Ryze Build Guide by Xealot129
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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.
This guide is designed to show you how Ryze is not only viable but is a very powerful "AP" Carry. I designed the build to maximize his early game damage, which is the weakest element of his game, without sacrificing his late game awesomeness. Included is the most viable build and my fullest understanding of strategy involving Ryze.
Why Play Ryze
Why not play Ryze?? Ryze is an awesome champion for several reasons
- Great single target nuke - you can focus down the enemy carry in only a second or two, leaving them to QQ
- Tanky mage - you have about 3k HP and 170 armor with a finished build, along with either 80 or 160 MR, depending on your 6th item.
- Insane DPS - Overload has next to no practical cooldown, meaning your dps is super high for an AP champ even after your nuke is finished
- Some AoE - both Spell Flux and Desperate Power provide some manner of AoE, not quite as much as AP champs like Brand, but more than most people give him credit for
- Counterpick - I use Ryze all the time, but my favorite instances are when the enemy team picks Veigar. Ryze also is a good counterpick for any short-range AP carry like Vladimir or Annie, and is also surprisingly effective against longer-ranged carries.
- The tankiest caster in game when build full damage.
- Scales well into late game while having high damage potential early game
- Has a high damage single target nuke with the ability to continue damaging throughout a fight (cooldowns are incredibly low)
- Natural spellvamp combined with tankiness means you can stay in the fight
- Great duelist
- Hard to counter
- Has sources of AoE from Spell Flux and Desperate Power, can farm well
- Very squishy early game
- Lacks the AoE damage of other AP carries like Brand
- Need ult to farm super well
- Fills a unique role, thus requires a unique mindset
- Team may rage at you for carrying too hard
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are the obvious choice for any mage for the magic penetration and Ryze is no exception.
I take Greater Seal of Replenishment because in early game if you are doing a lot of harassing (which you should be), you need that mana regen to keep you in lane.
I take flat Mana for both Glyphs and Quints. These Intellect runes help you in a few ways.
- You can lane longer do to a larger mana pool
- Overload and Rune Prison do more damage (17 and 11 respectively)
- Increased health regen from Strength of Spirit
- If you get blue buff, you will be able to spam your skills even more because blue buff regenerates your mana as a percentage of your maximum mana
- Helps out your early game damage more than Mana/lvl runes, and a strong early game is needed to assert dominance as Ryze
With the new masteries, the only really good way to go about it is 9-0-21. The mana mastery is pretty sick for Ryze, and magic penetration and CDR from offensive help more than any defensive masteries.
My main advice is to generally stick to the progression I set up in the build. Those early Sapphire Crystals are the most efficient way to get your damage up. The only reason I build a catalyst the protector before getting the other two crystals that you will eventually need is because the sustain it gives you is pretty sweet. Obviously you are going to have to modify the build according to the situation (if you are being wrecked by their 5 AP champs, build an early Negatron Cloak for your Banshee's Veil), but the item progression I set up works quite well, and is the most cost-effective for early mana and damage.
I put Void Staff into the build because you will need it in most games against skilled players who build upwards of 100 MR to counter you. However there are a few alternatives.
- Force of Nature. This item is great on Ryze if their AP carry is focusing you down, or if most of their damage output is AP. You are a tanky mage after all, and this lets you stay in the fight longer.
- Will of the Ancients. Your ult has a very low cooldown due to your passive and your CDR, but it isn't always active. This spell vamp helps a lot if you want to be sustained in teamfights. I'd advise building an early hextech revolver, though, probably after your last Sapphire Crystal, and then finishing WoTA last. Also it syncs nicely with your ult when both are going at the same time, giving you crazy spell vamp
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter. While I have not gotten this much, it would allow you to keep almost a constant slow on your target with your Q getting the full 35% out of its passive. The HP is also very nice and the AP is alright, but I would usually take one of the items listed above. Fun to kite/chase with though.
- Honorable mentions: Guardian Angel (could be useful if you're getting focused hard), Quicksilver Sash (to counter things like Malzahar or Mordekaiser ultimates), Zhonya's Hourglass (if you're getting focused hard), Rabadon's Deathcap (if you're a troll)
There are other choices for your 6th item, of course, but these are the only ones that I see as being really viable. You could also substitute Mercury's Treads for Sorcerer's Shoes if they have a lot of CC, but this all but mandates a Void Staff.
Btw, even though I say 6th item, I believe that you should get it 5th, before finishing Archangel's Staff, because it will only cost a little more gold and be way more useful.
Overload is your main damaging skill. W actually does more damage and E has the potential to do more damage if you land it right, but you can get Q off something like 4 times as often as you can get your W and E. In addition to it being your main source of damage, it also gives you passive CDR which is incredibly important for Ryze (more on that later), which means this is going to be your first skill to level up.
Rune Prison is your only CC, but its pretty good. A 2 second snare is useful for chasing, kiting, disrupting, saving your other squishies, etc. It also has great, instantaneous damage, no waiting for missiles to arrive, which is quite nice.
Spell Flux is pretty cool, but the main thing you want from it is the MR reduction, which is why you leave it to be leveled up last. However, when you have your finished build, this spell can do over 1000 magic damage, unadjusted for MR. This is because it will bounce 5 times, so if your target is standing right next to, say, you, and your ult is on, you will get the 3 hits on your target plus the splashes from the hit on yourself, each splash doing half the damage of a regular hit. However, since this is incredibly unreliable and also you don't want most enemy champions to be standing right next to you, you leave it for last.
Put a point in Desperate Power whenever possible, obviously. passive mana and spell vamp on activation? Pretty sweet skill.
Flash is a must for Ryze, he has no natural escape moves or gap closers, and it has endless uses.
I like to take Teleport for my second spell for the mobility it gives you, but here are some optionals
- Ghost good for getting around, escaping ganks, chasing, etc.
- Exhaust good for keeping that Tryndamere/ Master Yi/Tanky DPS off you while Rune Prison is on cooldown. Also nice in a 1v1. Sleeper OP spell
- Ignite eh...decent finisher and helps loads against lifestealing/selfhealing champs but Ryze has a range longer than Ignite and you don't want to get closer to anyone than you have to
- Cleanse good against teams with a lot of CC, especially people like Warwick and Malzahar who will just lock you down, but Mercury's Treads could work just as well.
Clarity not really necessary on Ryze, just learn to manage mana, but i guess if you really like it you can take it.
Everything else is pretty much not viable.
In lane, you have the advantage against just about any short range champ. You are able to pop your Q to harass them and run away before they get in range to trade you some damage back. I advise that you do not use your abilities for last hitting unless you have no other choice, as you can run out of mana fast early. However, if you have blue buff, Q away.
After level 3, your harassment should be sick. Your Q hits for about 100 now. Whenever the enemy champion gets in range for last hits, hit them with your Q->W->Q combo which should shave off over 250 HP (that's taking into account resistances) and they'll think twice about getting any CS. Level 4 or 5 is when you can start zoning most opponents because your damage is more than they can handle or trade back. Obviously you don't want to zone too riskily without wards, but if you know you are safe feel free. Also, buy wards.
After you hit either 1000 or 1500, depending on how healthy you feel about staying in lane, you're going to want to push your lane hard to their tower and go buy. First trip back should always include level one boots and a Tear of the Goddess, and if you opted for the 1500, pick up an extra sapphire crystal too. Buy a couple wards and if you have extra money pick up some more health pots too. Either walk back if you think you can get there before the enemy minions hit your tower or teleport back if you're worried that tower's going to steal your minions. Keep harassing as much as possible, as long as you dont lose out on any CS, and don't be afraid to use your flash to get a kill. Also, when your spells are on cooldown, remember to autoattack, as basic attacks have secured more kills for me than I care to remember.
In lane phase, your CDR is probably going to max out around 10%, which means that your basic damaging combo will be Q->W->E->Q pre-6, and Q-R-W-Q-E-Q post-6. If you want you can hit R before engaging and then use the pre-6 combo, but you sacrifice a little bit of DPS. Also, if you feel that they won't run right after you engage, you should go for Q->R->E-Q->W->Q, as the MR reduction from E is nice. However in most cases they will run as soon as they see the Q which requires you to use your W to keep them in range. It's up to your discretion though, and takes practice to know which combo to use when
Farming with Ryze is pretty straightforward. Aggro the melee creeps to follow you and walk behind the caster creeps so that the whole enemy creep wave is together. Hit your ult, then Spell Flux, then throw your Q and W on whatever creeps are closest to the center of the wave. Don't worry about the cooldown on Desperate Power late game, if you keep spamming your skills on creeps it will be back up in no time at all.
Teamfights are very important and kind of difficult for Ryze, as you are going to be filling multiple roles. Before the fight starts you want to be doing one of 3 things:
- Poking with Overload if none of the enemies have range long enough to initiate onto you
- Popping some BV's with Spell Flux if any are up
- Clearing creep waves if the fight is going to happen at a tower
However at all times, mentally prepare yourself for a fight, communicate with your team on who to focus, and make sure that you are all on the same page.
After the fight starts, you have even more jobs. You obviously will be your team's AP nuke, and your finished build will do enough damage to completely kill a squishy in one combo (math is below). An incomplete build won't be as OP, but it is still devastating if you are keeping up in farm. However, after this your main job will be to shut down their melees with your W so that your ranged carry can clean up without having to worry about their positioning as much. Remember to spam your Q whenever possible for both the extra damage and the reduction to your other cooldowns. In teamfights, your role is the AP Carry/Assassin/Tank/DPS, and if you fail in any of those regards, there is a good chance your team loses the fight. But if you succeed you will feel awesome, like you can take on their team 1v5 (don't try this).
There is a myth that Ryze doesn't do as much damage as other AP carries...so I decided to take those people to school.
Stats at level 18 with standard build with Void Staff:
2692-3449 Damage (depending on how many times your E can hit the enemy)
With the magic penetration this is enough to spike down any squishy, and it's enough to get most off-tanks very low
You can only get so much mana, so you pretty much have to get the maximum CDR for a good Ryze. Following the regular build, by the time you get Glacial Shroud you should have about 28% CDR, and this is where you should start buying Elixir of Brilliances. This gets you right next to the CDR cap so that you can spam your skills with maximum efficiency. Until you hit this point, you will rely on blue buff to get you to the cap. You should ask your jungler for every blue buff until you get this far, at which point it becomes unnecessary due to your massive CDR and mana pool.
Ryze is an underplayed champion who has been a favorite of mine since his "nerf", and we are even starting to see him in competitive play which is exciting. He is one of the tankiest mages out there and has great damage as well, along with some AoE from his ult. Easy to learn, hard to master.
Please post any questions complaints and comments, constructive criticism is welcome and if you have trouble understanding any part of my guide let me know. I'll think about adding in some pretty pictures, and I will update this guide as necessary.