What makes Ryze a dominant pick right now?
Ryze has no losing matchups in the current meta. He either wins out or at worst goes even in lane. His ability to farm rather safely coupled with being unmatchable in a side lane later on makes him a force to be reckoned with. The cherry on top is that he scales amazingly well into the late game, which is even more potent now due to the item changes in patch 8.4.
He does have some drawbacks, though. One example of is his Q. Since it’s a skillshot, it can be hard to hit on some targets, and can be blocked by minions or other opponents. This makes it situationally difficult to land on priority targets within a teamfight. Another drawback is the height of his skill ceiling. A lot of players may struggle to pilot Ryze effectively, but he is one of the most rewarding champs when played correctly.
Having a strong 2v2 around mid is really important. Ryze is an exceptional pick for 2v2s making him an ideal choice in almost every situation.
Unsealed Spellbook will be your Keystone. Spellbook lowers the cooldown of your summoner spells by 15% while also allowing the option to swap them out every six minutes. You'll generally be choosing between Teleport, Ghost, and Cleanse depending on the game state and what you need at the time. Spellbook offers lots of diversity, allowing you to choose the best summoner spells for every situation.
Magical Footwear will provide you with a pair of Slightly Magical Boots at 10 minutes (30 seconds sooner per takedown of an enemy champion) which give an additional 10 movement speed on top of the 25 provided by normal boots of speed. Due to having no real flexibility with your build early, getting a pair of free boots means you can spend less gold on movement speed, and more gold on finishing off your core items.
Minion Dematerializer starts you off with six charges which, after 155 seconds, can be used to instantly execute the chosen melee, caster, or siege minion. In addition to the getting the gold and experience, you'll also gain 4% permanently increased damage to that type of minion for the duration of the game. Each Dematerializer used beyond the first will offer an additional 1% damage bonus to that type of minion. This rune works extremely well with Ryze due to his incredible AOE farming potential thanks to Spell Flux (E). This rune also allows you to push the lane faster for a better recall timing, or to pressure mid harder allowing your jungler to invade.
Cosmic Insight offers an additional 5% cooldown reduction to your spells, summoners, and items, as well as increasing your CDR cap by 5%. This synergizes well with Ryze as cooldown reduction is a must-have on him and you’ll almost always reach the cap. The additional 5% CDR to summoner spells works well with Unsealed Spellbook giving a total of 20% summoner spell CDR within your runes. The other choices in this line aren't anything special, so this one is a no-brainer.
The best secondary tree for Ryze is Sorcery. Manaflow Band is a great pick-up as Ryze is rather mana hungry throughout the early and mid game. Manaflow Band helps to counteract that, giving one free spell useage and restoring 8% missing mana once every 75 seconds.
Celerity should be your go-to next. It’ll give a 3% boost your total movement speed as well as providing a small amount of AP based on your bonus movement speed. 3% seems like a negligible amount, but it could be the difference between dying and escaping on a sliver of health, or catching an out of position target with a Rune Prison (W), netting your team an easy kill.
No surprises here. Flash is, and has been, an essential summoner spell. It's offensive and defensive uses are absolutely unmatched. Being a short range spellslinger with no mobility, flash will be your best means of quickly repositioning in a fight. Be conservative with its usage, because not having it up at a key moment could turn a potentially good fight sour.
Starting with ignite versus a jungler who has no gank pressure will allow you to put a tremendous amount of pressure onto the enemy mid laner. They’ll need to play safe and fear your all-in potential as you’ll often have higher kill pressure than them. One good gank from your jungler and you can begin snowballing the game from there.
Take heal against any mid laner that you have no real kill pressure on. Heal can keep you safe by providing an instant injection of health and a movement speed boost for a few seconds. This heal and movement speed boost can also apply to a nearby ally, so if a fight starts going south, heal may allow you to flee unscathed.
Cleanse is necessary if enemy mid/jungle demands that you have it to be able to play the game.
You’ll want to get Cleanse when facing opponents with undodgeable or heavy crowd control. Having Cleanse can be vital to your survival or kill potential. Later in the game where one to two seconds of CC can get you killed outright, it’s simply a must-have.
Grab Ghost if Cleanse is not needed. Being able to move around the battlefield at breakneck speeds can allow for a more risky playstyle. Ghost can be utilized for catching an out of position target more easily or running away from certain death.
You’ll usually want to swap to Teleport on your first recall and use it to get back to lane quickly. This is to minimize gold and XP lost, but also to ensure that you don’t lose any pressure onto the enemy laner. Having an item advantage over them and forcing them to either stay in lane or lose a lot of gold and XP will be a huge advantage for your team.
Exileh playing Ryze during EU LCS Week 3: An example of how you can use Teleport and the Homeguard buff to quickly join a team fight
Passive - Arcane Mastery
Your ability power provides you with more mana. This synergizes incredibly well with Ryze’s kit as all of his damaging abilities gain damage based off of his bonus mana. This is why buying two mana-granting items is the way to go.
Q - Overload
Ryze throws a runic blast in a line which deals damage to the first enemy struck. Overload also has a passive; Ryze's other basic abilities reset Overload's cooldown, and charge a Rune for a few seconds. Ryze can hold up to two of these and consumes all Runes with the next cast of Overload. If Overload consumes Two Runes, Ryze gains a shield and bonus movement speed for two seconds.
Rune Prison (W) and Spell Flux (E) resetting the cooldown of Overload makes for some incredibly devastating combos and adds diversity to Ryze’s kit.
W - Rune Prison
Ryze clicks a target, dealing damage and rooting them in place for 0.75 seconds.
Rune Prison can be used to dictate the outcome of a fight. From stopping an aggressive opponent in their tracks to locking down a hapless low-health target. It all depends on how you want to approach the fight, but proper usage remains critical! It’s also a great gank setup. Holding the target in place long enough for your jungler to get onto them will often force a summoner spell out of your opponent or they risk certain destruction.
E - Spell Flux
Ryze targets an enemy and hurls an orb at them, dealing damage and marking them with "Flux" for 3 seconds. Flux causes Ryze's next basic ability to consume Flux granting bonus effects.
- If Overload consumes Flux, it deals additional damage.
- If Rune Prison consumes Flux, it roots the target for 2 seconds.
- If Spell Flux is used on a target marked with Flux, all nearby units are damaged and marked with flux.
- Any enemy killed by Ryze's abilities while marked with Flux will also spread Flux to nearby enemies.
This can be a lot to take in, but it’s key information to have when playing Ryze. Correct Flux usage sets apart the Ryze padawans from the true masters. You can decide to play a fight out in tons of different ways due to the variety it provides. Want to do mass AOE? Double Spell Flux (E) into an Overload (Q) could decimate health bars. Want to peel for your carry? Spell Flux (E) into Rune Prison (W) can hold an engager in place long enough for your carry to kill them or reposition accordingly.
R - Realm Warp
Ryze channels for two seconds. If he complete the channel, all allied units in its area of effect are teleported to the target location.
Realm Warp has amazing, game-changing potential. Whether it’s sneaking a Baron by teleporting your whole team into the pit, dodging out the enemy vision, or teleporting your ulting full-AP Nunu into the enemy team, there’s an unlimited amount of ways to use Realm Warp.
You can utilize your ult for literally anything from denying minion waves to putting your Sejuani into the enemy carries face. You can get really creative with it!
Prioritize getting three points into Overload (Q) early, and then maxing out Spell Flux (E). This provides a huge amount of damage coupled with AOE to not only clear minion waves easily, but also have strong dueling potential. Finish off maxing Overload (Q) to add more damage to your spell rotations. Rune Prison (W) draws the short straw and is the last skill to max. Overload and Spell Flux are utilized more often than Rune Prison since they’re both on short cooldowns and provide Ryze with fighting potential and wave clear. Points in Rune Prison only lower its cooldown by a small amount and add a bit of damage, so overall it’s just best to leave it for last.
Ryze has a large amount of combos due to Spell Flux (E) affecting all basic abilities, and Overload (Q) being reset with each spell cast. It can be hard to say which combo should be used where, and it’s something that comes with experience as you play the champion. That being said, here are some of the most common combos and some ideal situations they could be used in.
Spell Flux (E) > Spell Flux (E) > Overload (Q)
This combo is used for waveclear. This combo will mark all enemies within range with Flux, allowing your Q to hit all of them. It can also instantly clear minion waves mid/late game. You’ll want to use this in lane to apply Flux to the opposing midlane and get some poke off on them as well.
Spell Flux (E) > Rune Prison (W) > Overload (Q)
This is your main trading combo. In a 1v1 it’s usually best to play around your shield provided with a rune-empowered Overload as it forces the opponent to either not attack you, allowing for free DPS, or to use spells to get through your shield, giving you more effective health. Either way, you should come out ahead in any trade using this combo. You can also use this to flee from an unfavourable fight with the shield and movement speed boost, or to set up a gank for your jungler with an empowered Rune Prison.
Overload (Q) > Spell Flux (E) > Rune Prison (W) > Overload (Q) > Spell Flux (E) > Overload (Q)
An extended version of the above 1v1 combo. This will be used later into the game when both your Overload and Spell Flux have very low cooldowns. This combo lets you dish out near-maximum damage while also providing the shield and movement speed from a rune empowered Overload, making it strong in 1v1 duels.
Overload (Q) > Spell Flux (E) > Overload (Q) > Rune Prison (W) > Overload (Q) > Spell Flux (E) > Overload (Q)
This is your highest possible damage combo. It provides maximum damage while forgoing the utility of AOE and the shield and movement speed provided from a two rune Overload.
You'll start off by purchasing a Sapphire Crystal and a Refillable Potion. In addition, you’ll want to get your Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible. Starting with a Sapphire Crystal allows you to return to base as soon as you can afford it, making it easier to get fully stacked by mid game. Returning to base this early also makes Refillable Potion worthwhile because it’ll get refilled each time you visit the fountain.
Once you pick up your Tear of the Goddess, you can start stacking it early and have it almost fully stacked by the time you want to upgrade it. For more sustain, follow up with an early Catalyst of Aeons which provides extra health and mana. If you can afford it, some extra magic resist wouldn’t hurt either. This makes trading with you nearly impossible for your opposition.
It’s common to rush Abyssal Mask. This will build out of the Catalyst of Aeons you purchased earlier. Abyssal Mask gives all the stats you want alongside some added dueling power over the opposing mid laner because of the added magic resistance. Feel free to swap this out with a Rod of Ages if you’d prefer the extra damage.
Grab Archangel's Staff next. It builds out of the Tear you got earlier and gives a ton of ability power, mana, and cooldown reduction. Once upgraded to Seraph’s Embrace, you'll be able to activate this item to gain a temporary shield, at the cost of some of your mana. Its passive, Awe, gives ability power based on your total mana. This synergizes extremely well with Ryze's passive due to his bonus mana already adding extra damage to his abilities and his total AP adding more mana to his mana pool.
Tear -> Abyssal Mask -> Seraph's, GG
LATE GAME ITEMS
Pick up a Void Staff if, and when, your opponents begin to buy magic resistance items. Void staff will allow you to ignore 35% of their MR meaning you can still dish out ridiculous amounts of damage.
Rabadon's Deathcap will give a 40% boost to your AP, making any existing AP you have way more valuable. Deathcap will pack the extra punch for you to round out your build.
Zhonya’s Hourglass can be purchased when facing a heavy AD team where armor is essential. It’s also great for instances where the stasis effect can change the outcome of a fight. It allows you to avoid large chunks of damage, such as Zed’s Death Mark, or to foil a Zac’s plan to kidnap you with Let’s Bounce!, making you harder to kill.
Banshee’s Veil is a great item against champions who have hard to dodge skills. For instance: Veigar’s Event Horizon or Zoe’s Sleepy Trouble Bubble can be completely denied by Banshee’s Veil, making it much harder for them to lock you down.
Morellonomicon is awesome against heavy healing teams. Champions such as Vladimir or Soraka who are reliant on healing can be blunted by the Grevious Wounds applied from Morello, which limits their healing power.
As for boots, you'll generally want to purchase Mercury’s Treads. They’ll provide even more magic resistance, tying in well with your Abyssal Mask as well providing some Tenacity to limit incoming crowd control. However, Ionian Boots of Lucidity provide an extra 10% CDR which will help you in reaching that 45% cap. They also provide an additional 10% Summoner spell CDR, synergizing well with Unsealed Spellbook and Cosmic Insight. One small problem is that your first two core items will bring you up to 35% CDR already, meaning that purchasing any more CDR after these boots will be a waste! If you opt for a Rod of Ages over an Abyssal Mask then this shouldn’t be an issue.
His trading power coupled with his pushing potential means Ryze can have an oppressive laning phase, keeping the enemy laner zoned out or shoved in for the majority of their time in lane. Ryze’s mana costs early can be pretty high, though, and it may be better to conserve your mana until you can recall for your Tear of the Goddess rather than spamming your skills and running out of mana. Look to passively farm until you can get your Tear, then you can start to bring some more pressure to your lane opponent.
Exileh playing Ryze during EU LCS Week 1: An example of how Ryze's pushing and trading power leads to an oppressive laning phase
There are a number of ways to execute a fight as Ryze. Peeling for your carries is an effective option if they can out-damage the opposing carries. Stick close to them so the enemy has to think twice about engaging. If they do, you’ll be there with an empowered Rune Prison (W) to give your ADC valuable repositioning time. If however, the opposing carries are stronger, flanking is your best option. By the time teamfights come around, you should be able to destroy a squishy target with a single combo. Couple this with the tankiness from your items, and you can be a frontline menace.
You can even try to use your ulitmate to get your tanks onto the enemy carries. This has the potential to surprise your opponents and net you some massive teamfight wins.
Exileh playing Ryze during EU LCS Week 1: An example of team fighting
Your damage on squishy targets is quite insane. A 2-second snare lockdown on a squishy target without Cleanse or Quicksilver Sash can win you the game with 3 buttons.
Ryze is one of the most unique champions on the Rift, with an extremely high skill cap that rewards players mightily for masterful play. He fits into almost any composition and can sling spells against the toughest of opponents. If you aren’t playing The Rune Mage on Patch 8.4, you should be!
Special thanks go to Exileh for providing a bunch of great insight for this guide! We wish Exileh and the rest of the Unicorns luck in their games as the Spring Split rages on!