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Zyra Build Guide by procrastinasian

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League of Legends Build Guide Author procrastinasian

Choke The Life From Them - Zyra Guide [Season 5 - OUTDATED]

procrastinasian Last updated on November 12, 2015
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Team 1

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 0

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Zyra with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Karma A support in mid? Please. Don't stand in her Mantra-Q and you'll be fine.
Nami I don't know why people take supports mid nowadays, but as long as you keep your distance, you'll be fine.
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Hi everyone, I'm notnicholasqian and this is an in-depth guide to Zyra: The Rise of the Thorns. I have always been in love with the idea of control mages, and Zyra's unique zoning style is by far my favorite thing about her. Being able to turn a gank or even a teamfight around by simply pressing R is hilarious, and the consistent damage you have signifies Zyra's incredible damage output at all stages of the game. This guide will cover all the little tricks you need to play Zyra, both in midlane or as a support.

deadly bloom
If you end up taking the time to learn how to play Zyra, I can promise you that you'll be rewarded. I put a lot of effort into making this guide, so thank you so much for taking the time to read it.

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Pros and Cons

She starts the game lane dominant, and only gets stronger from there. Zyra has some of the strongest early game damage in the game. Once you reach level 3, your full combo of E-W-Q-W deals 320 + 205%AP, which is even more than Leblanc's combo at level 3, which deals 275 + 240%AP.
Efficient seed positioning gives you strong DPS and zoning. Four plants will end up dealing 74 + 21 per level magic damage every second. If you can force your opponent to trade with you inside of your plants, all of your autos combined should deal around 200 DPS at only level 3. Even if they run away from you, the rather short cooldown and long range on your Q let's you use it twice in one trade.
Good anti-gank potential. Zyra's plants are on a short enough cooldown that you can place two seeds down the moment you're getting ganked, and her E-W will immobilze their jungler long enough for you to walk out. If you know you aren't getting out alive, laying down your entire combo on them will ensure that you can get a return kill with your passive.
Few people know how to play against her. Zyra's play-rate has gone down in the past few years, and seeing a Zyra is a rare occurrence. This makes most players underestimate her damage, and they will often end up tanking your plants.
Extremely mana hungry. Zyra's mana costs are pretty high, but become absurdly so when you're trying to waveclear with a 95 mana spell every 4 seconds. This forces you to orient your build towards mana regen items. In almost every game, you'll have to rush either Morellonomicon or Athene's just to deal with your high mana costs.
One of the squishiest champions in the game. Zyra's base health is the fourth lowest in the game both at level 1 and at level 18. This is already low enough, but the champions around her at the bottom have safety attached in their kit. They have one or more of : a revive (Anivia, Zilean), a shield (Lux, Sona), a heal (Sona, Nami) or mobility (Gnar, Ezreal). Gnar has bonus health in his Mega-Gnar form, and Heimerdinger is near impossible to gank.
Inconsistent CC. Zyra has the second slowest moving projectile in the game, only after Anivia's Q, with her short-ranged and short-lasting snare. The projectile itself is nearly as thin as her passive thorn, and the duration at level 1 is pitiful. Your ultimate's knock-up also has a 2 second delay, so utilizing it requires team communication.
No mobility. With no mobility spells coupled with the lowest base movement speed in the game, Zyra is the definition of an immobile champion. She also lacks defensive spells besides her snare, which lasts less than a second.

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Magic pen marks are the best marks to take on a mage, as they end up contributing more to your overall damage output than Ability Power would.
greater mark of hybrid penetration Hybrid pen marks can also be useful if you know you're going to trade autos in lane. Zyra has a relatively high attack range, so the extra armor penetration also helps. Hybrid pen runes fall off in the late game however, because you won't be using basic attacks after the laning phase. These runes are similar to Ignite, as they are used to help you win the laning phase, while providing little usefulness anywhere else.
Armor seals will help you in auto-attack trades during the laning phase, as they compensate for the general armor nerfs everywhere. Whether you're in mid or bot, taking less damage from basic attacks is always helpful.
Seals of health or seals of scaling health make up for Zyra's terrible health pool, so they can also help you survive the laning phase, especially in midlane, when auto attack trades are less frequent. Health is the counter to true damage, so taking these runes could protect you from your enemy's Ignite.
3 scaling cdr glyphs gives you 5% cdr at level 18. Paired with Rampant Growth's passive and Sorcery , you'll have 20% cdr, and grabbing either a Morellonomicon or Athene's Unholy Grail will reach the 40% cap perfectly.
Magic resist glyphs will protect you from a lot of magic resistance, which is necessary when going midlane. When playing support Zyra, you will always end up taking magic damage from the enemy support, so unless they have a Thresh support, who deals almost no damage, and an AD midlaner, you should stick with magic resist.
If you're feeling cocky or there's little risk of burst magic damage on the enemy team, you can take magic pen glyphs instead.
Quints are utility based, so it's actually your choice as to what you want to take. I usually choose AP quints, as it helps your early game burst. Magic pen quints are also helpful, and they scale really well into the late game. Armor quints can also be taken when going support to protect yourself from the enemy ADC, as Zyra has some of the worst base defensive stats.

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Offense Tree
Zyra is built as a damage dealer in whichever lane you're sent to, so 21 points in the Offensive Mastery Tree will help capitalize on her damage potential. In this tree, I take:
alternate offensive masteries (support)

Utility Tree
Midlaners almost always go 21/0/9, and Zyra is no exception. Some standard ones to take are:
alternate utility masteries (support)

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Summoner Spells

Flash is the best summoner spell in the game by far, and it's mandatory to take it on almost every champion. It can serve as a gap-closer or an escape, and it's a versatile spell that's usually taken by all 10 players. On a champion as immobile as Zyra, Flash is invaluable.



If you're playing Zyra in the midlane, Ignite is a good tool for winning lane if you plan on playing aggressively. It's a gimmicky summoner spell to take, as its only use is to get you ahead in the laning phase. If you don't grab a kill or two early, this spell becomes slightly useless, as it doesn't scale well into the late game. You can always use it when you're roaming bot lane of course, to negate the enemy ADC's Heal.
Exhaust can be taken on Zyra, both in mid and in bot, because of it's versatility and synergy with Zyra's kit. You're main source of damage comes from your seeds, and you need to be able to kite your opponent within your plants' range. Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Exhaust will both help you survive if your enemy tries to burst you down. While Ignite can also be used to DoT your opponent down faster, Exhaust helps with survivability, which is what you really want. It can also be used in team fights to protect your team from a fed opponent (just in case you lost lane).

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There's two paths to go whenever you're going midlane: Damage & Defense or Damage & Utility. If you're losing lane, you go for either Zhonya's Hourglass into Liandry's Torment or Athene's Unholy Grail into Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Whereas if you're winning lane, Rush Morellonomicon into Luden's Echo.
You always want to go for the item that will give you the biggest powerspike. You rush Morellonomicon because it gives you around the same stats as Athene's Unholy Grail, except it has more AP and is 400 gold cheaper. Therefore, it is an earlier (thus bigger) powerspike.
Your priorities for early game backing are:

500+ gold
900+ gold
No matter how badly you're doing in lane, always buy an Amplifying Tome or it's upgrade, Fiendish Codex on your first back. Amplifying Tome builds into all three of the items you can rush: (aside from Rod of Ages, but I don't usually buy it) Morellonomicon, Athene's Unholy Grail, and Zhonya's Hourglass. If you know you're doing really badly however and you were shoved out of lane, you can buy a second Doran's Ring.

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Champion Abilities / Skill Sequence

Upon taking fatal damage, Zyra returns to her plant form for up to 8 seconds, becoming untargetable. She cannot cast any of her standard abilities while in this state, but can cast Vengeful Thorn using any learned ability after 2 seconds, dealing 100 - 440 true damage (increasing with champion level) to every enemy it passes through.
Tips and Tricks:
For some reason, Zyra is given a huge true damage skillshot when she dies. Because there is so much ‘potential’ damage there, Zyra’s kit, more specifically her damage, has been adjusted for it. This ensures that even if you die, the true damage could be enough to net you a return kill or an assist if your teammates chase them down.

Remember that it has a two second delay before you can shoot it, so if you know you’re going to die, put yourself right in the center of the battle and cast your ultimate. If done correctly, the two second delay on both Stranglethorns and Rise of the Thorns will synergize, knocking your enemies up for a free shot on your passive. Be smart in how you use it, as there is a small cast time before the thorn shoots, and the hitbox on it is quite small.

People often make the mistake of underestimating Zyra's passive, and they try to CS right next to her corpse. When a champion uses their basic attack, they stop in place for the animation. The moment you see them stop moving, the press of a button is all it takes for that juicy 300 gold.

deadly bloom
DEADLY BLOOM Ability Overview:
Zyra sprouts thorns at the target location after a 0.625-second delay, dealing 70/105/140/175/210 (+ 65% AP) magic damage to enemies within the area.

If Deadly Bloom hits a seed, a Thorn Spitter grows and lasts for up to 10 seconds, attacking enemies within 750 range.
Tips and Tricks:
This is Zyra’s farming, harass, and zoning spell because of it’s reliability. You always take it at level 1, the only exception being when you’re invading with someone who can chain CC at level 1, in which case you would take Grasping Roots. When going midlane, you max this first for the decent waveclear and reliable poke damage, as it has a large range, a shorter delay than Grasping Roots, and a cooldown that decreases by skill level. Don’t spam this skill however, as it ramps up to a 95 mana cost at a ~3 second cooldown.

The big part of this spell however, is the plants that it summons. When you cast Rampant Growth on top of deadly bloom, you can catch your opponent off guard with a surprise plant or two, that, paired with a basic attack, will end up applying your Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment passives until the enemy champion leaves their range. These plants have a range equal to towers, so they make for an excellent zoning tool.

Ability Overview:
Passive: Zyra permanently has 2/4/6/8/10% cooldown reduction and stores a seed periodically, up to a maximum of 2 stored at once.
Active: Zyra plants a seed at the target location for 30 seconds, granting sight of a small area around it. Up to 4 seeds can be planted at a time, and planting an additional seed destroys the oldest.

If one of Zyra's basic abilities hits a seed, a plant grows from it and automatically attacks nearby enemies, dealing 23 + 6.5 per level (+ 20% AP) magic damage per attack. Multiple plants striking the same target deal only half damage.
Tips and Tricks:
Rampant Growth is automatically on smartcast, so it is extremely easy to chain with your other abilities. Some interesting facts to note about this ability are:
  • It passively provides you with 10% CDR, so you only need either a Morellonomicon or Athene's Unholy Grail and your 10% from runes and masteries to reach the 40% cap.
  • When first placed, the seed gives vision in ~600 range, but the vision then decreases to directly around the seed. DO NOT USE THIS SPELL AS A WARD. IT WON’T WORK.
  • While it is possible to have 8 plants up at one point, you should always reach for 3 in a small skirmish and 4 in a team fight.
  • Your plants proc on-spell effects (not on-hit) with their attacks, such as Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment, both of which are extremely good choices on Zyra.
  • Seeds can sprout next to one of your spells, and they do not have to be placed directly on the hitbox of the spell (up to ~100 units off of the spell). This can save you early-game if you miss a snare, as you can plant a seed close to the champion chasing you do sprout a Vine Lasher and slow them down.
  • Finally, plant’s AI have a really bad targeting system (covered in the next chapter).

    To use Rampant Growth accurately and effectively, place it exactly where you want a plant to grow, after you place a spell down. All of Zyra's abilities have a short delay on them, and Rampant Growth has no cast time. The automatic quick-cast and large hit-box on this ability all help you choose exactly where you want to place your plants.

    Keep in mind that if you place a seed too far away from you, enemy champions can step on them to destroy them with no repercussions.

GRASPING ROOTS Ability Overview:
Zyra sends a surge of vines in the target direction, dealing 60/95/130/165/200 (+ 50% AP) magic damage to enemies hit and rooting them for 0.75/1/1.25/1.5 seconds.

If Grasping Roots hits a seed, a Vine Lasher grows from it and lasts for up to 10 seconds, attacking enemies within 450 range and slowing them by 30%.
Tips and Tricks:
This spell embodies one of the few things I dislike about Zyra: her unreliable CC. Grasping Roots is one of the slowest skillshots in the game, second only to Anivia’s Q. It is the slowest snare in the game, it has a thin hitbox, and the duration itself is pretty abysmal. It lasts for less than a second at rank 1, so maxing it first and learning how to actually hit are both super important when playing support Zyra.

When playing in the bottom lane, your primary role is brush control. Few supports can out-damage you in the laning phase, and if they dare walk into your brush without vision, you can take a huge chunk of their health out for free with an E-W-Q-W, as well as forcing them to fall back, making her zoning on-par with Thresh and Blitzcrank. Another perk: enemies can't hide behind their minions like they can with Thresh and Blitzcrank because your snare can move through units.

Midlane Zyra maxes this second, because the snare duration really helps with landing your full combo on someone and forcing them to tank your plants.

Ability Overview:
Zyra summons a monstrous thicket at the target location, dealing 180/265/350 (+ 70% AP) magic damage to all enemies in the area as it expands. After 2 seconds, the vines snap upward, knocking up all enemies caught in the thicket for 1 second.
Tips and Tricks:
Zyra’s ultimate has a huge amount of base damage with okay AP scaling, much like her other skills. This makes magic penetration a desirable stat on her, more so than other mages like Ahri or Viktor who prefer to focus AP first. It also has a huge delay on the knock-up, so it is used more effectively as a disengage or counter-engage tool. Use this spell after you set up your plants so that they can benefit from the bonus attack speed and grant you a huge amount of zoning power. Zyra’s lockdown and counter-engage is unmatched in the whole game, and the amount of crowd control she gains after purchasing Rylai's Crystal Scepter is immense.

The reason why Rylai's Crystal Scepter is so good on her is because a) her plants can refresh the duration of the slow and b) It allows her to actually utilize the knock-up of her ultimate, as the slow prevents people from just walking out.
The sheer size of the spell itself makes up for the mediocre range, and a good Stranglethorns can completely turn the tide of a teamfight, similar to an Orianna ultimate, but with continued zoning in the area after it’s over. A cool thing to note is that placing down your ultimate will refresh the duration of your plants, so in an emergency, you can throw Stranglethorns down at your feet to abuse the timer reset, maintaining 6 plants post-mortem.

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Your Plants: Their Perks and Their Quirks

Your plants have an annoying targeting system that basically follows this pattern:

  1. champions who you're basic attacking
  2. whoever your plants are already attacking (meaning they won't randomly switch targets)
  3. champions within 350 units
  4. whoever you're basic attacking
  5. the closest target
This means that if you use your Harass Combo, your plants will attack the closest champion you hit with your ability once, and unless you basic attack the enemy champion again, your plants will then switch targets to the minions next to it. This makes it awkward to play Zyra support, as your plants will indirectly push the wave and steal CS from your ADC. As midlane Zyra, pushing your wave leaves you open to ganks, so be very cautious in how often you sprout your seeds. Sometimes, just placing them out in the open is zoning enough, as most enemies will be too scared to step on them.
There are three basic setups for your seeds. You can choose to follow a different pattern if you think you've found a better one, but these have worked for me so far:
(hint: stands for a basic attack, ‘&’ = do them together, and ‘…’ = wait for your cooldowns to reset)
Combo 1 (Poke)
deadly bloom>>
Combo 2 (Harass)
&>deadly bloom&>
This combo can be repeated three times in a row due to the stock system on Rampant Growth work. It is your main harass combo, and it deals a good chunk of damage, more so if you can land a basic attack right after your seeds sprout, which takes some practice. The total mana cost is only that of your Q, so you don't even need to worry about mana. I reference this multiple times throughout this guide as your E-W-Q-W combo, and this is the combo you're going to be using a lot as support Zyra. Use this combo whenever your enemy comes too close to you, as it lets your minions and/or ADC to contribute some basic attacks. If you didn’t know, when an enemy champion damages you, it draws minion aggro.
Combo 3 (Full Setup)
>&& >deadly bloom…deadly bloom&& >…deadly bloom&&
[nextcol width=700]Your Full Setup, paired with whatever summoner spell you have in between ( Ignite or Exhaust) should be enough to either kill your enemy or stall long enough for help to arrive. The huge strength that comes from properly setting up along with your poor defense when caught out, should both explain why Zyra shouldn’t “venture off the beaten path”. ( Zyra quote :D) Stick with your teammates so that they can provide some secondary damage output and possibly peel for you.
Remember that this entire combo, while the setup takes a while, has a disgusting amount of damage potential and zoning because your ultimate will refresh the duration of your plants, as well as increasing their attack speed by a large amount. Bringing Exhaust into a battle allows you to somewhat peel for yourself ( Rylai's Crystal Scepter helps too), allowing you to fully utilize your plants. Even if you die, your plants continue to attack, and this, combined with your passive true damage, should be enough to net you a kill, as well as busting out a summoner spell or two.
The full setup can be shortened, although this drastically reduces your overall damage. Forgo the first two seeds, and go straight into your Harass Combo. Exhaust or Ignite them, and then follow up with another rotation of your Poke Combo and finally, Stranglethorns.

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Change Log

Posted the guide, currently includes:

  1. Introduction
  2. Pros and Cons
  3. Runes and Masteries
  4. Items
  5. Abilities
  6. Plant Tips
Season 6 came out are you ****ing serious
Currently updating:
  • Masteries
  • Items
Moved to Death Is In Bloom