It's that time of the year again. After countless remakes that made him dominate the Rift and subsequent nerfs that finally put him down into obscurity, Ryze is ready to terrorize the Rift once again - and all it took was just increasing the AP scaling ratio of Rune Prison to 0.6 in Patch 7.18.
It might sound counterintuitive to say that Ryze will be viable again because Rune Prison, a CC ability with a long cooldown, got a boost in AP scaling ratio. While it's true that Ryze's DPS mostly come from Overload, we need to consider how Rune Prison is a targeted CC ability.
A targeted ability having a boost in AP scaling ratio has more meaning than that meets the eye. While it won't matter as much against tankier champions, squishier champions will have to respect how they will have to take more damage from an ability that they cannot avoid.
Also, Rune Prison is a targeted CC ability that marks just the beginning of Ryze's skill combo. A follow-up with E-Q can now more easily mow down a squishier champions in the late game.
In the case of his W skill, Ryze usually maxes it last. So it's a positive factor that the AP scaling for it was increased rather than the simple skill damage. AP scaling ratio is not affected by the skill level, and is affected by items.
Korean LoL communinity already caught up to the latest fever as Mid Forum on Inven KR was filled with threads about Ryze - up from barely over 3 threads per day to over 20 threads a day, and mostly about how Rune Prison buff made him significantly stronger, including how "With a full build, Rune Prison can deal over 700 damage to a champion."
It's not just about the buzz as well. As of September 15th (KST) in Korea SoloQ, Ryze's win rate in Platinum tier reached 50%, and while not as big a sample size, Master and Challenger tier saw Ryze's win rate respectively reaching 57% and 63%. However, it curiously dips down to 44% at Diamond tier, so it still remains to be seen if this is indeed a change that really changes how Ryze is seen. It has been barely over a day since the patch went live, so it's likely that the win rate will change in near future.
▲ Ryze's reworked ultimate is often a game-changer
In fact, Ryze being strong in SoloQ can have more effect in the pro scene than it may seem. Ever since Ryze's ultimate was reworked into Realm Warp, Ryze was more popular in competitive scene than in solo queues. Even as Ryze wasn't popular in solo queues, pro players often played Ryze in tournament matches for the game-changing potential that Realm Warp brings.
So, we've asked several Korean midlaners to share their opinion on how Ryze will do in future.
MVP Junhyeong "Ian" Ahn: Rune Prison's damage output potential got much higher, so there is a chance that Ryze becomes the new hotness.
Gold Coin United Yongjun "Fly" Song: Since Rune Prison is often mastered last, However, I'm not sure if it'll be strong enough to offset the previous nerfs to become popular enough. However, some pro players may still play Ryze.
1907 Fenerbahçe Taeil "Frozen" Kim: Ryze definitely got better than before. I'm not sure if it'll be good in this metagame, but building into items strengths his 'infighter' nature will make him a worthwhile champion.
Afreeca Freecs Seohaeng "KurO" Lee: Ryze is an infighter mage, so picking him against other ranged champions with shorter effective range is advised. It can be good in certain situations, but it's probably not a blind pick material.
While some players were enthusiastic from the changes, there also were players that were more skeptical. As much as we'd like to see Faker playing Ryze donning an SKT T1 skin, it seems like only time will tell if this change will be enough for Ryze to return.