What changed in 7.24 to make Zyra jungle work?
- The update increased plant health from 4 to 8. While big monster damage was increased to 2, it remains at 1 for small monsters. Effectively, it now takes small jungle mobs twice as long to kill plants.
- Plant lifespan was increased from 5 seconds at level 1 to 8 at all levels.
- Rampant Growth, Zyra's W and seed spawning spell, was given another passive: Killing an enemy grants 20% charge toward a seed and this number is increased to 100% for champion takedowns and large monster and minion kills.
The combination of these changes allows Zyra to clear more efficiently and use her plants more effectively to tank damage for her, which means a healthier clear, especially after the first.
Finally and while not absolutely necessary, one of the new Keystones, Unsealed Spellbook, allows champions to have a 25% lower cooldown on their summoner spells. This includes smite, and with a lower cooldown on smite charges, Zyra has access to better clear.
How to play Jungle Zyra
- She functions similarly to Shaco in the sense that she needs to set up for her first camp, but with seeds instead of multiple Jack in the Boxes. It’s important to arrive early at your first camp to spawn enough seeds, so you can activate multiple with Deadly Spines (Q).
- Remember not to sit in a brush, or seeds will not spawn (unless you're in combat).
- You can use plants to tank damage for you, but do it too often and they’ll die too fast. It's important to switch between taking a few hits and letting plants take damage for you.
- Alternate between your passive and your W's seeds in order to maximize your speed and plant damage. In the early game, passive seeds will spawn every 13 seconds, while Rampant Growth has a 20 second recharge time and stores up to 2 seeds. Killing big monsters essentially gives you an extra seed, so don't be afraid to use your W often, as you will keep getting seeds as you clear camps.
- Zyra does not have any gap closers or haste abilities. If the opponent is close to a brush, then using Grasping Roots’ 1100 range can be enough to initiate, but if the opponent can see you coming, Zyra is best layering crowd control after her laner initiates.
- While Zyra clears camps fast, she isn't a jungler adept to dueling and instead should avoid facing off in 1v1's all together, this means that generally speaking, playing against aggressive junglers such as Lee Sin or Kha'Zix is probably a deathwish.
- She works best versus junglers with slower clear speeds that aren't as prone to invading, such as Sejuani, Gragas or Zac, or lower mobility bruisers she can keep at a distance with her roots, such as Skarner or Udyr.
Build and Skill Order
Zyra's skill order can always be tricky. Both Grasping Roots (E) and Deadly Spines (Q) scale similarly. Maxing E gives you a longer duration root, and maxing Q lowers the cooldown on the ability, meaning more plants and faster clears. At the end of the day and as a jungler, you want root duration to be maxed as soon as possible but you don't want to sacrifice your clear speed and main damage ability.
- We suggest grabbing 3 early points in Q to make sure your clear is fast
- Then go for E max by level 10 to have a 1.75 second duration on your main crowd control ability.
- If you're comfortable having a slightly lower clear in exchange for heftier roots (read: ganks) early game, you can keep Q at rank 1 and max E from the get go.
For the build, you want to focus on getting a lot of flat magic pen to boost Zyra's burst damage, from there, defensive items like Zhonya's Hourglass and utility like Rylai's Crystal Scepter should be looked at as possible next purchases.
Unsealed Spellbook can be used as Zyra's Keystone to grant her a lower smite cooldown and keep up with tier 1 junglers. Alternatively, she can dip into the Domination or Sorcery tree as her main rune tree in order to grab more damage.
Going for inspiration also allows Zyra to pick up a stopwatch from Perfect Timing, which will come in handy for duels.
Domination is used as the secondary path, picking up Zombie Ward and Relentless Hunter for out of combat movement speed. Cheap Shot can be used if you want extra damage over movement speed.
Alternatively, you can run a more damage heavy runepage with Electrocute or even Arcane Comet if you don't want the lower cooldown summoner spells, but this will mean you clear the jungle slower and can't keep up against most of the junglers currently in the meta, unless you're facing a slower clearer such as Rammus.
Riot has been pushing towards giving some champions more agency and versatility so they can thrive in different roles. With Patch 7.24, both Morgana and Zyra had a short burst of popularity in the jungle, while their play rate in the mid lane also increased. While it's likely neither of them will be exceptionally popular junglers, especially not in a meta filled with early game aggression and duelist junglers, the fact that they're viable can increase the number of niche picks and strategies that can show up in a competitive or solo queue match once in a blue moon.