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Ryze Build Guide by Xealot129

The Guide to Competitive Ryze

By Xealot129 | Updated on December 30, 2011
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LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


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Win 48%
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This guide is designed to show you how Ryze is not only viable but is a very powerful "AP" Carry. He is becoming more popular as a pick in competitive play and is becoming a favorite of high elo players. I've been playing him for a long time and this guide reflects what I consider to be the best wisdom about him.
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Why Play Ryze

Why not play Ryze?? Ryze is an awesome champion for several reasons
  • Great single target nuke - you can focus down the enemy carry in only a second or two, leaving them to QQ
  • Tanky mage - you have about 2.5k HP and 180 armor with a finished build, along with about 105 MR.
  • Insane DPS - Overload has next to no practical cooldown, meaning your dps is super high for an AP champ even after your nuke is finished
  • Some AoE - both Spell Flux and Desperate Power provide some manner of AoE, not quite as much as AP champs like Brand, but more than most people give him credit for
  • Counterpick - I use Ryze all the time, but my favorite instances are when the enemy team picks Veigar. Ryze also is a good counterpick for any short-range AP carry like Vladimir or Annie, and is also surprisingly effective against longer-ranged carries.
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  • The tankiest caster in game when built full damage.
  • Scales well into late game while having high damage potential early game
  • Has a high damage single target nuke with the ability to continue damaging throughout a fight (cooldowns are incredibly low)
  • Natural spellvamp combined with tankiness means you can stay in the fight
  • Great duelist
  • Hard to counter
  • Has sources of AoE from Spell Flux and Desperate Power, can farm well
  • Lacks the AoE damage of other AP carries like Brand
  • Fills a unique role, thus requires a unique mindset
  • Team may rage at you for carrying too hard
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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are the obvious choice for any mage for the magic penetration and Ryze is no exception.

I take Greater Seal of Knowledge because they offer the most in terms of late game power. Your mana pool should be enough early to last you till your jungler can give you blue, and after that you shouldnt have any more problems with mana.

I take 3 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction and 2 Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction so that after I get my Frozen Heart, I have 40% CDR, in addition to some extra early game CDR.

I fill up the rest of my glyphs with either 4 Greater Glyph of Mana or 4 Greater Glyph of Knowledge, depending if you want to hit harder early game or maximize your nuking ability late game. Either one is fine. Another option is Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, but you don't really need the extra MR to help in trades, you should be outdamaging them and outsustaining them anyways.

The new Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp are sweet on Ryze, giving you some sweet sustain. After you get blue it will be nearly impossible to push you out of lane.
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The only way to go about it is 9-0-21. The mana mastery is pretty sick for Ryze, and magic penetration and CDR from offensive help more than any defensive masteries. They brought back Strength of Spirit , so you're gonna want to grab that too for some sweet health regeneration. A lot of people see this as only being significant in late game, but at level one it will give you 5-6 hp/5, and by the time where you will be able to use your ult to sustain yourself your hp regen will be more than doubled from this mastery. Since it doesn't hurt you much to use 5 glyphs on CDR, i think this is more optimal.

My decision not to put anything in the AP mastery from offensive is because that 4 extra ability power helps next to not at all, it might add 2 or 3 damage to your combo, whereas putting those points into AD and minion damage makes last hitting easier and early auto-attack harass stronger. This is up to you though.
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My main advice is to generally stick to the progression I set up in the build. The reason I build a catalyst the protector before getting level 2 boots or Glacial Shroud is because the sustain it gives you is pretty sweet. Obviously you are going to have to modify the build according to the situation (if you are being wrecked by their 5 AP champs, build an early Negatron Cloak for your Banshee's Veil), but the item progression I set up works quite well, and is the most effective for damage and survivability.

There are a few places where items are situational, however.
  • If they have no CC that Mercury's Treads would help against (all knock-ups or AoEs), Sorcerer's Shoes are preferable.
  • If by the time you get to Void Staff in the build, they don't have much MR, you could buy your Will of the Ancients first, but if halfway through they start getting Negatron Cloaks, you want to switch to rushing Void Staff
  • If you are getting rocked by their 4 AD champs, get Glacial Shroud before getting Catalyst the Protector and then finish Frozen Heart before Banshee's Veil (and I'd get level 2 boots between Glacial Shroud and Catalyst the Protector - Ninja Tabi is an option if this happens). If they're all AD, you could even just rush Frozen Heart as fast as possible.
  • If you're 5-0 on your first b and have 4k gold and you can tell its gonna be a faceroll game, get a Rod of Ages. It will allow you to hit harder than anything else (make sure to get your tear and level one boots first though), then continue with the build as shown and don't bother with Will of the Ancients. A lot of people get Rod of Ages as part of their core build, and I used to as well - it gives the second most mana of any item and a good chunk of HP and AP as well. However, it is outclassed by your other items. Tear of the Goddess gives you almost twice as much mana and more AP, so you gotta keep that. Frozen Heart is required to get your CDR to the cap and gives almost as much mana, along with 99 armor and a great passive. Banshee's Veil only gives you about half as much mana and HP, but also gives you half of your MR and a passive that can save your life and prevent you from being nuked down. In any game where you're not playing against total noobs, the 40% magic penetration from Void Staff will result in more damage than 725 mana would give you. Will of the Ancients is the only item that I would even consider replacing with Rod of Ages, but that extra spell vamp is invaluable. It lets you duel people when your ult is down, and after your ult is over during a teamfight it lets you stay alive and stay in the fight (also, Desperate Power plus Will of the Ancients plus 3 Quintessence of Spell Vamp plus Transmutation = 59% spellvamp. Your full nuke will heal you from less than half health to full). **note: when i say replace I mean only if you're fed as **** on your first b and can afford it all in one go, and then dont bother buying Will of the Ancients later on**
  • If for some reason you feel it's necessary (very hard lane), you might want to start with Boots of Speed and 3 health potions over Sapphire Crystal and 2.

In certain circumstances you might want to swap Will of the Ancients out for other items.
Finally, if it's end game and nobody has any MR for some reason and you have 3k gold just sitting there with a full build, get Sorcerer's Shoes and sell your Void Staff for an Abyssal Mask. Just cuz.

No matter what, finish Archangel's last. I even start getting Elixir of Fortitudes before I finish it, and after you finish it you're gonna want to keep your elixir rainbow up at all times.

If there's a situation that I haven't covered that you feel you need to get a certain item, get it. Adaptation is the heart of good play.
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Skill Sequence

Overload is your main damaging skill. W actually does more damage and E has the potential to do more damage if you land it right, but you can get Q off something like 4 times as often as you can get your W and E. In addition to it being your main source of damage, it also gives you passive CDR which is incredibly important for Ryze (more on that later), which means this is going to be your first skill to level up.

Rune Prison is your only CC, but its pretty good. A 2 second snare is useful for chasing, kiting, disrupting, saving your other squishies, etc. It also has great, instantaneous damage, no waiting for missiles to arrive, which is quite nice.

Spell Flux is pretty cool, but the main thing you want from it is the MR reduction, which is why you leave it to be leveled up last. However, when you have your finished build, this spell can do over 600 magic damage, unadjusted for MR. This is because it will bounce 5 times, so if your target is standing right next to, say, you, and your ult is on, you will get the 3 hits on your target plus the splashes from the hit on yourself, each splash doing half the damage of a regular hit. However, since this is incredibly unreliable and also you don't want most enemy champions to be standing right next to you, you leave it for last.

Put a point in Desperate Power whenever possible, obviously. passive mana and spell vamp on activation? Pretty sweet skill.
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Summoner Spells

Flash is a must for Ryze, he has no natural escape moves or gap closers, and it has endless uses.
I like to take Teleport for my second spell for the mobility it gives you, but here are some optionals:
  • Ghost good for getting around, escaping ganks, chasing, etc.
  • Exhaust good for keeping that Tryndamere/ Master Yi/Tanky DPS off you while Rune Prison is on cooldown. Also nice in a 1v1. Sleeper OP spell
  • Ignite eh...decent finisher and helps loads against lifestealing/selfhealing champs but Ryze has a range longer than Ignite and you don't want to get closer to anyone than you have to - it should not really be part of your combo.
  • Cleanse good against teams with a lot of CC, but Mercury's Treads will usually be enough.

Everything else is pretty much not viable.

Why i love teleport so much:
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In lane, you have the advantage against just about any short range champ. You are able to pop your Q or Q-W in the first 2 levels to harass them and run away before they get in range to trade you some damage back. I advise that you do not use your abilities for last hitting unless you have no other choice, as you can run out of mana fast early. However, if you have blue buff, Q away.

After level 3, your harassment should be sick. Your Q hits for over 100 now. Whenever the enemy champion gets in range for last hits, hit them with your Q->W->Q combo which should shave off over 250 HP (that's taking into account resistances) and they'll think twice about getting any CS. Level 4 or 5 is when you can start zoning most opponents because your damage is more than they can handle or trade back. Obviously you don't want to zone too riskily without wards, but if you know you are safe feel free. Also, buy wards.

After you hit over 1000 gold and are starting to feel worn down, you're going to want to push your lane hard to their tower and go buy. First trip back should always include level one boots and a Tear of the Goddess, and if you have extra, get started on that Catalyst the Protector too (get Sapphire Crystal before Ruby Crystal. Buy a couple wards and if you have extra money pick up some more health pots too. Either walk back if you think you can get there before the enemy minions hit your tower or [Teleport back if you're worried that tower is going to steal your minions. Keep harassing as much as possible, as long as you don't lose out on any CS, and don't be afraid to use your Flash to get a kill. Also, when your spells are on cooldown and you're fighting your lane opponent, remember to autoattack, as basic attacks have secured more kills for me than I care to remember.

In lane phase, your CDR is probably going to max out around 10% (without blue), which means that your basic damaging combo will be Q->W->E->Q pre-6, and Q-W-R-Q-E-Q post-6. If you want you can hit R before engaging and then use the pre-6 combo, but you sacrifice a little bit of DPS. Also, if you feel that they won't run right after you engage, you should go for Q->R->E-Q->W->Q, as the MR reduction from E is nice. However in most cases they will run as soon as they see the Q which requires you to use your W to keep them in range. It's up to your discretion though, and takes practice to know which combo to use when.
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Until you get Tear of the Goddess or blue buff, don't use Overload to farm. If you know how to last hit (WHICH YOU SHOULD) it's just a waste of mana. I already gave you an extra 6 damage to creeps with your autoattacks to help you last hit in the masteries. However, once you get Tear of the Goddess, you are going to want to stack that thing as fast as possible which means your jungler needs to give you blue buff. At this point, you should

You might also want to push by just spamming all of your skills as fast as possible (make sure to get all the CS though), and while they're busy last hitting under the turret run to top or bot and gank the **** out of that lane. Then run back and keep last hitting.

Farming with Ryze is pretty straightforward. Aggro the melee creeps to follow you and walk behind the caster creeps so that the whole enemy creep wave is together. Hit your ult, then Spell Flux, then throw your Q and W on whatever creeps are closest to the center of the wave (or the siege minion if there is one). Don't worry about the cooldown on Desperate Power late game, if you keep spamming your skills on creeps it will be back up in no time at all.
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Teamfights are very important and kind of difficult for Ryze, as you are going to be filling multiple roles. Before the fight starts you want to be doing one of 3 things:
  • Poking with Overload if none of the enemies have range long enough to initiate onto you
  • Popping some BV's with Spell Flux if any are up
  • Clearing creep waves if the fight is going to happen at a tower
    However at all times, mentally prepare yourself for a fight, communicate with your team on who to focus, and make sure that you are all on the same page.

After the fight starts, you have even more jobs. You obviously will be your team's AP nuke, and your finished build will do enough damage to completely kill a squishy in one combo (math is below). An incomplete build won't be as OP, but it is still devastating if you are keeping up in farm.

After your opening combo your main jobs will be to shut down their melees with your W so that your ranged carry can clean up without having to worry about their positioning as much, and using Q and E on their squishies as much as possible.

In teamfights, your role is the AP Carry/Assassin/Tank/DPS, and if you fail in any of those regards, there is a good chance your team loses the fight. But if you succeed you will feel awesome, like you can take on their team 1v5 (don't try this...but if you're fed picking the right 1v2s is fun as hell).


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The Importance of CDR

You can only get so much mana, so you pretty much have to get the maximum CDR for a good Ryze. Following the regular build, by the time you get Glacial Shroud you should have about 30% CDR, and this is where you should get an Elixir of Brilliances. This gets you to the CDR cap so that you can spam your skills with maximum efficiency. Until you hit this point, you will rely on blue buff to get you to the cap. You should ask your jungler for every blue buff after the first until you get this far, at which point it becomes unnecessary due to your massive CDR and mana pool. At level 18 you will naturally have 40% CDR with my rune/mastery set up and items.

4% from Sorcery
2% from Intelligence
1.3% from 2 Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
2.7% from 3 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
10% from Overload passive at rank 5
20% from Frozen Heart

Adds up to 40% CDR at level 18, which means you aren't reliant on blue buff or blue elixir.
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Ryze has long been an underplayed champion who became favorite of mine since his "nerf" those many months ago, and we are even starting to see him in competitive play which is exciting. He is one of the tankiest mages out there and has great damage as well. Easy to learn, hard to master.

Please post any questions complaints and comments, constructive criticism is welcome and if you have trouble understanding any part of my guide let me know. I just figured out the whole replay system so I will be adding videos as I make them. Thanks for reading!