IntroductionHey everyone, danksinator here. This is my first ever attempt at guide writing, but I hope it's in-depth enough, yet not too wordy!
First off, I'd like to say thanks to Ellindar, who motivated me to write my own guide for Zyra support.
Another thanks to my faithful (small, but gradually growing) group of viewers, who were with me to inspire my play and to push me to better myself at each step of the way.
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Zyra at the moment is an extremely powerful bot lane support. I think she excels more in this role than as an AP Mid, due to the fact that she can max her root (her E), rather than her damage spell (her Q). This allows Zyra to bring much more utility to fights, while instead relying on the AD carry to land easy followup harass and DPS. Furthermore, I've found that it's much harder to snowball a game out of control from mid, whereas at bot lane, if you can get your ADC (attack damage carry) fed, you're much more likely to walk all over an enemy team in 5v5 fights, especially given the utility and kiting ability (as well as the burst damage) that Zyra brings to teamfights.
-Extremely good CC and utility
-Can engage OR disengage fights
-Turns into secondary AP carry late game
-Provides excitement at the Support role - You should play her aggressively in order to maximize her effectiveness.
-Very good pushing power
-Skillshots are mandatory - if you miss your snare, you will lose trades bot lane.
-Can accidentally overextend/push bot lane if skillshots are used on the creep wave while trying to hit enemy champions.
MasteriesEven though Zyra is a non-meta support, you're still supporting. You're not going to get as much farm as you normally would as an AP Mid. Thus in order to maximize efficiency, I get the best of both worlds. The 9 points in offense are enough to ensure that my plants do some noticeable damage. However, the 21 points in utility ensure that I have good CDR (Cooldown Reduction) and GP10 (Gold per 10 seconds)/XP bonuses to keep my items progressing normally with the rest of the players.
I definitely see the pickpocket mastery as being EXTREMELY useful on Zyra, due to her nature as an aggressive, harassing support.
Make sure to utilize this mastery whenever possible, as picking up a few auto attack harass trades on the enemy support/ADC will give you some much-needed gold as a support to fuel the relatively expensive build which I follow.
Biscuit and Explorer are generally strong picks for any support. Another good pickup is the Summoner Spell CDR, due to the increased CD of Flash with the season 3 changes. This will also ensure that your Exhaust comes up sooner.
Zyra is not a mana-dependent support, so long as you don't spam your Q, and reserve it for your E->W combo and THEN follow up with your Q for added damage.
RunesRunes runes runes.
The armor yellows, I presume, should be fairly obvious. If you have no armor, an enemy ADC is going to shred your health immediately, and there's nothing you can do about it. This bonus armor lets you get in and mix it up a bit. Granted, even with this additional armor, you still shouldn't be going blow for blow with the enemy ADC unless you land a snare.
The flat AP quints I've found are extremely useful early on for ensuring damage with your root/plant combo. If they stand next to your plants, they WILL lose a trade, and most likely die.
Some other players have mentioned running GP10 quints. I personally don't see the need for them, but they're always an option on supports. I prefer to get my money from killing enemy champions, rather than waiting around for gp10 effects to kick in. This is especially true of Zyra, due to the naturally aggressive nature of playing her in the Support role.
The same logic stands behind the ap/level blues as with the AP quints, except these allow for scaling (as you do get much more powerful at level 6, which is when per level runes outscale flat bonus runes).
NOTE: the only time I will go with something other than the AP/level blues (Glyphs) is flat Magic Resistance blues. This is for Sona and Nunu lanes. Sona's level 1 is extremely strong with her powerchord harass. The flat MR will mitigate some of this damage, and hopefully allow you to get to level 2 without losing too much health. Nunu's iceball will shred you in trades if you don't have some form of MR to mitigate his damage.
Hybrid Pen Reds So, this may seem a little odd, since most people don't look into the Hybrid runes except on truly hybrid champions, like Jax, Kayle, etc. However, when you think about the numbers behind this, it really is super beneficial. You get 7.8 magic pen from 9 Magic Pen Marks, and 5.8 Magic pen from the Hybrid marks. Thus you're only losing 2 Magic pen in order to gain 8 Armor Pen. This is especially good because Zyra is very good at auto attack harassing.
NOTE: I may also begin experimenting here with Attack Damage Marks. With the introduction of Pickpocket into the game, there's a lot of added incentive to auto attack early on in lane. If players are going to be auto attack trading, it might be more useful to have flat AD runes to add extra advantage to your early game trade potential (especially given the fact that Magic Pen Runes have been universally nerfed in Season 3).
Typical support summoners.
Exhaust is a must for the enemy ADC in lane, and later in the game to peel off enemy champions that dive onto your ADC.
I often find myself using Flash aggressively to add extra distance to my snare. I will flash + snare + plant + ult to start off a gank or to ensure a kill.
I haven't tried this much myself, but with the increased Cooldown on Flash in Season 3, I could see Heal as being a good answer to heavy burst lanes (if playing for example, against a Leona, or Taric, who will try to focus you down and burst you to death before you could even Flash away). If you are going to take heal, be sure to spec 1 point into the mastery which grants the bonus Health/level: This adds more bulk to Zyra and further aids in preventing instaburst/kill lanes that you may face.
Passive: Rise of the Thorns
Upon death, Zyra returns to her plant form. After 2 seconds, she can press any ability to fire a Vengeful Thorn towards her cursor, dealing 99 + (25 � level) true damage to each enemy it strikes.
This passive can make or break your lane. If you go down early in an engagement (the enemy bot lane focuses you down), be PATIENT with this. You have several seconds to fire this bad boy off, and it will instantly turn a fight. Try not to steal a kill with it if your ADC has it locked up, but try to hit as many people as possible with it in teamfights or in 2v2 engagements.
Q: Deadly Bloom
Thorns shoot from the ground, dealing magic damage to enemies within the area.
Rampant Growth: If Deadly Bloom hits a seed, a Thorn Spitter grows. Thorn Spitter attacks with long range and deals magic damage.
After further experimentation, I've found this skill is more valuable to level second over W. The reason behind this is twofold: 1.) Obviously, you can do more damage in trades, and given the AP-heavy runes/masteries I run, this makes sense. 2.) When attempting to wave clear or push the lane, your Q is completely worthless if you aren't leveling it second. The .5 seconds of bonus CDR from your W passive really isn't worth it in comparison to this additional fighting and pushing power.
W: Rampant Growth
(Passive): Grants bonus cooldown reduction.
(Active): Plants a seed lasting 30 seconds. If an enemy champion steps on a seed, it will be destroyed but they will be revealed for 2 seconds.
Zyra periodically stores seeds and she can hold up to 2 seeds at any given time. Zyra cannot plant any more than 4 plants at a time.
Cast spells on seeds to grow plants. Plant damage is based on Zyra's level. Extra plants striking the same target deal 25% less damage.
Dropping plants is perhaps the most interesting and unique aspect of Zyra support. This is the main reason why you can afford to bring only 1 ward to lane. These plants offer vision in bushes. Thus you really only need to ward river/tri in order to be safe from ganks. Furthermore, if the enemy tries to get cheeky and assert bush control, you can ruin their day by dropping 2 plants on their head and activating them with your snare. Max this third, as your CDR will be sufficient given items like Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Kindlegem (Shurelya's Reverie).
E: Grasping Roots
Sends forward vines, dealing magic damage and rooting enemies for a short duration.
Rampant Growth: If Grasping Roots hits a seed, a Vine Lasher grows. Vine Lasher has short ranged attack that deal magic damage and slow by 30% for 2 seconds.
Landing your snares is paramount to winning games as Zyra support. This is her bread and butter ability. However, what really adds as a safeguard to this is her plants. Even if you miss the snare, MAKE SURE you drop 1-2 plants, because that way your slow will still hit them and harass them down.
Your spells have a delay for a reason: you can cast the spell, THEN drop the plants before it reaches its target. So the ideal thing to do is cast your E, then while the snare is travelling, drop your plants underneath the enemy you want to snare. This will cause your plants to grow directly underneath the snared target, resulting in a much more effective combo. Laying down your plants before you snare reveals where you're going to throw the spell, and will allow the enemy to dodge your combo.
Summons the fury of nature, growing a twisted thicket at target location which deals magic damage to all enemies in the area as it expands. After 2 seconds, the vines snap upward knocking enemies into the air.
Rampant Growth: Plants within the thicket are enraged, increasing their attack speed by 50%.
Zyra's ultimate provides massive CC and damage in 2v2 engagements, and the same is true for teamfights. This ultimate when combined with 2 enraged plants will almost 100% guarantee victory in any fight at bottom, as long as your ADC focuses and bursts properly.
Skill OrderMax your root first, because it increases the duration of the root. Your primary role as a support is to ensure that your ADC is safe. This is completed by maximizing your utility. If the enemy ADC is rooted for a full 2 seconds, your ADC is free to DPS them down with little risk to themselves. Your Q does more damage when maxed first, but I wouldn't recommend this. Rely on your ADC to do the damage, YOU do the peeling and provide the utility. You're the support! :P
R > E > Q > W
Your main function as a support is to bring utility to fights. Maxing E first increases the Root duration, while maxing Q second allows for wave clear and added damage when attempting trades in bot lane. Max W last, because your CDR will be really high already with and
Item BuildsSupporting has changed a LOT with Season 3
With all the new masteries and items available to support, you can literally find yourself with 4-5 active items, infinitely many wards, and more money than previously experienced! In this section I'll outline some of the strengths/situations in which certain items would be viable. However, the CORE of my build is as follows: + + + EITHER OR.
From here you can get situational and respond to what the enemy team comp is based around, and what your team needs.
Starting items can vary quite a bit now with the Season 3 support changes and the introduction of , however, due to the recent cost spike of flask, I recommend avoiding it as a starter item, as it is simply too expensive to afford right off the bat. That said, if you're having trouble sustaining in lane, this may be a good first or second back pick-up (it effectively acts as a GP10 considering you aren't wasting money buying health potions).
(Assuming you've specced into the bonus 50 starting gold), here are my favorite starts as a support:
+ + +
+ + +
Getting pink wards is extremely powerful in lanes which will be decided by landing skillshots. If you have vision on the enemy and they don't have vision on you, it makes it much easier for you to win trades. Furthermore, it allows you to sneak your jungler into these brushes unbeknownst to the enemy bot lane. I generally use this pink ward on the lane brushes early on, and later on in tri or dragon pit.
If possible, rush a on the first back. If this isn't feasible, I generally opt in to buying + and 1 or 2 health potions.
If you don't have , you MUST return to lane with at LEAST , and preferrably
From here you want to complete either or , depending on how your first back worked out.
I've started to shy away from building , simply because buying 3 gp10s (sightstone effectively acts as a gp10 at around 8 gold per 10 seconds if used properly) is a rare necessity for supports. I much prefer building and .
HOWEVER: If you feel your team is lacking initiation, by all means, go for Kage's into a . This is an excellent item to force engagements when combined with Shurelya.
On my second or third back, I will try to get , as these do start to become a factor, especially if the enemy bot lane rushes tier 2 boots -- the speed difference will make it increasingly difficult for you to land your snares.
With the season 3 changes, I've found to be INCREDIBLY useful. Buying a sightstone effectively acts as a GP10, considering you save a ton of money from the free wards it provides. This item also affords you with a fair bit of health (it essentially replaces HoG).
IMPORTANT: Even once you have , I still recommend buying pink wards and sight wards as long as you have some spare money. Map vision wins games, plain and simple. If you know the enemy's position, and they don't know yours, you have a huge advantage.
were originally my boots of choice. However, after experimenting with , I've found that the additional CDR is a wonderful addition to Zyra's kit. Your snare comes up 2-3 seconds faster, which is invaluable in teamfights.
At the start of every game, you need to decide whether your team needs you to A.) PROVIDE UTILITY or B.) DEAL MAGIC DAMAGE
If option A:
Here's where I think my build takes a weird turn. The next item you'll want to invest in is . This item is EXPENSIVE. But getting it 1 piece at a time is not so bad. WIth the introduction of , and due to the fact that I rarely build , I've found it exceedingly helpful to start building Rylai's with the , which provides ample AP without breaking the bank. Finish according to what you feel you need (either the for added survivability, or the for added burst/harass.
This item is invaluable, in my opinion. The peeling capability that it gives you with regards to your plants is unparalleled by any other supports, as your plants proc the slow as single-target spells (35% slow refreshed every time your plant hits it in addition to the slowing proc of your E plants).
If option B:
and Will allow you to provide a ton of damage while also being able to keep yourself alive. With the introduction of as a piece of the recipe for Zhonya, Zhonya's Hourglass has become a much more viable item in many situations, especially given the fact that you'll enjoy the added armor bonus from the item in bot lane.
NOTE FOR THIS BUILD: This build is generally only the one you want IF your team is heavily AD. E.g. Lee Sin/Zed mid, Riven top, Xin Zhao jungle. You'll want to be dealing AP damage to prevent the enemy team from just stacking armor and effectively nullifying your team. Your goal here does become more to focus on yourself as an AP carry and less as a support. In this situation, I do recommend stealing a bit of farm here and there and maybe even "accidentally" grabbing a kill for yourself. Being able to deal magic damage on a team comp like this is paramount.
From here, it gets very situational based on a few different factors. I highly, highly, highly recommend rushing after you finish . These items combine on Zyra to be one of the most potent engagement/disengagement combinations I've ever seen.
At some point in mid/late game (about 25-30 minutes in), I recommend the enchant for your tier 2 boots. This will lessen the time wasted when you have to back for more wards/oracles, etc, and is especially valuable if you're behind in a game and are needed to defend an objective in your base.
Can also be very effective if the enemy team has a large amount of CC. This item will provide something to Zyra's kit which she lacks -- namely, a Heal. This item can be very powerful if the enemy team has something like an or , or anyone with an AoE lockdown/crippling CC. It also aids when facing an enemy team with a fed AP champion, as it offers additional Magic Resistance to Zyra. Furthermore, this item builds out of , which means it helps Zyra with mana sustain (not something she particularly needs, but certainly always helpful for sustained sieges or drawn-out fights).
This item is particularly useful against an AD heavy team comp. If they have chosen 2 AD bruisers for mid/top/jungle, definitely feel free to grab this item, as it adds to your survival capacity and prevents your team from being instakilled.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND:
: This item, quite frankly, is crap, at this point in time. Do not build it, under any circumstances.
this item has become far too expensive for a non-tank support to build with the Season 3 rework. Tell your Jungler or Top to build this item instead, as they have much more cash flow than you. Do be sure that you have an Aegis on your team, however, because the Aura it provides is substantial when teamfighting.
Note about Boot upgrade selection
Zyra's W ability passively awards her 20% CDR at rank 5. Thus, taking Ionian Boots of Lucidity, in addition to Shurelya and the passive puts you over 40% CDR (which is the maximum amount any champion can have for CDR). This means that part of the item's use is being wasted. You may want to switch to some other situation-dependent item when you get to late game, and if you have extra money lying around. However, wasting the 10% overflow CDR really isn't that big of a detriment.
What's amazing about these items, is that by the end of the game, you'll have something like 3k health, with decent armor and magic resistance, and an impressive ability to keep yourself and others alive, while dealing pretty serious damage to the enemy team.
Early GameEarly game, in my mind, includes the time before minions spawn, up through the time that you ding level 6.
Zyra has 2 distinct starts, relying largely on whether or not she is Blue side. If you are blue side, you’re going to want to work with your ADC to effectively do the mini golems, before the minion waves meet at bot lane. This will give you about one fourth of the XP necessary to hit level 2, and provide you with a sizable laning advantage early on.
How to leash mini golem camp at level 1:
With the Season 3 jungle changes, Zyra is still pretty strong at taking mini golems at level 1, however, you will take SOME damage when killing this camp, due to the leashing changes, and their increased movement speed. It is certainly still possible and I would recommend doing it if you're on blue side.
**NOTE: S3 Jungle changes**
One thing to note about the vids involving leashing. With the upcoming Jungle changes regarding leashing, Zyra will become even MORE viable at leashing things with her plants. The new Jungle monsters will now attack the closest aggressor, rather than their ORIGINAL aggressor, which is what used to allow you to kite creeps without taking any damage. Using Zyra's plants to TANK the damage, rather than KITE the damage, will now be an effective strategy when "leashing" jungle camps (dragon and mini golems).
However, bear in mind that Zyra has a strong level 1, so don’t be afraid to invade, or engage in a level 1 teamfight. Her snare (which you should get at level 1, pretty much always), is a straight-line skillshot which snares everything in its path for .75 seconds at level 1. You can see how this would be extremely dangerous at level 1, and you can also use it as mentioned earlier, to easily vanquish the mini golem camp before minions spawn.
Aggression in Lane Phase
Zyra is an aggressive support who thrives off of snowballing a lane and picking up kills both for herself and for the ADC. Be patient until level 2, which is when you’ll get your plants, which can be activated to create a slowing plant by triggering them with your snare. Once you’ve acquired level 2, wait for any opportunity to land a snare on EITHER the support OR the ADC. If you can land a snare and 2 plants on either of them, you will EASILY win the trade. Don’t be afraid to focus the support down early; it WILL provide you with an advantage, as long as your ADC follows up on your snare.
Using plant seeds as temporary Sight Wards
Another unique ability which Zyra possesses is the capacity to provide free temporary wards. When you drop your plants down without activating them, they provide a small area of vision around them. This allows you to deny your enemies bush control in bot lane without forcing you to ward out lane bushes.
Advice against spamming Q
You can use your Q to harass, and spawn longer-range plants which deal more damage. However, I would advise using this sparingly, as your mana is much more easily conserved if you save it for snaring, rather than spamming it for minor harass damage with your Q.
If you play well during this phase, you should be able to win your ADC the lane in farm, and perhaps pick up a kill or 2.
Mid GameYou should by this time have at least your philo stone and perhaps a sightstone/tier 1 boots as well.
This goes from level 6 to level 11, for my money. Once you hit 6, your in-lane kill capacity becomes massive. Your 2v2 fights should ALWAYS go in your favor at this point. If you land a root, (which at this point has a 1.25 second duration), you should immediately ult, and pick up easy kills. Whenever you’re able to pick up a kill or 2, or force the enemy bot lane to back, immediately call for your jungler and mid to attempt a Dragon kill. This will give your team global gold and XP, which will not only help your own lane, but will help ALL lanes.
How to let your plants tank dragon for a few hits:
You'll notice dragon was damaged to half health before either myself or Twitch needed to begin taking damage from dragon. This is extremely valuable, because whoever is being targeted by dragon received an attack speed debuff, which slows your rate of killing dragon (especially if it is targeting the ADC). Allowing the plants to tank dragon in this manner also ensures your safety while clearing this objective. If dragon is lowering your health and the enemy team notices you doing it, you're in much more danger than if you're at full health (obviously).
Late GameAlright, you’ve made it through the terrorizing level 1 phase, where you had to wait patiently, and you’ve picked up some dragons and your ADC is successfully fed. Now it’s time to unleash your creation on the world.
Zyra is extremely adept at catching out enemies, and also at kiting them with her seemingly endless slows. However, if the enemies DO catch you, they will not hesitate to tear your poor plant-like body to shreds. That being said, it's a very good idea to use your plants(your w) as a substitute for your face (as described in the Early Game section), when clearing the jungle of wards, and when trying to lay down your own wards to gain map control for objectives like baron and dragon.
Late game is when Zyra really sets herself apart from other Supports as well. In an average game by about 30 minutes, you should have around 100+ AP with Rylai's or Liandry's and Shurelya. That being said, you pose a serious threat to pretty much every champion on the enemy team, except maybe their top lane bruiser.
You should be looking for an opportunity to force an engagement that your team can follow up on. Zyra is especially adept at these kinds of situations in choke points. She fights well in the jungle and on ramps, where people group up. She can cc an entire team for several seconds, doing a noteworthy amount of damage all the while. This is much different than what you expect to see out of normal, "meta" supports.
Late game, Zyra is, for all intents and purposes, a slightly underfed AP Mid, with the added necessity of ensuring her AD carry's safety.
Team FightsIn team fights, I’ve found you can use Zyra’s skillset in 2 very different ways.
Way 1: INITIATE
If you land a root on a critical target, IMMEDIATELY followup with your ultimate (provided your team is near enough to follow up on your engagement). This will force them to either flash, or die. To maximize your ult’s effectiveness, be sure to raise some plants before activating your ult. Rylai’s will proc it’s slowing effect each time your plants auto-attack, giving Zyra massive peeling capability, and the ability to really lock down an enemy squishy/priority target.
NOTE: With the missile speed nerf to Zyra's E, her engagement power has lessened somewhat. That said, don't be afraid to use it aggressively to try to start fights if you're confident that an enemy is out of position.
Way 2: PEEL
As mentioned earlier, Zyra’s ultimate can be used as a massive peeling tool. If the enemy team comp is diving all-in on your precious ADC, lay down a snare and some slowing plants, pop your ult, and watch as they struggle slowly towards your ADC, who dances away from them and slowly drops their health bars to nothing.
Zyra, at this point in the game, should have enough damage to cause some serious harm to enemy carries, be it the AP mid, or even the enemy ADC. If you land a root, drop some plants on them and zone them out of the fight or even kill them (presuming your own ADC isn’t being jumped on too heavily).
Many times, I’ve been able to solo down an enemy ADC or AP mid with Zyra at this stage of the game, especially if it gets REALLY late, and I’m nearing items like a Deathcap or Liandry's Torment (which is/are generally the last item(s) I’ll build).
Some Additional Playstyle Notes
Patience: Waiting to Strike
In order to be a truly effective Zyra player, you must be PATIENT. Zyra is extremely adept at both harassing AND full on 100 to 0 engagements (she has excellent trading/harassing ability as well as burst capacity with her ultimate). With that in mind, if you win a trade, don't worry if you can't quite secure a kill at that moment. Letting an enemy escape with little hp, and forcing them to back, is nearly as good as getting a kill, and will provide you with a sizable advantage. So many times, my ADC gets greedy and tower dives when we could have just let them back, pushed the wave, and come back with an item and XP advantage, to kill them in the next engagement. Throwing away these advantages can be extremely costly, and most times is not worth the risk. Zyra is a potent support, and more opportunities will present themselves. You don't need to risk giving up needless kills by tower diving. That said, if you're truly dominating a lane, feel free to press the advantage and completely shut them out of the game. You will get a feel for when this is a good idea, and when it's better to just leave off and be patient. This just comes with experience.
There are 2 other extremely important things to be aware of while playing Zyra support:
First off, you are a SQUISHY champion early on. If you miss your snare, and you're playing against a burst lane, they WILL tear your leafy body limb from limb. My advice to counteract a lane like this is to play passive-aggressively. Wait for them to engage on YOU, then counter with your snare, plant, plant combo, and your ult if available. Another excellent strategy is available when you're playing against someone like Leona or Taric, who has hard CC that will force an engagement. Allow them to land the CC on your adc, then counter with YOUR cc on both of them, as they try to followup on your ADC. This will completely turn the fight in your favor.
Second, if you DO go down early on in an engagement, be patient with your passive. It has a very long range, and you have EIGHT seconds to line up your shot. In these 8 seconds, people will almost certainly forget about your passive, giving you ample opportunity to line up a shot to hit MULTIPLE targets. Her passive deals true damage, so in a 2v2 engagement, this can be completely gamechanging. Many times, I've forced a level 2 engagement, gone down, and gotten a double kill for my ADC between the persistence of my plants, and the additional true damage from my passive. That said, don't just commit suicide. You're much more valuable while still alive, and capable of kiting and laying down more plants.
Patient passive and demonstration of kiting capacity
CountersZyra is a very potent support at bot lane. However, she's not uncounterable.
Counter #1: Soraka
In my experience, Soraka is an extremely good counter to Zyra. If possible, have your first pick player ban out Soraka. She's a complete counter, and will almost always win the lane. This is very detrimental to Zyra support, as she thrives off snowballing a lane out of control in your favor.
Reasons why Soraka counters Zyra:
1. Passive MR buff. This is probably the largest issue. Her passive MR buff mitigates your damage massively.
2. Her heals and mana sustain allow her to nullify any effective harass you manage to put on the enemy.
3. The silence can be pretty annoying at times, given the fact that Zyra is heavily reliant on perfect timing. A properly timed silence can really ruin your day.
Ways to deal with Soraka:
1. Have your ADC play a champion with a heal cut. Tristana and Miss Fortune work well to this end, (Miss Fortune more so than Tristana, due to the massive burst Miss Fortune is capable of dishing out). Miss Fortune also synergizes extremely well with Zyra, because Zyra is capable of locking the enemies down while Miss Fortune channels her ultimate.
Counter #2: Spell Shieldsor
Another counter mechanic I've noticed for Zyra is spell shields. As I've mentioned before, Zyra's snare is really her bread and butter. If you play against a competent Sivir or even a Morgana support bot lane, properly timed spell shields used to soak your snare will pose a pretty sizable problem.
In order to deal with spell shields, I've found that you can bait the spell shield by using your Q first instead of your snare (E), then landing your snare once they've wasted their spell shield on the first initial Q. Your Q is not really effective when playing Zyra support, so using it in this manner (as a way to ensure your snare) is not at all detrimental to your fighting capability.
Counter #3: Burst lanes/ +
This note refers mostly to Taric lanes. Taric at level 2 can easily shred you from 100% health to 0 with a good stun/shatter and a follow-up from his ADC. The way to deal with Taric lanes is to allow them to stun your ADC, then counter their attempted engagement by landing your own snare in response. Basically, if they can land the stun on YOU, there's nothing preventing the ADC from following up and destroying you. However, if they land it on your ADC, YOU can prevent their followup damage by landing a good snare on both of them (this becomes rather easy, because they'll both be making a bee-line for your ADC). This counter-mechanic is especially effective if you have an Ezreal, Graves or Corki (someone with an on-demand dash). This allows your ADC to get away from their immediate burst, while allowing YOU to land your snare, plant, Q, plant, ult (or just the snare, plant, Q, plant if you're still early in the game).
The same tactics apply to Leona lanes. The level 2 fight really decides your lane. If they win, you're going to have a bad day. If you win the level 2 fight, the same will be true for them instead. Good luck :P
Counter #4: Very Strong Level 1 Bot Lanes+
I have on several occasions been completely zoned out of the lane by Sona/Ezreal lanes. Their level 1 harass is just overwhelmingly strong. I have mentioned previously that I deal with these sorts of lanes by running flat armor and magic resistance. However, this can fail to be enough to stop them. Basically, you just need to play REALLY carefully at level 1, and try to survive to level 2 and beyond. They only beat you at level 1, so if you can ensure your safety until level 2, you should be okay.
Counter #5: NunuNunu isn't a hard-counter to Zyra, per say, however, he is extremely annoying, and makes your life much more difficult. His bloodboil grants increased movespeed to both himself and his ADC, making it much harder to land your root on command. Furthermore, if you DO land a root and drop your plants, Nunu can simply consume one of the plants, effectively halving your effective DPS in trades, and granting him a substantial health bonus. That said, he still does much less damage in trades, and your CC is much stronger than Nunu's, so if you can land a successful root, you will still most likely win trades. He merely mitigates the damage, he doesn't nullify it completely.
Best ADC Synergy
Very effective carries with Zyra:
In my experience, Zyra works well with almost all ADC's bot lane. , , , , , , and are my personal favorites. The common thread between these champions is that they're all capable of poking as well as bursting. They all have good early games as well as mid games. These champions are capable of poking when you land a snare, and also of instakilling enemies when you get your ultimates and begin to bring some serious burst to the table.
Ineffective carries with Zyra:
is probably my least favorite ADC to have alongside me at bot lane as Zyra. She's pretty weak early on, and doesn't really get that much stronger thereafter. Furthermore, she has no dash like most of the other carries mentioned, meaning that if the enemy bot lane is running a burst lane, one of you is pretty much always going to get hit HARD by their burst, and potentially die in that immediate burst.
Average-synergy carries include:
Vayne, Cait and Tristana don't work exceedingly well with Zyra, but they're certainly not detrimental. They can both work provided your ADC knows what they're doing on either of these champs. Trist has high pretty good harass early and decent burst. Cait is the same, but maybe slightly better due to her combo ability with your snare followed by her trap. Vayne just has a weak early game, which is somewhat detrimental due to the fact that Zyra can snowball a lane if your ADC has good burst early game. That said, Vayne/Zyra gets really strong mid-late.
A commenter made me notice that I did not include in this section! This is due to the fact that I don't have much experience playing with Koggles at my side. However, in theory, he seems like he would be an insanely good combo with Zyra. His slow would synergize extremely well with Zyra's slows and CC to make it almost impossible to get to Kog (barring something like a Leona with very strong hard engagement). Kog has a good balance of harass and burst potential, making him a pretty good fit for Zyra's playstyle. Lastly, their combined passives seem gamebreaking. They both have after-death passives which hit for AoE true damage. I can see this absolutely turning a teamfight or bot 2v2/2v3 engagement when 1k+ AoE true damage suddenly hits the enemy team from sources they thought were already removed from the fight.
As you can see, Zyra works well with pretty much any ADC. Given this, it's often best to let your ADC pick what they want to play, rather than forcing any particular ADC on them that best synergizes with Zyra.
Final CommentsI've played about 200 ranked games now as Support Zyra with a 65% win rate.
Being on purple side is much harder than blue side, due to the golem advantage which blue side gets. If possible, try to interrupt the enemy team's mini golems, or ask if you can leech the big wolf XP from the jungler. It's very important for Zyra to hit level 2 the same time or before the enemy bot lane.
Other than that, have fun. Zyra is the most fun support I've ever encountered, and one who I can genuinely say I've carried games with. Late game, she turns into a secondary AP carry, capable of literally 100-0ing enemy squishies. I hope this guide teaches you to "support" your way to victory the way I have experienced it myself!
Feel free to tune in and watch me put this to the test on my stream: