Solo Lane Build (Recommended)
Example Final Build 1
Example Final Build 2
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.
Threats to Zed with this build
|Akali||This lane is absolutely easy. Once you both hit lvl 6, you won't even need your passive to pop your Death Mark on her as long as you hit her w/ Q and E. Like any other AP champion, watch out for Zhonya's Hourglass. Pink wards can help if you're still having trouble.|
|Teemo||How to beat Teemo w/ Zed: Rush Hexdrinker and Mercury Treads. Purchase pink wards. Finish your Maw of Malmortius and proceed to other AD assassin items. Kill him repeatedly and make him regret picking Teemo. I never lost a game as Zed vs Teemo. Not to brag, but this is just too easy. Even with all the changes to him, he still can't deal with Zed's ability burst(what blind?). He's just a scout, we are flippin' ninjas.|
|Yorick||Does anybody even play him? He's more mana-hungry than UrGod IMO. Should be an easy lane, if he builds tank, start the farm/roam fest. And until he gets reworked, he should not be a threat to mobile champions like Zed.|
|Aurelion Sol||He can't do anything once you dodged his Q and R. Just get in melee range and burst him quick, and watch out for Zhonya's Hourglass.|
Hello. My name is Tedzter and this is my first guide in Mobafire, so what better way to start contributing to the site than a guide about my main? I am a Platinum V Lvl 6 Mastery Zed main in the PH servers. I currently have a 53% Winrate on him, but my average KDA stat remains good on 7-3-9 on 148cs. I dont always get to play Zed, but if ever I do, I'm confident that I will win my lane unless I'm against hard counters. *Glares at Karma, Nasus, Fizz, Vladimir and Fiddlesticks*
This guide is aimed to teach anyone aspiring to be at least decent on Zed, who if played well enough would have no real problems even when Zhonya's Hourglass is purchased by the enemy team (So if you are a Zed main on higher divisions than me, you probably won't get much other than the possible builds I can suggest). Just a note for the new recruits: It is NOT recommended to play Zed w/o setting your keybindings to Quick-cast (Except Q, since it IS a narrow skillshot, pretty hard to land for new players w/o the indicator).
Zed is best played in mid lane, but still viable for top, and sometimes even jungle in certain situations. For any detailed explanation you might need, please refer to the Notes on the builds section. You can also check 'Vs. Champions' for any possible champion matchup in lane or in jungle (Please do, I made an effort finding Zed's interactions for you guys and will help you get a grasp of how hard of a time you're going to have in lane w/o any jungler interference unless YOU are the one jungling). Let's dive in.
Pros / Cons
+ Dubbed by Riot as "The quintessential Assassin", since he is considered to be the most balanced Assassin at the moment due to his playmaking potential while still being susceptible to counters(mechanical outplays, strategies, etc.)
+ Has INSANELY HIGH single target burst damage, and still decent AOE damage if you position shadows well
+ Passive helps in last hitting minions in lane and damaging camps in jungle, also effective burst vs. champions once they fall below 50% HP which in most cases catches enemies off-guard
+ His shadows' utility is enormous and is often overshadowed *hue hue* by Death Mark (poke/zone/slow w/ E/mobility/refunds energy upon landing abilities/passive AD from W)
+ Can build flexibly and will hurt even tanks with enough armor penetration
+ Can roam intensively and get his team ahead if he ever falls behind/runs out of things to do in lane
+ Hard to gank w/ such extensive mobility in his kit
+ Will not be completely useless even if behind because he can still splitpush with a few item requirements
+ Capable of dodging multiple abilities and juking/outplaying opponents (So kewl, much pro, wow)
+ Completely counters immobile squishy champions
+ Niche so cool, Riot decided to use it as inspiration for the newest AD Assassin item: Duskblade of Draktharr
+ Isn't that gory explosion from Death Mark just wickedly cool and satisfying? (Even more brutal w/ Duskblade) :D
- Susceptible to hard CC like any other assassin/squishy carry in general
- Forces your team to play an AP Top or Jungler to cover lack of magic damage, which isn't that bad of a deal but definitely harder to execute in lower ELOs than standard comps (Mid Zed only)
- Obviously doesn't do well against tanks and fighters in prolonged fights
- May fall off late game or go stronger depending on items and champions from both teams, in short he can be inconsistent to have in a team regardless of the player's mechanical prowess on him
- The Faker Syndrome (Thinking of being capable to take an entire team by your lonesome just because you have the Death Mark available)
- High skill requirement, so much so that you won't be playing him well w/o Quick-casting your abilities since you need to use them in quick succession in most cases
- Around 40% ban rate across all regions in Mid-Low Elo Ranked games, and for a good reason.
Take Flash ALWAYS(the extra mobility is always helpful), and then take Ignite for a standard lane or Teleport if you are playing Top and actually plan to help your team in skirmishes or full 5v5s. Take Smite if you are jungling, but as I have stated in many parts of this guide: Experienced Zed players only, don't try it in Ranked Games unless you are sure you can pull it off.
Creeping, Jungle Routes, and Basic Combos
Last-hitting minions with Zed is a breeze. His passive makes sure that he gets them with basic attacks as long as their HP is less than 15%. The best way to clear the wave is placing W in between the melee and the caster minions, use Q and E in any order you want, and swap with the shadow if you need to get close to a dying minion that did not die from your spamming(especially if it's a cannon). Watch our for your energy bar, however, as you are susceptible to harass while your abilities are unusable. Also, be wary of using W to harass/farm, it's better to last hit minions with Q and E at melee range than blow your Flash from an enemy gank just because your W was on cooldown.
If you are jungling (please do not attempt w/o runes+masteries+prior jungle experience), you can have these options for your early clear:
1. Gromp/Krugs(get a leash, smite early)->nearest Scuttle Crab(defensive vision and regaining hp)->Blue Sentinel/Red Brambleback(use potions and smite if needed)->Wolves(use potions)->Recall
This is your typical and safe 1-quadrant clear. If you get too low, just recall and buy some items (most likely the other jungle item you didn't start w/ and some potions OR upgrade of Refillable Potion to Hunter Potion and a pink ward). Better safe than dying early and getting pelted by your team's rage.
2. Steal enemy Red Brambleback camp(effective for low elo, smite it and clear it)-> lvl 2 gank w/ Red buff and W+E(kills are optimal but only possible if target has overextended, be contented if target burns Flash)
I find this most probable if you are on Blue team. Steal their red, go gank top/mid lane if enemy is extended. If you did this on Red team, you can only have mid as a gank option. Otherwise, just clear other parts of your own jungle (I recommend early Scuttle Crab).
This is your basic harass and minion-farming combo. Living Shadow extends the range and AoE of your other abilities. Shadow Slash damages an area and slows enemies in it, ensuring that your Razor Shurikens land on your target(s). Remember that you can throw out Living Shadow mid-cast of Shadow Slash for faster and unexpected damage and slow.
W->R+(any summoner spells/item actives with damage)->E->Q->1 basic attack for passive
This is your standard all-in combo on a single target. Using any damaging actives from your items and summoner spells (Skirmisher's/Stalker's Smite or Ignite) mid-cast of Death Mark is important to reduce time for the combo(your opponents won't wait for you to use these on them). Landing your Razor Shurikens and after using Death Mark is also important because you can have up to around 3 shurikens hitting your target if your aim is correct and will definitely elevate your Death Mark pop damage. Make sure to use a basic attack on your target if the Death Mark's shuriken on their head(indicates if you already dealt enough damage)hasn't appeared yet, Contempt for the Weak makes sure low HP targets will be dealt with magic damage based on their max HP, adding up another damage source to ensure target elimination.
Good News For Every Zed Player (IGNORANCE IS FATAL!)
This might be late and some of you might already know about this, but for those who don't:
Cleanse (Summoner Spell), Quicksilver Sash, and Mercurial Scimitar DOES NOT CLEANSE ABILITY DEBUFFS ANYMORE, ONLY GENERAL DEBUFFS AND CROWD CONTROLS WILL BE CLEANSED. And yes, Zed's Death Mark is now exclusively counterable by 1 item: Zhonya's Hourglass.
REJOICE, DISCIPLES OF THE ORDER OF THE SHADOW! LONG LIVE LORD ZED! >:D
Zed is a strong and always-relevant champion pick, and is the best AD Assassin in terms of options for engage and escape. He may not be the strongest in terms of damage (since he mainly is a single-target eliminator), he may not be a faceroll Pentakill kind of guy (Hi Riven and Katarina), but playing him and actually mastering him despite his high difficulty needs dedication is just soooo satisfying, like playing as a real-life hitman w/ a mission to kill a single person or anyone else trying to stop you reaching that target. And I promise: That Death Mark sound on that priority target alongside the blue banner appearing at the enemy nexus will be your sweet reward.
Thanks for reading, I hope you learned some, if not a whole lot, about the best ninja(not with those flashy clothes tho)and feel free to comment on this guide to criticize for improvement(I promise to add illustrations and improve the overall presentation once I get some free time)/ask more questions which haven't been covered here (comment/pm/send it to estradated.@gmail.com).