Zilean Build Guide by Arides

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Arides

AD Zilean

Arides Last updated on June 16, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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I recently started playing zilean (which is my main) as an AD champion. It seem to work very well, so i tryed to find some builds for it for more inspiration - and i was surprised that i found just one. Since the build i found completely neglects zilean's spells and mana, i thought i would write my new build down and let you guys comment on it to get some new ideas.

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You cannot play ad zilean without using your skills. That sucks, since zilean has relatively bad base stats compared to other dps and absolutely needs to use his slow / haste and bombs to be able to win fights in early game.

This means, that before going full out dps, you need to start with a mana regen item.

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Mana regen
Since i want to minimize the mana regen items count, i get massive mana regen runes with Chalice of Harmony. Combined, it gives a lot of mana regen and the chalice only costs about 890G, plus it gives surivability from magic resist.

Health per level
I don't get any health items in early to mid game and Zilean has a ****py amount of base hp. This tend to help me survive more.

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I start with a Meki Pendant, because mana regen rocks with zil. You can spam Time Bombs on enemy from level 1 (some guides tell you NOT to spam [time bomb]s till bomb level 2, but here you should, becase you have mana regen and it hurts, no matter what they say).

Return home and get Chalice of Harmony, some more health pots and Boots of Speed. If you can get berserker's greeves, great. If not, get just the normal ones and [health pots]. Buy a ton of pots (5+), they pay off, allowing you to stay in lane almost forever.

In the next go, get either B. F. Sword, or a Pickaxe. And some health pots, ofc.

After you get BF and a pickaxe, get a Vampiric Scepter, if you are tired of pots, or just finish your Infinity Edge and go for Phantom Dancer.

And that's about it! This is the AD zilean core, next items should be dependant on situation.

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Skill Sequence

Max Time Bombs. Then max Time Warp with one point in Rewind on lev 4.

Now why Time Bombs, when you are going AD? Cause zilean is useless early game without them. So you bomb, bomb and then you get berserker's and BF and BAM, you are a AD. But until then, you need bombing.

And why Time Warp, when each level of it "only" extends the duration of slow/haste by 0.75s? Well, with an ad, it's better to have a longer slow/haste with possibility to Rewind once, than to haste for a short duration and rewind all the time. You need to get in, slow, hit, rewind, haste, get out. Or something like that.

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Summoner Spells

Nice spell against melee dps. Xin charges, you slow him. He still hunts you and catches up, you exhaust him and kill him. Plus it can work as an escape mechanism against low numbers of people. And slow + exhaust can give you a kill when enemy overextends.

I feel Zilean benefits from Flash the most from all secondary summoner spells. Originally, i used ignite, but i rarely used it. Then i tryed Teleport and Clairvoyance, but again, neither was really usefull. Flash keeps you alive in early game, and gives great escaping capabilities in mid-late game.

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I described the basics of AD zilean build here. There is more to AD zilean than i wrote here, but the core is:

A) Get a Chalice of Harmony and Time Bomb early game
B) Get a B. F. Sword and Time Bomb / attack early to mid game
C) Get a LOT of damage and don't use Time Bomb late game, cause the bomb damage start to suck

Which means, you have to know how to bomb properly and do all the bomb tricks (visit some other zilean guide for this or read the 'unique skills' below for some basics). And after that you turn into an AD carry.

Tell me what you think about this, guys. I would like to make the build better and will continue to write more here as time goes on. But please, don't be trolls and don't downvote if you've not at least tryed this.

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Unique Skills

Zil has two great "unique" things:

1) Chronoshift, when provided a lot of mana for [rewind], has technically 26s cooldown. (provided max cooldown reduction). Meaning that over longer team battles, you can revive twice, if you keep spamming Rewind.

2) A little trick with a weak minion and a double-bomb. If you plant a double Time Bomb on a minion that would die right after the first bomb blows up, both bombs blow up instantly. This can be used for harrasment through farming. If the enemy champions are just out of range, bomb the minions they are hiding behind. If you manage to double bomb a weak minion, the hiding champ will get damage from both bombs.

2.5) Double bomb. Since i use this term in (2), i will clarify what it means (it seem quite obvious but to be sure): You plant a Time Bomb. Rewind. Plant another Time Bomb on the same target right away. Efect: The first bomb blows, the second ticks. Instant AoE damage.

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Mana Management

You got the Chalice of Harmony, you got the mana regen runes. Now what to do with that?

BOMB! What else. But seriously, you want to stay on half of your mana bar, since:

    Half of your mana is about enough for a double bomb, slow and ulti. You will need all of that if sh** goes wrong.
Chalice of Harmony has a passive, which is best used when you have low mana.
    Your mana is a renewable resource. Enemy health is NOT. Bomb them a LOT, they will have to stay back / get pots / go home often etc. You can outbomb nidalee, dudes with regrowth pendant, it is powerfull. You can also use it to bomb ghosts if you are mid and your lane is ok atm. So it is:
    Mana -> Damage
    Mana -> Gold
    Don't stack mana.

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Farming is an essential skill. A few tips for it:

If you can't already, learn to last hit minions with auto-attack only. It saves your mana for offensive actions against the enemy champion, forcing him to abandon farming of his own or get damaged.

Try to keep the minions away from your tower, since it is hard to last hit when the tower is shooting them and you tend to get less minion kills that way.

Try not to push if they have a jungler. If you do, you will get ganked, so get some wards or just don't push. Not pushing means last-hitting the minions only, not right clicking and then waiting what happens.

As a zilean, you have a good way to kill clumped up minions - weaken a range minion in the middle of the clump and then double bomb him. This way you can regulate the flow of minions in your lane.

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Picture of results for unbelievers :)

I am still hesitant to use this build in ranked play, but eventually i will. When it happens, i will post my results here as well.

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Why is AD zilean viable?

The one and only thing that benefits from AP is the [TimeBomb]. It scales 1:1, but that's it. Champions like Veigar or malzahar have 3 or 4 spells that scale with ap, then it is a waste not to go AP with them. Zilean, on the other hand, has just one (or two, since rewind makes the bomb hit twice).

So the reasons Zilean is viable as an AD are:
1) Only one of Zilean's damage abilities benefit from AP
2) Zilean has a slow / haste
3) Zilean's auto-attack range is the same as ashe (600)
4) Even if Zilean was slightly weaker than other ranged ad carries, he makes up for it with the ultimate, which doesn't require AP to do the thing. With the chalice, you can still support your allies while dealing massive damage.
5) Due to his slow and high range + physical damage, AD Zilean can completely shut down stupid tanks like singed or mordekaiser, which completely depend on walking in front of their team.