Why: Because your jungle clear speeds become ridiculously fast and safe with jungle emblem (just pick all the skills which reduce and increase dmg vs jungle monsters)
Why not: Your enemy realizes you thrive on resets, builds immortality at late game, and renders your whole gameplan almost useless.
Passive: Hit enemy 3 times with skills or attacks to deal % of their missing health as true dmg.
S1: Makes you immune to physical attacks for a short duration, boosts your speed, resets your autoattack timer (very important for passive), turns your next attack into a guaranteed crit for magic dmg. Use this whenever you can to roam around the map.
S2: Do aoe magic damage around you, mostly used as a filler, also applies karina’s passive to enemies around her, just use it whenever it’s up too.
S3: dash to an enemy and deal good magic damage. You can use this as an escape tool sometimes by running into bush, then aim s3 to hit the enemy from afar to reposition yourself as they’re chasing you. Sometimes they’ll be too slow to react and still keep heading in the same direction for a few milliseconds but you’ve already slowed down the crucial enemy as well as activated your s1’s movespeed boost to make it harder for them to pin you down.
1.) Spam s1 and head to your blue asap, maybe scout a little further ahead just to see if any enemies plan to invade your blue. If you’re with your team and you see a lvl 1 fight about to occur for no reason, make sure to use s1, run in their face and hopefully bait some skill shots, and soak as much basic attacks as you can before attacking. Do not haphazardly attack the moment you press s1, it removes the autoattack immunity.
2.) Head to your blue buff otherwise, and (if you feel it’s really safe) immediately cast retribution on the big monster, hit it with a basic attack, and cast s1 asap. All the damage from retribution and your s1’s crit ridiculously increases the damage you get from your passive as well. You’ll probably chunk 30~50% of the monster’s hp in that one combo alone, so make sure to learn how to level up s2 asap and use it to demolish the little monster. There is no need to stay in mid lane and leech any exp actually. Just clear camps as fast as you can. You’re also helping your mid lane by ensuring they get to lvl 2 in the first wave as well.
3.) Immediately head to your Red Buff and do the same thing, your typical clear path would be to head to the nearest monster in mid lane (just above the red buff), the monster near your bottom tower, then to the crab. You may make exceptions for this if you notice there’s a little skirmish at mid lane. You clear so monsters so fast with jungle emblem + karina’s passive you actually have a lot of time to roam at lvl 3++ as well. If you head to crab, make sure to start hiding because that lane will typically be only lvl 2 at that point. If bot laners decide to contest crab, you’ll have a headstart vs other junglers too. You can also see if they’ve cleared the monster camp nearest to crab and steal it for yourself if needed.
4.) Once you reach lvl 4, it’s time to start hunting and/or prepare for turtle. People tend to underestimate Karina’s cleartime with jungle emblem. Sometimes I’ll do 1000+ dmg on s1 + karina’s passive early thanks to the crits. Make sure to get the axe jungle item. And keep clearing camps, at a lot of stacks, the defense and magic resist you get from it are way too gold efficient. Save retribution for securing objectives or if you’re 100% in the clear, blow it on turtle asap so you can kill it faster with your % true dmg passive.
5.) You’ll notice that since you have no mana regeneration after blue buff disappears that karina spam s1 has a lot of mana issues. You can mitigate this by purchasing demon shoes and continuing to kill jungle camps. The playstyle generally is the same as early game. Keep farming, and look all over the map for kills.
6.) Your next step is to maximize cooldown reduction. Jungle emblem already gives 5% so you only really need 35% more. Enchanted Talisman is a no-brainer since the reduction in cd means more s1 spam (which actually indirectly makes you tankier, roam better, and etc.). Remember to keep s1’s immunity to basic attacks for as long as you can if you want to waste their marksmen’s auto attacks during team fights. Most of the time, marksmen have auto aim mode so all wasted autos on you means more damage soaked for the team. Your role is an assassin sure but proper skill usage allows karina to become a fake tank as well. Unlike other stats in the game such as attack dmg and armor values, cooldown reduction does not suffer from diminishing returns, it’s in fact the opposite, each point of cooldown reduction adds more value the more of the existing ones you have.
7.) This sounds 100% stupid on paper but if you really just need the 40% cdr cap without blue buff, get fleeting time. The passive is 100% useless since karina’s ultimate resets 100% on a kill and for assists the reduction is still based on time remaining (not max skill cooldown) BUT having 40% cdr asap ensures you can maximize your roaming potential. Sometimes you’ll even be able to use your ultimate twice in a fight. And the more cooldown you have, the faster you can hit an enemy 3x to use karina’s passive %hp true dmg. Having massive cooldown reduction also allows you to pretty much maintain your presence all over the map. You can quickly proxy lanes and contribute to your team’s pushing efforts (just coordinate this with your core since you’re essentially robbing your other teammates of gold to focus on hopefully securing global objectives better.)
8.) So recap, you have infinite mana, a lot of armor/magic resistance, 40% cdr… next items you need are usually either magic power to boost your ultimate’s damage OR as I’d suggest, HP items to boost your tanking capabilities. Sky Guardian Helmet’s pretty good at regenerating your hp out of combat, antique cuirass is great at reducing marksmen and fighter’s damage even further (vs chou, ling etc.), immortality is a very good option as well since you can spam s1 the moment you spawn to mitigate attack damage and have a better chance of running away, Athene’s shield is good vs magic burst.
9.) Remember to troll the hell out of their marksmen, and feel free to initate tower dives and tank some hits for your team. To do both, use s1, but don’t attack the enemy until s1 duration is almost over. You can also mitigate turret’s dmg this way by remaining in your s1 form and sticking just at the tip of tower’s range, while your teammates can freely hit whoever’s inside the enemy tower. This is why I 100% advice to get 40% cdr.
10.) At late game, change your boots to the tenacity version. CC will be your biggest weakness late game and you want to remove that asap so you can keep hitting enemies. Also with your insane movespeed, try to split push a little before heading into a fight with your teammates (you don’t have to kill the minions if it’s too risky or the fight’s already going to happen in a few seconds, just hit the minions enough to ensure the lane will eventually push your way, then head into the fight.