Hi all! My name is AeRogue I've been playing League since Season 2 and started ranked in season 4 (have season 3 stats but they were teams 3's). IN season 4 I reached Plat 5 (but sadly only some sites credit me at the Plat) and in season 5 I reached Gold 2 and stopped grinding there to work on champion pool and Work IRL -_- For season 6 I'm planning on making guides of the champions I'm enjoying playing and how I play them and we starting off with the love I started about 4 days before the season change - Zac.
Pros / Cons
+ Consistant Champion
+ Safe pick
+ Amazing Engage
+ Decent Damage
+ Tanky, has to die twice
+ High reward, Low risk
+ Clears fast, with little cost, and amazing ganks
+ Heavy Crowd Control and A.O.E capabilities
- Relies on Elastic Slingshot
- % damage champions kind of counter him
- Hard to hit mobile champions
- Grevious wounds destroy your healing (is once again a part of the game)
- Easily invaded early (set back hard to kill)
- Has problems against ranged CC
- Low base move speed
- No follow up = Dead Zac (even twice)
I elect for 12/0/18.
Unyielding is essential as Zac in the jungle is going to be a tank who is used mainly for his C.C and burst damage. Zac's passive Cell Division also generates A LOT of regen and I use it in place of the regen Recovery would give.
Second tier Tough Skin is a better choice as the less damage - again - helps you tank your first few clears until you have your armour and Magic resist items. So you can become the the offtank 12 ft tall machine you are. Explorer is not too beneficial for me as Zac is mostly ganking through the air and over walls not through river or brush.
Veteran's Scars is my third tier pick as again; you are a tank and more hp > shields and healing since you'll have enough regen through Cell Division and the extra hp means more regen from Cell Division. Zac also doesn't generate his own shields and unless you have an Orianna will probably not be receiving shields anyways.
Fourth tier is Perseverance as the hp regen; especially the regen when at less than 20% hp; is more practical than the summoner spell cool down that comes from Insight . Smite is already on a low cool down and Flash isn't used often enough to warrant the faster cast rate. Also, you will often find yourself fighting to the death as you have Cell Division to save you; the regen that Perseverance gives just helps you last as long as possible and helps you stay alive after "recombobulating."
5th I elect for Swiftness over Legendary Guardian as the tenacity and slow resist help grant chase and gank pressure and you won't be encountering more than 2 champions at a time until you have already build a lot of defensive stats, post lane phase.
Last Strength of the Ages keystone in Resolve grants the extra hp through your first few clears and increases damage done at the same time. Also ganks often result in landing among minions and getting any siege minion kills or being in lane as a siege minion is killed gives you the stacks you need so even unsuccessful ganks still give you some extra boost towards reaching your items and tank abilities.
I then elect to move over the Ferocity to get as much early damage and map control out as possible. Going for Sorcery in tier one to help my clear time from Unstable Matter spam and utilizing Zac's A.O.E kit.
Second I get Feast. Personally I feel Feast is much more beneficial as your end game goal is to be a tank - one that doesn't die. And feast helps make sure you can make it through your clears as healthy as possible to give you early game control. And You fall off on damage around the 30 minute mark so taking extra damage while not dealing much is not a trade you want.
Third tier is Vampirism for me as the extra steal and vamp help you through your clears and stacks well with Items such as Spirit Visage. less health loss = more time in jungle. More time in jungle = more ganks/gold. More ganks/gold = faster item times. Faster item times = less health loss. Zac's Virtuous Cycle.
4th I elect to grab Bounty Hunter as your main goal as a map control and presence jungle is to be a part of as MANY lane kills as possible (and even taking a few as you see fit). Oppressor is something you can grab also as Zac does come with a decent amount of Crowd Control (A multi target slow, two A.O.E knock ups) but the consistent damage that Bounty Hunter gives over Oppressor is more beneficial and helps you and teammates calculate damage more easily.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
For marks I elect to have Greater Mark of Attack Speed as the attack translates well into clear time (allowing you to get an auto attack or two in between each spell casts and the new jungle items give life steal on hit against jungle monsters and the talisman gives life regen on auto attacking a jungle monster.
Seals are Greater Seal of Armor based solely on taking as little damage as you can throughout your first clears so you can get your upgraded boots/first core items and you don't need to worry about scaling since you have no lane opponent that you are constantly skirmishing against.
Glyphs I choose Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for the flat initial magic resist for same reason as the armor. You have no immediate skirmishes and the flat stats help you survive long enough to get your items and since you will be building resistances anyways you don't need to worry about how you scale.
My quints right now are Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for the extra heft to your early Auto Attacks and after your first or second back you will only be Auto Attacking a couple times. I don't do Ability Power as Zac's ratios aren't that great and the early Attack Damage helps with the first clear or two substantially more.
To start I get Unstable Matter first; it's spammability/A.O.E mix is too great for clearing a camp and the extra blobs means extra HP for the clear. At level 2 I take Elastic Slingshot as it lets you move around the jungle much faster and since jungle camps don't move you can land on all 1,2, 3,or 4 of the monsters in a camp. It has relatively long cool down but that is made up for by it's initial damage/crowd control/ and the spammability of Unstable Matter. Stretching Strike can be substituted but it's also on a relatively long cool down and does less damage, not to mention against spread out camps its harder to land against every target. At Level 3 I take Stretching Strike So that I have every skill and can usually at this point Elastic Slingshot, land and Unstable Matter, then Stretching Strike.
I start with Hunter's Talisman and 3 Health Potion the talisman gives nice hp regen to your kit especially with early clear involving extra Auto Attacks. The potions will likely stay and I use mostly for buff camps and to regen post gank.
First back should be after a full clear and hopefully a kill/assist or two. and should easily reward enough money to buy Tracker's Knife and at least the start of Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk. Tracker's Knife is essentially important with the removal of stealth wards from the shop. Since you can no longer just buy a couple wards and place them as you need the ward placement on Tracker's Knife is essential to keep your pressure and clear time up. Since you now have a new warding item I highly recommend taking Sweeping Lens at this point so you can begin to deconstruct your opponent's ward system. Early Boots of Speed are recommended here and I hold in higher priority than the beginning of Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk but not in higher priority than the Tracker's Knife/ Sweeping Lens combo.
After finishing Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk you next focus should be on finishing either Mercury's Treads (Recommended especially against high AP and/or CC) or Ninja Tabi.
Third and Fourth back are reserved for building your two core items: Spirit Visage and Dead Man's Plate.
Spirit Visage is a must for Zac's sustain and gives you a great chunk of HP at the same time.
Dead Man's Plate is a strong armor item. With Zac not having mana and you already building Cool down through Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk and Spirit Visage you don't need to focus on larger items like Frozen Heart as the mana is a wasted stat and the Cool down isn't essential. Dead Man's Plate is also a movement speed item to help you get from jungle camp to jungle camp. The extra slow on your first auto attack is helpful to land A LOT of cc immediately.
After you complete your main two core items (you should be at 4 items now) you get some leeway in build. You are pretty set armor or magic resist but more doesn't hurt if you need it. I recommend an offensive item at this point. I recommend Either Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Abyssal Scepter. Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a good choice for the kite/chase and doing sustained damage. you have to keep in mind the slow is reduced since Zac doesn't have a single target skill. But the slow is still nice if you have like a Vayne, Zed, or Lucian. Abyssal Scepter works well if you are mixed in with ap damage. If you have an Orianna mid the shred that comes from your wombo combo with the MR reduction is too much to pass up. But again, this build item relies mostly on the enemy teams comp and building to coutner.
Of course Randuin's Omen, Thornmail, and Warmog's Armor are all acceptable options depending on build. I would say against a heavy AD team Thornmail if you need the extra kite/chase and Rylai's Crystal Scepter is not an option or doing it enough for you Randuin's Omen provides an amazing slow and if you land a multiple person Elastic Slingshot the slow can do amazing things. Warmog's Armoris of course an option if you just need to survive an initial burst and still be trucking along after.
Items that give pen like Liandry's Torment are great if the opposing team has a super tank and you just need to get that much extra D.P.S down with the burn.
Creeping / Jungling
Now we get into the gritty:
HOW DO I PLAY ZAC!?
Well sir/madame that's what I'm here to tell you.
Zac is very versatile in the jungle; has decent clear speed and only really needs to worry about aggression from either:
-Multiple Targets (heavy invade)
-High crowd control targets
-If passive is down
Zac's clear is fast enough that you should not have to worry about the standard high aggression champions. Udyr, and Lee Sin both don't clear fast enough or actually carry the level 1 (or 2) damage to take a Zac down. That being said though; the early camp loss can hurt Zac as he needs to go deep and hard to have rewarding outcomes and that is harder to do if you are set behind.
Have no fear though if you do get set behind Zac has a couple amazing features to make up for it:
-Heavy Crouwd Control so; like Amumu; a gank even when behind in level/damage can easily be turned around if all your crowd control is landed. Especially against squishy or immobile champions like Karthus.
-Has to die twice - this comes up much more than you might imagine. Diving a tower? Tank it. Close fight but not sure if you'll live? Tank it. Trying to distract for your team to be able to respond? Tank it. Need to get through a building but don't know best way? Tank it.
-Zac has extraordinary peel if needed. Elastic Slingshot does NOT need to be charged to do full damage and is a knock up. Let's Bounce! pushes enemies AWAY from Zac. On a flank route? Push Squishies back into your team. Running/kiting? Push them away form your team.
Your main clear will be through Elastic Slingshot and Unstable Matter. Flying into a camp and generating a blob/ then while still "squished" from Elastic Slingshot pop Unstable Matter and you spring up (haven't lost any time to auto attack). pick up one blob and throw out your Stretching Strike and one more auto attack. You should be able to Unstable Matter again pick up the oldest blob and you should be able stagger your blobs to keep about 1.75 on the ground at any time (you'll be picking up a blob immediately after using Unstable Matter).
Elastic Slingshot -> Unstable Matter BEFORE standing up -> blob -> AA -> Stretching Strike -> then rinse and repeat picking up a blob and casting Unstable Matter as needed.
I prefer to start on bottom (so either gromp or krugs):
I go gromp with leash from bot lane -> Elastic Slingshot to Blue and take while using 1 Health Potion -> wolves with focusing little wolves down to alleviate damage -> mid lane gank from between mid bush and opponents raptors.
I go krug with leash from bot lane -> Elastic Slingshot to Red and take while using 1 Health Potion -> raptors with focusing little raptors down to alleviate damage -> mid lane gank from between mid bush and your raptor camp or from brush.
(note from red side it is harder to gank mid as Elastic Slingshot] does not quite reach into the depths of the lane until level 2 or 3)
even if the mid presence is to have presence and not go for the gank it isn't really out of the way and most mids will appreciate the pressure (they just won't tell you)
after mid I then move up to wolves (raptors) making sure to focus the little one with Elastic Slingshot -> Unstable Matter -> and moving back just a little so Stretching Strike and hit them for the kill
then blue (red) and proceed to the top (bot) lane for another example of presence and possible kill/assist.
Zac is an excellent counter ganker. Most jungle are melee and require to chase for their kills; when you know EXACTLY where an opponent is going it takes the guess work out of Elastic Slingshot and provides *often* enough crowd control and initial damage to be able to turn the gank into your favor. Making sure to keep track of the opponent as they go through their jungle path is always and essential but especially with Zac as his counter ganks (especially with Let's Bounce!) are so formidable.
Now I wouldn't be giving Zac the attention he needs if I don't mention Team Work.
Zac especially requires a lane to know he's coming. With no super damage or execute Zac doens't bring the damage to kill someone on his own but does bring the crowd control to easily dispatch of lane opponents or to bring down the opposing jungle if they are caught out.
As mention in the cons if Zac doesn't receive follow up he is a fish out of water. Easily picked off and the Cell Division passive only works if the enemy doesn't just immediately turn and focus them. Zac works exceptionally well with Lane that have crowd control already build in - a Braum that has started Concussive Blows or a Leona can give the initial lock down to ensure Zac lands Elastic Slingshot. Then after the initial gank Stretching Strike and the D.P.S of Unstable Matter are often enough to bring anyone down or at least out of lane.
A Twisted Fate that lands a gold card as Zac is flying in will generate free hits with the rest of his skill as the cc at that point will be unbearable and most mid lanes aren't tanky enough to withstand the burst and will have to flash or try to fight. If they chose the flash Zac still can flash ult if he can make it the the other side of them to push them back or if they fight Zac can still ult to push them away or under tower.
Zac has good siege potential also as the lower a tower gets and the higher the leveling on Elastic Slingshot get the more of a chance that Zac will dive. And if Zac lands his crowd control with his team there to follow up - someone is going down.
If you have voice chat with your team letting them know you are coming is always a strong idea and if you don't pings can often be used to show where you are planning on ganking. Letting people know where you plan on ganking from is also essential so they know if they should push or let it be pushed. Zacs early pressure rivals that of even Lee Sin and if used appropriately can be devastating - especially against solo laners.