Zyra Build Guide by PoisonIvy
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[S3] Zyra - Mid Domination
Not Updated For Current Season
Hi, this is my first guide and here I want to talk about AP Carry Zyra, why you should choose her and how to lead your team to victory.
Wait, Zyra mid?
Zyra was originally released as an AP Carry, but with the success of support Zyra in the competitive scenario, some people don't even imagine her outside of bottom lane.
It's not wrong and I don't think people should stop playing Zyra support. Leona, Fiddlesticks and Blitzcrank also don't have "support" in their champion tags, but are very rewarding due to their high CC and lane dominance; I agree that not only heals and shields make a good support. However, here are some cons I see on her:
- You can't totally control your plants and sometimes you will KS your carry.
- Most of supports have some mobility or an ability that increases movement speed. Zyra doesn't.
- Unlike other supports who can poke and bring utility in one single skill, Deadly Bloom has nothing but damage.
- She is just too offensive. Don't waste her damage!
So, Zyra is a damage machine and I will kill everyone?
No, Zyra doesn't have the highest damade output in the game (even though it's high) and you shouldn't play her expecting to be an assassin like Akali, Katarina or LeBlanc. Following the definition of Totallynotn00b's LeBlanc guide, an AP Carry is a champion who deals a lot of AoE damage using spammable skills to win a teamfight damaging as many champions as possible.
Zyra is not a champion focused only in damage or utility, she's a hybrid between both. She's in the same place as Lux and Morgana, providing snares and slows mixed with damage.
And now that we know who this deadly lady is, let's see how to play her.
Pros / Cons
+ Great poke and strong lane presence.
+ Queen of CC: Slow, snare and an AoE knockup.
+ Massive AoE damage.
+ Her plants and her passive allow you to kill enemies even when you're dead.
+ Free wards.
+ Stranglethorns is a game changing ultimate that will scare your enemies in teamfights.
+ One of the best farmers in the game.
- Poor mobility, slow movement speed.
- Needs good positioning and practice to quickly use her skills.
- Her plants must be managed to make you survive or improve your damage.
- Damage falls at late game, like most mages.
- Easily countered by gap closers and high mobility champions.
- Grasping Roots' range is higher than her other skills, making it hard to initiate or land your full combo.
21 in offense focusing in ability power, damage and cooldown reduction. Spellsword to push lanes giving damage while attacking towers and dealing extra damage to enemies with your basic attacks, specially in late game when you have high ability power. Utility masteries to lower cooldown of summoners spells and increase mana regen; Wanderer helps to roam the map and make up for her low movement speed.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Essential to increase your damage and counter magic resistance.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration: Will help you to push lanes and spam your skills during team fights.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: This build focus on scaling runes because of the potential Zyra has in team fights at early game. With Rabadon's Deathcap passive, your ability power will be greatly increased at level 18.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Same above.
Alternative: You can choose magic resistance or armor seals instead of mana regeneration.
Essential for escape and positioning. In teamfights, Flash allows you to stay away from bruisers and assassins while dealing damage from a safe distance. Grasping Roots and Stranglethorns can be used to escape, but you shouldn't rely on them.
If you like to play agressive, take this. Ignite deals damage over time, which synergyzes with your plants. If you're laning agains an assassin, they will try to get close to you; if you snare and create a plant in the way, this spell helps you to get a kill.
|More used in the competitive scenario. Once again, Zyra can deal damage over time and you should try to stay alive the longer you can. Ignite is more useful in early game, but Barrier is better to survive in team fights.|
Rise of the Thorns (Passive): This skill is a linear skillshot that triggers when Zyra dies. You can use any of her skills to cast it, dealing TRUE DAMAGE to all enemies it passes through. The damage increases with your level and it's very strong at early game. 1v1 and dives can turn to your side with this passive. Make sure to use as fast as you can in 1v1 situations, but take your time to aim carefully and hit multiple targets if you die in team fights.
deadly bloom (Q): Your Q deals AoE magic damage, is your main poke and harass source and should be maxed as soon as you can. If deadly bloom hits one of Zyra's seeds, a Thorn Spitter will grow and attack a single target with long range.
With max CDR, the cooldown goes to 3 seconds and you can spam this ability during team fights. The radius is not so large as Lux's Lucent Singularity, but you will get used to.
This ability has a good range and will allow you to farm and poke the enemy from a safe distance. Just stay farming with normal attacks and, when the enemy gets in range to poke you, use deadly bloom to punish him. Even if it doesn't damage him, the thorn spitter might hit and will keep him away from your minions.
Remember that the thorn spitter is NOT the same plant of your E. Both your Q and your Q's plant are focused on DAMAGE. However, once you build Rylai's Crystal Scepter, your plants will be able to slow from a bigger range and you will become a CC machine.
Rampant Growth (E): This skill has two sides. Passively, increases your cooldown reduction; Activating this ability, you will place a seed where the cursor of your mouse is (just like smartcast). Seeds last for 30 seconds and grant short vision of the area where they are placed and can be destroyed by enemy champions stepping them; however, they will be revealed for 2 seconds. You can store a maximum of 2 seeds, but 4 can be placed at the same time.
How to use this ability:
- Ward bushes, dragon, baron and jungle.
- Combine with deadly bloom to poke and increase your damage.
- Combine with Grasping Roots to slow an enemy.
Grasping Roots (E): This is a linear skillshot with a good range that snares all the enemies it passes through. This is the main ability for support zyra and her first utility toll: use it to lock enemies in place or protect your allies.
When Grasping Roots hits a seed, a Vine Lasher grows. Unlike Thorn Spitter, your E's plant has shorter range but will slow enemies hit. Your main goal is to sprout both plants: one to slow your enemy and other for damage.
Zyra doesn't have scape tools and many times Grasping Roots will be your salvation. Laning against assassins or champions who have gap closers, remember to poke with your Q and save your E until they dive you. Also, save it for ganks if you have pushed your lane too much.
When you're ganking or about to start a teamfight, make sure to land Grasping Roots properly or your full combo won't work. The problem about this ability is that its range is biggeer than your other skills: If you snare your enemy in max range, go closer to use the other skills quickly or you will be stuck in place wondering why it's not working.
Stranglethorns (R): Finally, Zyra's ultimate. This skill brings all you want for christmas: AoE damage with a huge radius, knocking them up after 2 seconds. A game changing ultimate, this can be used in 1v1 for a devastanting burst combo or during teamfights to hit as many champions as possible and turn the game to your team's side.
If Stranglethorns hits any of your plants, they will grow in size and attack 50% faster. When the enemy burst you down, the massive attack speed of your plants plus your passive bring your revenge. In teamfights it probably won't be so good, because your plants lose half HP after receiving AoE damage.
In desperate situations, when Grasping Roots doesn't hit your enemy and he is already close to you, use Stranglethorns to run away. The slow (if you have built Rylai's Crystal Scepter) and the knockup must be enough for you to stay alive. Against champions who can't counter you, lock them in place from a safe distance; but against your counters, cast your ultimate in the place you are and they will have to choose between go back or dive you receiving the knockup.
Grasping Roots first to protect your jungle or to invade. Use it to leash for your jungler, and then go farm. Take Rampant Growth at level 2 to protect from possible ganks or if the enemy in your lane is playing too agressive. At level 3, level up deadly bloom and start poking. After that, max deadly bloom first to improve your damage, Grasping Roots next and Rampant Growth last. Remember to level up Stranglethorns at levels 6, 11 and 16.
Standard Start: x2
Agressive start: x2 x3
Defensive start: sight ward x4 x2
Crystalline Flask: Helps you throughout early game, giving plenty of mana to eventually use your skills and plenty of health to survive trades. Remember to use it only after you lost both mana and health, or it won't be worth buying. Once you have 880 gold, consider going back to base and buy Chalice of Harmony.
Faerie Charm: In season 2, people used to start with boots and potions, but with the buffs on early movement speed, mana regeneration is better to buy at the beginning. If you buy two Faerie Charms first, stay in lane as long as your potions last and you will have more gold to spend when you recall.
Chalice of Harmony: Once you buy it, punish your enemy. Its passive increases your mana regeneration and you will be able to spam your abilities; also, it gives you magic resistance and will upgrade later into Athene's Unholy Grail. I prefer chalice instead of Tear of the Goddess because i just don't like Archangel's Staff on her: even though it brings more ability power and gives you a shield, Zyra needs more utility.
Boots of Speed: It won't make you fast, but at least can help you a little bit against champions who poke you with skillshots. Upgrade as soon as you can to Sorcerer's Shoes.
Seeker's Armguard: If you're laning and losing against Lee Sin, Talon, Pantheon or other AD champion, rush it first to survive. It gives you both armor and ability power and will upgrade later into Zhonya's Hourglass, which is one of your core items.
Athene's Unholy Grail: Definetly, Zyra's main item: You will have magic resistance at early game, average ability power, enough mana regeneration throughout the whole game and all the CDR you need; thanks to Rampant Growth's passive, you can reach 40% CDR with only one item without giving up of other stats. I think this is just an underrated item and people prefer to choose Archangel's Staff because of the insane ability power it gives; however, for Zyra, Athene's works better in any way.
Zhonya's Hourglass: Imagine the scenario: You're defending your tower and both the enemy mid and the jungler try to dive you. You cast your full combo, locking them under your tower and then activats Zhonya's to become untargetable. Result: DOUBLE KILL. Zhonya's Hourglass helps you in any stage of the game, but specially at teamfights: The enemy team will focus you and this will keep you safe while your plants kill them; Even 1v1 situations where you're supposed to lose can turn to your side.
Sorcerer's Shoes: Buy it as soon as you can, if you have already bought Athene's and don't have enough for Zhonya's. Then, upgrade to Enchantment: Homeguard and you can quickly recall and go back to your lane without using teleport. The CDR from Athene's allows you to pick magic penetration instead of Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Rabadon's Deathcap: Essential item for any AP Carry. If you're not dying but also not winning, pick Rabadon's first instead of Zhonya's. If you're already winning, picking Rabadon's first will make you snowball; remember that, for most mages, mid game is when they are stronger, so take advantage of this.
Liandry's Torment: If you're laning against Cho'Gath or other HP based champion, pick Liandry's first. Combined with Grasping Roots and your vine lashers, its passive will deal increased damage. You shouldn't remove Rabadon's from your build to pick Liandry's: instead, remove a defensive item.
Void Staff: I don't really like void staff on Zyra: damage is always necessary, but it will make you give up from other stats; An ideal build should give you sustain, defense and damage, not only one. Buy it if the enemy team is building Magic Resistance.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: HP, ability power and slow in each attack of your thorn spitters. I usually don't rush Rylai's, but it's essential in late game: You can poke your enemies even better in that awkward moment when both teams are waiting for someone to initiate the team fight. If Zyra doesn't have scape tools at early/mid game, she becomes hard to reach once you buy it. When you cast Stranglethorns, enemies will be slowed and probably won't have enough reaction time to avoid the knockup.
Will of the Ancients: Your skills and your plants proc spell vamp with diminished effect. However, Zyra is a great pusher and can quickly damage multiple enemies: If you survive to a team fight and your team has scored an ace, go to their towers and you will recover most of your HP by killing minions. This is also a great item if you're having balanced trades against the enemy in your lane. This is the item I usually remove from my build if I need more damage.
Abyssal Scepter: This item is better in short ranged champions, but pick it if the fed champion in the enemy team deals magic damage. It increases your magic resistance without giving up of ability power, but the magic penetration won't work so well because you have to stay behind your team.
Banshee's Veil: Another good option if you need magic resistance, also giving you extra health. It's good against LeBlanc and other champions who rely on combos.
Guardian Angel: Pick it if you're the only one fed in your team and the real carry. It's worth it if you can position yourself to don't die first in team fights and come back while your tank holds the enemies.
Late Game / Ideal Full Build