Mathematical Analysis of Karma in Relation to Other Support Mages

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Endominus

Junior Member

03-31-2013

The rework of Karma was, according to Riot, an attempt to make her a viable support mage along the veins of Morgana, Zilean, or Lux. I'll be honest here; I'm not very good at LoL, but I'm decent at math, so I decided to take a mathematical look at her abilities in comparison with Morgana and Lux (not Zilean because I really don't know if he's a comparable character).

I had to make some assumptions vis-a-vis itemization and runes/masteries. Namely, I assumed no runes or masteries, and tried to abstract out the items as much as possible. I assume (at least, initially) that every ability will cause maximum damage; that is to say, skillshots will hit, DoTs will damage over their entire time, etc. I also assume that the champion is in a solo lane. Their utilities are varied enough that the relative worth is much more dependent on the team than the direct values. I used 1v1 to calculate the damage; these champions all have muti-target abilities, but these are quite tricky to accurately assess, so I won't try. I am using damage and AP scaling numbers from http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com. Any other assumptions I make are listed below.

Without further ado;
Karma's Burst: Using the spirit link to tether and snare, she unleashes a mantra'd soulflare.
She is maxing Q first, W second. She puts one point in her shield and maxes it last.
Level 1; 135 + 1.5*AP
Level 6; 495+2.1*AP
Level 11; 945+2.1*AP
Level 16; 1045+2.1*AP

Morgana's Burst: Tormented Soil into Snare into Ult
I don't know how to build Morg, so I'm assuming max soil first. I'll adjust the figures if someone chimes in. I'm not accounting for the Magic Resistance debuff offered by her soil because I don't feel like doing integrals right now and I don't know the MR formula.
Level 1; 125 + AP
Level 6; 705 + 3.3*AP
Level 11; 1115 + 3.3*AP
Level 16; 1375 + 3.3*AP
These numbers are a little high because they assume that the full tormented soil damage is dealt. It might be more realistic to knock off 100/150/200 for levels 6, 11, and 16. But like I said, I'm assuming everyone can get all of their damage off all the time.

Lux's Burst: AoE into snare into Finales Funkeln. I assume she can get an autoattack on an enemy in between her spells to proc her passive.
Leveling AoE first, then snare.
Level 1; 80 + 0.6*AP
Level 6; 650 + 2.05*AP
Level 11; 1040 + 2.05*AP
Level 16; 1340 + 2.05*AP

While Karma's burst starts strong, she is rapidly outclassed by both Morgana and Lux. This gets even more blatant when AP scaling is considered. By level 16, she is only gaining 5 damage per 100 AP on Lux, who starts with a 295 damage advantage. Again, Riot claims that they were trying to push her into more of a burst caster role. But burst isn't everything; what about sustained damage?

This leads into a whole new set of assumptions. To maximize her sustained damage, Karma needs as much CDR as she can manage. This isn't necessarily as useful on Morgana, who may just want to increase her AP. Lux is probably fine with it though. We'll assume 40% CDR on all of them, assume that they always hit, etc. According to my source, Karma's passive is not proccing off of DoT as it possibly should, so I will assume that her W and Q just reduce the cooldown by 2 seconds. I'm not gonna do anything fancy here, just some back-of-the-head calculations, and that comes out to a "real" cooldown of approximately 15 seconds. Again, this is assuming constant, unrelenting spell casts. I am assuming that Lux can autoattack in between all of her spell casts, except for Finales Funkeln, which includes the damage already.

Karma dps; (260 + 0.6*AP)/3 + (260 + 0.6*AP)/8.4 + (525 + 0.9*AP)/15 = 152.62 + 0.33*AP
Morgana dps; (300 + .9*AP)/6.6 + (425 + AP)/6 + (650 + 1.4*AP)/60 = 127.12 + 0.33*AP
Lux's dps; (450 + .7*AP)/6.6 + (430 + .6*AP)/6 + (670 + .75*AP)/24 = 167.77 + 0.24*AP

So Karma has higher DPS than either Morgana or Lux, assuming that she can get her AP above 170 by level 18. A few things are wrong with this model, though; we do not account for mana usage, survivability, or stiction.

Mana usage is relatively trivial to calculate (I assume they are all also using their shields);
Karma: 57.0/sec
Morgana: 49.3/sec
Lux: 49.47/sec
There is little apparent difference here. Assuming that these champions are not stacking mana (it is not an extremely useful stat on any of them), they have about 30 seconds of combat effectiveness before they are in danger of running out of mana (assuming they are also using their protective abilities). Karma will be completely out by that point.

The other side of sustained damage is survivability. Each of these champions has a shield and a manner of escaping foes.
Karma's Mantra Shield: 390 + 0.8*AP with 150 + 0.3*AP burst
Karma's Normal Shield: 250 + 0.5*AP
Morgana's Shield: 355 + 0.7*AP
Lux's Shield: 180 + 0.35*AP OR 360 + 0.7*AP

On first glance it seems that Karma has the best shield here. Note, however, that without her mantra her shield is relatively weak; it applies the speed buff, but absorbs only about a second of damage from a carry at level 18. The mantra makes it better, but the majority of her damage comes from using the mantra in combination with her Soulfire. Without it (and it will not be available at either the beginning or the end of the fight if she uses it to shield), her dps drops by roughly 15/sec.

Her shield also does not negate hard cc, like Morgana's does, or affect multiple people as well as Lux's does. She can help initiate, unless the opposing team has hard CC that can counter a team walking up to them. Further, using this skill to initiate reduces the damage even more since it would do less to the opposing team. But the shield is better at protecting a single target than Lux's shield is. And, unlike Morgana's shield, it is effective against all sources.

She has a slow that she must stop to cast and a snare with a range of 650 and a delay of 2 seconds. In comparison, Lux has a multi-target skillshot snare with a range of nearly 1200, and Morgana single-target at 1300. Both of their abilities have a lower cooldown than Karma's. Additionally, Lux also has a slow that slows for more, longer.

In terms of other defensive stats, Morgana has the most health, and Lux the least. The same is true for armor. This is exacerbated by the excessively low range of Karma's abilities. She is required to be within 650 to use her tether, and her longest range ability is 900. This is well within kill range of champions that she has no reliable way to stop.

Finally, we have a stiction. I can't really account for this. Again, how good any given champion is at escaping any other is more about player skill and the individual matchup than it is the theorycrafting that I am doing here.

Again, I am not a great player by any means. Just a nerd with a calculator. But it seems to me that, mechanically, Karma does not have as great a kit as either of these two, Morgana especially.

I have not compared her against Zilean, because he seems to occupy a different role in the game. I may analyze Zyra later, if there is some demand for it.


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darkshadow1s

Senior Member

03-31-2013

Ye Karma is going to need buffs.


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CritsAProcess

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Senior Member

03-31-2013

Thank you for this, I hope Riot listens.


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ExpandingEye

Senior Member

03-31-2013

Any number of fixes could improve her:

1) She needs her old passive back (in combo with her current text one)
2) She needs to be able to save mantra charges (up to 2 is fine)
3) Her W needs to be targettable on alies with some mantra effect
4) Her Mantra Q needs more slow or slightly bigger area

Right now her Mantra Skills seem like halfway towards an ultimate (from Q,W, E skills) in epicness. In reality, for her concept to work properly, they need to feel more like 66%-75% towards an ultimate instead of 50%.

She's almost there, but she's missing a few things :]


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Stray Logos

Senior Member

03-31-2013

Bump for all the work you put into this. Numbers don't lie, and I'm seeing a distinct lack of advantages on Karma's part. So far with my experiences playing her, she is an ok support (but is outclassed in almost every way by other supports), and she is a mediocre mid (outclassed by almost every mid). Yes I've had my good games where I've carried with this new Karma, but every time I have, it would have been easier to do the same thing on pretty much any other mage.

Also your model assumes that everything will land. It is a perfect assumption for the math you are doing, but if we go into actual gameplay, the idea that every single spell will land in a fight is unreasonable. However champions like Lux and Morgana have 1 skillshot that IF IT LANDS guarentees that the rest of their kit will also land. Karma has this in the form of her tether, however unlike the other two, she has to stay within a close proximity to the target for a 2 second duration. 2 seconds is more than enough time for someone to apply cc to karma (to prevent the followup soulflare), or to just flat out kill her.

If they don't want to change damage numbers on Karma, here are the two suggestions that I would pose to Riot.
1. Make her Q a skillshot similar to Galio's resolute smite. For how high the mana cost is, and for how low the damage is, this skill really should not be blocked by minions. It is already easy enough to move away from the skill without factoring in minion block.

2. Increase the initial cast range on her tether. As it stands right now Karma has to either put herself in great danger, or burn her shield just to ensure that her W actually serves its purpose. I've also had a number of scenarios where I am chasing someone, and I use my speed boost shield AND my slow from Q, but I still can't get in range to cast tether. The one or two times I HAVE caught up, usually they are able to break the tether by the time the animation for casting it has ended.


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Feynt

Senior Member

03-31-2013

I actually never read that they wanted to make her a support anything and assumed they made her into an AP carry because her skill set is now so similar to other AP carries (Ryze, Xerath, and Zyra for example). I compared her most favourably to Ryze however because of the similar passives:

  • Karma's passive refreshes Mantra 1-2 seconds when it hits enemy champions only. Ryze's passive refreshes all his skills 1 second when he casts a spell.
  • Karma's Inner Flame does (in an average AP carry role of 500 AP) 560 damage (895 with Mantra) on hit and hits maybe 3 (to a lot more than 3 enemies with Mantra) per use, but it can miss because it's a skill shot. Ryze's Overload is a single target spell doing 555 per hit (assuming a 3k mana pool) at half the cooldown.
  • Karma's Focused Resolve does 560 damage over 2 seconds (assuming her link holds), or up to 1160 damage with Mantra (and a kind of respectable heal, but at the range she's at, it's barely enough to keep up), then roots after that 2 seconds. Ryze's Rune Prison does 635, but it roots instantly and will always do its full damage.
  • Karma's Inspire shields for 490 points of damage, something Ryze's can't do, but it was once stronger. With Mantra it does a 790 shield and does a 600 damage AoE around the target. Ryze's Spell Flux bounces between targets doing 335 per hit, up to 1005 with multiple bounces to the same target. Damage wise, Ryze can win out in damage with just two bounces, and he doesn't need to use his ult to do it. Her shield does give a nice 60% movespeed for 1.5 seconds though.
  • Karma's Mantra does nothing on its own, but has a rather lengthy cooldown of 45 seconds. With CDR 40% it drops to 27 seconds, and can be partly reduced further by her passive. Ryze's ult gives all his spells an AoE that does 50% of the spell's damage, makes him significantly faster (though flat movement, not a percentage), and gives him spell vamp. At its best, it's 50 seconds (reduced to 30 with CDR 40%), but every spell he casts reduces it faster.

For her shield, I'd compare her directly to Janna, who's shield she barely lost to by a mere 10 points (680 versus 690 at 500 AP) in her old form. Now, Karma's shield is the weakest of them all, except for Lux's on a per-proc basis, unless she uses her ult. Considering Lux can shield everyone in a line and refresh that shield in about 1-2 seconds on the trip back, her shield is stronger than Karma's (in my opinion).

When I compared her current skill set versus her old skill set, I was shocked to find that she was actually doing more damage per Q and E than she is now. And given the strength of her shield in her old incarnation, she could play the baiting game quite well and survive thanks to her two Mantra charges.


Addendum:
My rational for choosing some numbers is I play support like I play any caster, with an emphasis on AP gear to bolster skills. What is the point of letting the strongest shield in the game go to waste with no AP items? So I chose an AP value that is on the lower end for AP carries, and the higher end for a support (because I rarely, if ever, see someone play support with more than 100 AP. And it's usually incidental AP). Also Ryze's 3000 mana in the comparison above is a rather conservative assumption. I know it's possible to go higher, but 3k seemed like a good round number.


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AWildRaticate

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Senior Member

03-31-2013

Numbers completely backing up the bad feels I get when playing new Karma. Her Q is pretty much the only part of her kit that isn't garbage right now, and even that drops like a rock lategame. Really can't think of a single reason to play Karma over any other utility mage. Orianna, Anivia, Lux, Morg, and Zyra all have better damage, range, CC, and overall team utility. Their kits all flow together better. Their mana is more manageable. Karma practically has to go in and die in order to get her snare and be of real use to her team after her damage tapers off.


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CerealBoxOfDoom

Senior Member

03-31-2013

I just want to point out that level 3 inspire gives as much speed as master yi's highlander. I sustpect that this is something worth considering very heavily. Not that highlander's movement speed is necessarily the end all buff of the ages but to have this as a spammable ability and even go 2 levels beyond during a time when champs that have evasion and defensive abilities are being nerfed left and right I think karma's E is more valuable than people think.


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Feynt

Senior Member

03-31-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWildRaticate View Post
Numbers completely backing up the bad feels I get when playing new Karma. Her Q is pretty much the only part of her kit that isn't garbage right now, and even that drops like a rock lategame. Really can't think of a single reason to play Karma over any other utility mage. Orianna, Anivia, Lux, Morg, and Zyra all have better damage, range, CC, and overall team utility. Their kits all flow together better. Their mana is more manageable. Karma practically has to go in and die in order to get her snare and be of real use to her team after her damage tapers off.
Yes, this is something I also noticed. Her Focused Resolve is more like a "Final Resolve", because if she can survive getting close enough to her target, she makes a thick, glowing beam of energy that basically screams "kill this end quickly!" If she does a Mantra shield, her damage output sucks and she'll probably die around the time the root would/does go off. If she does a Mantra link, she does decent spike to her target and regains 25%+ of her health back over 2 seconds, but that's barely enough to keep up with low level damage from a single target, forget a team fight. If she does a Mantra hadoken, she slows down her target and does a decent AoE poke, but it has a chance of both missing and hitting the unintended target (like, a minion who's fat ass sticks out just enough). And then with Mantra used, her kit is subpar.

Karma's old skill set by comparison: Her shield was the strongest non-ult in the game (just behind Janna's at high end AP) without Mantra, and with it you did a very respectable AoE nuke. Heavenly Wave was a shorter range nuke than Inner Flame, but you could survive at that range and it's impossible to miss with the cone it had (plus the Mantra heal was excellent in team fights). The only "let down" was Spirit Bond because it wasn't a hard CC, but it lasted 5 seconds which was plenty to chase down someone. If you used Mantra on Spirit Bond and linked to an enemy, they basically weren't escaping. And you got two Mantra charges, meaning two potential team heals with a 6 second (down to 3.something with CDR 40%) gap, or two strong AoE nukes, or two massive slow/hastes for potentially the entire team fight (plus some decent damage doled out). Or any combination therein.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CerealBoxOfDoom View Post
I just want to point out that level 3 inspire gives as much speed as master yi's highlander. I sustpect that this is something worth considering very heavily. Not that highlander's movement speed is necessarily the end all buff of the ages but to have this as a spammable ability and even go 2 levels beyond during a time when champs that have evasion and defensive abilities are being nerfed left and right I think karma's E is more valuable than people think.
Her shield gives this speed buff for 1.5 seconds. Yi's Highlander lasts for 8-12 seconds with the potential to refresh and go another 8-12 seconds with each kill. If you save the last Highlander use, you're basically ready to go full bore later.


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Stray Logos

Senior Member

03-31-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by CerealBoxOfDoom View Post
I just want to point out that level 3 inspire gives as much speed as master yi's highlander. I sustpect that this is something worth considering very heavily. Not that highlander's movement speed is necessarily the end all buff of the ages but to have this as a spammable ability and even go 2 levels beyond during a time when champs that have evasion and defensive abilities are being nerfed left and right I think karma's E is more valuable than people think.
This might be true, but the speed boost only lasts 1.5 seconds. It is really more for repositioning or using it to catch someone who is just out of range. That being said the most satisfying thing about new Karma (imo) is using her Mantra shield to bum rush an enemy team with everyone going super fast with shields.


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