Karma can have a strong impact in lane
Karma is strong against all in supports because you can safely poke and disengage from them. Karma is strong against sustain/poke supports because you can easily all in them. I feel like in most cases karma has the best of both worlds. However, with really tanky supports like Leona starting with dorans shield recently it has gotten a bit harder to poke really tanky lanes down.
You have a strong level 2 against squishy opponents if you choose to take W and have ignite. You can be aggressive here against supports like
. w into mantra q with
is almost always enough to burn summoners or even get a kill. This is only if the opportunity presents itself. If you don't feel like you have that opening or just aren't confident, it's much safer to take E and wait till level 4 for W.
At level 4 you get access to your most effective combo. If your lane isn't much weaker than your opponents look to
yourself if you need the ms to catch up to land
. Or save it for your adc. Then hit your mantra
which should be rank 2. This is a powerful trade and there's almost nothing the enemy can do to avoid it. However be careful about going too crazy. Karma is still somewhat squishy and if the enemy lane is something incredibly strong like Jinx/Leona you could be in for a really bad day.
Karma is actually really good at supporting lane ganks as well. Mantra e gives you a 60% ms increase at rank 1 which is utterly ridiculous. And obviously you have a slow into a snare. Honestly most of the time the enemy lane isn't playing super passive you can just have your jungler walk into lane and lane gank, especially if they have mobility to jump to creeps like
Karma has a super strong level 1 presence
I actually prefer being able to take
at level 1 even if you catch someone. Starting
kinda sucks for lane and at best you usually just burn their flash unless you can preemptively flash with their flash for fb. And starting lane with
and no flash sounds horrible. Mantra
has a base damage of 155 which as far as I know is the highest rank 1 skill base damage in the game. And it's a 50% aoe slow field.
I really like harassing the enemy buff with my adc as karma. I'll put my ward down where I want vision and usually go harass the enemy jungler as he's doing his buff. The poke a mantra
can do is really significant at level 1 and the poke you get on the jungler or bot lane can be really meaningful to how lane goes or their junglers clear speed/sustain. If they really mess up or you play really well you can even force them off their buff and/or get a kill with a coordinated level 1 invade.