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Sylas Build Guide by Vapora Dark


Vapora Dark In-Depth Jungle Sylas Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on October 9, 2019
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Champion Build Guide

Vapora Dark In-Depth Jungle Sylas Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark
-Table of Contents-

Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.

I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.

Precision & Inspiration

It might seem a bit odd that a mage takes Conqueror, but in the jungle Sylas is more of a skirmisher than a hybrid mage. This means he'll want to get in and stay in and Conqueror is the best rune for that. Extra healing and damage in extended fights makes this rune very powerful.

This can be a life saver in close fights, and the 20g per takedown actually adds up to quite a bit in bloody games.

Legend: Tenacity
Legend: Tenacity is only useful rune in this tier. Bloodline has no effect on an ap champion and whilst attack speed might seem good, you'll never be auto attacking a bunch outside of jungle farming. Tenacity will always be useful as most games have a lot of crowd control.

Last Stand
Last Stand might seem like an odd choice but it's because it has fantastic synergy with Kingslayer. As Sylas you'll want to get low in order to make use of your whole kit, and once you are low you can unleash a lot of damage with your Chain Lash and Kingslayer. This damage increase is also higher than coup de grace and activates more often.


Magical Footwear

Cosmic Insight
Magical Footwear: Being able to ignore boots whilst you save up for other items is incredibly useful. It's basically the same as starting the game 300g richer than everyone who doesn't take this rune, which is perfect for a mid game jungler.

Cosmic Insight: Extra CDR is always useful, especially for a mage like Sylas. You make good use of the non-ability CDR too as you get Hextech Protobelt-01 meaning you get item activation CD and Smite is used a lot more than other summoner spells making the lower cooldown also more noticeable.
10% Attack Speed
Flex: 9 Adaptive Force
Defence: 6 Armour
Flash: This summoner spell is one you should always take and the one you'll always see. Flash has a billion and one uses, from flashing in to get a kill, from flashing away from danger, flashing over walls and flashing over abilities. This is something you should be very familiar with by now and it's something you should ALWAYS have. There is never a situation where you don't take flash.
Smite: Smite is always taken because you're a jungler. You need it to buy the jungle items like Hunter's Talisman and Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes. Aside from the items you need to buy, it also gives you better clears (with healing) and killing big camps faster. It's also required to reliably get objective monsters like Baron/Dragon. If you don't take Smite and the enemy team has one, you will be at a disadvantage. You should ALWAYS take Smite if you're jungling. You can't even accidentally forget to take it anymore in draft mode as Riot literally swaps one of your summoner spells to Smite. There is no more excuses.
-Skill Order-
> >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Petricite Burst
Passive: Petricite Burst
The most simple part of Sylas' kit, after casting an ability your next basic attack instead becomes a large circle around Sylas that deals magic damage instead of any physical damage.

The most important thing to remember about this ability is that it's an auto attack reset. If you basic attack then cast an ability with a short cast time (such as Kingslayer or the first part of Abscond / Abduct) you can very quickly get off some good damage in the early game. Another thing to mention is that is has no innate cooldown. It's very similar to Lucian's Lightslinger in this regard, but instead of a lot of extra single target damage it's a bit of extra damage but can hit everything in a wide area. At its core however, it's very simply just an empowered basic attack that, with proper practice, be used to weave in a large amount of extra damage.

This passive is incredibly powerful for the jungle as you can always use it after every ability. As Abscond / Abduct counts as 2 abilities you can trigger this passive 4 times quickly once you have all 3 abilities. The clear speed this passive offers rivals some of the best junglers in the game after you kill your first camp.

Chain Lash
Q: Chain Lash
A dual line skillshot that triggers a small explosion at the point of the chains intersection that also causes a slow. Chain Lash is Sylas's most damaging ability and his bread and butter clear skill. The bulk of the damage comes from being able to reliably hit both one of the chains (as the damage does not stack if you hit a target with both chains) and then hit the follow up detonation. You'll want to manipulate the position of this ability to hit as much of the camp as possible and have the small explosion hit the large monster of the camp for maximum clear speed.

Chain Lash is like a cross between Winds of War, the old Blades of Torment and Death Ray. It should be noted that although the damage is high, the explosion does a lot less damage to minions but full damage to monster and the explosion itself can be walked out of as it's fairly small. This means that to make the most out of the ability you need to cast it when the target has low options of mobility or are crowd controlled hard enough to let the 0.5s window pass without them leaving the small area.

W: Kingslayer
A point and click dash ability that deals moderate damage and heals Sylas for a moderate amount if he hits a champion but can be amplified dramatically based on either your current health pool or the targets current health pool (and both at the same time).

When the target is below 40% health the damage is increased by 50%. This makes it useful as a psuedo-execute as the damage goes from moderate to fairly high. with a good ability power ratio and a high base damage, you can secure kills easily at the press of a key. This ability also has great synergy with Petricite Burst as once you dash to the target you'll be in melee range and then attempt to basic attack. However, the real power of this ability comes from the healing potential.

Whilst in the jungle you'll mostly be using this ability to trigger your passive, as it'll also be the last ability you use in the combo after a couple of clears you'll also always be doing the increased damage as your Q/Passive will get the large monster low enough to be in the bonus damage range.

The heal itself is fairly substantial, healing for 190 at rank 5 without any ability power (and it has a pretty good ratio) making it great for sustaining in lane and in fights in general. It should be noted and emphasised that the healing only triggers on targeting an enemy champion. Monsters and minions do not trigger the heal (but they do take extra damage when low). If Sylas is below 40% max health the heal is doubled. Yes, that means the base heal at rank 5 is 380 with a 70% ability power ratio. You can practically heal from below 40% to max health with a single button press if an enemy champion is close enough (which is fairly easy with your E). Depending on the situation you'll either want to save Kingslayer for the self healing in order to not die, or use it as a lite execute if you're not in threat of death outside of the jungle.

Abscond / Abduct
E: Abscond / Abduct
A 2 part spell that gives Sylas both a heavy shield if he has a lot of ability power and some minor crowd control.

The first cast is a very simple dash that upon casting Sylas gains a shield. The dash itself can be used to make plays, and it works over terrain. Dodging skills and then taking less damage due to the shield is powerful in its own right and it perfect in a combo. The shield is fairly weak even with extra levels in this ability as it only gets powerful with ability power. The shield is fantastic for assisting in your jungle clear as it negates a fair bit of damage.

The second cast works in a very similar fashion to Bandage Toss from amumu. Instead of stunning the target for a second though they're instead mini-stunned and then knocked up for 0.5s. The damage is also super low gaining onl 15 base damage per rank with a low 20% ability powe ratio to boot. This skill, both the dash and the reverse pull, is pure utility.

It should be noted both casts of this ability trigger Petricite Burst which helps your jungle clear massivley.

Casting the dash forwards then casting Kingslayer will let Sylas close a lot of distance, then after triggering a basic attack you can cast the second part to crowd control the enemy whilst you lay down your Chain Lash which lasts long enough to get the detonation off. If the enemy doesn't have much mobility you can slow down the combo in order to get more Petricite Burst's in for more damage, but in the current state of the game you can only reliably get one in during the combo then one at the very end if they survive.

R: Hijack
A fairly simple point and click ability that has an absurd amount of uses that it requires knowledge of every champion in the game to make the most out of it. Whilst I wouldn't consider Sylas a mechanically difficult champion, Hijack requires a lot of knowledge to use to its full potential, so much so I would need to cover literally every champion in the game to cover this skill.

An important point to note is that the ultimate is based off of Sylas' power, not the target you steal from. This means if you're level 6 and the enemy is level 5 you can still take their ultimate even if they don't have it. It also means that it's based off of your stats instead of theirs, Sylas even converts attack damage ratios into ability power ratios as you'll never be getting any attack damage.

As you can steal every single ultimate in the game, it's eaiser to show the potential by linking a video to it showcasing the current potential (champions released after Sylas will of course not be in the video, but it should be a lot eaiser to understand Hijack after watching it.

The cooldown on this ability goes down dramatically at later levels, but it doesn't mean you can cast Requiem every 10 seconds if the enemy Karthus is infront of you. It has an on-target cooldown similar to Sweeping Blade making it most useful against multiple champions. It should also be mentioned that some abilities are lot worse without the rest of the champions kit to back them up, Pyroclasm and Noxian Guillotine are very powerful ultimates that only become strong when they are effected by their passives. As Sylas doesn't take the passive, they become dramatically weaker. Empowering ultimates lets Sylas use their empowered abilities making this point not true for champions like Heimerdinger and Karma. For every interaction, watch the video.

Hunter's Talisman
As an ability based AoE jungler, the extra damage and sustain this item offers is far superior than the machete. The mana regen is good for keeping up your mana pool without blue. Along with Petricite Burst you can sustain your health pool very easily against the multi-unit camps. This is especially noticeable against the raptor camp as you practically break even health wise even if you face tank them (which you shouldn't)
Sorcerer's Shoes
As a mage, flat penetration is supremely powerful. This boot option is the most reliable way to get a large amount of penetration and is the default choice. Defence boots such as Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads can be bought situationally but overall you'll want Sorcerer's Shoes. You'll buy your T1 Boots of Speed whenever you have the spare gold, but never finish the T2 boots until after your first full item. In this case, after the Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes.
Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes
As a jungle you have multiple options stemming from the same starting items. Sylas specifically will want to take the chilling smite from the Stalker's Blade and upgrade into the Enchantment: Runic Echoes as he's an AP champion. Once you finish this item fully you'll have absolutely 0 trouble clearing your jungle, sustaining your mana and alongside Ravenous Hunter even be able to heal somewhat easily.
Hextech Protobelt-01
After your jungle item, Hextech Protobelt-01 is going to be your best second item. Cheap and offers all the stats Sylas wants. An extra dash to let you get into Abduct range is very powerful for gameplan you have.
Oblivion Orb
Before or after you finish your Hextech Protobelt-01, if you're snowballing you can buy an Oblivion Orb and later a Morellonomicon for extra flat magic penetration. As you don't always need the healing reduction the full item offers, it's fine to just sit on the orb for the penetration until you finish more important items.
Rabadon's Deathcap
After Hextech Protobelt-01 your remaining 3 items are situational. Starting with Rabadon's Deathcap you gain a huge amount of ability and a large ability power multiplier which is perfect for every mage-like character in the game. Whilst it's very expensive and only offers raw ability power, Sylas has a lot of high ratios and with just the first 2 items and the runes above you'll hit 30% cooldown reduction without any more from items.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Although you have a large heal and lots of mobility with a shield, some champions can still melt you before you do anything. Zed, Rengar and Talon can all be shut down fairly reliably if you're able to properly use this item. Offering good armour ability power and some cooldown reduction this is a must buy against physical damage heavy teams or matchups where you need the stasis.
Void Staff
Whilst the Void Staff will allow you to penetrate all kinds of magic resistance which is very powerful, it's important to know it's not very cost efficient. The target must have over 80 magic resistance for it to even be considered. As most people buy flat penetration from Oblivion Orb and Sorcerer's Shoes you must check the enemy teams items before comitting to buying this.
Banshee's Veil
Sometimes you need a lot of magic resistance and the ability to negate an ability. Sylas is unique in the fact he's a melee champion with very low magic resistance per level. This means champions like Kassadin, LeBlanc and Fizz can really destroy him if you don't play carefully. This item acts like a magic resistance version of Zhonya's Hourglass with a different passive instead of an active, again to be considered against teams you where you need MR or the ability to stop an ability.
Mejai's Soulstealer
If you're snowballing hard and simply not dying, then you can buy Dark Seal and upgrade it into Mejai's Soulstealer. To make the purchase worthwhile you'll want to always have at least 8 stacks or so but really you'll want all 25 stacks for the huge amount of ability power an extra movement speed this item offers. I really should emphasise that this is a pure snowball item and should not be bought every game.

Early Game
As Sylas you're fairly weak at dueling enemy junglers until you get a couple of levels. You clear very quickly and have somewhat good ganks, you simply cannot duel champions like Lee Sin, Graves or Xin Zhao. If you have ever played Kayn it can feel somewhat similar. Although Kayn has better gank routes he has weaker ganks innately. You can very quickly burst down scuttle crab as well as you have a hard crowd control to knock off the bonus resistances from as early as level 2. You also have a dash which is perfect for ganking and escaping invades as you can use it over walls to avoid wards or simply run.

Your jungle path should be: Bot with leash (your first camp is going to be very slow without help) then either wolves or raptors depending on if you started red or blue buff. The nearest scuttle crab after that, but don't be afraid to concede the crab against enemies who can duel you early. After the scuttle attempt you'll go to do either raptors or wolves depending on the one you didn't do before then grabbing your second buff. After that you can look for ganks, free invades or just clear the rest of your camps.

Once you hit level 6 you'll mostly be looking to gank the lane that has the best ultimate to turn against themselves. Lanes with champions such as Leona, Cho'Gath, Urgot, Tryndamere and many more let you take their strength and turn it against them. For example, Tryndamere is notoriously hard to dive as he becomes literally unkillable. However if you can force him to ult a good second or 2 before you get low you can steal his ulti then dive him nullifying his strength.

There is still lanes that you can struggle to gank against, their ults can be pure defence or they can be non-combat based ults that simply can't help you do anything outside of your basic kit.

This is noticeable against champions who either stack their ultimate with the rest of their kit of simply don't have a powerful ultimate. Kassadin gains his power through using his ultimate multiple times, as you can only use it once it's basically just a single use blink for you. Orianna can manipulate the place where her ultimate goes thanks to her ball, but as you don't have the ball you need to be in melee range to use it. Pantheon simply doesn't have a combat ultimate so it's practically useless gainst him, as is Galio or Ryze. You really need to understand your opponents potential and your potential with their ultimate, as you can't reliably gank a if their ultimate does nothing for you.

Mid Game
Once you have an item or 2, Sylas really starts to become a threat. Being able to burst down squishy characters whilst also being very hard to kill from his shield ( Abscond / Abduct)and his heal ( Kingslayer). You'll mostly be looking for skirmishes with 2-3 enemies or one sided fights through assassinating or outnumbering the enemy team.

Most importantly though is that you can mirror an enemy very easily which is immeasureably powerful. Having trouble surviving dive? Steal the enemy supports ultimate for disengage or counter engage. Keep getting bursted? Steal a survivability ult often found on tanks and some carries. Need massive damage? Steal a carries ult or a mages one. You will always have options as Sylas enabling you play how you need to rather than be locked into a specific thing that might not go well.

Your biggest weakness is siegeing/splitting however, as usually compositions based on these strategy's have solid disengage (which really can counter Sylas) or they have a super potent duelist that requires multiple people to deal with allowing the rest of the enemy team time to scale or get objectives.

Late Game
In the late game your win condition is usually going to be stealing multiple ultimates from the enemy team to swing teamfights into your favour. Your biggest strength is being able to get in deep easily and deal large amounts of damage but instead of being able to disengage you'll have multiple classes of champions ultimates at your disposal. Need to engage? Steal the Leona ult. Need to burst someone as quick as possible? Steal that Evelynn execute. Dying too quickly? Janna, Zilean, Lulu or Jax can help you there. Every single game can be totally different based on the enemy teams composition, but no matter what that is you excel in picking fights or full on teamfighting.

It should also be mentioned that although you deal a lot of damage and have a lot of mobility, you have practically no disengage naturally and enemy teams won't always have disengage ultimates to help you with that. This means your best bet is to have a team built around teamfighting or play around objectives like Baron or Elder to force a chaotic fight that you can manipulate with Hijack.
Hopper is Bae
Sylas is an AP skirmishing mage that excels in fights with and against multiple champions. He starts off somewhat weak as he'll struggle to duel other junglers and doesn't have the best ganks, but with his very fast clear speed and scuttle potential he's not unplayable. Hijack allows him to steal enemy ultimates for his own teams benefit which is very powerful when ganking someone and in the late game is able to do so multiple times in a single fight which has incredible power as being able to use multiple fight winning ultimates on a single champion if incredibly strong.

Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding. This guide was a collaboration with Vicious Skittle, who wrote the majority of the guide.
Check out my Mid lane Sylas guide here:
League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Sylas Guide