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Zed Build Guide by GrandmasterD

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author GrandmasterD

GrandmistressD's Mid Lane Series - Featuring Zed

GrandmasterD Last updated on June 7, 2014
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GrandmistressD's Zed

Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
3
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 0



Table of Contents


Quick Guide

Preface

Basic Information

Advanced Tactics

Wrapping Up

Items
Synergies and Counters
Summoner Spells
Runes
Masteries
|

About the Author
Introduction
Who is Zed?



|

Zed's Skillset
Skilling Order
Itemization



|

Laning
Teamfighting




|

Synergies
Counters
Epilogue



|


Starting Items


Core Build


Boots


Offensive Items


Defensive Items


Synergies and Counters

Zed is good against:


Zed is weak against:


Zed works well with:

Summoner Spells


__
+
__


or


Runes

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Zed suffers from energy issues in the early-game which will restrict one in their ability to harass. Even though the abilities required will come off cool down; one still will not have the energy required. Hence I've chosen to run energy regeneration seals, eight of them as they give an exact ten percent increase. I've also opted for six cool down reduction glyphs because as the game progresses Zed's energy costs will drop and thus, with the additional energy regeneration, he will be more restricted by cool downs rather than his energy. These glyphs grant an additional five percent cool down reduction which will help a lot later in the game. One shouldn't worry about having low resistances as Zed has enough range and very high base armour.

Masteries

One should opt for this mastery setup as the percentual penetration from Devastating Strikes is very important otherwise the defence tree would have been a great alternative, like it was in the previous season. One should put their points into the right side of the tree however, as Zed makes very poor use of Spell- and Blade Weaving .













































































































































































































About the Author

This Zed guide is written by GrandmistressD; a platinum rated mid-lane player at the Europe-West server. I've been playing mid-lane religiously for almost three years now hence I'm very familiar with all aspects of it. The way I play and/or build champions may vary from the standard which people are used to. I am not arguing that my way is the only way to do it but I'm very confident in the fact that my way is one of the best, if not the best way to go.

Zed is one of my roster champions. I play him extensively in both arranged- and solo queue. My overall experience with him covers games from high Silver to high Platinum in solo queue and mostly Platinum and Diamond in arranged queue.

I have been playing Zed for quite a while now and everything one is able to find in this guide is a collection of everything I have gathered, albeit written as compact as possible and has been thoroughly tested.

Introduction

Zed is a physical damage assassin who is generally played in the middle lane. He utilises low cool down abilities paired with the usage of energy rather than mana to generate a high damage per second value and wave clear. Due to the nature of his abilities he also possesses significant burst and incredible high mobility.

Zed excels at laning, split-pushing and roaming due to his high dueling potential, exceptional wave clear and superb mobility. Both Razor Shuriken and Shadow Slash are area-of-effect physical damage abilities - with a relatively low cool down - which allows him to clear creep waves with exceptional speed. Living Shadow provides him with a solid gap-closer and the ability to harass his enemies from a fairly great distance. It also amplifies the total amount of damage and greatly increases Zed's area-of-effect potential. His ultimate, Death Mark, is not only an ability that provides Zed with another gap-closer but it also grants him incredible burst albeit delayed. It also can be utilitised - as it renders him briefly untargetable - to dodge powerful abilities such as Wind Slash and Frozen Tomb. Death Mark is also an excellent engage tool because it leaves a shadow behind, providing Zed with a certain getaway.

Who is Zed?

Pros

+ High Burst Potential
+ Item-Independent
+ High Wave Clear
+ Has Untargetability
+ High Mobility
+ Uses Energy
+ Low Cool Downs
+ Best Laugh



Zed's Strengths

Zed overall excels at laning due to his great wave clear, consistent harass and high all-in potential. Zed has, as a result of his high mobility and ability to become untargetable, very high outplay potential which allows him to duel nearly anyone with a positive outcome. Zed has the potential to destroy his lane, roam and decide other lanes granting him a tight grip on the entire game. This can propel him into late-game when he becomes one of the most dangerous split-pushers and tower divers; Zed is always a force to be reckoned with.

Zed's Limitations

Zed's early-game - especially the first three levels - is very weak. While it sometimes is very much possible to obtain easy kills though the proper usage of his abilities; I would state that, in general, Zed's early-game is overall very weak due to resource issues, somewhat high cool downs and the fact his ability to harass isn't up yet as he will not have all of his basic abilities at his disposal. Another weakness is that Zed deals poorly with extreme pressure during the early-game. Repeated ganks by strong ganking junglers such as Vi and Jarvan IV can give Zed a very hard time. Lastly Zed has often trouble carrying the game by himself since he does not excel at multi-target combat. However, he does have the ability to shut down a single target.

Cons

- Weak Levels 1-3
- Low Utility
- Melee
- Can't Carry Alone
- Early Pressure Kills
- Massive Skill Ceiling
- Tad Obsessive









Zed's Skillset


Contempt For The Weak
(Innate): A very strong innate ability, especially early-game when enemies expect one to be weak, Contempt for the Weak can yield easy kills at all stages of the game. A note, Contempt for the Weak inflicts magical damage in lieu of physical damage which is both a positive and a negative affair. The negative part is - obviously - the fact that it does not benefit from one's armour penetration. The posivitve side is that it will be unaffected by the armour one's opponents will be purchasing in order to mitigate one's damage output.



Razor Shuriken
(Active): This is Zed's primary damaging ability. It permits him to farm and harass from a significant distance however, do bear in mind that Razor Shuriken inflicts full damage to the first target it encounters only and only sixty percent to subsequent targets. This knowledge is of great importance during the early-game when it can be quite the challenge to obtain last-hits by using Razor Shuriken.



Living Shadow
(Active): Zed's signature ability that has a variety of utilisations, including, but not limited to, repositioning, burst damage, range increment, energy management, and zone control. It is of utmost importance that you - as prospective Zed player - learn to master all of those and execute them in the right place at the right moment across the right timespan.



Shadow Slash
(Active): Shadow Slash is a low cool down, medium physical damage area-of-effect ability. This ability helps Zed in clearing creep waves and significantly increases his damage per second. Shadow Slash has a good synergy with Living Shadow as the 'shadow version' of this ability slows all enemy units hit and the original ability reduces the cool down of Living Shadow by two seconds for every enemy champion hit - significantly promoting his mobility.



Death Mark
(Active): This ability provides Zed with another gap-closer however it also renders him untargetable while dashing - which is a timespan of ¾ of a second. This allows Zed not only to close the gap with the enemy but it also yields an opportunity to avoid powerful abilities conjured by enemy champions. Additionally, Death Mark furnishes Zed with another Shadow which lasts six seconds rather than four and can be switched to from any distance rather than just eleven hundred.

Skilling Order



1




Q
2




W
3




E
4




Q
5




Q
6




R
7




Q
8




E
9




Q
10




E
11




R
12




E
13




E
14




W
15




W
16




R
17




W
18




W

Zed's skilling order is fairly straightforward; prioritising the abilities that grant him damage output. Razor Shuriken is chosen to be maxed out first due to the decreasing resource cost, the reality that it has significantly higher range and the construct of multiple Razor Shurikens - possible as a result of the shadows provided by Living Shadow and Death Mark - dealing additional damage while multiple Shadow Slashes will not. Living Shadow is maxed out last due to it generally being used for its utility, that is; duplicating abilities and acting as a gap-closer.

Itemization



Starting Items

In general one wants to opt for a start that consists of a Doran's Blade and one Health Potion as it provides enough sustain in almost all matchups and the health allows the possibility for early skirmishes and all-ins which is not possible when one would start Long Sword. One can opt for a Long Sword start when playing against a low presence mid-laner and/or jungler as it allows for a quick transition into The Brutalizer, a Hexdrinker or a Bilgewater Cutlass.



Core Items

Zed's core items are fairly straightforward. Do keep in mind that with core items I do not imply that these items are meant to be purchased at the exact same point in time every single game. These items should simply be part of the six item build one's trying to complete during the particular game, the order and point in time may vary based on the current conditions in the game (e.g. Playing against a Malphite player, who immediately aquires a multitude of armour items, might require an early Last Whisper).


Upgrading Vampiric Scepter

These two items, Ravenous Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King, are the two major upgrades for one's Vampiric Scepter. In the majority of the games however, one generally winds up purchasing both although one of those will be a core item and the other will be supplementary. One should generally opt for Hydra when you do not require the sticking power that Blade of the Ruined King offers and/or when one's opponent opts for bunch of armour without additional health to back this up.


Cleaver's Role

Both Ghostblade and Cleaver are possible upgrades for one's Brutalizer. The Black Cleaver is generally the better item due to the fact that Zed primarily offers multi-target damage in the form of area-of-effect abilities (i.e. Razor Shuriken and Shadow Slash). Additionally, The Black Cleaver removes armour rather than simply penetrating it, which means one's allied units will benefit from this which can be invaluable as it allows allies without a significant amount of armour penetration to still deal with enemy - generally tanky - bruisers. One should opt for Youmuu's Ghostblade when dealing with high priority targets who possess high mobility.



Defensive Items

Zed's item build can be further diversified by utilising one of these defensive items. Mercurial Scimitar and Spirit Visage are the better ones as Scimitar deals with crowd control and powerful abilities such as Chum the Waters while Spirit Visage has some offensive qualities, that is; ten percent cool down reduction and the increment of one's healing caused by Ravenous Hydra and/or Blade of the Ruined King, which makes Visage the best item when one finds themselves dedicated to split-pushing.

The item Guardian Angel can not only aid Zed in surviving an elusive teamfight but it also provides a good amount of resistances (i.e. Armour and Magic Resist). This item should generally be purchased when ahead and/or when the game draws to a close as then especially it can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Banshee's Veil is an uncommon item, albeit not by any means rendered inferior. The Veil has its applications such as nullifying poke but it can also be a very powerful against champions who are heavily reliant on comboing their abilities (e.g. Diana, LeBlanc, Brand).

Laning

Zed's aforementioned laning phase is consistently strong, with the exception of the first three levels as then his combo isn't available to him yet. This combination, or sequence, of abilities - sometimes referred to as the main harassment combo - is composed of using all of Zed's basic abilities (i.e. Razor Shuriken, Living Shadow and Shadow Slash) in a predefined succession.

In order to perform this combo, one should open with conjuring a shadow on the enemy champion's current location. Then quickly follow-up with Shadow Slash as this will slow one's adversary significantly which paves the way to strike them with at least one Razor Shuriken, albeit one should aim to strike them with both. Afterwards, one may opt for exchanging positions with this aforementioned shadow although that is more often than not ill-advised. One should seek to master this combo as it is a vital aspect of Zed's core gameplay.

Once Death Mark has been unlocked, one should look for opportunities to kill one's lane opponent and/or repair to either the bot- or top lane in order to tip the scales into one's team's favour as Death Mark is an excellent engage tool.

When engaging, it is wise to open up with Death Mark - if possible - and continue one's pursuit with Living Shadow rather than the reverse as Death Mark leaves a shadow behind at one's original location which can be exchanged positions with from any given distance, in contrast to Zed's Living Shadow. One should also bear in mind that Death Mark will render Zed untargetable for a brief moment which means that it will also reset all tower aggro.

Teamfighting

The teamfights are a delicate matter when one's playing Zed as the moment of engaging is very important. If one conducts an engage at the wrong place, the wrong time, and/or an improper timespan then it is almost a certainty that one will either waste their abilities or even ruin the entire teamfight.

Any Zed player is to be expected to execute a certain task, that is; taking out the highest priority target. High priorty targets include, but are not limited to, the AD carry - or marksman - and the AP carry. However, simply eliminating them from the game will not be sufficient as one needs to make sure they have little or no impact on the current teamfight. Once that task is executed properly, one can seek out other targets and/or help out their teammembers albeit should be noted that if one completes that task flawlessly, that the teamfight is usually won as a result.

Synergies

Zed synergises well with a great variety of champions, which is one of the many reasons he's a strong champion in general. Champions who possess (area-of-effect) crowd control are a great asset to him and his kit as it allows him to take out his target(s) with greater ease. Prime examples of these champions would be Kennen, Vi, and Lissandra.

Champions that match Zed's mobility are also great teammembers because they need to be able to follow-up on Zed's swift engages that will occur as the window of opportunity is more often than not very small for assassins. Great examples of these kind of champions are: Lee Sin, Elise, and Riven.

Counters

Zed's aforementioned greatest ally turns out to also be his greatest enemy. crowd control has the ability to render a Zed player utterly useless and helpless. Although Tenacity, Cleanse, Quicksilver and proper use of Living Shadow and Death Mark can generally deal with most issues.

Zed's more direct counter is anything that prevents him from executing his task, which is; taking out his target. Champions such as Kayle, Yorick and Zilean can make this incredibly problematic. Lulu is also a tough champion to deal with due to the reality that the health increment of Wild Growth cannot be dimished by any way. Lissandra is Zed's most worthy adversary as Frozen Tomb renders it virtually impossible to kill her.

Certain items that can prevent one from completing their task include, but are not limited to, Quicksilver Sash, Guardian Angel, and Zhonya's Hourglass. One should try to anticipate their timespan of usage and capitalise accordingly. All aforementioned applies to the summoner spell Barrier similarly.

Epilogue

This concludes my teachings regarding the Art of the Shadows. I do trust that the reader obtained all necessary information regarding Zed, The Master of Shadows. Questions, remarks and suggestions are to be left on the discussion page of this guide.

Do not fear the shrouded path,
GrandmistressD

Special Thanks