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Sylas Build Guide by Vapora Dark


Vapora Dark In-Depth Mid Sylas Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on October 9, 2019
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Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Biscuit Delivery
Time Warp Tonic

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Champion Build Guide

Vapora Dark In-Depth Mid 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guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount.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.

Domination & Inspiration

Similar to other champions in this role, Sylas want to burst down targets as quickly as possible and Electrocute is the best option for him to do this. It's also really easy to trigger as your passive Petricite Burst is an auto attack reset meaning you can easily do something like auto Kingslayer auto to trigger Electrocute.

Taste Of Blood
This rune is situational. In easy matchups or matchups where you won't be poked down much, Sudden Impact offers some extra penetration when you go in to combo. As you have 3 ways to trigger the rune in your kit you'll always have it up when you need to kill someone. If you're in a harder matchup where you can get poked out, Taste of Blood can help dramatically with your Chain Lash and Petricite Burst easily being able to tag an enemy for the heal if it's not possible to use the Kingslayer heal.

Eyeball Collection
Eyeball Collection is the most consistent rune in this tier. Ghost Poro can potentially be more useful as you can have extra vision control and potentially more ability power before fully stacking eyeball collection, but it's not always possible in games to have it stay down for long period of time.

Ravenous Hunter
Sylas has such a short range that he can get poked down by almost every champion in the game. Ravenous Hunter gives him such a large boost to his sustain it's practically a must in most match-ups. Kingslayer does heal for a lot, but it'll heal for even more with this rune as it's a single target spell as well.



Time Warp Tonic
Biscuit Delivery: Sylas has a lot of sustain if he can reliably get his Kingslayer off. However he is still a melee mage so that means he won't always be able to. In anything but easy matchups the extra sustain biscuits offer are too good to pass up. They can also give you a small gold lead if you don't need to use them as they sell for 30g each and still give you the base mana.

Time Warp Tonic: Together with Corrupting Potion and Biscuit Delivery you'll be almost be unable to be forced out of lane. Extra on demand healing is incredibly useful for turning around fights, especially with a Kingslayer use.
9 Adaptive Force
9 Adaptive Force
6 Armour
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.
As a mage/skirmisher your job is to kill champions. Ignite the best summoner spell for the job and will always be useful throughout the match. The large amount of true damage and grevious wounds can single handedly kill champions who otherwise would have survived comfortably.
-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 also what allows Sylas to easily clear waves early. The base damage is just a bit too low to kill waves early on even though the ability power ratios are high (which makes it good after an item or 2). Petricite Burst allows Sylas to Chain Lash the wave then basic attack to wave clear, and as you can easily cast multiple abilities for multiple procs you can very quickly decimate a wave.

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 wave clear once he gets some ability power. 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.

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 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 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.

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 the enemy is close enough (which is easy with your E and protobelt). 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.

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 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 only 15 base damage per rank with a low 20% ability power ratio to boot. This skill, both the dash and the reverse pull, is pure utility.

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.

Corrupting Potiion Corrupting Potion
With Time Warp Tonic you only have the option of starting with Corrupting Potion. The sustain and extra damage are very powerful and the more you use it the more cost efficient it becomes. You can get a Dark Seal as your first recall as the extra healing is very nice but only if you don't need the raw AP/HP from protobelt components.
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 Hextech Protobelt-01.
Hextech Protobelt-01
As your first item, protobelt is going to be your best bet. Whilst it has only average ability power and only 10% Cooldown reduction compared to an item like Luden's Echo it has flat health and is very cheap. Not to mention the Hextech Revolver component has great synergy with Petricite Burst giving you some lane pressure once you get it. The most important part of this item though is the active fire bolt. It lets you close the distance even further but also be used as another burst of damage as the bolts it shoots out can shotgun for good damage. It also helps with waveclear as minions take full damage from multiple bolts, enabling you to easily clear waves throughout the game.
Luden's Echo
Unique to Sylas, he'll be buying a Luden's Echo as his second item. Mana and cooldown reduction along with a powerful passive effect is just too good to pass up. Whilst rushing protobelt is a must, you'll then always follow it up with a luden's.
Oblivion Orb
Before or after you finish your Luden's Echo, 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 Luden's Echo your remaning 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 40% cooldown reduction without any more from items at level 18.
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 matchups 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.

Laning Phase
As Sylas you'll most likely be forced under tower often and be eating a lot of poke until you get some levels and some ability power. Your weakest point is without a doubt the laning phase as not only do you have fairly low base damage without comitting hard with your passive, you also do not gain a reliable ultimate at level 6. Even if the enemies ultimate is good for you, the cooldown is still going to be most likely double theirs. For example, if you're against a Zed, at level 6 Death Mark has a 120 second cooldown. With Hijack you can potentially duel the zed as you'll have access to the detonation and swap of the shadow clone. You even gain the attack damage permenently which is nice, however the cooldown before you can steal it again is most likely going to be well over 200 seconds. That is a huge window of vulnerability.

This is even more 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 in lane against him, as is Galio or Ryze. You really need to understand your lane opponents potential and your potential with their ultimate, as you can't reliably just leave lane to take a different ultimate from a different lane.

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), his heal ( Kingslayer) and pretty good health pool ( Hextech Protobelt-01). 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 pretty large health pool, 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 fairly weak as his laning phase has a fair few weaknesses but his innate sustain and mobility can help him stall long enough to get an item and become very powerful. Hijack allows him to steal enemy ultimates for his own teams benefit 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 Jungle Sylas guide here:
League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Sylas Guide