IntroductionFirst of all: English is not my first language and I apologize for all mistakes made, if you find mistakes please let me know :)
Zilean is one of the best supporters in the game, next to Taric and Janna.
While playing Zilean you will find yourself at a save distance from the teamfight, pissing of escaping Tryndameres with delayed damage from , speeding up your Rammus for an "omfg what the hell was that"-engage on the enemy team, reviving your fellow carry with nearly full HP and finally.... doing all that right again thanks to .
His global passive , nice early-mid game nuke, strong haste/slow, low cooldowns and a long-ranged revive make him a nice addition to nearly any team composition.
Zilean is one of the stronger laners due to his long ranged, well-scaling damage from and defensive skills + . He is a nice counter against spike teams, where you simply cannot outheal or shield enough damage, while he is a bit helpless against massive AOE team compositions. He neither has a hard-CC nor something to "reposition" the enemy team like Morgana or Janna.
Zilean is also no dedicated healer by definition, but his Ultimate is somehow a massive heal + invincibility shield (revive animation) triggered by "death" ;D
Zilean can also fulfill the role of an AP carry with his really good ratio on Q and his big range.
So take this into your consideration when you are about to pick Zilean :)
Well, I take the standard 9-0-21 with improved for lower cooldown and . This of course may vary, depending on your summoner spells.
9 points in Offense helps the damage output.
21 points in Utility for some extra mana regeneration and 6% cooldown reduction (+3% from the Offense tree)
- Marks: 9x Greater Mark of Insight (+0,95 magic penetration)
- Seals: 9x Greater Seal of Clarity (+0.065 mana regen / 5 sec. per level (+1.17 at champion level 18))
- Glyphs: 9x Greater Glyph of Focus (-0.65% cooldowns)
- Quints: 3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude (+26 health)
These Runes are pretty standard, I take flat CDR over scaling CDR Glyphs because their crossover level is at 13, which is really late.
Instead of taking Greater Quintessence of Fortitude you could get Greater Quintessence of Insight (+1.89 magic penetration) or AP Quints, but I would recommend starting with if you do so.
Flash is a must-have, since you are very squishy. It helps your escape capabilites, because you can for example flash out of danger after you revived (people will mostly stay around and wait for you to stand up again).
Clairvoyance is one of the most useful spells to support your team. With the mastery it is almost always ready when you need it ;) Use it to reveal their jungler, to prevent ganks and much more.
Alternatives to Clairvoyance:
After all, it is a matter of preference what you take for the second spell.
Passive: Heightened Learning
Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.
Explanation:Especially nice for your jungler/roamer, you support by just being there :)
Q: Time Bomb
Zilean places a time-delayed bomb on a target. After 4 seconds this bomb will detonate, dealing 90 / 145 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+90% of ability power) magic damage to all surrounding enemies.
Cost 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130mana
Explanation:Your heavy and long-ranged early game nuke, you will max this first. Makes zoning pretty easy, nobody wants to get hit by this :) The counter ticks with real damage, this will draw tower aggro.
Reduces all of Zilean's other spell cooldowns by 10 seconds.
Cooldown 18 / 15 / 12 / 9 / 6seconds
Explanation:The key to nice moves like double-bomb or perma slow/haste. Always use it after your other abilities, spam it when your Ultimate is on cooldown.
E: Time Warp
Zilean slows an enemy champion's movement speed or increases an allied champion's movement speed by 55% for 2.5 / 3.25 / 4 / 4.75 / 5.5 seconds.
Explanation:Very strong movement (de)buff. Your melees will love it, your enemies will hate it. At higher levels you will be able to chain slow/haste with Rewind. At level 18 and with my recommended build you will be able to perma slow/haste two targets at the same time.
R: Chrono Shift
Marks the target with a protective time rune for 7 seconds. If the target would take lethal damage, they are instead transported back in time regaining 600 / 850 / 1100 (+200% of ability power) of their health.
Explanation:Your key skill. Getting the right feeling when to use it and when not is the key to be successfull with Zilean.
Instead of dieing, your target will be revived, being invulnerable during the animation.
For further instructions take a look at the gameplay chapters.
> > >
Put the first point into whenever you need it, if your lanemate is in "berserker mode", it might be better to invest a point in E at level 2 ;)
I max before , mostly because I have the mana for it. With lower mana regeneration, e.g. on lower summoner levels, you should skill to about rank 3. But if you can afford it, the W>E skill order will result in more bombs and lower cooldown on R.
Item BuildsWhatever you build, meet these requirements:
- Get close to 40% CDR cap (30% minimum) !
- Do not be too squishy
- Get AP :)
CDR is very effective because you gain double benefit from it as it lowers your cooldown on W which lowers every other cooldown again.
AP is important because you want to survive people with as much HP as possible, without skipping CDR and surviability.
Total cost: 7160 Gold
Getting an early catalyst gives you good surviability and a good amount of mana. Bombs cost a lot of mana so you really have to watch your mana bar, always keep at least 200 Mana for your Ultimate, the more the better.
The boots are situational. are nice against heavy CC but will not help against Silence. Pick them when the enemy has 2 or more targetable hard CCs, such as . can save your ass against pure DPS teams. Build for more damage if you do not need one of the boots mentioned before.
Build the whenever you need it, it's most effective after you got a good amount of CDR. That is the point of the game where you start spamming skills very much, so it will charge pretty fast.
If you can get the Blue Buff nearly all the time skip the tear!
Total cost: 7645 Gold
This build is also viable.
It gives you good surviability but needs to be built quite early in the game, so you need to focus on farming, leaving less creeps for your lanemate.
The are a core item here, if you encounter much CC I recommend or .
Both builds fit for different playstyles. So try them out and find the right one for you. :)
Important note: Always react on how the game is going! These builds are not static and especially the order can vary!
Solo or Duo
Mostly you will find yourself in the duo lane. Although Zilean is a very strong laner, a fed carry or caster with one extra life from you is often more important. But if it makes sense, you will have no big problems taking a sololane.
During the early laning phase, I tend to give my partner about 2/3 of the lasthits to give him a small early push. I focus on zoning and harassing the opponents out of exp range.
Your real farm starts in the mid game, just double bomb everything that moves. But do not steal farm from your carry!
Lasthitting under your turret
Melee Creeps: Autoattack once, let tower hit twice, autoattack again
Ranged Creeps: Autoattack once, let tower hit once, autoattack again
Or: Let tower hit a ranged creep once, double bomb it -> all other ranged creeps will die too (works only when one bomb eats at least half of the creep's hp. Works later in the game with melee creeps too.
The Golem Buff is a very nice buff for you in the early phases of the game, so get it whenever it's possible. But once you finished your and , you will basically have no mana issues at all while being fairly close to the CDR cap. So leave the buff for other teammates at this point.
Keep in mind that Zilean is an awful jungler, so get someone to help you. Otherwise it will be a long and HP-consuming adventure :/
Leaving the base
Use your when you are about to leave your base, this gives you a nice speed boost for free.
Use ALT+Skill to instantly cast a spell on you, very useful when hasting yourself to get to your team. Practice it!
Gameplay: How to deal damage
While laning, it is your job to zone and harass the enemy with .
It has a very long range, making it easy for you to plant on someone's head unharmed. Keep in mind that the damage is delayed, so the enemy has time to react with shields or running into his creeps to push his lane back to his turret. Use the bushes for your advantage. Leave bush - bomb - reenter bush - profit.
You are a early-mid game nuker. The longer the game goes, the more other ("real") AP nukers will excel you.
You can double bomb by pressing Q-W-Q. Casting a second time bomb on a ticking one will cause it to explode immediately. Enemies with a shield like Morgana can ruin your day. The only way to get two bombs on them is to double-bomb a low HP creep next to them. The second bomb will trigger the first bomb wich will kill the creep, causing the second bomb to explode too. If the enemy was in range, he will eat the damage of two bombs within a split second. A will not avoid the damage, because the skill is not directly casted on the opponent. A bomb casted directly on Banshee's will cause it to break and absorb the bomb. A bomb exploding on Vladimir while he is in will cause no damage to him.
Harassing under the tower
Keep in mind that the bombs tick with real damage, so you will draw tower aggro even tough the bomb did not explode yet. You can still damage tower-hugging enemies by using the double bomb trick or by using bombs on your own creeps / your lanemate. They will carry the bomb under the tower for you. If your lanemate carries the bomb, he will not draw tower aggro when the bomb explodes.
Zilean has a very long autoattack range of 600, same like Ashe or Anivia. Make use of it! When you can place a bomb, you are in autoattack range too. Combined with a slow it can result in some nice kiting, giving you a good additional harrassment in the early levels.
Bombs + Stealth
The funniest and most annoying thing you can do is pairing a Zilean with Evelynn or Twitch :)
They stealth and you put a bomb on them. They can now carry the bomb to the enemy without being seen. Exploding bombs on stealthed characters will not cause them to appear.
This will cause the enemy to waste endless gold on stealth wards / oracles if he does not want to hug the tower the entire laning phase.
Bombs vs. Malphite and Stealth
Like I said above the bomb ticks with real damage. So if you are facing a Malphite, just wait with your second bomb until the first one exploded. The ticking damage will inhibit his passive shield.
The damage ticks have also an impact on some stealth characters. If you plant a bomb on an Evelynn who just activated stealth, it will delay it due to the damage:
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
The slow does not apply on the bomb's ticks even though it is real damage. The effect will be applied when the bomb explodes (15% slow)
Search for two or more low HP targets standing next to each other and double bomb them. Always keep your distance, a dead Zilean cannot help his teammates and mostly you will not want to waste your ultimate on yourself.
As you are a great chaser, your main goal is to find fleeing low HP targets and either slow them for your carry to pick up or to Q them to death. But always stay near to your teammates.
When chasing, it is nearly always better to slow the enemy instead of speeding up yourself / someone else. This allows other teammates to catch up.
The typical chase combo is E-Q-W-E-Q-W-...
Gameplay: How to save lifes
Your primary role as support is to save your Carry's ass and help people keeping their stacks on Bloodthirsters and Soulstealers. As a general rule of thumb, your priorities in a standard team composition are Carry > AP > Rest. Of course it depends on the individual feed. You have to decide who will be able to turn the fight to your favor if he gets revived.
And ward. Simply ward. Can save more lifes than anything else.
Revive vs. Slow
Often your teammates are better helped by speeding them up / slowing down their chaser. Mostly they can escape dangerous situations by themselves if given some help. Always slow the most dangerous chaser, the one with a hard CC. If there is more than one "dangerous chaser", speed up your teammate.
If you see a powerballing Rammus use the slow on him, do not haste your teammembers. The percentage based slow will cut off much more from his movement speed that it will give your allies.
Revive - and now?
After your teammate stand up again give him a speedbuff. He will be most likely the center of attention, so he needs to make up some distance. When your Ult is on Cooldown always spam your , but keep in mind that you might need it for double bombs / perma slows.
Coordinating with Teammates
It might happen that there is a Shen in your team. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing this purple bubble around the player you just ulted. One thing to avoid this is checking if his ultimate is up by having a quick look at the avatars on the left side of the screen:
Gray dot means ultimate on cooldown, green dot means ultimate ready.
You can also have a little "who ults when" conversation with him. It makes more sense to let you revive the focus target, while he can turn a 2v2 fight into your favor by using his ultimate and saving yours as a backup.
This usually works only with players you know (at least from my experience), in general you will just keep an eye on the green and gray dots and hope for the best.
Aiming your Ultimate
Clicking on the player model is not always easy. You will get a feeling for it over the time. Something you can do to ensure you hit the right one is to click on the specific avatar on the left side, but it is a bit slower.
You should not do this, but using your ultimate will save the passive of . So your target will be able to stand up twice, first time with your , second time with . But just don't use R on players with GA up.
While Mundo is in the revive animation, his ultimate will keep on healing him if he turned it on before he died.
When Nocturne activates his Ultimate, you mostly cannot see your allies anymore. But there is still a chance to get your on the potential target by clicking the avatars on the left side of the screen! Take advantage of that when you are 100% sure that the incoming attack will hit the target you use your Ultimate on.
Do not care about your stats
If you have to run and flash through the entire enemy team to get your ultimate on your carry and turn the battle around with it, just do it. Even if you die afterwards. If your most important teammate survives / turns the fight to your favor it was totally worth it.
Alternative: AP Carry ZileanReginald made this way of playing Zilean quite popular. Instead of taking the duolane and support your carry you can take mid and take the role of an AP carry. Your bombs have a very good AP ratio and your ultimate will revive everybody with nearly full health once you got enough AP.
I will just throw in the build and give some notes:
This is pretty much the standard build of nearly all AP casters.
Major downside: You are completely useless without a Blue Buff. Even with the buff you can run out of mana during a long fight.
If you cannot get blue get an ASAP. It may not be the most effective item AP-wise but it really helps your mana.
Patch v22.214.171.124 - March 15th
- Time Bomb
- Mana cost increased to 70/85/100/115/130 from 60/75/90/105/120
- Base damage reduced to 90/145/200/260/320 from 100/155/210/270/330
- Chrono Shift
- Base revive increased to 600/850/1100 from 500/750/1000
- Ability power ratio reduced to 2 from 3
- Buff duration reduced to 7 from 10
Comments: Negative impact on our early game, which mainly consists of bomb spamming. Good change, because bombs were really strong and there is no great chance for an opponent to avoid them. Tanky DPS lost defense in this patch wich balances everything out.
The change of has no great impact. Mostly you will not exceed ~100 AP by far before the game ends, so you will still "heal" for the same amount (600 + 200 = 800; 500 + 300 = 800). But beyond 100 AP you will heal less than before.
The decrease of the buff duration does not hurt that much, because you should always use your Ult in the very last moment.
Patch v126.96.36.199 - April 26th
- Revised Zilean's idle animation loop
- Fixed a bug where Zilean's Chronoshift would sometimes not report to allies whether it was castable
Comments: A "yay" for bugfixes, but that's all.
Final Comments and ChangelogAll good things come to an end, I hope I could give you some tips that will help you to improve your Zilean :)
I am 100% sure that there is a lot to improve, so please let me know in the comments. I will be constantly updating this guide and maybe try to add some videos.
To avoid flooding the comment section, please report language mistakes via PM. ;D
- March 12th - published
- March 12th - improved "Skill Order" Chapter, added tip to delay rank 2 of , added some notes to autoattacking and Rylai's Scepter in Chapter 9
- March 14th - "Guardian Angel" in Chapter 10
- March 15th - Improved "Item Build" section, added "Patch Notes"
- April 5th - Completely revised build order, seals and summoners, added info about Nocturne in chapter 10, v2 due to the changes.
- April 6th - Guide approved
- April 6th - Renamed chapter 8, added more information, added defensive items and alternative quints
- Mai 4th - Restored guide because it was lost due to a data issue.
- June 27th - Added AP-carry chapter, sorry for the long absence