With a new season comes a new meta, and currently teams in the LCS are still trying to figure out the most optimal way to play the game. Less of an emphasis on vision and item and bounty changes have led to a more snowball heavy meta game, with games ending sooner and teams able to pick more snowball oriented champions and compositions.
Ryze seems at odds with everything that we are seeing in the new patches, even masteries not really favouring him right now (lack of a synergistic keystone mastery), yet has seen a 90% pick ban rate in North America and a 70% pick ban in Europe. With such heavy emphasis put on Ryze, it seems incredible that he only holds a 36% win rate in Europe over 11 games and has lost all 3 of his games in North America. It seems LCS teams are massively over valuing Ryze as a champion, and below we take a look at some of the reasons why he doesn’t quite fit this meta.
Too much snowball for poor old Ryze
Ryze is, and always has been, a slow scaling champion. He requires a lot of levels and farm to hit his real power spikes, not really hitting critical mass until 3 items and level 16. In fact, since his slight rework, he takes even longer than previously to scale. This leads teams who pick Ryze to run into two, glaring problems. Firstly, games are simply too short for Ryze to scale. With games ending far quickly now, due to the snowball heavy nature of the meta, Ryze doesn’t get the chance to scale up and become the force he needs to be in teamfights. By the time Ryze becomes relevant, games are either over or his team are too far behind for him to be able to carry the game. Secondly, and related to the previous point, snowball focused champions are also on the up. When champions like Fiora and Riven are so easily pickable, Ryze will often find himself thrust into a counter matchup with an already weak early game. It simply is too hard for Ryze to become relevant fast enough, and too easy for him to get behind to a bad matchup or early jungle pressure.
Can we get a Ryze mastery please, Riot?
If we take a look at the keystone masteries, it is no surprise that Ryze is really struggling to find a place. There is no really strong keystone that synergizes well with Ryze’s kit; Deathfire Touch is more oriented towards poke mages, Thunderlord’s whilst okay on Ryze is designed more for burst champions, and nothing else works on him really at all. In a world where the meta is partially defined by what keystone masteries are strong (Bond of Stone and Thunderlords we are looking at you here), Ryze can’t compete with champions who get so much out of these powerful keystone masteries. The only real boon Ryze can find is in the 45% cooldown mastery, but that really isn’t enough for a champion already having so much going against him.
“I got ganked! Why can’t I ward anymore?!?!”
With the huge changes to vision, it is much harder to teams to control large areas of the map with wards, particularly in the early game. Linking to our point about Ryze’s weak early game above, with only a flash to keep him safe pre-6 and no vision to ensure he knows where the jungler is, it is way too easy for Ryze to die to an early gank. In fact, Ryze is prone to camping in any case, and the current state of vision means he suffers even more when a persistent jungler returns often to his lane.
Less Ryze, please.
In summary, Ryze is not a strong champion right now. When the meta is right and Ryze can find the time to scale, he can be an incredibly powerful champion. The meta is not right for him currently though, and teams are wasting bans and picks on a champion that is very counterable, his awful win rates attesting to this fact. Please stop picking Ryze guys, or at least figure out how to make him work first.
By: Arron “King Dempz” Dempsey – @arrondempers