Build Guide by spoonhead46
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.
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.
Zilean is an awesome champion. With his bombs you can lay on a nice early game harass, and later in the game the same skill will be getting you kill after kill. Rewind allows you to do burst damage and cool down your ultimate twice as fast as it normally would. Your Ultimate is awesome, I can't count how many times I've saved my teammates' ***es (and my own!). This build is really just information about the items and a little introduction on how to use his skills right. This build will not make you the best Zilean out there, it's all about how you play him. If you're careful and move with your team, this build can help you rip up the rift.
The runes that I took have proved helpful to me personally:
The CDR Quints are really nice, and as a champion whose game has cooldowns as a central part of it, of course you'd want some CDR.
The MP marks gave proven to help out in situations where the enemy team decides that a little MR will solve the Zilean problem. If they don't have any MR, then it counts as bonus damage.
The AP runes are pretty self explanatory. You obviously want AP for a caster. With the MP runes mentioned above, your early game harass is kickass.
This is the build that I always use for my Zilean games. I get Meki Pendant first, which gives you a lot more time in lane early game. After that build in to Tear of the Goddess, again keeping your mana pool big enough so you won't run out too often. Let Tear of the Goddess get some extra mana for you while you build your Sorcerer's Shoes. Once you have those boots, you should buy Archangel's Staff because it's awesome for all casters. If you're doing well, right here is where you would want to buy your Mejai's. Void Staff is my personal favorite to get next, because of the extra Magic Pen. If you're getting owned by caster champions on the enemy team, get Abyssal Scepter before you get Void Staff for a little more survivability. After that, Rabadon's is great for that extra AP that makes Zil's bombs what they can be. The game should be close to over by now. If the other team has some really intense tanking going on, grab a DFG to help your team out a lot. If the other team is full of squishies/DPS, grab another Abyssal Scepter. If you're doing really well and the other team is all physical, Frozen Heart may be an item you would want.
Skill Sequence and Rotation
I get the spells on Zilean like this:
First get Timebomb. Get one rank of Rewind at level 2. Timebomb again at 3, and then a rank of Timewarp at 4. After that, rush Timebomb. Get your Ulti at level 6 (duh). At level 8 you can't rank Timebomb anymore, so get a rank of Rewind. Finish off Timebomb at 9 and then rush Rewind, picking up Ulti at 11. After Rewind is done finish up Timewarp and your Ulti as soon as possible.
Timebomb early game is a key part of what makes Zilean so viable. The range of Timebomb makes it easy to sneak them in on unsuspecting enemy champions. Double bombing is also really important in lane. Using your E (Timewarp) to get away is really helpful because Zil is so squishy.
THE DOUBLE BOMB (how Zilean carries):
If an enemy champion has a bomb on them (that I just placed) and it's ticking away, my spell's on cooldown, right? Wrong. Zilean's W (Rewind) can make the cooldown dissapear. Another bomb on a champion with a bomb on them already makes the previous bomb explode and do damage, while adding a fresh new bomb looming above them. Slowing an enemy with E (Timewarp) and then double bombing them is the BEST way to do damage as Zilean. Double bombing is also how you get kills, as your bombs do so much damage. You place a bomb, wait a couple seconds for your teammates to DPS the champ down to lower health, and then bomb again for an instant kill.
How to save teammates:
Your R (Chronoshift) is like an instant Guardian Angel. Except better. If a teammate is dying and you're close to them, make sure that they are definitely screwed unless you help. If so, cast an E (Timewarp) on them (provided they aren't about to die in the next second). If that's not enough, cast your R (Chronoshift) on them and watch those lanterns save them. Try and scare off the attackers if they've wisened up to the resurrection. More often than not, the enemy team will turn tail thinking they've just got a kill. Your teammate pops up good as new (and depending on your AP, maybe full health), and your team loves you. Isn't support carrying great?
I take Ghost and Clarity:
Ghost: As Zilean, you are really squishy. Instead of wasting all of your money on survivability items, MR and armor, think about Ghost. Ghost lets you get away fast (and with your E (Timeshift) you go mega-fast). This should save you 4/5 times. If you're still screwed, just reach for your R. Zil the Unkillable, back in the game.
Clarity: As a caster, early game can be really annoying in terms of mana loss. Your teammates feel this too.I took the mastery for Clarity that gives the same amount of mana to my allies, so this is a good support spell to take. Also it's really nice if you're chasing someone down and you run out of mana, you can just pop Clarity, Timeshift, double bomb and kill.
Other viable Summoner Spells are Flash and Teleport. Maybe Heal, but you should not take Heal and Clarity together. Both of these are used primarily in early game, and leaves you're at a disadvantage late game if you take both Clarity and Heal together.
Pros / Cons
Double Bombing like a boss.
Reviving teammates like a boss.
Speeding up to get away like a boss.
The other team being owned by an old man (like a boss?).
Squishy. Reeeaaaal squishy.
After the enemy team realizes you're awesome they'll target you.
Team gets angry if you don't save them.
Tanky champs shrug off bombs early game.
Zilean really shines in 5v5's. He has really nice lane chemistry with Galio, because he's tanky enough to protect Zil, but also has enough damage to scare off the other team. Also Galio is mana-based, making Clarity helpful for the both of you. Galio's ulti combined with bombs on the other team is devastating. Since they are packed so closely together, the splash damage almost always guarantees you a kill.
Other tanky characters/mana off-tanks coordinate well with Zilean. If playing with a Melee DPS/tank that is being attacked by melee/attacking with melee you can throw a bomb on your own teammate (no worries- it can't damage them) and your bomb will explode next to the enemy, hurting them and maybe scoring you an assist or even a kill.
Laning with the Killean
Laning early game is pretty easy, you just have to make sure to zone yourself accordingly. Until you're level 4 you can't escape very easily, so look out for early game harass/ganks. If enemy champions are being really cautious, throw a bomb on a minion next to them. If you're lucky, they won't notice and will be hurt by the bomb. If you're not, at least you got some minion kills. By mid-late game, you should have enough mana and AP to be burning through minion waves. Double bombing an enemy minion can get you a TON of last hits. It's all about timing.
Avoid nukes/characters who can own you in one hit. Nidalee's spear throw, for example, can easily take out 60%+ of Zilean's HP. Watch out for those damage dealers, and always be aware of skill shots.
Lastly: Do not lane against Jax. Solo laning is a definite possibility for Zilean, but not against Jax. Jax's jump range is the same as your bombs. Do not try it. If you are laning with someone else against Jax, switch. Jax is Zilean's worst nightmare. Avoid Jax at all costs, except of course in teamfights when your team can give you some protection.
"I Knew You Would Do That!"
Have fun. If you think one of the items in my build doesn't work, comment about it. I'd be interested to hear it. Zilean is an awesome champion, and I hope you have as much fun double-bombing and saving your teammates as I do. Most people underestimate Zilean and think he's just a lousy support, but they are wrong. I have had games with scores that most Tryndameres would be jealous of. I've also had not so good games though. It's all about how you play Zilean, not the build you use. Practice, practice, practice.
And remember: Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like banana.