IntroductionWelcome to my Zed guide! My IGN is chakraCLT and I'm here to tell you how I personally play Zed.
Zed is an interesting new champion. He's great in many aspects but bad in others. This will be a guide on how to jungle Zed. Zed has great clear time, especially early on. He can clear camps very well and once you get his shadow dash, you can counter jungle like crazy with him. He will become one of the most annoying junglers to go against if you are a jungler. Here are some pros and cons of Zed:
- Clears camps very fast
- Great Counter Jungler due to escape ability
- Great harass combo
- Can dive well
- Great damage
- Extremely squishy
- More of a clean up champ
- Bad at team fighting
Changelogupdated 11/26/12: Approved! Added Armor Penetration Quints to suggested Runes
updated 11/27/12: Updated Masteries and Items Chapters to accommodate some of the future Season 3 changes (Doran's Blades and Vampirism)
updated 12/28/12: In the process of updating for Season 3; updated basic builds, basic masteries (not the chapters)
The reason for going 21/9 instead of 9/21 is because Zed is, simply put, not tanky. If you build him tanky, he won't have the damage that was intended for him and he won't be that effective. By going 21/9, you are saying that you can trust someone else to initiate. You are there to clean up and deal a ton of damage afterwards, or at least come back in and do damage. As Zed, you have to do mad amounts of damage and focus down the adc or apc.
The reason why I get life steal over minion damage is because it allows for Zed to sustain a little longer. Also, since you'll most likely get doran's blade or (if you went this route) a bloodthirster, than it synergizes well. Otherwise, you can take the minion damage. UPDATE: vampirism will no longer be in the mastery tree. Look below at the S3 changes I have placed.
Now, if you really want to go straight tank Zed, you can. Even though you won't have damage, you can sit there and take some. However, the problem with tank Zed is he can't do anything. Zed is an assassin and, therefore, comes in later and just kills the adc/apc or picks them off. With tank Zed, you won't be doing that and you won't be as effective. It can work, but it benefits your team less than if you went damage Zed.
UPDATE ON S3
I have input what I would put in for the masteries of S3. Solely based on how Zed plays, these are the recommended masteries I would try. Of course, I haven't played them yet so this is completely based on how I would start: getting armor pen and increased damage plus increased damage when target is under 50% is good because it works well with your passive. Then the added on health is good for really good for early jungling and late game and also the armor is goo.
Marks: I switch between three types of Marks: Armor Penetration, Attack Damage, and Attack Speed. Armor Pen is good because it allows for really good early ganks and jungle clear. It also scales well into late game since the extra armor pen can help you tear with adc's and tanks. The Attack Damage Marks are great for obvious reasons, more damage. The more damage you deal, the better Zed you are. You can clear jungles well and your early game damage will be a lot better. Finally, Attack Speed Marks. These are my least favorite out of the three but it does not mean it's useless. The Attack Speed Marks will benefit your ultimate a lot because you'll want to get as much damage in the span of three seconds you have to do the maximum damage. This is why Attack Speed is nice because it allows for a couple more auto attacks.
Seals: Armor Seals no doubt. No matter what, if you're going into the jungle, you BETTER get these. You will not last as long and you'll need it. Plus it adds tankyness. Never substitute this for something else.
Glyphs: With Glyphs, you should always get Magic Resist Per Level or Flat Magic Resist Glyphs. This is, like Armor Seals, a standard for all junglers. It allows you to not get wrecked when you gank mid or someone that does magic damage. Plus it's nice to have for late game since you'll be going up against magic anyways. Also, key point get Flat MR for early game and Scaling MR for late game. You typically will get MR Per Level when you think the magic damage late game will be intense. Otherwise, you get Flat MR for early game if you think their early game magic damage is intense.
Quintessences: There are only two that I recommend: Attack Damage and Movement Speed. The Attack Damage allows you to do more damage early and late and helps to clear jungle camps faster and do more damage when ganking. However, the Movement Speed Quints allow you to move around your jungle more, gank more effectively, and allow to counter jungle easier. This is really your choice. Personally, for most junglers, I prefer MS. However, since Zed needs tons of damage, I like to go Attack Damage Quints.
UPDATE: I also recommend Armor Penetration Quints because they add for more damage and also great ganks. You can take the health down of your enemy a lot faster and it even helps with getting through the armor of the jungle camps, i.e. double golems.
I take smite because I'm not a complete idiot. I said complete. On the serious side however, you grab because it helps you secure buffs, dragon, and baron. You will not survive in the jungle well without smite because you need it to help you kill buffs early on. Also, it benefits the team because you can use it to secure a dragon or baron for your team. Without it, the other team could come in and steal it away because their jungler has smite. So always take smite as a jungler. NO MATTER WHAT :)
I take flash because it allows for better ganking potential, catching up to run away champions, or gettng out of sticky situations. It's nice to have and is one of the strongest summoner spells in the game. Plus, flash + ult = gg since you basically automatically teleport to them.
You can get this because Zed has his which is basically like a flash. He also has his ultimate. So getting Exhaust is not a bad idea for ganking and doing tons of damage while taking in a lot less.
You can easily catch up to people with Ghost and it also synergizes well with your since you can ghost to catch up and place your shadow in a good spot to slow and etc.
Passive: Contempt for the Weak
Whenever Zed autoattacks an enemy below 50% health, he deals an additional 6 / 8 / 10% of their maximum health as magic damage. This effect cannot occur on the same target more than once every 10 seconds.
This passive makes Zed a REALLY good assassin. What this passive does is it makes Zed's basic attacks against targets below 50% deal 8% of the target's maximum health as bonus magic damage. Of course, this effect can only be used once every 10 seconds on the same target. This allows Zed to do mad damage if you can get the enemy lower than 50%. It's also good for when he wants to finish someone off or switch targets. If you see multiple people with REALLY low health, try to hit them all so you can get in that extra 8% damage. It's a really nice assassin passive.
Q: Razor Shuriken
ACTIVE: Zed and his shadows throw their shurikens, each dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and a lesser amount to enemies thereafter.
DAMAGE TO FIRST TARGET: 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 / 215 (100% bonus AD)
DAMAGE TO SECONDARY TARGETS: 60 / 88 / 116 / 144 / 172 (+80% bonus AD)
LIVING SHADOW: Additional shurikens striking the same enemy deal 50% damage and restore energy.
SHADOW SHURIKENS: 37.5 / 55 / 72.5 / 90 / 107.5 (+50% bonus AD)
This skill creates a shuriken that you can throw. It's just like Kennen's Q, only it passes through people. However, for every person it passes through, it deals less damage. You want to get this skill second and max it second because of this. It won't do as much damage in the jungle as your E will, and since it would also be harder to hit all the minions in a camp with it, it's easier to go with your E first. Despite that, your Q does a lot of damage and is really good for poking. Since you use energy, you can spam this skill all you want for long range poke. So before team fights, make sure to spam this skill and even use your W + Q combo to deal a little extra. Note: use your Q with your W to do extra damage since it will spam two Q's.
W: Living Shadow
PASSIVE: Zed's bonus attack damage is increased by a percentage.
ADDITIONAL BONUS AD: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25%
ACTIVE: Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds. Reactivating this ability will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.
Zed's shadow will mimic his basic abilities. If both strike the same target Zed regains some energy. Energy can only be restored once per mimicked ability.
ENERGY RESTORED: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40
This is such an amazing skill. Living Shadow allows Zed to create a shadow that copies all of his moves (except Ultimate) and deals the extra damage. ALSO, when you hit your W again, you will teleport to wherever the shadow is. This skill is AMAZING for counter jungling. You can sneak into your enemies jungler and take his camp. If he sees you and you cannot win the fight, you can use you Living Shadow over a wall and switch places with it. It's the ultimate troll. Also, other use for his W: You can combo amazingly with this skill. If you want to harass someone, you can use your Living Shadow and use your Q or E to do extra damage without even being close. You can use it for longer range poke. Also, your E will slow your enemy if the enemy is hit with your Living Shadow. So if you use your W then E and it hits, it allows for a nice slow add on. If you hit the enemy with both you and your shadow, it makes the slow increase. Note: his shadow last for 4 seconds, so make use of it.
E: Shadow Slash
ACTIVE: Zed and his shadows create a burst of shadow, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies.
Zed's slash reduces the cooldown of Living Shadow by 1 second for each enemy struck. His shadows' slashes slow enemies for 1.5 seconds.
PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+80% bonus AD)
SLOW: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%
LIVING SHADOW: Overlapping Shadow Slashes striking the same enemy deal no additional damage but will incur an increased slow and restore energy.
OVERLAPPING SLOW: 30 / 37.5 / 45 / 52.5 / 60%
Zed's E is a great AoE skill to clear jungle camps extremely fast. It's because of this skill that he can also counter jungle really well and will have one of the fastest clearing times of any jungler. You want to max this first since the E will do a great deal of damage early on and with the short CD, you can spam it all the time and deal tons of damage to the camps. Also, this skill will proc on your shadow if you have a shadow out. Whenever your shadow is by an enemy and this skill hits with your shadow, you will do damage plus a slow. So make sure to try and hit the enemy with your shadow to slow him/her down.
R: Death Mark
ACTIVE: Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to target enemy champion. Upon arrival, he marks the target for death and spawns a living shadow behind the target. This shadow lasts 4 seconds and mimics Zed's abilities. Reactivating Death Mark will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.
After 3 seconds, the mark will detonate, dealing physical damage equal to 100% of Zed's attack damage plus a percentage of all magic and physical damage dealt to the target by Zed and his shadows while the mark was active.
BONUS PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 20 / 35 / 50% of damage dealt
Zed's ultimate makes him the ultimate assassin. With this ult, he becomes untargetable (like Vlad pool) and dashes forward towards the enemy chosen. He then creates a shadow behind his enemy (has the exact same components as Living Shadow) and deals impact damage. Then it leaves a mark that will trigger after 3 seconds, dealing a percentage of damage dealt to that champion by Zed while the mark was still up. So basically, this skill is a flash to the champion that creates a shadow that you can teleport and use with many skills (if you click r again, you will teleport to that shadow) and then it will trigger a mark (like Vlad's ult) and deal extra damage based on how much damage you did. It's an amazing skill that can allow you to get to the apc or adc really fast. As your team fights, you can ult to the apc/adc and deal as much damage as you can, then you can use your Living Shadow to exit or even deal more damage. It's a great ultimate for an assassin.
Ultimate: For obvious reasons, you always get your ultimate. So max it at levels 6,11, and 16.
Shadow Slash : The reasoning behind maxing this first is because you want to clear your camps extremely fast. This is your best jungle camp clearer. You can clear camps in an instant when maxed. Also, it does a great deal of damage. So when you are fighting in team fights, you can spam this skill (since it has a 3 second CD) and deal tons of damage. Also, when used with Living Shadow, your shadow will slow the enemy. Since you're maxing it first, your shadow will slow even more. So it's a great ability for ganking since you need the slow.
Razor Shuriken : The reason why you max your Q second is because 1) it's not as effective in clearing jungle camps as your E is and 2) it does a good amount of damage so it's nice for harassment in lane or before team fights. Despite it doing less damage the more minions/champs it passes, it still does quite a bit of damage and is great harassment in combination with Zed's W. So max is second for the damage.
Living Shadow : The reason for maxing this last is, even though it adds cdr and bonus ad, it's mostly a utility skill. It's not that significant and the damage is more needed versus the stats of this skill. However, you can max this skill over your Q. So it's not entirely bad, but maxing Living Shadow last is better.
This is the standard start for all junglers. You will pretty much start this 99.99% of the time since it allows you to clear camps faster.
Any of these boots are great on Zed. You can get Tabi's if the team has a lot of attack damage. You ca get Merc Treads if the opposite team has a lot of cc or magic damage. Finally, you can get Ionian if you want to be able to spam your skills a lot more. Any of these boots are fine. The first two are more for tankyness while the Ionian is more for utility. It's up to you to decide which one you need in each scenario.
You now have a choice between Brutalizer or two Dorans Blades. Personally, I think Brutalizer is better in this case because it gives bonus attack damage, CDR, and armor penetration. It's perfect for lowering the CD on your Living Shadow and doing mad amounts of damage. Plus it builds into late game. However, it can be very costly. So sometimes getting two Doran's Blades are just as effective. The Doran's Blades give you life steal, which allows you to stay in fights longer. So it's a nice add on with your Vampirism from your masteries. In conclusion, I prefer the Brutalizer however you can always mix-match. Maybe get a Doran's Blade first then a Brutalizer. It's really your decision. UPDATE FOR S3 ONLY: Doran's Blades will no longer give lifesteal and vampirism will no longer be available. Doran's Blades will still give some life though because of the passive but, imo, it won't be as worth it. So now I suggest going Brutalizer instead of Doran's Blades.
God-like weapon. You cannot go wrong with this on Zed. Best item for him. Grab this as your first main item since it will give you tons of damage and the active slow will make your ganks godly and deadly.
Great late game item to do even more damage. Plus, adding the armor pen from this item with your armor pen from the Brutalizer will do mad amounts of damage to tanks later in the game. I like to get this right after BT + GA. It's a great combo for doing a ton of damage.
This is a great tank item to got on Zed mid to late game to allow you to stay a live longer. With Zed, you are going to be more of an assassin vs. a tank. So you're going to shoot for the adc/apc. However, you don't want to be bursted down super fast. So this item prevents that.
Early GameJungling Routes: You should typically start Wraiths > Red > Golems > Wolves > Blue. You could also skip Golems and instead go Wraiths > Red > Wolves > Wraiths > Blue. Either way is good. The first jungle route is a little harder since golems take out a huge chunk of health. So I would typically only go this route if I started . The second jungle route is a little more smooth since you don't have to hit golems and you can just clear everything and leave the golems for your top. Either way is good.
Ganking: He can do a lot of damage but his ganking ability isn't the best. It's hard to gank pre-6 with Zed since he has no good slow unless you get the shadow hit. So when ganking as Zed, make sure to try to get your shadow infront of them so you can slow then teleport to them and attack. Now once you hit lvl 6, the fun begins. When ganking, you'll typically want to ult in first, slow with the shadow from the ult, spam skills, switch, then use living shadow to repeat. You'll do tons of damage and your ganks will become a major threat to the enemy team. However, the cd is annoying so it's like Nocturne where it's hard to gank until you have ultimate.
What You Should Do: As Zed, you should counter jungle and harass the lanes a lot. Since you can zip in and out easily, just come by all the lanes and step in for a little just to have presence and harass. Even if you don't have ult, just help harass a little (without pushing lane). Also, make sure to ward around. If mid is getting camped, help him/her ward so he/she can be a little safer.
Extra Counter Jungling Tips
Tip #1: Watch the middle lane champion. Let's say you spawn on Purple side. You were watching mid lane and suddenly mid calls "mid mia." Then a couple seconds later he says "re" and you notice the enemy mid champion now has blue. This is what you can deduce from this: (1) the Jungler is on top side so Top Lane should be careful and (2) his red buff/wraith camps/golems can be taken. This is an opportunity to try and steal his wraiths or even his red buff.
Tip #2: If you know that your blue/red buff is going to be spawning within the next minute or so, that means (if you both are adequate at jungling) the enemies same buff should be spawning soon too. You should take a chance early and ward his blue/red buff and watch when he takes it. Here you could either (1) try and kill him, (2) smite steal his buff, or (3) take his other camps. The 1st option is a little dangerous but not to hard since you have an element of surprise. The 2nd option is a little harder (you have to make sure to time it right before he does it). The 3rd option is the safest way to go and is almost always successful.
Tip #3: As Zed, you can zip around walls easily. So use this to your advantage. Go into your enemy junglers camps and start taking it. If he comes you can use your Living Shadow across the wall to get out. This skill allows Zed to become a GREAT counter jungler. So you should be counter jungling all the time. But always remember bring a ward if you're going to counter jungle. This is the numero uno rule. Abide and follow it or suffer the consequences.
Mid GameZed's mid game is really good. It's at this time that you can do mad amounts of damage. The greatest thing about Zed is he's an assassin, so if you're caught by him, you're practically dead. As Zed, it's really good to roam around (as long as you have ward coverage) trying to kill anyone that's loose and on their own. He can run around the lanes and harass everyone. That's why Zed is good at jungling. It's because he can roam around and destroy everything sneakily. Also, don't be too afraid of diving with your ultimate. You can run in, ult, and your teammate and you should be able to burst down the enemy really fast and get out. Make sure to make use of Living Shadow but not to use it to early. When diving, don't use it for damage but save for an escape. If you are diving and you might die and you already used Living Shadow, then you're dead. However, you can use Living Shadow to escape.
Extra Mid Game Tips
Especially in Mid Game, Dragon is key to winning the game. Dragon can help boost your team back into the game if you are behind or get even further ahead. Some key times to get Dragon are: (1)You just successfully killed, at least, one champion at bottom lane. This is a great opportunity to get Dragon because if they tried to steal it, they would have a lot less damage output and you could even kill them to get more kills. However, you have to be careful of the jungler. People like ,,, or can easily steal it (Malphite because he can ult then and then the enemy team may converge on you. To ensure security of Dragon at this opportunity, have your AP Carry push the lane and come and help you. (2)Jungler just backed, know his smite is down, or is at top. The reasoning behind this is because the Jungler is a key opponent for taking Dragon. That effective us of can make or break a Jungler himself. To be a good Jungler, you must know how to and stealing Dragons right under the enemy team's nose is not only hilarious, but effective. Anyways, because the Jungler is not in a state of position to take it, it's a great opportunity because they will have no initiator and if you're team has a really good initiator, you could even catch one of them out of position and kill them. Then that would really secure your Dragon. (3)A major team fight occurred in your favor. If your team just killed three of the enemy, you should either push lanes, get Dragon, or, in some cases, both. Always try to get Dragon, especially if the Jungler died in that team fight. If the Jungler died in that team fight, you basically guarantee yourself a free Dragon. Pushing the lane and getting a tower, however, should be prioritized.
Getting Towers is always the major objective in Mid Game, not getting kills. Although getting kills can really put you ahead, getting Towers is much more important. As explained in the Dragon section, when you have a major team fight, you need to either get a tower, kill dragon, or do both. For example: Let's say you guys had a major battle around middle right side river and you lost one but they lost three. You should definitely get the Tower instead of (a) chasing them and you get one person or none at all or (b) going back to buy [unless all of you are really low]. People don't understand how important towers really are. So tell and ping your team that whenever you have a major team fight, do something with it. On another note: if there are three people going Top to gank, what should you do? You should push another tower since the person is most likely going to die. The reasoning behind this is because by the time you go to top, they will either be gone or your ally will be dead and you could potentially die too. For example: If Jayce is getting ganked at top by Lee Sin, Morgana, and Taric and you guys are either all Middle or Bottom, then you should HARD push. Try to be all grouped to push and kill a tower, maybe even two if your ally can stall them and get away. Small things like this will win game. Finally, a really good strategy is trying to get the Bottom Outer and Inner Turrets. They, IMO, are the most important because if you lose those, then you will constantly have to tend to them which could in turn lose you Baron in the Late Game. The reason why it would make you lose Baron in Late Game, and sometimes even Mid Game, is because the enemy could group up and do Baron and your team is scrambling to get there but one person has to go Bottom, otherwise you may lose a turret. Then the fight at Baron becomes a 4v5 and you lose that major fight at Baron and they push and win. It happens often. So make sure to protect your Bottom two turrets.
Late GameZed begins to fall off a little late game. It's harder for him to stay alive during teamfights since everyone is doing tons of damage by now. As Zed, it's at this time that you have to be careful and not initiate. You'll have to be more of a "clean-up" guy. As Zed, stay in the back and harass with your Q and W. Then, when someone initiates, stay towards the side and do damage but look for an opportunity to close in on the ADC/APC. That's when you can hit and do tons of damage and escape with Living Shadow.
Also, with Zed, you can actually still roam a lot with him. He can easily get out of sticky situations. As long as you have wards everywhere, you can actually roam even though it's late game. However, make sure to be ready if a team fight is happening because you'll need to be there for your team.
Another good hint for late game is to use your Living Shadow as a face checker. You can use W+E combo and if you hear the slicing of flesh, you know someone's in there. It's like the Oriana ball. You can even use this during the early and mid game. It's really useful throughout the whole game but especially during late game. Make sure to not facecheck bushes! Always use wards/W+E combo.
Extra Late Game Tips
Wards: You really need to ward now, if you have the space. Try to at least get your support to always ward Baron and Dragon. Also, warding various parts of their jungle and around Baron and Dragon is nice so you can maybe flank them or run away.
Baron and Dragon: You NEED to protect these two, especially Baron. Protecting Dragon is more of an early/mid game highlight, but protecting Baron is more late. Always have vision on Baron. I can't stress enough how many times I've lost because my team can't ward Baron and I have no space. It's so crucial to ward Baron, especially after just hard pushing. If you just pushed really hard, sometimes the other team will react by getting Baron after you b. You have to have it warded so you can control it and take it when the opportunity arises. Also, if one or two are at bottom and you're whole team is with you, go do Baron. By the time they try to react, you should already have taken it. Small things like that can win you the game.
Team FightsZed can make or break team fights. Usually, Zed is the clean up guy in teamfights. Here are some tips on what to do as Zed during team fights:
Focus the ADC/APC: This sounds like a typical statement but it's crucial that you do this as Zed. Zed has tons of burst damage and, so, can take out an adc/apc really fast. You'll want to try and bypass the whole tank line and jump straight to the adc/apc. This way, the rest of your team won't get destroyed by him.
Saving your Ult: Typically, you never want to use your ult as an initiator. If you are going to initiate as Zed, you can use your Living Shadow to do that (despite that you really shouldn't initiate as Zed since he tends to be very squishy). You always want to save your ultimate for a chance to snipe the adc/apc. It's crucial that you take down the apc/adc (usually the adc) because they are the chunk of the damage in team fights. They will sit in the back and destroy your whole front line. Zed has great gap closers. Because of this, when someone initiates into a team fight, you can go straight in, bypass the tanks, and ult straight on the adc/apc. You then spam your E and Q, use ult again (since the shadow will spawn right behind him) to get close, than continuously autoattack. This allows for your whole team to deal with the main tanks. After you take down the apc/adc, depending on how much health you have, either get out or do tons more damage.
Saving your ADC/APC: Another great use of your ultimate is saving it for your own adc/apc. If they have a champion that can run straight for your adc/apc really well, you can save your ultimate to ult on the enemy champion that goes for your own adc/apc. This will save your adc/apc because you'll be able to focus him down fast with a lot of burst while your adc/apc kills him. This isn't just something Zed can do. This is a typical action that a jungler should be able to do. You can win team fights easier by doing this.
Final CommentsThank you all for reading my guide and I hope you have fun and wreck in your games as jungle Zed!!