Ryze Build Guide by Kwokkers
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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.
Yeah so this is my very first guide, and Ryze was my very first love in LoL so I thought I would post about him, as he seems to be somewhat misunderstood by the lower-elo LoL community.
To summarize: He is amazing late game - armor, health, and MR like a tank, and damage like the best of mages. Early game, he is very squishy. You HAVE to be aggressive with him early to back down aggressive opponents, or you will lose your lane. More on all of this later.
Please don't downvote unless you've tried it. And don't be a hater. :) Please provide any feedback you think would be helpful, including if you think I am wrong about something. I love constructive criticism, as it helps me improve.
So I chose these runes to be as damaging early as possible. The mana is obviously to gain the damage benefits for Q and W, with the added side benefit of allowing you to stay in lane longer because you don't go OOM (out of mana) as fast. The idea is for you to nuke with Q at level 1 to back them off and still have plenty of mana left over to nuke them again if they come back for more. Your Q at level 1 should be doing close to 90 damage, even with MR mitigation on their part. On a 3 second CD, that makes your nuke one of the shortest and strongest at lvl 1. With the mana (and pots) early game, you won't go OOM as fast as your enemy and you will be able to back him/her off.
Just a note on runes: look at their benefit late game. On most champions, runes mean very little late game. Yes, the CDR and other % runes play a part late game, but most of the time, the one with the better early-game runes will get better farm, get more kills, and get to mid- and late-game with more gear. THAT will win you the games. So my thought process with the runes was "what will allow me to farm and get kills early?" I think these runes allow that. Big nuke damage on a short CD with plenty of mana to stay in lane and farm your tear first.
Ok. I know. I know you're like "wtf AD and damage to minions?" Stop. Breathe. Read on.
What masteries are available for the top of the offense tree? The ghost/exhaust/ignite buff is a no-brainer. That's one point. Then you have 3 choices: gain 3 AP for 3 points, gain 4 bonus damage on autoattacks to minions for 2 points, or gain 3 bonus AD generally. Let me be plain: 3 AP does SQUAT the whole game. 3 AP early does nothing. Look at the AP ratios. Nothing. However, if you are decent at farming, the bonus damage to minions assists you with last hitting. The bonus AD is also for that. No point in having 3 AP which adds up to 1 point extra damage per Spell Flux when you can gain 5 extra AD to minions. The math adds up. The 4% CDR is obviously good, given Ryze's W and E 14-sec cooldowns. 10% spell pen: yes.
The Utility Tree: Take the mana per level. Every little bit helps. No reason to take time dead, since you're not planning to be dead that often. :) Take one point in the flash bonus. Take 3 in mana regen and 1 point wherever you want. I chose mvmt speed. You could choose ward buff, recall buff, even time spent dead if you wanted. They are all kinda "meh." Yes, I know everyone is kinda shocked at the 4 points in gold/10. Loook around the tree. 3% spell vamp even late game is meh. At level 1, your Q will do about 90 damage. 3% of 90 is 2.7 in heals. Ultra-Meh. I would rather have 120 gold over the first 10 minutes. You will have an additional 240 gold by the time someone casts /surrender. Not a ton, but better than having an extremely small heal every time you cast. Besides, if you need heals, cast your ult. Then spam Q W E Q. THAT will give you some health. And minions.
I would take a point in buff duration just in case you can get a blue early. Grab blue with tear and spam Q's W's and E's to proc the tear passive. Ask your jungler to give you blue at 7 min. Incredible farm and tear procs.
Experience gain. Yup. CDR 6%. Yup. Note: that gives you 10% CDR without buffs or gear. Yes, that means your Q will give you 2% and that means your Q is now about 3.12 sec CD. Incredible. I do not grab the 15% CDR on summoner spells as this is kinda meh. buf if you want that, then by all means switch something around and grab it.
If it doesn't have mana, you shouldn't be buying it. Period. Mana does so much more damage for your abilities, and it allows you to have upwards of 5000 mana end-game. Talk about never going OOM. Tanky items with armor and MR also allow you to take hits without dying and your ult allows you to spell vamp your health back. 2 RoA's keeps your health pool high and your damage even higher.
Grab the tear as early as possible to farm the passive and allow you to hit harder with your Q and W.
You will need rank 1 boot as soon as possible, so if you can recall and grab both, awesome.
Special note about your boots: you should buy whatever you need. The spell pen is nice. So is the armor and dmg mitigation from ninja tabi. The CC reduction from merc treads is nice as well. The mvmt speed from boots of swiftness is awesome as well (chasing, securing kills, running away from a bad exchange, etc). It all depends on your needs. Choose your boots according to how the game is progressing.
You can grab lvl 2 boots next if you want or grab shroud for 15% CDR or Catalyst to sustain in lane. It depends on how the game is progressing. If everyone is still laning and farming, grab the sustain. If people are roaming and you are getting ganked, grab boots. If you find you are constantly being harrassed and you never have your CDs, grab shroud for 15% CDR.
After you have tear, lvl 2 boots, shroud, and catalyst, start finishing them. I recommend the RoA first, since the passive benefit is added over time, so the longer you have it, the better off you will be (up to 10 min). The MR from BV is nice, but not necessary if you find you are not being nuked by AP damage. Another RoA is a great option if they have no AP nuke. I have also stacked Frozen Hearts before when they had 4 AD. It just depends on the situation.
In summary: you should have at least 1 Frozen Heart but not more then 2, at least 1 RoA, but not more than 3, and at least the Tear of the Goddess, if you did not have the opportunity to upgrade it to the Archangel's Staff. Obviously, you will need the boots as well. With those, you should wreck everyone with the burst you can put on.
So it seems kind of obvious, but I want to walk you through this as quickly as possible.
Q is your big nuke. Best mana ratio at 7.5%. Shortest CD. Easy first pick. Some go W, but if I'm going against a Ryze and I see that he has W first, I know the CD is 14 sec, so I'm going to nuke him, and there's not much he can do about it. So I grab Q first. With this build, you are built to burst, and W scales 5% off mana as well. Grab that second for the control on early ganks as well as keeping the enemy laner away from you. Go Q-W really fast and then run away. If they chase after the W, hit them with Q again. That's a lot of damage to take in a 4-sec span.
You can grab E or lvl 2 Q at lvl 3. It depends on the situation, however. If you feel like you need to get off 4 abilities back-to-back, grab E at 3. Q-W-E-Q will wreck a lot of face. Just make sure not to go OOM accidentally. That will be a dead Ryze. Choose Q at lvl 3 if you are successfully harrassing them, but they are not giving you an opportunity to kill them. Again, make sure not to go OOM.
Max out Q first for the CDR and nuke damage. I max out W next for the control and the mana damage buff of 5%.
A note: you CAN max out E first. If you find that you are laning against a gap-closer, leveling E first can be devastating. Wait for them to gap-close, go Q-E-W-Q. The E will wreck them, bouncing to them 3 times and lowering their MR. Then your W will lock them in place, and you can Q them (all while they have no MR and you are doing TRUE DAMAGE to them. You might possibly reduce their MR to negative, which means you are doing BONUS true damage. Incredible. Leveling E first is incredibly unusual, and with good reason. Q is your go-to first ability and it should almost always be lvl 5 when you hit champion level 9.
Ah yes, the ult. Some of you are thinking "wtf not picking up ult at 11? FAIL!" Again, stop. Breathe. Read on.
Your ult does what, exactly? Gives you 75 mana. Lvl 6 gives you 50% AoE damage. Lvl 11 gives you no more AoE, it just increases the spell vamp by 5% and the duration of the ult by 1 sec in addition to giving you 75 more mana. Your Q damage increases by 6 and your W damage increases by 3.75 with 75 more mana. Yeah. Meh. That's what I was thinking. Leveling your W one more level grants 35 extra damage. Yeah. THAT's what I'm talking about. In a typical fight at lvl 11, you are going to use your Q-W-E-Q combo once, and one guy is pretty much dead. So you can do 15.75 more damage with your Q twice and your W once, or you can do 35 more damage with your W once. I'll take W. Same with E. Each lvl of E grants 20 additional damage EACH bounce. Yup, the numbers don't lie. Saving lvl 2 and 3 of your ult until last actually increases your damage output.
Flash is necessary. Escaping, chasing, surprising, etc. Too good to pass up.
I used to run ghost/flash. However, clarity allows you to farm longer. Ghost is nice early for escaping ganks and bad exchanges. Flash is the same. However, before you think of them as escape only, they also allow you to secure kills by flashing forward, W him to lock him down, then nuke him and watch him run. He will ghost, pop item mvmt enhancers, ability mvmt enhancers, etc, but you have ghost to keep up while your abilities come back off CD. So Ghost/Flash is an option.
I would stick with any combination of Ghost/Flash/Ignite/Clarity, depending on yoru style.
Edit: Ignite/Flash is generally the consensus combo for mid lane. I tend to take that more now than I did previously. The ignite early is just too good to secure a kill and possibly first blood. Most AP's run Doran's Ring as a first item, so they will not have any pots. With my build, you do have pots, so take advantage of the harass, and then flash (if necessary), Q, W, ignite, Q.
Ignite is nice early game, but I find that Ghost is more helpful late game for avoiding assassins, chasing and securing kills (your W), etc. Your nukes late game should not need an ignite to secure the kill. With 4,000+ mana and over 200 AP, you will be doing over 1,000 dmg to a single target with one Q-W-E-Q combo (this number will depend on how much MR they have - it can do upwards of 2,000 dmg or more like 1,000 depending on their MR). Ignite should not be needed late-game.
Pros / Cons
Extreme early damage
Sustained laning early (unless you spam abilities)
Nice control and damage with W (securing kills with a flash-W is awesome for the team)
AMAZING damage AND tankiness late game (with gear, obviously)
You basically become an off-tank nuke late game (I once tanked a turret for our team while we dropped it without minions)
Susceptible to ganks if you push your lane
You will be the focus in team fights until you get health and armor
Counters and Synergies
Champions who counter Ryze:
(Spammers with range)
Champions who synergize well with Ryze:
Special thanks to Nyjacky for this list.
Teammate Jungle Ganks
Ryze works very well with a CC jungler gank. Q-W as your jungler comes out of the brush. they are stuck for a second with nowhere to go. You should be running toward the enemy AND toward the brush furthest from your jungler. They will either go that way or toward their tower. Loss of sight is basically loss of kill. Ping like mad if they take a strange route so that your team will cut them off and secure the kill. Udyr with a stun is amazing for ganks. Fiddlesticks with his ult and flash and fear is also amazing. Ganking them often allows you to farm and get kills, which in turn makes you the tank AND nuke endgame. No one else can say that. So ask your jungler to help with that, pointing out the advantage in kills for you and him and the advantage in farm for you (so you can tank with him late game). Most junglers need to see an advantage before they gank. Communicate with him often and ask for blues as well if your early game isn't going well. But only ask for it if you have tear and if you plan to start ganking with it. It is incredible to come bot with a W and Q and E while your ad and support bot go to town on the enemy ad and support bot.
Ok so how do team fights go down?
Stay in the back unless you have been getting tons of gear. Once you have an RoA and a Frozen Heart, you might be ready to step to the front and poke with your Q to back them off. Wait for the initiation from your tank, and then open with a Q, then W the kill target. Ult, Q, E, Q, W, and then spam until everyone's dead. If a stealthy shows up to ninja-kill you in the back, wreck his sorry face with an E and then Q and W as soon as possible. Obviously walk away from a melee after you W them. If they are a mage, try to step closer to let your E do more burst damage.
Pay attention to their team comp and gear. If they are AD heavy, it won't hurt to grab 2 Frozen Hearts. You can also pick up Thornmail if needed. If they are building MR, go for as many RoA's as possible. Ryze can be built so many ways and still have the damage and tankiness at the end.
Last hitting is an art. If you have not done it, don't know how it's done, can't do it, won't do it, or otherwise have a negative view of last hitting, then you are like me not too long ago. A word on last hitting: it is extremely important. You will see your wins go up, and you will see yourself carry more and get ganked less. Learn the timing of your champ (in this case, Ryze). Each champ is a little different in his/her basic attack timing.
You should attempt to get EVERY last hit. Unless under extreme circumstances, you should never sacrifice a last hit for a poke on the enemy champion. Pay attention to their farm (press and hold TAB). If their mechanics/abilities allow for easier farm than you, and they are beating you, MAKE them pay more attention to you. Q them and walk away. Force the pots before they force yours.
Last hit until you have your Tear and lvl 1 boot. Then use your basic attacks, Q, W, and E to farm and push your lane so that their last hits are harder. Beware the enemy jungler ganks. if you see one coming, W the jungler (or the most dangerous cc), and run away from that champ. Flash if necessary.
Always focus on end-game. If you farm well early, your damage will start to explode. You will get tanky AND nukey at the same time, compared to your AD atmogs (atma's + warmog's) counterparts. Your ONE piece of gear gives you damage and armor whereas the AD has to wait for TWO pieces of gear before he sees both benefits.
Focus on that farm. Poking is a great way to do that. Let them know you mean business with your Q. Hopefully, they back off and let you last hit. If they dont, try to get a finishing combo on them at lvl 3 or 4. Then FARM. Last hit like crazy. Get that tear and boots and REALLY start wrecking. It only takes like 15 minions to make up for a kill. So if they get a kill and you have about 15 more minions than them, you are about even on gold earned.
Farming is easier. Focus on that. Ryze end-game with 4 pieces of gear is better than almost any other AP champ with similar gear. Incredible health, armor, mana, damage, etc.
One thing to note: your ult allows you to farm a minion wave instantly. However, the cons of doing this is that you push your lane. Unless the enemy is an idiot and given you 4 kills by the time you are 6, you won't have enough gold to leave your lane at lvl 6. So ulting and pushing the lane is only a good idea if you have enough gold to purchase a significant item. If so, ult, push the lane (paying attention to how close their next minion wave is). Their next minion wave will mirror yours. If yours is at the second turret, wait for the next wave, and then ult them. Your lane will push to the turret, making his last hits hard. You recall and by the time you're back at your turret, he finally pushed the lane back to mid.
In this way, if it is worth it, ult as often as possible. It makes CS so much easier and gives you burst gold. You can then roam or back to grab gear. Your ult comes back QUICKLY with your passive. Use that to your advantage. End-game with lots of mana and CDR, your ult comes back on average about every 25 seconds if farming and poking with your abilities.
This is not meant to be an authority on ranked play. This is supposed to be something different that you rarely see that could give you a significant advantage over the competition and the surprise element.
Ranked play is a different animal. Most go defensive for a reason. Farm farm farm. Last hit, poke, last hit. They don't even bother going for kills. They wait for ganks from jungle/top/bot, force the flash, then farm easier, knowing you are hesitant to move in knowing you don't have flash to get out.
Ok, so now you have a decent feel for Ryze.
Notice several things about him:
You have to be careful early game. You are a glass cannon.
You have one short CD and 2 long ones. Which tells me you can chain a 4-combo burst but then STAY BACK. You cannot stand toe-to-toe with a bruiser. Poke and run. Q then run. W then Q. then run. If they gap-close, pop the E, then W, then run. Then Q.
You have to be a chamelion. Adapt to the situation. If they are tanky, poke and back away. The more glass cannon they are, the stronger you are and the more you should engage. Your Q-W-E-Q combo is better than anyone else's.
Even if you fall behind early, you are still an end-game champ. Ask for help (ganks/switch lanes), and keep focusing on end-game. Get some gear, play safely and go in for the final kill. You should be the focus of your team getting gear. If you can ninja a kill, do it. You need the gear mid- and end-game (you are a tank AND a nuke - no one else can say that). Once you have 2-3 pieces, don't worry about kills, focus on team pushes. You can't push towers as well as Udyr or Graves or (insert bruiser/tank/AD carry). Let yourself die if the rest of the team wipes out 4 of them and gets 2 turrets. They will focus you thinking you are like all other mages. That's WAY better team play.