Ryze

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Ryze
RyzeSquare.png
General Information
TitleThe Rune Mage
Release DateFebruary 21, 2009
Cost450 BE 260 RP
PrimaryMage
SecondaryFighter
Statistics
Health Mini Icon.png Health570.48 (+ 98)
HealthRegen Mini Icon.png HP Regen7 (+ 0.55)
Mana Mini Icon.png Mana400 (+ 50)
ManaRegen Mini Icon.png Mana Regen6 (+ 0.8)
MovementSpeed Mini Icon.png Movespeed340
AttackDamage Mini Icon.png Attack Dmg55.04 (+ 3)
AttackSpeed Mini Icon.png Attack Speed0.625 (+ 2.112%)
Range Mini Icon.png Range550
Armor Mini Icon.png Armor21.552 (+ 3)
MagicResist Mini Icon.png Magic Resist30 (+ 0.5)
Skins
Young RyzeReleased: 2009-07-18 / Special
Tribal RyzeReleased: 2010-03-04 / 520 RP
Uncle RyzeReleased: 2010-07-04 / 520 RP
Triumphant RyzeReleased: 2010-09-01 / Special
Professor RyzeReleased: 2010-10-05 / 975 RP
Zombie RyzeReleased: 2010-10-18 / 975 RP
Dark Crystal RyzeReleased: 2012-02-20 / 975 RP
Pirate RyzeReleased: 2012-10-26 / 975 RP
Ryze WhitebeardReleased: 2015-12-08 / 750 RP
SKT T1 RyzeReleased: 2016-08-18 / 975 RP

Lore

For outdated and now non-canon lore entries, click here.
  • Biography
  • Story #1
  • Story #2
Widely considered one of the most adept sorcerers on Runeterra, Ryze is an ancient, hard-bitten archmage with an impossibly heavy burden to bear. Armed with immense arcane power and a boundless constitution, he tirelessly hunts for World Runes—fragments of the raw magic that once shaped the world from nothingness. He must retrieve these artifacts before they fall into the wrong hands, for Ryze understands the horrors they could unleash on Runeterra.

Ryze was just a young apprentice when he first learned of the arcane powers that had shaped the world.

His master, a sorcerer named Tyrus of Helia, was a member of an ancient order whose mission had been to gather and protect the most dangerous artifacts in Runeterra. Ryze overheard Tyrus speaking in hushed tones with another mage, discussing something called “World Runes.” When Tyrus noticed his apprentice, he abruptly ended the conversation, tightly clutching the scroll that never left his side.

In spite of the order’s best efforts, knowledge of the Runes began to spread—few could even begin to understand their importance, or the sheer power held within them, and yet all saw them as weapons that could be turned against their rivals. Ryze and Tyrus traveled between the various peoples of Valoran, trying to quell paranoia and encourage restraint. But over time, their missions became increasingly precarious, and Ryze could sense his master’s growing desperation. Finally, in the Noxii territories where Ryze was born, the first cataclysmic blow was struck in what would eventually be known as the Rune Wars.

Two nations were pitted against one another, and tensions were running high. Tyrus pleaded with their leaders in parley at the village of Khom, but he saw this conflict had already escalated beyond his ability to mediate. Fleeing into the hills, he and Ryze bore horrified witness to the destructive power of the World Runes firsthand.

The earth fell away beneath them, the bedrock itself seeming to retch and squeal, while the sky above them recoiled as if mortally wounded. They looked back upon the valley where the rival armies had stood, and beheld insanity—destruction on a scale so massive that it defied all physical sense. The buildings, the people, all were gone, and the ocean, once a day’s journey to the east, now rushed to meet them.

Ryze fell to his knees and stared into the great hole torn in the world. Nothing remained. Not even the village he once called home.

Open warfare soon raged across Runeterra. Ryze felt compelled to join the conflict, to pick a side and lend his magical strength to the cause, but Tyrus stayed his hand. The two of them had to guide others back toward peace, and pray there was anything left of the world by the time it was all over.

Wherever they met those who held the World Runes, Tyrus pleaded for restraint. Many were deeply sobered by the threat of total annihilation—indeed, those who had already suffered most bitterly in the war might have agreed to turn over their Runes to him, and yet none of them wished to be the first to do so.

As time passed and the conflict spread, Ryze noticed his master growing more distant. While Tyrus attended clandestine meetings with great leaders and archmages, he sent his apprentice on errands that seemed of little importance, often for many weeks at a time. Eventually, Ryze decided to confront him and, to his horror, discovered that Tyrus of Helia had secretly come into possession of not one Rune, but two.

Bitter and angry, the older mage insisted that common mortals were like reckless children, toying with powers they did not understand. He would no longer play diplomat to ignorant power-mongers. He had to stop them. Ryze tried to reason with Tyrus, but it was no use—before him stood a flawed man, susceptible to the same temptations as those he decried. The allure of the Runes had left its mark upon him. Where once he desired only peace, now he had the means to bring about the end of all things. Ryze had to act, even if it meant destroying his only true friend and ally in the world.

In an instant, he unleashed all the magic he could muster. A moment later, Tyrus’s corpse lay smoldering on the floor.

Ryze trembled as his mind struggled to process what he had done. If these deadly artifacts could corrupt a mage with the strength and integrity of Tyrus, how was Ryze to handle them? At the same time, he knew he could not entrust them to any other living soul...

Soon, the greatest civilizations all but destroyed one another, ending the war. Ryze now understood the task he had inherited—as long as any World Rune remained unsecured, Runeterra was surely doomed. This knowledge was to become a lonely burden indeed, for ever since that day he has scoured the world in search of the last remaining Runes. He continues to reject the promise of power within each one, choosing instead to bind them in secret locations, far from prying and greedy eyes.

Even with his life abnormally prolonged by the magic he is exposed to, Ryze cannot afford to rest, for rumors of the World Runes have begun to emerge once more, and the peoples of Runeterra seem to have forgotten the price of wielding them.

"Take care with this world. What is made can be unmade."

- RyzeSquare.png Ryze

AN OLD FRIEND

Ryze would have been cold if his body wasn’t simmering with nervous energy. With all that weighed on him that day, the harsh Freljordian elements scarcely seemed to have an effect. Neither was he daunted by the distant howl of a hungry ice troll. He had come to do a job. Not one he relished, but one that had to be done, and one he could no longer avoid.

As he approached the gates, he could hear the rustling of fur cloaks over pine timber as the warriors of the tribe rushed to inspect him. In seconds, their spears were poised atop the gate, ready to kill, should he prove unwelcome.

“I’ve come to see Yago” said Ryze, pulling back the hood of his cloak just enough to reveal his violet skin. “It’s urgent.”

The stoic faces of the warriors atop the fence flashed with surprise at the sight of the Rune Mage. They climbed down and worked in unison to open the heavy hardwood gates, which seemed to croak apprehensively at the sight of the interloper. This was not a place that saw many visitors, and those it did see usually ended up on pikes as a deterrent to others. Ryze, on the other hand, had a reputation that granted him access to even the most hostile regions of Runeterra—

—For a few minutes, anyway, if no problems arise, he thought.

His face betrayed none of those uncertainties as he walked between the columns of fierce, wind-chapped faces that seemed to judge him, looking for any reason to try him. A young boy, no more than five, gaped at Ryze, bravely leaving his grandmother’s side for a closer look.

“Are you a warlock?” asked the boy.

“Something like that” replied Ryze, barely glancing at the boy as he continued his stride.

He found the path that led toward the rear of the fortification. To his surprise, the village had hardly changed since he had last seen it, many years before. He made his way to an unmistakable structure of domed crystalline ice, its brilliant azure hue standing out among the dull surroundings of wood and earth.

He was always a wise man. Maybe he’ll cooperate, thought Ryze as he entered the temple, steeling himself for whatever lay in wait.

Inside, an old frost mage was pouring wine into a dish on an altar. He turned to see Ryze approaching, and seemed to judge him silently. Ryze felt his heart sink in dread. After a moment, the man smiled, and embraced Ryze like a long-lost brother.

“You look thin” said the mage. “You should eat something.”

“You shouldn’t” replied Ryze, nodding to Yago’s slightly sagging paunch.

The two friends laughed long and easily, as if they had never been apart. Ryze slowly felt his guard begin to drop. There were very few people in the world he would call friend, and it did his soul good to talk to one. He and Yago spent the next hour reminiscing, eating, and catching up. Ryze had forgotten how good it felt to converse with another human being. He could easily stay a fortnight with Yago, drinking wine and sharing tales of triumph and loss.

“What brings you so deep into the Freljord?” asked Yago at last.

The question jolted Ryze back to reality. He quickly recalled the words he’d carefully prepared for this point in the conversation. He told a story of his days in Shurima. He’d gone to investigate a tribe of nomads that had swelled in wealth and land, to the size of a small kingdom, almost overnight. On closer inspection, Ryze found a World Rune in their possession. They resisted, and…

Ryze lowered his tone to suit the silence of the room. He explained that sometimes awful things must be done for the world to remain intact. Sometimes those awful things are better than the horrible cataclysm that would otherwise unfold.

“They must be kept safe” said Ryze, finally coming to his point. “All of them.”

Yago nodded grimly, and the warmth that had been rekindled between the two friends instantly evaporated.

“You would take it from us, knowing it is all that keeps the trolls away?” asked Yago.

“You knew this would come” said Ryze, offering no solution. “You’ve known for years.”

“Give us more time. In the spring, we will head south. What chance do we have in winter?”

“You’ve said those words before” Ryze said coldly.

To his surprise, Yago took him by the hands, making a gentle plea.

“There are many children among us. And three of our women are swollen with child. You would doom us all?” asked Yago desperately.

“How many are in this village?” asked Ryze.

“Ninety-two” replied Yago.

“And how many are in the world?”

Yago fell silent.

“It can wait no longer. Dark forces gather to take it. It leaves with me today” Ryze demanded.

“You would use it for yourself” accused Yago, erupting in a jealous rage.

Ryze looked into Yago’s face to see that it had been transfigured into a scowling visage—that of a fiend, no longer recognizable as the man Ryze once had once known. Ryze started to explain that he had learned long ago not to use the Runes, that doing so would always come with too high a price. But he could tell this madman before him was not one to be reasoned with.

Suddenly, Ryze felt a severe pain, and found himself writhing on the floor, saliva dripping from his mouth. He looked up to see Yago in a casting stance, his fingers crackling with power that no mortal being should possess. Coming to his senses, Ryze rooted the frost mage in place with a ring of arcane power, giving himself just enough time to get to his feet.

Ryze and Yago circled each other, clashing with powers the world had not seen in ages. Yago seared Ryze’s flesh with what felt like the power of twenty suns. Ryze countered with a potent series of arcane bursts. After what seemed like hours, the combined power of their attacks breached the walls of the temple, and brought the thick ice dome crumbling down upon them.

Badly wounded, Ryze dug himself out of the rubble and got to his knees. He saw a blurred image of Yago, battered, and fumbling to open a lockbox that he’d dug out of the debris. Ryze could tell by the lust in his eyes what he was reaching for, and what would surely happen once he had it.

With his magic energy drained, Ryze leapt on the back of his old friend and began to garrote him with the belt from his own robe. He felt nothing; the man who he had loved deeply just minutes ago was now merely a task in need of completion. Yago struggled mightily, his legs flailing, searching for a foothold. Then he fell dead.

Ryze pulled a key from Yago’s necklace and unlocked the box. He removed the World Rune, its otherworldly pulse beating with a warm orange glow. Wrapping the Rune in a scrap of his dead comrade’s robe, he gingerly placed it in his satchel and hobbled out of the temple, breathing a mournful sigh at the loss of another friend.

The Rune Mage limped toward the village gate, past the same wind-chapped faces that had watched him arrive. He looked askance at them, expecting an attack, but the villagers made no move to stop him. These were no longer fierce defenders; these were people who looked stunned to be facing their own end. They looked at Ryze with big, helpless eyes.

“What are we to do?” asked the grandmother, with the young boy still clutching her furs.

“I’d leave” said Ryze.

He knew if they stayed, the trolls would descend on the village come nightfall, leaving none alive. And outside the village, worse dangers lurked.

“Can’t we come with you?” called the young boy.

Ryze paused. Part of him—a vestige of irrational compassion deep within—screamed, Take them. Protect them. Forget about the rest of the world.

But he knew he couldn’t. Ryze trudged into the deep Freljordian snow, choosing not to look back at the faces of those he was leaving. For these were the faces of the dead, and his business was with those who could still be saved.

FROM THE ASHES
FROM THE ASHES 1.jpg

“I can’t do it.”

The words thickened Kegan’s tongue, and almost crashed against the cage of his teeth, but he forced them past his lips.

“Master. I can’t do it.”

Defeat gave him a chance to catch his breath. Who knew failure could be so exhausting? In that moment, he looked for sympathy in the older man’s eyes—to his disgust, he saw it right there, as bare as the cloudless sky.

When Kegan’s master spoke, it was with the lilting flow of faraway lands. His was an accent rarely carried by these northern winds. “It is not a matter of whether you can,” he said. “Only that you must.”

The older man clicked his fingers. With a purple flash, the bundle of deadwood flared to life; a campfire born in a single moment of willpower.

Kegan turned from the fire and spat into the snow. They were words he’d heard before, and they were as useless now as they always were.

“You make it seem so easy.”

His master shrugged, as if even that half-hearted accusation needed a moment’s thought before replying. “It is simple, perhaps. Not easy. The two aren’t always the same thing.”

“But there has to be another way…” Kegan muttered, unconsciously touching his fingertips to the burn-scars blighting his cheek. Even as he said it, he found himself believing it. It had to be true. It wouldn’t always be like this. It couldn’t always be like this.

“Why?” His master looked at him with unconcealed curiosity in the light of his eyes. “Why must there be another way? Because you continue to fail at this one?”

Kegan grunted. “Answering questions with questions is a coward’s way of speaking.”

His master raised one dark eyebrow. “And there it is. The wisdom of a barbarian who cannot yet read, or count past the number of fingers on his hands.”

The tension faded as the two of them shared a grim smile. They warmed broth, sipping it from ivory cups as their campfire cast them in a flickering amber glow. Above them—above the tundra for hundreds of miles around—the sky rippled with light.

Kegan watched the heavens’ familiar performance, the gauzy radiance caressing the moon and the stars that cradled it. For all that he loathed this land, there was beauty here in abundance, if a man knew where to look.

Sometimes that was as simple as looking up.

“The spirits dance wildly tonight,” he said.

His master tilted his unnatural gaze skyward. “The aurora? That is not the work of spirits—only the action of solar winds on the upper reaches of…”

Kegan stared at him.

His master trailed off, and awkwardly cleared his throat. “Never mind.”

Silence returned to haunt them. Kegan drew the knife from his belt, setting to work on a sliver of unburnt wood. He carved with easy strokes. Hands that had set fires and ended lives now turned to a far more peaceful purpose.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that the sorcerer was watching him.

“I want you to breathe in,” the older man said.

The blade still scraped over the bark. “I’m breathing now. I’m always breathing.”

“Please,” his master said, with an edge of impatience, “do not be so obtuse.”

“So what?

“Obtuse. It means… Well, never mind what it means. I want you to breathe in, and hold it as long as you can.”

“Why?”

His master exhaled something like a sigh.

“Fine,” Kegan agreed, tossing the branch into the fire and sheathing his bone-handled knife once more. “Fine, fine, fine.”

He took a deep breath, swelling the muscles of his chest and shoulders. Silenced as he held his breath, he looked to his master for whatever would come next.

“You do not create the air you breathe,” the sorcerer said. “You draw it inside you, letting it sustain you. You use it as your body requires, and then release it as you exhale. It is never yours. You are just a vessel for it. You breathe in, you breathe out. You are a channel through which air flows.”

Kegan made to release his breath, though his master shook his head.

“No. Not yet. Feel the air in your lungs, Kegan. Feel it pushing at the cage of your body. Feel it straining to escape.”

The young barbarian’s features were flushing red. His eyes asked the question his mouth could not.

“No,” the sorcerer answered. He gestured to Kegan with a discoloured hand. “Keep holding.”

When Kegan’s endurance finally gave out, defiance took over, buying him more time. When even his defiance began to ebb with the pain of his quivering chest, naked stubbornness took control. He glared daggers at his master, trembling with the effort, knowing this was surely a test—knowing he had to prove something, without knowing just what it might be.

Greyness misted the edge of his vision. His pulse was rhythmic thunder in his ears. All the while his master looked on, saying nothing.

Finally, his breath burst back into the chill evening air, and Kegan sagged, gasping, as he recovered. He was a wolf in that moment, a wild animal baring his teeth at the world around him, offering a threat to any that might attack in his moment of weakness.

His master watched this, too.

“I was beginning to wonder if you would actually let yourself pass out,” he murmured.

Kegan grinned, and pounded a fist against his chest, wordlessly proud of how long he’d held out.

“Therein lies the problem,” his master observed, reading his posture. “I told you the air was not yours, yet you are thrilled with yourself for how long you kept it inside you. It is the same with magic. You want it, believing it can be owned. You cling to it, forgetting that you are merely a channel through which it passes. You choke it in your heart, and in your hands. And so the magic is strangled in your grip, because you see it as something to bind to your will. It is not, and never will be. It is like air. You must draw in what exists around you, use it for a moment, then let it free.”

The two of them—student and master, barbarian and sorcerer—fell silent again. The wind howled through the canyons to the south, bringing a keening cry on the breeze.

Kegan eyed the older man suspiciously. “So… why didn’t you just say all that? Why make me hold my breath?”

“I have said all of that before. Several dozen times, in several dozen ways. I hoped a practical element to the lesson might aid your comprehension.”

Kegan snorted, then glared into the fire.

“Master. Something’s been preying on my mind of late.”

The sorcerer chuckled to himself and patted the rolled, bound parchment leashed to his back. “No, Kegan. I am not letting you read this.”

The young tribesman grinned, though his stare was devoid of mirth. “That’s not what I wanted to ask,” he said. “What if I’m not a bad student? What if you’re just a bad teacher?”

His master stared into the flames, his weary eyes reflecting the dancing firelight.

“Sometimes I wonder that myself,” he replied.


The next day, they journeyed north, and west. It would not be long before even the sparse tundra froze over, leaving them travelling through fields of lifeless ice. For now, their boots crunched on useless, rocky soil, broken only by scrub flora. The sorcerer’s thoughts were as bleak as their surroundings, but Kegan was his usual self—persevering without complaint, but equally without joy.

“You said something the other day,” the barbarian said as he drew alongside his master. “Something that sounded like a lie.”

The sorcerer turned slightly, his features shadowed by his hood. “I am many things,” said the older man, “and not all of them are virtuous. But I am not a liar.”

Kegan grunted what may or may not have been an apology. “Perhaps not a lie, then. More like… a fable.”

The sorcerer was watching him as they walked. “Go on.”

“That place. That empire. The kingdom you said was destroyed lifetimes ago.”

“Shurima? What of it?”

“You said it lay in a land never touched by frost, or rimed by ice.” Kegan grinned as if sharing a joke. “I’m not as gullible as you believe I am, master.”

The sorcerer found himself dragged out of his bleakness by the barbarian’s curiosity. He switched the burden of his backpack to his other shoulder, unable to hide a small smile.

“That was no lie.” He stopped walking, turning to point southward. “Far, far to the south, many hundreds of days’ walk, and across another ocean, there lies a land where…”

How does one explain the desert to a man that knows only winter? he thought. How does one explain sand to a man that knows nothing but ice?

“…a land where the earth is hot dust, and where snow is utterly unknown. The sun beats down without mercy. Even rain is rare. The ground thirsts for it, day after day.”

Kegan was staring at him again. He had that look in his pale eyes, the one that said he didn’t dare trust what was being told, in case it was some trick to make him look foolish. The sorcerer had seen that look in the eyes of many, in his time—lonely children and fragile adults alike.

“A place that has never felt Anivia’s touch,” Kegan murmured. “But is the world really that large, that a man can walk for so long and still not see its end?”

“It is the truth. There are whole lands elsewhere in the world that are not frozen. In time, you will learn that there are few places as cold as the Freljord.”


The conversation was stilted for the rest of the day’s journey, and when they made camp, there seemed little more to say. Even so, the young barbarian persevered. He looked across the campfire, to where his master sat cross-legged in sullen introspection.

“Shouldn’t you be teaching me something?”

The sorcerer raised an eyebrow. “Should I?”

He always had a look about him that suggested his apprentice was interrupting him just by being alive. They’d been together for a few weeks now. Kegan was growing used to it. The youth dragged his hands through dirty hair, brushing his mother’s ivory trinkets from his face. He muttered something that would, with imagination, pass for an agreement.

When the sorcerer still refused to answer, he pressed harder.

“So, will we get to... wherever it is we’re going, today?”

His master regarded him carefully. “No. We will not reach our destination for several weeks.”

The sorcerer did not seem to be jesting.

“And I have given more thought to the difficulties you suffer in controlling your gifts,” he added, flatly.

Kegan wasn’t sure what to say. Sometimes silence was the only way to avoid looking ignorant or impatient, so he tried that. It seemed to work, for the sorcerer continued.

“You have some talent, true enough. The ability is in your blood. Now you must stop perceiving magic as an adversarial, external force. It need not be harnessed, merely… nudged. I have watched you. When you reach out to wield it, you seek to fashion it to your will. You want control.”

Kegan was getting frustrated now. “But that’s how magic works. That’s what my mother always did. She wanted it to do something, so she made it happen.”

The sorcerer suppressed a wince of irritation. “You don’t need to make magic happen. Magic exists in the world. The raw stuff of creation is all around us. You do not need to clutch it, and bend it to your needs. You can just… encourage it. Direct it along the path you would prefer it to take.”

As he spoke, he moved his hands as if shaping a ball of clay. A faint chime sounded in the empty air, holding to its eternal, perfect note. Misty energies snaked between his fingers, binding to one another in slow lashes. Several of them tendriled out from the sphere to curl around his discolored hands, seething and darkly organic.

“There will always be those that study magic with rigid intent, mapping the ways one can exert their will on the primal forces. And, clumsy as it is, it will work. Slowly, and with limited results. But you don’t need to behave so crudely, Kegan. I am not shaping these energies into a sphere. I’m merely encouraging them to form one. Do you understand?”

“I see,” Kegan admitted, “but that’s not the same as understanding.”

The sorcerer nodded, sharing a small smile. Evidently his apprentice had finally uttered something worthwhile.

“Some men and women, souls of iron discipline or limited imagination, will codify the magical energy that flows between realms. They will manipulate it, and bind it, however they are able. They are looking at sunlight through a crack in the wall, marveling at how it bleeds into their dark chambers. Instead, they could just go outside, and marvel in the blinding light of day.” He sighed pointedly. “Your mother was one such mage, Kegan. Through repetitive ritual and traditional concoctions, she dabbled in minor magics. But all she was doing—all any of them can do with their rituals and talismans and spell books—is create a barrier between themselves and the purer forces at play.”

Kegan watched the sphere ripple and revolve, not bound within the sorcerer’s touch at all; constantly overlapping it, or threatening to roll free.

“Here is the secret, young barbarian.”

Their eyes met in that moment; pale and human, reflected against shimmering and… whatever his master really was.

“I’m listening,” Kegan said, softer than he intended. He’d not wanted to appear ignorant and awed, especially since he knew he was both.

“Magic wants to be used,” said the sorcerer. “It is all around us, emanating from the first fragments of creation. It wants to be wielded. And that is the true challenge on the path we both walk. When you realize what the magic wants, how eager it is… Well, then the difficulty isn’t how to begin wielding it. It’s knowing when to stop.”

The sorcerer opened his hands, gently nudging the sphere of cascading forces towards his apprentice. The barbarian cautiously reached out to welcome it, only for it to burst the moment his fingers grazed its surface. The trails of mist thinned and faded away. The ringing chime grew fainter, then altogether silent.

“You will learn,” the sorcerer promised. “Patience and humility are the hardest lessons, but they are all you will ever need.”

Kegan nodded, though not at once, and not without a sliver of doubt.


The sorcerer didn’t sleep that night. He lay awake, wrapped in a crude blanket of furs, staring up at the aurora undulating across the night sky. On the other side of the banked fire, the barbarian snored.

Doubtlessly dreaming the dreams of the unburdened, thought the sorcerer.

No. That was unfair. Kegan was a brute, yes, but he was a youth roughly hewn from a land of endless hardship. The Freljord bred souls whose instinct was forever focused on survival above all else. Beasts with iron hides and spear-length fangs stalked the wilds. Raiders from rival villages shed blood all along the icy coasts. Their winter had lasted a hundred lifetimes. These people grew in a land where writing and artistry were luxuries; where the reading of books was an unimaginable myth, and lore was told and retold down the generations in whispered stories by weary elders and tribal shamans.

And Kegan, for all his blunt stubbornness, was far from unburdened.

Is it a mistake, bringing him with me? Was this a moment of mercy, or a moment of weakness?

There seemed no answer to that.

I could have left him. As soon as the thought occurred, the rest of it rose unbidden, treacherously swift. And he would not be the first I had abandoned...

The sorcerer looked through the haze of heat that shimmered above the faded fire, and watched the barbarian sleep. The young man’s lip twitched, with an answering flicker of his fingers.

“I should wonder what you dream of, Kegan Rodhe,” the sorcerer whispered. “What ghosts of fading memory reach out to reclaim you?”


Night after night, in his dreams, Kegan walked the paths of his past. Before meeting the sorcerer, he had been an exile, wandering the frozen wastes alone, warmed only by his brash refusal to die.

And before that? A brawler. A failed shaman. A son to a distant mother.

He was still young by any standard beyond that of the Freljord, with scarcely the chill of nineteen winters in his bones. He had lived hard, by his wits and the edge of his blade, winning a cut of renown and more than his fair share of indignity.

Night after night, in his dreams, he was a ragged wanderer lost in the howling white storm once more, slowly freezing to death in the snow. He was a healer, scrabbling over loose rocks in the rain, seeking the flashes of color that betrayed rare herbs amid the undergrowth. He was a boy crouched in his mother’s cave, in that place that was a sanctuary from the world but never from her gaze, laden with misgivings.

And night after night, in his dreams, Rygann’s Reach burned again.


He was seven years old when he learned the truth of his blood. His mother crouched before him, turning his face in her hands and looking over the scrapes and bruises marking his skin. He felt an uneasy flicker of surprise, for she rarely touched him.

“Who did this to you?” she asked, and as he was drawing breath to answer her, she spoke over him with words he was far more used to hearing. “What did you do? What did you do wrong, to earn this punishment?”

She moved away before he could reply.

He trembled in the wake of her touch on his skin, unused to the contact, fearing and cherishing that moment of awkward closeness. “Just wrestling, mother. In the village all the boys wrestle. And the girls too.”

She regarded him with a skeptical eye. “You didn’t get those marks from wrestling, Kegan,” she muttered. “I’m not a fool.”

“There was a fight after the wrestling.” He wiped his nose on his ragged sleeve, smearing away a half-dried scab. “Some of the other boys didn’t like me winning. They got angry.”

His mother was a thin woman—frail in a land that devoured the weak. She was old before her time, a victim of unspoken sorrows and the isolation brought about by her talents. Even at seven, Kegan knew all of this.

He was a perceptive child. This was the advantage of having a mage for a mother.

As he looked up at her, framed as she was by the mouth of the cave they called home, he saw a softness in her eyes that was as unfamiliar as the touch on his face had been a moment before. He thought she might sink back to her knees before him and draw him into an embrace, and the thought terrified him as much as he yearned for it.

Instead, her dark eyes frosted over.

“What have I told you about upsetting the other children? You’ll just make our lives even harder if the village hates you, Kegan.”

“But they started it.”

She stopped, half-turned, and looked back down at him. Her expression was as dark and cold as her eyes. The younger gaze lifted to meet hers was pale green, like she so often told him his father’s had been.

“And you started it all the other times. Your temper, Kegan…”

“No, I didn’t,” the boy lied. “Not every time, at least.”

His mother moved further back into the cave, crouching by the firepit, stirring the watery broth of boiled elnük fat that would serve as their dinner for the next three nights. “There’s magic in our blood. In our bones. In our breath. We have to be careful, in ways other people don’t.”

“But—”

“You shouldn’t cause trouble in the village. We already live here on their sufferance. Old Rygann has been good to us, letting us stay here.”

Instinct moved Kegan’s mouth before he had time to think. “We live in a cave in the rocks, far from the village,” he said. “You should stop healing them if they’re so bad to us. We should leave.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Kegan. I heal because I have the power to do it, and we stay because we have to stay.” She nodded to the hillside where the trees were blackened by the night, and silvered by the moon. “We’d die out there, where the woods become ice and snow, all the way to the world’s end. Let them say whatever they want to say. Don’t stir up trouble. Don’t stir up the magic in your blood.”

But the boy stood still at the rim of the cave. “If they say bad things about me, or they fight me… I’ll fight back. I’m not a coward like you.”

This night would become a memory branded forever into his mind because of what came next. For the first time, he didn’t bow his head and promise to obey her. Instead, he clenched his little fists, and narrowed his eyes.

In the silence that stretched between mother and son, he expected a slap—one of her forceless cracks against his cheek that would somehow sting for about an hour afterwards—or maybe yet more weeping. His mother cried a lot, quiet and alone, long into the night when she thought he was asleep.

But this time, there was something new in her eyes. Something fearful.

“You are your father’s son.” The words were calm and measured, and somehow all the worse for it. “His eyes, always looking at me. His crime, always there to remind me. And now his words, his spite, thrown in my face.”

The boy gazed up at her in awed, childish fury. “Is that why you hate me?”

She hesitated before answering, and that meant more than any answer ever could. It was that hesitation he never forgot, even years later, long after her skinny bones were naught but ash and dust on a cooling funeral pyre.


He was thirteen when he first saw Zvanna. She came to Rygann’s Reach with two dozen others, the survivors of a nomadic clan that had dwindled in the wilds over the course of a generation. Rather than take to raiding like so many others, they settled in the Reach, bringing fresh blood, skills, and spears to the people of the prosperous fishing village.

Kegan met her one day in the half-light of the setting sun. He was picking heather and herbs in the southern hills, stripping the stems of thorns before stuffing them into his stag-hide satchel. It was a slow task when done right, and Kegan’s fingers were pin-pricked in a hundred places from his haste.

At one point he looked up, and there she was.

He stopped working. He rose to his feet, brushing dirt from his sore hands, with no idea how curiosity and surprise looked like suspicion on his otherwise fine features. You would be handsome, his mother had once said, if you could stop glaring at the world as if you want to avenge yourself upon it.

“Who are you?” he asked.

She flinched at the question, and even to his own ears he sounded abrupt.

“I mean, you’re one of the newcomers. I know that. What’s your name? What are you doing out here? Are you lost?”

The questions rained on the girl like flung stones. She was older than him, though by no more than a year or two. Willowy, wide-eyed, practically drowning in her heavy furs, she stared back at him as she spoke. She had the voice of a mouse.

“Are you the healer’s boy?”

He smiled, showing all teeth and no humour. For the first time in years, he felt the ache of knowing that they talked ill of him in the village. Here was someone new to his world, and it was someone who had already heard a hundred dark things about him.

“Kegan,” he replied. He swallowed, and sought to soften his words. “Yes, I’m the healer’s boy,” he added with a nod. “Who are you?”

“Zvanna. Can you come? My father is sick.”

Kegan’s heart sank. He found himself pitching his voice lower, as if she were a grazing beast he didn’t want to frighten away.

“I’m not a healer. Not like my mother.” The confession was like having a tooth pulled. “I just help her.”

“She’s on her way to the village,” the girl said. “She told me to find you. You have the herbs she needs.”

Kegan cursed as he buckled his bag into place. He started towards her, moving lightly over the dark earth and scree. “I’ll come now. Who’s your father? What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s a sailmaker,” Zvanna replied, leading the way back to the Reach. “He can’t eat or drink. His stomach hurts.”

“My mother will know what to do.” Kegan spoke in the tones of absolute confidence as he followed her across the hillside, descending towards the village. Inwardly, he felt a stab every time she glanced back at him, and he wondered just what she’d heard from the other children of the village.

He didn’t have to wonder for long. She spoke gently, without judgement.

“Old Rygann said you’re a raider’s son. A reaver-bastard.”

Gloom was taking hold around them with the setting of the sun. Kegan showed no emotion at all. “Old Rygann said the truth.”

“Does that really make you bad luck? Like the legends say?”

“Depends which legends you believe…” Kegan considered that a cunning enough answer, but she twisted it back at him a moment later.

“Which legends do you believe?” she asked, looking over her shoulder. He met her eyes in the twilight, and felt the force of her gentle gaze like an axe to the gut.

None of them, he thought. They’re all fears held by foolish men and women, afraid of true magic.

“I don’t know,” he said.

She had no response for that. She did, however, have another question.

“If your mother is a healer, why aren’t you?”

Because the magic doesn’t work for me, he almost said aloud, but thought better of it. “Because I want to be a warrior.”

Zvanna kept ahead of him, her tread light across the icy rocks. “But there are no warriors here. Only hunters.”

“Well. I want to be a warrior.”

“People need healers more than warriors,” she pointed out.

“Oh?” Kegan spat into the undergrowth. “Then why do shamans have no friends?”

He knew the answer to that. He’d heard it enough. People are frightened of me, his mother always said.

But Zvanna had a different answer.

“If you help my father, I’ll be your friend.”


He was sixteen when he broke Erach’s jaw. Sixteen, and already possessing a man’s size and muscle. Sixteen, and all too familiar when it came to proving a point with his fists. His mother warned him about it, time and again, and now Zvanna did the same.

“Your temper, Kegan…” she would say, in the same tone as his mother.

In his sixteenth year, the solstice celebration was a riotous affair, a louder and brighter celebration than usual with the arrival of a merchant caravan and three string musicians from Valar’s Hollow, far to the south-west. Oathings were made by the shore, and promises of eternal love spoken ardently, foolishly, and frequently. Young warriors fire-danced to impress the unwed locals watching from the sides. Hearts were broken and mended, grudges forged and settled. Fights broke out over betrothals, over property, over matters of honour. The abundance of drink only added to the atmosphere of revelry.

Many were the regrets that came with the pale, winter’s dawn, when the clarity of the unmelting snows returned through fading hangovers.

But the fight between Kegan and Erach was like no other.

Bathed in sweat from the fire-dance, Kegan looked for Zvanna by the shoreline. Had she seen him perform? Had she watched him leave the other young men of the village panting, unable to keep up with his wild leaps?

His mother was a stick-thin wraith in her sealskin cloak. Her hair was ragged, with the trinkets and talismans of bone tied into the unwashed strands resting against her cheeks. She gripped his wrist. The solstice was one of the few nights their presence was tolerated in the village, and his mother had made the journey with him.

“Where’s Zvanna?” he asked her.

“Kegan,” she warned him as she held his wrist. “I want you to be calm.”

The heat of the flames and the sweat on his skin no longer existed. His blood was frost. His bones were ice.

“Where’s Zvanna?” he asked again, this time in a growl.

His mother started to explain, but he didn’t need her to. Somehow, he knew. Perhaps it was nothing more than a flash of intuition through his dawning temper. Or perhaps it was—as the sorcerer would later say—a flicker of insight from his latent magical gifts.

Whatever the truth, he shoved his mother aside. He went down to the waves where young couples stood with their families, garlanded by winter flowers, swearing oaths to stay loyal and loving for the rest of their lives.

Murmurs started up as he drew near. He ignored them. They became objections as he forced his way through the crowd, and he ignored those, too.

He wasn’t too late. That was what mattered. There was still time.

“Zvanna!”

All eyes turned to him, though hers was the only gaze that mattered. He saw the joy die in her eyes as she recognised the look upon his face. The crown of white winter blossoms was at odds with her black hair. He wanted to rip it from her head.

The young man at her side moved protectively in front of her, but she eased him aside to confront Kegan herself.

“Don’t do this, Kegan. My father arranged it. I could have refused, if I wanted to. Please don’t do this. Not now.”

“But you’re mine.”

He reached for her hand. She wasn’t fast enough to draw away—that, or she knew it would spark him further if she tried.

“I’m not yours,” she said softly. They stood in the center of the crowd, as if they were the ones about to be bound together in the sight of the gods. “I’m not anyone’s. But I’m accepting Malvir’s pledge.”

Kegan could have dealt with it, if that was all it had been. The embarrassment meant nothing to him, for what was a fleeting, adolescent humiliation to one that had endured nothing but shame for most of his life? He could’ve walked away right then, or even—against every desire and prayer—stayed in the crowd and lied his way through the laughter and the cheers and the blessings.

He would’ve done that for her. Not easily, no, but willingly. Anything for Zvanna.

He was already releasing her, readying a false smile and drawing breath to apologise, when the hand slammed down on his shoulder.

“Leave her alone, boy.”

Old Rygann’s voice, cracked with age, cut through the silence. This was a man, the founder of the settlement, who looked like he’d been old when the world was still young. He was at least seventy, likely closer to eighty, and though it wasn’t his hand holding Kegan back, he directed the men that surrounded the healer’s son now.

“You get out of here, reaver-bastard, before you bring yet more misfortune down on all of us.”

The hand tried to haul him back, but Kegan stood firm. He was not a boy. He had a man’s strength now.

“Don’t touch me,” he said through clenched teeth. Whatever was on his face caused Zvanna to back away. Other hands joined the first, dragging him away from her, making him stumble.

And, as always, instinct was there to catch him. He turned, he roared, and he swung at the closest of the men hauling him away.

Zvanna’s father went down in a boneless heap, his jaw shattered.

Kegan walked away. Others in the crowd cried out or hurled insults, but none sought to bar his passage, or come after him. There was satisfaction in that. Vindication, even.

He cuffed at the corners of his eyes on the way home, refusing to cry, and unpleasantly soothed by the sweet pain in his throbbing knuckles.


He was nineteen when he burned his mother on her funeral pyre, and spread her ashes along the hillside overlooking Rygann’s Reach the following morning. He knew he would have to have to bear the burden alone, despite all his mother had done for the village. For all that they had feared her, they’d needed her and valued her

And yet here he was, casting her remains to the bitter winds with a prayer to the Seal Sister, alone but for his thoughts.

He imagined them in the village, and if they acknowledged his mother’s death at all it was with a selfish eye to their own suffering. They’d be worried now, with the healer gone. They couldn’t rely on her son to step up, after all. The hereditary chain had been broken when his raiding father had sired him, pouring misfortune into a mage’s blood.

Right now, those people would all be bleating their useless sentiments about his mother, maybe even convincing themselves that a few kind words uttered far too late severed them from the guilt and responsibility of how they had treated her in life. Far more likely, they were quietly celebrating the passing of a shadow from their lives.

Superstitious animals, all of them.

Only three of them came out from the village at all, and they hadn’t made the journey to say their farewells. Zvanna approached him after the lonely ceremony was over—but her son, with the same black hair as his mother, refused to come near Kegan. The boy, now almost three, stayed at his father’s side a short distance away.

“The little one is scared of me,” Kegan observed without rancor.

Zvanna hesitated, just as Kegan’s mother had once hesitated, setting the truth in his mind. “He’s heard stories,” she admitted.

“I’m sure he has.” He tried to keep his tone neutral. “What do you want?”

She kissed his cheek. “I’m sorry for your loss, Kegan. She was a kind soul.”

Kind wasn’t a word he connected with his mother, but now was hardly to the time to argue. “Yes,” he said. “She was. But what did you really come to say? We were friends once. I can tell when you’re holding something back.”

She didn’t smile as she replied. “Old Rygann… He’s going to ask you to leave.”

Kegan scratched his chin. He was too weary that day to feel anything, least of all surprise. He didn’t need to ask why Rygann had come to that decision. There was still one shadow darkening the edge of the settlement. One last shadow that would finally fade away.

“So the bad-omened boy can’t lurk nearby, now his mother’s dead,” he spat onto the ashy earth. “At least she was useful, right? She was the one with the magic.”

“I’m sorry, Kegan.”

For a brief time, together on the hillside, things were just as they had been a few short years ago. She leeched the angry heat from his heart just by being near, and he breathed in the cold air, defying every urge to reach out for her.

“You should go,” he muttered, and nodded towards Malvir and the young boy. “Your family is waiting.”

“Where will you go?” she asked. She drew her furs tighter around herself. “What will you do?”

His mother’s words echoed down the years. We’d die out there, where the woods become ice and snow, all the way to the world’s end...

“I’ll find my father,” he replied.

She looked at him, troubled. He could see the doubt in her eyes, and worse, the fear. The fear that he might be serious.

“You don’t mean that, Kegan. You don’t even know who your father’s people are, or where they hailed from, or… or anything. How would you ever hope to find him?”

“I’ll try, at least.”

Kegan resisted the urge to spit again. Even an impossible ambition sounded better than I don’t know what I’ll do, Zvanna. I’ll probably die alone on the ice.

She was drawing breath to fight him on it, even after all these years of little more than silence, but he hushed her with a shake of his head. “I’ll come see you before I leave. We’ll talk then. I’ll be down in the village tomorrow, for supplies. I’ll need things for my journey.”

Zvanna hesitated again, and he knew. Kegan knew it as if the ancestor-spirits had whispered it to him on the wind.

“Old Rygann has forbidden it,” he sighed. The words weren’t a question, or even a guess. “I’m not allowed down into the Reach. Not even to trade before I go.”

She pressed a small satchel against his chest, and that confirmed it. He could guess what would be in there: dried foodstuffs, and whatever meager provisions her young family could spare. The ferocity of unfamiliar gratitude left him shaking and almost—almost—accepting the gift.

But he handed it back to her.

“I’ll be fine,” he promised her. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”


That night, he went into Rygann’s Reach alone.

He carried a week’s worth of supplies in his pack, an ivory spear in his hand, and his hair was woven with his mother’s bone charms. He looked as much a mendicant shaman as she ever had, though he carried himself with a warrior’s bulk, and moved with a hunter’s grace.

Dawn was still three hours distant. Here, in the stillest part of the night, Kegan stalked with exaggerated care, moving between the earthwork huts of the families that had rejected him and his mother for all of his short, harsh life. He felt no malice toward them, not anymore—the old anger was reduced to embers, alive but banked, burning low. If he felt anything more, it was a deep-grained and exhausted sense of pity. They were simple. They were slaves to their misjudgements.

No, his true hatred was reserved for one soul above all others.

Old Rygann’s longhouse sat proudly in the settlement’s heart. Kegan drew near, avoiding the indifferent gazes of the watchmen by staying in the shadows cast by the descending moon. Theirs was a dreary duty, and they treated it with all the informality one would expect. Why should they expect any trouble from the naked tundra, or the bare ocean? No raiders had landed at Rygann’s Reach for a long time, after all.

Kegan ghosted inside.


Old Rygann awoke to find a shadow crouched at the foot of his bed. In the shadow’s pale eyes were slivers of reflected moonlight, and in the shadow’s hands was an ivory knife—a ritual dagger last carried by Krezia Rodhe, the witch that had died only days before. It was a blade that had been used, so it was said, for blood sacrifices.

The shadow smiled, and spoke in a low, feral whisper.

“If you make a single sound without my permission, old man, you die.”

In the light-starved gloom, Rygann could have passed for a hundred years old. His sinuses stung from the reek of lantern oil, and the animal spice of the intruder’s sweat. He nodded in helpless obedience.

The shadow leaned forward, and the reaver-bastard Kegan’s face leered, coldly amused, from the darkness.

“I’m going to tell you something, old man. And you will listen to me, if for no other reason that it lets you live a little longer.”

The dagger, carved from a drüvask tooth, glinted in the half-dark. Kegan rested the tip, carved to a puncturing point, on the man’s saggy throat.

“Nod if you understand.”

Rygann nodded, wisely mute.

“Good.” Kegan kept the knife in place. His eyes were liquid with hatred, his teeth almost trembling with the force of his anger. He was a creature on the edge of savagery, held back only by tattered shreds of humanity.

Rygann swallowed hard, saying nothing. He was shaking himself, for far different reasons.

“You killed my mother,” Kegan growled. “It wasn’t the disease that ate her away from within. It was you. You killed her, day by day, with your mistrust and your ingratitude. You killed her by exiling her to the cold comfort of that cave. You killed her by banishing her on the whims of your stupid superstition.”

The blade rested on the old man’s cheek, ready to saw through the flesh.

“And now you’re killing me,” Kegan added softly. “It wasn’t enough to shame me for the sin of my father’s blood, and curse me for being bad luck. It wasn’t enough to kick a child out of your precious village, over and over, and teach me nothing except how to hate others. Now, while the embers of my mother’s funeral pyre are still warm, you want to damn me to wander the wasteland, to die.”

And then the dagger was gone.

The intruder slipped from the bed, edging back across the room. Kegan’s smile became a grin, scarcely illuminated by the shuttered lantern he held up from the bedchamber’s table.

“That’s all I came to say. I want you to think about those words when I’m gone. I want you to think of the boy you helped to raise by throwing him and his mother out into the cold.”

Rygann didn’t know how to respond, or if the healer’s son even desired a reply. He stayed silent out of a healthy blend of wisdom and fear, breathing in the earthy, oily scent that filled the room.

Kegan unshuttered the lantern, and a sudden amber glow spread across the room. Patches of resinous wetness marked the floorboards, the walls, the shelves, even the bedsheets. The intruder had done his work well—in silence—before waking his prey.

“W-wait,” the old man stammered, breathless with dawning panic. “Wait—”

“No, I have a journey to make,” Kegan said, almost conversationally, “and I should warm my hands before I go. Goodbye, Rygann.”

Wait! Please!

But Kegan didn’t wait. He was backing away towards the door, and tossed the lantern like a parting gift. It smashed on the rough floorboards of the bedchamber.

The world ignited, and Kegan laughed even as the flames licked at his own flesh.


Fire is like a living thing, rapacious and ravenous. It has its own hunger, its own whims, and—like fate—its own vile sense of humor. It leapt in caressing licks, as sparks that were carried by the Freljord’s hateful wind, dancing across nearby rooftops. Everywhere that it touched, it bit down and devoured.

Kegan cut north, heading through the forested lowlands, blind to the devastation in his wake. He had more pressing matters than waiting to see if Old Rygann’s hall would burn all the way to the ground. He had the seared ruin of his face to deal with; a screaming, searing wash of pain bathing the left side of his features, soothed only by pressing his flesh into the snowy earth.

Not for the first time, he wondered if there might not be something to all the talk of the ill-fortune in his blood.

By the time he reached high enough ground to turn back and witness the results of his handiwork, the sun was rising above the ocean, and the fire had long since been reduced down to a pall of thick smoke, curling and thinning in the mercy of the morning winds. He held a palmful of ice against his burned cheek, hoping to see Rygann’s hall as a charred, black heart in the center of the village.

What he saw instead stopped his breath. Mute with horror, scarred by carelessness, and staggering in an awkward run, the betrayer made his way back to the scene of his betrayal.

At first, no one marked his return. The survivors wandered among the charred skeletons of their homes, where all they owned was now gone. He was just one more silhouette in the smoky haze, one more scarred face among those that still lived.

He found Zvanna outside the blackened remains of her hut. She’d been laid carefully on the earth with her son and husband, the three of them silent and still beneath the same sooty blanket. Kegan crouched beside them for an unknown time, his skull empty of thought, his body empty of strength. Perhaps he wept. He wasn’t sure—not then, and not after—though he felt the sting of salt upon his wounded cheek.

He could only remember two things for certain, in his time at her side. The first was the sight of the family’s faces when he pulled the sheet back, to be certain it was them. When he had his answer, he covered them again.

The second was resting his ungloved hands on the filthy shroud, pleading for his mother’s old magic to work through him. He achieved no more in that moment than he ever had, when seeking to draw upon his supposed gifts.

They stayed dead. He stayed broken.

Some time later, of course, the others came for him. Kegan stayed on his knees by Zvanna’s side as they threw insults and blame, as they bleated about hexes and sacred misfortune, and cursed the day he’d been born. Kegan let it wash over him. It was nothing against the emptiness in his chest and the acid ache of his face.

The survivors had no idea. They blamed him out of mournful superstition because there was no one else to blame, little knowing the true harm he’d done to them all. They blamed his blood when they should have blamed his deeds.

Kegan left the razed village without looking back. He walked out into the wilderness, just as he had planned, though the anticipated sense of exultation was now nothing but ashes in his mouth.


What followed were the weeks of wandering. Kegan made his way inland, following game spoor and trade-trails, with no destination in mind and no knowledge of what settlements lay where. The only places he knew well were isolated glades and mountainsides with harvestable herbs his mother had used in her medicinal concoctions. Even the closest settlement, Valar’s Hollow, was weeks away, and likely to be the new home of any survivors from Rygann’s Reach. If Kegan found his way there, he doubted the welcome would be warm. Far likelier, it would be fatal.

He hunted when he could, though he lacked a true hunter’s skills. Once he gorged on the half-cooked carcass of a rabbit, only to throw the mess back up hours later when his belly rebelled.

The days bled into weeks, and the weeks into a month, and more, as the skies stayed dark and the weather turned foul. He saw no other tribespeople. He saw no sign of nearby settlements. He spent hours in a snowblind daze, and others in a frost-mad trance. Day after day he encountered nothing but the icy indifference of his homeland—the Freljord cared nothing for whether he lived or died by its howling breath. Nowhere else in the world could teach such a brutal lesson in a man’s insignificance.

Fortune, or perhaps a cruel twist of fate, led him to a cave formed from the same pale rock as his mother’s sanctuary. Emaciated, weakened from exposure, scarred by his own fire, Kegan Rodhe lay down on the cold rock, feeling his skin freeze to the stone. He would lie here and wait for the latest blizzard to die down, or he would lie here and wait to die. Whichever came first.

But on that night, he met the man who would become his teacher. His master.

The figure melted out of the storm in a weary trudge, with his shoulders hunched and head down. His beard was shaggy, and grey not with age but from the bite of the frosty winds. His features were gaunt beneath his hood, and his eyes shimmered with an unnatural iridescence. Strangest of all was the man’s skin, mottled and tattooed—in the storm’s light, with each crash of lightning, the flesh looked as though it were darkening to blue.

Later, by firelight, it was far more clearly paling to violet.

As meetings fated by destiny went, it was too anticlimactic for any bard’s tale, or saga of old. No arcane declarations were made, and no binding pacts were sworn. The newcomer had merely stood at the mouth of the cave, turning a suspicious eye on the human wreckage lying before him.

“What,” the sorcerer muttered, “do we have here?”

Kegan drifted in and out of consciousness, as well as his senses. When he finally managed to summon words, he accused the older man of being a spirit, or an illusion.

In answer, the sorcerer crouched beside him, offering a hand.

Warmth spread through Kegan from his touch, in a rush of tingling… life. It was not the sting of flame, yet the relief it brought was so fierce that it almost broke him.

“I am neither a phantom nor a fiction,” the newcomer had said. “My name is Ryze. And you, dear miserable creature… Who are you?”


Kegan woke well after dawn, thumbing the grit from his eyes. It didn’t surprise him to see that his master was already up, sitting cross-legged and with his eyes closed. He was meditating, the barbarian knew, though he couldn’t understand the point of sitting still for an hour a day. What was it supposed to accomplish? It seemed a strange suspension between sleeping and being awake, to no obvious purpose...

“Good morning,” the sorcerer said, without opening his eyes. “You did not sleep well,” he added. As so often, it was a statement and not a question.

Kegan emptied one nostril into the ashes of the campfire, and grunted. “Why do I feel like you’re watching me, even when your eyes are closed?”

“Because you’re uneasy around others. It makes you doubt their intentions.”

Kegan grunted again. “There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy suspicion.”

Ryze chuckled, remaining motionless in his meditative pose.

Kegan bristled at that. “What’s so funny?”

“I hear myself in your words, sometimes. The way you turn mistrust into a virtue is especially familiar to me. I can’t say I blame you, given all you have endured.”

Kegan stared at him. Can he read my mind? Does he see my dreams...?

The sorcerer made no response. Not even a twitch.

The young barbarian rose, stretching out the night’s soreness with a delicious crackle of sinew. “Nnh. Do you want me to heat the last of the broth, to break our fast?”

“Decent of you, Kegan. Will you gather firewood, or use your gifts?”

The question was loaded, bordering on condescending, and it took no small effort for Kegan to avoid the bait. “Firewood. I’ll try the magic again later.”

Another chuckle. Another maddening chuckle. “As you wish,” Ryze replied.

Kegan took his time finding enough fallen deadwood. His skull was awhirl with echoes of their conversations these last few weeks. Something was nagging at the back of his brain, something that made the healing burn scars itch across his face. It was only when he returned to their makeshift camp, and dumped the armful of broken branches, that he realized what it was.

“Master.”

The sorcerer didn’t move, but the air seemed to change around them both. It became sharper, somehow—maybe a touch cooler, charged with some unseen force.

“Yes?”

Kegan cleared his throat, fighting for the right way to say it. “When you spoke of magic yesterday, you mentioned… You mentioned the stuff of creation.”

Ryze remained motionless, but for his sorcery-darkened lips. “I did, yes. Go on.”

Kegan took a breath, struggling with the immensity of what he wanted to say. “Well. Water comes from rain, ice, and the sea. Fire comes from sparks and tinder, or from lightning striking the forest. And those trees that make up the forest, they come from seeds.”

“All true, to some degree. And surprisingly poetic for this hour of the morning. What is the conclusion of this thesis?”

“This what?”

The older man smiled, not unkindly. “What are you trying to say, Kegan?”

“Just that everything comes from somewhere. Everything has… a birth. A source. Is it the same for magic? Does it have a source in the world?”

Ryze didn’t answer at once. His stillness, to Kegan’s eyes, seemed suddenly a thing of restraint, rather than serenity.

“That is an intelligent question, my friend. There is a purity to your barbaric way of thinking, and I commend you for that line of thought. But it is not a discussion you and I are ready to have.”

The barbarian clenched his teeth, swallowing his temper. Finally he’d asked something worthy of an answer, and his master denied it to him. “But I was thinking… If you controlled the rain, you could make new rivers. If you had a thousand seeds, you could plant a new forest. If you have iron, you can forge an axe. What if you could control the source of magic? You wouldn’t need to guide it or nudge it. You could command it, after all.”

Ryze opened his eyes.

His gaze was colder than any Freljordian wind. There was mercy in those eyes, and admiration, but beneath both of those was a knifing, sickly hint of fear.

You’re afraid, Kegan thought, and his skin crawled at the very idea.

He didn’t know why. He couldn’t guess what it was about his words would inspire that stern, cold dread in his master’s soul. But Kegan knew what fear looked like, in the eyes of others. He’d seen it all his life.

“Not yet,” Ryze murmured. “When you are ready, we will speak of this. But not yet.”

Kegan Rodhe nodded, agreeing without understanding, intrigued by the unease in his master’s stare. Fear was a weakness, after all, and weaknesses had to be faced.

And conquered.

Abilities

Arcane Mastery.png Arcane Mastery [Passive]

Innate: Ryze's spells deal extra damage based on his Bonus Mana, and his maximum Mana is increased by (+5% per 100).
Overload.png Overload [Q]
Cost: 40 Mana Cooldown: 6 s Range: 100

Overload2.png
Overload3.png
Overload4.png
Passive: Rune Prison.png Rune Prison and Spell Flux.png Spell Flux rest Overload's cooldown and charge a Rune for 4 seconds, up to 2 Runes.
Active: Unleashes a runic blast, dealing magic damage to the first enemy struck. Any active Runes are discharged.

If 2 Runes are discharged, they Overload, shielding Ryze and increasing his Movement Speed for 2 seconds.

Magic Damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 / 185 (+45%) (+3% bonus)
Shield: 65-150 (+60%) (+3% bonus)
Movement Speed: 25 / 25 / 31 / 34 / 37 / 40%
Rune Prison.png Rune Prison [W]
Cost: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 Mana Cooldown: 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 s Range: 615

Active: Instantly root an enemy for 0.75 seconds and deal magic damage. Magic Damage: 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 / 160 (+60%) (+1% bonus)
Spell Flux.png Spell Flux [E]
Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 Mana Cooldown: 3.25 / 3 / 2.75 / 2.5 / 2.25 s Range: 615

Active: Apply Flux to an enemy, dealing magic damage.

Spells consume Flux for bonus effects:
Overload.png Overload: Deals more damage and spreads to nearby enemies with Flux.
Rune Prison.png Rune Prison: Root duration is increased to 1.5 seconds.
Spell Flux.png Spell Flux: Spreads Spell Flux to nearby enemies, dealing 50% damage.

Spells that kill enemies affected by Flux spread Spell Flux to nearby enemies.

Magic Damage: 70 / 90 / 110 / 130 / 150 (+30%) (+2% bonus)
Overload.png Overload Increased Damage: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%
Realm Warp.png Realm Warp [R]
Cost: 100 Mana Cooldown: 180 s Range: 1750 / 3000

Active: Ryze opens a portal to a location. After 2 seconds, all allies near the portal are teleported to that location.

If Ryze becomes unable to cast or move, Realm Warp is cancelled.

Patch History

v8.18

Empowered W root duration decreased.

Ryze's pro-vs-normal discrepancy has again led to ubiquitous presence in competitive play despite rough performances everywhere else. We're targeting Ryze's E-W root for a power-down as pros are most reliably able to coordinate successful ganks and catches around it.

Rune Prison.png W - Rune Prison

EMPOWERED ROOT DURATION : [2] 1.5 seconds


v8.8
E mana cost increased at early ranks.

High waveclear in mid lane is particularly worrisome in two cases: when it over-enables a champion to roam and affect side-lanes, and when it allows a hard-scaling champion to avoid fights until late-game. In Ryze's case, we've got both problems at play, so we're making his waveclear more expensive to keep up early game.

Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux

COST : [40/55/70/85/100]
60/70/80/90/100 mana


v8.5
E damage increased at early ranks. E spread damage decreased. R cooldown increased.

Compared to other mages with good waveclear, Ryze's method (spread Spell Flux, then pop with Overload) is one of the more difficult to get right. Mistiming Spell Flux against a low-health minion often means you lose out on both the spread and the last hit, making the gap between high- and low-tier Ryzes particularly stark. Given that Ryze has been popping off in pro again (despite questionable performances on live servers), we're making Ryze's waveclear easier to access in the early game while reducing its overall potency. Realm Warp's cooldown is also targeted at pro play, given how much harder it is to coordinate in solo queue.

Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux

DAMAGE : [50/75/100/125/150]
70/90/110/130/150
SPREAD DAMAGE : [100%] 50%

Realm Warp.png R - Realm Warp

COOLDOWN : [120] 180 seconds


v8.3
Activating Stopwatch or Zhonya’s now cancels Ryze’s ultimate as though he had been interrupted by crowd control.

When the original decision was made to allow Ryze to use Zhonya's Hourglass to guarantee his ultimate, we were on the fence about this interaction, but it was deemed acceptable because he paid a significant cost to access it. Zhonya's Hourglass either came later in the game, or delayed core items in Ryze's already expensive build. Now that the Inspiration tree has made Zhonya's effect much easier to access, we’re not comfortable with keeping this low gameplay interaction intact.

THE ULTIMATE CC Activating Stopwatch or Zhonya's now cancel's Ryze's ultimate as though he had been interrupted by crowd control.


v7.22

BASE HEALTH : [558.48] 570
HEALTH GROWTH STAT : [86] 98


v7.18
W ratio increased.

Ryze has been in a pretty weak place for a while. We don’t want to make it any easier for him to reach his strong late game, but we think he could use a bit more damage in his combo once he’s started to really build ability power.

Rune Prison.png W - Rune Prison

RATIO : [0.2] 0.6 ability power


v7.9
Spell Flux still spreads if its target dies while E is mid-air.

We’re making Spell Flux more forgiving on higher-latency environments.

Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux

LAG FORGIVENESS : If Spell Flux’s target dies while the projectile is traveling, Spell Flux will still spread to nearby enemies


v7.8
Q cooldown resets on W/E cast, not hit.

Much like Karthus, Ryze’s quick combos create a large gap between low and high ping players by decreasing accessibility to his combos. We’re making his resets a bit more fluid to bridge that gap.

Overload.png Q - Overload

ANTICIPATION : Cooldown reset now occurs when Rune Prison or Spell Flux are cast, rather than when they hit their targets


v7.5
W duration reduced, E cooldown now scales down with ability level

Ryze has been a constant in Patch Notes this year - this stems from the fact that we're still working to reduce the gap between pro play and regular play. This time we're aiming to reduce his reliability at setting up ganks - for its reliability, Rune Prison’s point-and-click root results in success far too often. The long root also lets Ryze players on low-ping environments churn out combos (WQEQ) that aren’t similarly with even a little latency added to the mix. Together with that, we're also reducing the amount of pressure he puts on waves and enemies - we want Ryze's enemies to have more opportunities to interact with the minion wave without getting Flux’d in the process.

Rune Prison.png W - Rune Prison

BASE ROOT DURATION : [1] 0.75 seconds (empowered duration unchanged)

Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux

COOLDOWN : [2.25 seconds] 3.25/3/2.75/2.5/2.25 seconds


v7.4
Q bonus damage on E’d targets reduced.

Despite 7.1’s changes to reduce Ryze’s early game safety, the Rune Mage is still machine-gunning everyone to death once he eventually scales into mid/late game. That said, this is a far larger problem in pro play than normal play, and nerfing base damages would just make that worse. We’re targeting Q’s bonus damage, ensuring power’s pulled more heavily from matches where Ryze players are far more diligent in priming their targets with Spell Flux before tossing out an Overload.

Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux

Q BONUS DAMAGE VS FLUX’D TARGETS : [40/55/70/85/100%] 40/50/60/70/80%


v6.24
Less shield and Movement Speed on Q

One of the goals of Ryze’s 2016 update was to diversify his strengths beyond raw offensive threat. Adding defense- and utility-oriented tuning levers meant we’d have the means to balance around his damage, not just the damage itself. That brings us to today. Ryze has retained his historic late-game potential, but he’s not struggling nearly enough to get there. Overload’s shield and speed boost are too effective a safety net, especially early on while Ryze is still scaling up. Making him more vulnerable to unfavorable matchups gives opponents a window to hinder his progression toward late-game carry status, but if Ryze can navigate the added risk, his payoff is the same as it’s always been.

Overload.png Q - Overload

OLD SHIELD : 60~200 at levels 1-18 (50 + 10 per level from levels 1-12, + 5 per level from levels 13-18)
NEW SHIELD : 65~150 at levels 1-18 (60 + 5 per level)
BONUS MOVEMENT SPEED : [25/30/35/40/45/50%] 25/28/31/34/37/40%


v6.18
Realm Warp’s rank 1 tooltip and indicator have been fixed.

While we could have documented this with the other bugfixes at the bottom of the patch notes, the truth is that with a busted range indicator, most players probably haven’t been taking advantage of Realm Warp’s increased range. In other words, this bugfix might create more impact than the actual buff last patch. Hence, full-fledged patch notes.

Realm Warp.png R - Realm Warp

BUGFIX : Realm Warp's tooltip and range indicator have been updated to match last patch’s cast range increase (now 1750 at rank 1)


v6.17
R cast range up at rank 1.

We knew going into Ryze’s update that his new kit has a steep mastery curve. Buffing him while players are still in a learning period can be risky: today’s “balanced” Ryze quickly becomes overpowered once players begin to use him optimally. That said, it’s been long enough for us to be comfortable giving Ryze a bit more to get excited about when he hits 6.

Realm Warp.png R - Realm Warp

RANGE : [1500/3000] 1750/3000


v6.14

Ryze, the Rune Mage, will be updated with the launch of patch 6.14! To learn more, check the following links:


v6.11
Q damage down. R cooldown up.

In the hands of an experienced player, Ryze is a cut above the competition. The ability to rapid-fire massive damage, CC or waveclear - all with very low downtime - makes it easy to see why Ryze is the go-to for some of the best players in the world. We’re limiting Ryze’s effectiveness when cycling through the entire spellbook to give opponents moments of downtime to capitalize on. Unless they’re rooted (and then rooted again, and again, etc).

Overload.png Q - Overload

DAMAGE : [60/95/130/165/200] 60/90/120/150/180

Desperate Power.png R - Desperate Power

COOLDOWN : [50/40/30 seconds] 50 seconds at all ranks


v6.4
Q damage up.

Our last round of changes to Ryze left him feeling weak in the wake of his passive's spell-cap, so we're tossing him some love. We're still working on our long-term vision for Ryze (and continuing to monitor his state on live) but in the meantime we're letting him pack more of a punch, especially when weaving his signature combos.

Overload.png Q - Overload

DAMAGE : [60/85/110/135/160] 60/95/130/165/200


v6.3
Passive capped at 5 spellcasts. Ult cooldown lowered.

To put it lightly, the discrepancy between a new Ryze player and a Ryze veteran is staggering. Not unlike Alistar's changes above, Ryze is often balanced around what he's capable of doing rather than what he does realistically with those 5 seconds of Supercharge. With the long-term goal of finding a sustainable balance state for Ryze long-term, we're starting off by giving him a clearly defined and achievable 'best case' for Arcane Mastery. With a hard cap in place, we can follow-up by making the rest of Ryze's kit work within that band - like focusing Ryze's mastery around how many times you can enter (and optimize) Supercharge, instead of just cramming spell combos into onerotation. There's lots to adjust going forward, but this is a necessary first step if Ryze is ever to get off the wild balance rollercoaster he's been on for a while.

Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery

DURATION : Now lasts for 5 spell casts or 2.5-5 seconds (based on rank of Q - Overload).

Desperate Power.png R - Desperate Power

COOLDOWN : [80/60/40 seconds] 50/40/30 seconds


v5.22

In a world without Mana potions (and generally less early Mana regeneration), we've identified a few champions for some emergency rations, giving early Mana boosts until they can get their footing and purchase items to make up the deficit. This also means we can really understand which champions relied on Mana potions as a crutch to limp through the early to mid game, and we can give additional love if necessary.

Mana

The following champs have +50 base Mana and -3 Mana scaling (net -1 Mana at level 18):


v5.14
Passive stack duration down. Q damage down. E ratio and damage down as well.

"Not much to see here, just toning down Ryze's damage in a few areas, particularly his early-game spikes in the laning phase. We still view Ryze as a hyper-carry that needs team support to make it to his ultra-rapid-fire lategame, but the compensation buffs we gave him for removing the 'Perma-Root' in 5.12 went too far in making him self sufficient. Hypercarries without any exploitable windows are no bueno, so we're ensuring Ryze has the appropriate amount of risk for the reward you get for letting him reach his super-charged, spell-slingin' slaughter-state."
  • Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • STACK DURATION : 10 seconds 6 seconds
  • Overload.png Q - Overload
    • DAMAGE : 60/95/130/165/200 60/85/110/135/160
  • Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux
    • DAMAGE : 50/66/82/98/116 36/52/68/84/100
  • RATIO : 0.3 ability power 0.2 ability power

v5.12
Oh boy.

"Ryze has a lot of changes beneath, but to help parse them we have to break down exactly what the issues with his ‘perma-root' case are, aside from all of the keyboards you've broken in the last week or two.
Let's nail down the first issue: counterplay. This one gets said a lot but to clarify - counterplay doesn't always mean ‘let's turn it into a skillshot!' - counterplay can exist on targeted abilities with levers like duration or cooldowns. In Ryze's case, getting supercharged violates pretty much all of these and leaving all but the most CC-Immune targets unable to do much else.
Next is the speed at which he's able to reach that power spike - Ryze has historically been a late-game champion, with much of his matches feeling like a ‘race against time' ala Nasus or Kog'Maw. When he's able to access that level of output as early as level 3 or 5, there's no time to mount an offense (or anything, really) to bring to the fight.
So how do we get to fixing those? Our start is lowering the maximum potential of his Rune Prison chaining (thus increasing his windows of ‘not-rooting you') and necessitating Overload as a first-max pushes back the point in the game that he's able to Ryze out on people significantly while making sure he isn't just the best once he does reach that state."
  • General
    • DIDN'T YOU WATCH THE TRAILERS : Ryze's targeted spells (W - Rune Prison, E - Spell Flux) no longer cancel his active Movement or Attack orders
  • Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • PASSIVE DURATION : 6 seconds 2.5 seconds
    • PASSIVE STACK DURATION : 12 seconds 10 seconds
    • SPELL COOLDOWN FLOOR : 0.25 seconds removed
  • Overload.png Overload
    • [NEW] Passive : Increases the duration of Arcane Mastery's supercharged effect to 3/3.5/4/4.5/5 seconds
    • BASE DAMAGE : 65/95/125/155/185 60/95/130/165/200
    • COST : 30/35/40/45/50 Mana 40 Mana at all ranks
    • MISSILE WIDTH : 50 55
  • Rune Prison.png W - Rune Prison
    • ROOT DURATION : 0.75/1/1.25/1.5/1.75 seconds 1.0/1.1/1.2/1.3/1.4 seconds
    • BASE DAMAGE : 65/95/125/155/185 80/100/120/140/160 damage

v5.11
W and E no longer grant passive stacks / trigger cooldown effects if he casts them just as the target dies.

"Sorry about that!"
  • Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • WHOOPS : Fixed a bug where Ryze could use W - Rune Prison and E - Spell Flux on a dying target to build passive stacks without completing the spellcast (or using Mana)

v5.10
Q damage up at later ranks, Arcane Mastery and Desperate Power now last 6 seconds at all ranks.

"We've got some follow-up adjustments for everyone's favorite rogue mage with bad teeth - specifically just streamlining some of those buff durations."
  • Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • SUPERCHARGED MASTERY : All buffs (stacks, shield, etc) associated with Arcane Mastery now apply at the end of the spells' cast time beginning of spells' cast time
    • SUPERCHARGED DURATION : 3/4/5/6 seconds (based on ranks in R - Desperate Power) 6 seconds at all ranks
  • Overload.png Q - Overload
    • BASE DAMAGE : 65/90/115/140/165 magic damage 65/95/125/155/185 magic damage
  • Desperate Power.png R - Desperate Power
    • DURATION : 4/5/6 seconds 6 seconds at all ranks

v5.9
'No longer one-shots people with MuraMana.

"Not much to see for the Rogue Mage in this patch besides some changes to a pretty goofy interaction between MuraMana and his opponents' melting faces. We're still evaluating what kind of love Ryze will need (if any) post-update as people learn what builds and skill orders work best, but he's right at the top of our radar for emergency rations if need be."
  • Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • CLARITY : While stacking, Arcane Mastery's icon is grey to differentiate 'charging' and 'ready' states
  • Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux
    • YOU KNOW WHY : No longer triggers single-target spell effects (Rylai's, MuraMana) on instances of damage beyond the first
  • Desperate Power.png R - Desperate Power
    • BUGFIX : Fixed a bug where casting a spell as Desperate Power's buff expired caused that spell to not go on cooldown

v5.8

"Ryze has been updated! Check out the article if you want the full story, or just below if you want the specifics."
  • General
    • SPELL SWAG : Ryze's ability visual effects, audio and icons have been updated!
    • BASE MANA REGEN : 0.8 1
    • MANA REGEN GROWTH STAT : 46 52
    • ARMOR GROWTH STAT : 3.9 3.0
  • NEW Arcane Mastery.png Passive - Arcane Mastery
Casting a spell grants a stack of Arcane Mastery for 12 seconds. At 5 stacks, Ryze becomes supercharged for 3/4/5/6 seconds (increasing with ranks of Desperate Power), gaining a shield that blocks (20 + 5 per level) (+8% of maximum Mana) damage and causing his spellcasts to reduce the cooldown of his other spells by Overload's cooldown, to a minimum of 0.25 seconds.
  • Overload.png Q - Overload
    • [REMOVED] OVERLOADED : No longer passively grants cooldown reduction
    • [NEW] IT'S A SKILLSHOT : Is now a line skillshot that stops at first enemy hits
    • [NEW] WIDTH : 50
    • RANGE  : 625 900
    • COST  : 60 Mana 30/35/40/45/50 Mana
    • MANA RATIO : 6.5% of maximum Mana 2/2.5/3/3.5/4% of maximum Mana
    • ABILITY POWER RATIO : 0.4 ability power 0.55 ability power
    • COOLDOWN : 3.5 seconds 4 seconds
  • Rune Prison.png W - Rune Prison
    • BASE DAMAGE : 60/95/130/165/200 65/95/125/155/185
    • MANA RATIO : 4.5% of maximum Mana 2.5% of maximum Mana
    • ABILITY POWER RATIO : 0.6 ability power 0.4 ability power
  • NEW Spell Flux.png E - Spell Flux
Unleashes an orb that deals damage and reduces the Magic Resist of targets hit by a percentage, stacking up to 3 times.
After hitting, Spell Flux bounces to nearby enemies and Ryze (up to a total of 6 secondary targets) before returning to the original target.
  • DAMAGE : 50/66/82/98/114 (+2% maximum Mana) (+0.3 ability power)
  • RETURN DAMAGE : 25/33/41/49/57 (+1% maximum Mana) (+0.15 ability power)
  • Desperate Power.png R - Desperate Power
    • COOLDOWN : 70/60/50 seconds 80/60/40 seconds
    • DURATION : 5/6/7 seconds 4/5/6 seconds
    • [NEW] DESPERATE MASTERY : Increases Arcane Mastery's duration to 4/5/6 with rank
    • [NEW] DESPERATE COOLDOWNS : Passively grants 10/20/30% cooldown reduction

v5.6
Q damage up.

"We've all seen this one before. A true terror in toplane, Ryze has become a shadow of his former self - so we're slapping some charge back into Overload to see if we can't inch him back to reasonable levels. Carefully."
  • Overload.png Q - Overload
    • BASE DAMAGE : 40/60/80/100/120 magic damage 55/75/95/115/135 magic damage

Mass Texture Rebalance (Part 9)

"We're continuing our comprehensive pass at the game's older character textures. As with previous installments, our goal is to improve parity with newer releases and make sure everybody looks at home on the Rift. "
  • KayleSquare.png Kayle
    • Base, Battleborn, Judgment, Silver, Unmasked, Viridian
  • Lee SinSquare.png Lee Sin
    • Base, Acolyte, Dragon Fist, Muay Thai, Traditional
  • PantheonSquare.png Pantheon
    • Base, Full Metal, Myrmidon, Perseus, Ruthless
  • RumbleSquare.png Rumble
    • Base, Bilgerat, Rumble in the Jungle
  • RyzeSquare.png Ryze
    • Base, Dark Crystal, Human, Pirate, Professor, Tribal, Triumphant, Uncle, Zombie

v4.19
Q's base damage has been reduced across all ranks.

"As a strong late game scaling champion, Ryze's ability to bully out other top laners early is pretty bonkers, so we're reducing his base damage in lane while still leaving his ability to scale past laning phase intact. We'll be keeping an eye on Ryze over the next few patches, however, as these nerfs might be on the light side for how dominant a champ he is."
  • Overload.png Q - Overload
    • BASE MAGIC DAMAGE : 60/85/110/135/160 40/60/80/100/120

v4.3 We’ve buffed Ryze’s base health and increased Overload’s range.

“In previous patches, we cemented Ryze’s role as a mid-range mage. Now, we’re helping him adjust.”

  • 'General
    • BASE HEALTH: 446 ⇒ 500
  • Overload.jpg Q - Overload
    • RANGE: 600 ⇒ 625

v3.12
'Summary: We've improved the responsiveness of Ryze's basic attacks. Additionally, we've increased his base Movement Speed along with Desperate Power's Movement Speed bonus.

'Context: We like Ryze's current direction as a mid-range, face-melting mobile caster, and these changes represent further iterations on that same path. Having additional base Movement Speed and a more responsive basic attack will also help out his laning phase.

General

  • Adjusted recommended items to incorporate Spirit Visage instead of Banshee's Veil
  • Base Movement Speed increased to 340 (from 335)
  • Improved basic attack to be more responsive

Desperate Power

  • Movement speed increased to 80 (from 60/70/80)

v3.10
'Summary:The ranges of Ryze's spells are being reduced this patch, but his Desperate Power Movement Speed buff has been increased to compensate.

Context: With his spell range and high late game damage, Ryze could effectively nuke back line squishies from distance while still playing the role of “tanky beast” (when built in that way). We wanted to refocus on Ryze's core identity as a mid-range mage, meaning his positioning and proximity to the enemy team is more important than before, while his increased speed should allow him to get up close to priority targets to melt their delicate little faces.

  • Overload
    • Cast range reduced to 600 from 650
  • Rune Prison
    • Cast range reduced to 600 from 625
    • Mana cost reduced to 60/70/80/90/100 from 80/90/100/110/120
  • Spell Flux
    • Cast range reduced to 600 from 675
  • Desperate Power
    • Movement Speed increased to 60/70/80 from 35/45/55

v1.0.0.152

  • Base Movement Speed increased by 25.

v1.0.0.149

  • Fixed a bug where Ryze's autoattack could be interrupted by Spell Flux

v1.0.0.148

  • Updated tool-tips

v1.0.0.139

  • Base attack damage increased to 55 from 49
  • Base missile speed increased to 2400 from 1400
  • Recommended items updated on The Crystal Scar/Summoner's Rift
  • Animations updated for Overload, Rune Prison, and Spell Flux
  • Overload
    • Mana ratio reduced to 6.5% from 7.5%
    • Ability power ratio increased to 0.4 from 0.2
    • Overload base damage increased to 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 from 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140
    • Range reduced to 650 from 700
  • Rune Prison
    • Mana ratio reduced to 4.5% from 5%
    • Mana cost adjusted to 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 from 80 / 95 / 110 / 125 / 140
    • Duration reduced to 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 seconds from 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 seconds
  • Spell Flux
    • Added a 1% Mana ratio
    • Missile speed reduced
    • Bounce radius increased to 400 from 375
    • Now prioritizes enemy champions over Ryze
    • Mana cost adjusted to 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 from 80 / 95 / 110 / 125 / 140
  • Desperate Power
    • Passive Mana component removed
    • Active now adds 35 / 45 / 55 Movement Speed

v1.0.0.134

  • Overload Mana ratio reduced to 7.5% from 8%

v1.0.0.121

  • Overload base damage increased to 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 from 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130

v1.0.0.116

  • Overload Mana ratio reduced to 8% from 10%
  • Desperate Power spell vamp now scales to 15 / 20 / 25% from 15% at all levels

v1.0.0.111

  • Overload
    • Cooldown reduced to 3.5 seconds form 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7
    • Base damage reduced to 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 from 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210
    • Mana cost changed to 70 at all levels from 30 / 65 / 80 / 95 / 110
    • Missile speed increased to 1,400 from 1,200
    • Ability power ratio decreased to 0.2 from 0.45
    • Range increased to 675 from 600
  • Rune Prison
    • No longer deals damage per tick and deals 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 damage up front (down from 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 over the duration)
    • Ability power ratio changed to a flat 0.6 from 0.4 / 0.6 / 0.8 / 1.0 / 1.2 (depending on snare duration)
    • Now deals 5% of Ryze's maximum Mana in bonus damage
    • Cast range increased to 625 from 600
    • Duration reduced to 1.0 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2.0 seconds from 1.2 / 1.5 / 1.8 / 2.1 / 2.4
  • Spell Flux
    • Ability power ratio per hit reduced to 0.35 from 0.38
    • Cooldown increased to 14 seconds from 9
    • Mana cost reduced to 60 / 75 / 90 / 110 / 130
  • Desperate Power
    • No longer grants ability power but now grants 15% spell vamp
    • Area of effect damage percentage reduced to 50% from 65%
    • Cooldown changed to 70 / 60 / 50 from 50 at all levels
    • Duration changed to 5 / 6 / 7 seconds from 8 at all levels
    • Now grants a passive 75 / 150 / 225 Mana
  • Reduced base magic resistance to 30 from 35
  • Fixed a bug where Ryze's base Mana regen did not get updated properly during the previous patch's revamp

v1.0.0.99

  • Fixed a bug where Spell Flux was doing less AoE damage than intended when used in combination with his Arcane Mastery ability

v1.0.0.98

  • Overload now has 2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10% cooldown reduction
  • Rune Prison
    • Duration increased to 1.2 / 1.5 / 1.8 / 2.1 / 2.4 seconds form 0.8 / 1.2 / 1.6 / 2 / 2.4
    • Now deals damage over 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /6 ticks (evenly split by the duration) instead of every 0.4 seconds
  • Spell Flux magic resistance reductio nchanged to 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 / 24 from 15 at all levels
  • Desperate Power cooldown increased to 50 seconds from 40

v1.0.0.86

  • Base damage increased to 50 from 47
  • Armor increased to 11 from 10
  • Armor per level increased to 3.9 from 3.7
  • Spell Flux
    • Magic resistance debuff no longer stacks
    • Magic resistance debuff increased to 15 from 12

v1.0.0.83

  • Rune Prison no longer prevents the target from attacking, and only immobilizes

v1.0.0.82

  • Desperate Power ability power bonus reduced to 50 / 80 / 110 from 60 / 100 / 140

v1.0.0.79

  • Spell Flux magic resistance reduction on hit reduced to 12 from 15 per hit

v1.0.0.74

  • Overload damage reduced to 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 from 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210
  • Spell Flux
    • Damage increased to 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 from 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 / 130
    • Ability power coefficient increased to 0.38 from 0.33
  • Desperate Power cooldown reduced to 40 seconds at all levels from 60 / 50 / 40
  • Increased base Movement Speed to 310 from 300
  • Increased attack range to 550 from 425
  • Increased base damage to 49.5 from 45
  • Increased base Mana to 305 from 293
  • Increased base Mana regen to 4.9 from 4.6
  • Increased base health to 446 from 420
  • Increased health gain per level to 86 from 78
  • Increased base armor to 14.2 from 10.1
  • Increased armor gain per level from 3.7 to 3.2

v1.0.0.61

  • New Passive - Arcane Mastery
    • After casting a spell all other spells have their cooldown reduced by 1.5 seconds
  • Overload
    • Base damage changed to 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210 from 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260
    • Ability power ratio reduced to 0.45 from 0.8
    • Gains additional damage from 10% of Ryze's maximum Mana as opposed to 12% of his current Mana
    • Cooldown reduced to 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 seconds from 15 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8
    • Mana cost reduced to 50 / 65 / 80 / 95 / 110 from 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180
  • Rune Prison
    • Duraiton reduced to 0.8 / 1.2 / 1.6 / 2 / 2.4 seconds from 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3
    • Mana cost reduced to 80 / 95 / 110 / 125 / 140 from 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 / 160
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 seconds from 16
  • Spell Flux - Now a regular skill
    • Bounces a static 5 stimes between minions, enemy Champions, and Ryze
    • Damage is 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 / 130
    • Ability Power ratio of 0.33
    • Applies a stacking -15 magic resistance debuff to every enemy target it hits with a max stack of 5. Duration is 5 seconds
    • Cooldown is a 9 seconds at all levels
    • Mana cost is 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 / 140
    • Range is 700
    • Missile speed drastically increased
  • Desperate Power - New Ultimate
    • A self-targeted instant cast buff that lasts 8 seconds
    • Gives Ryze 60 / 100 / 140 additional ability power and grants all his spells 65% AoE damage
    • 60 / 50 / 40 second cooldon
    • Costs 0 Mana

v1.0.0.32

  • Spell Flux Damage reduced from 300 / 400 / 500 to 240 / 360 / 480
  • Rune Prison Range reduced from 600 to 550

v0.9.25.24

  • Desperate Power now properly shows the particle

v0.9.25.21

  • Overload Mana cost modified from 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 to 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180

v0.9.22.15

  • Overload damage increased from 20 / 80 / 140 / 200 / 260 to 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260
  • Increased base damage from 39 to 42

v0.9.22.7

  • Overload ability power ratio reduced from 1.0 to 0.8
  • Spell Flux ability power ratio reduced from 0.75 to 0.7

May 23, 2009 Patch

  • Spell Flux ability power ratio reduced from 1 to 0.75 (per bounce)

May 15, 2009 Patch

  • Made new recommended items

May 9, 2009 Patch

  • Rune Prison ability power ratio increased from 0.24 to 0.4

April 25, 2009 Patch

  • Updated recommended items

April 11, 2009 Patch

  • Corrected Overload's tooltip (the base damage portion showed off low numbers)

Alpha Week 4

  • Spell Flux damage changed from 260 / 340 / 420 to 300 / 400 / 500
  • Rune Prison
    • Cast range changed from 625 to 600
    • Damage increased to 80 per second from 75 per second

Alpha Week 3

  • Overload bonus damage changed from 20% of current Mana to 12% of current Mana

Alpha Week 2

  • Arcane Mastery
    • Tooltip updated to reflect the appropriate ability functionality
    • Increased the spell coefficient
  • Fixed attack timing bugs
  • Fixed tooltip typos for Rune Prison and Overload




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