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Zed Build Guide by GrandmasterD

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author GrandmasterD

GrandmistressD's Zed - Do Not Fear The Shrouded Path

GrandmasterD Last updated on December 15, 2012
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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/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 0



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Zed is an AD Caster Assassin who is played in the mid lane. He excels in taking down squishy and even tankier targets such as bruisers within a single combo without anyone to stop him due to his high mobility. Zed has a very steep learning curve and also a very high skill ceiling but he is extremely fun to play. So far, Zed has served me well in both arranged queue as well as solo queue.
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Quick Guide


Starting Items

x2

x3



Essential Items




Boots




Situational Items




Synergies and Counters


Zed is good against:
Zed gets countered by:
Zed synergises with:


Summoner Spells

+
New Zed Players

+
Advanced Zed Players



Runes

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

A fairly straightforward rune setup. Flat penetration is overall very effective since percentual is applied first so it scales nicely into late-game where flat attack damage runes fall off. Additionally, it stacks very nicely with The Brutalizer we will be getting. On top of all this, mid-laners often aren't running armour runes and they have very little choice in items that provide armour.



Masteries


21/09/00

A mastery setup which doesn't have a lot of secrets to it. Executioner is very strong as it adds a lot to Zed's already high burst and it stacks nicely with Havoc . You can, however, exchange it, together with Butcher , for two points in Unyielding if you find that more suitable. Destruction can be exchanged for another point in Butcher if you find it necessary though additional damage on towers is very useful on Zed.



What's your opinion?

If you have any suggestions, questions or simply good scores to post. You can do that here:



LINE DIVIDER
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Lore

Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to unlock the ancient, forbidden ways. He defied his clan and master, casting off the balance and discipline that had shackled him all his life. Zed now offers power to those who embrace knowledge of the shadows, and slays those who cling to ignorance.

An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed's equal - the master's son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan's temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master's son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.

Humiliated, the young ninja wandered for years. His bitterness turned to ambition, and he began to train others in the style of the shadows. As his power grew, so did his circle of followers, but he knew that without the box, his technique would never be perfect. One day, Zed looked at his followers and saw that his students were now an army. He led them back to the temple to claim his prize. At the gates, he was surprised to find the old master waiting, receiving Zed and his disciples as if they were welcome guests. The old man laid his sword at Zed's feet, declaring that he had failed Zed as his master. By banishing his former student, the master had doomed Zed to the shadows, instead of leading him to the balanced path. The old man implored Zed to enter the temple, destroy the box, and lead his followers to balance. The dark ninja followed the master inside. Moments later, the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen's feet. Screaming in rage, Zed commanded his followers to slaughter the master's students and seize the box.

That day, the old ninja order fell. Though many students died, some escaped thanks to Shen's heroic efforts. Now the temple is a dark training ground for the Order of the Shadow. Zed rules as the Order's master, and his edict is simple: perfect one's technique, and kill all ninjas who refuse to embrace the shadows.

"Balance is a lie - we are the true ninjas."
―Zed



Zed's Abilities


Contempt For The Weak
(Innate): Whenever Zed autoattacks an enemy below 50% health, he deals an additional 6 / 8 / 10% of their maximum health as magic damage. This effect cannot occur on the same target more than once every 10 seconds.

Contempt For The Weak Details




Razor Shuriken
(Active): Zed and his shadows throw their shurikens, each dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and a lesser amount to enemies thereafter.

Living Shadow: Additional shurikens striking the same enemy deal 50% damage and restore energy.

Razor Shuriken Details




Living Shadow
(Passive): Zed's bonus attack damage is increased by a percentage.

(Active): Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds. Reactivating this ability will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

Zed's shadow will mimic his basic abilities. If both strike the same target Zed regains some energy. Energy can only be restored once per mimicked ability.

Living Shadow Details




Shadow Slash
(Active): Zed and his shadows create a burst of shadow, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies.

Zed's slash reduces the cooldown of Living Shadow by 1 second for each enemy struck. His shadows' slashes slow enemies for 1.5 seconds.

Living Shadow: Overlapping Shadow Slashes striking the same enemy deal no additional damage but will incur an increased slow and restore energy.

Shadow Slash Details




Death Mark
(Active): Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to target enemy champion. Upon arrival, he marks the target for death and spawns a living shadow behind the target. This shadow lasts 4 seconds and mimics Zed's abilities. Reactivating Death Mark will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

After 3 seconds, the mark will detonate, dealing physical damage equal to 100% of Zed's attack damage plus a percentage of all magic and physical damage dealt to the target by Zed and his shadows while the mark was active.

Death Mark Details




Skilling Order


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1

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Q

2
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W

3
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E

4

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Q

5

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Q

6
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R

7

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Q

8
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E

9

___
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Q

10
___
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E

11
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R

12
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E

13
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E

14
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W

15
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W

16
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R

17
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W

18
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W


A skill sequence that seems clear to the new players and might surprise the already slightly experienced players. I see a lot of people max out Shadow Slash first. The main reason why this isn't the way to go is because it cripples your burst. Additional Shadow Slashes from Living Shadows deal no additional damage but just enhance the slow. However, additional Razor Shurikens deal 50% damage so it complements the burst. Maxing out Q first also allows for easy last-hitting at range and, of course, powerful ranged harass.

Living Shadow can be maxed out after Razor Shuriken if you have problems maintaining Zed's energy costs which is, by far, the hardest to do of all energy-based champions.



Itemization

Itemization on Zed is very straightforward just like any AD Caster. Early-game we focus on armour penetration with runes + The Brutalizer which will later be upgraded to The Black Cleaver to counter armour stacking. The Bloodthirster is vital as it grants Zed some sustain and a massive AD boost. Besides that Last Whisper, Maw of Malmortius and Mercurial Scimitar are great late-game choices. Guardian Angel is always a nice defensive item. Blade of the Ruined King is a niche pick that should often not be bought on Zed as he can't really utilize the passive that well. However, it's great for kiting and catching up to slippery opponents and it complements your burst slightly.



Strategy and Tactics

Zed has a really high skill ceiling so don't worry if your first games aren't going smoothly. Personally, I felt that Zed was very weak when I first played him. However, by learning his skills well and knowing how to manage his energy; I really got to see Zed's potential which is quite amazing.

Main Harassment Combo

Your main harassment combo in lane is very important. Open up with a Living Shadow on your enemy's position. Follow-up with a quick Shadow Slash and then, due to the slow, you should be able to hit two Razor Shurikens. You can, if it's safe, switch positions with your shadow to continue with basic attacks but that's often not recommended. Mastering this combo allows you to gain lane dominance as it's very hard for enemies to avoid this combo and/or to strike back.

Utilizing Living Shadow

Zed's W has a lot of uses, let's go over them quickly:
  • Repositioning - Due to the fact that Zed can switch positions with his Shadow; Living Shadow acts as a blink.
  • Burst Damage - Living Shadow mimics Zed's abilities and multiple Razor Shurikens deal more damage. This acts as powerful burst damage.
  • Slow - The Shadow Slash performed by the Shadow slows enemies as well.
  • % AD Increase - Each rank of Living Shadow will increase your bonus AD by 5%. At the final rank, this is similar to a Rabadon's Deathcap passive.
  • Longer Range - Allows you to hit people with Razor Shuriken up to 1450 units away.
  • Energy Management - If you manage to hit at least a single enemy with both the ability performed both by Zed and his Shadow; you'll get energy refunded. This can only occur once per mimicked ability.
  • Zone Control - Zed's Living Shadow can control a huge part of the lane for 4 seconds in a similar way as Orianna.

Death Mark

Zed's ultimate has a number of uses. The gap-closing part and burst part are obvious, but a lot of players tend to overlook the untargetability part. Remember that this untargetability can be used to dodge important spells such as Cocoon, Pick A Card, Crescendo, and many others.



Synergies

Zed synergises well with any champion that makes his life easier to get to his target and destroy it. Multi-Target Crowd Control abilities such as Curse of the Sad Mummy, Crescendo, Chain of Corruption and Tidal Wave are some examples of abilities that work really well with Zed.

Additionally, it's important to have a team that can follow-up in case Zed goes in alone. Assassins such as Zed often have a small window of opportunity so high mobility champions such as Malphite, Lee Sin and Ezreal are champions who can aid Zed once he goes in. Lulu has special synergy with Zed due to her ultimate Wild Growth.



Counters

Anything that can prevent Zed from taking out (important) targets instantly should be considered as a counter to Zed directly. High CC teams make it hard for him but not impossible. Kayle, Zilean and Yorick are presumably Zed's hardest counters due to their ultimates. Lulu can also be extremely frustrating as the additional health cannot be diminished.

Items that work well against Zed are Guardian Angel, Zhonya's Hourglass and Quicksilver Sash/ Mercurial Scimitar. All of these can ignore a large part of Zed's burst so you should be careful around that. The summoner spell Barrier can also be tough to work with.



Epilogue

Here's where my teachings in the Art of the Shadow come to an end. I hope you learnt to embrace them as well as I did and have tons of fun playing Zed. If you have any suggestions, questions or cool scores to post; feel free to do so.

Do Not Fear The Shrouded Path,
GrandmistressD



Special Thanks