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Zyra Build Guide by astrolia

Support How to Grow a Support

Support How to Grow a Support

Updated on January 14, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author astrolia Build Guide By astrolia 163 10 541,796 Views 60 Comments
163 10 541,796 Views 60 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author astrolia Zyra Build Guide By astrolia Updated on January 14, 2014
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I've written other support guides in the past and people frequently ask me what they should do when their AD carry sucks. "Should I build AP and help do damage?" Building mostly AP items doesn't work that well on every support. Not all of them even have enough AP ratios to really help "carry" a game.

But Zyra differs from the other supports in this regard. She was made as an AP carry and has five offensive AP ratios and even her passive does true damage. She's viable as a support due to her kit's crowd control , poke damage, scouting ability, and built-in cooldown reduction. With AP, "support" Zyra becomes an additional damage source for her team while still being able to ward, peel, and initiate as well as any other support.


Early Game
Mid Game
Late Game



Flash works on Zyra as it does 90% of all other champions in the game. It gives her a gap closer (she has none!) and a way to go over terrain.

For a second summoner, I recommend Ignite for two reasons. First, with season 4, a very common build for tanks is tons of HP + Spirit Visage + Perseverance + Second Wind. With Ignite, you'll be able to help your team reduce their healing power.

Second, you'll gain quite a bit of killing power in lane early game. Many marksmen take Barrier, but Ignite is a DoT that happens to last longer than Barrier and has the same cooldown time.

There's also Exhaust too. It's always an option to single out a target and it has both offensive/defensive uses.



greater mark of hybrid penetration

With the exception of yellow armor runes (which should be a common support rune since enemy marksmen, minions, etc all do physical damage), I recommend you rune either all out balls to the walls offense or pure defense.

A defensive rune page like Greater Mark of Armor, Greater Seal of Armor, Greater Seal of Magic Resist and Greater Quintessence of Health help make up for Zyra's squishiness. This is a great page if you're planning on building mostly tank items and not much offense. Offensive runes can become useless quickly if you aren't building much damage.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist might sound dumb for bottom lane when the enemy marksman does physical damage, but enemy supports and marksmen have skills that do magic damage. I recommend flat over scaling because flat will be stronger at levels 1-2 (when you first walk into lane) and level 6 (when enemies get their ults and will try to secure kills).

If you're going on the offense, I recommend focusing on penetration: Greater mark of hybrid penetration, Greater Seal of Armor, Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration, and Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration.

When playing Zyra as a support, I don't think there's much incentive to get flat or scaling AP on her. Early game, a bunch of Zyra's damage and lane control comes from plants and they have a low AP scaling. Liandry's Anguish, a core item, scales on your enemy's HP and your magic pen. Also, unlike the other supports, her crowd control wasn't changed to scale on AP. If you don't have or can't afford the penetration runes though, AP is better than nothing.

The marks are hybrid because Zyra has higher than average auto-attack range (575) to harass with. She isn't much of an auto-attacker later, so the other runes are regular magic penetration. If you don't have hybrid marks, just use magic pen marks.

click to enlarge


click to enlarge

You can go high in the defense tree if you want but with Zyra's long range I recommend 0/9/21. Or if you want more AP, 9/0/21.

From the defense tree, the damage reduction and flat HP from Block , Unyielding and Veteran Scars help you trade damage with enemy laners early game. Recovery is a filler mastery used to unlock tier 2. The other option is Enchanted Armor which is a bit weak since it only scales off of your bonus defenses. Juggernaut will give additional HP that will scale with HP items like Rylai's Crystal Scepter. 3% might not sound like much, but considering you spent 3 points in Veteran Scars to get 36 HP, it's efficient.

The utility tree has tons of benefits for supports. Meditation helps you with spamming Deadly Bloom in lane. Summoner's Insight , Fleet of Foot, and Wanderer are always nice to have since Zyra has no gap closer besides Flash and very low mobility. Greed , Scavenger , Wealth , and Bandit are all to help with gold generation (not a bad thing to have in solo queue). Wealth , in example, means being able to start with an extra potion.

If you want to be more offensive, go 9 points in offense. Sorcery is the most support-friendly tier 1 offense mastery. Expose Weakness can be pretty good if you get it on multiple targets for your team. Mental Force and mastery add a little extra damage to your spells.


sight ward

I recommend starting with a Rejuvenation Bead (plus Health Potions and Sight Wards) because her mana usage in lane isn't very taxing and she has no innate health sustain. If you aren't laning versus champions who can poke you, you can start Faerie Charm instead. In more organized play or versus stealth champs, you can get a Vision Ward instead of a Rejuvenation Bead or Faerie Charm. Use your regular Sight Wards to ward around bottom lane and save your gold for a Sightstone and a Philosopher's Stone.


philosopher's stone kage's lucky pick

Sightstone is like "the new meta" for supports. With the removal of Heart of Gold, it fulfills the need for both health and wards. Since it generates new wards each time you go back to base, you aren't spending as much money on buying wards, and you can start building other items. Other items for early game are Haunting Guise, Boots and Philosopher's Stone. Haunting Guise to boost your damage without building much AP. All of the flat magic pen makes you threatening in lane, you even get HP for trading damage, and it turns into Liandry's Anguish. Boots are less effective now, but having them helps against skill shots and ganks all the same. Philosopher's Stone is for some extra sustain in lane, and to build into Shurelya's Battlesong later. You could also buy Kage's Lucky Pick if you want Twin Shadows.

>> Further reading: GP10? / Sightstone


These are the recommended core items because they give you a combo of damage, health, and utility.

Rampant Growth gives 20% cooldown reduction. By maxing it 2nd, you can skip Ionian Boots of Lucidity and get Sorcerer's Shoes instead. With Haunting Guise, Sorcerer's Shoes, and Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, you will do nearly true damage to lower magic resist targets. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are still an option if you want max cooldown reduction around level 12-13. Mobility Boots are another option. The extra movespeed allows you to catch people more easily.

Liandry's Anguish's base stats don't improve much over Haunting Guise, but it's a high synergy item on Zyra because your plants apply the passive. It also has synergy with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. The damage can really add up before people start building magic res and survivability. It's highly recommended for supporting as Zyra because it allows you to still do damage without really building damage.

Lastly, Ruby Sightstone is just the upgraded version of Sightstone.

Further reading: The synergy between Zyras plants, Liandrys Torment, and Rylai's


zeke's herald

For your other items, pick a couple from this list. All of these items are pretty good. I have divided them into 2 categories: AP items (offensive and supportive), then traditional support items.

Further reading: Offensive AP Items

Further reading: Supportive AP items

Further reading: Traditional tanky support items

Further reading: What about other AP items?


These are my main recommendations for boot enchantments on Zyra. The description for Enchantment: Captain is a little misleading. Your allies don't need to (literally) be running toward you. They can be facing you (even from the side) and they'll receive the buff as long as they're within 1100 units of you. There's also Enchantment: Alacrity. Having more movespeed helps you catch up and snare enemies. Goes well with Mobility Boots. But 9/10 times, you will probably end up getting Enchantment: Homeguard. The regen and speed buff save you time, and time = money.


sight ward

Use Sight Wards in addition to your Ruby Sightstone when you need to heavily ward up an area such as baron. Vision Wards are powerful early game versus stealth characters and to clear enemy wards, but buying too many Vision Wards can set you behind. Later, buy an Oracle's Elixir before going after objectives to clear out enemy vision. And when you know you're going to group up and try for an objective, there's always Elixir of Brilliance and Elixir of Fortitude to boost your stats.

This section has a basic overview of what her skills do and technical or misc info that doesn't quite fit anywhere else. For advice on how you can use her skills, check out the next chapter.


Zyra's passive only applies on death. After dying, she reanimates and hangs around in plant form for eight seconds, during which she can fire off a thorn full of true damage in a thin linear AoE (similar to Grasping Roots). The damage will even proc the slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter when it hits, providing utility from beyond the grave. To get the most out of this skill, be patient and don't spam a button immediately after you die. There's a two-three second delay before you actually fire the thorn.

Because of her passive being AoE true damage, dying is... kind-of-not-so-bad, but only if you die in range to use your passive. Picture this: You're fighting, the enemies are low, but you're low too. You might find it beneficial to fight to the death instead of trying to run on low health. Even if you die, you might be able to finish someone off with your passive or just contribute to the team fight with some damage. It sucks to Flash away, die anyway to red buff or Karthus, and be too far away to help do damage with your passive because you Flashed.


deadly bloom
deadly bloom


Magic Damage: 26 + (6*baselvl) + (20% AP)
Max Duration: 10s Aspd: 0.8 Range: 750

Deadly Bloom is a simple AoE damage spell, and it's leveled last when playing Zyra as support. The snare duration and cooldown you get from leveling your other skills is more important for supporting. The plants it spawns, Thorn Spitters, do long ranged magic damage. If you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, their attacks will also slow. In lane, you can use the damage to push and clear waves to reset the lane. It can also be used to pop spell shields.


Cast it and you'll spawn a small pink seed that will grant you some vision. If an enemy walks over the seed, the seed will die, but you get vision of the enemy for a few seconds. The range is longer than a Sight Ward, so you can use it to facecheck bushes. Leveling the skill synergizes with itself: the seed respawn time goes down, and you also gain cooldown reduction which further reduces the seed respawn time.

When you cast Deadly Bloom or Grasping Roots on a seed, it will grow into a plant turret depending on which spell affected the seed. Deadly Bloom turns seeds into Thorn Spitters and Grasping Roots turns seeds into Vine Lashers. Note that you can cast Rampant Growth after Deadly Bloom or Grasping Roots. Just place your seed in the skill's AoE before it lands, and the plant will still pop up. Having your W key on smart cast makes this easy.

Further reading: Getting to know your plants



Magic Damage: 26 + (6*baselvl) + (20% AP)
Max Duration: 10s Aspd: 0.8 Range: 400
Effect: 30% slow for 2s

Grasping Roots is your primary laning skill. The AoE is linear and thin, but the roots are pretty fast. If you manage to snare someone with it, they get rooted in place and you have time to freely harass. Even if you don't manage to snare, you can still use it to slow. When you cast Grasping Roots over a seed, the seed will turn into a Vine Lasher which will apply a 30% slow. Basically, the snare and slow combo is what allows you to be a play maker in lane and setup potential kills for your carry.


Zyra's ultimate knocks up and damages enemies in a circular AoE. Any plants in the AoE will also get an attack speed buff. There's a two second delay before it knocks up enemies in the AoE and buffs your plants. Note that you don't need to have any plants out before cast. You can use the two second delay time to spawn them. Ideally, you would want to first snare a target with Grasping Roots, then cast Stranglethorns underneath them. Without the snare, it's easy for people to move out of Stranglethorns. At max level, Grasping Roots's duration is only .25 seconds shorter than the delay on Stranglethorns.





deadly bloom

The skill order is pretty simple. Your #1 priority is to level Stranglethorns when you can. Take Grasping Roots at level 1, Rampant Growth at level 2, and Deadly Bloom at 3. Your next priority is to max Grasping Roots. As an AoE snare with a duration that goes up per level, it's definitely your best skill for laning, setting up kills, or stopping an enemy jungler in their tracks to protect your own carry. Your third priority is to max Rampant Growth for more cooldown.

Your last priority is to max Deadly Bloom. Deadly Bloom isn't the main skill you should be concerned about hitting enemies with. Grasping Roots and Stranglethorns are what you need to hit because of their crowd control effects. The Thorn Spitter spawned by Deadly Bloom is used for additional long ranged damage, and that damage scales with Zyra's base level, not Deadly Bloom's level.

This section is specifically about Zyra and utilizing her skills in lane and team fights. For more about general support gameplay, check out the supplementary guide.

(Synergy) Zyra has aggressive synergy with carries who can fight and chunk people during the duration of Grasping Roots. E.g. if you manage to snare Nami, the damage from Corki's Phosphorus Bomb, Varus's Hail of Arrows or Miss Fortune's Double Up will eat through her health, and the snare ensures she won't be able to dodge AoEs. Varus is also notable for his synergy through his crowd control . Seek out similar traits and find your own favorite carry.

(Counters) When it comes to specific champions, Soraka and Sivir are annoying for Zyra for the same reason they do well against other ranged supports. Soraka's kit nullifies your poke, and Sivir's Spell Shield makes her hard to crowd control. Ideally, you want to use Deadly Bloom as your throwaway spell to pop Spell Shield. Carries who have some kind of gap closer are also annoying.

(Weaknesses) There are two major glaring weaknesses to laning as support Zyra. First off, she might have the crowd control of a kill support, but she isn't nearly as tanky as them, and outside of a point blank Grasping Roots, she doesn't handle melee range confrontations very well. A bursty, all-in support like Leona can kill any squishier support if she catches one in her stuns and her carry follows up. Taric and Blitzcrank work similarly.

Second, Zyra needs level 2 for her snare/plant/slow combo. It's very easy to get owned by champions who are strong at level 1. Sona can do a billion damage at level 1 with Power Chord. Zyra can start turning it around at level 2, but if you only have 40 HP when you hit level two, then you might die if you force a fight. This is why I recommend Greater Glyph of Magic Resist against Sona.

(Getting Ganked) Taric suddenly Flashing out of a bush and Dazzleing your carry is usually pretty telling that an enemy jungler or mid is near. To handle an incoming gank, use Grasping Roots to prevent the enemy carry or jungle from targeting your carry. Even if you miss Grasping Roots, your Vine Lasher will slow people. The easiest ones to snare are always the ones who are making a b-line for you or your carry, right clicking to move, and not even bothering to dodge skill shots.

(Receiving Ganks) If you have a jungler without crowd control, like Shyvana, or someone who can't dash/leap, like pre-6 Diana, or your jungler doesn't have Blessing of the Lizard Elder , it's important that you and your carry try and initiate for them. For more info on how to make your jungler's life easier, check out the early game section.

(Farming, Freezing, Pushing) When your carry is there, you really only want to take a minion if your carry isn't going to be able to take it. When your carry isn't there, you can use your plants to tank the minion wave near your tower to delay them from getting to the tower until your carry returns to lane. If the enemy carry/support die or they go back to town, you can reset the minion wave by purposely using skills and pushing to the enemy tower so that your minions die to the enemy tower and the enemy carry/support get nothing when they return.

(Match Ups) This is some basic match up info. There are too many factors (jungler, level 1 fights, getting to level 2 first, top/mid ganks) to definitively say "you counter [x]" or "[y] counters you". Match ups are sorted based on threat level and what they can do to you. "Threat level" does not mean "do not pick Zyra versus this enemy support". You might be trying to run a certain team comp, or you might have a better late game anyway. Rather, it indicates how reckless or how conservative you can be when facing a certain champion. As usual, if you know a certain skill is on cooldown, that's usually a greenlight to go in and harass even versus a threatening laner.

These supports pose little threat to you, though they can inconvenience you with their silence/knockup/shield/etc.

The performance of these supports is carry-dependent. Their skill-sets focus on enhancing and preserving their carry. They can also both enhance movespeed, which makes it easier to dodge your snare.

Sona is a very special case. She's threatening at lvl 1 because of her damage, but you're very threatening to her starting at lvl 2.

Lulu has some crowd control that can get you killed, but she isn't anywhere near the danger level of a Blitzcrank.

You can poke them down, but they're all tanky and can get you killed when their cooldowns are up. Bush control helps, as does snaring them when they approach you or your carry.

These AD carries and supports have skills that can actually counter some of your skills. E.g. Sivir has a spell shield.

These AD carries hit hard early game. However, you have a range advantage with Grasping Roots.

Running from these AD carries when you're low on HP is hard. They all have gap closers. This also means they can dodge your snare.
(Combo) Your combo is basically . You and your carry will be able to damage the enemy champions during the snare and slow duration. Note that you don't always need your carry to follow up with you and harass. When Grasping Roots is on cooldown or you're saving mana/cooldowns on purpose waiting for a gank, remember that you can autoattack champions for Pickpocket gold. Zyra has 575 autoattack range, which is longer than some AD carry's. You can autoattack for the bonus, then duck into a bush so they lose vision on you.

Further reading: Aiming and timing Grasping Roots

(Thorn Spitters) Yes Deadly Bloom has a shorter cooldown and yes Thorn Spitters have longer range, but if you constantly use Deadly Bloom to spawn Thorn Spitters and harass enemy champions, you're going to run out of mana. Personally I only use it to harass people who are further away, and I do it very rarely. I would rather save my seeds for a double Vine Lasher.

(Zoning) Zyra is pretty good at zoning because of her crowd control. Say your carry is pushing toward the enemy tower, you're in a bush, and you can tell the enemy team hasn't stuck a ward in that bush, or you've used a Vision Ward to clear theirs. The enemy carry will be zoned by the threat of not being able to see you casting Grasping Roots.

(Engagements) Sometimes your harassment turns into an all out 2v2 engagement. Try to be aware and know how to pick your fights. If your carry is low health, forcing them to get into a fight could mean getting them killed. On the other hand, if you know the enemy carry or support doesn't have Flash, it could very well be a free kill.

When you engage, pick your focus target wisely. Like if the enemy support is Taric and he blows all of his cooldowns to stun and damage your carry, then he's done until his cooldowns come back up, and meanwhile, his carry could very well be wailing away on your carry. Unless Taric has literally 2 HP left, your time would be better spent Exhausting his carry and returning the damage.

Like other supports, Zyra essentially plays the role of an initiator and peeler in team fights, but she's got extra oomph with her spell damage to help her team kill tanks and squishies alike faster. Just keep in mind that Zyra herself is innately squishy, lacks mobility, and also suspectible to crowd control.

Initiating is basically the same as it is when 2v2ing in lane. You want to land Grasping Roots and cast Stranglethorns so people are snared and get knocked up. If you have it, there's also Twin Shadows to slow champions and make them easier to snare. If you opted for Zhonya's Hourglass, it has synergy with Stranglethorns. The delay before the knockup is 2 seconds, and Zhonya's Hourglass lasts 2.5 seconds. If you get initiated on, you can counter-initiate by casting Stranglethorns under yourself and popping Zhonya's Hourglass.

Depending on how things go, you might end up using Stranglethorns to peel instead of initiate. When using it to peel, it's quite effective to just put it under your AD carry. If you go this route, remember to plant Vine Lashers in Stranglethorns's AoE for more protection (and damage). Many assassins and bruisers have gap closers that they will use to attach themselves to your carry, and it'll be harder for them to escape the knock up if that gap closer is on cooldown. If you put it under an assassin/bruiser as they approach, they could very well use their gap closer to get out of the AoE and get to your carry anyway.

(Tanking) When plants spawn, they have 6 HP and can be targeted. You can plant them to tank things such as minions, as demonstrated in the laning section. You can also use them to tank turret shots or dragon, but baron won't attack plants. Turrets will do 6 damage to them, dragon does 4, and minions will do 1. They can also be used to tank skill shots, but this requires some godlike timing on your part.

(Vision) These are some examples of how you can use Rampant Growth's vision component outside of the bottom lane bushes.

In these spots, having Rampant Growth casted allows you to have vision of the area and use Grasping Roots quickly to prevent people from approaching. In the tribush, the function of this is preventing ganks, or if your team is more coordinated, turning ganks around on whoever's ganking. At dragon and baron, you can prevent the enemy team from coming up from behind. You can also place seeds behind dragon or baron from inside the pit.

Here, Zyra has placed seeds to check if baron and dragon are still up. This also works for checking buffs. If all you want to do is check if it's up or not, it's better to use a seed instead of a whole ward. If you need to place a Vision Ward in front of either objective, you can also use Rampant Growth to scout and make sure the path is safe.

These are some misc examples: Catching people randomly, more scouting over walls at baron, and creating opportunities when sieging the enemy base.

That concludes the guide. Thanks to my friends and guinea pigs for their assistance in taking screenshots and such. If you haven't, be sure to check out the supplementary guide which touches on subjects like objective respawns, general gameplay and warding. Or if you'd like to check out my other guides, I also have guides for Sona, Lulu, Nami, Miss Fortune and Ashe.
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