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Zyra Build Guide by Isthatok

AP Carry Zyra Build Guide - Mid Lane [In-Depth]

AP Carry Zyra Build Guide - Mid Lane [In-Depth]

Updated on June 15, 2013
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519 40 2,993,364 Views 206 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Isthatok Zyra Build Guide By Isthatok Updated on June 15, 2013
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Greetings Summoner, and welcome to my Zyra build guide!
  • This guide covers mid-lane Zyra. If you want a support build check out Astrolia's guide here.
  • This guide will always be a working progress. It's just my reasoning behind how I feel she should be built, and if you disagree then you're welcome to leave a comment with better suggestions. I am open to these suggestions and will change my guide to include them (you'll get credit for it too).
  • Everything is situational and the suggested build is by no means what you should be building every time. You have to analyse the game situation and build accordingly. There is a detailed items section for this.
  • Nerfs and balance changes will arise. I will try my best to update the guide accordingly, but please don't criticize the guide if it's just a few days outdated. This guide is currently updated for June 15, 2013, or Patch 3.8.

Oh, and one more thing. If you like my guide, please upvote it, and if applicable, direct me to your own guide so that I can help you out and give as much feedback as I can. Appreciate it^^
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1. Pros and Cons

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2. Lane Choice

This guide will cover Zyra as a mid-lane champion.
  • Going top will often get her chased down because she is as slow as Ashe, and you have little or no access to blue buff. You'll likely have to hug turret.
  • None of her skills make her an AD carry.
  • She doesn't have any heals or shields that make a traditional support, but as an aggressive support she is definitely viable. Astrolia made an epic support guide which can be found here.
  • Jungling may be viable for Phreak or skilled players as she has a decent clear speed but there are better champions to fit that role.

If you'd like to see a build for another lane, take a look at one of the other Zyra guides the other authors may have posted.
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3. Items: For those who don't want to read

A large part of the current item build has been put together in collaboration with WaiYun, wilmer007, Xeladarne, Dustborn and several other readers. Many of the ideas were also taken from Phreak's champion spotlight.

So if you're not a big fan of reading...

NOTE: Always buy Sight Ward and a few Health Potion (if you don't have Crystalline Flask when you recall. They save millions of lives every day!

Tip: If you've just recalled and have just enough to finish, say, your Sorcerer's Shoes, but you only have 20 leftover gold, then you should have known beforehand to farm a few more minions for a Sight Ward or two and Health Potion.

Tip: Another way to make sure you do this is to add around +75 to +200 to the cost of any item you're looking to get.
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4. Items: Explained

And now for those who want things explained in detail!

Doran's Ring + Potions. This is a new option that I haven't yet tried due to working full-time but it certainly looks promising since Doran's Ring gives you a bit of everything (health, AP, mana returns). Get 2 health potions. Could use some feedback on this.

Boots of Speed + Potions. Get this if you need the mobility (dodge skill-shots, etc). You also get a two more potions compared to the previous option. Take 3 health + 1 mana or just 4 health potions.

Sight Ward Crystalline Flask + Potion + Ward. This option will give you a lot of time in lane, but you'll need to buy useful items so it kind of offsets. Choose a health potion and a Sight Ward.

Head up to your mid lane. Use just your autoattack to leash for your jungler if necessary. You can attack the buffs across walls, so long as you have vision. This conserves mana that you will likely need in lane (credits to Xeladarne for pointing this out).

Catalyst the Protector

The next item you buy will in some way assist you in getting Rabadon's Deathcap, as this will always be your priority. Whether it be survivability in lane or more power, these items will help you get the gold you need. Because of their low costs, you should easily be able to buy them on your first or second recalls. Consider your situation and then buy the corresponding item(s).

  • You want to catch up in a slightly losing situation, or
  • You are winning your lane and want to snowball quickly
2 x Doran's Ring. If you already had one to start, then just buy one more and maybe Boots. They are especially good for catching up if you're falling behind a bit. High elo players often stack these on typical AP casters because it makes use of your item slots.
You don't necessarily have to get both - if you feel like you can rush a Rabadon's Deathcap to snowball into mid-game, go right ahead.

  • The enemy AP laner hurts a lot, and/or
  • You're falling behind and don't have a lot of money, and/or
  • You're having mana problems (e.g. no control of blue buff or some other reason)
Chalice of Harmony. It's extremely cheap and gives you magic resistance too. Again, if you have AP runes and masteries you will still be able to hurt your enemy. You can even sell it back for 70% of its value. The only drawback is that you get no AP.
  • You might have a game where you have enough damage to harass, but can't dish out the damage without getting hurt badly yourself. Chalice of Harmony will even out (and often turn around) these trades in your favour.

  • You find it hard to stay in lane
  • Your tank is bad or non-existent
Catalyst the Protector Catalyst the Protector. If you're looking for pure survivability in lane. You become harder to kill so you end up farming a little better. It doesn't give AP but you will build it into Rod of Ages after your Rabadon's Deathcap.
  • Generally I would get this if I know the enemy will eventually out-lane me.

Click to view comparison chart #1 for early game items

Buy these items next as they supply you with the mid-game power you need. At this point you should be keeping track of when your blue buff spawns so you'll be ready when your jungler gives it to you (the spawn timer is 5 minutes).

Sorcerer's Shoes. Gives +15 Magic Penetration. It's typically your only option for boots. Cooldown boots are not recommended on Zyra as her W ( Rampant Growth) provides 20% CDR at rank 5. The 40% CDR cap is not hard to reach - a blue buff alone will get you there. Just grab blue buff from your jungler whenever you can.

Rabadon's Deathcap. You need damage! Without high AP, Zyra is pretty much useless. Because you're generally rushing this item, you should get the appropriate runes and masteries that give her AP - especially if you went with Catalyst the Protector or Chalice of Harmony. Otherwise I suggest looking at a completely different build.

In some situations in laning you may choose to rush other items like Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Abyssal Mask, Zhonya's Hourglass or Liandry's Torment before Rabadon's Deathcap and it works decently. Just make sure you buy Rabadon's Deathcap right after it.

Don't finish your Rod of Ages before getting Rabadon's Deathcap (if you chose to get Catalyst the Protector) or else you'll leave her crippled for mid-game unless the opposing mid-laner is really bad, in which case you should just rush Rabadon's Deathcap anyway. The only time you should rush Rod of Ages is if your tank cannot tank at all.

If you chose Catalyst the Protector, get Rod of Ages now.
If you chose Doran's Ring, sell them gradually as your item slots fill up.
If you chose Chalice of Harmony, sell it near the end to complete a late game item.

Now get this:

Zhonya's Hourglass. Get this for sure. You get a good amount of armor and an a ton of ability power. Its active stirs up confusion and allows you to survive... and if lucky, cast a whole additional round of spells. (Note: Good to rush against Fizz, Lux, or Zed if you have good timing)

Consider these:

Enchantment: Alacrity. Get it if you feel slow.
Enchantment: Homeguard. Get this if you have to defend base. It wins games.
Enchantment: Captain. Get this to push lanes faster, although the part about speeding up allies is a bit wasted because you're probably not initiating.

Now you will be buying your three final items. Choose wisely from the list below! A comparison chart is provided for you.

Void Staff. When the enemy has high MR. You massively reduce their magic resist and add extra ability power for yourself. This has a smaller but still significant effect on squishies. You won't live very long, though.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Your skills get a 15% slow, so that you and your team can chase or run away. All of your spells affect multiple targets, so the slow is applied to the entire enemy team. It's harder for enemies to run from your ult (creds to Moogles) and the HP has saved me many times.

Abyssal Scepter. When the enemy AP carry is fed and you want more damage. You get some magic resistance and ability power for yourself and reduce that of their whole team. This is more of a mid-game item.

Liandry's Torment. Deals 2% of target HP per second. It's double damage if the enemy's movement is impaired, so get this with Rylai's Crystal Scepter or if your team has a lot of slows. It also synergizes well with your melee plants. Use it to take down bruisers or poke. For more technical information on this item refer to Chapter 11.

Deathfire Grasp. If there is a target you need to burst down. It now builds out of Needlessly Large Rod so you get +100 AP. Upon activation you deal 15% of the target's current HP and spell damage is amplified by 20%.

Click to view comparison chart #2 for late game items

It's rare for a game to run so long as to allow Zyra players to purchase six (or even five) major items. If you do however get to this point and none of the above items really appeal to you then I suppose you can try these out:

Guardian Angel. After four or five items you should already have a lot of power, and this acts almost like an extended Zhonya's Hourglass. The survivability you get starts to become important once you start getting hard-focused in full-out, late game fights. A whole extra round of skills for you to use (and more if you survive) can be game changing.

Will of the Ancients. If you want sustain and/or your team has casters other than yourself and if nobody else has gotten it. Spell vamp isn't the absolute best on Zyra anyhow. (Note: Don't get Hextech Gunblade because the gold you spend on AD is wasted)

Elixir of Fortitude. Serves as an active summoner heal for 250g. Sometimes I carry one around during mid game to pull off clutch plays, but it doesn't work as well late game so just buy it then for the increased stats.

Elixir of Brilliance. The stat boosts on these are overlooked and you can buy them instead of a Doran's Ring if you don't have enough money at some point. In this case don't pop it until you get back in lane and decide to use a skill (thanks to Kyukatsuki for this suggestion).
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5. Summoner Spells

Flash. Always take this since you really have no other strong escape mechanism with 300 base movement speed. Ghost just doesn't measure up in my opinion because you can't ghost over walls and stay in range for any smartcasts your enemy may use to finish you off.

Ignite. Deals some really nice damage over time, and synergizes better with Flash than Exhaust would. It's also easier to use for new Zyra players and you can use it to kill people trying to escape. Works well against high mobility or tankier champions.

Teleport. Credits again to Wilmer007 for mentioning this. It helps you get back in lane or get some free kills. Additionally, you can push multiple lanes really hard with it because your skills are all AOE.

Exhaust. Makes it harder for your target to avoid your plant turrets, causing them to deal significantly more damage. It also makes it easier to land any remaining skills. Where this fails, however, is that the attack speed debuff is completely useless against magic and Ignite secures kills where Exhaust cannot.

Barrier. I guess you could replace Flash with this if you're new, but I honestly don't recommend it since it can only provide defence and Flash will mitigate more damage most of the time. The only situation I would find this useful would be against a LeBlanc.

Any other summoner spell not previously listed is just not recommended, because you either sacrifice the utility from your multipurpose Flash, or the aggressiveness and damage from your Ignite. If you want to support or jungle then use another guide.
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6. Masteries

21-0-9 AP caster setup. I chose the utility tree over the defensive tree for its mana bonuses, buff duration and generally better options. If you really have questions about it feel free to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
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7. Runes


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

9 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Provides +7.83 magic penetration. Magic penetration is pretty much the only option here. Nothing else really helps.

9 x Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Provides +3.69 MP5. I like these since they give me more skills to spam, but if you can manage your mana better than me than go with something more useful.

9 x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana
Provides +10.53 MP5 at level 18. A lot of people are suggesting these to solve any possible mana problems one might run into late game. Go ahead and try these out if you wish, and let me know what you think.

9 x Greater Seal of Armor
Good against enemy AD jungles or AD laners. Gives +12.69 armor.

9 x Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Provides up to +175 Health at Level 18. If you're laning against another AP carry (which is often the case) then you won't need the armor seals as much, and these will make you more viable late game.

9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Provides up to +27.54 AP at Level 18. You can get these if you want, since this build does take a lot of farming to complete. I don't have too much against these.

9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Provides +10.71 AP. It's really nice early game if you feel the need to be more aggressive in order to get your money. Again, I don't have too much against these.

9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Provides up to +24.3 MR at Level 18 (increases your effective magical health by 24.3% of your base HP at Level 18) . Gives you a considerable amount of survivability in teamfights.

9 x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Provides +12.06 MR (increases your effective magical health by 12.06% of your base HP). I recommend these if you know you're up against high damage dealers like LeBlanc or Fizz.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Provides +14.85 AP. You'll want at least some early-game damage to be a threat. Combined with your masteries, you'll be starting with about 20 AP.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Provides +4.5% Movement Speed (increases your base movement speed from 310 to 323.95). As TiensiNoAkuma and ike994 would suggest, you can't go wrong with movement speed - especially since your base movement speed is so slow.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
Provides +6.03 Magic Penetration. Not much against these since they give you more power especially against squishies.
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8. Skill Order

Note: Hover over the skills for their full descriptions.

Deadly Bloom

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

R > Q = E > W

Level 1: Always get Q ( Deadly Bloom) or E ( Grasping Roots).
Level 2: Always get W ( Rampant Growth).
Level 3: Always get E ( Grasping Roots) or Q ( Deadly Bloom) - whichever one you didn't get at level 1.

Level 4+: The skill priority is R > Q = E > W.

E at level 1 is useful for jungle invades but Q is often better in-lane so don't use the skill point until you have to.

To be honest, E and Q are equally good and I like to level them both out at Levels 12 and 13. However, depending on the situation you may choose to max out either E or Q first - whichever one is easier to use on your opponent in lane. Say for example that you were against a Karthus. Because of his lack of mobility you can land your Q on him without much difficulty. Contrast that with a game against Sion, who has to dish out close-range damage (whether he goes AD or AP). Your E may be more effective in this situation.

W should be maxed last - The new CDR passive is nice, but you still lose damage if you level it up instead of Q or E. Additionally, the CDR becomes more important late-game, so that's when you'll get it.

If you were to max W second after Q and keep E at level 1, you wouldn't get any burst, but your damage would be more sustained. In my opinion Zyra should have a good burst rather than a lacklustre stream of damage.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

R > Q > W > E

A few people have been suggesting this and saying that it works. I don't have much against it but it gives you more semi-sustained damage whereas the first sequence gives you more burst with the added damage and snare time on E. With this skill order, you're able to hit your Q more often and have more lane control but you don't have as much burst damage. I guess it all boils down to everyone's own playing style but I personally prefer the first skill sequence a lot more.

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9. Tips and Tricks

There are so many ways you can utilize Zyra's skills to your advantage. TiensiNoAkuma made a somewhat preliminary but awesome video here (he was 2600+ ELO in S2 and you can view his channel):

You can land a surprise combo by taking advantage of the delays from Q and E and planting two W seeds before the roots come out of the ground / reach the area. In fact, don't ever plant before casting (unless your ping is horrible).

Smartcast E, W, Q, W as explained in the video (credits also to Anelit who suggested this in the comments). Your opponent will least suspect this combo because it happens so quickly and deals a ton of damage. If you're level 6 then feel free to use your ultimate in the combo (E, W, R, Q, W as explained in the video) to secure the kill as it increases your plants' attack speed.

You can use your W to zone your opponent out from minions. If they come close to one, then just use your Q and it will hit them for quite a bit of damage (Q seems easier to land than E but I suppose you can use either, or both). Or even better - land your full combo if you can!
Click to see demonstration

You can check bushes with your W and use them as wards, or even traps if you are close to them as you can land a skillshot on it when someone comes.
Click to see vision range

When killing dragon or baron buff, predict where the enemy will be coming in from and use Rampant Growth on nearby bushes or paths of entry.
Click to see demonstration

Play passively until you reach level 3. That's when you can perform a full-out combo. Otherwise you won't do a lot of damage and may consequently fall behind if you engage.

Watch your own minions and predict when your opponent will move in to last-hit - especially if they are melee champions. By doing this you will land your skillshots far more often.

When last hitting under turret, autoattack the melee minions after 2 tower hits and the mage minions after 1 tower hit and 1 autoattack.

Your wraiths spawn every 60 seconds. Unless your jungler is underfed, take them whenever you can. The money adds up, and you can kill them from outside with just a Deadly Bloom and one or two Rampant Growth. You don't even have to autoattack, but you may choose to hit the blue wraith just to be safe. Don't worry if the lesser wraiths come out - just leave the area. They'll reset, return to the camp and die to your plant(s) so long as the blue wraith dies quickly. Credits to Luciferia for this.

Ask for ganks from your jungler in order to become a bully in lane. Don't be afraid to ask - especially if you're falling behind or can't burst the opponent down by yourself.

Use wards at all times. Don't just have them - use them. Even if you are getting pushed in, you should ward out into the center of the lane so that you can see which direction the enemy is moving and alert your team of a potential gank.

Feel free to use your skills to farm once you feel your mana regenerates at an acceptable rate. All of your skills can hit UNLIMITED targets, which makes you a great pusher late game.

You're just about to die, and you know it. You can land your ultimate if you have it (along with any other spells you may have), so that when you die and your passive kicks in, the enemy will be knocked up for you to get an easy shot + kill or assist. Do this especially if you have reinforcements nearby as they will follow up if you don't manage to kill them. Also, the knockup from your ultimate gives you a better chance at escaping in the event that you barely survive.

Your poke is great. Don't use too many seeds though, as the enemy may take the opportunity to initiate a fight. You rely on your seeds to deal a good portion of your damage. A rule of thumb is to keep at least 1 seed on reserve whenever a teamfight is imminent.

When chased, try to make your enemy run through your plants in order to get to you.

Be patient with your skills. Try to find the best opportunity to land your skillshots on as many people as possible (that's how your ultimate should be used) and predict enemy movements.

Click to see a demonstration of patience

Click to see a demonstration of prediction

...Oh and one more thing...
Zyra's hidden passives
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10. Lane Matchups

Difficulty: 1/10 to 4/10
CTRL+F: Annie, Cassiopeia, Karthus, Mordekaiser, Orianna, Ryze, Twisted Fate

Easy lane. If you see these champions on the other team you should jump for joy. Because your abilities outrange these champions quite significantly, you should be able to gain lane dominance and easily harass the enemy. They won't be able to hurt you or farm without getting hurt themselves. Try not to get close to them as they hurt significantly once they do get into range (e.g. Annie's full out burst combo will outdamage Zyra's). Consider the Doran's Ring build and watch out for ganks as you will likely end up overextending.

Difficulty: 3/10 to 7/10
CTRL+F: Ahri, Anivia, Brand, Gragas, Lux, Malzahar, Syndra, Viktor, Xerath, Ziggs, Zyra

These games pretty much boil down to who is better at skillshots. It may feel like you are playing a mirror match as both you and the enemy are capable of throwing hurtful skillshots at each other. Many of these champions have similar mechanics in their skillshots. All I can say is to watch both you and your enemy as you engage and try not to get hit while landing your skills. So many instances have passed in which I have landed a combo, jumped for joy, and then realized I was already pretty much dead. Make sure you get some ganks to get ahead as they are all squishy - the goal is to gain lane dominance. If you fall behind, build Chalice of Harmony as your first item if it's not too late. Otherwise the Doran's Ring option is quite viable.

Difficulty: 6/10 to 8/10
CTRL+F: Cho'Gath, Galio, Morgana, Sion, Swain, Vladimir

This lane is ugly. Not the damage you'll take, but rather in the sense of difficulty in killing the enemy. You might be able to dominate the enemy early with your harass, but come early-mid game these champions will eventually outsustain and outharass you. You won't get kills easily - especially if you're against a Vladimir or Galio as they are virtually ungankable. An option is to just focus on farming as harassing may or may not become completely pointless. You may have to forget about killing the enemy altogether. Get your wraiths for sure and just try to get all the lasthits. Consider Catalyst the Protector, Gold per 10s, or Chalice of Harmony.

Difficulty: 5/10 to 10/10
CTRL+F: Akali, Diana, Fizz, Kassadin, Katarina, Kennen, Kha'Zix, LeBlanc, Talon, Zed

A well played enemy champion in this category makes for a very, very tough lane. Pick a different champion if you can. They will sit out and wait for you to burn your skills on them (hit or miss), and then use some sort of gap closure - dealing high burst damage while you can do nothing. Always get Flash if you can in this situation, and don't use all your skills and/or seeds at once even when it seems tempting. Always have at least one seed handy unless they have already used their gap closure. When the jungler comes to gank, try to wait until they use the gap closure (a cautious player won't, though). For items, choose from any of the builds depending on the situation as there is a wide spectrum of play-styles available to players on these champions.

Note: Champions like Akali, Diana, Kassadin, and Zed make easier lanes for Zyra pre-6 because they don't have their gap closures until then. That's why I lowered the minimum difficulty on this category. Take advantage of this and get ahead of them before level 6.
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11. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much damage does Liandry's Torment deal for Zyra? Does the effect stack? Does Rylai's Crystal Scepter proc double damage? What about stuns and snares?

A: Combined with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, your spells will deal up to 12% of the target's current HP (before magic resist reductions). It checks every half-second to see if the enemy is under crowd control, and deals double damage for that half-second accordingly. Since the slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter lasts only 1.5 seconds, theoretically you would only deal 9% of the target's HP if no other CC's are inflicted. The minimum damage is 6% HP if no CC's are applied. The effect does not stack, but refreshes every time you cast an additional spell within the duration of the debuff (just like Noxious Trap).

Before this, AOE damage was halved for this item but thankfully that has been removed. To compromise however, they did lower the AP bonus from this item all the way down to +50 (from +70).

Q: Does Zyra's plant turrets proc the slow on Rylai's Crystal Scepter?

A: Yeah. It's a 15% slow.

Q: Does Zyra's plant turrets proc spell vamp? How does spell vamp work on Zyra?

A: Yes, her plants DO proc the spell vamp - however it is very subtle. The healing is reduced to 33% because it counts as an AOE spell. The formula for spell vamp on any AOE spell is:

Total Damage x (33% of spell vamp)
  • For example, if I have 12% spell vamp and hit 4 enemies with Deadly Bloom at 300 damage each after MR reductions, I will regain 4(300) x (0.33 x 0.12) = 48 health which is okay.
  • In another instance, I have 12% spell vamp and my plant turret deals 130 damage per hit. I only gain 130 x (0.33 x 0.12) = 5.2 health per hit.
So to conclude, the spell vamp DOES proc on her plants, but it's her AOE spells that benefit the most from spell vamp. However, as noted in the "Why Don't You get _______???" section, it's not worth getting spell vamp early.

Q: What's the best combo?
A: As far as I know, E-W-R-Q-W is the best right now according to TiensiNoAkuma.

Q: What are your thoughts on playing Dominion on Zyra?

A: I'm not very experienced with Dominion so take this with a grain of salt, but as Zyra you can do pretty well on Dominion's bot lane because of your turrets and high, sustained damage output and your ability to clear minion waves quickly. Let your minions attack the opponent if they get too close (they hit a lot). Don't build bursty - bot lane dominion is generally best played with some degree of sustainability. As for top lane, you'll do decently apart from getting jumped on by gap closers like Jax.

Q: Which skin is better?

A: With the classic skin your plants are much harder to see so you'd be at an advantage for lower elo play but in my opinion Wildfire Zyra looks better.

That's about it right now. Maybe you guys can help me out by adding to this section!
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12. Why You Shouldn't Get _________

This section is dedicated to the items that I do not recommend. These are items that users often ask about but are not the best for Zyra. I'm not saying they can't be built, nor am I saying that you'll do badly with them - they just aren't the best options because they don't synergize well with her kit.

Why You Shouldn't Get Athene's Unholy Grail

  • It only gives 60 AP and its passives aren't worth the purchase.
  • You don't really need the CDR in late game. Rampant Growth and Sorcery gives 24% CDR, so blue buff already overshoots the 40% cap. If you can't have blue buff (i.e. a team member wants it or enemy controls it) then an Elixir of Brilliance will get you to 34% for only 250g.
  • If you rush this for early game CDR it hugely interrupts your Rabadon's Deathcap, which gives almost triple the AP.
  • If you get this after Rabadon's Deathcap the mana regen becomes more than enough as Chalice of Harmony already provides enough mana regen. If you're having mana problems even with Chalice of Harmony then you might as well be having mana problems on every other mana-using AP carry (exception being Galio and some others).
  • The reason why Galio players get this item is because his passive converts MR into more AP and he has to rely hugely on spells to farm. This is unlike Zyra.
  • Even if you wanted MR you only get an extra 15 MR for upgrading from Chalice of Harmony, which already gives 25 MR.
  • Chalice of Harmony sells back for 70% of its value so you can use the money for other items.

Why You Shouldn't Get Archangel's Staff

  • Note: This section paraphrased and built upon from the words of MTaur.
  • While Tear of the Goddess gives you good early-game mana, it provides nothing else (survivability, power, etc.) and doesn't measure up to the other build options.
  • It also takes a long time to upgrade to Archangel's Staff, and what you get from that is neither worth the time nor cost-efficient.
  • Although pure AP is good, you don't get any of the more useful passives that you can get from other items.
  • You get too much mana / mana regen that you don't need.
  • You can get enough mana / mana regen from other items - 2 or 3 Doran's Rings, Chalice of Harmony or even Catalyst the Protector leave you with enough to stay in lane and remain a threat if necessary.
  • Doesn't become gold-effecient for AP unless you buy it early game, which again interrupts your Rabadon's Deathcap. Even then you're better off getting Rabadon's Deathcap instead.
  • By building this, you pigeon-hole yourself into getting mana items like Rod of Ages, but then if you get both you'll find yourself at a huge loss for mid-game due to lack of power.

Why You Shouldn't Get Hextech Revolver On Your First Back

  • This item isn't too bad late game, but don't get it as your first item.
  • You don't get any mana from it, which makes casting your spells costly for the amount of health you get back.
  • You would push the lane too much anyway.
  • This item is designed for champions like Katarina and Akali who don't use mana.
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13. Gameplay Videos

Here's a gameplay video from Scarra (from Team Dignitas). He stays considerably true to my guide. I'll add more of these as they come up on their Youtube channel. It does have four parts; the later three of which I'm sure you can find from the recommended links at the end of this video.
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Special: Twisted Treeline Section

This section was completed primarily by Cpt Lozan as a generous contribution to the guide. It is currently updated for March 3, 2013. If you have any questions about Zyra and the Twisted Treeline feel free to message him here. Enjoy!


Zyra’s unique arsenal of potent CC, solid burst AND sustain damage, free mini-wards, killer true damage from her passive, suffocating zoning capabilities, and the opportunistic nature to secure kills (even after death), make her feel right at home in the dark corridors of the Twisted Treeline.

Your Role

Your role as Zyra in this map will be that of a laner. Your job is to keep the other team’s laner busy and to secure as much gold you can for your team as you can (by killing minions or other champions) while denying your opponent the same thing (by keeping them away from your minions and not getting yourself killed). Laning in The Twisted Treeline, at its core, is still mostly the same as laning in Summoner’s Rift, with one main difference. The map.
There are 2 main differences between 3's and 5's laning phases:
  • The map is significantly smaller. This allows for your team to get to you faster for help (or vice versa) or for that Teemo at 1 hp to lure you into a trap
  • The jungle borders both lanes. This means you are almost NEVER safe from a gank. You could have just seen the opposing jungler on the other side of the map no more than a minute ago, but that does not mean you are safe to push your lane at all, it only takes about 20~30 seconds at maximum to walk about half of the map, and without traditional wards, you will more often than not be flying blind when pushing. Last hitting, calling MIAs, poking at the other champion(s) are all still extremely important and you will regret it if you slack off in those areas, but those two factors make laning much more hazardous than in 5’s, and team comp and coordination important in every phase of the game.

What does this mean for Zyra?

What this means is that you must be very careful, but it also means one of your abilities just got a lot more valuable. I’m talking about Rampant Growth, yep, your seeds. These seeds can be placed remotely and stay wherever you place them for 30 seconds. Now, in 5’s 30 seconds is often insufficient to really bring you any serious aid, but in 3’s, with its new fast-paced gank-friendly map, those 30 seconds can EASILY be all that saves you from walking into a death trap.



Arguably the most important part of league as a whole, The Twisted Treeline’s take on team fights deals a lot with offtanks and CC. Teams often consist of 2 people who can deal respectable amounts of damage while still being perfectly capable of taking it and one person who heavily favors damage over toughness. As Zyra, you’re the damage guy.

When team fights happen you almost want to be fashionably late, you want to let your teammates soak up a lot of the damage and CC that would have otherwise gone your way, but you don’t want to come after your teammates are beyond saving, I usually go with 1~3 seconds, depending on the other teams comp. After you jump in, you want to use the E > W > Q > R combo so you lock in your targets, get some turrets on ‘em then drop your ulti. This is optimally, of course, and sometimes someone flashes, or Gangplank eats a damn orange, or someone jumps/flashes across a wall right into you the second you reveal yourself and when this happens you have to adapt. But it is still EXTREMELY important that you let your teammates soak up damage and CC before you jump in if you can help it at all (otherwise you're just a free kill).



Start with a Boots because mobility is important in 3’s, and you have very little. Get Amplifying Tome and Health Potion because you’ll find yourself OOM a lot less compared to SR (more recalls), the map is much smaller, lanes push easily, and the fountain heals like lightning. Also you need to be prepared to either defend yourself from a gank or back up a team mate in a fight, so you want to be at full health whenever possible.

Kage's Lucky Pick
Upgrade the Amplifying Tome for the early GP10 and the Ruby Crystal for the extra health buffer. 180 health isn't a lot but it saves lives. If you can afford the whole Haunting Guise go for it, more HP, AP and magic penetration, all things that will help you right now.

This largely depends on how your lane is going. If you need the extra speed to make it to team fights/dodge enemy skills shots/chase/run buy the boots. If not, buy the Blackfire Torch first. Just make sure you build both of these before moving on.

We get the Blackfire Torch before any other major items because it gives you a VERY solid base to work with. You get a generous amount of everything, as opposed to some straight AP from something like a Wooglet's Witchcap, which will leave you squishy for quite a while (despite the statis active). Wooglet's Witchcap's other passive (+25% AP), while centrally always good, becomes much more relevant the more items you have, so it doesn't make too much sense to rush it this early (at least in 3's), while Blackfire Torch still gives you 80 AP, 15 magic pen, and the ability to burn off 3.5% of anyone’s MAX HP whenever you hit them with a spell ON TOP OF the damage you’re already doing, while becoming less fragile.

Whichever item you get first all depends on the other team. If they are building MR, then get Void Staff. If you need more HP or the ability to slow (too many people getting away) build Rylai's Crystal Scepter. If everything’s groovy, they aren’t stacking MR or hurting too hard or getting away, build a Wooglet's Witchcap and get ready to dish out some hurt. Do get all three eventually, though.

By this point in the game, it’s pretty hard to guesstimate at what you might need, I’d recommend either Will of the Ancients or Deathfire Grasp. They both have pros and cons and by this point you should be pretty stacked, so I’ll leave it up to you.
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You made it!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my guide. I hope you've found it helpful. Feel free to post your successful games with her from using my guide as well! Additionally I would much appreciate some screenshots for the tips and tricks section.

Also remember to upvote or comment with suggestions. You can also submit your screenshots of successful games to me and I will add them to the hall of fame.

  • 6/15/2013 - Updated for Patch 3.8.
    • 4/21/2013 - Did a bit of a revision. Busy with finals this past month but it looks like not much has changed at all. Thank you for 93% and 2M views!
    • 3/3/2013 - Added new TT section written by Cpt_Lozan! Thanks!
    • 2/16/2013 - Some price updates and what not, including an update for Liandry's which has improved.
    • 1/31/2013 - Slowly working on some updates with regards to new items. A new item path is coming out for Zhonya's, but nothing else hsa changed too much.
    • 12/7/2012 - Noticed there's a new template for the items cheat sheet. Updated!
    • 12/5/2012 - Updated a lot of content (especially prices) associated with the preseason patch. Still have a lot to do. Side note: Reached 92%!
    • 12/4/2012 - Updated for Early December Patch with preliminary reviews on Season 3 items. Things still to be done though, and will be done within a few days.
    • 11/16/2012 - More info about Season 3. Added some tips.
    • 11/11/2012 - Posted an announcement regarding major Season 3 changes to items. Feedback much appreciated! Edited a lot of wording. I'm still debating with myself over Athene's Unholy Grail. Need feedback.
    • 10/22/2012 - Posted an announcement regarding the upcoming nerfs on Deathfire Grasp and how it will effect the build. Feedback much appreciated!
    • 10/2/2012 - Did a bit of a scan over the guide to fix up any outdated sentences. She hasn't been nerfed since Diana yet, surprisingly. The build remains quite optimal. This guide also reached 91% today so thanks for everyone's support!
    • 8/28/2012 - Added Guardian Angel and Lich Bane as possible end-game items. Also made a lot of minor changes (wording and stuff). New section with gameplay videos.
    • 8/7/2012 - Added lane matchups section. Will take suggestions for it!
    • 8/6/2012 - Posted an announcement regarding the upcoming nerfs in the Diana patch
    • 8/4/2012 - Major formatting overhaul - The items and summoner spells sections are now easier to glance through!
    • 8/3/2012 - Major graphical update - Made and added all the banners. I finally had time to do it!
    • 7/31/2012 - Added a bunch of images
    • 7/30/2012 - Added second skill order option
    • 7/27/2012 - New section! Replaced spell vamp path with GP10 items path.
    • 7/26/2012 - a lot of fixups here and there - most notably added 3 additional options in place of Doran's Ring to be more flexible.
    • 7/25/2012 - Major revamp done - need to move this guide to a new post because apparently I wasn't allowed to make a Zyra guide before release and get votes for it.

    Have fun playing Zyra!
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Hall of Fame

Thanks to all of you guys, this guide is currently #1 on Mobafire for Zyra, as well as the #1 Newest Guide!

2,000,000 Views - Reached on April 17, 2012

93% - Reached on April 21, 2012

Achievement Log

Special thanks to the following readers for their lovely contributions:
  • IWearStyrofoamBoots
  • Saxthom
  • Dustborn (IGN: Pamelm)
  • Dasta
  • MTaur (IGN: Count Buffon; MTaur)
  • Xeladarne
  • Kyukatsuki
  • Anelit
  • Syloe
  • MattOwn3D
  • Wilmer007
  • Omega4125
  • zjozwiak (IGN: Lord of Awesome)
  • Erebus666
  • XarsYs
  • MrTexan
  • AtlasZenith
  • Schattenwind
  • Moogles
  • Aswedor
  • Effinvices
  • Luciferia
  • Wobbey_Wobbey
  • MichaelKinneyFan
  • Hikaru Himeri (IGN: Himeri)
  • Oxide110
  • Payme
  • Svhs
  • Chupaunkas
  • Cpt_Lozan
  • JimmyIZUndead
  • Astrolia

Some screenshots from readers using this build:
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League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide