Build Guide by BackBlast
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
The remake of Ryze is somewhat different in play style than the old Ryze. I used to build old Ryze with a very similar build and did reasonably with him, now my desired play style is much improved with the changes. He now has more of a kite style with his improved range, his lower cooldowns now mean you can also commit to a battle and do serious damage.
Q is his main spell, and your play will center around it. You can still build AP Ryze and do okay, but with the early spell flux nerf and the ult change you will find you don't do nearly as well. In the higher skill arenas I think you'll find AP Ryze to be near useless and hard to build up. I still see some players attempt AP Ryze, but it's illogical and weak compared to the true way.
Mana Ryze is the best way now, it is clearly more powerful and does quite well. If looked at in terms of gold per unit damage, Ryze's AP ratios would be the equivalent of 1 on Q and .5 on W. Don't let the low base damage on Q fool you, you start the game with a mana pool of 300 (a free '30 AP').
Pretty standard caster runes work fine. In this case I've chosen magic pen reds, enough CDR to hit 40 with planned items, and flat mana everywhere else. Why flat mana? Because of it's great synergy with everything about your build, that's why. If you were a regular caster and wanted to start off with flat AP to give you an early game boost, it works, but it doesn't help your lane longevity much and only your offensive power, it will not improve the number of spells you can cast. In the case of Ryze, it helps everything about your laning. It boosts 1: damage, 2: regen (more later), and 3: your spell casting pool.
To put this in perspective. Normal Ryze with no mana to start (or mana per level, which would be pretty close), will have about ~530 mana. Looking at your possible damage output with no inputs, Q does 83 damage. You can cast it 7.5 times without waiting for regen or levels, which is 622 damage. Consider flat mana runes for Quints to start, 37.5*3 = 112.5 * 1.05 (from Expanding Mind mastery, rank 4) = 118.1 mana to start. This moves our mana up to 648.1, Q does 94.8 damage and we can cast 9.3 of them for 881.6 damage, a 42% boost from our previous spot.
When a normal mage chooses flat AP runes, they get damage scaling - but no extra longevity - no extra casts. Ryze scales in both areas with flat mana runes. Combine this with his very low cooldown Q and it's really powerful.
If we add in Glyphs as well as the next best flat rune, 11.25*9 = 101.25 * 1.05 = 106.3 + 648.1 = 754.4. This boosts Q to 105.4, and allows for 10.8 casts for 1138.3 damage. A full 75.6% boost from no flat mana runes. This suddenly changes Ryze from a weakish start that's mostly looking to farm to a laning terror that can and will push you right out of the lane. For me, I find the strong start very appealing as it makes the game more enjoyable. I no longer have to simply resign myself to farming through the beginning to realize my potential as a carry as I did before I realized how strong flat mana was. I can now have a good deal of fun terrorizing the other team from the get go. +1 to FUN!
A case can be made for per level Seals, since the break even is only level 6. It depends on how much you want to push this potential early game advantage to under level or under farm your opponent or try to get first blood early on.
Flash or Ghost is really your choice. I like flash better. Ryze has no escape or chase move, so this will improve your ability to close or escape somewhat. Teleport is strong as it will help you farm faster, and switch lanes to support a different lane if need be. But mostly I have it to allow me to stay in the lane - which is important to farm up Tear.
One thing I really like about the Mana build is what the masteries have to offer. There's the nice 5% mana boost in utility, but don't overlook the defensive tree. Strength of spirit provides 1% of your max mana in health per 5 with 3 points. This is an incredible help to Ryze, during a typical game my mana levels start higher than my health and that remains true for most of the game. At level one in the lane, that's another 5 hp/5 regen (which more than doubles his base regen) that's simply incredible at helping Ryze have lane staying power. This ability scales the whole game and when you have 4k+ mana, your regen will be quite healthy with no regen items.
Other key things of note are the movement speed (for kiting/chasing ability), CDR (calculated to hit about 40), and mana regen gained from utility (every little bit helps).
I like my defenses, so I took the available armor points in the defensive tree.
Notice the item order is mana heavy early. Getting your mana up as fast as you can early I find essential to staying in the lane, farming, and of course, damage. Not to mention it helps those masteries we choose earlier. So it comes down to this...
Item and its gold per unit damage cost on Ryze's Overload:
Tear (full): 7.1 g/dmg
Crystal: 20 g/dmg
Tear (empty): 28 g/dmg
Rod of Ages (full): 34 g/dmg
Glacial Shroud: 36 g/dmg
Catalyst the Protector Catalyst: 41 g/dmg
Sheen: 42 g/dmg
Rod of Ages (empty): 44 g/dmg
Banshee's Veil: 72 g/dmg
Most other upgrades don't yield much of any mana benefit and will mostly yield AP, which is not nearly as cost effective, or a defensive stat.
Obviously a filled tear is a clear winner and is the core item that really makes mana Ryze work. Without tear, Mana Ryze would probably struggle. Following that, mana crystals are noticeably better than *any* of the upgrades from the mana crystals save for tear. Almost by a factor of 2. I've settled on a Tear, Boots, 3 Mana Crystals, upgrade boots, then build up Rod of Ages as my preferred start.
I don't strictly follow this item build. I might tweak a build order depending on how I'm doing and the other team's composition. Sometimes I will alter it according to circumstances. I like to have the flexibility to buy a negatron cloak or chain vest if I feel I need it to keep myself alive.
Some might ask, why TWO Rods of Ages. Yes, I build two. If you look at how much mana you can stack per slot, nothing competes with Tear (and items built from it). But Tear is unique.. The next item is RoA, even *without* charges it's the best next item per slot. I don't care if there is time remaining in the match to fill them, nothing else competes for sheer mana, and thus damage. And the health and AP don't hurt either.
Banshee's Veil gets an honorable mention, you can substitute a for a if you like. I would consider this a good trade vs a team that is caster heavy.
Items to avoid
Never buy pure AP
items to start, and we're avoiding most of those not on the above list anyway. This also means DO NOT UPGRADE
till you're at least through a glacial shroud, prematurely doing this is a mistake. I only rarely ever make it far enough to upgrade
. I would lump
Doran's ring in here too. Yes, more health is nice to start the laning phase - but you are carrying more health with you in the form of health potions than doran's provides. That is, if you have the time to use them (IE, don't get greedy and don't face check the bushes).
I would also put void staff in here as well. The AP is not good on him, the pen is useful but not worth the cost IMHO. Abyssal Scepter is a superior choice in almost all cases if you really want to get some extra spell penetration, and as I face better teams that tend to stack a bit of MR it's a good idea. It's a good team item as well, thus I typically take it every game.
If we take into account a stock penetration of say, 30 flat magic pen with runes, boots and another 24 from our spell flux debuff and then compare it to the same with a void staff.
General MR levels and what the void staff buys you...
30 MR, Difference of 0
60 MR, Difference of 2.4 effective MR
80 MR, Difference of 10.4 effective MR
or + 100 MR, Difference of 18.4 effective MR
+ 150 MR, Difference of 38.4 effective MR
Only in the last instance would I even consider a void staff, and then probably only if more than half the other team has stacked to this level and the others have reasonable levels too. Abyssal Scepter is only 350 more gold than a void staff, and will be more effective in all cases except the last, and probably will even then since it helps your team too and not just you. Further, it provides more MR for yourself and finally it provides the same anemic AP boost.
Thus, I conclude that void staff should never be built on Ryze unless the stars align and the whole other team has 2 major MR items - which I can't recall ever seeing.
Further, Ryze synergyzes well with other mages with MR debuffs for very high flat reduction. For example, Karthus works very well in tandem with Ryze. With this build Ryze provides 44 MR debuff in addition to Karthus' wall (35 MR reduction @ lvl 5) for 79 MR reduction, BEFORE runes/boots or other forms of pen. I do believe the 79 MR can take heros to negative MR as well. Both deliver AOE, with essentially pure damage on anyone who doesn't stack MR that's some mighty big pain they can deliver. As long as you have enough physical damage present on the team to prevent massive MR stacking, which is essentially the only counter to this much flat penetration, it will be amazingly powerful and Karthus (as well as any other mages/supports) can skip the void staffs as well to concentrate more on AP /defense - very little needs to be invested into % penetration on a team level.
Q (Overload) is your bread and butter. You will harass and poke with it, it will be the primary component of your combos.
Q > W > E with a few Rs thrown in when you want them. The first R is useful to get you another spell proc (a free one at that!) to help with cooldowns, the vamp is occasionally useful on full creep waves. The AOE is significant should not be underestimated for teamfights, but additional levels beyond 1 are not hugely important. The extra stats are not impressive and would be personal preference to level R or E first beyond level 1.
Ryze is a strong mid and a reasonable complement to a side lane. He does not hold up well to an aggressive and good harasser. I do not like laning opposite
Zilean (who does? sigh), or a double stun lane. Most other compositions are manageable though.
Essentially all other heros' abilities are going to have higher cooldowns than Ryze. This means when you move in to harass another hero, you should do so for the space of 2 Qs instead of poking with just one. This is especially true if you do not out range the other hero enough to get away without return fire. This should allow you to come ahead on most exchanges. Zap them twice and only get zapped once back in return. If you have a total range advantage, abuse it as much as you can and lay into them with Q. With flat mana runes you will hit hard, and will be able to out do most heros, making them b, or possibly getting a kill.
You'll be able to spam a few Overloads before mana becomes an issue since you start with a fairly large mana pool. Mana management becomes an issue if you think you can go in for a kill or if you let yourself get too low to use rune prison for an escape and have already blown both summoner spells, otherwise I don't usually worry much about running low. Take note of how much life and how many health potions your opponent has.
In the solo lane, with flat mana, you can out harass almost anyone. Example, mid vs vlad with and I was able to push him out of the lane and hugging his tower before level 3. It wasn't very hard, and I think most people tend to think of him as a strong lane. I also recently played solo top against a Nasus with a Doran's shield. I poked his approach to the lane, taking some return damage. Then I let him push the lane while poking him, then I forced him out of EXP range when it was clear he didn't want to get poked anymore. As I retreated for the new wave, he over extended to get back in EXP range which allowed me to get FB on him. I proceeded to kill him 2 more times in the laning phase before he switched lanes and he sucked the rest of the game going 0/14, he wasn't particularly bad at playing Nasus. He just had a really terrible start and never recovered, under leveled, under farmed, and few siphon strike stacks. Without Flat Mana runes I would have struggled to push that Nasus out of the lane before running out of mana I think.
I try not to use Q to last hit until I've built a Tear. Afterwords, it is a highly recommended and effective method of farming. I've found that you must be in a lane to farm it up properly. Running around the map ganking is twice bad in that you are not growing tear, and you are not farming up your next few items. Successful ganks can alleviate the latter, but not the former. Because of this, I often defer mid to someone who can make better use of it to support the side lanes. Teleport will help you stay in your lane to fill up tear, as well as provide a means of recharging your growing mana pool relatively quickly.
The 3 mana crystals and sorc shoes built after tear are a significant boost to your damage. When you reach this point you will have quite a potent offensive power to unleash - but you will still be quite squishy so you must be careful. The sooner you can hit this level the better and it's this point where you can start to do what you want to - keeping in mind you want to continue to farm tear. Getting the blue buff is a good move at this point. You want to be well on your way to complete your first Rod before the laning phase breaks down if you can.
You can alternate your build to help your laning, building that Catalyst the Protector Catalyst sooner rather than later. Or Armor/MR vs some heavy harassment.
When ganking a lane, there are a couple of methods. Depending on how much running room there is available, and if you come in from behind, the best damage method is to open with Q Overload - E Spell Flux in rapid succession, run along side them if they're running away and wait for Q to come back up. Then Q - W Rune Prison, try to then position yourself for further damage, run ahead of their goal, but not too far so they can try to juke you. Q - R Desperate Power, then a final Q . This sequence will be your maximum output sequence against one target, having max cooldown will dramatically lower the time required to execute this pattern.
If they are low in life (or if your life is low for that matter) you can shorten your burst by firing stuff as fast as you can. QWEQR should all happen about as fast as you can mash the buttons (if you have sufficient cooldown), followed by another Q shortly afterwords.
If you fear the enemy will ghost, flash, or otherwise escape. Or you're the one being ganked, I like to put W after the first Q to immobilize them and then move to reposition myself.
If you've been slowed, exhausted, or otherwise you have no hope to escape I choose to turn and focus the weakest enemy among them. Hopefully my Ult is available and the vamp will help me survive long enough to get a kill myself before I go down.
As a Ryze player, you should understand that W , if available, is the execute skill of choice. It is good for getting a last hit on a hero because it is instant - no travel time. Use this to your advantage to insure you're getting the kills you need to feed your build. Ryze is a carry, after all.
Team fights changes your skill order a bit from ganking. R Desperate Power becomes more important than just a spell to proc Ryze's passive. To realize this most effectively, what will become most important is your positioning for the fight - and not getting disabled while it's happening if you can help it. Being silenced or stunned means no casting, no casting means no passive working for you, and no magic DPS being applied to the other team.
Ideally, you will join shortly after it has been initiated, and use this sequence. Q R Q E Q W Q, followed up by spells as they come off cooldown (probably QEQWQ). You should try to balance centralized casting to maximize damage, with focused damaged to take out targets.
When done properly it is quite devastating, your damage output is very good and your debuffs from items and skills will help your whole team.
Now that the ideal is established, it is okay to poke players on the other team with Q during a standoff or prep for a battle IF you can do so without getting stunned, silenced, feared, or slowed. It is important that you not be initiated upon. You are tanky, with good life, and it can be a mistake for the other team if they don't get enough people or disables focusing on you to kill you before you can unload your chains. You don't stand up well to 3+ heros hitting you, but with one or two you can usually survive long enough to do your part. This creates a problem for the other team, do they make an all out play for Ryze? Or focus someone else first, preferably a little easier to kill. But doing so leaves you free to do your damage (and painful it should be!).
If you played well up to this point this will present a serious problem for the other team. If they choose to target and focus you, with your range and good positioning you can retreat and require them to run through your team to get to you. Which should provide some nice opportunities for your team to do some damage. As soon as they decide it's better to stop chasing you, turn and rejoin the battle.
If the battle is sloppy, lacking a definitive start, it is important that you reserve your Desperate Power Ultimate for an opportunity to get 2+ heros in an AOE strike. A lot of people have whined about Ryze's Ult, but it really is potent and a huge addition to your team fight contribution your team should be expecting.
In summary, don't get focused, maximize your damage while trying to put enemy heros down.