Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Ryze was one of the original seventeen League of Legends champions and that gives him a special place in the history of the game. Ryze was a dominant force for quite awhile but as time went on and more new champions were routinely released, Ryze fell from grace and even reached the level of obscurity in recent times. This motivated developer Riot Games to rework and retool Ryze as part of the latest patch. The new and improved Ryze truly surpasses the old version in almost every way and it looks like he could even reclaim his role as a mage to be feared rather than preyed upon.
Ryze’s passive, Arcane Mastery, was the beneficiary of perhaps the most considerable changes. The old version of his passive simply reduced the cooldowns on all other abilities whenever he casts a spell. The new Arcane Mastery is much more formidable than the bland old one. Ryze now gains one stack of Arcane Mastery every time he casts a spell. Each stack lasts for 12 seconds and when Ryze has accumulated five stacks, he becomes supercharged for three to six seconds and gains a shield, his spells all receive increased damage, and his spellcasts reduces other spells’ cooldowns by the cooldown of Overload. Considering Overload has a base cooldown of four seconds, this means once Arcane Mastery goes online, every time Ryze casts a spell it reduces all his other cooldowns by four seconds! That’s absurdly good!
The usefulness of Ryze’s new recurring shield from Arcane Mastery cannot be overstated because it gives him some much needed sustainability and couples nicely with the spell vamp of his ult. When Ryze is supercharged from both Arcane Mastery and Desperate Power at the same time, he’s almost impossible to kill one on one and can literally just bathe you in seemingly never-ending spell damage.
Overload got modified quite a bit as well and some have argued it is worse because it was changed from a targeted ability into a skillshot. This means you can actually miss it when before missing would be impossible. The fact it is a skillshot doesn’t make it worse so long as you aim it properly and hit them. The range was increased from 625 to 900 which is actually quite advantageous for poking enemies from a distance. Ryze no longer has to get right up in his opponent’s face to land an ability.
Overload also no longer grants passive cooldown reduction (he actually no longer needs it with his new passive and ultimate) but did get a slight bump in damage. It deals higher base damage and also has a higher AP ratio scaling (55% opposed to 40%). That being said, bonus damage from mana was lowered from 6.5% of his max mana to just 2% - 4% of his max mana based on the level of the ability.
You will still want to learn and max Overload first.
Rune Prison still works the same way but got some damage nerfs both in terms of AP scaling and mana scaling. The base damage also took a hit. Obviously Riot wants Rune Prison to be valued for its snaring effect rather than the extra damage. The root duration of the ability was untouched. Learn and level Rune Prison second, just like before.
Spell Flux got improved in a few ways which is good considering the damage nerf on Rune Prison. The ability still works in the same fashion only now the magic resist reduction DOES stack on multiple hits. This magic resist reduction also now reduces based on a percentage of magic resist rather than a flat number. So for example at max level it can reduce 12% MR per hit while before it would have only reduced 24 MR once. Obviously 12% stacking up to three times is much better late game when opponents have likely stacked up MR against you.
The new Spell Flux also returns to the original target, dealing back half of the damage it dealt to other enemies it hit after chaining to them. Spell Flux can now deal a lot more overall damage than it used to, though Overload is still Ryze’s main damage-dealing spell. Spell Flux is handy for clearing out minion waves.
Despite its enhanced usefulness, learn and level Spell Flux last.
Ryze’s ultimate ability, Desperate Power, also got a significant upgrade. It retained its flat movement speed bonus, area of effect damage bonus, and spell vamp bonuses but also gained some new utilities as well. First of all, Desperate Power now gives Ryze between 10% to 30% passive cooldown reduction depending on the level of the ability. This is incredibly powerful for an additional passive effect and frees up a lot of possibilities for new item builds. Desperate Power also passively increases Arcane Mastery’s duration.
What’s cool is the cooldown of Desperate Power also gets reduced by its own passive effect. Level three Desperate Power may have a cooldown of 40 seconds on paper, but since it has 30% cooldown reduction built into the ability, its cooldown is actually a mere 28 seconds so don’t be afraid to use your ult frequently. You’ll have it back online before ya know it!
Cooldown reduction isn’t really all that important to Ryze anymore because he has so much of it built into his ult. Don’t forget that 40% is the maximum amount of cooldown reduction you can have so anything over 10% from items, masteries, or runes is going to end up being wasted once Ryze gets his free +30% from maxing out his ult.
Ryze’s core items remain the same. You will still want to build an early Tear of the Goddess and eventually upgrade it to Archangel's Staff / Seraph’s Embrace. Rod of Ages is another core build item for Ryze since it gives him a little of everything he needs.
Because the mana scaling on Overload and Rune Prison got reined back a bit, it might be prudent to look at some AP items after those two. The new Luden’s Echo can be really strong on Ryze and may in fact be one of his best items. He can activate Luden’s Echo pretty quickly thanks to his new passive and this can inflate his damage output dramatically.
Past those three items, which I would recommend always building, another to consider is Spirit Visage. This will make Ryze a bit more tanky and also boost the healing effect from his spell vamp on his ult. Speaking of spell vamp, Will of the Ancients is good on Ryze as well since it’s another +20% spell vamp. Build either Spirit Visage or Will of the Ancients, but not both. Otherwise you’re wasting the cooldown reduction since you only need 10% from other sources to max it out with Ryze’s ult.
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter can be another good item on Ryze for the slowing effect. When Supercharged with Arcane Mastery, Ryze can unload on people similar to Cassiopeia and you don’t want them to get away from you. The added health and ability power boost is just icing on the cake.
Overall, Ryze is much stronger now. He may even be borderline OP to be completely honest. If you haven’t tested him out since his rework, play him and you will likely be laughing at some of the combos. If you don’t have him, buy him. Ryze only costs a paltry 450 IP so you can’t really go wrong. He is a strong mid/top laner on Summoner’s Rift and can even once again hold his own on Dominion. Ryze was in desperate need of some attention and his rework was one of the most successful champion overhauls Riot Games has performed to date.