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Zed Build Guide by KingKani

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 KingKani

KingKani's Mid-Lane Zed - Master of Shadows

KingKani Last updated on January 5, 2013
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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


Guide Top

For the quick guide readers

Follow the item guide, the ability sequence and masteries for maximum effectiveness at middle-lane.

Item Sequence

The Bloodthirster
3700

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
900

Last Whisper
1300

The Bloodthirster
3700

The Black Cleaver
3100

Guardian Angel
2400
Focus on armor pent, damage and cooldown reduction. Boots of Speed and The Brutalizer first at all times!!!!
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Keep track of energy at all times.
Masteries
1/5
4/1
1/1
4/1
1/5
3/1
1/1
2/5
3/
1/
4/1
1/1
3/5
1/1
QUICK PUT THESE IN!

Have fun with it and use your energy sparingly. If you somehow run out of energy just wait and farm. You can easily farm with Contempt for the Weak. Your energy will come back soon and you can continue harrassing him.

Have fun.


Guide Top

Introduction

Zed is a(n) AD Caster as well as a(n) Assassin who utilizes energy and can be played middle(we will be focusing more on middle), jungle or top. That being said he should be played as a careful, highly mobile, attack damage-focused beast, who constantly watches his energy and easily locks-on to the squishiest, most threatening champ he can find in the midst of a team fight. He can easily excel at bursting down squishy characters from full to 0. In addition, bruiser characters may also be an option but one should consider poking them a bit. Zed takes a few games to get used to and one should not quickly judge a character through "one" bad play. Work around it, work with it and you will begin to understand.



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Runes

As for runes, I have stated as a note that the runes are of course up to you. I am not forcing anyone to try it my way, it is however an option.

With that said, the most notable rune on my page is the:

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage
6
The reason why I chose these are for a more sustained laning phase against mid-lane champions. These runes break even with AD runes by level 6-7(if you add in the attack damage increase per level), only by that time will your combo truly matter. These runes also work well with armor penetration runes(which you can never have enough of) however, I feel that without a sustained amount of attack damage armor penetration will in fact be useless.





Another notable rune is:
Runes

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
6
The reason why I use 6 of these is because I feel as though Zed's trouble is based solely on cooldown reduction. For those of you that do not believe this and insist on saying Zed's energy costs are too high, keep in mind that "poking" does not mean spamming. You should also consider the base amount of200 energy. I will delve further into this later.




As for the other runes,
Runes

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3

Greater Mark of Lethality
3

Greater Quintessence of Lethality
3
These are pretty much straight forward, and should always be considered if going mid(number of runes and type you want is still completely up to you).





Rune pages you could use:
Runes

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

Greater Mark of Lethality
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

A straight forward build, centered around early and mid game performance. (This is my own opinion)
I have personally used this during my start at playing zed and I must say it is an alright build, it just did not fit my play style.
Runes

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

A somewhat different view of Zed, that is considered by most since all his skills scale off attack damage. I do not recommend this page because it only focuses on early game damage which generally does not exist for zed. However, jungling with this page would not be a bad idea. Though I personally wouldn't use this in the jungle.



Guide Top

Masteries

Masteries
1/5
4/1
1/1
4/1
1/5
3/1
1/1
2/5
3/
1/
4/1
1/1
3/5
1/1

Now on to the masteries. These masteries maximize damage output and allow Zed to do what he was made to do, which is burst. The masteries are straight forward and provide enough defense to withstand a few pokes from mid. An explanation for Havoc is in order, taking into account that your W living shadow], which gives 25% increased bonus damage, an extra 2% would make any Zed player happy. Another mastery worth explaning, [[destruction it is situational and the extra point "could" be added to Butcher which really wouldn't make sense since you have Contempt for the Weak which helps you easily last hit minions(Explanation on abilities). So in the end, that 5% extra damage from Destruction will boost your pushing powers and have someone think twice before leaving you alone with that tower.



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Summoner Spells

+

My own personal favorite. The reason behind this is the fact that Living Shadow is our main tool for escaping and is on a fairly balanced cooldown(if you take into account Shadow Slash's effect). And who doesn't love Zed's hidden running animation? (I'll let those of you who don't know about it to figure it out for yourself.)




+

Great for starters who want to understand Zed. Allows for a third gap closer and escape. Although, in certain situations Ghost will always be your best friend when it comes to escaping and chasing.




+

One of the more aggressive spellsets. If you have had any experience with shield and can completely utilize Zed's diving ability shield is definitely your best option. Though you risk having only your Living Shadow to save you. Make sure you have some experience with this



Guide Top

Abilities


Contempt for the Weak is a very strong underrated passive. At first glance, one might feel other passives are better (ex. Martial Cadence) because your opponent must be at 50% hp or below to inflict heavy damage, however, that is not the case. This passive is a very good last hitting tool and more often than not you will end up with the most creep score(cs). This passive works well with critical chance(surprisingly). Great for fleeing opponents with low hp, this passive will easily net u these kills. In addition, this passive can quickly rack up damage for your Death Mark. It is a very helpful skill and one should abuse its effect as much as possible.



Razor Shuriken is a skill shot that is your main burst damage. This serves as a very good farming tool if you are being pushed. As well as one of the best poking skills on par with most AP Casters. If you build and play zed carefully without the need of spamming this skill, you will find good results in lane. Your shuriken can also be combined with Living Shadow to do even more burst to your enemy but one risks losing their main utility. Be sure to aim for determined enemies.



Living Shadow is the most interesting skill in Zed's kit, with basically the exact same range as flash. It is what makes Zed, the master of shadows. It provides a great escape, chasing mechanic and the possibility of a juke, provided one use it in the four second time frame. It most notable gives you the AD version of deathcap at 25% bonus ad when maxed. 25% is such a large number and easily nets him at 500 AD with the right items. The cooldown is rather high but, one must consider Shadow Slash and its effect that reduces the cooldown by 1 each time it strikes an enemy. Living Shadow is so versatile and can provide so much. Learning how to use this skill makes or breaks a Zed player. It is more easily explained by trying it for yourself in situations where you leave your shadow in a nearby bush run in another direction and switch places with your shadow. That alone speaks for itself. The possibilities are endless.


Shadow Slash is Zed's only form of crowd control(cc). It is Zed's most reliable skill and is on a fairly low cooldown, that allows you to activate twice when using Living Shadow. Using this in conjunction with Living Shadow provides a slow and easily allows one to land two razor shurikens resulting in a chunk of hp lost for your opponent. The fact that this ability reduces the cooldown on your Living Shadow by 1 second per strike, helps keep your aggressive nature up and even gives u time to kite with your shadow slash to easily get your recently used Living Shadow to save your life once again. This ability also makes your shadow a force to be reckoned with because no matter how far you are from your shadow it will still slash. Once again this is easier explained once you give Zed a try.



Death Mark is easily the most surprisingly strong finisher. In my own personal opinion, this ability is what makes Zed so darn annoying. When first used you are invulnerable and you place a shadow in front of your target(works just like Living Shadow) and after three seconds your mark basically explodes dealing 100% of Zed's total AD(Attack Damage) + 50% damage of all physical and magical damage dealt to that target by Zed. Now, we know Zed has massive burst from both Razor Shuriken and Shadow Slash that in itself equals to a large number since during this effect you "may" activate Living Shadow to add a third shuriken(however, it should be saved for a disengage) to the fight to increase the damage output by Death Mark by another chunk of health. Now what makes Zed one of the craziest burst is that during this time no one considers his passive Contempt for the Weak if by chance your opponent is at 50% hp or lower(which is definitely the case if you land two razor shurikens and two Shadow Slash) they are taking another chunk of damage from this ability. Now you can easily accomplish all this in a matter of 1.5 seconds maybe even less depending on your cooldowns. And you can even throw in a few auto attacks after your passive pops. You then give your death mark another 1.5 seconds and "pop" your target just net you some gold. It all seems fun and games while reading this but, remember you are not a tank and you should never randomly jump into a fight. Learn to use this skill at the right moment on easy to kill, out of place targets and you will surprise everyone. Once again, it is easier giving it a try and using these skills for yourself so you can relate to what I am saying.



Guide Top

Skilling Order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The easiest way to surprise your opponent with Zed is to burst them down. A straight forward sequence that maxes out Zed's Q Razor Shuriken which provides surprisingly scary amounts of burst. It also allows you to farm from a distance when losing your lane. However, you must make sure to last hit or you will end up pushing your lane. The second skill to max out is up to you. I prefer E Shadow Slash to maximize damage output and provide a larger burst. However, if you are energy hungry and love the utility that W Living Shadow provides, then by all means max that out second. And as with all ultimates put a point into it whenever possible.


Guide Top

Items

Starting Items

x3
or
x2

These are the generic starts. Boots and 3 hp pots for the standard lane.
Long sword and 2 hp pots for a more confident laning presence.




Core Build



A simple core build that focuses primarily on increase damage, armor penetration and cooldown reduction. The Brutalizer is your first item because every stat it provides makes every AD caster a god, and it can easily build into The Black Cleaver. The Bloodthirster and Last Whisper are your sustain and main damage increase. Zed benefits greatly from all of these items including... Ionian Boots of Lucidity. These are my main boots of choice. The only reason I feel that these boots are better than Ninja Tabi and mercury treads is because Zed is meant to burst. Zed is not meant to by any means stay in a prolonged fight for more then five seconds. Although, mercury treads tenacity could prove quite helpful depending on ones play style. However, you should not even be getting crowed controlled(CC'd) if you come in a little later after a fight breaks out. Also you are going to have to face it, you are completely held down by your cooldowns and not many items can provide cooldowns and fit into an AD Casters niche, outside of The Black Cleaver and "maybe" Youmuu's Ghostblade(I see no reason for anyone to buy this).

Taking all of that into account, a(n) extra 15% cooldown reduction from Ionian Boots of Lucidity is not as bad as most people think. Just learn to control your energy and find the right opportunity to get that kill you are so desperately begging for. Although, in the end it is up to you and your play style to help you understand Zed. Every game is situational and even I sometimes switch it up.




Late-game Build

x2 or

Your W Living Shadow is your AD Deathcap providing u a huge boost in attack damage. Put together with these items you can have over 500 attack damage and break down anyone who even thinks about getting armor. Guardian angel is your go to item because by this moment you are 100% the most feared enemy to the opposing team. However, if you believe in your ninja skills a third The Bloodthirster makes your kills swift and easy.




Situational Items



All of the situational items above are for a losing lane or fear of losing a lane. Once again, every game is situational and these are only opinions. Hexdrinker is probably gonna be your best friend against bursty champions like Fizz Katarinaand Cassiopeia. The same rule applies to Maw of Malmortius. Phage is for those moments where you are barely making it out of fights with your head in tact. It helps give the edge in battle by providing damage and much needed health in these kinds of situations. Frozen Mallet falls into the same niche except it sounds and looks cooler with a reliable effect. Quicksilver Sash is your greatest friend when it comes to Malzahar, Warwick, Skarner, Urgot etc. It will save your life and ruin their chances at that one kill they tried their best on. Mercurial Scimitar does this job even better with the added damage and extra movement speed. Guardian Angel is your go to item when in a confident position. Blade of the Ruined King is a fairly new item that just recently got implemented into summoners rift and it falls into its own category. I find this item very, very, VERY situational, and should only be considered when tanky champions pose a large threat to you and your team. However, very rarely does this happen because your damage should compensate for the effect. Although, the active has saved my life a few times. Finally, Sword of the Divine is as of right now a rising star item that is completely situational and can turn losing battles into your favor. I highly recommend trying this items active out if you are doing fairly well for yourself and have completed your core build(at the very least).



Guide Top

Overview, Strategy, Harassing Combos and Killing Combos.

Over View



Zed is a somewhat different champion and one should have some experience with AD Casters or even energy champions before considering Zed. Since the announcement about Zed started, I was looking forward to a "shadow" kit and so far he has not disappointed me. Originally, I was skeptical because a friend of mine stated that Zed is bad and is highly dependent on energy. At first, I believed it but overtime I wanted to try it out for myself. After a game or two in custom of testing him out, I found that what my friend said was completely wrong. His energy-costs are balanced and one should avoid spamming on every champ to utilize a characters full potential.

Strategy



Zed should be played like any AD Caster and Assassin would. AD Casters should generally engage only on easy to kill targets, an easy example of this would Pantheon who only stuns champions after a large amount of poking and a guaranteed kill. Assassins generally play by focusing the squishiest champions during a team fight and killing them as quickly as possible while managing to elude problematic team fights and hard cc(crowd control) champions or basically anyone that you feel can take you on. Keep in mind, that you are not a bruiser, a tank or a pentakill beast. You are a single target ulti that is meant to kill, escape and repeat.

Harassing Combos



Keep in mind these harassments are for targeting champions when Zed is at least level 2 - 3 and it is expected of you to know the range of each spell and effect by this point.

+

Living Shadow into Razor Shuriken provides a long range and a strong poke if both shurikens hit. Try this combo for yourself to understand its range and potential.


+ +

Living Shadow into Shadow Slash into Razor Shuriken provides a slightly easier target to hit and stronger poke than above. This combo also gives way to even stronger more effective combos.


+ + + + auto attack +

Living Shadow into Shadow Slash into activating Living Shadow again to switch places with target to land a quick Razor Shuriken and a quick auto attack during this time your Shadow Slash should be off cooldown. Make sure you are in a safe position and you can either easily net the kill or escape with no worries.

Killing Combos



+ + + + auto attack + + auto attack

You use this combo if in range of your Death Mark and if your opponent is running. Death Mark into Shadow Slash into a quick switch with your Death Mark into a quick razor shuriken into an auto attack eventually your Shadow Slash will be off cooldown and finally an auto attack. You may shorten this combo as much as you like if your target is significantly squishier.

+ + + + + optional auto attack +

This combo is only for an easy kill, that is about two flashes away, when some squishy AD Carry decides to stick around alone or some AP Caster thinks you wont kill him/her while they are farming. You risk everything by jumping in to that unsuspecting victim of yours using Living Shadow twice to gain a flashes gap closer to them and then quickly using Death Mark to instantly reach them and at the same time activating Shadow Slash to catch up and damage that victim while quickly activating Razor Shuriken for huge bursts, at this moment it is up to you
to decide whether to use your Death Mark shadow or continue the combo by auto attacking and spamming your shadow slash until your target pops from [[death mark.

Note




If you do not have to use your Living Shadow then please save it until an opponent either gets away or your engage becomes 120% risky and your head is on the line. Have fun with this and experiment. There are more combos and jukes one can do but this is just the basics. Have fun discovering new things.


Guide Top

Have fun!

That is basically all their is to know about Zed and I hope you have as much fun as I have while playing Zed, The Master of Shadows. I thank those that have read my guide completely and considered every aspect and option. I would like to hear "hard facts" about any flaws in my guide so that I can change them in the future(simply put if you have numbers detailing why an item works or does not work post it, I don't prefer blatant comments that disregard another persons opinion).

As a final statement, this is just how I play Zed and I am not forcing anyone to think or build the same way I do. It is an option and a preference. Though before any criticizing comments come into play give everything a try first. Please and thank you.