Ed. note: League of Legends champions evolve over time, and so this post will too. This post was last updated on August 31, 2017.
For the longest time Ryze was a champion that would go from 0 to 100 in one patch cycle. Sometimes he would be an unstoppable monster and other times (after Riot has nerfed him into the dust) he would be garbage. So the question that lingers around Ryze’s newest update is whether or not we will finally be getting a champion that can sit comfortably in balance.
Well, good news Ryze fans. The blue boy is back and healthier than ever ...
Except not exactly, turns out that a little over a year after this guide was first published, Meddler popped out to announce that Ryze will once again be seeing changes soon. While I’m sure his spell-slinging combos will stay somewhat intact, this particular iteration of Ryze is not long for this world. Jump into game and make the most of it while you still can.
With Ryze, we want to build a lot of mana and a lot of AP. Because he partially scales off of those blue, magic crystals, we also have a good opportunity to get Ryze nice and tanky as well. Item suggestions taken from Champion.gg for Patch 7.17.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Rod of Ages
Seraph’s Embrace (build Tear of the Goddess early)
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter
Runes and Masteries
For runes we want to take nine Magic Pen Marks, three MR Glyphs, six CDR Glyphs, nine Scaling Health Seals and three Movement Speed Quints.
We want to take 12 points in Ferocity column and 18 in the Cunning column. For our Keystone, we want to take Stormraider’s Surge so that we can go fast after bursting our enemies down.
Passive - Arcane Mastery
What it does: Ryze’s spells deal additional damage based on his bonus mana, and his maximum mana is increased by a percentage of his ability power
How it works: Basically this passive is just going to affect how we build Ryze. His Q, W and E scale off of his AP like most abilities, but they also pull from his bonus mana (bonus as in, mana that you build). So the more mana you have bought, the more damage those three abilities do. Similarly, the more AP that you build, the more mana you get. This passive might as well just be named "Build Tear of the Goddess."
Q - Overload (Max first)
What it does: Ryze fires a projectile in a straight line, damaging the first enemy hit. Passively this ability will reset it’s own cooldown every time Ryze casts either his Rune Prison or his Spell Flux. Casting Overload also activates a rune. Casting either Rune Prison or Spell Flux will charge a rune half way. When a rune has been fully charged (Ryze has cast two abilities in a row that were not his Q) and Ryze casts Overload, the rune is discharged and Ryze gains a temporary shield and a temporary boost to his movement speed. If Ryze casts Overload before he has charged a rune all the way, the rune will be reset without giving him a shield or movement speed.
How it works: This ability seems way more complicated than it actually is. This is Ryze’s main damaging ability and it is very important to order it properly with your other abilities. This is a straightforward skillshot that hits the first enemy it comes in contact with. It moves fairly slowly so it can be pretty easy to miss if you aren’t paying close enough attention.
W - Rune Prison (Max third)
What it does: Ryze locks an enemy in place, rooting them and dealing a little bit of damage.
How it works: Press W on an enemy, Ryze will cast Rune Prison, his target will be rooted and take a small amount of damage. It has a fairly long cooldown compared to his other abilities, so it is important to think before you cast.
E - Spull Flux (Max second)
What it does: Ryze casts Spell Flux at a target, dealing a small amount of damage and marking it with Flux. The next spell that Ryze casts on a target marked with Flux will have additional effects set against them. If Overload strikes a target marked by Flux, they will take bonus damage (the percentage of which will scale off of Spell Flux’s level) and Overload will hit nearby enemies that are also marked by Flux. If Rune Prison strikes a target marked by Flux, the duration of the Rune Prison is doubled. If Spell Flux strikes a target already marked by Flux, Flux will spread to all nearby enemies. When an enemy marked by Flux is killed, Flux will spread to all nearby enemies.
How it works: This ability is targeted, just like Rune Prison. If you are Brand player, you will recognize that this ability is very similar to his E, Conflagration. Think of Spell Flux as a primer. You can use your abilities normally and still do just fine, but when you want some extra effects you can prime your target with Flux.
R - Realm Warp (Level when available)
What it does: Ryze channels for a short time before teleporting himself and any allied units near him a short distance away.
How it works: The important thing to know about this ability is that everything about it is short. The distance you can travel is short (especially at level 6) and the time it takes to charge is short. It allows Ryze to move his entire team (as long as they are near him) to a different location relatively nearby with almost no downtime.
In order to talk effectively about what playing Ryze is like we have to talk about combos. You have several ordered combinations of abilities that you use in different situations. Keep in mind that the first Overload in all of these combos are optional and really only exists to pump out a little extra damage and take advantage of the cooldown reset.
Overload-Spell Flux-Rune Prison-Overload
This is the main combo we are going to use when Ryze has all cooldowns available. This is the most optimal dueling combo that there is because it will also charge your rune fully. Not to mention that if you shout HADOUKEN in all chat every time you do it, your enemies will probably just quit.
Overload-Spell Flux-Overload-Rune Prison-Overload-Spell Flux-Overload
This is the machine-gun combo, which we are going to default to when we are more interested in maximizing damage rather than building up a rune. You may not get the added shield or the speed but you will hit like a truck in a very short amount of time.
Overload, Spell Flux, Spell Flux, Overload
This will spread Flux to nearby enemies before hitting them all with your final Overload AND it will also charge your rune to give you your shield and speed boost. Spell Flux is on a very short cooldown so it allows for mistakes and experimentation while you are still learning.
Ryze has always been trouble - hard to subdue when he is strong and hard to carry when he is weak. With this rework we are seeing a champion that is not only more interesting to play, but hopefully easier to balance if things get out of whack. Ryze has been around since the beginning of League, he is literally named after one of the founders of Riot Games’ Summoner Name. Hopefully, we will be able to close the book on Ryze reworks after this one (nope).