With League of Legends having as wide a roster as it does, there seems to be a champion for everyone. Where most League players try out different characters and play different roles to switch things up, some take the idea of there being “a champion for everyone” very literally by only playing one character. Some choices make for an easier life than others, but being a Ryze main is arguably the worst.
Between multiple full-kit reworks, an abysmal early game, and high relevance in pro play that makes it impossible for Ryze to be significantly buffed, being a Ryze main in 2022 is rough. However, some of the posts on this sub cross the line. There’s some level of sarcasm and comedy to all this that isn’t lost on me, but the Ryze mains subreddit is beyond the pale.
The passage of time
Ryze is one of the oldest champions in League of Legends, and, to be fair, his identity today is very similar to his identity at release. He’s always been a machine gun spellcaster, who functions somewhat similarly to an ADC, with a reliance on combo-ing his abilities correctly. Realm Warp was a big part of his rework, and is now an iconic part of his kit that makes him so strong in pro play.
However, Ryze has a high floor when it comes to the required level of communication needed to effectively utilize his ultimate. That, combined with his rough early game, makes him one of the worst champions in League of Legends statistically. Because of how dominant Ryze was in pro play when he got reworked for the 4th time, parts of his kit have been outright removed to keep him balanced at the highest level of play.
Many die hard Ryze players have never recovered from balance changes like the removal of the character’s passive shield in his fifth rework, instead finding ways to cope with and joke about the sorry state of their favorite Champion.
EQ brothers, EQ
For those unaware, there’s an entire network of champion main subreddits that all fall under the same umbrella. And, for the most part, those subs have posts that consist of people making big plays on their favorite champion, fanart, some memes here and there. Some of these subreddits have their fair share of toxicity, but they’re all pretty tame for the most part.
The Ryze subreddit looks like this:
Other champions have a community of mains. Ryze mains have created their own culture, slang, and slew of inside jokes based around the misfortune that will surely befall anyone that decides to main League of Legends’ most reworked champion. Chief among them being EQ, stemming from Ryze’s main combo.
EQ seems to be used to express all sorts of things; panic and reassurance, doom and faith. It’s essentially a mantra that binds together all the Ryze mains in their time of need. There are some other running jokes on the thread, like building Eclipse/Manamune on Ryze to do their part in the effort to get Ryze below 40% win rate. In fact, there are people that apologize for winning games with Ryze, as though it were a sin.
As much as we’d all prefer not to have someone running it down with Eclipse/Manamune Ryze in my games, so far, things seem pretty harmless. It’s just a bunch of Ryze mains making jokes at the expense of themselves and the sorry state of their favorite champion. But we’ve only just scratched the surface.
The Rune Wars
Many of the posts on this subreddit go beyond what could be seen as some relatively harmless complaints and into the territory of, for instance, threatening to poison the LA water supply. On top of various death threats toward Riot employees, there’s also a trend of posts about doing hard drugs in hopes of manifesting Ryze’s powers, painting themselves blue, and drinking blue antifreeze to “restore mana”.
Recent top posts on the Ryze subreddit read in a similar way to this one, and it’s clearly a joke...until it isn’t. It’s hard to feel comfortable with jokes where the punchline is stalking and wishing harm toward Riot employees. The bottom line here is that it isn’t funny, especially for the hard working folks at Riot who seem to regularly receive death threats based around the balance of League of Legends.
Other posts read like the deluded ramblings of a madman, which, again, seems to be the running joke on the sub. If you’re wondering where the moderation is for all these posts, the mods for the Ryze mains subreddit gave up on moderation for a while and instead pinned a series of mental health hotlines in lieu of removing posts.
Has the promise of more moderation on insane posts helped? Is the Ryze mains reddit a bit more civil than before?
But hey, at least Ryze is getting buffed! Hopefully the much-needed balance changes can quell some of the more deranged folks that reside on the Ryze mains subreddit. The less posts that threaten the safety of others, joking or otherwise, the better. Having less complaining about Ryze sort of ruins a lot of the running jokes on this sub, but, if a core part of your humor involves threatening others, it’s probably time for some new material.
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.