IntroductionI feel like Zilean is an underrated champion and he has a huge potential. Zilean is a very team oriented champion that can not only support his team but also carry very hard as well. If you watch competitive play, hes finally being noticed by other teams and is starting to see daylight in huge matches =D. Zilean is one of the harder champions to play in league of legends and in this guide I will explaining how I play Zilean.
MasteriesFor Zilean, I go with 21/0/9 for ap burst damage and utility for mana regen. 21/0/9 is fairly standard but Zilean is very squishy and you need to be careful of being ganked and burst down.
RunesI go with 3 Ability Power quintessence because Zilean has very high scaling with his time bombs and it really helps with his early game damage. Zilean is one of the stronger early game AP Mid champions because of his massive damage.
Passive: Heightened Learning
Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.
Explanation:This passive is very strong because it helps everyone on your team. It may not seem like much but levels are insanely important in league of legends. Imagine reaching level 6 before your opponent, it would give you a substantial advantage in battles. This passive is really strong and helps you pull off aggressive plays as you turn level 6. Most opponents do not expect you to level faster than them and will not expect a sudden level up which will increase your damage by a significant amount.
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.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana
Zilean's Time bomb has a huge ability power scaling and the damage also surprises your opponent. At level 5 alone, Zilean has the burst damage of 520+ 150 for ignite damage which adds up to around 600 damage if you calculate all of the resist in. This spell is very strong but it starts to cost a lot of mana when you're constantly casting it and rewinding so be careful to save enough mana for your ultimate. Use this spell to harass your opponents and you can also drop them on your ally champions as well.
Reduces all of Zilean's other spell cooldowns by 10 seconds.
Cooldown 18 / 15 / 12 / 9 / 6seconds
Rewind is a very strong scaling spell as you reach higher and higher levels as well as getting more and more Cool down reduction. Once you've reached max level with Rewind and Max CDR, the spell goes to a little bit under 3 seconds of CDR. This spell is mainly used to put all of your spells off cool down so you can spam spells around the fight. It also helps you get your ultimate up much faster.
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.
This spell is very useful for chasing opponents and running away from them. This seems like a long cool down spell but it goes to almost nothing once you've reached max CDR. Use this spell wisely on enemy tanks and your AD carry can kite forever. You can also use time warp on your allied tanks to chase down an enemy carry.
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.
Cooldown 180 / 160 / 140 seconds
Cost 200 mana
This is a very high skill capped ultimate because you always want to use it before your allied champion is going to die to make sure they get finished up and resurrected. If you cast it way too early then your opponents will no longer focus that target and you've wasted your ultimate.
Optional Item, buy if you need more hp, mana regen and ap. Usually get this item when you get buy a chalice. Don't buy more than 2 dorans.
Essential, Zilean does very high damage with sorcerer boots early game.
This item is essential to Zilean because of the mana regen, cooldown reduction and ap. Chalice is an extremely useful item early game as well and you must buy this later on. Recommended to buy this after catalyst.
This item is essential on Zilean because he is very mana reliant. A very standard and a must have item.
Zilean needs this item for damage, he only has 1 damage spell.
Buy this item as a 5th or 6th item, you buy this when your team does more damage. Don't buy it if you don't need more damage. (burst damage)
Always a strong item, get this as your 5th or 6th item. Buy this item when you need more sustain damage .
Buy this item if you're having a problem surviving. It is really useful and prevents your opponents from focusing you.
Get this item against several bruisers or ad. If they are AD stacked, you want to buy this item. Zilean is strong with Frozen heart because of the mana,cdr, and armor.
Tips& TricksTip #1: If you double bomb a minion within the hp range of the champion dying to one bomb, both bombs will detonate.
Tip #2: If you're out of range to harass your opponent with time bomb, but they're in range of their own back wave minion, you can double bomb the minion to inflict damage to your opponent.
Tip #3 When you're doing wraiths, double bomb the red minion so you can kill the camp faster. (As long as all the wraiths are in AOE range)
Early GameZilean's time bomb does a ton of damage for harass early levels but you have to be careful when harassing because he is one of the most squishiest ap champions. I usually harass at level 1 with one time bomb and then wait until level 3 for another. Zilean is all about mana management because if you use too much mana you won't have abilities to harass and trade when your opponent goes aggressive. Whenever you're harassing you are also put into danager of being ganked as well so be really aware around the map before making a play. Your job early game is to farm hard mainly because Zilean is more of a team oriented champion. His passive alone already does a big amount globally. Zilean scales really well with items and your job is to get to that point. People may think he is weak, however has a really big amount of burst damage starting at level 5 and he also has really strong harass damage. People rarely expect a flash into a double bomb and then finishing them an ignite and auto attack. Zilean isn't the type of champion that can farm blue wraiths early on because he has a really low mana pool and his spells cost a huge amount of mana. You can only farm jungle creeps once you've gotten your first blue. The most effective way to clear wraiths is to tank all the wraiths and double bomb the red one, the aoe damage will affect all of the wraiths. He is strong at dragon and is strong starting at 6, don't make risky plays early on because if you fall behind with zilean, you'll have a hard time getting back in the game. His mid and late game is very strong, rely on that.
Mid GameZilean becomes infinitely stronger once he achieves 3 conditions: wards on both sides of rivers, blue buff , and catalyst. With those 3 conditions he can absolutely dominate his opponent because no other champion can really trade with him. At that point, you can speed yourself and just harass with double bomb without any fear of being ganked. He is really strong at that point, but you can also harass when you don't have wards as long as you've reached catalyst and level 6+. It is really hard to kill zilean once he gets 6 because he can just ult himself and run away. As you start to get levels and blue buffs, you can constantly push your lane, farm wraiths and roam to other lanes to pressure for ganks. Zilean has the most mobility compared to any other AP champions mainly because he has his constant speed up which is huge to assisting lanes.
Team FightsRule 1: Try to hit as many targets with bomb as possible.
Rule 2: Slow the tanks that are trying to get to your AD carry.
Rule 3: Try to use your ultimate at an hp where your ally would actually die. ( This will take a lot of practice)
Rule 4: Try to run up and double bomb and back off and just poke if you can. Only try to double bomb and back off if you think you can get away with it... without being caught.
The hardest thing about zilean is that you have to focus on many things at once in a team fight. You want to maximize your damage by bombing the most targets at once, while looking to ult the correct target, while positioning to stay alive and slowing the bruisers that are running at you =D. You also have to be careful of CC so you don't get stunned and chained into death.