Zed Build Guide by glorifiedcow
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.
Super Fun Build
First back/ Rush
More Damage and Sustain!
Sell boots, buy this
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.
I am a plat V Zed player. For a long time I used the traditional Zed build and found it difficult to kill carries as quickly as I would like to. I tried to think of a build that could do more damage, push fast, and most importantly, solo carry games. After I played around a bit I found that this build was the one that suited my play style the best. It's an all or nothing build that focuses on being able to kill tanks, carries, and anything in between, without needing your death mark. The build has crazy amounts of burst, auto attack damage, wave clear, and even an extra escape with your Ghostblade.
Something this build lacks is a defensive item, which is why it is an all or nothing build. This build should probably only be used for experienced Zed players that are already ahead in lane. If you are inexperienced with Zed it may be more difficult to know exactly how much damage you can do and what your limits are as Zed.
In conclusion, Zed is an incredibly fun champion if you play him to his full potential and I think it is fun to 1v3 your enemy's back line (or front line).
Lets talk about runes!
Your standard runes are Attack Damage Reds, Flat Armor Yellows, Scaling MR blues, and Attack Damage Quints.
If you would like you can take Armor pen reds or Quints but I think using those runes is better on the traditional Zed build rather than this high damage build.
The itemization is the biggest part of this build and I will go into a bit of detail about each core item.
Your Starting items: Long Sword 3 pots is very standard on any Zed build.
Brutalizer: This item has all of the stats that Zed likes: Attack Damage, CDR, and AR pen. Flat AR pen is very strong early game and will make you hit like a truck. The 10% CDR will make you get your ult up a little faster for landing phase and roaming. This item is just really great for AD champions that are trying to get early kills.
Last Whisper: This item is low cost and high damage. AD assassins benefit so much from this item because it allows them to burst down opponents even if they have some armor on them. It is debatable if you should purchase this item or Hydra in the early game but this is the item that I personally go with.
Hydra (Passive): This item passively gives high AD stats, AOE damage, health regeneration, and life steal. These stats give Zed the small amount of sustain that he needs to survive early game and some more AD to contribute to the high burst of this build.
Hydra (Active): The active of this item is a strong AOE burst that scales off of your AD. This burst is very low cool down and will help you clear waves and kill enemies a bit faster. The overall Hydra AOE effect can be incredibly strong when fighting multiple enemies.
Infinity Edge: Increase your damage a lot. When you finish the build and have 70% crit, you should be able to kill squishes in 1-2 auto attacks without even using Hydra active or any of your abilities. You will also be able to kill dragon or baron much faster and may even be able to solo baron.
Bloodthirster: Lots of damage to contribute to the burst of the build, provides a shield, gives the sustain that is necessary to fight the long fights.
Ghostblade: This is one of the items in this build with low AD stats but is very important. This item is very necessary for the build to work because without any boots you move very slowly. The burst of movement speed that ghostblade can give you is good for escaping and chasing. The stats on the item give some AD, 10% CDR, 15% Crit Chance. The best situations to use this item are: chasing, being chased, killing a tower, killing a dragon/baron before enemy can come, or if you are trying to kill a tank and need the extra attack speed.
Phantom Dancer: Phantom dancer is the cherry on the cake for this build. Only after you complete every other core item in this build should you sell boots and pick up Phantom Dancer. This item will make you feel like a god because of its huge Crit chance stats. If you get to the stage of the game where you can go the full build and get PD, you won't need to dive the enemy back line and you can usually just kill the enemy frontline in a couple of seconds with your auto attacks. This item gives you a small amount of movement speed, attack speed, and crit chance, these stats are great for dealing massive damage with your auto attacks.
Your Skill sequence is very standard. R>Q>E>W
The only time that you should take e before your w at level 2 is against a melee opponent, in any other situation get Q at lvl 1 and W at lvl 2 and E at lvl 3.
Using your spells correctly as Zed is what makes the difference between a good and a great Zed. Your spells will do the most damage to your opponent in the early game so knowing how to use them is very important. Remember that with Zed you need to get a little creative.
Passive(Contempt for the Weak): Zeds passive brings great trading power and burst at all stages of the game. Attacking a unit using your basic attack will deal 6/8/10% of their MAX hp in bonus magic damage. This passive is very helpful because it helps you last hit minions in landing phase and get extra damage on the targets that you might need help finishing off. The unexpected amount of burst that this ability provides is fantastic for assassins like Zed.
Q(Razor Shuriken) : This is the ability that you will be able to max out first and is your main source of poke. It has a 6 second cool-down so it is pretty spam able in lane. Keep in mind that this ability does less damage to the targets it hits after the first hit. This means that if you throw your Q through a minion and it hits a champion after you shouldn't expect tons of damage. Good Zed players will consistently hit their opponent with Q throughout the landing phase and eventually go all in. It is possible to hit two or even three Razor Shurikens on the same target. Hitting multiple Shurikens is very rewarding in terms of damage and will also restore energy based on how many skill points you have in the W skill.
W(Living Shadow): Passively Living Shadow gives you bonus AD that scales with the amount of bonus AD you already have. The living shadow active places a shadow in the direction of your choosing for 4 seconds. This shadow will not move but it can copy your E and Q. Re-Activating the living shadow will swap Zed with the place of his shadow. Shadow swapping can be used for gap closing, wall jumping, escaping, juking, mobility around the map, dodging skill shots, and zoning.(So yeah its really good)
E(Shadow Slash): Shadow Slash is a close range AOE ability that deals damage in a circle around Zed (and his shadows). If Zed hits an enemy champion with Shadow Slash it will reduce the cool down of his W for every champion hit(This doesn't work with his shadows). This ability is very nice for wave clear, extra damage in melee range, the slow, and farming.
R(Death Mark): Death Mark is a single target ability that deals damage 3 seconds after the mark is applied. The damage that the mark does scales with the amount of damage that Zed deals to the target in those three seconds. Upon activating this ability Zed will become untargetable for .75 seconds, appear behind the enemy he marked, and place a shadow in the location he was previously that lasts for 6 seconds. After .05 seconds (.0 seconds without nerf)Zed can swap back to this shadow without any restriction on the distance from Zed to this shadow. This ability is how Zed gets in and out quickly and safely. This ability has strong all in potential, incredibly strong juke potential, and the ability to become untargetable (which in turn will make all incoming spells and auto attacks useless).
Additional information and Combo Moves:
-The copied E on Zeds shadow will slow but the regular E will not slow.
-A standard Zed combo is W-E-Q for harass in lane or W-E-Q-W-Passive to go all in.
-Other high damage combos usually involve R-E-W-Q (E and W are interchangeable as long as you E right next to your target, Add reactivate R to escape or reactivate W immediately after it is used to dodge enemy skill shots)
Pros / Cons
-1 shot squishies
-Snowballs super hard
-Easy to CS in lane
-Doesn't get countered by Zhonyas and QSS like traditional Zed
-No defensive item
-Doesn't work if behind
-Needs some skill to go ham