LoL patch 11.15 according to stats site LoLalytics. Top and mid lane are equally split at 4.1%, with a similar 47% win rate.

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Pro play tells a different story, with support only having a 44.28% share of her 210 appearances in Season 11. Mid lane is at 32%, while top is at 22% play rate. She has recently struggled to find wins ⁠— a far cry from her dominance at the start of Season 11. Riot’s attempts to tone down her pro play power have caused mains to suffer across the board.

Now, it appears the devs are going to shoehorn her back into the bot lane.

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Karma is among five champions joining the Odyssey skin line this update.Riot Games
Riot are testing some experimental Karma changes ahead of LoL patch 11.16.

Changes push Karma back to bot lane

A new set of changes deployed on the LoL patch 11.16 PBE take aim at Karma’s strong early game, instead looking to pursue her spell-spamming fantasy late game. It’s similar to changes pushed for Irelia earlier this season, and those being considered for Gangplank.

Karma’s passive, Gathering Fire, will now only reduce her Mantra cooldown when abilities hit enemy champions. However, the cooldown reduction will be significantly buffed, starting at 5 seconds per ability hit and scaling to 7 seconds by level 18.

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Her Q, Inner Flame, will do less damage early and have a longer cooldown. However, a buff to its bonus damage with Mantra, and a lower mana cost, means in late-game fights, spamming it will hit like a truck with a AP-heavy build.

Her shield ⁠— a key tool for her lane power ⁠— is being gutted with less move speed to get away from ganks. It will shield for more, but it’s an overall nerf.

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Mid lane Karma is still likely to be viable after the changes, but top lane Karma will be pushed out due to the drastic shield nerf. Support Karma, however, will likely reign supreme, with her numbers becoming easier for Riot to balance in the future with the Mantra change.

The changes are currently in testing for the LoL patch 11.16 cycle, but Riot has not highlighted if it’ll be shipped in the August 11 update.

You can find the changes in testing below (h/t Surrender@20).

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Karma changes for LoL patch 11.16

Passive: Gathering Fire

  • Mantra cooldown reduction 2-5s ⇒ 5-7s.
  • [Removed] No longer reduces cooldown on basic attacks.

Q: Inner Flame

  • Damage 90-270 ⇒ 70-270.
  • Cooldown 8-6 ⇒ 9-5.
  • Mana cost 55 ⇒ 45.
  • Mantra bonus damage 25-175 ⇒ 40-220.

E: Inspire

  • Shield 80-240 ⇒ 80-260.
  • Bonus move speed 40-60% ⇒ 40%.
  • Mantra nearby champion move speed [same as ally spell was cast on] ⇒ [30%].

R: Mantra

  • See Q, E changes.