Ask a Zyra Main - Completed
Zyra is part of the Mid-Season Magic update! This interview was written based on Zyra's current state, but ask Melyn any questions you may have about her changes in the comments below!
We’re really excited to welcome Melyn, a high-Diamond Zyra main who’s been making his opponents feel the thorn’s embrace for over 1500 games!
When he’s not building straight damage and blocking skillshots with plants, he’s working on his PhD in Applied Math and teaching Calculus at UC Davis, as well as using his math powers to theorycraft even more optimal builds!
We caught up with him to learn more about his league background, how many flash-engages it takes to get to Diamond, and the finer points of stealing Baron as Jungle Zyra.
UPDATE - This AMA is officially closed! Thanks for all of the great questions and a big thank you to Melyn for hanging out and sharing his thoughts! ------
How did you get into League of Legends?
My brother wanted me to try watching Esports, so he took me to Season 3 Worlds, I had no idea what was going on and don’t remember any of the champions, but given that we now have SKT Zyra, I think it was a sign. I then started playing Twitch top (quickly grew out of that!) and have been playing ever since.
Where does your Summoner name come from?
You will see there’s a pattern here. It came from my brother. I directly stole the name MelliMelon from when we played MapleStory together growing up. When I got into Star Wars: the Old Republic and wanted to make it look more exotic, I changed Melon into Melyn.
What got you hooked on playing Zyra?
I don’t like conflict so while I was leveling up, I would always fill. As I’m sure anyone who browses forums is aware, that means I became a support main. However, I was the person who would never use their actives. Shurelya’s, Locket, Crucible -- they were all wasted items for me.
When I discovered Zyra, a champion where you’re actually supposed to build damage if you play her as a support, it was inevitable that I would eventually main her. As I became more well-known in the Zyra community, a lot of people started asking me to play her in other roles as well, so I branched out, pardon the plant pun. I think she’s very strong as a support and mid laner as well as being viable in the jungle and top lane.
Who is your go-to champion if Zyra gets banned?
Last season before I started honing in on my stream identity as a Zyra player, I often played Leona, Blitzcrank, Soraka, Vel’koz, and Brand as support, or Rammus, Maokai, and Nunu in the jungle. Whenever Zyra is banned or picked now, I return to one of those champions.
If you could describe Zyra’s playstyle in a sentence, what would it be?
Zyra is the most flexible mage in League of Legends since she can play in almost any role, build for almost any situation, and has the tools to poke, burst, harass, or bring utility as needed.
What runes and masteries do you run on her?
I have about 10 rune pages for Zyra, but most often I either run a penetration page (magic penetration on everything except for seals) or a scaling CDR page (magic penetration quints and marks, defensive seals, and scaling CDR glyphs).
What is Zyra’s core item build?
Zyra is extremely flexible and you need to decide what kind of playstyle the match warrants. It also depends on what role you’re playing:
- In the Jungle, her core is often Runic Echoes, Sorcerer Shoes, Haunting Guise, and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter.
- In the Support role, her core is Frost Queen’s, Sorcerer Shoes, Rylai’s, and Liandry’s.
- In the Mid lane the build will change depending on the game, but most recently for her core I’ve been favoring Sorc Boots, Morello, Haunting Guise, and Void Staff.
- In the Top lane, the build is similar to mid, but recently I’vebeen experimenting with a bruiser Zyra build that makes use of Zz’rot, going Rod of Ages, Banner of Command, Zz’rot Portal, Liandry’s, and Rylai’s.
Zyra’s skillshots are very easy to dodge by a capable opponent,so she performs much better against immobile champs like the following:
- Mid - Twisted Fate, Brand, and Varus
- Bot - Jinx, Jhin, and Tristana
- Support - Bard, Soraka, and Sona.
As a support, she struggles against sustain and hard engage supports such as Nami, Blitzcrank, and Leona.
What is Zyra’s main job in laning phase? What about Teamfights?
In the laning phase, Zyra has one of the most oppressive early game from levels 2-6. She’s a bully that can harass an opponent out of lane and easily get an early kill advantage from someone who underestimates her, which is common as she’s not played that often.
In teamfights, one of the strongest ways of playing Zyra in a teamfight is by zoning the enemy backline, but it depends on what your team needs and your item build. More damage lets you assassinate enemy carries, while more CDR and utility such as a Rylai’s build will let you peel tanks off of your backline.
If the enemy dives you, you can set up a wall of enraged plants with her ultimate that carries will not be able to pass without taking a huge amount of damage and exposing themselves to its large knockup, which gives your team time to deal with their front line.
If someone is playing Zyra for the first time, what is the most important thing to bear in mind?
The most important thing for a first time Zyra player is to realize that you are the slowest champion in the game, have the 4th lowest health, and no dashes, so play as if you’ll die from one Karthus auto attack, as that is not too far from the truth.
Protect your backline and only try to make big plays from the fog of war or if your opponent is already CCed.
What are some neat Zyra tricks that players may not know?
You can use your plants to block skillshots. This comes in handy against Blitzcrank, Lee Sin, Thresh, and more!
Also, Zyra’s plants can be used to detonate Teemo shrooms, Shaco traps, and Jhin lotuses. This can be a great way to deal with these when you don’t have an available sweeper.
What’s your favorite Zyra skin?
Haunted Zyra. I think she has one of the best splash arts in the game right now.
What’s the best Zyra play you’ve ever pulled off?
During a Zyra jungle game in my promotion series, my entire team was dead and they had 5 members alive, most with more than 75% HP. At the last minute, I flashed over the wall, ulted, and got a quadra kill as well as taking the baron.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! If readers want to reach out, where can they find you?
- I have an interactive, regular stream
- I have a Youtube channel where I record parodies, original songs, and Zyra guides
- I’m also on Twitter where I often post stream information, thoughts on Zyra, and new guides.
Hang out in the comments and ask Melyn any Zyra-related questions you may have!