Pyke, the Bloodharbor Ripper, is coming this week with Patch 8.11, which means the general public of League of Legends will soon finally be able to play him.
As a champion, Pyke is fascinating. He’s a support that builds high AD and essentially functions as an assassin, which is a first for any support-style champion in the game. His kill-sharing passive and high cooldowns keep him well-built as a support, too. Even though he can work as a jungler or even top laner, it seems those facets of his design will keep him tethered to the support position.
This extremely unique design has opened up strategies never before seen in League, so we dove into him extensively on the PBE a few days prior to 8.11’s launch to create a quick, top-level guide. It should help you understand how to build his items, which order to stack his ability points in, and which runes to take.
As mentioned above, Pyke is an assassin, but he’s also a support. Most assassins in the game can only access their very expensive high-damage items through farming, which is something Pyke cannot do as a support. That being said, he’s a little bottle-necked in terms of his item build. He needs high AD, but he needs to focus on the cheaper items to remain viable when he doesn’t have a zillion kills.
Luckily for Pyke, that’s still very possible. Here are the items we found to be the most effective with his kit and low budget, in order. Keep in mind, the further you get into any item build past the first couple of items, the more situational items become.
- Face of the Mountain
- Black Cleaver
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Duskblade of Draktharr
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
- Lord Dominik’s Regards
Thanks to Pyke’s passive, which converts all bonus health into bonus AD, he can still build sort of cheap and hold onto his high AD. It’s also because of that passive that you want to buy the Relic Shield as your starting item, as this passive transforms the Shield into the only starting support item that boosts his AD. After that, the Black Cleaver and Duskblade are the core of his build in most games, and here’s why.
The Cleaver is fairly cheap at 3,000 gold—way behind items like the Hydra or Trinity Force. Not only that, but the item’s meager 40 AD is turned into 68.5 on Pyke after the item’s 400 health is converted into AD, which is formidable. The 20 percent cooldown reduction also helps him out with his ridiculously high cooldowns.
The pièce de résistance of the item, however, is its passive. He can lower the armor of his victims, which is actually a fantastic trait to have as a support. Not only does it help you deal insane damage, it also turns you into a buff-bot for your ADC. For all intents and purposes, this is currently the best item in the game for Pyke to buy.
The Duskblade is only shortly behind, however. He has an invisibility ability that also boosts his movement speed, which gives him a reliable trigger for the Duskblade’s passive. The lethality, high AD, and passive damage combine to add a ton of burst damage to Pyke’s kit, and he can’t have enough cooldown reduction.
This is where paths can start to divert. You can take the Ghostblade for its movement speed ability to help pick off targets, any of the Last Whisper items to help you against armor, and, oddly enough, you can even throw in an Edge of Night. The Edge of Night is largely useless on every champion in the game, but Pyke can turn it into at least a decently powerful item with his health conversion passive.
The Edge of Night provides 250 health and 55 AD on top of its lethality. His passive turns that into almost 73 AD, making it the highest damage lethality item in the game that he can buy. The item’s active ability can be useful in a pinch, too, although it is less useful to Pyke than both the Duskblade and Ghostblade abilities. As for boots, he can either take Lucidity for more CDR or Mobility to get around the map faster—both are good options.
Pyke’s runes are much more straightforward than his potential item builds are. The only real choice for Pyke is Electrocute, like most assassins. There is potential to take both Dark Harvest or Predator if you plan on roaming a lot, but Electrocute is largely more reliable than both of those options. This means you’ll almost always be in the Domination camp for your primary rune path.
In that path, you’ll also be able to pick the new Ultimate Hunter rune, which will work wonders for Pyke’s high-profile ultimate ability.
There’s room to choose where you want your secondary tree to go, however. You could go Precision to get the Coup de Grace rune, which is always extremely powerful on assassins. Alternatively, you can run Sorcery for Celerity’s movement speed boost. There is one very interesting choice that may just work for Pyke and no other AD assassin—the Resolve tree.
If anyone else runs the Resolve path alongside Domination, the AD provided by Domination is reduced and some health is tossed in for Resolve. Pyke, however, turns that health into AD, so he gets nothing but damage while still being able to choose defensive runes. He’ll be extremely squishy, on account of not being able to build health, so runes like Bone Plating and Second Wind can really be a lifesaver.
Personally, we love that strategy. Our favorite rune combination is Domination primary with Electrocute, Sudden Impact, Zombie Ward, and Ultimate Hunter alongside a Resolve secondary path with Bone Plating and Second Wind.
Where there’s room to deviate from the normal path with Pyke’s items and at least the secondary path of his rune build, his abilities are going to almost be the same from start to finish.
Pyke has very high cooldowns on all his abilities, so the first thing you want to look for in your first stacked ability is how much each rank reduces its cooldown. His Q, Bone Skewer, is the most obvious choice. Not only does leveling it reduce the cooldown by two seconds per rank, but it also deals some eye-popping damage. In the right circumstances, it’s also great crowd control. Always max this first.
The second ability to max is his Phantom Undertow. Although putting points here doesn’t reduce its cooldown at all, its base damage and stun duration are significantly higher with each rank. At rank five, this bad boy deals 235 base damage, and that’s before you even take the 80 percent bonus AD into account. At max, it can stun for 1.5 seconds, which is also great for locking down your victims.
Lastly, you’ll stack W, Ghostwater Dive, which is his invisibility ability. Putting points here reduces the cooldown by 0.5 seconds each time, but the damage you receive from Phantom Undertow just makes it more worthwhile to take that before Ghostwater Dive. Here’s the order one more time.
Pyke should come out with Patch 8.11 this week. Now that you know which items, abilities, and runes work best on him, you’ll have a few less things to learn on your path to carnage.