Zyra Build Guide by Raviant
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Hello everyone! This is Raviant, and I'm not really one for introductions, and if you are looking for a super fancy cool looking guide you are looking in the wrong place. What makes a guide for me is the content and information it provides, not what it looks like. That's why I don't even have a full item build up there, read the full guide and I am 100% certain you will not be dissapointed.
This guide will be very in-depth and will go over what to buy for Zyra and when. The above item build order is incomplete because I feel like you shouldn't be following the same build order every single game (same goes for runes). Hopefully you enjoy my guide and use all the information to your advantage.
Zyra - Overview
Zyra is an AP caster which you will most likely be playing in Mid-Lane. She is incredibly versatile and shouldn't really have any problems versus any other caster due to the fact that she has many styles of play and you aren't limited to more than one. Her teamfights are incredible as long as you know what skills to use, in what order, and when. This will all be covered in-depth later on in the guide as this is just an overview on what to expect.
She has great sustained damage because of her plants and the low cooldown on her Deadly Bloom and her ultimate Stranglethorns gives her a huge AoE nuke with some CC assuming the enemy remains within it for the duration. Zyra is also the only mage to have a narrow line infinite-target snare with her Grasping Roots ability.
One thing she lacks however is a reliable escape mechanism, but I will be discussing how to make up for that later on in the guide. Otherwise, she has an amazing laning phase due to her kit which will be talking about later on in this guide as well.
Here is an in-depth analysis of what runes you should/can run and why:
There are no other marks you should be running for a caster. Magic penetration is so strong and crucial for dishing out damage. Using these marks, on top of Arcane Knowledge , and Sorcerer's Shoes will grant you true magic damage to the other enemy mid assuming they have no magic resistance. On top of that, there are truly no other marks worth it for AP casters to have.
AP casters need mana, and this boosts your mana regen per level by a lot. This allows you to cast more spells more often which increases your lane presence and allows you to sustain in your lane which is crucial early game.
greater seal of replenishment
I personally don't like these seals, but I see many people run these on their AP casters. Yes, it gives you great early mana regen and allows you to spam your skills more readily but here is my logic about why not to run them:
- Early game your cooldowns are so high that unless you are immediately casting a spell the moment it goes off cooldown, you aren't using the runes to their maximum potential.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration surpass these runes past level 6 and will give you more mana regen past that point. Level 6 when running a solo lane is achievable extremely fast.
You should really only have the need to run these runes if you the know the enemy is going to be running an AD type of champion into your lane such as Talon or Pantheon. I still feel like Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration is more viable than these runes because of Zyra's ability to zone champions during laning phase.
These glyphs ensure that as you level up, all your abilities will start to scale and do slightly more damage due to the extra AP. I don't think this needs any further explanation.
Some people like to run this because of extremely high AP ratios on skills and they plan on getting kills pre-level 6, but Zyra does not have such ratios and should not be running these. They could be effectively used to push an opponent out of lane very early to gain a level advantage and crush the opponent that way. However, Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power surpasses these runes at level 7 which fairly close to level 6 when you get your ultimate and will be more than likely going for a kill. It's all your call and your playstyle, but Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power has more gold value late game.
You probably won't ever need these runes, but you can run these if you know you will leave yourself susceptible to harass or you think you will need to tank a little damage early or are scared of some incredible burst from champions such as Anivia or Gragas. They could also be used when just learning Zyra as you may not position yourself well and need this to compensate because you will take damage while trying to get your spells off.
These give you early game power on your spells and let's your harass do more damage and allows you to farm more easily via spells. The scaling quint of AP becomes greater than this quint at around level 11. It's not worth the wait in my opinion and this quint gives you high cost effectiveness early.
This rune is the only other viable Quint in my opinion. Mobility is the strongest factor and this game, it allows you to get to a place more quickly, get into range for an attack faster, or more easily dodge an enemy skillshot. By picking this quint you sacrifice a little bit of overall damage for the utility of mobility. It's your choice and your playstyle.
Simply put, you are an AP caster and you are meant to dish out damage as effectively and as often as possible while remaining safe. You are not meant to be a tank for your team as there are other champions who fill that role much better than you so running 21 points in the defensive tree is not for Zyra.
The 9 points into utility gives you a slight move speed buff, makes sure your blue buff lasts longer, gives you a larger mana pool, and gives you even more mana regen. This makes your laning phase presence and sustain strong.
What about 21/9/0 or 9/0/21?
I could see someone running 21/9/0 because of the extra health it gives so you could survive in lane longer. That's OK I guess, but I feel like skillful play will put you into positions and situations where you won't be getting hit in the first place.
By going 9/0/21 you have a very strong early game, but late game drops significantly in terms of damage and you will notice a huge difference in damage output.
I will go into detail about what spells to use on Zyra and why:
This spell is amazing for any Mid and doesn't lose it's use late game. It will ensure damage onto your enemy. Late game you can shut down somebody with a bunch of lifesteal or crazy health regen such as Dr. Mundo or Swain whose kits revolve around it.
This is the strongest summoner spell in the game and there is no excuse not to have it.It let's you blink over walls to escape or ensure that last hit onto an opponent.
What about other viable spells?
Teleport could be used effectively, but I feel as an AP caster you should be set to kill, and you would have to give up Ignite in the process.
Smite would be if you are jungling Zyra which is doable and would be acceptable to replace Ignite, but I will not be covering jungle Zyra in this guide.
Ghost is strong, but chances are the enemy will be running flash. Zyra's plants have a built in slow so why would you really need Ghost? Zyra also lacks an escape mechanism so Flash makes up for it.
Exhaust is OK. Honestly I feel like the plant slow does enough for you to make this next to worthless. Unless your whole team decides to run Ignite and not one Exhaust for their AD carry then you shouldn't have to bring this spell. Plus using this spell will more than likely put you in a position you don't want to/shouldn't be in and will get you killed.
There really are no other viable summoner spells for Zyra at the moment.
Skill Information and Sequence
Upon death, Zyra returns to her plant form. After 2 seconds, she can press any ability to fire a Vengeful Thorn towards her cursor, dealing 99 + (25 × level) true damage to each enemy it strikes.
This is an extremely powerful skill. If you opponent is barely getting away after you have died, a well aimed shot could spell out death for them. It also does 100% damage throughout the shot, so it can pass through multiple enemies dealing true damage in a line nuke form.
Thorns shoot from the ground, dealing magic damage to enemies within the area.
Magic Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+0.6 ability power)
Cooldown: 7 / 6.5 / 6 / 5.5 / 5 seconds
Cost: 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 / 95 Mana
Rampant Growth: If Deadly Bloom hits a seed, a Thorn Spitter grows. Thorn Spitter attacks with long range and deals magic damage.
This skill is what I call a bread-n-butter skill. It's an extremely strong spell and you should be using it often, especially during teamfights. The cooldown for this spell without any form of reductions are 7 / 6.5 / 6 / 5.5 / 5 seconds. Chances are you will have blue buff on at all times which will bring the time down to 4 seconds along with W maxed out to bring you all the way down to a 3 second cooldown. The damage this spell alone maxed out can deal 235 (+0.6) ability power every three seconds.
This spell is spammable for teamfights and what gives Zyra that sustained damaged caster type role. This spell is also good in laning phase for both farming and spawning in the long ranged plants to help you get a kill or zone your opponent out.
These reasons are why I max Deadly Bloom first.
Passive: Grants bonus cooldown reduction. 4 / 8 / 12 / 16 / 20%
Active: Plants a seed that stays for 30 seconds and grants a bit a vision. If an enemy steps on it, it will destroy the seed but reveal them for 2 seconds. Zyra gets seed over time depending on her level and can have a maximum of 2 seeds stored. She can have up to 4 plants out at once but extra plants striking the same target do 25% less damage.
Seed Stock Time: 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 / 13
No mana cost but will deplete 1 seed ammo upon a cast.
No cooldown between casts, but there is a slight delay.
This spell is what makes Zyra a monster in lane. This spell gives Zyra the versatility she needs to face any champion in lane with ease. Maxing this spell last ensures that your two damage spells do damage early, and besides, you won't really need that much cooldown reduction early on because you should be able to have a constant supply of blue buff. More about this spell will be covered in the laning phase section.
Sends forward vines, dealing magic damage and rooting enemies for a short duration.
Magic Damage: 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+0.5 ability power)
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Snare Duration: .75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 seconds
Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
Rampant Growth: If Grasping Roots hits a seed, a Vine Lasher grows. Vine Lasher has short ranged attack that deal magic damage and slow by 30% for 2 seconds.
Grasping Roots is the best AoE snare in the game right now. It can snare an infinite amount of targets for a pretty decent duration while maintaining a pretty good casting range. Maxing this skill second gives you higher damage. You will more than likely be teamfighting around the time when you are leveling this skill up so you will be doing almost full damage potential from a Grasping Roots Deadly Bloom combo.
To top that off, when you hit a seed, you get a plant with a slowing effect. Which can be used offensively or defensively. Although it does have a shorter range than a plant spawned with Deadly Bloom.
Summons the fury of nature, growing a twisted thicket at target location which deals magic damage to all enemies in the area as it expands. After 2 seconds, the vines snap upward knocking enemies into the air.
Magic Damage: 200 / 300 / 400 (+0.7)
Cooldown: 130 / 120 / 110 seconds
Cost: 100 / 120 / 140 mana
Rampant Growth: Plants within the thicket are enraged, increasing their attack speed by 50%.
This skill is the finishing blow move and does a huge chunk of damage in a pretty generous AoE. It's a great final skill for Zyra's kit and makes your plants extremely deadly because of the attack speed boost. You will want to use this ultimate after you have gotten your plants set up for maximum damage potential.
Early and Core Game Items
Mobility is strong in this game and starting out with Boots of Speed with 3 Health Potions will give you enough sustain early on to farm for quite a bit. Never start Doran's Ring on Zyra because she has no sustain and any damage you take will be permanent.
Doran's Ring x 2
This should be your first purchase when you head back to base. Double Doran's Rings gives you +160 health, +30 ability power, and +10 mana regen. It will make your laning presence amazingly strong and once complimented with blue buff, you should be able to farm/harass without a problem. Of course if you have spare gold get some Sight Wards and/or some more Health Potions if you feel like you need them or you ran out.
Kage's Lucky Pick
You should opt to get this items as early as you can because this not only gives you +25 ability power, but it also gives you 5 more gold every 10 seconds. There is huge controversy right now whether or not AP casters should be stacking GP/10 items or not, but personally I found getting one early GP/10 item helps me snowball into late game.
Kage's Lucky Pick will be a free item after 20 minutes of holding it and any point past that time limit will be extra gold. It sets you a little behind early game because it is a 765 gold investment, but trust me when I say it is worth it to get it early. Plus, it isn't even a bad item for AP casters as it build into other items (if you wish) and also gives you some AP so your abilities hit harder.
You could choose Heart of Gold for tankiness or Philosopher's Stone for sustain over this item, but keep in mind they are slightly more expensive being 825 and 800 gold respectively.
Of course when purchasing if you have spare gold for Sight Wards or Health Potions that you need, by all means purchase them.
These boots give you magic penetration which helps you do increased damage by a percentage. I know Mercury's Treads are extremely useful boots, but the damage delivered from these boots are too good to pass up, plus with proper positioning you won't even need the tenacity in the first place as you won't be getting CC'd.
Of course when purchasing if you have spare gold for Sight Wards or Health Potions that you need, by all means purchase them.
This item is going to be your first core item on Zyra and her is why:
- Plants from Rampant Growth apply the on-hit effect.
- Zyra is a sustained damage mage so the health from this item really help you out with that aspect.
- It ensure enemies remain inside of your ult so the receive the knock-up effect.
- It gives ability power so that means more damage for you.
This items should be built on Zyra every single game regardless of the matchup as it brings so much to the table and works excellent with all her abilities and plants by doubling to tripling their effectiveness. The way you build up into this item is at your discretion, if you need the health pick up the Giant's Belt or if you want more damage pick up a Blasting Wand.
I am getting owned in lane Items:
There is nothing wrong with buying a defensive item early. Chain Vest gives you armor for physical damage based champions while Negatron Cloak gives you magic resistance for magic damage based champions. Pick for whatever you are having troubles with, and hold onto them as they are useful items for building something in mid/late game.
Mid/Late Game Items
Now here's the section that requires you to decide what items to build base on the flow of the game. I feel like every AP caster should have 1-2 set items they should get every single game with Rylai's Crystal Scepter being Zyra's. I will be telling you what items you should build, when, and why.
Items you will more than likely be aiming for Mid Game
Here are some of the conditions you should purchase this item:
- The enemy team have a little bit of magic resistance items on their team. This render them obsolete with your Sorcerer's Shoes, Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, and Arcane Knowledge mastery.
- You have many magic damage dealers on your team. Possibly 2 AP casters.
- You are taking too much magic damage and need to be more tanky on top of your Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
This item is extremely potent and should never be underestimated because it's aura effect reduces enemy magic resistance by 20, and will boost any magic damage abilities you and/or your allies do as long as the enemy is within the aura radius.
This item allows you do dish out more damage with the extra 140 ability power, and has this nice little effect to it that boost your total ability power by 30% which amplifies how much each of your items contribute to your total AP. It makes all of your items more cost efficient in terms of damage. You should get this item at on point or another.
Here are some of the conditions you should purchase this item:
- You have another AP caster on your team such as Vladamir or Kennen who would highly benefit off of the spellvamp aura this item gives.
- You have many champions on your team who deal magic damage.
- You have many champions on your team who scale well with ability power.
This item is stronger on Zyra late game and should be purchased then, but it can be an acceptable mid game item as well. Having double Will of the Ancients on your team (only 2 stack) will not only give you and the other person more ability power when fighting around one another, but you will both benefit from the spellvamp as well giving you huge teamfighting sustain which is Zyra's specialty. Having 40% spellvamp when dishing out thousands of damage heals you for a ton. Zyra's plants also give you spellvamp, but the reason I recommended getting this item later is because it is really not noticeable until you get high amount of ability power.
Late Game Items
This is a great item on Zyra and can serve many amazing purposes. One being the fact that you are getting focused and need something to stall so your team can dish out damage or force the enemy to switch targets. It can also be used to dodge certain abilities as long as you use it at the right moment. It let's you cast your burst and set up your plants and puts you into a stasis so your plants will dish out damage for you since your spells are on cooldown anyway.
It also give armor and more ability power to bolster your damage.
You are going to be buying this item if your opponents are stacking high amounts of magic resistance. This gives you 40% magic penetration and some ability power which is always nice. even if your opponents late game aren't stacking magic resistance you should pick up the item anyway. The more damage you do, the better.
What about other AP Items?
This item could be good if you need even more magic resistance, but late game with blue buff and maxed Rampant Growth you will be capped on cooldown reduction. The mana it gives on kills/assists is nice, but I feel like it is highly unnecessary on Zyra.
I'm sorry but I am going to have to say no to this item. Yes, Zyra is a sustained fighter mage and she would benefit from a higher health and mana pool, but I feel Rylai's Crystal Scepter is so core on her and adds so much to her kit so it would benefit it to get it early. If you rush Rylai's Crystal Scepter there really is no place for Rod of Ages and there is not going to be enough time for it to ramp up to full effect. I know many of you will disagree with me, but wasting time on getting this item after Rylai's Crystal Scepter will put you behind their AP caster no matter how comfortable it makes you feel.
A decent item, and it's a shame it doesn't build into something that grants more ability power. You can use this if you are getting yourself CC'd a ton, but I feel like a well timed Zhonya's Hourglass can fix that problem.
Zyra really doesn't need the mana pool, and this items could be very strong on her, but I feel like you would have to replace the Kage's Lucky Pick with a Tear of the Goddess or sacrifice the double Doran's Rings for it without it causing too much delay to your item build. Yes Archangel's Staff gives an almost unmatched amount of ability points and the highest amount of mana and mana regen in the game, but I feel like you would sacrifice a ton of early game presence by getting prepared to purchase this item. What's the point of preparing up for a late game if you can't effectively get to a late game because you got dominated in lane?
It's a great item on Zyra, and the burst compliments her kit very nicely. I don't like getting close to the opponent as Zyra, but you could always pop out a snare on your target first and shoot the activate ability at them safely. This item build off the Kage's Lucky Pick purchased early game too, so if you decide to buy this item, you have already bought a decent chunk of it.
I am going to have to say no to this item unless they have multiple people on their team reliant on health regeneration/lifesteal/spellvamp. The cooldown reduction goes to waste, and late game if you really need mana, you are just going to go back to base to quickly restore it via fountain. The active has a reduction on healing which is great, if the enemy has a strategy or playstyle revolving around it.
I personally feel this item is a waste on Zyra as you should not be auto-attacking. You should be relying on your plants to dish out the auto attack magic damage. This item could have a potential use if the enemy is stacking magic resistance instead of armor or if your team is having a very hard time pushing towers. Lich Bane does physical damage, not magic. It's a very situational item, and would be bought extremely late game if needed.
These items should be bought when given the right circumstances. There comes a time mid or late game when you need say 1500 gold to make a next major purchase, but you know there will be a teamfight before then and want to contribute a little more. This would be a great time to purchase these elixirs for extra magic damage, cooldown reduction, or even health. Base it off what you need.
Oracle's Elixir is there if you find your tank/support unable to carry one for some odd reason, so it shouldn't be a common purchase for you.
Without waiting any further I am going to explain Zyra's options for laning phase. She has multiple playstyles like I said before so it's all preference on what you want to do.
These are some good spots where to place wards as they will see an enemy jungler moving in for a gank, doing the wraith camp, or invading your jungle. It all depends which side you are on.
This revolves around playing defensively for whatever reason. Maybe their jungler is fed and you want to stay as safe as possible or maybe you are losing your lane extremely hard or maybe you just like playing defensively.
Using the picture below, every blue X represents potential spots to place a Rampant Growth seed where if you activated the seed with an Grasping Roots not only will the enemy jungler most likely be snared, but the plant spawned will be the one with the slowing effect. Their jungler then has to make a choice between continuing on with the gank while tanking much damage from the plant or turning around. I'd suggest planting seeds on the opposite of where you have a ward - meaning that if you have a ward on the right river, you should have a seed planted around the left river.
Every yellow X represents probable hotspots for your seeds that deal with your laning opponent. everything in the yellow box is fair game for seeds, but the yellow X mark very effective spots as they can prevent you from getting turret dived or they can help you push a creep wave back so you aren't forced to turret hug.
This is primarily focused on pushing your lane while harassing your opponent by putting seeds in aggressive locations. It's useful versus those tricky mages such as Kassadin or LeBlanc. You will need proper Sight Wards to pull this off without getting ganked.
You have some options for this playstyle, you can start off playing in the middle of the lane and spawning plants there forcing your opponent to be pushed back to their turret or force them to their river bush. The plants you will most likely be spawning are the high ranged ones from Deadly Bloom.
The alternative is to be extremely aggressive early and zone them out from experience by spawning plants in the area close to their tower.
Surprise Plant Playstyle
No pro Microsoft paint pictures marked with X in this playstyle. I know you are disappointed, and I'm sorry.
This playstyle is what I end up playing most of the time, because if the enemy seeds pre-set in mid lane, they will either destroy it when they are safe to or stay clear until the seed goes down.
Both Deadly Bloom and Grasping Roots take casting times which means while they are being casted you can cast a Rampant Growth in the area they will be in. When the enemy champion takes damage from the spell, there will also be a plant at their feet targeting them.
Your job as an AP caster is to do damage to as many enemy champions as you can, as often as you can. Your position should be fairly close to your ranged AD carry and you should be harassing the enemy with Deadly Bloom or both Deadly Bloom and Rampant Growth plants.
Once your enemy decides to commit to a fight cast Grasping Roots while trying to snare high priority targets. Then spawn two seeds cast a Deadly Bloom then finish the combo with Stranglethorns. This will give you huge burst damage and your plants will receive the 50% attack speed bonus. The slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter getting applied from the plants will keep them in your ultimate long enough for them to receive the knock up from it.
For simplicity I will be using Q,W,E,and R for spell labeling rather than typing their names out every time. Of course apply ignite when needed. Spell Combos fit the harassment playstyle the best or just for getting those quick kills on enemies out of position or being chased, or saving a teammate.
Here is a cheap mana cost combo:
W - Q
Q - W
Q - W - W (You have to be extremely fast on this one, I'd recommend the spell combo after this)
W - Q - W
W - W - Q
Another cheap combo:
W - E
E - W (place the seed behind the opponent right after you cast E)
E - W - W
W - E - W (seeds behind opponent, or one in front with one behind)
W - W - E
Strong Burst combo:
E - W - W - Q
W - E - W - Q
E - W - W - Q - R
W - E - W - Q - R
R - E - W - W - Q
R - W - W - E - Q
R - W - W - Q - E
Well that's the guide, I know it doesn't look super cool and is nothing special in terms of aesthetics, but what I lack in looks I make up for in content. Hopefully you enjoy my guide for Zyra and use all this information to your advantage. I would appreciate feedback/votes! If you like my guide and would like me to make one for another champion this in-depth I would be glad to make one, I play all positions but I main AP caster mid so I will have the most to say about that lane.