This is a tentative rework for Karma, the Enlightened One. Those of you who know me probably know my opinion on her: I think New Karma is fun to play and relatively problem-free, and Old Karma was so jumbled up and dysfunctional that she desperately needed an overhaul. So why rework her again? I think there are at least two compelling reasons: the first is that Karma currently has no real niche, and so doesn't especially shine as either a mage or a support unless her numbers get far too high. The second is that, for all of her old problems, Old Karma did have a lot of interesting aspects that got needlessly taken away when they could've been improved: putting aside the unnecessary loss of her fans and Yin-Yang dress, Karma had this cool niche as a front line mage whose heavy emphasis on duality allowed her to simultaneously help her allies and crush her enemies, a niche that has remained untapped since then. There was likely a lot more that could have been done to preserve some parts of her old kit, notably her iconic shield bomb, but she was League's first overhaul, at a time where Riot's design philosophy was at a much earlier stage and didn't factor player input as heavily as it does now.
This is where I think a more modern overhaul could come in, even if it's not the one I'm proposing here. It's kind of ironic that Karma, a champion whose core theme is duality, also has a fan base torn between her old and new versions, and the kit I'm proposing aims at trying to reconcile the two, while doing a few new things of its own: on one hand, this new kit still has a big, impactful Mantra, and tighter and clearer mechanics akin to New Karma, but has Old Karma's much more direct focus on duality and mid-range combat. The overarching goal is to try to bring out the best of both Karmas to make a champion with a well-defined niche and thematic/gameplay fantasy, with clear strengths, weaknesses, tradeoffs and intuitive options for herself, allies and enemies.
Innate:Karma can periodically reactivate her basic abilities within the first 0.5 seconds they are deployed to empower them.
After toying with many different iterations of Mantra, I finally settled on making it her innate. Double-casting abilities to empower them could work on a champion focused on abilities that lay down power over a duration, as is largely the case for her already, and could also open up space for a proper ultimate: I'm personally really not a fan of "basic ability plus" ultimates, as they tend to add little unique gameplay of their own, and here I think there's tremendous untapped potential for Karma's theme and its possible applications. I also took the opportunity to streamline Mantra by making it primarily focused on damage, with the choice mainly coming down to the different means of applying it. Effectively, Karma gets to layer on powerful bursts of damage on top of a solid support kit.
There are only a few changes I made to Karma's base stats, namely a nerf to her autoattack range (500 from 525) and a buff to her base health and growth (570 plus 90 growth from 522.44 plus 83 growth), along with the removal of her mana costs. I'm designing Karma mainly as a close-range mage, and as such she could afford to lose a little range in exchange for more durability, which should also mean she shouldn't need a resource to gate her other than her health. I'm also reducing the range on Karma's spells and removing all of her CC (which wasn't particularly prominent on her old kit), but in exchange I'm giving her tons more damage and utility. The idea behind this is that Karma gets to be the ultimate utility mage, with enough in both to work well as a mage or a support, while sacrificing the crowd control most mages and supports take for granted.
COOLDOWN: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
Active:Karma charges the target conical area for 2 seconds, rendering all allied champions, including herself, unstoppable while they are inside.
Mantra: The area detonates at the end of the duration, dealing 205 - 800 (based on level)(+ 200% AP) magic damage to all enemies within.
The application of this ability combines a bit of Heavenly Wave, with its conic AoE, and Soulflare, with its delayed detonation, and I think blending the two could solve the two abilities' problems: Heavenly Wave wasn't a healthy ability because it didn't have any counterplay at close range, but Soulflare is problematic because it turns Karma into yet another poke champion, when she has a host of things that could make her stand out better.
The net result with this ability is that it should still give Karma some level of area denial, except it would be much closer-ranged, and in exchange she'd get to also provide areas of strength for both herself and her allies. While part of the front line, she could lay the ability to secure her advance, and empower it to repel the enemy at the same time.
COOLDOWN: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
Active:Karma tethers herself to the target champion for 2 seconds, breaking if she and her anchor move too far away from each other, and combining their health for the duration, splitting all damage and healing equally when it ends.
Mantra: Karma transfers up to 205 - 800 (based on level)(+ 200% AP) health from one anchor to the other if the tether holds for the full duration, transferring no more than is needed to heal the target to full health.
Karma's tether abilities have never felt interesting in the past. Her old Spirit Bond was a boring nuke with equally boring movement speed modifiers, whereas Focused Resolve is just a copy of LeBlanc's Ethereal Chains. I chose here to follow a completely different line of gameplay, and instead have Karma combine her health pool with her target's, allied and enemy alike. On allies, it could help either champion lessen the impact of incoming damage without getting rid of any of it, and on enemies, it could act as a deterrent, forcing them to focus someone other than Karma while tethered, or try to break the tether completely.
With this in mind, the idea behind the Mantra effect is to both encourage Karma to put herself at risk in order to both heal herself and damage an opponent, and allow her to have her own kind of healing without simply producing health out of thin air, which could be useful if she or an ally is on the brink of death. As with all double-edged abilities, this kind of ability would definitely have the potential to backfire spectacularly, though that also means there would be plenty more opportunities for her opponents to play off of it.
COOLDOWN: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
Active:Karmashields the target allied champion and all other nearby allied champions, including herself, for 10% of target's maximum health for 2 seconds.
Mantra: The shields explode at the end of the duration if they hold, dealing 205 - 800 (based on level)(+ 200% AP) magic damage to all nearby enemies, with each target taking the damage only once.
I think Karma deserves to have her shield bomb back, provided it has the necessary counterplay, as it really was the essence of her duality as a mage and support. With this in mind, I removed Inspire's movement speed (Inner Flame would offer the ability to move better in the front line instead), made it an AoE shield as a baseline, and then added the shield bomb effect as its empowerment. The individual shields are intentionally on the weaker side, in part due to how the ability is meant to be at its most effective when used to buff a whole team, but also so that enemies can quickly pop them as needed to evade the detonation damage. They do, however, scale with the target's health, which should both complement Karma's own identity as a part battle mage, and synergize better with other front liners.
COOLDOWN: 120 / 100 / 80
Active:Karma releases her inner energies, which emanate from her in an expanding circle over the course of 2 seconds.
All units within the area either take magic damage or are healed every 0.25 seconds until they have 50% of Karma's maximum health.
Health Modifier Per Quarter-Second: 25 / 50 / 75 (+ 25% AP)
Despite having such a rich theme of duality, Karma never really honored that with Mantra, which mostly just made her spells stronger instead. This, I think could be a good way of implementing that theme as a big, impactful active. As another double-edged ability, Equilibrium is intended to be extremely versatile, allowing Karma to either burn her health to initiate a teamfight or heal everyone back up in order to reset it. As a baseline, the ability is meant to be an equalizer, which could help if she or her team fall behind, but if she uses it more tactically, she could end up outputting a ton of damage or healing to the right side.
Because this ability has the same effects on both allies and enemies, this also means can be exploited by her opponents, who can stay close to heal up or even push her allies in to damage them. It also means that different targets will get different benefits from it, as its threshold is based on Karma's health. This could allow her to specialize as well if she wants to go a little off-balance, as going for a more squishy, AP-based build could make her burn a ton more health, whereas going for a tankier, health-based build could make her better at healing. I think Karma should have a flexible range of itemization options, and should have no trouble going for full AP, full health or something in-between, all while scaling different aspects of her power accordingly.
What do you think of this kit? As someone who might prefer Old Karma or New Karma, or who's indifferent, do these changes appeal to you? Is there a part of Karma I forgot to include, or should have paid more attention to?