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Zyra Build Guide by Wooteq

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Wooteq

Zyra: A Game of Thorns

Wooteq Last updated on August 13, 2012
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hi there! I'm Wooteq and this is my guide to
playing Zyra. At the time of writing this Zyra
has been released for only a few weeks and therefore
there are few decent guides available, so I thought
I'd have a crack at it.

If you're looking for a quick guide or some
ideas on how to build Zyra feel free to
just use the cheat sheet above and get playing.
If you want to take a bit more of an in-depth
look at the character please read on. :)

In this guide I wanted to outline some of the main concepts
of the character; her strengths and how best to utilise
them and her weakness and how to minimise them. Please
bear in mind that this is how I like play Zyra so don't
feel obliged by any means to stick rigidly to anything
you read here. Everything you choose should be flexible
as you likely wont be able to build her the same every time.
Instead, try to tailor your build to your enemies'
composition and what they themselves are building. I have
included some extra builds just to give people some ideas
as to the options available to them. More of that later,
first Why Zyra?

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Why Play Zyra? Pros and Cons

Why Play Zyra?

Zyra is currently one of my favourite champions to play in mid. She has a ton of things going for her; particularly her team fighting capabilities. If you're looking for a champion that is rewarding, exciting and fun please look no further than Zyra.

+ Easy mana management
+ Strong poke
+ Versatile abilities
+ Team-Fighting monster
+ Strong farm
+ Interesting/fun mechanics

- Vulnerable to hard CC
- Enemies will quickly Learn to
focus you
- Exceedingly squishy
- Low mobility
- Unusual mechanics can make
for difficulties for new players

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration:
Extra magic penetration is always good and taking these runes will grant greater flexibility within your item build; by having magic pen here you can sometimes afford to skimp on it later. Of course this is purely situational but I feel that this rune choice grants for maximum effect and versatility.

Greater Seal of Replenishment:
As I stated in the Pros and Cons section of this guide, Zyra has easy mana management. This is due, in part, to this choice of runes. The additional mana per 5 coupled with masteries and items really does make the difference allowing Zyra far greater sustain.

Greater Glyph of Ability Power:
Ability power is where all her damage will be coming from so it is logical to take these runes over any other choice. You could consider taking more defensive Glyphs instead of these to try and address Zyra's fragility. However I feel that additional ability power is the way to go; she is an AP carry after all.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power:
Similar reasoning as above; greater ability power means greater damage. with these Quintessences and the AP glyphs you should start the game with 32 AP(With the correct masteries of course).

Please note that these are not the only potential rune choices; there are countless combinations that are possible in theory. This is just one that I find works well. Please don't get too hung up on which runes are best for any particular champion. As long as there are clear benefits to your choices they are good choices.

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Rather than going through each individual choice separately I'll try to condense this to explain the thought process behind my choices. Basically maximising damage is key as most AP carries and Zyra is no exception. Putting 21 points in the Offensive tree ensures this at the expense of some utility and survivability. You could try a more Utility based mastery set up but on the whole, I don't think it would make sufficient difference.

Similar to my rune choices these are not the only viable masteries for Zyra. I have experimented with a few others and these have worked the best so far. If you have any suggestions on how this section could be enhanced please let me know as there doesn't seem to be all that much to say with regard to masteries choices.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

The Good.

SPACE The Bad.

SPACE The Ugly.

The Good.

Flash is an obvious choice for a champion with low mobility such as Zyra. The benefits of this spell are enormous; an escape mechanic where there wasn't one before, the ability to offensively flash forward for ganks or to pick up stragglers with your Grasping Roots and of course the ability to reposition for or during team-fights. Flash is pretty much a must.

Ignite offers you an extra bit of damage in the form of true damage as well as the ability to half your opponents healing and regeneration. Not only is this excellent for scoring early game kills by making sure they don't just get away, but also for shutting down champions such as; Dr. Mundo, Sion, Fiddlesticks, Volibear and a few more that benefit from high healing/regen. This is my first choice as a second summoner spell.

Exhaust can be a useful summoner spell to take; it has offensive and defensive effects making it quite versatile. Exhaust can be used to secure kills as the slow will keep your enemies within range of your high damage plants for longer and also limit the incoming damage of your enemies. Exhaust can be excellent for shutting down enemy AD carries in team-fights as the 3 seconds of damage reduction really does make all the difference.

Teleport can be very useful for Zyra; the ability to suddenly appear elsewhere on the map is not something to be scoffed at. Teleport can be used in conjunction with your jungler to set up lethal ganks that can really put you ahead. However, it also has the potential to be totally useless; only take this summoner spell if you have good communication with rest of your team, particularly the jungler. Without adequate ward placement, there wont be anywhere for you to teleport to, and if your allies don't know you're coming you could be setting yourself up for a suicide mission. You may end up only using teleport to get back to your lane quicker for farm.

The Bad.

Clarity is a choice that some people may assume to be useful and on some champions it can be. However, Zyra has strong mana regeneration, particularly with these runes/masteries/items, so there is no real benefit from taking this summoner spell please do avoid it.

I was unsure as to whether this summoner spell should be in The bad section as it does have some clear strengths that are beneficial to a squishy champion like Zyra. However, I decided that it is a weaker choice than the others previously mentioned as; while it goes some way to addressing Zyra's weaknesses it does nothing to enhance her strengths and for this reason I deem it to be a 'bad' choice.

Zyra is lacking in mobility so Ghost may seem like a decent choice. However, Flash is by far the better choice for enhancing her mobility as, due to her susceptibility to hard CC, she is likely still to be caught by champions with any available snares or stuns. Taking both Flash and Ghost would grant Zyra far greater escape and pursuit ability but would be limiting in many other areas; particularly when trying to secure early game kills.

This summoner spell goes some way to addressing Zyra's vulnerability to hard CC and could come in handy on some occasions. However, I feel that unless you take Flash or Ghost with this it will not benefit you too greatly and you would be sacrificing too much if both your choices are focused on survivability.

The Ugly.
These choices are more here for comedic effect if I am honest. Why anyone would choose any of these summoner spells is beyond me. Surge has some redeeming qualities but on the whole feels pretty useless for Zyra. Please do not take any of these options (unless you're trolling, then go for it).

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Abilities/Skill Sequence


In this section we will be looking closely at Zyra's abilities and their uses as well as which of her skills to level first and why.

The skill sequence priority I prefer for Zyra is as follows:
Stranglethorns(R)> Deadly Bloom(Q)> Grasping Roots(E)> Rampant Growth(W)



Rise of the Thorns


Upon death, Zyra returns to her plant form. After 2 seconds, she can press any ability to fire a vengeful thorn, dealing 99 (+25*level) true damage to each enemy it strikes. Lasts 8 seconds.

This is Zyra's passive and as far as passives go this one is pretty good. One last burst of true damage can really help prevent those lucky escapes and score you a bunch of extra kills. There are a few downsides to this ability though: Firstly, it can be difficult to get used to the skill shot as you don't get to use it that often meaning sometimes you will miss due to unfamiliarity with the delay or the travel speed of the projectile. Secondly, as far as Riot and their awful hit boxes go, this has to be one of the worst. It will miss when it really shouldn't and hit when it really shouldn't meaning it can be somewhat unreliable.

Deadly Bloom SPACE

Deadly Bloom

SPACE Deadly Bloom

Thorns shoot from the ground, dealing 75/115/155/195/235 (+0.6 AP) magic damage to enemies within the area.
Rampant Growth: If Deadly Bloom hits a seed, a Thorn Spitter grows, dealing (+0.2 AP) magic damage. Lasts 10 seconds.

This is Zyra's Q and the ability I like to level first. Deadly Bloom deals more damage than her Grasping Roots and scales the same as it with AP. There is a short delay between placing the template and the damage being dealt. However, this is a pretty short period and you should have no problem catching enemies within the template. The plants summoned by this spell if you hit one of your Rampant Growth's really do pack a punch and have greater range than the Vine Lashers summoned by your Grasping Roots.


Rampant Growth


Passive: Grants 4%/8%/12%/16%/20% cool down reduction. Active: Plants a seed, lasting 30 seconds. If an enemy steps on a seed, it will be destroyed but they will be revealed for 2 seconds. Zyra stores a seed every 17 seconds (max: 2 seeds stored, 4 seeds planted).
Rampant Growth: Spells cast on seeds grow plants. Plant damage is based on Zyra's level. Extra plants striking the same target deal 25% less damage.

This is Zyra's W and is essentially the glue that binds all of her abilities together. The laying of these seeds enables you to create lethal combinations of plants that can really wreak havoc in lane and in team-fights. The bonus cooldown reduction is pretty great too. One of the best things about this ability is that it can safely be leveled last; you only need 1 point in Rampant Growth to really get the use out of it. This means that you can level your Grasping Roots sooner thus maximising your damage output. Later in this section I will try to demonstrate how to effectively combine Rampant Growth with the rest of Zyra's abilities.


Grasping Roots


Sends forward vines dealing 60/105/150/195/240 (+0.5 AP) magic damage and root enemies for 0.75/1/1.25/1.75 seconds.
Rampant Growth: If Grasping Roots hits a seed, a Vine Lasher grows dealing 24 (+6*level)(+0.2 AP) magic damage and slowing enemies by 30% for 2 seconds. Plant lasts 10 seconds.

This is Zyra's E and the ability I like to level second. Grasping Roots is a medium range skill shot that roots all enemies it passes through. It does slightly less damage than Deadly Bloom. This ability is exceptionally useful for poking at your opponent in mid, chasing down fleeing enemies or covering the retreat of yourself and allies. The plants summoned by Grasping Roots when you hit one of your Rampant Growths are shorter range than their counterparts but the slow can be excellent at enhancing the previously stated functions of this ability.




Summons the Fury of Nature, growing a twisted thicket at target location which deals 200/300/400 (+0.7 AP) magic damage to all enemies in the area as it expands. After 2 seconds, the vines snap upward knocking enemies into the air.
Rampant Growth: Plants within the thicket are enraged, increasing their attack speed by 50%.

Stranglethorns is Zyra's Ult and also one of the best team-fighting abilities in the game. First of all, Stranglethorns does an immense amount of damage in a huge area of effect (I'm talking similar to Galio's ult area!) after 2 seconds it knocks enemies in the air interrupting abilities such as Katarina's Death Lotus or Nunu's Absolute Zero. And to top it off, Stranglethorns increases the attack speed of Zyra's plants by 50%! Kicking her damage into the borderline overpowered scale.

Ability Combinations: Tips and Tricks

Correct and effective use of abilities is key to playing all champions. For Zyra this is more true than most. With such a variety of combinations available due to Rampant Growth I've decided to list a few of the ways I've found to work pretty well.


Basic Damage Combo: W->Q->W

1. Rampant Growth has a very short cooldown so it is possible to place one followed by your Deadly Bloom and then place another before your Q detonates. This will summon two ranged plants. This can be used after landing Grasping Roots to maximise damage against the immobilised target, or just to push the lane.

Basic Root/Snare Combo: E->W or W->E->W

2. Using your Grasping Roots well is all about confidence; using the same principle as before we can place a plant within melee range of an enemy, cast Grasping Roots and place another Rampant Growth before the skill shot lands. In doing this we not only snare our pursuers but also summon 1-2 plants that will continue to slow them after the snare was worn off.
This is one of your most important survival tools as Zyra's lack of mobility makes it essential to use your plants intelligently. This can be tricky as often you will have to predict the path of your enemies and landing the skill shot is essential; if you don't you're likely to get stomped.


Snare, Slow, Nuke. W->E->W->Q->R

This combo is probably one of the best for scoring kills in a 1v1 situation. The idea behind this combo is to place a plant within melee range and land your Grasping Roots snaring your opponent and summoning a Vine Lasher. Whilst you do this, place another Rampant Growth near your opponent and then place your Deadly Bloom. This combo will snare your opponent, slow him, nuke him. If you need to; use your Ult to score the kill Stranglethorns will make your plant damage go into overdrive and can turn this single target nuke into a team killing manoeuvre.
There are a huge number more ways to utilise Rampant Growth but these are some of the most reliable. Placing plants behind enemies and using Grasping Roots to cut off their retreat is a possibility to consider for example. So get creative.

Using Bushes and Luring Opponents

There are very few champions in League of Legends that can utilise bushes as effectively as Zyra can. Luring pursuers into a death trap can be very easy; just place two rampant growths in the bush and time your Deadly Bloom to hit opponents as they enter. Then use your Grasping Roots to pin them in range of your plants whilst you make your escape or drop your ult to secure the kill.
Similarly, you could use the bushes to set up a snare trap; place two rampant growths and then do the same as before but turn the plants into Vine Lashers instead. This can be an excellent tool for shaking of pursuers or weakening them so that you can score a kill later.

Essentially, chasing Zyra is a big risk and whilst she is squishy she can be a nightmare to tower dive. Try to use how squishy you are as a way of tempting enemies into chasing you when they really shouldn't!

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Item Builds/Explanations

This is my ideal build order. If my opponents do nothing to address what I am building such as; building a load of magic resist then this is what I like to build. I'll go into further detail about each of these choices now:

Opening/Early Game
Boots of Speed and Health Potionx3 is my preferred initial item picks. The boots will grant greater mobility in the early game. This is great for avoiding incoming pokes from your opponent in mid as well as getting super early kills via a level 2 or 3 gank from your jungler. The Health Potions will make the early laning a bit more forgiving as you can heal off any pokes that you were unsuccessful in avoiding.

Doran's Ring is such a great item for Zyra I like to get two! The extra HP will help address some of Zyra's squishiness in the early game as well as grant her some AP and mana per 5. With two Doran's Rings you will gain 160hp 30AP and 10MP5. The mana regen goes a long way to ensuring you can remain in lane. With these rings, masteries and runes Zyra should have no mana troubles meaning you can get aggressive!

Sorcerer's Shoes are your go to AP carry boots. Magic Penetration is always a good choice. There isn't much else to say here. xD

Mid Game
Going into the early/mid game you want to be building towards either Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap. Zhonya's is the more conservative of these choices; look to see how much hard CC or scary channelled ults there are available to the enemy and make your choice. Zhonya's Hourglass works great against champions such as Morgana, Katarina, Nunu, Ziggs and a bunch more. Moreover, Zhonya's has obvious synergy with Zyra who can deal damage via her plants and ult whilst taking cover using your hourglass.

Don't get to hung up about this decision though; either way you will be building the one you didn't choose next!

Going into the later half of the mid game you should be building towards Rylai's Crystal Scepter this item is pretty damn good for Zyra; tons of HP to bulk her up, more AP means more damage and the slow effect can be procced by both your abilities and your summoned plants.

Late Game
After you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter you could start building towards a Rod of Ages, this is another nice item for Zyra; plenty more HP Mana and AP makes ROA a nice, balanced item that compliments my final item choice well. However a more defensive choice would be Banshee's Veil.

My final item choice is Archangel's Staff. This is by far one of the best late game items; it gives huge amounts of AP and enables Zyra to scale better into super-late game territory. A second Rabadon's Deathcap would give slightly greater initial AP compared to Archangel's Staff, however, you will quickly exceed this through the passive granted by the Tear of the Goddess component in your Archangel's Staff.

With this build completed you will be sitting between 2.4k and 2.7k hp, and between 700 and 750+AP (depending on choices) making you a daunting prospect for any opponent.

Alternative Item Picks/Builds

Mercury's Treads are a potential replacement. The tenacity is great against teams with a lot of hard cc or when midding against champions such as Veigar who needs to use his stun to land hits with Dark Matter; the Tenacity can seriously gib his burst.

Void Staff If your enemies start building a lot magic resist then this is a must. %40 magic pen coupled with your Sorcerer's Shoes will make their gold useless. This can be purchased in place of Rod of Ages.

Abyssal Mask Is another situational item that can be very useful. If your enemy's composition is based heavily on AP, or if their AP carry is getting pretty fed, pick up this item to try and negate some of his damage and help out your team. Again I would get this in place of ROA.

Banshee's Veil is another possible choice against teams with hard CC or a fed AP carry. The extra mana will compliment your Archangel's Staff nicely.

Deathfire Grasp is another potential item choice if you want to dial up the aggression; lots of AP on there as well as an Active that can do a truckload of damage on top of Zyra's already impressive repertoire.

Will of the Ancients I haven't yet tried building a more spell vamp focused Zyra but I would imagine it could work quite well as her plants can proc Spell vamp and she has ton of AOE damage.

To conclude this chapter, I'd like to point out that these are just my ideas on potential ways of building Zyra so please feel free to tell me of any other item combinations that work and I'll see if I can add them in. The four item builds above are just examples of what I have been talking about in this chapter. Remember, nothing is set in stone!

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Counterpicks to Zyra

In this section I'll outline some of the champions that can be used to counter-pick Zyra.

Mordekaiser can be a good way of dealing with Zyra; his durability means that he is almost impossible to score kills on 1v1 and you will never be able to out farm him if he's played well.

Vlad can be a pretty strong counterpick to Zyra in mid as his Sanguine Pool will keep him safe from most of her scary damage. Vlad's sustain will keep him in lane as long as her and if played well can even get ahead with a few kills 1v1.

Akali has three gap closers in the form of her Shadow Dance and insane damage output making her the perfect counter to squishy, immobile Zyra.

Jax is not a mid counterpick but if there is one in top or jungling his ganks can be hard to deal with. High damage output plus a strong gap closer and hard CC make Jax a strong counterpick.

Talon's damage output and strong escape mechanics make him a dangerous opponent in mid or ganking from solo top. Watch out for him or he'll make you regret it.

Huge damage output, strong silence and a gap closer. Is it any wonder that Leblanc is in this list? She is essentially the epitome of counterpick to squishy AP carries.

Kassadin can be a pretty terrifying sight for most AP mids. His silence plus Riftwalk can make him dangerous. Play defensive and make him tower dive for kills and you should be able to score a few kills on him under the turret if he goes for it.

If you can think of more and are able to justify your reasons then I would be glad to add them to this list. Thanks.

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So hopefully, if you made it to the end of this guide, you should have some idea as to how to play Zyra. There is obviously so much more to champion than I can cover in this guide but I did my best to cover the basics as well as I could. I hope you enjoyed my guide and find it useful. Please feel free to comment, upvote/downvote if you think it deserves it. Thanks and GLHF.

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Imagine some epic film ending music or something......


Thanks to jhoijhoi for making such a helpful guide on making guides; would have been lost without it.

Thanks also to anybody who I have pinched pics from. Can't remember where I got them from but you probably know who you are!

Thanks to you! Yes, you! For reading my guide! <3