Build Guide by Nutarama

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nutarama

Ryze, The Survivor

Nutarama Last updated on May 31, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

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This build and accompanying guide is intended for those players who want a caster with survivability, as well as those players finding glass cannon builds to be lacklustre.

This build is based on my experience with two builds: "Ryze Re-Vamped: AP be Damned," a high-damage output but low survivability build (henceforth referred to as the re-vamp build) and "REAL Ryze," a build for a quite tanky Ryze (henceforth referred to as the tanky build). Each has their good points and I have, through playing, devised a fusion of the two, which you find here.

Oh, and if you complain about some aspect of the build, I've probably already answered it in the text below. You have to comment to vote to weed out some trolls. I would appreciate constructive criticism if you downvote and pertinent questions if you upvote. A plain upvote is fine, a downvote with no accompanying criticism will annoy me.

Oh, and I know that the build is similar to other builds. There's only so many ways to go about building Ryze. However, I think my skill sequence, masteries, and item progression is unique. If I am wrong, please do correct me.

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Marks and Seals are fairly self-explanatory, though my selection of Glyphs and Quints may not be. The Glyphs are the same 8-rune CDR set that the re-vamp build uses, and for good reason: from runes and masteries you get exactly 10% CDR at lvl 18. The 9th Glyph slot is really a throwaway. Why grab MR/lvl and not Mana? MR/lvl Glyphs are primary, give a good return on IP investment (and you can use them on lots of other champs), and they give you a tad more survivability end-game. Mana Glyphs are secondary, don't give as good a return (and are more exclusive), and they only give you a tiny amount of additional early game damage.

I get flat mana quints and not magic penetration quints simply due to the early game damage boost. Between Archaic Knowledge, Sorc Shoes, and your marks you have enough MPen to rip through almost any low-rank non-tank. That said, if you are a high-ELO player, MPen quints will better deal with smart players who get at least one MR item and/or rune for MR/lvl.

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9 in Offensive Tree is a must for any caster. If you dispute this, I'll take your down-vote and cry into my beer for the fate of the human race.

The decision then is to either tech Defensive or Utility. I tech defensive because I like Strength of Spirit because we build for Mana. Also, I find the final Defensive mastery, 4% less damage taken, to be more noticeable and generally better in-game. Simply put, you last longer.

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So I start with Sapphire crystal and 2 health pots for the early damage.

You now have a branch in the build path, which is why I like starting this way. If you're facing any opponent other than a physical carry with a good early game, you'll follow the progression above. If you're facing a physical carry with a good early game, you'll get the Shroud before Catalyst: you'll either switch the Shroud and Catalyst or go Shroud first before boots. It's a toss-up strategically, though tactically it can change your early game a lot. If you're taking a lot of damage, go Shroud first, otherwise go Sorc Shoes.

Once you have your Sapphire crystal upgraded and your boots, you're going to get a Tear. This is because it gives you a TON of damage and scales well into late game. Then you get the Shroud or Catalyst, whichever you don't have. Upgrade Catalyst to a BV and the Shroud to a Frozen Heart (Note: If you're facing a heavy caster - Annie, Brand, Malzahar, etc., you'll want to get your Banshee's Veil before your Glacial Shroud. It's very situational though.)

Now you have a lot of defense as well as significant damage from Overload and Rune Prison. However, you're slow compared to other champions (380 movespeed). To remedy this, instead of making ourselves faster we'll just make them slower. Rylai's gives you a near-permanent slow while you hit your combos. Get the Giant's Belt first because of Ryze's poor AP ratios.

Your sixth item is a Rod of Ages. You're probably wondering why it's not first instead of the Banshee's Veil. Simply put, the BV spell shield and MR is more useful than the AP and slight gains in health and mana from the RoA. This is especially true against the opposing AP carry and champions like Kog'Maw, whose primary source of damage is magical.

Last, and certainly least, is upgrading your Tear into an Archangel's Staff. Basically all the upgrade does is give you AP and Mana regen for almost 2k gold. Well, Ryze has really bad AP ratios and if you actually manage to burn through your considerable mana pool, just go back to base.

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Skill Sequence

Overload is your primary damage dealer, it's on a really low cooldown, and it gives passive CDR so you want to level it hard and fast. Rune Prison is your secondary damage dealer, as well as your crowd control. However, the snare's duration doesn't increase significantly with levels, and your passive means you can re-apply it quickly.

Spell Flux is a throwaway, really. The only reason you put a point in it at level three is for the extra procs on your passive - getting your full combo quickly is important. Your Ultimate is not very useful for the most part until late game. However, the bonus mana and the combo continuation makes it important to level every time you can.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is a must. Simply put, you're too slow to catch anyone. However, a quick Flash - Rune Prison (you can break your usual combo order for this combo) means that they can't get away without taking significant damage.

Cleanse is good simply because of silences. Cho'Gath and Kassadin are the primary offenders on this, as their silences essentially allow them to get free hits on you. It also gets you out of stuns. A cleanse-flash-rune prison combo can get you out of most ganks (especially good counter to Evelynn).

Other Options: (all replacing Cleanse)
Ghost: Before you get Rylai's, this is the only thing that will help you chase. However, you'll find that the movespeed buff isn't that great because your flat movespeed is pretty low.

Teleport: Good for repositioning to endangered lanes, but generally wasted as you can't really backdoor, meaning you'll only use it defensively.

Revive: Get this if long respawn timers annoy you a lot. Of course, the objective of this build is to not die, but perfect games are few and far between. Also lets you trade 1 for 1 posthumously by killing your killer when the don't expect you back. Not as useful as cleanse though, because it requires you to die first.

Note on Clarity:
Clarity seems like a good idea at first, but don't get it. You'll run low on mana maybe three times a game (twice early game, once late game usually), but you get more mana from just going back to base. You'll miss out on an early game kill probably, but then you'll realize that you have enough gold to buy your next item and should go back to base anyway.

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You'll want a 1 vs 1 lane (usually mid) as often as possible. This is because you can generally own the lane. You want to be out of your lane as little as possible. You're too slow to effectively reinforce other lanes on short notice. It's better to just push the tower. The rest of my points are in bullet form:

  • You can use your abilities to last hit minions, especially once you get your Tear. Just watch your mana.
  • Poke back with Overload since it has the same range as most other champion's skills.
  • Don't expect Spell Flux to bounce and hit enemy champs, it seems to have different targeting than Katarina's Bouncing Blades (for example).
  • Try to get enemies to chase you while Flash is up. Flashing back to them gives you the time to pull off a full combo, either getting a kill or forcing your opponent to return to base.
  • Spell Flux on a minion wave lets you reduce their health enough to give your minions an edge and get last hits.
  • At higher levels, Desperate Power -> Spell Flux will clear entire minion waves and heal you considerably.
  • Overload and Spell Flux don't deal damage until the projectile actually reaches the target. You can go into tower range with your minions drawing aggro, launch the spell, and make it out of range of the tower before the damage is dealt. You never draw turret fire this way.
  • You do very little damage to towers. It's faster to kill opposing minions so your minions continue hitting the tower than it is to hit the tower and have your minions target their minions.
  • You can use abilities through walls if you have sight and range. Use this to your advantage, especially near inhibitor turrets.

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Team Work

While this Ryze build will let you succeed more often than not 1 vs 1, it will not make up for a lack of teamwork late-game. Since you're mid, remember to buy pink wards if the enemy team has stealth champs - it's your responsibility and most other people won't do it.

If you happen to be running from an enemy force, take the hit for your more squishy counterparts. You'll slow them down significantly, partly from Rune Prison, partly because you're hard to kill. Then it turns a potential two or three kills for your enemies into just one.

Don't initiate, and don't run into where you don't have vision. If you initiate a team fight, you'll be focused first. Let someone with a stun initiate (Amumu is a good example), then focus the stunned target or the support.

Make sure your team knows that you firing spells into the enemy is not initiating. It's harassment with the potential to pick off weaker members if they get separated from the group.

I've said this before, but don't leave the lanes. You're slow and pretty easy to focus fire. You won't go down easy, but you'll probably go down. If you need to change lanes, either recall or know where everyone on the enemy team is first.

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Basically this build lets you be aggressive, adaptive, hard-hitting, and hard to kill. To re-cap:

  • Take mid or 1 vs 1 top if both teams jungle.
  • Play aggressively once you hit level three.
  • Bait and then Flash for an early kill.
  • Change your build order to suit your opponents.
  • Stay in mid lane most of the game, constantly applying pressure.
  • Don't overestimate either your survivability (you're not a tank) or your damage output (you're not a nuke)
  • Don't underestimate them either - you can stay in the field for a long time as well as easily pick off squishy enemies.
  • Learn to quickly chain your spells for combos.