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ZAC BUILD GUIDE: Jungle Zac: This Is Gonna Get Messy by Careless Jungler

by Careless Jungler (last updated over a year ago)

1,208,353 Views 16 Comments
9
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration( +7.83 magic penetration)
9
Greater Seal of Armor( +12.69 armor)
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist( +1.35 magic resist per level (24.3 at champion level 18))
3
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed( +4.5% movement speed)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details
9
21
0
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mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
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9 Offense
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21 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
Cell Division
QStretching Strike
WUnstable Matter
EElastic Slingshot
RLet's Bounce!
View Skill Order Details

Runes

Masteries

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mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
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9 Offense
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21 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
Cell Division
QStretching Strike
WUnstable Matter
EElastic Slingshot
RLet's Bounce!

Champion Matchups

Introduction

Zac the Secret Weapon is, according to his lore, the product of a Zaun experiment to manufacture a hexchem-engineered supersoldier – the Zaun Amorphous Combatant. What was created was one of the best junglers to ever take to the Fields of Justice. A tanky AP melee fighter, Zac is not only a very strong jungler but is also very fun to play. Zac possesses a very unique kit that allows him to excel in a number of different situations. Capable of strong long-range initiation and excellent sustained damage, Zac offers the ability to pull off plays that other junglers just aren't capable of.

I prefer to build Zac tanky while still remaining a threat to the opposing team by doing damage. The runes, masteries and items that I choose to use on Zac will be explained in detail in this guide so that you can play him to his fullest potential. My guide focuses on taking advantage of Zac's strengths so that he can be an asset to any team and playable in any situation.

It is important to note that everything in Zac's skillset does AOE damage. He has offers a medium-ranged slow, maximum health-based damage, long-range gap closer that knocks back the enemy and an ultimate that also knocks up the enemy and slows them as well. If that wasn't enough, Zac's passive offers free sustain to counter the effects of having health costs on all of his abilities and the opportunity to come back to life after death.

Zac's ability to traverse terrain, use different jungle paths with ease and item build flexibility allow him to carry games and remain strong throughout all parts of the game.

Pros:
  • Excellent sustain
  • Very strong initiate
  • Sustained damage
  • Can traverse terrain with Elastic Slingshot
  • Great crowd control
  • Fast clear
  • Manaless
  • Flexible jungle paths
  • Wide item build possibilities
  • Built in engage/escape
  • Percent health damage
  • Excellent addition to any team
  • Source of AP damage from the jungle
  • Well-rounded champion
  • Troll passive
  • Lots of AOE damage
  • No need for buffs (but they help!)

Cons:
  • Has difficulty bursting enemy champions
  • Not the strongest duelist
  • Does not have the best jungle clear
  • Slight reliance on building tanky
  • Elastic Slingshot requires time to charge
  • Not a great deal of single target damage
  • Too much fun!

Stats + Scaling:
Health: 455 (+95)
Attack damage: 54 (+3.375)
Health regen: 7 (+0.55)
Attack speed: 0.638 (+1.6%)
Mana: N/A
Armor: 14 (+3.5)
Magic res: 30 (+1.25)
Range: 125
Mov. speed: 335

Stats courtesy of: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Zac

_________________________________________

Zac Champion Spotlight


While Phreak offers a great introduction to playing Zac, I don't recommend everything he has to say. Of course, thats what this guide is for!

_________________________________________

Zac's Release

[http://i.imgur.com/3SUjAFw.png]

Zac was released on April 29th and saw a great deal of play upon his release. He was mostly played in the top lane and in the jungle. Like any new champion, interest fell shortly after to what we see now. Admittedly, I consider Zac to be a much better jungler than a top laner due to his mobility, sustain and clear. At the time of this writing, Zac has a 12.19% rate of play.

http://www.lolking.net/champions/zac#statistics
Statistics as of August 14th, 2013

[http://i.imgur.com/i2zaUIb.png]

Zac has always hovered around a 50% win rate (disregarding the first couple days of his release), which went up slightly after release as people became more familiar with how to play him. At the time of this writing, Zac has a 49.71% win rate. Not only that, Zac is being banned in 47.04% of games with people afraid of his strong in game presence.

http://www.lolking.net/champions/zac#statistics
Statistics as of August 14th, 2013

Update Log

August 14th, 2013

Updated for 3.10. Lots of changes.

June 6th, 2013

Made some big changes. Adding more chapters and more information. Also slightly changed skill order to put more emphasis on Elastic Slingshot early game.

May 7th, 2013

Finally finished adding all of the content!
Released! Hope you enjoy it!

April 29th, 2013

Guide created!

Masteries

9/21/0
[http://i.imgur.com/zOoH8as.jpg]

My preferred masteries for Zac. I will run these in every game that I play with him as I believe going deep into the defense tree allows Zac to be a more efficient front-line initiator. Placing the remaining points in offense helps him do damage to enemies. The defense tree also offers a safer jungle clear and strengthens his durability in teamfights. This setup is fairly straight-forward for an AP jungler.

The only alterations to these masteries that I can recommend would be to pick up Reinforced Armor to help protect against critical damage at the expense of having one point in armor or percent health increase.

To give more insight, I will go through every mastery.

Offense Tree
Sorcery
4% cooldown reduction. Cooldown reduction is amazing on Zac because he isn't restricted by mana or by energy. If his abilities are up he can use them. This cooldown reduction is great throughout the entire game. I find it more beneficial than attack speed and the Butcher mastery as Zac doesn't need them to clear the jungle effectively.

Blast
+18 ability power at level 18. These points don't matter too much aside from the fact that they are required to pick up Arcane Knowledge. Still, Zac is an AP champion and having additional ability power can only benefit him.

Arcane Knowledge
The whole reason we put nine points into the offense tree. 8% magic penetration is very strong on Zac, especially coupled with additional magic penetration items like Sorcerer's Shoes and Haunting Guise. Magic penetration is important because we won't be building a lot of ability power on Zac and still want to do damage, so the magic penetration helps Zac do damage with the base damage on his kit and the percent-health damage of his Unstable Matter.

Defense
Summoner's Resolve
Grants 10 bonus gold for every Smite used. Fairly straightforward. The extra gold will help early game and allow Zac to pickup items just a little bit earlier than he would without this mastery.

Durability
+108 health at level 18 (scaling per level). I love this mastery as it makes Zac stronger as the game progresses. And since Zac is always a target for the enemy team, extra health is very useful in team fight situations.

Tough Skin
Reduces damage taken by monsters by 2. While this mastery may appear to be lackluster, it actually helps Zac a lot in the jungle during the early game. Reducing 2 damage per monster (after mitigation) helps Zac maintain a higher amount of health in the jungle which could be the difference between a successful gank or invade.

Hardiness
+2 armor. I only put one point here but its a very efficient point since you get 40% of the value for 33% of the cost.

Bladed Armor
Deals 6 true damage to any monster or minion that attacks you. Mostly useful early game as it helps speed up Zac's initial jungle clear. Just be careful when donating buffs to your laners that this mastery does not steal it from them.

Unyielding
Reduces damage taken from champions by 2. Another one of those small masteries that make a lot of difference over the course of the game. Reduces from all sources of damage and can save you in many circumstances!

Veteran's Scars
+30 health. I love this mastery. The extra health at the beginning of the game is very beneficial to Zac and makes enemy engagements early game easier to manage.

Block
Reduce basic attack damage from champions by 3. A mastery that I have warmed up to recently, I used to skip this before I found out just how good it is. Reducing the damage done by auto attacks (after initial mitigation) can save a great deal of damage in a skirmish or team fight.

Tenacious
15 tenacity. Even though Zac is already difficult to lock down due to his Elastic Slingshot and the built in tenacity that is part of Let's Bounce!, he remains a melee champion and the additional tenacity will do wonders in the early portion of the game before you pick up Mercury's Treads or Spirit of the Ancient Golem. It is worth noting that the tenacity from this mastery stacks multiplicatively with tenacity items.

Juggernaut
Increase maximum health by 4%. Possibly my favorite mastery in the whole tree. I build Zac really tanky with a lot of health and this mastery takes advantage of that. An additional 40 health per 1000 hit points, this mastery can equate to a lot of health late game, making it more than worth the points put into it.

Defender
Grants 1 armor and magic resist for each nearby champion. One pint wonder mastery that, very simply, does what it says. It gives you additional defensive stats for every enemy around you. And since Zac is bouncing his way into the middle of the enemy team, this mastery is definitely valuable.

Honor Guard
Reduces damage taken from all sources by 3%. Amazing mastery that helps Zac become more tanky so that he can survive engagements with the enemy team and take less damage throughout the game.

Runes

[http://i.imgur.com/7OGdLjq.jpg]

While Zac has a lot of flexibility in what runes he can run, I feel that the best page is one that is well-rounded and provides additional damage, defense and utility. My recommended rune page is above and is the same page that I (and I'm sure most of you) run for Amumu. I'll go over these runes and some alternatives.

It's worth noting that I am not a big fan of building ability power on Zac. While it would be beneficial to do so in rare circumstances where you need to do slightly more damage, I prefer a well-rounded rune page.

Marks: Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

I have found that Zac does not need any help clearing the jungle. His abilities and built-in sustain offer a very quick, safe clear. While magic penetration does not assist with clearing the jungle, it doesn't hurt to do more damage to enemy champions.

  • Optional: Greater Mark of Armor

Seals: Greater Seal of Armor

There is no other choice. These are needed to jungle. Otherwise, too much damage is taken on the initial clear and an early back is needed. Regardless, these are great for mitigating damage from champions as well.

  • Optional: None

Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

I prefer Scaling Magic Resist glyphs to provide more late game magic resistance. This is simply a preference. If you choose, Flat Magic Resist glyphs can also be used or a combination of the two.

  • Optional: Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Quintessences: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Additional movement speed is amazing on Zac. Since he will need to reposition himself to cast his abilities properly both in the jungle and while engaging the enemy, I believe movement speed quints to be the best option for him. I'm also quite fond of having more movement speed on my champions and run these quints on a majority of my champions. Other defensive quints can also be used in preferred including health and armor.

  • Optional: Greater Quintessence of Health, Greater Quintessence of Armor

Summoner Spells



Explanation:
The best combination of summoners for Zac. I don't take any other summoners for jungle Zac for a number of reasons. The utility that Flash brings is too high and Smite is needed on every jungler. Other summoner spells are a possibility for Zac but I have had the most success with these two. The reasons for selecting these summoners is discussed below.

Smite

Smite brings too much to the table for a jungler not to use it. For those that don't know, Smite is a targetable summoner spell that deals true damage to minions or neutral creeps. Generally, only junglers take smite for the team. This summoner does not damage enemy champions and assists in clearing the jungle and securing buffs. Smite scales with each champion level (starting at 490 damage at level 1 and scaling to 1000 damage at level 18). Smite also synergizes with the mastery Summoner's Resolve which grants a bonus 10 gold on use. Smite should not be used when starting camps to reduce the time it is down for other camps, however, and should instead be used when the target is low enough to be finished off. This secures the target for yourself and removes the possibility that it can be stolen by an enemy champion (and sometimes even your own).

  • Secures buffs for your team
  • Significantly faster jungle clearing
  • The ability to counter-jungle quickly
  • Securing global objectives (dragon and baron)
  • Synergizes with Summoner's Resolve mastery (grants 10 bonus gold on use)
  • Lets your team know that you are the jungler in lobby

In patch V1.0.0.153 the values of Smite were adjusted to combat other non-summoner abilities (Cho'Gath's Feast and Nunu's Consume primarily):

[http://i.imgur.com/KfYDLZP.png]
Courtesy: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Smite

Tip: When I'm jungling I will hold my cursor over the minion, monster, buff or global objective that I am about to Smite so I can see their health in the top left of the screen. When the health value is lower than that of your Smite, you can secure the buff for your team.

Flash

Flash is considered by many to be the most powerful skill in the entire game. A blink that moves your champion 400 range instantly while on a 300 second cooldown (that can be reduced through masteries), Flash is also the most used summoner for many different reasons. But why Flash on Zac? Flash helps Zac initiate while ganking or starting teamfights. Zac can close large distances by utilizing Flash in combination with Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce!

Flash also open up the possibility of stealing dragon or baron safely. Zac can use his Elastic Slingshot to enter the pit, attempt to steal the global objective and then Flash out safely. Without Flash, Zac would surely succumb to his death. While not the easiest thing to pull off in the game, a great dragon or baron steal is always admired by your teammates and is one of the reasons why I love being a jungler.

  • Provides Zac a great initiation tool
  • Flash gives an escape
  • Confidence to counter-jungle safely
  • Great synergy with his abilities (Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce!)
  • Can be used to secure kills
  • Used to follow enemy champions that have used flash to escape

_________________________________________

Optional Summoners: Since Zac has built in mobility with his Elastic Slingshot that can allow him to escape danger over walls or build distance between champions, several other summoners become options for him.

Zac lacks sticking power early on without Red buff and Exhaust can be used to great effectiveness early. While it has been nerfed recently, it can still be useful.

Zac can have trouble being kited by the enemy team and Ghost can help close the gap and let him stick. Red buff + items can be used to alleviate this problem without the cost of a summoner.

I have not tried this but it can be an option. Similar to the way Shaco ganks with ignite, Zac can bounce in and attempt to burst a target with the assistance of Ignite and a friendly champion to help cover any needed damage and ensure an otherwise lost kill.

Only if you are the mighty SilSol.

_________________________________________

Avoid These Summoners: There are some summoners that should not even be considered as Zac or any jungler for that matter. They are listed and provided an explanation below.

Usually taken on supports, taking CV hurts your dueling capability and mobility.

Zac doesn't use mana.

Do you plan on dying a lot to make this summoner worth it? I don't.

While there is the possibility that this can be used effectively, I don't consider it an option because of how difficult it is to use. Teleport on junglers without a speed boost may have trouble using this. Teleport requires the perfect storm, so to speak. With that said, maybe Homeguard+Teleport Zac can become a new thing...

To be honest, I've never really been a big fan of this summoner, not even on ranged AD carries.

Cleanse is certainly useful but I don't see it being anywhere close to as useful as the other summoners. You should be building somewhat tanky late game anyway, remember?

Skills

Passive: Cell Division
Innate: Each time Zac hits an enemy with an ability, he sheds a chunk of himself that can be reabsorbed to restore 4% of his maximum health.

Upon taking fatal damage, Zac splits into 4 chunks that attempt to recombine. If any of these chunks remain after 8 seconds, he will revive with 10-50% health depending on the health of the surviving chunks. Each chunk has 12% of Zac's maximum health, and 50% of his armor and magic resistance. This effect cannot happen again for 300 seconds.

Explanation:
The one thing that many players forget about when they are playing against Zac is that he has a passive that brings him back to life after his health has been depleted. I can't count how many times my passive has been triggered and I have come back to life when I should be dead. This passive can bait the other team into taking time to kill your blobs and allowing your team to avenge you. Its worth noting that this cooldown is always on a 5 minute timer and can not be reduced by cooldown reduction. The blobs do take 33% reduced damage from AOE abilities, which makes it more likely for them to survive.

The innate part of the passive is amazing and offers Zac a great deal of sustain both in the jungle and while in combat with enemy champions. Basically, blobs fall off of Zac when he does damage with one of his abilities that can be picked up to restore 4% of his maximum health. Because his abilities only cost a portion of his current health, the percent maximum health will be more, healing Zac. The blobs can be stepped on by the enemy, however, causing them to disappear. This is an interesting counterplay to Zac's sustain.

Pros:
  • Potential to come back alive (delayed Guardian Angel on a similar cooldown)
  • Blobs take 33% reduced damage from AOE abilities
  • Innate blobs offer excellent sustain
  • Spirit Visage works well with the passive's sustain

Cons:
  • Passive cooldown can not be reduced through cooldown reduction
  • Passive blobs can be killed by Smite and Nunu's Consume
  • Innate blobs only appear if abilities cause damage
  • Innate blobs can be stepped on by the enemy
  • Can be slightly annoying having to pick up innate blobs

[http://i.imgur.com/Aez3NLO.jpg]

_________________________________________

Q: Stretching Strike
Active: Zac lashes out with an elastic punch, dealing magic damage to all enemies hit and slowing them for 2 seconds.

Magic Damage: 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+0.5 per ability power)
Slow: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 %
Range: 550

Cooldown: 9 / 8.5 / 8 / 7.5 / 7 seconds
Cost: 4% of current health

Explanation:
Since Zac is a melee champion, it is a great benefit to him to have a damaging skill that has 550 range. While I will usually level up this skill last, Stretching Strike has many uses. First and foremost, this ability slows the enemy which will make it easier for Zac to get in range and do some damage with Unstable Matter. Since its AOE, it helps clear the jungle. As with all of Zac's abilities, this ability procs Zac's passive, offering sustain. Unfortunately, Stretching Strike does not proc on-hit effects. Also, because the ability is AOE it has a diminished return on spell vamp. and finally, when maxed the slow is only increased by 20% over the 2 second duration.

Pros:
  • Ranged ability
  • Slows the enemy
  • AOE
  • Helps clear jungle
  • Offers sustain through passive

Cons:
  • Does not proc on-hit effects
  • Diminished spell vamp effect due to AOE
  • Only a 20% increase in slow at level 5

[http://i.imgur.com/9UVMo5F.jpg]

_________________________________________

W: Unstable Matter
Active: Zac's body erupts, dealing magic damage equal to a base amount plus a percentage of their maximum health to all nearby enemies (max 200 damage against minions and monsters).

Base Magic Damage: 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100
Max Health to Damage Ratio: 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 % (+2% per 100 ability power)

Cooldown: 4 seconds
Cost: 4% of current health

Explanation:
This ability is Zac's main source of damage and the reason for his fast jungle clear. Another AOE ability, not only does Unstable Matter have strong base damage it also damages enemies for a portion of their maximum health. If that wasn't enough, this ability is on a very short cooldown and can essentially be spammed. Zac is able to spam Unstable Matter while casting Let's Bounce! to be a true terror to the opposing team. The percent damage on this ability allows Zac to be a threat throughout the whole game even after enemies stack health. Of course, there are some cons to to Unstable Matter. It doesn't have the largest range and causes Zac to be in the middle of the fight (which may not be the most desirable position depending on the situation, like being very low health). Finally, spell vamp has a reduced effect due to the ability being AOE.

Pros:
  • AOE ability
  • Strong base damage
  • Damages for a portion of enemies maximum health
  • On short cooldown
  • Can be cast in conjunction with Let's Bounce!
  • Allows Zac to be a threat throughout the whole game

Cons:
  • Short range
  • Need to be in the middle of the enemy team
  • Diminished spell vamp effect due to AOE

[http://i.imgur.com/C7mkJO6.jpg]

_________________________________________

E: Elastic Slingshot
Active: Zac faces the cursor and begins charging. After charging or after reactivating the ability, he launches himself towards the target location, dealing magic damage to all enemies hit and knocking them back for 0.5 seconds. This ability can be cancelled by moving, refunding 50% of the health cost.

Magic Damage: 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+0.7 per ability power)
Charge Time: 0.9 / 1 / 1.1 / 1.2 / 1.3 seconds
Range: 1150 / 1250 / 1350 / 1450 / 1550

Cooldown: 24 / 21 / 18 / 15 / 12 seconds
Cost: 4% of current health

Explanation:
This ability turns Zac from your everyday jungler into a feared ganking machine. One of the most ridiculous abilities to ever be seen on the Fields of Justice, Elastic Slingshot can close distance like no other. After a brief chargeup time, Zac launches himself towards his destination. If that destination happens to be an enemy champion and he collides with them, then that enemy champion is knocked back for half a second. This ability is an amazing initiate and has a lot of synergy with the rest of Zac's kit. This ability allows Zac to jump over walls opening up several opportunities to gank or counter-jungle. This ability, once again, has diminished returns with spell vamp since it is AOE. And it may be difficult to aim this ability since your mouse cursor needs to be in the direction you wish to travel when you begin casting it.

Pros:
  • Turns Zac into a ganking machine
  • Closes great distances
  • Can knockup enemy champions
  • Amazing initiation tool
  • Great synergy with rest of kit
  • Allows Zac to jump over walls
  • Opens up opportunities to gank or counter-jungle

Cons:
  • Diminished spell vamp effect due to AOE
  • May be difficult to target

[http://i.imgur.com/TKACaLI.jpg]

_________________________________________

R: Let's Bounce!
Active: Zac leaps into the air and begins to bounce on the ground, up to a maximum of 4 bounces. Each bounce deals magic damage to nearby enemies, knocks them up for 1 second, and slows them by 20% for 1 second. Enemies hit mor than once take half damage and are not knocked up.

Zac gains an accelerating movement speed buff (20-50%) and 75% crowd control reduction while active (does not reduce Suppression). Zac can right-click to move while in the air. While active, Zac is unable to activate Stretching Strike of Elastic Slingshot.

Magic Damage: 140 / 210 / 280 (+0.4 per ability power)
Maximum Magic Damage to the Same Target: 350 / 525 / 700 (+1.0 per ability power)

Cooldown: 130 / 115 / 100 seconds
No cost

Explanation:
Zac's ultimate ability does a lot for him and his team. Let's Bounce! is a short range AOE ability that causes Zac to bounce up and down 4 times. Each bounce damages the enemy (diminished returns on the same target) and releases a blob from Zac's passive, offering him sustainability. Enemies that are hit are knocked into the air for 1 second and then are slowed for 20% for 1 second. Subsequent hits only deal 50% damage and a target can only be knocked up once. Zac also gets 25% tenacity during his ultimate and increased movement speed starting at 20% that increases to 50% over the course of the ultimate. During this ultimate, Zac can cast Unstable Matter but can not cast Stretching Strike or Elastic Slingshot. Of course, due to its AOE nature, spell vamp has diminished returns.

Pros:
  • No cost
  • AOE ability
  • Has multiple bounces
  • Can knockup and slow enemies
  • Releases 4 passive blobs to sustain Zac
  • Gains 25% tenacity during ultimate
  • Gains 20% to 50% increased movement speed during ultimate

Cons:
  • Can not cast Stretching Strike or Elastic Slingshot during Let's Bounce!
  • Diminished spell vamp effect due to AOE
  • Diminishing damage returns on same target
  • Same target can only be knocked up once

[http://i.imgur.com/xxthcyQ.jpg]

Skill Order

Max: > > >

The skill order for Zac is fairly straight-forward. Currently, I max Elastic Slingshot first because the extra range on the ability is very useful for early game ganks. Next I max Unstable Manner because it helps clear the jungle and is your main source of sustained damage versus enemy champions. Finally, level up Stretching Strike to give Zac a ranged damaging ability that also slows.

_________________________________________

Level Let's Bounce! whenever you can as the damage increase and the cooldown reduction on it is exceptional and allows you to gank with it more frequently and more effectively.

Leveled at 6, 11, 16.

_________________________________________

Another ability that benefits greatly from levels. This skill gains an additional 100 range and a reduction of 3 seconds off of its cooldown with each level. This skill is what makes Zac such a ganking threat.

Leveled at 3, 4, 5, 7, 9.

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As mentioned previously, this is your main skill for clearing the jungle. Additional points into this skill allows Zac to clear the jungle more effectively while having the potential to do more damage to enemy champions.

Leveled at 1, 8, 10, 12, 13.

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I put one point in this skill early and leave it until later in the game. While this skill has many uses, I find it the least beneficial to max for jungle Zac. Laners may want to max this skill first.

Leveled at 2, 14, 15, 17, 18.

So Why Do We Max Elastic Slingshot First?

Previously, I preferred to max Unstable Matter first to do more damage and clear the jungle more quickly. But after much more experience with the champion I have started to max Elastic Slingshot first to help assist with ganks and take advantage of the increased range on the ability. The range of the ability increases from 1150 to a whopping 1550 ay level 5 (increasing by 100 range with every skill point). The image below will show this difference.

[http://i.imgur.com/Oc3Tk4I.jpg]

I still max Unstable Matter second so that the percent health damage will really start to become a factor in the mid game when enemy champions start stacking health.

The only downside to this method is that ganks become extremely reliant on landing Elastic Slingshot.

At level 5, Elastic Slingshot does 280 damage on a 12 second cooldown. Which means that you will most likely only get off one Elastic Slingshot to initiate the enemy champion. If you miss this ability then you have a very limited damage output as opposed to maxing Unstable Matter.

At level 5, Unstable Matter does 100 damage and 8% of the targets maximum health on a 4 second cooldown. Most ganks will allow for a second Unstable Matter to be used, resulting in more damage being done without the risk of missing Elastic Slingshot.

Why Max Over ?

Some people may disagree with me and want to level Stretching Strike over Elastic Slingshot. To find out which one may be better to max first we need to analyze what each one offers.

Stretching Strike offers 160 more damage, 20% increase in slow and 2 seconds off of its cooldown.

Elastic Slingshot offers 160 more damage, 400 more range and a whopping 12 seconds off of its cooldown.

While the range of Stretching Strike and additional CC it offers in the form of a slow can't be overlooked. I feel that the utility of the increased range of Elastic Slingshot far outweighs what Stretching Strike has to offer. Couple that with the increased damage and cooldown reduction, I believe that Elastic Slingshot is the clear winner.

Of course, this is for jungle and not laning, where I would 100% recommend that Stretching Strike be maxed first due to the harass, wave clear and the safety to farm it offers.

Hopefully that provides enough reasoning to level Elastic Slingshot over Stretching Strike.

Item Builds

Zac has a lot of flexibility in what he can build out of the jungle. His excellent clear speed lets him generate a lot of gold and his great ganking potential can greatly supplement your income. While there are several items that are great on Zac, his final build needs to compliment his needs. All of my Zac builds meet the following criteria:

1.) Health

While this one may seem like a no-brainer, several people believe that building health on Zac is not worthwhile. The reasoning for this? Zac's abilities cost more health when he has more health. What they fail to realize is that he gains even more health back from his passive when he has more health. Tanks need health to do their job and since Zac will usually be the initiator for his team and in the middle of the enemy team, health is a necessity.

2.) Defensive Stats (Armor/Magic Resistance)

Having lots of health is great but its even better with a great deal of armor and magic resistance to cut down how much damage you are taking, effectively raising Zac's tankiness and just how hard that additional health is working for him. Luckily, the items that we are going to buy have health and defensive stats so we get to kill two birds with one stone.

3.) Cooldown Reduction

Since Zac uses his health pool as his resource and doesn't have to rely on mana, cooldown reduction is amazing on him. More cooldown reduction means more abilities which means more damage and utility.

4.) Damage

Going hand in hand with cooldown reduction to do damage, magic penetration and auras allow Zac to be a huge threat to the enemy team. Since he won't be building a large amount of ability power (if any), we depend on cooldown reduction, magic penetration and auras to do damage. Zac is one scary blob and we are going to build him like one.

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Start: hunters-machetehealth-potion5

Standard start for the new season 3 jungle. Zac is more than capable of starting cloth armor and 5 potions but there really isn't any reason for it. A standard red clear, for example, would take 15 seconds longer with cloth armor and leave Zac with a similar health level. The cloth armor would have to be built into a Ninja Tabi early or a Randuin's Omen later in the game. The machete will be upgraded into a jungle item anyway so there is no reason not to take it.

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Zac has the option of building two of the jungle items. One is often seen as a defensive item while the other an offensive item (for AP users). Wriggle's Lantern doesn't apply because Zac doesn't auto attack enough to benefit from it and doesn't need the help clearing the jungle. And Spirit of the Elder Lizard is used more on junglers that can take advantage of the attack damage.

Preferred Jungle Item:

spirit-of-the-ancient-golem Quite possibly my favorite item in the game. People may shy away from buying it because it offers mana regeneration that Zac can't utilize. But this item is still more than cost efficient without that stat and gives Zac much needed early game health, health regeneration and cooldown reduction. Not only that, it gives Zac tenacity, which is always useful for a melee champion.

Alternative Jungle Item:

The other jungler item that Zac can buy. If you are looking for additional early game damage and are willing to give up on 500 health, this is the item for you. This item has ability power, cooldown reduction and spell vamp (instead of health regeneration). Many Zac players really like building this but I am not one of them. In a chapter below, I'll go over why I don't think spell vamp is a good stat on Zac and why early AP doesn't benefit him that much. Regardless, if you want to do damage this is the item for you.

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Wards!

Remember to buy and as you see fit. Make the most out of the gold you do get. Late game you may need to purchase a for global objectives.

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Preferred Boots Option:

ninja-tabi I get these boots in most of my games. Early armor is very valuable to Zac and it synergizes well with the rest of his build. With the ever so popular AD caster mids, these boots are great for reducing damage taken from attack damage champions.

Alternative Boots Options:

I feel that Zac already does a great job quickly moving around the map due to his Elastic Slingshot and movement speed quints. If you feel the need to be faster, then these boots are an option.

Since we won't be building a lot of ability power on Zac we will need to rely on magic penetration to do damage. Sorcerer's Shoes are a great option for Zac since he will most likely already have tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem and enough mobility from his kit to not need Boots of Mobility. Amazing choice.

mercurys-treads If you don't build Golem, I highly recommend building Mercury's Treads for the tenacity.

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I always aim to have Boots of Speed with Spirit Stone and a Kindlegem early game. I will then build the kindlegem into spirit of the Ancient Golem or hang on to it so I can upgrade it into a Spirit Visage. Boots can be upgraded at any point after these items have been purchased and additional movement speed is needed.

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Core Items:

Newly remade, this item has become a must have for most junglers. A very cost-efficient item that is an excellent purchase in the early game. We already have Spirit of the Ancient Golem and Spirit Visage for cooldown reduction, but this item offers everything he needs for the early to mid game.

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Next Items:

I buy Sunfire Cape every game I can. Not only is it a great source of armor and health, it offers additional magic damage through an aura that synergizes with the magic penetration that we already have in our runes and masteries and the magic penetration that we will buy throughout the game (Sorcerer's Shoes, Haunting Guise, etc). And since Zac will try to be in the middle of the enemy team, this item can translate to a lot of damage.

While we get armor and health from the Sunfire Cape, we get magic resistance and health from Spirit Visage. These two items together round out the stats that Zac needs. Not only that, but Spirit Visage's passive increases the amount of health that Zac gets back from his passive and any spell vamp that he may have (if you purchased Spirit of the Spectral Wraith).

The final item to round out the build. While the last item is optional and I very rarely get around to building it, Liandry's Torment is a great option to do even more sustained damage to the enemy team and remain a threat. Coupled with Zac's CC, the full effect of this item can be utilized.

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Other Offensive Items:

As I have mentioned, I don't really like building AP on Zac. But if you need additional MR and are not going to build a Runic Bulwark, Abyssal Scepter is an option for Zac as the AP and aura are not wasted on him.

People love this item on Zac. Me? Not so much. We are already building a lot of health on Zac and we don't need the ability power or the slow. Regardless, Zac can still build this item and it wouldn't be the worst item to buy.

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Other Defensive Items:

randuins-omen As late game approaches, Sunfire Cape may not be enough damage to survive the damage that the AD carry is able to put out. To combat this, we purchase Randuin's Omen to give us more armor, health and a great active that Zac can get off very easily due to his kit.

A 6th item option. Having a GA and passive makes it very difficult to kill Zac.

Still a great item, it doesn't offer any defensive stats apart from the health and we already have a lot of health in our build.

I listed this since Zac can use the AP and the armor. Obviously this item isn't optimal but it could be a fun item to troll with in an already decided game.

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Boot Enchantments:
enchantment-homeguard The best choice on most champions.
enchantment-captain Since you will be diving in ahead of your team, this can help them catch up.
enchantment-alacrity Extra movement speed never hurt.

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Sample Build:

Ability Power And Spell Vamp?

I really felt the need to include this section. This section is here to bring reasoning as to why I don't prefer to build Spirit of the Spectral Wraith and other ability power items on Zac. I'll list the reasons why and give some information to back it up.

1.) Spell vamp is not that good on Zac

That's right. It isn't. Any time you build spell vamp on Zac you are wasting 2/3's of that statistic because all of Zac's abilities are AOE. For those who don't know, spell vamp only retains 1/3 of its effect when the ability used is AOE. So when you get 20% spell vamp from Spirit of the Spectral Wraith you are really only using 6.66% of it. So if you damage a creep for 100 damage, you get back just over 6 health. Of course, Zac can use his abilities on the whole camp but wouldn't health regeneration be better so that you can get health back away from camps as well? I do.

2.) Spirit Visage still doesn't make Spell vamp a great option

Spirit Visage increases the amount of health gained through spell vamp by 20%. Which means if we damage a creep for 100 damage with an ability, we would get 6.66 * 1.2% back. Which would be 8 health. Just over one health back. The reason we get Spirit Visage is so his passive is even stronger, not to make spell vamp better.

3.) Zac utilizes tankiness better than ability power

The reason I prefer to build magic penetration on Zac is to take advantage of his base damages. Building ability power does not increase his damage as much as it would on other AP champions. Zac has the following ratios on his abilities:

Q: .5 on Stretching Strike
W: +2% per 100 ability power
E: .7 on Elastic Slingshot
R: Max of .625 on Let's Bounce! (if same target is hit all 4 bounces)

Say we lose the 500 health from Spirit of the Ancient Golem in favor of 50 AP from Spirit of the Spectral Wraith. Zac's abilities would (ignoring resistances) do the following damage on his abilities:

Q: 25 damage
W: +.5%
E: 35 damage
R: 31.25 damage

So basically 91.25 + .5% max health for an additional 50 AP. To compare, Unstable Matter has a base of 100 damage at level 5.

To decide which is better: Do you think an extra 500 health can result in getting an extra Unstable Matter off?

I understand that there are a lot of factors in play here and its impossible to say for sure which is better. But hopefully this brings some perspective on the subject. I find the early tankiness to be much more valuable than the extra damage, especially considering Zac's role on the team (often an initiator/tank).

Early Game (Jungle Routes)

As one of the most versatile junglers in the game, Zac has the option of starting wherever he likes in the jungle. As experienced junglers know, this is a huge advantage in the early game since the other won't know where you started (without vision) and don't know where you are planning to gank. All three of the "standard" jungle paths work great for Zac, especially if you are able to get a leash.

Many factors are in play when you are trying to decide what route you would like to start.

1.) Strength of the lanes

Is your top laner in an unfavorable matchup and will most likely need help? It may be beneficial to run a route that will allow you to gank that lane early to alleviate pressure.

2.) Where the other jungler starts

You may want to counter-jungle one of the first two buffs of the enemy jungler or you may want to counter-gank early. That top laner that will need help may be on the other team and you can bet that the other jungler will make his way up there to help them out.

3.) Which buff is closest to your bot lane duo?

Usually, having the mid laner, ad carry and the support assist you on your first buff will result in a better leash than having only the mid laner and top laner assisting you. This can open up some early game opportunities for you because you will have a faster and healthier clear.

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I try and make it a habit to run a jungle route that ends closest to top lane. Usually its the easiest lane to gank and where the enemy jungler will most likely end up. I have the most success doing this so I will start red buff on blue side and start blue buff on purple side. Zac clears very quickly compared to many of the other junglers and because of that can get a jump on what will most likely be the first big play of the game (first blood).

The only unfortunate thing with Zac, is that he isn't very strong early game. At level one you will want to have Unstable Matter leveled and you will want to have Elastic Slingshot before you engage the enemy. Keep this in mind and have your team assist you in defensive positions. I love having my support ward the buff that I am not starting in case the enemy wants to invade it. Zac is not the best duelist and will usually try to avoid one on one engagements early game because he does sustained damage and not burst. Facing a Jarvan or Lee Sin early will most likely result in a bad time for Zac.

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The three "standard" jungle routes. I have run these multiple times with the masteries and specified rune page outlined at the beginning of this guide. The % health remaining is a rough calculation that varies based on how efficient you are at picking up the blobs from Zac's passive. All of these clears were done without a leash.

In a normal game, it is recommended to get a smiteless leash on your first buff and smite the second buff shortly after for a quick double buff.

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Note: 3.10 changed the spawn times of jungle creeps so that you must now start at either blue buff or red buff at 1:55 and then move on to another camp. It is still beneficial to secure your first two buffs quickly.

I will leave the pre-3.10 routes here as a reference.


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Red Clear, Level Four @ 3:40 (Without Leash)

[http://i.imgur.com/27BJCM4.png]

1.) Wraiths
2.) Red Buff
3.) Double Golems
4.) Wraiths
5.) Wolves
6.) Blue Buff

Roughly 56% health remaining after clear.

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Blue Clear (Wolves X 2), Level Four @ 3:57 (Without Leash)

[http://i.imgur.com/dklT3sH.png]

1.) Wolves
2.) Blue Buff
3.) Wraiths
4.) Wolves
5.) Red Buff
6.) Wraiths

Roughly 56% health remaining after clear.

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Blue Clear (Double Golems), Level Four @ 3:51 (Without Leash)

[http://i.imgur.com/Buqr4kN.png]

1.) Wolves
2.) Blue Buff
3.) Wraiths
4.) Double Golems
5.) Red Buff
6.) Wraiths

Roughly 63% health remaining after clear.

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Ganking Early
Despite Zac's fast clear time, he is made for ganking. Elastic Slingshot strikes fear into the hearts of laners everywhere and it is up to you to punish them for not banning Zac.

With the changes to season 3, junglers need to check the inventories of the other team at the start of the game to see what items were purchased and whether or not there were wards placed or soon to be placed. Of course, punish players who don't purchase a ward and be creative against those that do.

You may even opt to counter gank the other jungler if you know where he started and where he should be.

Counter-Jungling
It is very easy to counter-jungle as Zac. In most of my games I will ask for a smiteless leash on the buff that I know is across from the enemy junglers second buff. As an example, you get vision on Amumu and know he is starting blue buff or know that he will start blue a majority of the time. I would also start my blue, get a smiteless leash on it, level up Elastic Slingshot second and traverse either the dragon or baron wall (depending on which side I am) with it.

Blue Side -> Baron Wall
[http://i.imgur.com/dYUEWqw.jpg]

Purple Side -> Dragon Wall
[http://i.imgur.com/dQubiid.jpg]

Most likely I will beat Amumu to his second buff and take it quickly with my smite. I may also get it for free if he decides to take the double wolves route or meet him there. Be wary of wards and monitor the reactions of the other team. If all else fails you have Flash and Elastic Slingshot to escape. I don't recommend this against extremely strong early game junglers like Jarvan or Lee Sin because you will get beat down and look like a fool.

Knowledge is power.

If Counter-Jungled
Full team invades are really strong against early game Zac. As mentioned above, because you want to have Unstabble Matter leveled first, he isn't that big of a threat early.

Luckily for Zac, it is really easy to recover from an invade. Zac doesn't really need buffs at all to be successful. While blue is great for cooldown reduction and red helps assist early ganks, the only thing you need to be conscious about is the experience disadvantage you have by losing out on an early buff. Zac can farm quickly and look to cover lanes for easy lane experience.

Zac needs to stay on par with the opponents levels and not fall behind to be successful. Not surprisingly, this also applies to every other jungler.

The Option of Rushing Level 6
Since Zac can clear the jungle quickly, there is the possibility of farming up and rushing level 6 so you have Let's Bounce! available. I don't recommend this but sometimes its the only option you have if your lanes are doing well and are dictating the position of the lane (they are pushed and you can't gank). Just be ready to counter gank the enemy jungler in this situation because your lanes may be vulnerable at that point. Power farming and rushing level 6 is a safe strategy if you can get away with it because it sets you up for a very strong mid game.

Ganking Lanes (Bypassing Wards)

This is what Zac excels at the most. Elastic Slingshot is amazing for closing large distances and engaging the enemy from out of nowhere. There are several ways to gank that other junglers aren't capable of. Zac is very similar to Jarvan in that he can bypass wards to get into position for a gank. before I go over some of these I would like to go over the standard Zac ganking combo.

The standard "before 6" combo opens up with your Elastic Slingshot and then you use Stretching Strike to slow the enemy and use Unstable Matter off cooldown once you are in position.

Before 6: + +

However, things change once you get your ultimate.

After 6: + +

Notice that I don't use Stretching Strike in this combo because I want to knockup the opponent immediately following the knockback from Elastic Slingshot. The slow from Stretching Strike isn't necessary because Let's Bounce! slows as well. If you know you can get Stretching Strike off then by all means use it.

Out of range after 6: + + +

You may be out of range of the enemy or you may simply miss them with your Elastic Slingshot. Reposition yourself with Flash and then commence your combo as per usual.

Bypassing Wards
It is important to always keep your eye on both the minimap and the opposing teams inventories as much as possible to see where wards could be placed. Once you have that knowledge and know where wards are, Zac has the potential to bypass many of the common ward positions.

[http://i.imgur.com/FHdMBVj.jpg]

To gank mid lane, it is possible to come from the wraiths entrance and avoid the side bushes completely. Many mid laners won't ward deep and will often put "safe" wards to the very side of the lanes. Zac can avoid these completely, especially if he has additional points in Elastic Slingshot.

[http://i.imgur.com/ZyS1B7D.jpg]

This gank path can be taken to avoid wards top and bot lane. Top laners often like to put wards further down the river and have their mid ward the wraith entrance or they will put their ward between the bushes. Bot laners will usually ward tribush and dragon. Bypass the distance to their lane and hop directly into the bush for a gank.

[http://i.imgur.com/fVMiPXq.jpg]

You can use your own wraiths or the enemy mid laners wraiths for this gank. So this works if they are either over-extended or playing very passively.

And I have already gone over jumping over the dragon and baron pit walls. Using that method is effective for counter-jungling the other junglers buffs during the mid game when wards are more prevalent than they are in the early game.

And if all else fails, go for a lane gank. Zac is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, lane-ganker in the game.

Mid Game

I feel that despite being a very strong ganking jungler, Zac does not fall off because he also has strong teamfight presence.

The mid game approaches when global objectives are becoming more important and the second and third round of buffs begin to spawn. When mid game approaches you should have attempted a number of ganks with some of them being successful. Champions are becoming farmed and are able to afford some early items.

Buff Control
The first buffs will begin to respawn at around 7:15 since blue and red buff respawn every 5 minutes. This is an important time in the game and you can choose to be aggressive and contest their buff or simply play it safe and secure your own. With how fast Zac is at taking buffs (especially with a Spirit Stone) I often attempt to counter-jungle the other jungler's buff when I know they are up. Of course this depends on how strong the other jungler is and how strong the laners are since they will more than likely become involved in the skirmish. As always, watch the other teams movements and how they react to your movements because there may be wards about.

Always keep an eye on your minimap to locate the other jungler. If you know he started the game at blue buff and is on the other side of the map attempting a gank or watching a lane, steal his blue buff. Be mindful not to keep your buffs up too long.

I will try to pass my second blue buff on to my mid laner since Zac does not need it. I always let them know in advance when it will be ready so they have time to shove their lane and come help take it. Pinging also helps let them know.

Dragon
Admittedly, Zac does not posses great dragon control. He will not go solo dragon by himself like a Fiddlesticks or Warwick would. Zac is more centered around his team and making plays so that his team can secure objectives. For example, ganking bot lane successfully and then taking dragon afterwards as a team.

Despite how fast Zac is at jungling and how great he is at securing buffs, he is not the best jungler for securing dragon. This is simply due to the fact that his kit lacks the strong single target damage necessary to take down dragon early in the game and lacks the tankiness necessary to take it down with his sustained damage. I usually purchase a Vision Ward early and keep it to pink dragon in case an opportunity arises to take it.

I will usually attempt a gank bot lane when I feel it is a good time to take dragon. I do this to either kill the enemy teams bot lane or send them back, making it very easy to take dragon with the assistance of your team. Ask your bot lane where the wards are and whether or not the enemy has warded the side bushes. I find lane ganking to be the most successful way to gank bot lane with Zac.

Dragon is very important early game and can swing the game in your favor when behind or help build on a lead. Dragon gives 190 gold to each person on your team (plus 25 gold to the champion that got the last hit on it, hopefully you with Smite) and 400 experience. Take note that dragon respawns every 6 minutes and write down the time that it will spawn next in your team chat.

Continue Farming
This one goes without saying but many junglers get caught up trying to gank that they fall behind in their farm and don't transition that well into late game. Zac needs gold to be successful late game and luckily he is great at farming. Cover lanes when the laner is not there and get as much farm as you can (be reasonable and try not to push the lane if it is bad for your laner). Make the most out of your time. Finishing your core items is very important and will have a large impact on how the rest of the game plays out.

Late Game

Late game approaches when most item builds are close to completion and there is an added emphasis on global objectives and team fighting. The main priorities at this time are taking baron and taking/defending towers.

Baron
If a baron standoff breaks out, Zac's main goal is usually to initiate a fight and dive the enemy teams carries (threats). Zac is a much better initiator than he is a peeler so you need to be very conscious about initiating a fight and leaving your carries vulnerable to the other team. Zac is great at causing confusion and splitting up teams. He is a teamfighting monster with his AOE and CC.

Its also important not to put yourself in a position that can get you killed and hurt your team. Many Zac players will initiate and cover a lot of distance, separating themselves from their team and making it so they can't catch up. Don't be "that guy" that pulls the trigger too early before everybody is ready. Evaluate whether or not your team is strong or weak. Check to see what ultimates are up (the green dot on the champion portrait is great for this) and try and make a mental note of what summoner spells have been used on both teams.

I make sure to buy wards for baron around the 20 minute mark of every game and make it a goal to keep it warded all game. While it would be nice to have your teammates ward it for the team, this isn't always possible. Your teammates may not be aware that they should ward baron or may be frugal with their gold and opt to purchase items instead. Map vision wins games. Yes, Zac needs gold for items to be strong but buying wards is an investment. Too many games have been won or lost with an easy baron because one team didn't have vision of it.

Towers
Sieging towers is difficult with Zac. Luckily by the late game you have some points into Stretching Strike so you can contribute some ranged poke with his 550 range. It is best to look for an opportunity to engage or what for the enemy team to make a mistake. Try not to fight under their towers as it will make your life difficult. Many teams get too anxious and tower dive, essentially giving up the game. Luckily, Zac will be tanky by this point in the game and his passive could save him from a lethal tower shot.

Try and imagine Zac as a wall between your backline and the enemy team. You want to push that wall and give your team some room. You need to be able to push in enough that it gives your team enough presence to take down the tower but not enough that you get caught and ultimately through the game. Its a fine line and its better to be safe than sorry.

Team Fights

I mentioned it before, Zac is a teamfighting monster. All of his skills are AOE and he will do decent damage while being tanky in the mid to late game. I love playing Zac because he transforms from a quick clearing ganker to a big time initiator that can't be ignored by the enemy team.

Zac can carry teams. All you need to do is play smart and make the right decisions. What objectives to go for, when to engage and when to push the envelope.

Zac gets in the middle of a fight and dishes out damage while acting as a damage soak. The most important thing is to never second guess your actions as the team initiator. Go in when you feel it is right and go hard in the paint. Dunk the other team and watch your team clean up.

As I mentioned above, Zac has two options in team fights...but you already know what one I prefer.

1.) Diving their high priority target(s)

If your team is ahead then it is very likely that you will be on the offensive and initiating fights for your team. It is your main goal to take out their carries as quickly as possible and increasing the chance that your team comes out victorious in the fight. Most of the time the target that you should be aiming for is the AD carry.

Using your Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce! on their whole team is setting their team up for disaster. Of course, they can always make a mistake and one of their teammates can get caught, setting up a great 4v5 for your team.

2.) Peeling for your carries

I hate doing this as Zac but sometimes it is necessary. While great initiation tools, Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce! offer CC that can help save your teammates, protecting your carries so that they can do damage. These fights usually occur when your team is behind so look to do your best peeling their divers and then moving on to their higher priority targets if possible.

Jungle Matchups

I have played a lot of Zac games since his release and feel that I have a good grasp on these matchups. The overall difficulty of the matchup will be rated using Heart of Gold's. Five HOG's is the toughest matchup while one HOG is considered to be a relatively easy matchup.

= Easy matchup
= Moderate matchup
= Difficult matchup

As always, this section is my opinion based on experience of the matchup. While you may not agree with my opinion, the following should at least bring insight into each of the matchups and how to handle them. Don't complain about how I feel about a specific matchup because every game is different and everybody has a different opinion.

And no, I haven't played every matchup yet.

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Alistar



I feel really sorry for Alistar. I used to play him every other game in season 2 and now he is nothing but a shell of his former self. his clear time is awful. He lacks damage. all he brings to the table is crowd control. But what he does, he does well. you need to be conscious not to get put in a difficult situation by Alistar. You should easily get his second buff as he will most likely start blue and maybe even attempt an early level 2 gank. Piece of cake.

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Amumu



Amumu is very similar to Zac. They both have sustained damage built into their kit and have very strong teamfight presence. The difference is that Zac is slightly stronger early game while Amumus ultimate will absolutely devastate late game. It should be fairly easy to contest his red buff if you start blue. Just be wary of his teammates coming to help.

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Cho'Gath



Cho'Gath is a difficult matchup for Zac because of the CC that Cho'Gath brings to the table. He isn't too scary before 6 but once he gets his Feast he can do some surprising damage.

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Dr. Mundo



Mundo's fast clear speed makes it near impossible to counter-jungle him and his slow is difficult to deal with as it allows him and his team to kite you. Late game he becomes too strong to kill alone. His Infected Cleaver hurts your mobility a lot and its poke is underrated. Mundo gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on but I feel that Zac has a much better teamfight.

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Fiddlesticks



Fiddlesticks global objective control is miles ahead of Zac. Not only that, he is a strong ganker and has strong team fighting presence. there isn't much Zac can do against Fiddlesticks mid to late game. Early game Fiddlesticks will 95% of the time start blue buff which opens up the opportunity to steal his red.

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Hecarim



Hecarim is a monster. Aside from his built in sustain he deals huge damage, especially if he builds Spirit of the Elder Lizard. His engages are quick and the Zac player needs to be fast on their feet to deal with a Hecarim player because you know lanes will be ganked and they will be ganked frequently.

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Jarvan IV



Jarvan is the bane of Zac's existence. Jarvan's kit is designed to just destroy Zac. With armor shred and his passive dealing a percent of current health, Jarvan hurts. Jarvan can even be behind but remain a threat to Zac and his team.

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Lee Sin



Another tough matchup for Zac. Lee Sin is strongest early game and Zac...well, isn't. Zac needs to secure his first two buffs by doing them in a non-standard way. Usually starting red buff will deter an early invade as Lee Sin will start Red and then make his way to the enemy Blue to kill them. Survive the early game and you will be ok. But is it ever a difficult early game.

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Malphite



You can beat Malphite due to your clear speed. Malphite is not a fast jungler and is not very strong early. Just be careful of his ultimate when he hits level 6 because he can put out a surprising amount of damage. Just don't let him catch your team off guard in team fights or he will make you pay.

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Maokai



Maokai is a safe jungler. He can farm well, puts out surprising damage and has godlike ganks. You are capable of out damaging him, however, and you can look to do that by counter-ganking him. You essentially fill the same role early but late game you become a bigger presence.

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Nautilus



Nautilus is so strong right now. I feel like he does everything well. He is obviously at his weakest early game before he puts points into his shield but that is such a short amount of time I feel that Zac can't capitalize on it. He also has godly ganks and is a huge threat throughout the whole game. I love me some Nautilus and he sure is difficult to be matched up against.

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Nocturne



Nocturne is manageable but he has the advantage. Do not fight on his Duskbringer because he can outdamage you. Make sure to peel him from your carries late game but make sure not to waste your CC on his spell shield.

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Nunu



You can't kill Nunu because he can slow you and run away. He is annoying to deal with and may attempt to counter-jungle your larger camps. Just make sure to have great timing on your buffs and try and shut down their AD carry or Nunu's Bloodboil will make it difficult to win the game.

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Shaco



I don't have much to say about this matchup. Just that I really hate Shaco.

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Shen



Shen is a very slow jungler that is more than manageable as Zac. Just be careful of being taunted and placed in tough positions and do your best to counter jungle him. It is very easy to take his second buff as Zac. The problem with this is that Shen can start either buff and it may be a waste of time trying to invade his second buff only to find it missing.

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Skarner



One of my favorite junglers, Skarner has lost a great deal of his dueling capability with the increased cooldown time on his shield. Just be careful of his permaslow and his teammates coming to help him. Really not that big of a deal anymore. A key to facing Skarner is to check his mana since he is usually mana starved and may not have enough to be a threat early to mid game.

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Trundle



New Trundle is just like old Trundle if you ask me. He excels against AD champions and Zac isn't an AD champion. But Trundle can still throw out some damage and be a nuisance with his pillar. Its important to note what items he purchases. Some Trundles will go CDR or tanky while others will rush BOTRK and attempt to slug you down.

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Udyr



Udyr is in a great state right now. He jungles quickly and puts out a lot of damage. The worst part about it is that he can interrupt your Elastic Slingshot. Buy wards against Udyr and do your best to keep an eye on him.

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Warwick



Not that strong early but near impossible to duel late game once he gets items and his sustain improves. Be careful of getting locked down by his ultimate late game because he will catch you out and his team will kill you. However, if he is ulting you that might not be the worst thing for your team.

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Xin Zhao



His big-time damage output may be more than yours. The kicker is that he also has sustain built into his kit so you can't beat him in a 1v1 fight. You just play your game and assist your lanes while outfarming him since he is not that fast of a jungler.

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Zed



Zed is a strong jungler right now. He clears very quickly and is capable of putting out tremendous damage. The real kicker is that he can escape very easily with his shadow. He doesn't have CC though so you have a stronger late game presence. If he doesn't one shot your carry, of course.

Tips & Tricks

There are a number of things that have been noted in this guide that I feel need to be repeated. And there are other interesting things about Zac that haven't been listed because it just didn't fit.

The first thing is something I am sure I will never be able to pull off in a real game. The fabled Zac dragon/baron steal. Basically, You just Elastic Slingshot across the pit of either baron or dragon while its being taken and smite it in the air while you have vision of it.

Shoutout to DifftheEnder for the amazing video.



Of course, there are several other things worth noting about Zac:

  • Make sure to move between spell casts in the jungle so you are able to pick up the blobs from your passive.
  • Feel free to use Elastic Slingshot in short range to take advantage of the knockup. You don't have to make a grand leap every time you use the ability.
  • As mentioned previously, remember to cast Unstable Matter during Let's Bounce! This is a huge amount of damage you are missing out on if you don't do this!
  • Zac can close a great deal of distance by utilizing a max range Elastic Slingshot + Flash + Let's Bounce!
  • Elastic Slingshot has the potential to cover more ground than walking (in most cases, like Boots of Speed) so if you don't need the cooldown you can use it to travel the map. I like to use this right from the spawn, for example.
  • Make sure your mouse cursor is directed towards where you want Elastic Slingshot to go. Otherwise you will be kicking yourself.
  • Use ability cooldowns in the jungle even when you don't need to (like Stretching Strike) to create more blobs to pick up.
  • There is a specific trigger order to abilities being used on Zac: Chrono Shift > Guardian Angel > Cell Division > Omen of Death

I'll be sure to add more tips and tricks as I come along them.

Final Comments

I wasn't sure what to think of Zac when I saw videos of him on the PBE. But once he was released I was as happy as can be. Zac is such a fun champion who has a lot of potential to do a lot of amazing things. I feel like Zac's popularity will increase and he will become an even stronger force in competitive play than we have seen already.

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Zac and learned a thing or two from it. Maybe for those of you who haven't tried him yet, you will.

And remember...

"It's not how much you can lift. It's how good you look!"

Comments

August 28, 2013 - 06:54 AM #1

Awesome guide man. Very detailed and explanatory! Learnt a lot of stuff I did not know about Zac. Very helpful. Thanks

August 15, 2013 - 03:56 AM #2

Great guide! Ty so much :) oh and @JakeMaster it helps his early game a bit :)

August 15, 2013 - 02:50 AM #3

Why geting 4 points on cdr at masteries when you already have 40% CDR from itens?

June 23, 2013 - 03:48 AM #4

love your guide bro

got 11-4-15 with a quadra kill ^^

thanks bro!

June 7, 2013 - 12:48 PM #5

Hey everyone! It has been awhile since I have updated the guide as I have been very busy with work. So I thought I would fine tune some things including adding an emphasis on leveling Elastic Slingshot early game. Thats right, I have seen the light! Unstable Matter is still amazing for raw damage and clearing the jungle but I am finding myself ganking more on Zac these days and the extra points in Elastic Slingshot do help.



@Bingbong: Same as guide!



@Sika: Glad I could help. Golem is just too strong at the moment not to buy, especially considering how weak spell vamp is on Zac.



@Captain RF12: Part of the reason I previously maxed Unstable Matter first was because I didn't have trouble getting ganks off with level 1 Elastic Slingshot. But the range sure does help.



@Swagstallion: Thank you for the kind words.



@cattleboozer: Unstable Matter definitely gets stronger as the game goes on. I find it to be useful early game too, which is why I used to max it first.



@LagKilledMe: Gold last season and hope to be Platinum soon!

June 5, 2013 - 08:59 PM #6

Really good guide, i can see that you put a decent amout of effort into it. One critizism i have, is that you never talked about why you max w over e. Almost every pro player and all star max e, then w, then q, or sometimes e, then q, then w. Also, i was wondering what your summoners name is!

May 13, 2013 - 08:35 AM #7

Eh, cheers for the math regarding the difference between Spectral Wraith and Golem! I guess I'll make the Golem from now on! Other than that I was building myself pretty much indentical to this guide :)



I usually rush fast Sorc Boots + Haunting Guise for early damage-boost as it makes your ganks pretty devastating early on since you actually do quite a bit of damage.



Though if I'm behind a lot I'll just start building tanky ASAP.

May 11, 2013 - 07:52 AM #8

XD Sorry cattleboozer, I wasn't really looking.



I'm not really a high elo kinda guy either. My main is only Silver 3, and my current one is in the process of being leveled up. But still, Jungle Zac would probably need E, since many people can actually ward now, so the extra range can make a difference between being able to gank or not.

May 11, 2013 - 02:47 AM #9

Congratulations on being the first approved Zac guide. Your work is definitely worthy of the honor. I have been playing Zac almost exclusively since he has come out, and I think your take on him in the jungle, and in general, is very insightful. I think he has great potential as champion, especially as a jungler and team fight juggernaut.

May 9, 2013 - 07:13 PM #10

Captain, the answer is two comments below... facepalm



But you're right - the damage you put out on single target (i.e. during ganks) is going to be low anyway. And since E damage scales with level and your gank is often dependent on landing directly on the enemy for the knockup, I'm not sure if the damage difference is that high. (All above considering a good gank scenario, in which you dive, apply all your cc and the laner does the damage)



As for midgame skirmishes with 3 or more enemies, when the duration of the fight and number of targets is sufficient to make your AOE count, I find those to occur mostly around towers, where E range often makes the difference and you either dive to finish someone off with 2-3 casts or just get in there to absorb a few tower shots for your team.



But then again, I play at low elo. I suppose for bigger players it's gonna be situational depending on the length of midgame fights.

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