Hey, I’m Renegayde, I am Challenger Rank 1 in 3v3 on EUW and Diamond I soloQ. I’ve played around 1500 Ryze games in Season 2 and 3 combined. I play him every chance I get, so I made this guide to share what I’ve learned. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will understand how to use Ryze as a dominant champion in the Twisted Treeline. You can also follow me on Facebook.
Ryze: The Pros and Cons
- Extremely strong fighter mid and late game
- Extremely tanky for an AP caster
- Low cooldown snare
- Good burst and sustained damage
- Weak early game
- Short range
- Bad at pushing
- Lacks mobility
- Easily gankable
- Can’t check brushes or damage enemy in brushes (a much larger disadvantage on TT than on SR, especially in laning phase as there are no brush-free lanes)
Personally, I’d give Ryze 4 stars out of 5 overall for his usefulness on Twisted Treeline.
3x Spell Vamp Quintessences
9x Flat Magic Penetration Marks
9x Flat Armor Seals OR 9x HP/Level Seals
9x MR/Level Glyphs OR 9x Flat MR Glyphs OR 9x Mana/Level
I use Spell Vamp Quints because I like that enemies won’t expect me to have them since every other Ryze uses Movement Speed Quints. I believe Spell Vamp Quints are better on 3v3 because the reason you use MS Quints on Ryze on SR is that you simply run around a lot more on SR. The way from your base to the lane is much longer, and you usually push and roam as Ryze, which makes MS pretty useful. You should adopt a different playstyle on 3v3 though. First of all, the map is a lot smaller, so in general, you just don’t run as much, therefore having less need for MS. Secondly, it’s always a good tactic to push to the enemy tower to prevent him from helping his team. If you keep up a constant push, you will have to stay in your lane instead of roaming. That’s why lane sustain is a lot more useful on 3v3 than Movement Speed. And unlike on SR, on TT, there are always minions or jungle monsters close to you, so Spell Vamp Quints are a very good way to save yourself from DoTs after a fight.
I use the standard Magic Pen Marks; they are the best damage amplifier for all magic damage dealers.
I have two different options here:
Flat Armor: If I see that I’m laning against a bruiser or an AD carry, I go for Flat Armor, since Ryze has very little base armor and health, making him extremely vulnerable against AD champions in the early game.
HP/Level: If I see I’m laning against an AP champion, I will take health/lvl since MR Seal bonus stats are really bad so the HP will make me a lot tankier earlier. Every other guide will tell you to go Mana Regen/Level Seals, but that only is necessary for 5v5. You have a lot more base Mana Regen on TT and you will be able to start with a tear, so there’s no need for the extra from Seals.
Three different options here:
Flat MR: When laning against an AP, I go for Flat MR for better trades.
MR/Level: When laning against AD, but the enemy team composition still has magic damage on their team, I go MR/Level. Ryze has only 30 base MR during the whole game, so against any magic damage you will always need MR runes.
Mana/Level: If the enemy team is going physical damage only (which almost never happens as most bruisers, as well as tanks and supports, have magic damage, so I use this runepage in like 1% of my games), I go Mana/Level for extra sustain and damage.
If you’re playing blind pick, I recommend Flat Armor Seals and MR/Level Glyphs. You will likely be able to lane against an AP without flat MR, but a bruiser can destroy you if you don’t have armor.
I usually go 9/0/21 since the Utility tree gives Ryze everything he needs–CDR, Mana, Mana Regen, Spell Vamp, a cookie (which by the way has been patched by Riot to make an awesome cookie-eating sound when you consume it, so that’s just worth it). I use 9 points in Offense to get the % Penetration, the buffed Ignite (the extra AD can be really useful for last-hitting), and more CDR.
I go 0/9/21 if I’m playing against a lot of squishy high damage champions. The % Penetration will be less useful than base tankiness in that case. Against those teams, you might want to use barrier, so adjust your masteries accordingly to get the extra point for the buffed barrier.
Arcane Mastery (Passive): When Ryze casts a spell, all other spells have their cooldown reduced by 1 second. This is the reason why Ryze has so much sustained damage. One of the best passives in the game.
Overloard (Q): This is your bread and butter–most damage, best mana-scaling. During most of early/mid game your other spells are just to proc the passive to get more Qs out. All damage combos are based on getting as many Qs out as possible.
Rune Prison (W): Snare with a duration that scales with level: 0.75s at level 1, 1.75s at level 5. It’s not a great early game spell due to short duration, little damage, and high mana cost.
Spell Flux (E): Useful for procing the passive and reducing enemy MR, increasing the damage of your Q. Doesn’t scale well with mana, but well with AP and can deal insane damage in a late game teamfight (this skill deals very little single-target damage).
Desperate Power (R): A very versatile ult. It can be used for chasing, fleeing, amplifying damage through AoE, procing passive, and saving yourself through Spell Vamp. It’s most effectively used while Q and/or E is in flight, that way, the spells still apply AoE and Spell Vamp as well as getting their cooldown reduced.
From level 1-4, I skill Q > W > E > Q.
After that I prioritize R >Q >W >E.
I always go Q level 1 instead of W because it gives you much stronger laning ability, since the Q deals more damage, has higher range, costs less mana and has only 25% of the cooldown that W has. Even when invading, W isn’t worth it, since Q deals so much more damage in a fight. Your jungle should also not be ganking before you reach lvl2 so W at leve 1 isn’t worth it. On SR, you would have to go Q > W > Q > E, since you can’t use a Q-W-E-Q combo on an enemy at level3 because you will be out of mana instantly. On TT however, you have much stronger base Mana Regen and the Tear start, so mana isn’t an issue. And Q-W-E-Q deals a lot more damage than Q-W.
I always go Ignite/Flash. Flash is a must on Ryze for chasing and escaping. I always go Ignite since that’s what I’m used to playing with and I prefer offense over defense. Barrier/Flash works as well, if you prefer being safer.
Building Ryze: The Items
Mercury’s Treads (Alacrity): You only have 30 base MR so the extra MR on Merc Treads is good. Competitive 3v3 play is based a lot on invading, catching, and tower-diving so most comps have enough CC for you to need the tenacity from Merc Treads, but even still, it’s replaceable by Sorcerer’s Boots or Ninja Tabi.
Seraphs’s Embrace: The item with most mana in the game (1k) as well as around 160ap and 850hp shield late game and a bit of Mana Regen, all of which is an absolute must-have on Ryze.
Rod of Ages: HP, AP, mana, passive sustain, basically all the things you need early on. I get this every game.
Frozen Heart: It brings you up to max CDR, gives 500 mana, 99 Armor, and an AS slow aura. It’s an extremely good item, unless enemies have little to zero physical damage, in that case replace with Spirit Visage.
Abyssal Scepter: You need some extra magic resistance, the ability power gives you some extra damage, and the passive works well with your E. . If enemy team has little to no magic damage, get Wooglet’s Witchcap and Will of the Ancients and you will have endless sustain.
Wooglet’s Witchcap: This TT-specific item gives a lot of extra AP, boosting your damage immensely, as well as some armor and a very useful active. It’s especially strong against delayed spells like Cho’Gath Q, Leona R, Zed R. It’s replaceable by Abyssal/Banshee’s, Void Staff, Will of the Ancients, or Rylai’s.
Tear and pots every game.
Mana and Mana Regen is all Ryze needs early, and the earlier you stack it the better. I usually buy three HP potions afterwards unless I’m laning against a melee tanky champion who won’t be able to poke me and is easy to poke, but hard to kill, then I go two HP potions and one mana potion so that I don’t go out of mana before he runs out of health.
Afterwards it depends on the enemy team-composition:
Against strong early AD: Glacial Shroud, Catalyst, Rod of Ages
Against strong early AP: Catalyst, Negatron, Rod of Ages, Glacial
Against balanced damage: Catalyst, Rod of Ages, Glacial, Negatron
With Ryze you will want to finish your boots earlier than with most other champions since they are really good for him. He needs the extra MS since he doesn’t have mobility spells.
Merc Treads: If the enemy team has CC, you will want to go Mercury’s Treads since you are short-ranged and you will be focused. If they also have good magic damage, you should throw in a Null-Magic Mantle early.
Ninja Tabi: If the enemy team has at least two bruisers, Ninja Tabi are also viable although you will already go Glacial early and a fast Frozen Heart after, so Tabi aren’t usually necessary.
Sorcerer’s Boots: Also a very strong purchase on him, since his E already reduces enemy MR. Ranged champions have 30 MR at all lvls per default (most have 42 MR due to Flat MR Glyphs and 9 points in Defense). Your E at level 1 reduces 12 MR and, together with runes and Sorcerer’s, you will have 35 mpen early on, reducing almost all the MR of ranged champions early on, giving you immense damage output. Note that extra flat penetration is more useful when enemies already have very low magic resistance so if you’re playing double AP, the enemies are likely to build a lot of magic resistance, rendering your Sorcerer’s Boots less useful. If the enemies have little CC, a lot of MR, and not a lot of auto-attack damage, you shouldn’t finish your boots until very late into the game.
After you have Tear, second boots, RoA, and Glacial, you will need some extra magic resistance, so just buy a Negatron. You can finish it into an item later on. You will want to have Archangel’s Staff immediately when your Tear is fully stacked, since Seraph’s is just an amazing item on Ryze–1,000 mana, a shield for around 850hp when activated at 100% mana, and around 100 ability power–incredibly powerful and cost-efficient. In my experience, you will have time to finish one more item before you have to rush Archangel’s, so you can either finish your Negatron and turn it into an Abyssal (this is very strong if you have another AP who won’t buy it and if the enemies already have low Magic Resistance). If you’re the only AP and/or the enemies have really high MR, or if they champions who need to hit certain skills to be able to initiate or get their full combo in (like Malphite, Brand, Diana), then Banshee’s Veil is a better alternative than Abyssal. If however the enemies have scary ADs right now, you should finish your Glacial into a Frozen Heart first, then grab the Archangel’s, and finish with Frozen Heart or Abyssal Scepter/Banshee’s Veil (whatever you didn’t buy yet).
Here you have a few choices:
Wooglet’s Witchcap: If the enemy team has overwhelming physical damage or if they have strong delayed damage/CC spells, like Cho’Gath Q, Leona R, Zed R, Vladimir R, then Witchcap is awesome, since it boosts your damage really well, as you already have a lot of AP with RoA and Archangel’s (and maybe Abyssal), and the active is extremely useful against some champions.
Void Staff: In very most games I don’t recommend Void Staff, since it works like this: Flat Reduction, % Penetration, Flat Penetration. Abyssal with level 5 E reduces 44 MR. When the enemy squishy that you want to focus has his 30 base MR, 12 from runes/masteries, 50 from one MR item, and you reduce 44 of that, than he’s stuck at 48. It’s not worth buying 35% penetration just to reduce some 16 MR. Only get Void Staff if all the enemies bought one to two MR items, they have a Bulwark, you didn’t get an Abyssal, and only if Witchcap or another MR isn’t worth it.
Will of the Ancients: It isn’t that good either, unless your team benefits greatly from it and if the other items aren’t very useful against the enemy team.
Rylai’s: Only if your team lacks chasing ability and the enemies have a lot of true damage, making you need more health. Last item usefulness is in the same order as listed above.
Ichors are, unfortunately, not very useful on Ryze. You don’t need AD, you don’t need AS, AP boosts your damage, but not as much as for other champions, CDR is useless as you already have 39% with Q, Masteries and FH. Mana Regen isn’t useful in the late game. Oracle’s Extract is of course good against all invisible champions.
What should my teammates play when I play Ryze?
A jungler, preferably AD, with a good clearing time, tankiness, and mobility (e.g. Volibear, Udyr). You don’t need a jungler with early gank potential like Evelynn.
A bruiser top laner who is good at pushing lanes and escaping ganks (e.g. Tryndamere, Zed, Garen)
Why does Ryze not work with duo top lane?
Ryze is not an all-round champion. His team needs to be built around him. He lacks mobility and AoE damage, making him bad at pushing, jungling, and ganking. When playing duo-top lane, the solo lane is required to take a lot of his own jungle, and be able to escape ganks from the enemy jungler. Since Ryze can do neither, he only works if your team has a jungler. You should play Ryze on bot lane since there are less brushes and a shorter way to your tower, decreasing the chance of dying early.
Why should my jungler be AD?
Ryze has a lot of Flat MR reduction with Abyssal, E, Runes and Sorcerer’s. Magic Penetration is only good when your enemies have low magic resistance. Reducing enemy MR from 50 to 0 insanely boosts your damage; reducing it from 150-100 is considerably less effective. When playing double AP, the enemies will stack MR, leaving all your magic penetration a lot less effective. The only way to counter high resistances is % Penetration, but Void Staff does not fit well into Ryze’s build.
If, however, you play double AD, then the enemy will likely stack armor, making them extremely vulnerable to Ryze’s high flat penetration damage. Your mates will simply be able to counter the enemies armor with Last Whisper and Black Cleaver. If you’re double AP, they will focus your AD first, and since they’re really tanky against double AP, they can kill you afterwards, or just run away with a 1-0 since Ryze isn’t capable of chasing. It’s much better if they have a lot of armor and try to focus you. With your HP from RoA, HP shield from Seraph’s, armor from FH, MR from Abyssal, and Spell Vamp from Runes, Masteries,and ult against enemies that are squishy vs. you, they will need to use absolutely everything to kill you, leaving your team an easy clean-up job.
Since Ryze has low range, little mobility, and needs to cast spells during his ult to stay alive, he is countered by long range, skillshots, and crowd control. Syndra, Chogath, Kassadin, and Leona are all pretty hard to play against, since a short CC or just a tiny slow will be enough for them to land their skillshot CC on you. And if you can’t Spell Vamp due to a stun, knock-up, silence etc., you’re gonna be dead too fast. Strong CC coupled with another high burst champion like Zed can kill you almost instantly in a fight, and since your team comp is usually built around you, this will make you lose a fight, so play very carefully against CC+Burst comps.
The Lane and The Playstyle
You should always play bot lane unless you would have a much easier match-up on top. Ryze has no way of checking brushes, he is very squishy, and can’t really do anything against a stronger fighter initiating on him, which is why brushes counter him hard. Bot lane has just one brush instead of two, and the way from the middle of the lane to your tower is shorter, so you’re much more likely to get beaten on top lane than you are on bot lane.
Ryze is very good at getting pushed and freezing his lane early, since you can’t be initiated when you’re close to your tower, you can also deal a lot of burst damage to an enemy trying to get cs, and you can assist your jungler immensely when he comes to gank due to good burst damage and CC. Getting pushed also denies your opponent the opportunity to use the bot lane brush as an advantage. Therefore, when you freeze your lane early, a good enemy won’t stick around in a dangerous situation just to get a few cs. He will invade your jungle or gank top lane. Since you need to prevent the enemy creeps from running into your tower and denying you farm, you need to stay on your lane when your opponent disappears. Since you won’t be able to help your team, they need to be able to take care of themselves. Always notify your allies when your opponent leaves your lane.
Due to Ryze’s early game weakness and his need to freeze lanes, most enemy teams will gain the upper hand during the early game. You don’t need to worry about this, as long as nobody dies, the extra CS advantage you get through freezing will start to show soon, and Ryze is incredibly strong mid-late game. If the enemies have a better early game and use that advantage to take your altar early on, just let them have it. You will regain the upper hand later on.
You just need to relax early and let them have what they want to have. Don’t contest altar unless you’re confident you are stronger and always tell your mates when your lane opponent is coming to gank them so they can position themselves safely. Your lane opponent will lose farm due to your freezing, and Ryze gets very strong mid game and incredibly powerful late game. As soon as you have Tear and Catalyst you can allow yourself to spam spells on minions, pushing faster. That’s when you should try to at least hold your enemy in lane to keep him from ganking.
Your team-composition should be stronger now, so start being aggressive. Taking the enemy altar works well, since you can put your tanky jungler on there while Ryze camps in the brush to burst anything that tries to contest it; you should usually win a fight here. If they don’t contest it–win for you. Standard mid game play then follows: push towers, invade enemy jungle, maybe do spider if at least two enemies are too far away to stop you in time.
You’re one of the strongest late game champions, so just siege towers and wait until your tanky jungler sees a good opportunity to tower dive. Your composition can also backdoor well. Hide in the jungle, wait until you see an enemy on a different lane, run towards a tower on the other lane, get a couple of hits in, and disengage when the enemies get close.
The Duel: Fighting With Ryze
If you just want to trade, or you’re fighting pre-6/without your ult up, always go QWEQ. You might think that QEWQ deals more damage due to the Magic Resistance reduction on E, but this is not true. Your E doesn’t have a very fast projectile speed, while your W is instant, so if you cast EW, then the W will still hit before the E can apply the reduction.
If you have your ultimate up, it depends on whether you’re going to have a face fight, and you need maximum damage and Spell Vamp, or if you’re sure that you are much stronger than your enemy and just need to secure the kill.
If you want to secure a kill = QWEQR: When securing a kill, you don’t need Spell Vamp, you just need it for the MS buff as soon as your spells are on cooldown, and to proc the passive. So cast QWEQR, then start running towards your enemy and hit him with everything as soon as it’s ready again.
If you’re going to face fight:In a face fight, you will need to utilize your ult for maximum Spell Vamp. This is a bit tricky as it depends on the distance between you and your enemy. The important thing here is that you can activate ultimate while your Q or E is in mid-flight so that the spells will proc the Spell Vamp and AoE, as well as having their CD reduced. Depending on the enemy distance it is not always possible to activate R before your spell hits the enemy, therefore:
Short Distance: RQWEQ.
Mid Distance: QREQW
Long Distance: QERQW
Note that in the last two combos, I use E first and W later. This is because in these combos, you will benefit from reducing enemy MR early on. The second reason is that at the start of a fight, the enemy will just spam his spells, meaning that he doesn’t need to move. Snaring an enemy while he doesn’t need to move is slightly pointless. However, if both players burned their whole combo, you are now probably able to see whether you will win or lose the fight, therefore you can use the fact that your enemy is still snared now as an opportunity to secure a kill or disengage.
You need your ultimate mainly for two things: AoE damage and Spell Vamp. Since most team fights start by one team catching an enemy and his allies joining the fight a bit later, you usually don’t need your ult at the start of a fight, since you probably won’t have taken serious damage yet, and the enemy team isn’t in one spot yet. As soon as there are at least two enemies standing next to each other or if you have taken damage, use your ultimate. Again, it is best to use your ultimate while Q or E is still in the air.