Zyra Build Guide by dettebayo
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Welcome to my first guide on Mobafire! My name is dettebayo and I'm going to show you how I play Zyra, what items do I buy, what summoner spells I take, etc... If you find my guide useful or even if not, please vote and leave a comment, because feedback is very important for a beginner guide-writer :) I'm looking forward to every comment, I'm quite opened when it comes to other people's opinion. Please apologize for my English, I'm still learning it. And one more thing: I don't claim that I'm a pro, and that this is the best build for Zyra (but it is in my opinion :D). If you think that something about this guide is just not true, please leave a comment so that I can test your way and I might even correct if yours is better :)
History of the guide:
I've never used my own build before. For every champion I had, I always looked for a build on Mobafire. Of course in some cases I made some changes, but my basic build was always from here. It's because I didn't dare to use an own build at level 1, when I didn't even know which item was good for what, so I just came there and looked for a build. And I got used to it later, because it was more simple and lead to bigger success than when I created my own build. But some time ago, I thought about writing a guide. Of course, it's simple, but about which champion? I don't have an own build for any. Then I saw the Champion Reveal of Zyra. Yesss, an AP caster, my favourite... and since it is new, people didn't make guides for it, it's my chance... (But it took me quite a long time to finish it so she is not that new anymore... but I still like her so I finished it.) Well, that's all about the history of this guide, let me start the guide itself.
Role and lane selection:
I think the best place to utilize Zyra's power and skills is the middle lane, where she doesn't have to share the creeps, doesn't have to go far away from the turret to farm and where usually goes a mage with a low hp bar. Of course she can go to another lanes as well, but I don't find her too effective anywhere except from mid. He has no escape mechanism and has low mobility for top lane, none of her spells make her a good AD carry (but still a great troll-carry :D), it's quite difficult to gank with her (okay, she might be able to jungle if you are skilled at jungling, but not using this guide and there are much better choices for this role). The only other lane where she can also benefit her abilities is bottom lane, as an agressive support, with her snare, free seed-wards and great harass-range, but for this role there are also better choices, e.g. Alistar etc. So this guide will only show you how to play Zyra on the middle lane. (Well, since I saw her on the championship as a support, I think she is great there, but I still prefer the other support champs which are used more often for that role.)
+She even has significant damage over time after using her ulti
+Easy to farm
+All skills are AoE, meaning you can wreck the whole enemy team if positioned well
+Great harass with Rampant Growth + Deadly Bloom combo
+Quite long range
+Fun to play
-Doesn't have good escape mechanism
-Hard to land the full combo perfectly
-If you don't use your ulti properly, you will be not that useful in teamfights
-Low mobility (300 base speed, no jumps/dashes)
-CD dependent early game
-You can easily get overpushed early game
I feel that the usual 21-0-9 is the best setup for Zyra, because she needs to deal ton's of damage while consuming a lot of mana early game.
Summoner's Wrath - That 5 ability power helps you a bit with harassing, and the bonus AD helps with last-hitting
Mental Force - The 3 AP is not much, but we must take it to be able to choose from the stronger masteries. You can also take 2 points on Butcher and one on Brute Force if you feel that you need help with last-hitting rather than the bonus ap. You won't lose too much damage with that.
Sorcery - Because Zyra is CD dependent, and with this you will hit the 40% CDR cap (Ok, just 39%, but that 1 percent really doesn't matter).
Arcane Knowledge - Like every AP carry, you need the Magic pen., and it greatly syngerizes with your Void Staff
Havoc - Increases your burst damage a little bit
Blast - 18 ability power at level 18 doesn't sound quite much, but think of it as a free Amplifying Tome
Archmage - A bit boosts the bonus from Rabadon's Deathcap
Executioner - Moar burst
Summoner's Insight - You will need Flash as often as possible, because Zyra is lack of escape mechanism.
Expanded Mind - When you have less than 216 mana, think about how you could have used your Grasping Roots last time which saved your *** :D (Ok, it won't happen too often, but seriously, this is the only mana boost you need.)
Improved Recall - You can spend one point on Swiftness instead of this, but the movement speed bonus is not that much and once it will save your life when you push B in a bush and an enemy goes straight into it.
Meditation - You absolutely need it because your skills cost quite much mana early game. No exceptions.
Runic Affinity - You won't have mana problems too many times, but when you have your blue buff, you can spam your skills like hell. Let's increase this duration to annoy the enemy mid-laner out of lane :D
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
I take the normal ap carry setup. It focuses on dealing more damage early game and still gaining a decent amount of bonus damage until level 18.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - The flat magic penetration is cool early game, especially because it boosts the magic pen. which comes from Sorcerer's Shoes.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration - Zyra needs mana regen to harass. You can also take Greater Seal of Replenishment, but I don't find it very useful, because from level 6 the mana regen boost will be higher from Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration. You can take Greater Seal of Replenishment if you plan to spam skills from level 1, but I don't advise that.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power - 27 ability power + the boost from Rabadon's Deathcap and Archmage is a bunch of damage for free. I don't advise to take flat ability power runes, because from level 7 the per level boost will be higher, and it doesn't help that much on earlier levels.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - 15 ability power at start. This is all the bonus ap you need for early game harassment. It's the only case when the flat bonus helps more than the per level bonus ( Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power), because it will overgrow the flat bonus only at level 11 and you will need the bonus damage until that.
I take these two summoner spells with almost every champ when I go mid.
Flash - You can use it in several ways. Early game it most likely will save you from ganks, or helps you to finish off that brave Xerath who thinks he would be able to outfarm you from afar with about 100 hp. Later you can use it in the jungle to escape through walls, or it is great to use for example after Wukong used his Nimbus Strike. In addition, Zyra needs it very much because she is lack of escape mechanism. All in all, it is beyond doubt the best summoner spell.
Ignite - To make sure that the enemy won't escape with zero life. You can use it first in your combo to secure the kill if you will surely shut him down, or at the end when he thinks he managed to escape. Or even combined with Flash when the enemy wants to stay on the lane with one hundred life. Late game it will become much less useful, unless there is a health regen, life steal or spellvamp based champ, e.g.: Dr. Mundo, Vladimir, any AD carry, etc. The only problem with this spell is that your range is much higher than its range, so you can use it only if you use your Flash or if you engaged the enemy at close range.
I think these are also okay choices. However, I wouldn't use them. They all replace Ignite, because Flash is a basic need for Zyra.
Clarity - If you want to make your enemy mad. With this, you will absolutely have no mana problems, you can spam your skills as much as you want (ok there is a limit when it is on CD but when not you can waste all your mana). I find Ignite more useful, thought, because it helps with early kills much more. Also, it is completely useless late game, and your teammates will not like you if you choose it.
Cleanse - Only if you are against a team which is full of CC. For example: Sion at top, Amumu in jungle, Morgana at mid, Ashe and Sona on bot. Now that's a team full of CC. I don't like this spell anyway.
Exhaust - Again: Ignite is much better for last hitting enemy champs. It is more useful for DPS characters who fight 1vs1 for a longer period of time, like AD carries. But if you use it in the right time, it can do miracles. You can even use it to land your skillshots more easily. But it's more useful for the support or the AD carry.
Heal - Practically it's the opposite of Ignite: you use it when you almost die. Quite annoying when they use it against you, you think you just finished them with Ignite, and they use it. Dah. If you are against a high burst champ like LeBlanc it can save your life, but then Summoner's Wrath becomes useless. I'd save it for the tank.
Teleport - You won't waste the gold and XP from enemy minions. You can join teamfights anytime. And combined with wards in the bush early game can lead to awesome ganks. But it's not your task to gank, and the XP and gold which you can get with it is minimal. It is more useful late game, thought, than Ignite.
And finally those which are considered troll picks :D
Clairvoyance - Save it to the support. You won't have a good use of it.
Ghost - Flash is much more useful for AP carries. It is good for those champs who have to keep up with their enemy to deal damage when they escape, e.g.: Dr.Mundo.
Promote - Only okay if your intention is to push. But it isn't. It also becomes useless late game.
Revive - Oh god no! Ok, go ahead, try it. One of your teammates will quit immediately. And he will be right. Don't play on dying.
Smite - Only for the jungler. And you are not going to jungle. At least not with this build.
Surge - The attack speed bonus is useless, and the 78 ap for 12 seconds is not worth.
"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 x current level) true damage to each enemies it strikes."
It has helped me many times to kill the opponent mid laner or the jungler when he ganked me, which is important if you don't want your opponent to outlane you. Its damage at level 18 is 549, which is 1/4 of a regular ad carry or mage. It means you can last hit enemies even during late-game. It can be used to help in teamfights if you die early. Not a bad passive, but it's better when you don't need to use it.
- With this passive you can drag an enemy with you if the situation is hopeless and you know you can't escape. Try to hide in a bush, plant your seeds and use the full combo on the enemy with the least hp. If you haven't finished him, you still have your passive. With this method you will almost always kill at least one enemy.
- I find it quite difficult to land the shot, because the enemy has 2 seconds to run away, and if he doesn't manages to, then it still has a short cast time. If the enemy is in your range, and he wants to dodge it, try to shot in front of him a little, so he'll run into your shot.
- When you are desparately trying to kill one enemy and you know you will die, don't cast your spells mindlessly, because if you die and you use one more skill, you might shot your passive by accident. I advise you to watch the health bar, and aim when you died, don't shoot it by accident because it might cost you a kill.
- If the enemy is out of range, just hit the nearest caster minions. At least you get some money if you couldn't kill him.
- If you die early in a teamfight, try to damage as many opponents as you can with it, to help your team at least a little bit.
"Zyra gwows a bud at target location. After a brief delay it explodes, launching damaging thorns at nearby enemies dealing 75/115/155/195/235 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to enemies within the area. If cast on a seed, Deadly Bloom grows a Thorn Spitter plant, which fires at enemies from afar dealing magic damage. Lasts 10 seconds."
Your main harassment tool. It has fairly low cooldown, quite good range, decent damage and good AP-ratio. What else do you need for harassment?
- Don't overuse it early game, because it can eat all your mana. It's better to land rarely a shot succesfully than wasting your whole mana bar on minions and getting pushed enough for a gank.
- When harassing, try to combine it with Rampant Growth. It doesn't cost more mana, but the damage will noticeably increase and the enemy must stand away from the Thorn Spitter, which will lead him to lose creep. Or I have seen some summoners who didn't stand away, just ignored the plant and let it shoot him. He ended up with half hp bar from full hp.
- If you use it for creeping, and you have your minions there, make sure you kill them with one blow. If not, then land one basic attack on each enemy minions before striking, otherwise your own minions will steal the precious lasthits.
- When the enemy is running away from you, try to place it in front of him. This way he will just run into it.
"Zyra plants a seed, granting vision of an area for up to 30 seconds. Other spells cast on seeds will turn them into plants who fight for Zyra."
Well, this description is a bit gappy, it doesn't mention the passive CDR and the fact that it disappears when enemy champs step on it, but grants vision on that unit for 2 seconds. The best thing about this skill is that it doesn't cost mana. You can use it freely with your Deadly Bloom, use as ward when overpushed (not that effective, but at least you get some seconds to get ready for escaping or fighting), or to check bushes.
- The CDR bonus is awesome, you can easily reach the 40% cap with it, meaning you can spam your skills as much as you want.
- Don't go into bushes without checking them with this skill late game if you don't see the all enemies on the map.
- I don't like them useing as wards, because their duration is only 30 sec and they don't reveal as much area as a sight ward. I put them in one of the two bushed only if I'm too pushed. This way I can start running in time, but it's not guaranteed that I can escape.
- Reveals stealthed units, but I haven't benefit from this so far :D
- Always place these first in teamfights, and immediately turn them into plants.
- Don't waste your seeds for harassing before teamfight, save them for the fight itself because they deal more damage than you think, especially combined with your ultimate.
- The plants will prioritize those who you are attacking with your basic attack. So if the enemy is near a plant try to land one, and your plant will do the rest.
"Zyra sends forth vines through the ground to ensare her target, dealing 60/105/150/195/240 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and rooting enemies they come across. If cast on a seed, Grasping Roots grows a Vine Lasher, whose short range attacks reduce enemy movement speed."
This is the only ability you can trust in when it comes to a gank. It also makes a good use when you chase an enemy. The short ranged Vine Lasher is not as useful as Thorn Spitter, since they deal the same damage and the latter is long ranged, I usually use it when I escape from a good chaser and I know Grasping Roots won't be enough. Or when I start a surprise attack against sbody who is in a warded bush. Otherwise it is difficult to land the slow.
- Don't use it to harass before teamfight, use it to snare those melee champs who dare to come too close.
- Combine it with Flash and Deadly Bloom early game to finish off the low health laner.
- The missile speed is quite slow, so you won't be able to hit the enemy from afar unless he is very careless.
- If you are being chased, and you might kill your chaser, don't waste this skill if you haven't stacked at least seed. Run away, wait until you have one seed, and if you are still being chased, root him and immediately land your full combo. But only do so if there is no chance for him to reach you! If he has, just snare him and escape.
- The Vine Lasher can be useful if you are fighting against a melee champ who has no gap closer. It makes difficult for him to reach you.
"Zyra summons a Twisted Thicked at her targer location, dealing 200/325/450 (+75% of ability power) magic damage as it expands and knocking them airborne as it contracts. Plants in the area are enraged, increasing their attack speed by 50%."
This ultimate is great. It's the base of your burst damage and damage over time. It deals a huge amount of damage in an area, not even mentioned the buff on your precious plants and the delayed knocked-airborn effect. You can turn teamfights if you use it in the right time.
- Don't waste it during the laning phase, only use it if you will surely finish off your opponent.
- It must be the last skill you use during teamfights, because all plants must be on the battlefield to maximalize the damage output.
- The skill doesn't deal damage immediately to everybody who is in the circle, it expands fast but if the enemy is on the edge of the area, he can run away from it. Use it only if the enemy is close to the middle of the circle.
- It can be used to escape when you can't kill the enemy (for example when a full hp tank chases you who stacked magic resist). Just place it exactly where you are, so that the enemy will just walk into it and will be knocked airborne.
- The plants within the area are enraged. Meaning the more plants you have the more effective Stranglethorns is. It is difficult to place a lot of plants and position this ultimate well at the same time to hit enemies and plants, but with some practice you will rule the battlefield. Trust me, worth practicing.
- You can use it to steal Dragon or even Baron Nashor (the latter is a bit difficult and you need a huge luck) if it is warded. Just stay behind the cave or in the small bush if they pulled it out of the cave, watch the HP-bar of it and land your ultimate in the right moment.
- It's base damage and ap ratio is not that good. Its power comes from the utility, so in teamfights, your main goal will be to place it so every possible enemy will be knocked airborne and your plants will be enraged.
Skill sequenceDeadly Bloom first, because it has a great damage and fairly low cooldown, which makes it an ideal skill for early game harassment. Combined with Rampant Growth, which doesn't cost mana, makes you almost unbeatable at laning. You can use it also to last-hit minions when it will be level 5. Next I max Rampant Growth because I need the seeds as often as possible. Plus the CDR bonus is great ^^ Usually you won't have too much problems with cooldowns when Rampant Growth is level 5. And finally I max Grasping Roots for last. This ability doesn't need to deal damage until late game, it will be used only for its snare. Of course always take a point on your ultimate whenever you can.
-> or ->
The basic early game harassment-combo. Use your Deadly Bloom first, and if you see that it will hit the enemy, put a seed in the middle of it during the delay. It is also okay if you put down the seed first and if the enemy is close enough to it just use your Deadly Bloom. It deals great damage especially if you manage to land a basic attack on him, because the plants will prioritize who you are basic attacking. The only drawback of this combo that the plants will shoot the minions which will lead to overpushing.
-> -> ->
If you are being chased, snare the chaser and immediately plant a seed so it will evolve into a Vine Lasher which slows him. After that land your Deadly Bloom and if you have one more seed plant it immediately. The chaser will get so much damage that he will regret even that he tried to get you. If you can kill him, land an Ignite and maybe one or two basic attacks at the end just to make sure. This combo can also be used for ganks during mid-game.
If you are sure you will get the enemy with the basic harass-combo, just plant one more seed to increase the damage. Nothing more to explain here.
-> -> -> ->
This is the full combo that I have talked about. It takes some time to land it, so the best way to use it is from a bush or in teamfights when the enemy is fighting with your melee teammates. This will deal a great amount of burst damage, and will deal some damage per second after that due to your enraged plants. And it even knocks enemies into the air, which means one second advantage for your melee champs. If landed perfectly, it can turn teamfights to your favour.
If the enemy laner has low hp, and you want to kill him for sure. After you landed the snare, you will have and easy time. Only use it if you will surely kill him. It's better for this job than the full combo because it takes less time to use so the enemy has less chance to escape. You can use Flash at the start of the combo to get close enough to snare the enemy, and even Ignite at the end if you don't finish him with the combo.
Health Potions for more sustain. If you got problems with the enemy jungler, buy a Sight Ward (read about the placement in the Warding section). If you don't have problems with either, you can buy the Elixir, but this one is not necessary if you don't want to waste money on it. It's quite cheap with its 250 gold, and the boost might reward you with a kill, some bonus creeps, or make the enemy lose creeps because of the increased harass damage of yours. I personally don't use it until late game, because I'm always afraid of that I die or I will need 250 more gold for the next item if I buy this one. But it's personal preference.
When to choose which?
I like to start with Doran's Ring. Not only with Zyra, but with almost all AP carries. It gives you some sustain, not much, but enough in most cases. The bonus ability power is fair enough for early game harassment, and the mana regen also helps for spamming skills. What else do we need? But there are some cases when Doran's Ring is not the best choice, it depends on who you are laning against. If you are laning against a skillshot based champion ( Ahri, Karthus, Cassiopeia etc...), it's strongly advised to choose the boots and the potions. Why? Because this way they will rarely be able to hit you, and if they manage to land some shots by accident, you still have your Health Potions. Your harass damage will be a bit lower, but with this method you will almost always win the harass-game.
Some people like to start with an Amplifying Tome and a Health Potion, because it gives you more sustain, and a bit more harass damage. But I personally like Doran's Ring more, because Amplifying Tome gives only 5 more ability power, from the potion you get only 70 more hp, and you don't get bonus mana regen. In addition, the bonus hp from Doran's Ring is not consumable, meaning it will be still there after you recall to the base. The only case when Amplifying Tome and the HP pot is better when your champ doesn't use mana (e.g. Katarina or Kennen). But Zyra does, so it's better to take the ring.
When first returning to the base:
or or and if possible
Of course it depends on how much money you have when you return. If I have enough money, I always buy a Needlessly Large Rod, because it gives you an incredible amount of damage, with that you should be able to harass out the enemy laner from lane. If you don't have that much money because you had to recall for hp, then buy one more Doran's Ring and the Boots of Speed if possible. I find stacking Doran's Ring quite useful for Zyra, I always have two of them if I don't buy Needlessly Large Rod early, sometimes even three. The bonus hp helps surviving ganks, the manaregen is great and you will even have some harass damage. You can later sell them, returning some money from that 475 gold. Of course if I started with the boots I buy a Doran's Ring first and then one more or Sorcerer's Shoes, again depending on how much money I have.
If you have some money left, you can spend it on three things:
These are the items I usually buy in every game, expect when the enemy gives up at 20 (or if our team surrenders at 20, but the former is more usual :D).
For the boots, I ALWAYS buy Sorcerer's Shoes. It gives you more damage early and mid game than you think. There are two other boots that worth mentioning: the Mercury's Treads and the Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Some people buy the former one when they realise they get focused by heavy CC. I think that 25 mr and 35 tenacity it gives is not that useful. If you get caught by some CC it rarely helps you to get away alive, and you will miss the early game damage boost. But meanwhile in late game you might change to a Mercury's Treads. Why? Because the enemy will stack magic resistance, and the more magic resist the enemy has, the less useful Sorcerer's Shoes becomes. In late game you will have your Void Staff, which will do all the work and more instead of Sorcerer's Shoes. If you sell it, your damage will fall a little bit, but you will barely notice the difference, and the Tenacity might come handy to rejoin the fight asap after Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy. About the Ionian Boots of Lucidity, you will hit the CDR cap without it, only swap it late game if you have to swap your CDR item for something else.
After I have my Needlessly Large Rod, Sorcerer's Shoes and at least one Doran's Ring, I buy Rylai's Crystal Scepter, starting with the Giant's Belt. It's absolutely necessary, mainly for the 500 hp, which is a great amount for an ap carry. It's all sustain you need during mid game. The ability power bonus is also great, since you are an ap carry, and the slow can be useful sometimes. For example it helps you a lot when you are being chased and your Grasping Roots is on cooldown (except when your chaser is a Master Yi or an Olaf).
After the Rylai's, I convert Needlessly Large Rod into a Rabadon's Deathcap. It is the only item which is a must for an ap carry. When you convert it you get 60 more ap, and it boosts all your ap by 30%. Without the runes and the masteries, you will have 30 ap from the two Doran's Ring, 80 from Rylai's Crystal Scepter and the same amount from Needlessly Large Rod, which is 190 ap so far. From 190 ap, only for 2000 gold, you will get 60+30% of your all ap, which means +135 ap immediately, and we doesn't count the bonus for your later items. Worth it, right?
Late game items:
These are the items I usually build if the game lasts long. I usually buy Zhonya's Hourglass first, mainly because of its active. It's great to use it in teamfights: if you get too close to the center and they start beating you, just press "2" or the button you chose, wait 2 seconds while they start hitting somebody else, and continue spamming your skills. The best to use it right after your ultimate, when your plants are enraged so the enemy is damaged highly but they cannot hit you. The ability power bonus is the second greatest, which syngeryses with Rabadon's Deathcap, and you even get some armor to help you against that f***ing AD carry.
I promised you before that you will almost hit the 40% CDR cap. Well, for this purpose, you only need one item, and the best choice for this is Deathfire Grasp. Why this one? Because it gives you an awesome active. It is the best for those cases when the enemy AD carry or anybody finds you alone and they dare to attack you. Poor guys. You just shoot its active, and you will surely finish them with your combo. It's another thing that if there are more of them, you probably won't run away alive, due to your low mobility. In this case just focus on one of your enemies, who you will surely kill, and then you can laugh at them, saying "Lol u were 3 and I still managed to kill one of u". In teamfights, it doesn't make a big difference. Try to hit a melee fighter at the beginning ( Jax, Renekton, etc.), so it will be easier for your teammates to kill that one.
The last item is of course Void Staff, for the magicpen. Absolutely needed. I don't think I have to explain it further, with Arcane Knowledge you will ignore half of the enemy's magic resist. But in some cases, it's better to buy Abyssal Scepter. I'll be talking about it in the Other viable/Situational items section.
Other viable/Situational items
What to replace: Void Staff
Basically I like to buy Void Staff instead of this, because it usually ignores more magic resist. But there are some cases when Abyssal Scepter is more viable. It depends on how much magic resist the enemy stacked until late game. The key number is 70. If there are at least two enemies, whose magic resist is more than 70, buy Void Staff, because it will give you more magic penetration against them. If every enemies have less than 70, or only one has more than 70 magic resist, you will have a better use of Abyssal Scepter. BUT! It's not the only viewpoint. Always keep in mind that 1 Abyssal Scepter per team is fair enough. It's aura doesn't stack, meaning if all of you have one, the enemies' magic resist will still be reduced only by 20. The other thing to look at when choosing this item is that how many magic damage based champion your team have. A good thing about this item is that not only you, but your teammates will also deal more damage to enemies. But if the enemy team stacked a lot of magic resist, and your team has more magic damage based champ, it shouldn't be you who buys the Scepter, because you need as much damage as possible, and it is only possible with Void Staff. In a situation like this the support should have the Scepter.
I would like to emphasize that Abyssal Scepter is no longer a good item for Zyra, since its range has been hugely nerfed and it is now only good for close-range combat. I do not recommend to buy it anymore.
What to replace: Deathfire Grasp
Only buy it early/mid game if you are against a bunch of noobs and you want to have some fun. Otherwise I don't recommend it. It's fine, at 20 stacks it gives you 180 ability power without Rabadon's, but if you die, you lose your CDR. And you will die easily during teamfights, because you have no mobility and you will get focused easily. Especially if killing you means you will become weaker. Seriously: don't buy it expect you are fed and your team has at least 15 more kills than the enemy team.
What to replace: Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Well, it's not situational, it's more of personal preference. After 10 minutes, it will give you the same amount of ability power, 130 more HP and a bunch of mana. The 130 HP is nice but not much, and the mana is also nice to have but you won't need it because you won't have mana problems. But if you find the slow effect from Rylai's useless, I guess it's ok to buy this one.
What to replace: Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Zhonya's Hourglass
Against teams which are full of CC or spell-based champions. If you swap with Rylai's, you will have less health but more ap and Zhonya's active. If you replace with Zhonya's, you will have more hp but less ability power and you won't have the active. You can decide which one is more important.
What to replace:-
You can buy it in the early game if you want to use your skills as often as possible. You won't have mana problems for sure, but you will have to sell it later, because you won't need the manaregen late game.
What to replace: Sorcerer's Shoes
I have mentioned it earlier. If you get focused by heavy CC, it may help you to survive. Swap it only mid/late game.
Of course you can say that it's a needless chapter, and that I can list all items which I haven't mentioned before from Phantom Dancer to Warmog's Armor. But of course I mean those AP items which others would find useful. And again: they may be right and I might be wrong, I just write there my personal opinion, if you don't agree, you can write a comment or tell your friend "OMG what a noob" and laugh at me.
Reason: As I have told it some times throughout my build, Zyra will not have mana problems during late game. And this item is specialized for eliminating mana problems. Otherwise it's a total waste. You can say that it gives a huge amount of ability power. Yes, it truly gives. But which item want you to switch with? Rylia's, to lose that 500 bonus health? That would make you the easiest target in the whole game. The active of Zhonya's is also a need and you wouldn't get that much ap if you changed that one. The magicpen and Rabadon's is basic, along with the shoes, and Deathfire Grasp's active deals so much damage that the bonus from Archangel's Staff cannot replace it and the CDR.
You can say that it's a perfect item to reach the CDR cap. But I think Deathfire Grasp is much better. Why? Because, as I said some times, mana regen during late game is needless for Zyra. And what else it gives? The magic resist is needless, you should be able to avoid mage attacks with your long range, and it only gives you 20 more ap, which is not as much help as Deathfire Grasp's active.
It just doesn't fit to Zyra's playstyle. She is a mage who has to deal a huge amount of burst damage in teamfights. In order to do this, she has to use all her skills at once, and this way you cannot maximalize the damage that comes from Lich Bane. In addition, it is far too bad if you get to auto attack range.
With this, your CDR will only increase by 1% due to the CDR cap, and its active is far worse than Deathfire Grasp's, even against Dr. Mundo.
Another waste of money. Late game if you get damaged you will probably die (unless it's only harass damage). And it doesn't heal so much that it's worth buying. The spellvamp is also useless early game: since all your skills are AoE, you will have to hit all minions in order too get enough heal, but this way you will surely be overpushed, which lead to a gank, which might lead to death. If you have problems with staying alive, just buy some health potions.
Don't waste your mana for harassment at level 1. Use your Deadly Bloom once at level 1, and then wait until level 2, when you will have your seeds. Now you can start harassing. Only lasthit with your basic attacks, and use your abilities for harassment. Always have one seed or at least a half stacked, but don't keep both two for too long. Always put them down, in front of your melee minions. This way the enemy will have to stay away from it, which troubles him with last hitting. If he won't stay away, just place a Deadly Bloom on it. He will learn that it's not advised to go near these. Whenever you land a Deadly Bloom on a seed, the Thornspitter starts to shoot the enemy. One shot doesn't deal too much damage, but if he ignores it, it might cost 1/2 of his health bar. So if he have played against a Zyra, he will be aware of your plants. You can also snare him with your Grasping Roots, after that it's easy to land a Deadly Bloom.
Whenever his health is low, you can finish him: snare him (if you have Flash use it first to get closer), then use your ultimate along with Deadly Bloom and a seed. Be sure you are close enough to land Grasping Roots successfully, or you will only waste a flash. If you don't have flash, just go on harassing him. He can't farm well then, and you need only one mistake and you can finish him when he is too close. If he realises that he will be killed soon and recalls, it's also good for you, because you can farm freely during his way back and you can even hit the turret (only if you are sure that you will not be ganked). If you want to make sure he will die but Flash is on CD, just call for a gank and you or the jungler will take him down (if the jungler is good enough).
If your health gets low, you don't need to recall immediately (only if the enemy laner's range is higher than yours, e.g. Xerath). But you can't stay for too long, because you can only lasthit with your abilities, you can't go closer it you don't want to die (maybe only the melee minions who are hitting your caster minions). You can use your two seeds, Deadly Bloom and Grasping Roots to lasthit as much minions as you can, then go home because you are pushed. This way it will keep some time for the enemy to get to your turret. If the enemy is at your caster minions and trying to prevent you from last-hitting, just try to harass him from a safe range. When his minions come to your turret, you can slay them with your abilities. If you managed to land some harass damage to the enemy, then you will start with an advantage when you come back. The other choice again is that you call for a gank. You can help your jungler from afar if he comes from the opponent's back. The key here is to make him beleive that you cannot do anything against him only staying under the turret. He will become too self-confident and won't expect that he can be shut down when your health is so low.
Usually starts when the first turret is destroyed. In this phase, everybody is ganking each other, because they don't dare to go far away from their turret, but if they clear a minion wave they will get too pushed. So they can use their free time to get some kills by ganking. You also have to do that if it was you who destroyed the first turret. When you see that the enemy mid-laner is away and top or bot lane is too pushed, you can go gank them. After calling ss, go to the bush and wait for the best moment. Start with a Grasping Roots, then use your Deadly Bloom and a seed and your ultimate if not on CD. Be sure that you can kill them with your teammates (I mean don't attack them if your teammate has 0 hp and there are 3 enemies against him). Don't gank if you can't kill them! Then only go and help him with defending the turret until the danger is over. You can harass the enemy and stay at the turret until he recalls or further help arrives (maybe even a gank). You have to keep the distance, you can't go to auto attack-range, because they are much stronger than you and can harass with auto-attack. If they have some CC, they can even turret-dive you so be careful. And remember, if you fail with a gank, you might cause your and your teammates' death.
If noone is pushed in the enemy team, but you have destroyed the enemy turret and the enemy is away and you are pushed, just go and help on bot or top lane destroying the turret. Harass the enemy and whatsoever, and push if somebody have placed a ward and you can't get ganked. Your OP range will make the enemy stay BEHIND the turret, so the ranged carry or any ranged champs can hit the turret freely. If noone helps them, you should be able to destroy their turret if you outnumber them. But at the same time watch your own lane. If the enemy mid laner is back, you should also go back because you cannot let him to destroy your turret. If your jungler is close to the mid lane, you can ping or tell him to defend the lane until you arrive.
If it is not you who destroyed the first turret, be careful with laning! The chance for a gank is increased now. You should get at least one ward in this case. If the enemy is pushed, call for a gank from your jungler or somebody who have destroyed the enemy turret. You shouldn't be going further than the half of the ground if you cannot see everybody on the minimap. Destroying the turret with these conditions will be a bit more difficult, but it will become easier when the teamfights start to break out on mid-lane. You can use the same method I have mentioned before: harass the enemy under the turret while the carry shoots the turret. But again: be careful and don't let them get the chance to focus you down.
There is one rule late game which is set in stone: NEVER GO ALONE! It is true for every champ, but especially for Zyra since she has no escape mechanism. Only go alone if you go through warded area or turrets to clear minion waves. But always check bushed with your seeds if you do so. You even need some companion if you go for the blue, because you never know if it is warded. Seriously. Don't risk a gank. If they attack from the bush and CC you then you can't even bring one with you to death. Always go in groups or with the whole team if possible, and always stay behind the team, never go to the front.
I think it deserves a whole paragraph. Before the teamfight breaks out, harass the enemy only with your Deadly Bloom. Don't waste your seeds and your snare, you will need them during the teamfight. Deadly Bloom alone deals enough damage for harassment. You should be watching both team and react fast when the teamfight breaks out, because you need some time to land the full combo. But first of all, shoot a melee champ who has the highest damage output in the enemy team with your Deathfire Grasp. After that you can land your full combo which I have mentioned before. Try to hit multiple champions with your Deadly Bloom and Grasping Roots, and when you land your ultimate, be sure that it will hit as many opponents as possible, while hitting both of your plants.
If they somehow manage to get to you (they attack from back or something), then you won't have to land the full combo on them. You will only have to land your ultimate. Try to hit as many opponents again as you can, and, since they will focus and kill you in 2 seconds, use the active of Zhonya's Hourglass. They won't care about you for two seconds, and your ultimate will knock them airborne, so you will be able to use your combo without the ultimate. If they can still kill you... well, you did everything you could, but try to run away (probably you won't). But if your team also did well, it cannot happen.
If you landed your full combo and the teamfight is still going on, then just simply help the team from afar, using your skills and seeds. Your abilities has low cooldowns, so you will not have problems with spamming skills, since you have 40% CDR.
As Zyra is not a support, it is not your problem to place wards. But early/mid game, it can save your life if you ward your lane well. It is not the role of the support, it is your task to prevent ganks from the enemy jungler. At least until the laning phase is over.
You will usually need one or two wards throughout the game to prevent ganks. And you only have to place down one at one time, in one of the two bushes on the side of your lane. But what if the jungler attacks from the other side? The solution is pretty simple: just stick to the warded side. This way you will have enough time to escape if the enemy is attacking from the other side, and if he is attacking from the warded side, you will notice it in time and you will be able to escape.
If you are dealing with a more skilled jungler, who doesn't attack you from the bush, but from the route which turns from your lane to the jungle (I will add pictures later), then you can place your ward here, but this way you will have to more careful with the bushes.
In this section, I will give details and advices against each champion who you can lane against. It is not ready yet, I will continouosly add more and more champions.
She is a skillshot-based champ, so you will need to start with the boots. If you dodge her skills, you will have an easy time. Stay behind your minions, because if she hits you with her Charm, you will probably die. Try to harass her when her Orb of Deception is on cooldown, otherwise you risk getting harassed back. Never stay when your hp goes low, she will kill you easily with her ulti. Everything relies on your positioning and dodging skills. And try to get a Giant's Belt early, otherwise she will burst you down easily.
Difficulty:Easy pre-6/Deadly Post-6
Concetrate on harassing and zoning her early game, if she gets enough creep until level 6, you will have a hard time. Also watch out for ganks, because if she manages to kill you once, you lost the lane. Don't cast your Deadly Bloom while she is in her Twilight Shroud, only in the moment you see her. And don't use seed even then, because it will not shoot Akali when she is stealthed, so it will just push your minions. You will see that you were successful when she will not dare to attack you with her low hp-bar when she has her ulti. She will probably recall. After that, you have to PLAY VERY CAREFULLY! Never get in her ulti range, even if it means some loss of creeps, wait until she will push it to your turret. Then you can slain them with your abilities. Or if she is hitting your melee minions, you can slain the enemy's melee minions with a Deadly Bloom and a seed, which might kill some of the caster minions. If she jumps at you, you will lose half of your HP-bar, and you cannot even harass back, because she will use her Twilight Shroud immediately. So you have to get a Giant's Belt early, like against every burst champ. If your jungler is not a squishy champ, call for ganks, she has no eascape tools, only her Twilight Shroud. Seriously: don't feed her, a fed Akali usually means a lost game (if her teammates are total noobs: once I was playing Akali, and I had a 33-7 stat. We lost that game. Only because of my teammates xD). Just stay alive and farm well and you will not have any problems.
This is going to be a farmfest lane. The one with the more cs wins. Before she gets her ulti, you will be able to harass her a bit when her Flash Frost is on CD, but that will be all you can do, and she will not even die, due to her passive. You have about the same harass range, but it's eaier to dodge her harass. However, if she gets you and stuns you, you will be punished hard, she can even lower your hp to half on level 2! But it will be hard for her to hit you, especially if you start with the boots. From level 6, you won't even be able to get close to her. And don't even try it. She will cast her ultimate, Frostbite and/or stun you, and it is over for you. But she won't be able to harass you this way, because you will use your snare+seed+ Deadly Bloom+seed combo and escape if she comes closer. So I recommend you to just concentrate on farming. When she will have blue, she will push your lane like hell. And you will leave it. Do not plant seeds before she killed all your minions, because her ulti will kill them in about one second and it would be a waste. When she finished clearing your minion wave, then just use your combo and finish hers. She will have a bit higher cs this way, because she will more likely kill all minions, but not much higher if you have done well.
If you managed to harass her to about the one-fourth of her health, you can even kill her. But before trying, make sure you have your ulti and 2 seeds, because only with the enraged plants will you be able to kill her egg. Just use the regular combo combined with a Flash to finish. Another useful tactics is stealing her blue at around 07:00. Ask your jungler for help. If you manage to do so, then she will have a harder time creeping, and there's the chance of running out of mana, which makes her completely vulnerable.
You just simply outrange her heavily. She can't get close to you, thus she cannot harass you, but you can simply harass her from afar. You can even zone her with your plants. The only thing you should be afraid of is her Flash + Ulti with stun + other skills including Ignite combo. She can burn your a** down with that, even if you are with full hp. The best solution to this is an early Giant's Belt or three Doran's Ring (I like the latter more). The other thing is that she can harass you while your snare is on CD, so be careful after using it. And you have to avoid the jungler's intervention, this way you will have a great early and mid game feed, and she will be less useful for the enemy team with her low creep score.
Difficulty: Quite easy
He has a great sustain coming from his passive. But you can counter it by constantly harassing him. It will cost you really much mana, so you will need to ask your jungler for an early blue, or just build a Chalice of Harmony and maybe buy some mana potions. If he won't play more carefully, he will be an easy kill. If he plays more carefully, he will only be able to farm with his abilities, which will cost him much mana. Be careful, thought, because he can harass you as well, but you can avoid it easier than he your harass, and you can even deal more damage.
Difficulty: Quite easy pre-6/Medium post-6
Before she gets her ulti,you will have an easy time, you just need to avoid her Crescent Strike and zone her as hard as you can, because she is melee. But you will have a bad time with her ulti. If she hits you with her Crescent Strike, she will almost surely kill you with her burst combo. And don't underestimate it! She even has a shield in it, so you won't be able to deal enough damage to her to kill her. Her burst damage is just more than yours. But only if she hits you and she can use her ulti twice! If you avoid it, you should be allright, you can still harass her when Crescent Strike is on CD (she is still a melee champ). If you do well, you will not have any problems with her. But never stay if your hp is too low because she will just simply kill you.
Summary and Credits
Zyra is a great burst champion who still has some decent amount of DPS, she is fun to play and useful for the whole team at the same time. I have told it before, but if you have some problems with my guide or just want to tell how awesome was it (the latter will happen rarely ;)), just leave a comment and vote. Please downvote only if you feel it absolutely necessary, and tell me why you did so.
Thank you for reading my guide, and also special thanks to:
Myself, for taking the take to write this guide
- jhoijhoi for her awesome guide for beginner guide-writers. If you have some time or you want to write a guide, check it out here.
Have a good day and a happy slaughter with Zyra!
Changes and updates
2012.08.09. Published the guide
2012.08.21. Added some champions to the "Laning matchups" section.
2012.10.11. Changed the description of Abyssal Scepter in the Other viable/situational items section.
2012.10.14. Made some minor changes in the text and corrected grammatical errors.
- Adding some pictures
- Creating a list of possible mid-laners and giving tactics against each
- Finding more things to do
How to Grow a Support
Thorn in their Side
Zyra Build Guide - Mid Lane [In-Depth]
Then they took a thorn to the Knee - Zaums AP-Bruiser Zyra