All Around Runeterra: Ten Legends of Runeterra Decks with Ryze
New patch, new Champions, new decks all around Runeterra!
With the release of Ryze, the prophecy has finally been fulfilled: a Runeterran Champion with a win condition based on going ALL AROUND RUNETERRA!
I knew that I needed to build for Ryze as soon as he was revealed, but big blue is a bit complex, to say the least.
To start with, Ryze has zero followers in his card set. Nada. Zilch. This isn’t to say his card pool is small, though, as his Origin allows you to add any non-targeted Focus or Burst speed spell in the game to your deck – this includes every Tellstone, an insane amount of draw, and a bunch of cards we all forgot existed, adding up to 101 different spells that you can add to a Ryze deck just based on his Origin.
At the end of this article (click here to jump there directly) I’ve included a list with my initial impression of the relative value of each card.
You’ll notice that most of these spells are… bad. I narrowed the list of spells I used in my decks to about 28 that seemed generally useful, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t fringe cases that would make sense for other spells to be used (except for Bloodbait, unless you’re playing Ryze Rek'Sai).This enormous list of spells also significantly dilutes our Region pools for cards like Conchologist and I have excluded Conch from my decks as a result.
Another wrinkle is that Ryze adds an alternate win condition to the game, similar to The Bandle Tree or Fiora, which allows you to claim victory without needing to take the enemy Nexus to 0.
The condition seems fairly straightforward when taken at face value: You play each of the five
pieces of Exodia World Runes, attack with Ryze, and stack up your LP, right?
The problem is that these landmarks don’t start in your deck – you have to create them by playing copies of Delve Into The Past.
You start with two copies of Delve Into The Past in your deck for each copy of Ryze that you have at the beginning of the game, and
Ryze will create two additional copies when he is summoned and at Round Start, so getting Ryze on the board and keeping him alive can significantly accelerate our win condition.
Each time that we play Delve Into The Past, we will be given two options out of the possible five World Runes that we do not have in our hand or in play. Each of the World Runes has a unique effect that will be activated when it is played, you play another unique World Stone, or attack with Ryze (level 2), and the sequence is important depending on the matchup.
All of the decks that I have built that focus on Ryze as a win condition are incredibly mana-hungry and I believe that Shard of Reverence is likely the correct choice in most matchups if it is offered. In a vacuum, the others are relatively equal in my mind and what we want will depend on what our opponent is trying to do.
Once we’ve gotten three unique World Runes on the board, Ryze will level and become a value monster.
As I mentioned before, Ryze (Level 2) will activate all of the World Runes we have on board every time that he attacks. The World Runes are going to take up the majority of our board so that we can maximize Ryze's value, meaning we don’t have much use for followers in our deck outside of stalling, until we find Ryze and get the rocks rolling.
Further reinforcing Ryze’s hate for followers, his Champion Spell Ryze's Realm Warp draws us three cards and immediately tosses any followers that we find! This gives us another reason to tilt our deck-building towards being spell-heavy to avoid losing value on our draws.
Now, for a HUGE disclaimer: since the patch is not out, I have not tested these decks yet. These are hot takes on a brand new champion with a unique card list on a patch that I do not have access to, and I cannot be held responsible for any LP losses incurred as a result (I will absolutely take credit if anyone takes one of these to Masters, though!).
With that out of the way, on to the decks!
World Ender: New Ryze Decks
Rune Portals: Ryze Norra – B
Going and finding the World Runes is going to take some time, so why not travel by portal instead?
Norra has shown that she is excellent at clogging the board and stalling for time while we wait to find our win conditions, and the addition of a sort-of deny to Bandle City with Puzzling Signposts gives us a way to deal with enemy removal.
Being in the Bandlewood also gives us access to Transposition, which can help our Ryze dodge a Vengeance or a big Challenger unit while generating extra copies of Delve Into The Past.
Minimorph allows us to deal with big enemy threats while we clean up the small fries with Pokey Stick and Drop the Bomb.
The three units we’ve got are here for value: Junk Construct blocks and creates Mysterious Portal for more blockers, Aloof Travelers create card advantage and can pop portals, and Minion is our eternal chump blocker.
We don’t particularly care about keeping any of these on board once we’ve started to collect our World Runes, and I wouldn’t hesitate to overwrite them if we run out of space.
So, to review our game plan: stall, play World Runes, win!
Gone Fishing: Nami TF Ryze – A (Copium)
What if we don’t care about Ryze at all, and just want his spells?
Nami and Fleet Admiral Shelly were a very strong pairing for a long time, but nerfs to both Nami and Lee Sin last season left them searching for a new home. I think that having access to the immense spell book Ryze is packing may be enough to bring them back.
In this deck we are completely disregarding the Ryze game plan in favor of playing a plethora of cheap spells to pump up our board with Nami and Fleet Admiral Shelly. Half of our spells make more spells, and our units either make or draw spells for us, making an endless pile of value and helping ensure we don’t run out of gas.
Flash of Brilliance is a functionally free spell that adds three to our Nami level-up progress, triggers Shelly, and creates a potentially useful spell in hand. This would normally be an automatic three-of for me, but the variability in the high-cost spell list with Ryze makes it less attractive.
Calculated Creations gives us access to Nyandroid, which absolutely loves all of the created cards we’ll be slinging. This cat has the potential to quickly grow out of control with or without our value engines on board and will come down with four Health, making it a pain for our opponent to remove.
I think this deck has legs, but it remains to be seen if it can overcome the Nami nerf.
L-A-S-E-R: Ryze Lux – F
Demacia is not the biggest fan of mages, and I don’t think Ryze cares to be here much either. Might as well team up with the only other mage in town for the time being, though!
We have a few more units in this deck to control the board while we search for Ryze and Lux to start the light show, and we can trade much more aggressively as we are not trying to win with our board.
Shield of Durand and Back to Back keep our value engines on board and I’ve included a single Entreat to help ensure we find at least one of our champions.
Cataclysm may look weird here, but if we have enough mana to develop our fifth World Rune we can target Ryze to end the game!
Facing the Abyss: Mono Ryze – B
Our game plan is simple here: stall until we assemble the World Runes and win the game with Ryze.
We have an absurd amount of removal tools available to us to handle wide boards with Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Ice Shard, and Buried in Ice. We can also boost the damage of Avalanche and Ice Shard with Line 'Em Up when we need the extra push to sweep the enemy board clean.
We have limited options for removing larger threats, but we can stall for time with Harsh Winds and Three Sisters for Flash Freeze or Entomb.
Ryze is our primary win condition in this deck and we need to be careful not to lose all three. Saving our tellstones for Entomb or Spirit Journey to dodge removal can be critical when preparing to swing for the win with the World Runes.
If everything goes pear-shaped, we’ve got a single copy of The Howling Abyss as a backup plan. Slap it down and pray the RNGesus is on your side.
Dragon Balls: Ryze Lee Sin – C
I wish to be Rank #1!
Lee Sin may have been slapped with a nerf to his level-up requirements, making him a less viable win condition on his own, but he can still function as a strong removal and stall tool for Ryze.
Ionia provides us with plenty of ways to shut down our opponent’s game plan while we dig through our deck for Ryze and the World Runes. Deny protects Ryze from any hard removal spells, and can also keep our opponent from ending the game with cards like The Harrowing or Feel The Rush.
We are running an incredibly high number of spells in our list, so even though his level-up requirement is higher, we should still be able to flip Lee Sin effectively to threaten lethal if we can’t end the game with Ryze. Gifts From Beyond also gives us access to Overwhelm for Lee Sin to set up for the old-school OTK kick.
Noxus Will Ryze: Ryze Swain Katarina – C
Flock it, I didn’t have any better ideas.
This deck looks to utilize the Noxus control tools to stall out the game until we can drop our big win conditions on the board. We can play to either the Swain board-lock win condition, or we can stall until we’ve assembled the World Runes.
Ryze’s spells bring a lot of utility to Noxus control. Being able to add Drum Solo and Eye of Nagakabouros to our deck helps us to keep our hand full while removing enemy threats through the mid and late game. They also generate additional value with the discount and the summoned unit, making them both strictly better than Whispered Words for us.
Shard of Betrayal also works well with Swain as it will contribute to his level-up condition, and activates Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth for us. It can also work with Disintegrate in a pinch, but since it targets the weakest enemy unit this likely won’t be as useful most of the time.
To Save the Future of Robot-kind: Ryze Viktor – A
This seems like a match made in hextech-heaven to me. Ryze creates a ton of cards in our deck, Viktor levels as we play them, and then Viktor discounts both our Delve Into The Past and the created World Rune. We have a huge number of potential win conditions and this deck seems incredibly flexible.
Ryze gives us access to a ton of cards that create cards, making it easy to level Viktor throughout the game and creating a ton of value for us with him on the board. He will also grow very quickly with Augment as we play out our World Runes, and can threaten to end the game on his own!
I’ve included two copies of Nyandroid to further capitalize on our created cards interaction with Augment, to create a potentially enormous Elusive unit.
Our other followers can provide a lot of utility for us as well. Forge Chief helps to alleviate our unquenchable thirst for mana, and since we’ll be digging through our deck with Time Trick to find our Champions, tossing a few Hexite Crystals in with Fallen Feline didn’t seem like a bad idea.
Piltover & Zaun as a region gives us a ton of targeted damage spells, which we can use to remove enemy threats to stall the game, or to aim for the enemy Nexus and burn them out after we’ve connected with Viktor or Nyandroid.
My favorite part of this deck by far is being able to add Purrsuit of Perfection. Including generated cards, we have access to 50 different cards that we can play to activate our big cat.
If our opponent is able to handle the big kitty, Celestial Trifecta functions as our other top-end card so that we can smash whatever’s left of the enemy Nexus with The Great Beyond.
Spell and Web Slinging: Ryze Elise – B
Shadow Isles seems like a natural pairing for Ryze, as it gives us access to healing and hard removal tools to shut down our opponent and stall while we search for Ryze.
Having Quietus, Vile Feast, and The Box helps us to stabilize against aggro and swarm strategies, while Vengeance, Despair, and The Ruination help us to answer larger threats.
I’ve decided to include Burgeoning Sentinel and Buhru Sentinel to give extra value when slaying our opponent’s units with a spell. These Sentinels get a solid stat line after they’ve been activated, and can trade with multiple enemy units or push a fair amount of damage with Fearsome if left unchecked. Along with Elise, this helps to maintain pressure on our opponent in slower matches, and prevents them from working towards their own win con.
It’s Always Akshan: Ryze Akshan – C
When in doubt…
I know, theme-wise this should definitely be a Zilean deck – I just could not find a way to effectively pair the Rune Mage and the Time Wizard. So I fell back to the old reliable, and now we’ve got another Akshan deck.
The Darkin Bloodletters and Swinging Glaive allow us to consistently progress Akshan and his Warlord's Palace despite Ryze’s inability to meaningfully contribute due to the limits on his Origin. The Darkin Bloodletters also give us more aggressive early lines to take against our opponent, to build pressure while we look for Ryze.
Although this deck is primarily looking to win with Ryze, Akshan can still run away with the game with the right Lucky Finds from Swinging Glaive – if we push enough damage early, we can look to finish the game with Xolaani or The Absolver instead of pursuing the World Rune win.
Our equipment cards also activate The Unforgiving Cold and Heedless Resurrection. The Unforgiving Cold makes it easier to deal with enemy combo decks that bring Varus, Pantheon, or Riven into the fray, and stop their big swing turns. Heedless Resurrection will always pull Ryze over Akshan if we need to call our mage back to the field to close the game with the World Runes set on the board.
I’ve included a copy of Soothsayer to protect our World Runes and champions from removal, and make it easier to set off the Ryze win condition.
Ancient Hourglass helps to protect our champions from removal and provides additional value as both have summon effects. We could also use it to have two copies of Ryze on the board to double our World Rune activations, which is funny, but not particularly good for us in the long run.
Random BS GO!: Zoe Aphelios Ryze – D
We’ve got access to so many different cards, I had to make a Zoe deck! We're ditching Ryze win condition in favor of trying to turbo-level Zoe while stalling with Aphelios.
Our main win condition is to level Zoe, but we’ve got Celestial Trifecta, Starshaping, and Solari Priestess to give us a few other top-end options if we can’t do things the fun way. Horazi is still a viable late-game threat as well with any other unit on board.
Sunburst gives us an answer for key units on our opponent’s side of the board, and we’ve got a decent amount of healing available to us with Divine Clerk, Guiding Touch, and Starshaping to help us weather the storm against more aggressive decks.
This brew is almost certainly not competitively viable, but it is going to be a ton of fun when you can set off Zoe!
Ryze is an intensely complicated Champion to build for due to his Origin and alternate win condition. I doubt that I’ve solved him, but hopefully these decks will help you build out your own brews.
Best of luck on ladder, friends, and thanks for reading!
Appendix: Spells working with Ryze's Origin
These are the Spells that you can add to a Ryze deck thanks to his Origin. I've rated my initial impressions for them for how useful they would be in Ryze decks.
- Feral Prescience - C
- Warning Shot - F
- Advanced Intel -F
- Bandle Tellstones -D
- Shuriman Tellstones - B
- Bilgewater Tellstones - D
- Demacian Tellstones - D
- Ionian Tellstones - D
- Noxian Tellstones - C
- Piltovan Tellstones - B
- Shadow Isles Tellstones - B
- Targonian Tellstones - F
- Bloodbait - F
- Construct of Desolation -F
- Fae Sprout - B
- Heavens Aligned - C
- Imagined Possibilities - F
- Jettison - F
- Jury-Rig - D
- Messenger's Sigil - D
- Mushroom Cloud - F
- Ranger's Resolve - D
- Ransom Riches - D
- Sapling Toss - D
- Shroud of Darkness - F
- Spell Thief - C
- Stoneweaving - F
- Stress Testing- F
- Tempting Prospect - F
- Three Sisters - B
- Trinket Trade - C
- Allure - F
- Ancestral Boon - F
- Behold the Infinite - F
- Calculated Creations - B
- Discreet Invitation -F
- Encore - C
- Entrapment - F
- Entreat - S
- Field Promotion - C
- Gifts From Beyond - B
- Icathian Myths - F
- Insight of Ages - C
- Line 'Em Up - B
- Magical Journey - D
- Payday - D
- Poro Stories - C
- Rite of Passage - B
- Shared Spoils - F
- Sown Seeds - F
- Starbone - F
- Supercool Starchart - F
- Swindle - C
- Time Trick - A
- Trail of Evidence - D
- Arise! - F
- Call the Wild - F
- Dragon's Clutch - F
- En Garde - F
- Fae Aid -D
- Flash of Brilliance - B
- Formal Invitation - F
- Lure of the Depths - F
- Mobilize - D
- Pilfered Goods - D
- Poro Snax - F
- Sap Magic - D
- Stalking Shadows - F
- Starlit Epiphany - F
- Unraveled Earth - D
- Vision - F
- Encroaching Shadows - F
- Lost Riches - D
- Risen Mists - F
- Salvage - B
- Sneezy Biggledust! - F
- Stand Alone - C
- The Unending Wave - B
- The Unforgiving Cold - B
- Whispered Words - B
- Catalyst of Aeons - B
- Deep Meditation - B
- Drum Solo - A
- Eye of Nagakabouros - B
- Gift of the Hearthblood - D
- Nine Lives - F
- Portalpalooza - B
- The Time Has Come - D
Six-, Seven- and Eight-mana:
- Aurora Porealis - D
- Celestial Trifecta - C
- Glory's Calll - F
- Hextech Anomaly - F
- Hidden Pathways - C
- Sands of Time - D
- Shaman's Call - D
- Eclectic Collection - F
- Servitude of Desolation - D
- Spirit Fire - D
- Sputtering Songspinner - C
- Progress Day! - C
- Voices of the Old Ones - F