Pyke is League’s newest champion, and he fills a void that the game has always needed: an assassin support. Over the years, supports have been a ever-changing variety of deadly, but Pyke brings that idea to a whole new level. Pyke is here to kill you, and he’ll do it without breaking a sweat. A fed Pyke can tear through an enemy bot lane in a matter of seconds, with or without his AD carry.
But getting to that point with him takes not only in-game luck, but some serious mastery over Pyke. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to win lane and game with Pyke, the Bloodharbor Ripper.
Passive - Gift of the Drowned Ones
What it does:
Pyke’s passive has two facets. The first is causes him to regenerate health he’s recently lost if he can’t be seen by an enemy champion. The other is that Pyke cannot build bonus health, and all bonus health he receives from items will be converted into attack damage.
Let’s start with the second part of his passive, as it’s going to make the biggest difference to players. Pyke is squishy. He’s designed to be squishy. He’s an assassin who supports, not a support who can assassinate. As such, he needs a weakness. This passive is that weakness and also his biggest strength. Pyke is able to gather AD extremely quickly on very little gold, letting him keep up with the Zeds of the world despite never taking CS.
If you step out of the shadows against a group, you’re going to get punished. If you move into a fight too quickly, you’re going to get punished. But if you find a way around the fight, you can get in and get your kills before anyone even notices.
This is where the first part of the passive comes in. Being able to shroud yourself from the enemy’s view can help you recover some health after taking a beating. This doesn’t always have to be a safety net for a mistake either. If you go in on a trade you know you can win, you can move out, regenerate some health and come back in ready to fight.
The regeneration aspect is also perfect for laning. Not only can you recover from poke very easily, you can actually use this passive to help find wards. If you can be seen at all, you will not start regenerating health. If you walk into a bush and you don’t regen, there’s a ward there.
Pyke’s passive is full of little touches here and there, but it’s going to make playing him very difficult for most players in the beginning.
Q - Bone Skewer (Level first, max first)
What it does:
When you tap Pyke’s Q, he quickly stabs everything in front of him, which slows and damages them. Holding Q will charge a pull. If that pull hits a champion, it will toss them a fixed distance toward Pyke, even throwing them behind him if they’re close enough.
This is one of those abilities where you see the pull and think, “Ah yes, I will use this all the time.” In reality, the pull is amazing for guaranteeing a kill, but rarely as useful as the stab. When someone is getting away from you and your ADC, pull them into you and enjoy their demise. But if you’re in range, the stab is almost always more efficient from a damage perspective.
That being said, the pull isn’t to be trifled with either. If you can catch someone out of position, you can essentially turn them to dust with a single skillshot. But, as we said earlier, you’re trading your most damaging ability to do so. Use good judgement with Bone Skewer and nobody will ever escape your gaze.
W - Ghostwater Dive (Level third, max third)
What it does:
When activated, Pyke gains movement speed and becomes camouflaged for five seconds.
Ghostwater Dive is very useful in a number of situations. The stealth is great, but the movement speed is better. Being able to combine the two for roams into the enemy jungle or to the mid/top lane should help make everyone afraid of Pyke. Keep in mind that this champ can absolutely solo the enemy jungler under the right circumstances.
But Ghostwater Dive also has its uses in fights and in lane as well. If you’re in the middle of a tough fight and can disengage even a few units away, you can camouflage yourself to begin regenerating some health. Once invisible, you can reposition to better take down your enemies.
E - Phantom Undertow (Level second, max second)
What it does:
Pyke dashes a short distance forward, leaving a watery shade of himself behind. A few moments later, the shade will travel from it’s current location to where Pyke or his corpse is. If Phantom Undertow passes through any enemies, it’ll stun them and deal damage.
This is Pyke’s most powerful ability by far, but it can also get you killed fairly easily. The shade will follow Pyke wherever he goes, which includes through a Ryze ultimate, over walls, through Flash, and all sorts of other scenarios. If done right, a good Pyke can even stun all five members of the enemy team with a good dash.
But this ability comes with a price. If you’re dashing forward to initiate — which you probably will be considering Pyke is an assassin — you can easily find yourself up a river without a paddle. We already said earlier that Pyke will get destroyed if he’s left out in the open. If you don’t position properly, this ability will get you killed. Think twice before you dash.
R - Death from Below
What it does:
Pyke leaps into the air and stabs into the ground in an X formation. If Pyke strikes a champion, he will dash to them immediately. Death from Below deals bonus damage on low health targets, making it perfect for executions. If Death from Below kills an enemy, it’ll become re-castable for a few seconds, allowing Pyke to chain kills.
Each time Pyke kills a champion with Death from Below, he will gift a gold token called “Your Cut” into the inventory of the ally who most recently attacked the target. If the ally’s inventory is full, the gold will be deposited directly into their gold counter.
Death from Below sounds complicated despite being very simple. This ability does a boatload (pun intended) of damage to enemy champions, regardless of if they’re in execution range. But if they’re executable, it is actually more gold efficient to let Pyke finish them off.
This should be saved for a finishing ability, meaning Pyke needs to survive the fight in order to reach his true potential. If Pyke manages to weave his way in an out of combat for long enough, he can get a five player execute train going, gifting 300 gold to one of his allies every time.
You’re trying to deal as much damage in a short window as you can with Pyke. So you want to get in, hit with E, Q and an auto as fast as you can. Getting Electrocute to proc will just make your 100-0 faster, so make sure you take this over some of the more tempting support runes.
Pyke has a dash and a camouflage, so Sudden Impact can get a lot of use out of his toolkit.
Thanks to Pyke’s passive, you’re gonna spend at least some time hiding in bushes. Getting a poro to hang out in that bush for you after you leave makes walking back in a bit less scary.
Getting ahead as Pyke should be your goal in every game. Once ahead, you can roam the map and take over every lane. The movement speed from Relentless Hunter will make it that much easier to move around the map.
Secondary tree: Sorcery
Precision is tempting here for some of the kill-related healing it can offer you, but you want to take Sorcery for the utility.
Celerity increases your movement speed and your damage, two stats that are extremely helpful to have on Pyke.
Supports spend a lot of time in the river, especially ones who end up roaming to mid and top throughout the laning phase. Grab Waterwalking and thank us later.
- Relic Shield
- Boots of Mobility
- Duskblade of Draktharr
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
- Sterak’s Gage
- Black Cleaver
- Guardian Angel
Pyke is easily one of the most unique champions Riot has ever created. He looks cool as hell and fills a role that League has never had before. He’s exciting, and a bit concerning. Getting killed by an assassin already feels bad when they’re the fed mid laner, but putting another stabby boy in the bot lane alongside an AD carry? Good luck.
Everything with Pyke is currently all about the hypothetical. If he’s undertuned, he’ll never be useful. If he’s overturned, he’ll be extremely overpowered. Pyke looks to be one of the hardest to balance champs ever made. For all the excitement he inspires currently, we’ll need to wait before we know Pyke’s true place in the world.
If you want to read some more detailed analysis on Pyke, check out our breakdown by a professional ex-Rioter.