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ZED BUILD GUIDE: S3 - Revamped Mid Zed - Anti APC by Existence Denied

by Existence Denied (last updated over a year ago)

22,630 Views 6 Comments
9
Greater Mark of Attack Damage(+8.55 attack damage)
9
Greater Seal of Energy Regeneration(+5.67 Energy regen / 5 sec.)
9
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist( +12.06 magic resist)
3
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage( +6.75 attack damage)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details
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9
0
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21 Offense
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9 Defense
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0 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Contempt for the Weak
QRazor Shuriken
WLiving Shadow
EShadow Slash
RDeath Mark
View Skill Order Details

Runes

Masteries

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mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
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9 Defense
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0 Utility

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Contempt for the Weak
QRazor Shuriken
WLiving Shadow
EShadow Slash
RDeath Mark

Champion Matchups

Introduction

Ok, so this is my first guide, but I've been doing fairly well with Zed lately and thought I'd share the fruits of my experience with others. Zed is the epitome of Nuke Burst Assassin. He excels at destroying targets with low hp or low mobility. His purpose in the team is to lurk on the edges, find the right position, then pounce on the softer carries shortly after the fight breaks out. Zed's mobility and incredible burst damage will melt most carries, unless they're building very high into health... and even then there's still a substantial chance that you will outright destroy them when built properly.

NOTE: This guide has been revised to a midlane Zed guide. While top lane Zed is strong, he fares poorly against quite a few of the bruisers who frequent that lane. He DOES however, exceed hard against the soft APCs that run around in mid. So this is now a Midlane Zed Guide.

Edit 1/6/2013: Added alternate starter build and adjusted Item Build and Core Items
Edit 1/13/2013: Added Skill Order Section, Assassin / Bruiser Build, alternate through-game build guide, 2 team fight sections, and Zed Counter Items.
Edit 1/27/2013: Removed Assassin / Bruiser Build and related sections. Updated guide for mid lane.
Edit 2/13/2013: Added Optimum Item Build Section. Added Last Whisper back into standard Itemization. Added Item comparison section.

Item Build

Boots: /

Enhancements: /

Core:

Offensive Options:

Defensive Options:

Optimum Build (Max burst output)

Skill Order

>>>

This is standard Lane Priority. The only time this doesn't apply is in the first 3 levels, where you level >>

Summoner Spells



Explanation:
Standard Summoner spells for an assassin. Flash to close / escape and Ignite to insure kills.

Runes

About Runes. Despite Zed's ability to regain energy on landing 2 abilities on the same target, he suffers early game from atrocious energy generation and high energy costs. Extra energy generation early on makes a better harass game and helps escape if need be. The reason we don't need armor is because we are mid Zed, and most of our enemies are AP casters. As such, we can dispense with the armor yellows and grab up some energy regen. Our Reds and Quints stay AD, giving us a starting AD of 71. By level 6, with 0 items, Zed can reach over 100 AD.

Masteries

Standard nuke burst Masteries. No need for AA speed, so the skills that would normally go there are gone. Executioner stacks VERY nicely with Zed's passive making his Autoattack below 50% hit like a Mac truck (once per 10 seconds on same target). Since most Zed builds, including my preferred one, don't include any crit, there's no need for the crit damage talent either, so that's been replaced by minion and turret damage. In the defensive tree passive health, health per level and health regen help keep you in lane longer. Magic resist stacks nicely with the Runes to give you 48 starting Magic Resist. Can sub in Armor Masteries instead if midlane goes AD.

Skills

Passive: Contempt for the Weak

Explanation:
Outstanding passive #1. This makes your in-lane harass truly frightening. If you hit an enemy with an Autoattack when they have less than 50% hp, they're going to notice it. This also makes your burst in a 1v1 slug-out very scary. Combined with smart use of shadows, this passive can let you win almost any trade at HP < 50% (note that it only works once every 10s on the same target, similar to passive). This skill also means your farm is incredibly easy, as it gives you a little extra wiggle-room with your last hitting. If the enemy is push-happy and your lane is at your own turret, it ensures you never lose a creep to the turret. Simply wait for 2 hits on melee creeps and 1 hit on caster creeps from the turret, then smack them for easy money.




Q: Razor Shuriken

Explanation:
If this hits the opponent first, it hurts quite a lot. Unfortunately, as with such skills as Sivir's boomerang blade, it suffers from diminishing returns for each enemy hit in succession. This is the main reason this is not our go-to harass move early game, and instead serves as a ranged last-hitting mechanism against those tougher top lane opponents. Also, the slim hit box, long CD, and high energy cost make it less desirable to use repeatedly. Mid-to-Late game, with your R>E>Q>AA combo, this becomes your largest damage skill on a single target. The reason behind this is because when you to an enemy, you land right beside them. There shouldn't be anything in between you and them, meaning when these shurikens land they're doing full damage to the target (100% damage for the first one, 50% damage for the shadow's shuriken). Of course, your is going to be hitting twice as well, but the reason this ability surpasses that one, is because the Shadow Slash doesn't add increased damage for the second hit, simply increased slow. Now, because this isn't our go-to harass move for early game doesn't mean we don't use it. Combined with a well-placed , this ability will hit the enemy first and do full damage when used along with E while harassing. Just remember to keep an eye out on your energy, and not deplete it.




W: Living Shadow

Explanation:
The second of Zed's 2 incredible passives. At max level, this gives you an additional 25% AD. It's like a mini verson of Rabadon's but for AD, and it turns into a mini-Deathfire Grasp. Also, this skill is Zed's strongest harass / escape mechanism. Because it is a closer, a harass tool, and an escape, care should be exercised when using it. As a rule, in lane, if you are farther than midway up the lane, don't use it to harass. However, once you get your and think you can take out your opponent, you should use it to close the range so you can use your R. When harassing, use this into an immediate E>Q to damage and slow the opponent. When using this to close, use this ability twice immediately. When using this ability to escape, use it twice rapidly, then into an immediate E to slow the enemy. Also, this skill usually lasts long enough to use twice while it is up. Often after you use it to harass, the enemy will come back in range of your shadow's E to continue farming... hit them again with the E right as the shadow is about to fade. This is also an amazing juke tool. Keeping the shadow's location in your mind can be the difference between a clean escape and a death. If you find yourself having engaged and another enemy shows up, throw it in one direction, then run in another. When the arrow turns yellow, jump back to it and immediately E. It can be used similarly in conjunction with your R. Jumping between shadows can rapidly confuse the enemy and allow you to escape a very bad situation. In addition to all of this, if you and your shadow both hit an enemy with a skill, you are instantly refunded energy!




E: Shadow Slash

Explanation:
This is Zed's #1 early game harass tool when combined with . It does good damage and has a strong slow. In addition, for every enemy that you hit with this ability (and that includes every enemy your shadow hits with it too), it reduces the cooldown on your W by 1 second. Combine this with W to harass and clear lanes. It should also be used in conjunction with escaping, to slow the chasing enemy and keep them from catching up to you. This also combines nicely with your to keep your target within easy reach for auto attacking and followup abilities. If you hit an enemy with both your and your shadow's E, the enemy is slowed by 30-60%. Very strong ability, and very useful for locking carries in place for further punishment.




R: Death Mark

Explanation:
This is what burst is all about. It lets you close with the squishy, it marks them (like every other ninja!) and it builds up a delayed blast of damage equal to 20-50% of the damage you deal to them while the mark is active, on top of a flat amount of damage. Also, while casting, you are un-targetable by the enemy. This makes it a great escape tool as well if you are ganked while in lane. to an enemy, E, W>W away, and E again. You will hurt the enemy you targeted, and discourage a dive if you make it back to your turret. The shadow that this ability creates can also be jumped to, meaning you can do this to an enemy, run away, then jump back to that shadow and W away. Very useful juke tool.

Note 1: While this skill makes you un-targetable while it is happening, it does not interrupt abilities cast at you immediately before you use it. So a stun launched at you just before you cast it will still hit you once you come out of it. Fears work the same. A great example of how this works is Nautilus's ultimate. It follows slowly, so you can use your ultimate while it chases you, however, it will still chase you while you are in the middle of your ultimate and will eventually catch up to and hit you. Keep this in mind, because if you're in a team fight and you try to juke such an ability like this, you can cause it to run through your team multiple times.


Note 2: This skill will follow other champion's movement skills, if their skill is cast while you are in your ultimate rush. So, if they attempt to flash away, you will follow them, so long as you have not "landed" when they flash. A great example of this is Shen's ultimate. If properly timed, you can hijack Shen's ultimate and ride with him, landing on the other end ready to help your team. Keep this in mind.

Note 3: While it does make you un-targetable, you can still take damage from area effects that target the general area of where you're at. Keep this in mind if you are low on hp and the enemy has a ground-target effect they can throw down underneath you.

Early Game

Early Game: Zed's job early game is to farm and harass effectively, while keeping himself healthy and in good position to score an easy kill... either solo or with help from the jungle. Skill Q>E>W>E>E>R to 6. is a strong ranged last-hitting skill and a minor harass. is a very strong harass / wave clear tool. is an excellent closer or escape mechanism, and when combined with E and Q makes for an incredible harassment tool. W>E>Q can very quickly drop your opponent to 3/4 or 1/2 hp in one shot if you hit with both shurikens, and the slow means they have less chance to strike back at you.

Early Game Items: x9 and x2 These are your starter items. Neverdie setup. Lets you stay in lane for an incredible amount of time, and makes you virtually ungankable for the first 5-10 mins of playtime, depending on how you push / setup your wards.

First trip back you should have plenty of farm and hopefully a kill under your belt. First item we want to buy is . If you have enough, pick up as well and pick up at least 3x . The B.F. Sword gives us a lot of early game damage, the boots grant us a little extra mobility, and the pots keep us in the lane for a while longer. Alternately, if you didn't farm enough for the B.F. you can start building or or . Get the former if you're being camped by jungle / harassed hard. Get the Brutalizer if you managed to pick up a kill and were just too low to stay in lane to finish your B.F. And get a Hexdrinker if your opponent is adept at harassing you.

By level 10, we want to have and / plus a collection of pots. This is the base core for Zed.

Mid Game

Mid Game: Once you hit 6, you should be able to kill your opponent in lane. If you've been harassing effectively, he should have 1/2 or less hp. Wait for energy to be there, then W to close, R to him, then immediately E>Q and hit him at least once with your autoattack to proc your passive. This should either kill him or send him running back to base. With him out of the way, push to turret then start roaming. From 6-11 you should alternate pushing your lane to his turret and roaming. By 13 his turret should be down, leaving you free to roam to help team, or push to his next turret if your team is doing well.

Mid Game Items: should be your first completed item. This is your biggest AD item, and will give you the best sustain possible. / are your choices for boot upgrades. Always upgrade to the boots that counter who you're laning against, unless the bulk of the enemy team is either AD or AP. After that, build your and . Against AP teams, pick up a to turn into a . Alternatively, you can get another B.F. Sword to turn into if you're being excessively CC'd.

Late Game

Late Game: Toward the end of the game, Zed becomes a pushing and assassinating monster. You can shove a lane hard with W>E>Q combos. Assassination also comes easy. The enemy carries will occasionally go traipsing through their woods between lanes to farm. If your support has done his job, there will be plenty of wards in the jungle. If the lanes are all pushed and your team is shopping or taking down a dragon, post up in a bush that people usually don't walk through (the one by blue and red buffs are good ones) and wait for one of their carries to walk past. R>E>Q>AA to severely hurt / kill them. When they make to escape, W>E>Q>AA to kill them. During teamfights, wait for the fight to be fully engaged. Your team might take a beating, but hold out until all the big CCs are used up. Then pounce on their carries. You can either be hiding off to the side in the woods, or at the back of your team. + + gives you ridiculous closing power, and since your R makes you un-targetable, you will have free reign to smash the carries with E>Q>AA before they can CC you. Most carries will either completely disintegrate, or will run screaming for base. With the damage out of the way, you can either try to chase them down (if they have no CC or escape mech) or turn around and take out or tie up the enemy support or bruiser. Make sure you're using your E as often as possible to recharge your W and dish out max AoE damage. You might need to re-position if your team took too much of a beating.

Late Game Items: Depending on how well you're doing, upgrade Phage into either or . The former is the choice if you're very fed and the enemy isn't building a lot of hp. The second is if you find yourself being targeted and need more hp and survivability. Go ahead and finish off your as well. At this point, your items should look like this , , , (the boots and Mallet being trade-able of course) At this point, the game is usually over. But if it continues, your final two items should be and one of the following: / / / / / . If the carries aren't building armor, I.E. has the biggest gain. Your adds all damage you deal (and your ghosts) and at 16 inflicts 50% of all that damage on the enemy after a few seconds. With I.E. your Autoattack can and will crit above 1k, insuring the carry is dead. If, however, the enemy team is building heavily into armor, the Last Whisper will give you the best ability to bypass that armor and kill them. A moderate trend toward armor in the enemy team combined with relative burstiness is better grounds for a Black Cleaver. If the enemy team is clumping or their carries are standing together a lot, the Hydra will give you additional AoE burst to take them down. If earlier you picked up Ninja Tabi and now want some Tenacity, get the Zephyr. The movespeed, small AD boost, and attackspeed are nice bonuses to the Tenacity. Alternatively, if you are doing amazingly, and are fed beyond belief, and are having 0 difficulties in killing the carries and living, you can trade out the Guardian Angel for a second offensive option. Just remember, if in doubt, offense over defense. Zed is useless without his power, so stack that damage and kill them dead!

Team Fights

Zed's role in a team fight is to assassinate the softest carry on the opposing team. Most of the time, that will be the ADC, as most ADCs build minimal defense and health. Zed is NOT an initiator, nor does he immediately dive into the middle of the enemy team, hell-bent on taking out the tank that has very little hp left after initiating.

Now, before I go on about the actual team fighting, I'll tell you when you should be making team plays on Zed. 10-15 minutes into the game you should be out of your lane and either invading the enemy jungle, or jumping between lanes and ganking / supporting top / bot lane. With Zed's shoving power, once you hit level 8ish, you should be pushing your lane to the turret and roaming.

Now, to the team fight. As I said, Zed does not rush in as soon as the fight starts. As an assassin, positioning and timing are EVERYTHING. It doesn't matter if you have a clear shot at the ADC if the enemy Taric hasn't let his stun off the leash. Wait for the CCing players on the enemy team to burn their CC or be out of range of the AD/APC that you have your sights set on. It's also usually a good idea to wait for the target to use any movement abilities they have (i.e. Valkyrie or Flash) Once the timing is right and the enemy team is fully engaged, you pounce.

At this point, one of two things are going to happen (assuming your timing is right) Thing 1: the target melts, netting you a kill and removing a large chunk of damage from the enemy team. This is what we're aiming for every time with Zed. Thing 2: the target uses an escape mechanism and disengages with little to no hp remaining. This is less desirable, but still a good outcome. In either case, the enemy carry is no longer paying attention to your team; they're either dead, or focusing on getting away from you.

Now you have the bulk of the enemy team between you and your team. What's most likely to happen? They all turn around to try and focus you down. This is where things get rough for Zed, as he does not fare well against the combined ire of 3-4 enemy champs. However, the fight is now 5v4 in your favor, you have full hp, and most of the enemy team has low hp and minimal CDs left up to fight. This is decision time. If you're feeling strong and the other enemy carry is looking weak, pounce on him with W>E>Q>W>Autoattack. The enemy team is going to try and kill you, but with your mobility and sudden appearance, they are likely to not all turn and come at you at once, giving you time to rack up a chunk of damage on the next target, or even kill them outright.

However, before you make this decision, you need to have a good feel for your team. Some teams will disengage, seeing their own health pools running low and not willing to risk a death to finish off the enemy team. If your team is like this, then your best bet is to disengage. A team that doesn't want to fight means a team that doesn't help you kill the enemy, which ultimately means the entire remainder of the enemy team will want to kill the easiest target... YOU. But, if your team is good with math and knows that 5 > 4, they will rush in en-masse to wipe out the enemy team. And because you are behind the enemy team, at least 1 of them will turn around and try to deal with you. With a portion of the focus turned to you, you have successfully peeled potential damage / CC from your own carries, who can now rush in and score lots of free damage. Keep a close eye on your health and take out that second carry or tie up the support / bruiser. When you get low, Flash to your team or over the nearest wall and wait for your energy to come back so you can throw out some more burst damage.

Jungling

Zed is a more than capable jungler, due to high AoE damage and an excellent passive.

When Jungling Level >>>>> to 6.

Summoner's Spells:

Masteries: Same as above, only with 1 point removed from "Hardiness" and placed in "Summoner's Resolve"

Starting Items: +

Boots:

Core Items:

Offensive Items:

Defensive Items:

Initial Path: Wraiths, Red, Gank (1 of 2 nearest lanes if midway or farther into your team's territory [lead with >> + Autoattack]), Small Golems, Gank (again, if you didn't score a kill the first time), Wraiths, Wolves, Give blue to mid / top (you don't need it, they do).

First Recall: + . If you ganked well and scored a kill, get as well.

Upgrade boots first from there to either or . to is next. to after that. Then to . After that, into either or . Fially to finish it out. Later you can replace the Wriggles with , , , , or .

As far as strategy is concerned, Zed is a great ganker from the bush. His closing ability is strong, and his burst damage is high. Have your team engage, then jump in when the enemy is distracted. You should gank any lane that the enemy team has pushed past midway, as often as possible. And don't be frustrated by a lack of a kill... pushing the enemy back from farming or completely out of the lane is still a win.

How to Combo

Zed's burst is reliant on his two big combos. The first one you get early on, and should be used to harass whenever you're less than halfway down your lane. The second combo is Zed's ultimate combo, and should be used only on squishy carries (unless you're battling someone 1v1)

Combo #1 (enemy >50% hp) >>. First, make sure your opponent is within range of your W. With enough energy (> 160 at low level) launch your W right next to the opponent. At the same time, rapid-fire your E and Q, making sure you do your best to land both shurikens on the target. This can be done manually, but for fastest burst it's best to smartcast (holding shift while casting will result in all spells being cast at cursor location. If it is a skillshot, it will be cast in that direction. A targeted spell will require your mouse to be hovering over the target)

Combo #1 (enemy <50% hp) Once your opponent has less than 50% hp, the combo changes a little. You will still fast cast >>, but you add 2 more steps. Once you cast Q, cast W again. This will change your location with your shadow, placing you right next to your target. Once there, right-click on him to hit him once with your Autoattack. If he turns to fight, kill him. If he runs, judge your health and risk of jungle gank, then either pursue or break away.

Tip: With the first variation of combo 1, enemies will often stay in the area of your shadow, either to farm or just because they don't realize the danger they are in. Your E will usually come off Cooldown while your shadow is still up. If the enemy is still in range of it, hit him with your E again. Alternately, if there are several creeps of low hp within range of your shadow, hit it again to reduce your W Cooldown.

Combo #2 (aka, ultimate combo) This one works one of a few ways, but the core of the combo is the same. Your ultimate has a decent range, makes you un-targetable while casting it, and lands you right beside your opponent while simultaneously spawning a shadow.

Variation #1 has you within range of your ultimate. Your target should be <60% hp at low level, <75% hp at high level, and you should have over 120 energy. This combo is >> + Autoattack. Stay on him after you come out of your ultimate and hit him as often as you can. Often they will try to run. If they do attempt to run, hit them with Combo #1, variation 2 (because your ultimate puts you and a clone right next to the target, most of your energy will be refunded to you as all of your abilities are hitting him twice)

Variation #2 has you out of range of your ultimate. This should only be used when target has <35% hp, as you have less insurance of the kill. With the enemy outside of your ultimate range, cast W twice in the direction of your enemy and immediately cast R when you're in range. Follow up with E>Q>AA to stack the damage as fast and hard as possible. Often the enemy will be able to evade you after this point, but hopefully you've put enough damage on them for the second half of your ultimate to finish them off (the delayed / stacking damage blast)

Note: If you opt to get Blade of the Ruined King, you should add its active ability to any combo where you intend to kill the target. Take care to make sure you use it AFTER you cast your ultimate on the enemy, as the delayed damage effect of your ultimate will take the Blade of Ruined King's active ability damage into consideration as well.

How to Juke

Zed, like Leblanc, has the ability to juke all over the place with his shadows.

Easy Juke 1: directly away from the enemy, then cast W again. This is like flash and can be used over walls (make ABSOLUTELY sure the wall is thin enough, or you'll just shadow right next to yourself) This juke should be used with the enemy in melee range, and should be followed immediately with a E to have your shadow do a slash on the enemy, slowing and damaging him.

Easy Juke 2: This one is used to interfere with an enemy who has a skill shot. Use Combo #1 into the enemy, then W again to the shadow when you see them cast their skill shot. This is especially useful against champions like Olaf, who have a visible wind-up to their skill shot (Although I would not suggest using this against Olaf, as I will explain in the counters section)

Intermediate Juke 1: W toward the nearest bush, and run away from shadow until arrow turns yellow. As soon as the arrow turns yellow, re-cast W and duck through the bush. This should only be used on a bush that contains either allies or a ward, to ensure you won't walk into a gank. This can be coupled with a bush-juke if the enemy is still close behind you (ducking into the bush then coming out at the same place to run in the direction the enemy had been coming from)

Intermediate Juke 2: This has to be after level 6, and is generally used when being chased by 2 different people. If you are caught out of position, R to the enemy nearest your allies or turret. As soon as your ultimate ends, W toward allies / turret and re-cast W immediately. Follow up with an E for a 30-60% slow on the enemy.

Pro Juke 1: This has to be after level 6, and is generally to be used when being chased by 2 or more enemies. If caught out of position, R to the enemy farthest from safety. Use Combo #2 Variation 1 right here, and run farther from safety. Once arrow turns yellow, and with enemies close behind you, re-cast R to swap with your shadow. Cast E, followed by a double cast W in the direction of safety. Continue to cast E as often as possible (with the enemy in range of it at your shadow or you).

Pro Juke 2: As with the previous ones, this has to be after level 6. With enemies approaching, cast W toward nearest bush and begin to run to safety. Once arrow turns yellow, or when enemy uses slow / closing ability, cast W again and dodge into bush, combined with E. When enemy approaches, cast R from the bush to enemy nearest safety, followed with E and continue to run to safety. As soon as W comes off CD (which should be reduced due to repeated enemy hits with E) double cast W toward safety and follow with E (if enough energy remains)

There are many more ways to juke using Zed's shadows, these simply being 6 examples. They are very useful for scouting bushes, scouting around corners, and jumping over walls as well. The difference between a good Zed and a great Zed is shadow clone awareness and usage.

Zed Counters

These champions either directly counter Zed, or can sustain his burst.

Singed - Has high mobility, armor, health, sustain, slow, and toss.
Very hard to lock in place and damage, very hard to harass. His poison trail also makes melee farming dangerous, and his toss can put you way out of position quickly.

Nidalee - Very long range, heal w/steroid, strong poke, high mobility, bush awareness, and strong melee burst.
Like Singed, she's hard to lock into place and hurt. She can also monitor her bushes with bushwacked. Her spear throw, if done expertly, can reduce your health quickly and effectively without any chance of retaliation. She can also heal, and once she hits level 6 her melee burst is very strong.

Lee Sin - Long Ranged harass, high melee burst, slow, sustain, shield, and high mobility.
His long range with Q and high burst damage are dangerous for Zed. Along with that are his AoE damage, his slow, and his shield. Add to that high mobility and built in lifesteal and attack speed make Lee Sin the second most dangerous enemy to go toe to toe with.

Garen - High mobility, silence, sustain, and shield.
Silence is Zed's biggest enemy next to a stun. Add to that Garen's high mobility, hp regen passive, shield and high health.

Jayce - Long range, high mobility, high burst damage, knockback, %hp attack, and slow.
Like Nidalee, Jayce has very long range harass that does a lot of damage. He can also sustain his mana, and has a huge amount of melee burst damage with a knockback and a slow.

Olaf - Long range harass, high-mobility, un-slowable, high sustain, high burst damage, true damage, and high health.
Olaf is very dangerous to Zed. His axe does a decent amount of damage and slow when thrown, and refreshes when he runs over it, making him a very good chaser. He can regen a lot of hp through lifesteal, and his attack speed gets faster the lower he is, negating Zed's low-hp advantage. Also his Reckless Swing deals a massive amount of TRUE damage. Do not attempt to brawl with him!


Veigar - Long stun, long range, and incredibly high burst.

Swain - Long range harass, very strong sustain, slow, damage over time, snare, and general tankiness. Swain is the biggest threat in the midlane. Do not use your W>E>Q>W combo to get near to him. Your only options are to stay to close to turret and farm, using your W>E>Q to harass only when he wants to trade with you. Personally, I would suggest saving W for dodging Nevermove.

Items

If you see an APC with this, don't even bother to use on them, as they will use the effect to completely negate the additive damage. This item completely neutralizes over half of Zed's nuke / burst damage potential on a single target.

High health-pools, if combined with armor, will result in an enemy that can sustain your burst, leaving you with relatively few cooldowns left and your largest damage potential wasted. This item on an ADC is very frustrating, as once the ADC survives your burst, they can easily kite / burst you down.

AD Item Comparison

I'll be going through a comparison of some of the items you can build on Zed and discussing strengths vs. weaknesses.

This is the #1 Item in the game for Zed. Fully farmed, this item gives a flat 100 AD plus 8% lifesteal. With Zed's W passive, the AD on this item is bumped up to 125. And Zed has a 100% AD scaling rate with both Razor Shuriken and Death Mark, and a 90% AD scaling rate with Shadow Slash. With 2 of these fully farmed, that means all of your abilities are doing more than an additional 225 damage on the target. It also means your AA, when you hit them with it, is hitting like a freight train.

On the surface, it seems like a good choice on Zed. It adds 87.5 AD, a chance to crit, and increased crit damage. Some would be tempted to rush this item. Don't do this. This item is based on the need to AA. Zed only needs to AA at one point in a fight... when the enemy's hp is less than 50%. The rest of the time Zed is just bursting someone down, dealing as much damage with his abilities as possible. This item is only worthwhile as a late-late-late-game item, and only if you have another item with crit on it, such as Trinity Force

Another seemingly good item on Zed. It has the second highest flat AD in the game, has increased lifesteal and health regen, causes attacks to deal damage in a circle around the target, and has an on-use effect that deals damage and drains life. In fact, this item is not bad to have on Zed. It adds 93.75 AD at end-game. But it should only be taken if the enemy has several bruisers who like to clump, and who don't have hard CC. This item is mainly used in conjunction with AA, but it's on-use effect does add to Death Mark's cumulative damage.

This is the next largest flat AD item (variable is included in this statement, as with 87% hp or less it overtakes the next largest AD item), adding 68.75 AD with passive W. It adds an additional maximum of 49 AD as you lose health (this is with 98% hp gone, an unrealistic combat point, but worth mentioning nonetheless) In addition, it adds flat Magic Resist and gives you a 400 MAGIC DAMAGE bubble should you take magic damage that would leave you at less than 30% hp. This item is very strong on Zed, making him very dangerous to casters, and granting him survivability in a slug-out with a fed APC. This should be your second completed item against teams running 2 or more AP based champions.

This is a very strong item for Zed, but very costly. With the increased cost of the Quicksilver Sash, the only time you should build this item is when the enemy team has a plethora of CC or a suppress. This grants 75 flat AD along with the 45 Magic Resist.

With 62.5 AD added, this item comes in next in the flat AD race. However, where this item shines is the added HP and especially the Armor Penetration. It boasts a flat Armor Pen of 10, and has a stacking armor shred of 6.25% x 4 (equalling 25% armor reduction). This effect stacks on the enemy champion, meaning if there are other players on your team attacking your target they also benefit from this debuff. What this really means though is that the target has 10 less effective armor right off the bat, and loses an additional 25% of his armor through repeated attacks. This effect is applied through any physical damage, and since everything Zed does is physical damage, he can apply this with any of his abilities as well as his AA. This armor shredding ability of the Black Cleaver is especially useful against high-armor champions / teams. The more armor they have, the more they lose through this item's effect.

This item gets an honorable mention, as it has a flat AD of 62.5 with Zed's W. It also grants passive hp regeneration and adds a red-buff type burn-over-time effect to any ability that deals physical damage. This applies to all of Zed's abilities, meaning that Zed can apply a 66 True Damage burn to every target he hits with any of his abilities. This item is not a horrible item to have on Zed, but it is not as good as others. If you have the money to buy this, you should be building another Bloodthirster instead. The only exception to this is if you are jungling, in which case this is the optimum item to upgrade your into.

This item has the potential to grant the most cumulative AD of any item in the game. At full stacks, it has a base AD of 110, giving Zed a total of 137.5 AD when fully stacked. In addition, you gain a movespeed bonus at max stacks, which is always helpful. This item is a very high risk / high reward item, as any death instantly drops 1/3 of the stacks from this item and instantly makes you much weaker. On the other side, if you snowball early and continue to rack up kills throughout the game, this item can let you wreck just about any enemy. However, another downside and hidden effect of this item is a global taunt, and I say that without humor. The enemy team, upon seeing this item in your inventory, will do their best to kill you every fight, no matter what. They will focus you above and beyond any other player on your team. Again, very high risk item. I personally do not suggest it unless you have a very strong mass CC type team.

50 flat AD makes this a decent item to have on Zed. In addition, it causes all of his autoattacks to deal 4% of the enemy's REMAINING hp in PHYSICAL damage, and grants half of that damage to Zed as hp. It also comes with a flat 10% lifesteal and an active ability that drains the target's HP of 150 x 50% of Zed's AD, healing Zed for the same amount and slowing the enemy by 30%. This is the of the AD world, and on Zed this item can really shine. The active effect is added to the damage from Death Mark.

This item gives Zed 50 AD and 35% automatic armor reduction on whatever person he hits. This item's high % of armor penetration makes it incredibly useful against enemies high in armor. However, against opponents that aren't stacking armor, this item loses a lot of it's lustre. If the enemy team is building high into HP and ignoring armor, go for a bigger AD item or an item that has a flat armor penetration stat.

At 37.5 AD, this item is hardly a heavy hitter. However, it is still a strong item on Zed due to the fact that it packs a slow, movespeed increase, crit chance, attack speed, increased health, and a 150% BASE AD increase to Zed's next AA after using an ability. At 18, Zed has 109.8 Base AD, meaning this item's proc will make his next basic attack hit for an additional 164.7 Damage. This works well with Zed's ultimate and his champion passive. It can cause his AA to crit for well over 1100 when properly built up. However, it is an expensive item, and does have 2 stat increases that Zed doesn't need.

This item grants 31.25 AD to Zed as well as a 15% chance to crit and a passive debuff to the enemy he is AAing that reduces all healing effects on them by 50%. This item COULD be useful if the enemy team has a dedicated healer, or a large amount of lifesteal / spell vamp. Otherwise, the item slot is better used for something with a lot more AD, as ignite is a better heal prevention method.

25 AD is the end result of this item, along with a 10% move speed increase, 50% attack speed increase, 10% CDR, and 35% tenacity. Zephyr shines when the enemy team has lots of bruisers with lots of health and soft CC. It lets Zed transition from nuke burst to High AD, attack speed brawler. It also helps in chase or evade scenarios, with its increase to movement speed and reduction of all CC effects. This item should only be taken against teams with several AD based brawlers, and only when the boot choice was

37.5 Flat AD along with 700 hp and a great slow on basic attack. This item is a good alternative to a Warmogs if your team is already very tanky. It grants more AD than the Warmogs, and the slow on hit is good for sustaining damage on targets that attempt to flee. However, with the increase in escape mechanics on many champions, the slow isn't always a guarantee for continued damage on a target, and this item doesn't grant passive hp regeneration. The mobility of the enemy team needs to be taken into account when purchasing this item.

+45 armor and 15% crit chance are the non-variables on this item. Why is it included? A good Zed knows that HP is necessary for the late-game, when bruisers get very tanky and very capable of killing just about anybody. Zed has a base HP of 1975 at level 18 (Runes and Masteries excluded). With Warmogs, that's 2975 HP. At 1.5% of HP converted into AD, Atma's gives Zed 55.78 additional AD. This is a decent amount of AD for the cost of the item, and the extra armor is useful against heavy bruiser teams. This item should only be acquired when you build either a Warmogs or a Frozen Mallet + Black Cleaver.

At 1550 gold, this item grants 56.25 AD. This is the best unfinished item in the game to rush, and I would suggest getting this first every game.

This item grants 31.25 AD. If you can't afford a BF Sword, this is a suitable alternative to an early item.

At 31.5 AD, 10 Armor Pen, and 10% CDR, this item is very good for Zed's early game. However, at 1337 gold to buy, it should only be purchased if the money isn't present for a BF sword or after completion of the first Bloodthirster.

25 AD, 200 hp, chance to slow enemy. Only buy if being harassed hard early game, or if planning on building a Frozen Mallet or Trinity force after second Bloodthirster.

12.5 AD and 10% lifesteal. A good early-game item, but should only be bought after a BF sword.

12.5 AD. Only buy this item with extra cash and only if the plan is to buy a Vampiric Scepter, Brutalizer, or Phage.

12.5 AD, 80 HP, 5hp regen on basic attack. This item is decent to buy early game IF you have extra cash and feel the need for the extra early HP. It does not upgrade, meaning you effectively lose 285g if you sell it to buy another item.

This concludes the list of effective AD items for Zed.

Final Comments

Tips: Always focus the softest carry on the opposing team first. Let your tank or bruiser initiate. Wait for stuns to be used, because as soon as they see you coming they will either stun you and rape you, or wait for you to come out of your ulti and then stun you and rape you. And remember, you have a lot more damage and sustainability than you think. Once the carries are dead, you can out-damage and out-heal most tanks and bruisers, so stick around in the fight and keep spamming those abilities.

When your team engages and a teamfight breaks out, commit! Zed does not have enough range in a teamfight to poke. He is a nuke assassin, so when the fight is there and blows are flying, get in there and kill that carry!

Note: if you thumbs-down the guide, leave a comment as to why and I will do my best to address your concerns.

Comments

August 8, 2013 - 10:12 AM #1

With zed ult shadow slash already hits twice. Only with w shadow you cant hit twice. Btw u need not to buy 3 bloodthirster ... and u have to buy botrk. ....

February 14, 2013 - 05:18 PM #2

Not enough description for summoner spells and you are missing the image of your runes masteries pages in their respective sections.

January 30, 2013 - 07:36 AM #3

I re-worked it. There was already a better top lane Zed guide out, so I changed it to a mid lane guide. I took out a lot of the tool images too.

January 29, 2013 - 01:17 AM #4

did someone screw with this guide or something, because it wasn't like this before.

January 15, 2013 - 12:25 AM #5

That's better, but you have one huge issue, tool images. FAR too many of them. These images are great for use as headers in explain items, champion matchups, spells, etc. However, using them inside of sentences creates a mess. They create unnecessary spaces between sentences, distract the readers eyes, becoming an eyesore. the more you use them, the more of an issue they become. Write out the name of the champion, spell, or item in sentences, don't just use an image. As for skills, the same applies, however, you can substitute Q/W/E/R instead of the skill name.

January 7, 2013 - 04:41 AM #6

missing a team fights chapter, which is a required chapter for approval. you're not consistent with your skill explanations. a couple skills you do a real good job with, but the others there's just not much of anything.

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