Ryze Build Guide by Valephor

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Valephor

Transience's Guide to Ryze

Valephor Last updated on April 6, 2012
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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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 21

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Hello everyone, my name is Transience and what follows is my take on Ryze, the Rogue Mage. This is my very first guide on Mobafire, so bear with me.

My philosophy concerning Ryze is very straightforward. I place a strong emphasis on mobility and survivability without compromising my ability to dish out sustained magical damage.

The early game revolves around getting a fixed set of core items as quickly and safely as possible. This allows Ryze to shine during the mid game, with strong ganking potential and a powerful presence during team fights thanks to a flexible and adaptive set of higher tier items. Unlike many other mages, Ryze’s strength carries over into the late game relatively well. For these reasons, a well played Ryze is able to carry an entire team to victory.

Note that the intention of this guide is not to cover a broad spectrum of ways to build Ryze and discuss each one in turn. My goal is to offer a comprehensive guide tailored to one specific playstyle. I will defend my choices of items, runes and masteries by comparing them with other options and explaining why I believe they are the best fit for my personal style.

I am by no means a great player, but I have been using Ryze for a long time with great success and I feel that I can provide players who are new to this champion with what information they need to make a great start. Without further ado, let’s move on to the guide.

Note that many sections of this guide are still under construction and will be expanded in the near future.

Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.

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Pros / Cons

Pros / Cons

+ Relatively long range.
+ Powerful midgame with core item set.
+ Highly mobile with right build.
+ High, sustained damage in team fights.
+ Less squishy than other mages.
+ Remains strong in the late game.

- Mana hungry early on.
- Weak before core items.
- No innate escape mechanism.
- Vulnerable to crowd control.
- Less burst than other mages.
- Can't take down turrets.

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Ability Explanation

Ability Explanation

  • Arcane Mastery: When Ryze casts a spell, all other spells have their cooldown reduced by one second.

    Notes: This passive defines Ryze. It enables you to use a variety of combos, which I will explain in detail below. Mastering the use of this passive will turn you into a ball lightning throwing monstrosity that puts Zeus and Thor to shame.

  • Overload (Q): Passive: Ryze gains 2/4/6/8/10 percent cooldown reduction. Active: Ryze throws a charge of pure energy at an enemy unit, dealing 40/65/90/115/140 (+20% AP) magic damage plus additional damage equal to 8% of Ryze’s maximum mana. Cooldown: 3.5 seconds. Cost: 70 mana. Range: 675.

    Notes: Overload is our primary damage ability, which is one reason why we max it first. The ability also scales relatively well with levels and offers passive cooldown reduction. It’s important to keep in mind that the AP ratio on this spell is only 20%. This is the reason why our build focuses on increasing our maximum mana instead. Note that 8% of even a relatively modest mana pool of 3,000 increases this spell’s damage by 240. This increase in damage would require a virtually unattainable 1200 AP.

    Overload has a long range which makes it a good choice for early game harassment. However, I usually don’t start harassing seriously until level 3 because my early mana pool is so limited. Before this point, I will throw out Rune Prison once or twice just because sitting at full mana is basically a waste of your mana regeneration, but that is basically it. Last hitting with Overload before you have your early game core is also not a good idea simply because you will run out of mana extremely quickly. You don’t want your jungler to come over for a gank just to find you out of mana and utterly useless. Once you have obtained your Tear of the Goddess and maybe another Sapphire Crystal, start using Overload more often so you can charge up the Tear. Finally, note that with maximum CDR, the cooldown on Overload will be 2.1 seconds.

  • Rune Prison (W): Ryze traps an enemy unit, preventing them from moving for 1/1.25/1.50/1.75/2 seconds and dealing 60/95/130/165/200 (+60% AP) magic damage plus additional damage equal to 5% of Ryze’s maximum mana. Cooldown: 14 seconds. Cost: 80/95/110/125/140 mana. Range: 625.

    Notes: This snare is another key component of Ryze’s kit. We will take a point in Rune Prison on level 1 and max it second. Note that the AP ratio on Rune Prison is a solid 60% while the mana ratio is 5%. Don’t forget that Rune Prison only roots a target in place. It doesn’t prevent enemy champions from using their auto-attacks or casting spells. Also note that the range on Rune Prison is slightly lower than on Overload and Spell Flux, which can be significant in certain situations. Finally, don't underestimate the damage Rune Prison will do on higher levels. With maximum CDR, Rune Prison will have a cooldown of 8.4 seconds.

  • Spell Flux (E): Ryze unleashes a bouncing orb of magical power which bounces to enemy units or himself up to five times. Each bounce deals 50/70/90/110/130 (+35% AP) magic damage and reduces the target’s Magic Resistance by 15. Cooldown: 14 seconds. Cost: 60/75/90/105/120 mana. Range: 675.

    Notes: For the old Ryze, this was the primary source of damage, while for the new and improved Ryze, Spell Flux is largely a filler spell because it only scales with Ability Power. However, it has a few important uses. First and foremost, it’s an essential tool for making combos. Second, it can be used in conjunction with our ultimate to deal AoE damage, as each bounce will benefit from the AoE effect. This allows us to clear large minion waves easily with such combos as R>QEWQ. Third, it reduces Magic Resistance. This added effect can make all the difference, especially in the early game when everyone’s magic resistance is low.

    Spell Flux can bounce off Ryze himself, which is useful when using your QWEQ combo (see below): while the target is affected by Rune Prison, close in on him while you cast Spell Flux so it will bounce between you and your target for maximum damage. As a final note, Spell Flux will have a cooldown of 8.4 seconds once we’ve reached maximum CDR.

  • Desperate Power (R): Passive: Ryze gains 75/150/225 bonus mana. Active: Ryze becomes supercharged, gaining 15/20/25 percent spell vamp and causing his spells do deal 50% AoE damage. Cooldown: 70/60/50 seconds.

    Notes: Many consider Ryze's ultimate to be less than spectacular, but once you realize that your primary source of damage will always be Overload and that the role of your ultimate is to complement its power, you will learn to appreciate Desperate Power simply because of its beautiful synergy with the rest of Ryze's kit. Thanks to our passive and our 40% cooldown reduction, Desperate Power will be available for use in virtually every engagement, providing Ryze with even more survivability and raw AoE damage output.

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In my view, Ryze’s combos fall into three categories: those aimed at burst damage, those aimed at sustained damage output, and those aimed at snaring a running target. I will discuss each type in turn.

(1) Burst Combos. Ryze has two “burst” combinations: QWEQ and QEWQ, the spells cast in very quick succession. The goal of these combos is to land your Overload, cast Rune Prison to keep the target in place, use Spell Flux as filler to decrease the cooldown on Overload, and cast Overload again immediately. After unleashing this combo, you have the chance to run away or reposition yourself. The difference between the two is that casting Rune Prison first is safer because it snares the target earlier and also makes Rune Prison come off cooldown more quickly, while casting Spell Flux first maximizes the damage of Rune Prison because the Magic Resist reduction will be applied before your Rune Prison lands. Personally I mostly use QWEQ.

Keep in mind that in the early stages of the game, this combo is much too mana-intensive to use often. Therefore I simply use QWQ, using the snare to move in on my opponent, ensuring that I will be in range to cast a second Overload.

If you want to use Desperate Power for a quick burst of AoE damage, the combo QRWQEQ is a viable option. Casting W immediately after R ensures that the target cannot run away while you unleash the rest of the nuke. Note that you should always launch an Overload first to make maximal use of the cooldown reduction offered by the use of your other abilities, unless you are chasing an enemy champion (see below).

(2) Sustained Damage Combos. Ryze’s sustained damage combos all make use of the same simple concept: because Overload is our primary source of damage, we want to use it as often as possible. Thus, we use the W, E and R spells in between Q casts to reduce its cooldown. For example, to take down the Golem I would use something like QWQEQ>RQWQEQ etc. The spells are cast at a steady pace, not in a quick flurry as with the burst combos. The above combination could also be used at the start of a team fight. After the initial sequence, you need to prioritize spells and targets as you see fit. As an extra tip for team fights, try to resist the temptation to use more than one secondary spell in between Overload casts.

Always remember that during any engagement, casting the largest possible number of Overloads within the available time is the key to maximizing your damage output. Sometimes, you can only launch a single Overload poke before you need to hightail it out of there. In other cases, you have time for a quick burst combo. During bigger fights, you can fire off an extended combo. The ability to recognize when to use which sort of combination is clearly a good skill toi have (as IdrA might put it), but it will only come with practice and experience.

(3) Snare Combos. The third kind of combo is used to deal with an opponent who is running away from you or your team. In this type of scenario, you’ll often want to avoid opening with Overload, as this might let the enemy slip away. Instead, play it safe and open with Rune Prison, then Overload, and use your other abilities to decrease the cooldown on Rune Prison as quickly as possible so you can snare the opponent a second time. An example would be WQREQ *chase!* WQ etc. When executed properly, you can snare your enemy twice in very quick succession, and although you won’t be dealing optimum damage, this combination allows your teammate(s) to catch up and ensure the kill.

As an aside, my good friend routinely yells at me for accidentally opening on a running target with Overload instead of Rune Prison, letting the enemy escape when the snare would have ensured a kill. Firing off an Overload first tends to become second nature as you gain more experience with Ryze’s combinations, but in certain situations, it’s simply better to break the general rule and bust out the snare first, provided that the opponent is in range.

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Ability Sequence Order

Ability Sequence Order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

> > >

For the reasons outlined above, this should be our priority list. Note that I put a point in Rune Prison first instead of in Overload. Ryze is quite worthless at level 1, and being able to snare your opponent allows you to get away from an early engagement. This is however a matter of personal preference.

Some guides recommend getting Spell Flux on level 3 so you can start using the QWEQ/QEWQ combo. I don't think this is a good idea, because on level 3, you simply don't have the mana needed to use this combo frequently. I prefer to take another point in Overload instead, which makes my pokes hit significantly harder, and learn Spell Flux on level 4.

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Many caster champions have switched from Utility to Offense in Season 2 because the new Offense tree offers them an large amount of raw AP. Ryze, however, doesn’t benefit from AP nearly as much. In this section, I will illustrate why I think that going deeply into the Utility tree is still the best option for Ryze.

Summoner’s Insight 1/1
As I will explain below, I use Flash and Ghost on Ryze. Summoner’s Insightdecreases the cooldown on Flash by a solid 15 seconds, so it is an obvious choice.

Expanded Mind 3/3
A fantastic Tier 1 mastery for Ryze, simply adding to his mana pool and thus to his power.

Swiftness 4/4
This mastery now costs more mastery points and offers less of a bonus than in Season 1. However, I consider this an essential mastery for Ryze. We want to exploit Ryze’s mobility as much as possible, and this mastery offers a great way to contribute to that. Keep in mind that the fact that many players have moved away from Swiftness in Season 2 gives you an advantage over them where you wouldn’t have had one before.

Meditation 1/3
In a perfect world, we would be able to afford 3/3. Ryze is very hungry for mana in the early stages of the game, and this mastery offers a solid way to help resolve this issue. Unfortunately, because Swiftness is so important, we don’t have enough points to max this mastery as well. Note that mana will not be much of a problem in the later phases of the match, once you’ve charged your Tear of the Goddess and gotten your Catalyst the Protector. For these reasons, I only take one point in Meditation.

Transmutation 3/3
This mastery offers Ryze some much needed sustain. It also has nice synergy with Desperate Power and with Will of the Ancients.

Runic Affinity 1/1
Buffs are very, very powerful in League of Legends and one mastery point is not much of an investment to increase their duration by a fifth. In most games, you will have Blue at least once or twice. It is especially useful in the early and midgame, because once your build is complete you will already have the maximum of 40% cooldown reduction and your mana pool will be so huge that you shouldn’t run out of juice. If you feel like this mastery doesn't offer that much of a bonus for you, feel free to take an extra point in Meditation instead.

Awareness 4/4
Still an extremely powerful mastery. Being able to outlevel your opponents is huge. Once again, now that many casters, and thus many of your likely opponents in the mid lane, have switched to Offensive masteries, this mastery offers you that much more of an edge.

Intelligence 3/3
The 6% cooldown reduction this mastery offers is a key component of our build, because we want to reach the maximum amount of 40% cooldown reduction.

Mastermind 1/1
It goes without saying that this mastery is still one of the best masteries in the game, if not the very best.

Summoner’s Wrath 1/1
Our options for a second Summoner Spell include Ghost and Exhaust (I don’t recommend Ignite on Ryze). These spells are all strengthened by this mastery.

Brute Force 1/3
This mastery is of course pure filler. The reason I choose an extra 1 attack damage over an extra 1 AP is that the effect of the AP is almost negligible while the attack damage offers a little help with last hitting in the laning phase. I personally find that Ryze’s auto-attack is pretty difficult to work with. By all means, feel free to take the 1 (or even 3, see below) AP instead.

Butcher 2/2
This mastery also helps my last hitting. Again, this is purely a matter of personal preference. Five extra damage against minions in total or an extra 3 AP - it’s up to you, and it won’t make much of a difference in any case.

Sorcery 4/4
With an extra 4% cooldown reduction, we’ve gained a total of 10% from masteries. Coupled with the passive on Overload and the passive bonus from Frozen Heart, we’re at 40%.

Arcane Knowledge 1/1
Less powerful than in Season 1, but 10% Magic Penetration is still extremely helpful at all stages of the game. Because we often won’t get Sorcerer’s Boots, as I will explain below, this source of Magic Penetration is especially critical for Ryze.

This concludes the chapter on masteries. To recapitulate, our core masteries are Swiftness , Awareness , Intelligence , Mastermind , Sorcery , and Arcane Knowledge .

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana

Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Flash: Ryze does not have an innate escape ability, and this is a great solution to the problem. Although Flash is not as good now as it was in Season 1, I find that it is still the best choice. Using both Flash and Ghost during a chase will allow you to catch almost any champion. It also allows you to teleport through walls, which is a life-saving ability.
Ignite: This spell can secure an early kill, which, coupled with the fact that Ryze can snowball out of control very quickly, will help you win your lane much more easily. It tends to fall off late game, though. Still, Ignite is a very important summoner spell to have on a team, especially if they have somebody like Swain.
Notes: I used to always run Ghost on Ryze, but nowadays I prefer the extra kill power of Ignite.

Exhaust can still be a valuable asset as it offers some extra crowd control and reduces the target's offensive capabilities. When dealing with champions such as Tryndamere or Jax, Exhaust can make a big difference, so don't discount it entirely.

Teleport is a great choice if you are playing solo top. For example, it allows you to help your team contest Dragon much easier.

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(1) The fixed early game core. I buy these items in this exact order in every single game I play.

  • : I start the game with a Sapphire Crystal and two Health Potions. The reason for this is that we're going to rush Tear of the Goddess to start building up our mana pool as early as possible. I choose Sapphire Crystal over Meki Pendant because the extra mana will actively add to my spells' power and because I'm very conservative with my mana during the first few levels. Make sure to focus on last hitting minions with your auto-attack.

    While Sapphire Crystal is the most powerful starting item for Ryze, against some opponents, such as Brand or Cassiopeia, you're better off opening Boots of Speed and three Health Potions so you can dodge their spells more easily.

  • : This is your first "game changing" item. If your laning is not going so well and you get low on health, blue pill after you've farmed around 700 gold and buy your Tear of the Goddess, a Sight Ward and as many Health Potions as you can afford. If your laning is going well, wait until you have a little over 1000 gold and buy Boots of Speed as well. The Tear of the Goddess gives you extra mana every time you cast a spell, so that casting your spells frequently effectively makes them stronger. It will also help put a swift end to Ryze's mana problems.

  • : Getting Boots of Speed quickly ensures that you can outrun your opponent in the lane, dodge skillshots better, and escape ganks more easily.

  • : After your Boots of Speed, you will invariably buy another Sapphire Crystal. What you upgrade it to depends on how you're doing in your lane. If you're doing badly or alright, get Catalyst the Protector first to provide you with more hp, extra power through mana and extra sustain through the passive. This is generally the safe and solid choice. One exception to this rule is when an AD champion is wiping the floor with you; in that case, you should consider getting Glacial Shroud before Catalyst the Protector for the extra armor. If you are doing great and/or getting fed, however, you can nab Glacial Shroud first and then quickly get either Mercury's Treads or Sorcerer's Shoes, delaying Catalyst the Protector until later. The cooldown reduction on Glacial Shroud makes you much more of a threat, and thanks to the movement speed granted by tier 2 boots coupled with our passive movement speed bonuses, you'll be able to outrun pretty much any champion at this stage of the game. With this set, you're able to gank other lanes with great results, increasing your team's lead.

(2) The flexible midgame core. The order in which I get these items depends on what is going on in the game. However, I always get them all.

  • Catalyst the Protector: Like I said before, Catalyst the Protector is the item of choice for when the game is fairly uneventful and progressing as normal. It provides a good bit of mana and some much needed sustain. With this and Tear of the Goddess, your mana issues are a officially thing of the past. Later on, we will upgrade it to Banshee's Veil.

  • : This is Ryze's second "game changing" item. At this point in the game, you will have gained a solid amount of cooldown reduction from the passive on Overload, and the extra 15% granted by Glacial Shroud will turn Ryze into a magical machine gun. It also grants 425 mana and improves your tankiness with a solid 45 armor. In a normal game, you will get this after you've obtained Catalyst the Protector and either Sorcerer's Shoes or Mercury's Treads.

  • : After acquiring either Catalyst the Protector or Glacial Shroud (as outlined above), it's time to grab some tier 2 boots. Only opt for Sorcerer's Shoes if the enemy team only has two or less sources of hard CC. Crowd control will ruin your day as Ryze, and the Tenacity bonus offered by Mercury's Treads goes a long way towards remedying this. Also note that with this build, we don't need the cooldown reduction provided by Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

  • : Almost every game will converge to a point where you have a Tear of the Goddess, Mercury's Treads or Sorcerer's Shoes, Glacial Shroud and Catalyst the Protector (the only exception would be when an enemy AP carry becomes so powerful you need to buy Negatron Cloak or even Banshee's Veil immediately after Catalyst the Protector and before Glacial Shroud). Having arrived at this point, it's usually time to round out your defenses with Banshee's Veil. Under rare circumstances, such as when an enemy AD is becoming very dominant, it can pay off to upgrade your Glacial Shroud to Frozen Heart before that. At any rate, once you have your Banshee's Veil, you become both very resilient and very powerful.

  • : After getting Banshee's Veil, your build is nicely well-rounded. This is a good time to get a Hextech Revolver, which is reasonably cheap and provides you with even more sustain. Note that because we are not increasing our health pool itself but rather our effective health by building armor and magic resist (which reduce incoming damage by a percentage), spell vamp becomes a more powerful stat. Because enemy attacks deplete our health pool less rapidly thanks to our defensive stats, the flat health we regenerate thanks to Hextech Revolver counts for more. This item is the final component of your core build. Where you go from there once again depends on what's going on in the game. Choose for yourself which upgrade or aura is the most critical in the given situation.

(3) Upgrades. These are the upgrades to our midgame core items. You should only invest in these once you've completed the midgame core.

  • : This is the first "lategame" item I usually get. Upgrading Glacial Shroud to Frozen Heart provides us with the final 5% cooldown reduction we need to achieve the maximum of 40%. It also increases our armor by another 54 and grants Ryze an aura which reduces the attack speed of every enemy champion within 1000 range by 20%.

  • : Our next investment is upgrading Hextech Revolver to Will of the Ancients. For a mere 900 gold, we gain an additional 10% spell vamp and a second aura, which gives nearby allied champions 30 AP and 25% spell vamp on their abilities. The auras granted by Frozen Heart and Will of the Ancients not only greatly increase Ryze's own power, they help his entire team.

  • : At this advanced stage of the game, the time has finally come to upgrade our trusty Tear of the Goddess to an Archangel's Staff. Its passive converts 3% of our maximum mana to Ability Power, and considering that we've been working to increase our mana pool the entire game, this AP boost will be very significant. While this item is very strong, its steep cost (1800g) coupled with Ryze's medicore AP ratios are the reasons why I don't usually buy it earlier. In most cases, I will get my Void Staff before making this upgrade.

(4) Rounding out the build. Finally, we need to pick an item for our sixth slot. Again, which item is chosen is entirely situational.

  • : This will be my final item pick in most games. The passive on Void Staff lets you deal with opponents who have been building Magic Resistance. It only costs 2295 gold, significantly less than Rabadon's Deathcap.

  • : This is perhaps the most powerful final item available to Ryze. Note that because of the AP granted by Rabadon's Deathcap itself, Will of the Ancients and Archangel's Staff and its passive, the +30% AP passive will give you another boost of raw power. Rarely will a game last so long that you can afford this item, however, and its very steep cost (3600g) is a primary reason why you should consider other options. Also, by this time the enemy will probably have stacked some Magic Resistance, necessitating a Void Staff.

  • : A decent choice when facing enemies capable of dishing out enormous burst damage. The visual on this item might even discourage these champions from picking you as their primary target. Unfortunately, however, Guardian Angel does not increase Ryze's offensive capabilities.

  • : A solid pick for when the Magic Resistance offered by Banshee's Veil is simply not enough. Also provides Ryze with another aura, decreasing the Magic Resistance of nearby enemy champions by 20.

  • : Another decent item for Ryze, offering a large amount of mana, extra health and some added AP. It doesn't solve any specific problems like some of the items cited above, just a healthy increase in power. However, Void Staff or Rabadon's Deathcap is a more solid pick in almost every situation. More thoughts on Rod of Ages in the Q&A section.

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Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

In this section, I will try to address some of the questions readers have raised in the comments.

(1) Concerning Rod of Ages

An interesting question raised by Nighthawk and others is why I don't go for a Rod of Ages earlier like most casters do. My short answer would be that Ryze doesn't need it. The question makes a lot of sense because on the face of it, Rod of Ages is a very good item for Ryze, even more so then for other casters because he doubly benefits from the bonus mana. However, let's look at it from a different angle. I would argue that my core items accomplish the same goals as Rod of Ages in a more roundabout manner, while also carrying additional benefits.

First, let's consider the offensive capabilities granted by Rod of Ages. As I explained in the section on Ryze's abilities, our main sources of damage are Overload and Rune Prison. The remarkable thing is that these abilities scale better with Ryze's maximum mana than with his Ability Power. In this guide, I have tried to embrace this fact by deriving my offensive power purely from mana during the early game and the midgame. Therefore, my items of choice are Tear of the Goddess, Glacial Shroud and Banshee's Veil, which provide Ryze with copious amounts of mana, ensuring that he doesn't need Rod of Ages for its mana or AP.

Apart from the extra offensive power in the form of mana and AP, the primary selling point of Rod of Ages is that it grants more survivability in the form of hp. My build also accomplishes this second goal in a different way by getting Glacial Shroud and Banshee's Veil, items which grant large amounts of Armor and Magic Resistance. While these items do not boost the amount of hit points Ryze has nearly as much, they do increase the amount of damage enemy champions need to do to deplete his health pool, thus increasing what I like to call his effective health.

Now, in addition to granting similar benefits as Rod of Ages, my choice items also increase Ryze's power in different ways. Glacial Shroud offers a large amount of cooldown reduction and can be upgraded to Frozen Heart, which grants Ryze a protective aura. Banshee's Veil, on the other hand, offers complete protection against an enemy spell every 45 seconds.

This discussion allows me to answer another issue, raised by Golleitrian, who asked my why I don't go for a powerful AP item earlier. I hope I have managed to explain my conviction that the beauty of Ryze's design lies in the fact that unlike other mages, he doesn't need to build the conventional AP items such as Rod of Ages or Rabadon's Deathcap in order to do competitive damage.

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This concludes my guide to Ryze. I have outlined what works best for me, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different builds yourself to find out what works best for you. Whatever the case, I hope you will enjoy your time playing this great champion.

Credits to my friends from CL for getting me into League of Legends, for all the stupid, exciting and hilarious games we’ve played together and for providing me with the incentive to write this guide.

Also, credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.