Welcome to my Zyra guide! This guide is a work in progress and I plan on updating it as I go along and play her more and more. Seeing as I am writing this as she is a brand new champion, I am sure that I will be making many updates to this guide over the next several days and weeks. Please feel free to leave comments and vote on my guide, I will appreciate any advice and constructive criticism. Thanks!
I learned very quickly that Zyra is not a huge damage doer in the early parts of the game. Because of this I recommend that you build her with runes that build with time as well.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: I know, I know this rune doesn't stack with time, however, it does give a nice little boost in early game, lets face it, it only results in 6 extra AP when you're level 18, that means you won't get the 15 AP that you could have had at level 1 until you are level 12! Besides, the bonus AP to start comes into play when you hit your ult for the first time.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: These are the most powerful AP per level runes out there (other than the quintessence for AP per level, but this time its worth it. Buy nine of these suckers because at level 18 they give 3.06 AP, that means 27.54 AP instead of starting with 10.8. That can and will make all the difference in the late game.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: I chose these runes because the only magic pen item worth buying is a void staff. Anything else and you are sacrificing more AP than you're going to penetrate for with magic pen. These runes relieve the need to get magic pen. You can always disagree however I believe this makes playing any caster a little less stressful in terms of planning out a build.
Greater Seal of Vitality
Greater Seal of Vitality: Seals are the best runes for getting extra health, and as I said, you are in this for the long haul, meaning a level by level health rune with make Zrya a little less squishy. Notice I did say a little, she has very little health. An extra 174.96 health will go a long way, trust me! Well... Maybe not a long way...
Masteries are pretty simple with casters. Build AP with the damage side and use the utility to increase your mana and also be sure to add the buff extension. It will be an added bonus when your team decides to invade a jungle and steal the blue buff. ;) It will help!
Ah the Item build... This will be a basic build guide. I do not expect this build to work in all cases however it will help in most! Should the need come for an item outside of the ones I have listed in my particular order then by all means, please build what you need! Here is my explanation for choosing the items I did.
Start of Game: Boots of Speed and Health Potions make for a nice start. Zyra is not going to do really heavy damage with early level spells and will need more escapability and increased health regen in those precious early minutes before you actually start getting kills. Farming is your best friend early game. That and harass your laning opponent with your skills. We'll get to that more later. ;)
After you get yourself around 1200 gold, go back and pick up a Fiendish Codex. This will give you some nice, early AP, CDR and Mana Regen, increasing your lane sustain and make your life a little easier. If you have a little more gold you can also pick up the Sorcerer's Shoes which will give you some Magic Pen. The penetration will help harassing and also set up for potential ganks. Again, I will get into more depth with skills later.
Once you get your level 2 boots you will need to get a Chalice of Harmony. The mana regen from this and also the MR from it will also help you against your laning nemesis. After that, upgrade the chalice to Athene's Unholy Grail. This is your first big item. It will give you a substantial increase to AP, mana regen, and MR which will help you in the mid lane.
After getting the Unholy Grail go straight for Rabadon's Deathcap, this will be your best friend as Zyra. One game I played with her I was able to get around 800 AP by end game, this item was crucial to doing so. You most likely won't be able to afford it all at once so save up for the needlessly large rod, 80 AP will help a lot too.
After Rabadon's, begin building Rylai's Crystal Scepter, by building a Giant's Belt. The extra health will be a nice boost to your build at this time and you will have more sustain in team fights. Don't charge in by any means but, you will have an easier time with team fights with this item. After the belt, get a Blasting Wand and then finish off Rylai's, the slow from spells, health, and AP bonus will go far, especially against an AD carry in team fights.
Once the scepter is yours, grab Zhonya's Hourglass. This item is a divine intervention for squishy characters like Zyra. The 100 AP boost will be 130 from Rabadon's and you will also pick up 50 armor and also its active that makes you invulnerable for 2 seconds. It can make or break a game. This item is important for any caster, but Zyra makes it timeless.
Finally, grab yourself an Abyssal Scepter. I know, having two scepters sounds tough, but it will be much more devastating to your enemies than you. This will give you a nice AP bonus, magic resistance to go alongside the armor you get with Zhonya's and also a nerf on the other team's MR, which will go alongside perfectly with your boots that give magic pen. You will find yourself with more kills than you know what to do with!
Time to discuss strategy! Zyra is an awesome champ for setting up traps and ganks. Her Crowd Control will make a huge difference in team fights and her ability to create "turrets" will make her a truly awesome champion to behold. Let's get started with the tactics.
Rise of the Thorns: Zyra's passive ability, which we haven't discussed yet, is similar to Karthus's passive, which allows him to still cast after dying. Zyra's is different because she becomes a thorn spitter and fires a final thorn that deals true damage. This ability does a lot of damage, especially early game! HOWEVER it is not to be relied on because of two reasons.
1. It has a 2 second wait time to be able to use
2. It is a skill shot. If you miss, you don't get another chance.
This ability will most likely be most valuable in team fights. If you are focused and die right in the middle, it means you will most likely be able to hit some enemies with it and even pick up a kill or two. Again, don't rely on it!
Deadly Bloom: Zyra's Q is an AoE attack. It does not have a large range, but does awesome amounts of damage and will be good for harassing enemies early on and dealing high damage in team battles mid and late game. After a brief delay, thorns come out of the ground and deal instantaneous damage to all inside the AoE. If cast on Rampant Growth it will create a thorn spitter, but more on that later!
Rampant Growth: Zyra's W is an extremely useful ability. W allows Zyra to plant seeds which give her sight and also can be turned into plants that will fight for her. The seed only lasts for 30 seconds until it withers and dies but in that time acts as a ward. If Zyra's Q is cast on it then it becomes a thorn spitter which deals magic damage to enemies that it targets. They will often attack the same target that Zyra is attacking. If she casts her E on it, they become melee turrets that will strike and slow anything in its range. This can be useful for keeping an enemy from getting away from you when you are about to get the kill. If Zyra's ult is cast on her thorn spitters, their damage and attack speed is increased for the rest of their duration.
*Plants will not last long. Each one only has 3 health bars, so 3 auto attacks will kill one off. Otherwise the plant will only last around 10 seconds. Those 10 seconds are not long, but the plants will do an awesome amount of damage if Zrya is built right!
Grasping Roots: Zyra's E is a skill shot that will send roots through the ground, striking everyone/thing they encounter and snaring them in place for a short duration. This can be extremely useful for ganks and preventing enemies from escaping from Zyra. When cast on Rampant Growth, it makes the seeds become thorns that do magic damage (even though they are melee only) and will slow enemies down that are struck by the thorns.
Stranglethorns: Zyra's Ult is an awesome thing to behold. It is a HUGE AoE that deals damage at first and when the thorns start to recede they cause all enemies inside the AoE to be knocked upward. This high damage dealing, CCing move will be awesome for team fights. When Stranglethorns is cast on top of thorn spitters they will gain increased damage and also attack speed for the rest of their duration. This can be useful for picking up those last second kills as the enemy team tries to escape. The cooldown on this is not terribly long, but, it is longer than a Zyra player would like, so use it only when you know you are going to either save a life or take one.
Advanced Tactics: Zyra hails from a forest... so why wouldn't you use the upper hand nature has to offer and set up traps and ganks in the tall grass? When an enemy comes close you can plant seeds in the bush to prepare. When they reach the bush, cast your Deadly Bloom and then your Grasping Thorns, which will snare your enemies in place. At that, autoattack and use Ignite for more damage. If they begin to get away you can use your Rampant Growth again and then cast Grasping Roots again to snare and also slow with your new plants. If the enemy is still not dead, pop that ult and prepare some more seeds for Deadly Bloom. This should get you the kills you need to get that build up.
For team fights, I have found that if you plant seeds first and then cast Deadly Bloom then cast your ult and then Grasping Roots, it will keep enemies in place long enough to get the knock up of your ult so your team can keep focusing them as they are helpless in the middle of all the CC you are casting. Keep using Deadly Bloom and Grasping Roots to deal damage and pick up some kills and assists as your team fights. Plant seeds and cast on them straight away to add to the overwhelming odds they will be facing already. Do that and the team fights should go your way.
To summarize this build is going to be edited and improved as time goes on. Thanks for reading it and using it! Please vote and leave comments so that I can discuss it with you and improve it as time goes along. Thanks!