Zed Build Guide by KingDunkhun
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Hi all! First of all, PLEASE DO NOT DOWNVOTE JUST FOR SH*TS N GIGGLES!!! Also, DON'T DOWNVOTE just because I don't have a bunch of fancy pics. I have spent countless time on writing and experimenting with the best possible combinations in PvP, so I kinda know what I'm talking about. This is my very first full guide, and I assure you it is worthwhile. I normally just post my own personal builds for reference, but since Zed has come out, I really loved playing with him, and I noticed frequently that I was one of the few playing him right. After reading this guide (sure you may have your own changes and whatnot), I promise that you will learn to master Zed and use him in practically any fashion (Jungle guide coming soon...) I hope you find this helpful, but remember that everyone has their own personal preference of playstyle, and Zed isn't for everyone (he is difficult to use effectively), so don't give up on him after one or two matches. Thanks for reading, and please give me upvotes! I am also open to comments, so AMA!
Fairly strong both early and end game
Has extremely lethal burst damage
Insane ceiling for damage end game
Manaless (uses Energy)
Can be quite team dependent
Doesn't have much CC
End game becomes very item dependent
Difficult to use (PATIENCE!!)
This is just an explanation of the many "myths", or misunderstandings of Zed that many people have developed their play around, making him less effective and frustrating other players. I will come out and say that there are always several ways to play each champ in LoL, but there are also many ways to fail, and it is easy for someone to have a few fluke games with a bad setup that seems a lot better than it is. So, here is the list of the three most common issues I see in "Expert Zeds":
#1: Zed is not an ADC
LIES, LIES, LIES!!! Even though Zed is a melee champion, his strengths come from his insanely strong abilities. Especially with the right support (tank seems to be best i.e. Alistar, Taric, Leona, etc.), Zed can easily push a lane and become the workhouse of death for a mid and late game. Many of my best games came from playing bot ADC with a tank support. ADC is a good option, but Zed is a versatile champion, and can play any role (other than support). Find what is best suited for you and wreak havoc!
#2: You have to buy Trinity Force and items with attack speed and life steal to be good with Zed.
Why do I keep seeing this? How are the top rated builds stressing this?!?! First of all, Trinity Force is the biggest waste of money for Zed, and is pretty much useless. Zed doesn't use mana or AP, so dropping 4K gold on this item is RIDCULOUS...STOP DOING IT!!! Next, and I will highlight this more in the Items Section, Zed's most important stats are Attack Damage and Cooldown Reduction, so you want to prioritize these. The reason for this is that LIfe Steal and Atk Speed are only relevant to Zed's autoattack, and you really won't autoattack much at all if you are using Zed correctly. Trust me, I be a doctor of LoL.
#3 Zed is easy to use; all you have to do is jump into a fight and spam your E.
Poor, poor kids. Zed is a ninja for a reason. Unless playing against those using traps (teemo, caitlyn) or ward users, you want to hide in those bushes and harass with your Q. This will be stressed more in the Skills Section, but your W>Q will be your greatest tool for instilling fear into your enemies. Now, for minion farming, jungling, and end game team fighting, your E is a powerful weapon, but your Q is a much more useful weapon, especially when combining with your shadow. Like I said in the intro, Zed is about precision and timing, so if you are impatient or you aren't good at using skillshots, then this champ isn't for you anyway.
Greater Mark of Desolation (x9)
Greater Seal of Resillience (x9)
Greater Glyph of Shielding (x9)
Greater Quint of Strength (x3)
Runes of Strength (I don't recommend this, though, unless you are VERY aggressive)
+4 Sorcery - CDR is important!
+4 Deadliness - AD boost
+1 Weapon Expertise - Armor Pen. is vital
+3 Havoc - Nice buff on dmg output
+2 Brute Force - another AD boost
+2 Lethality - Crit isn't all that important, but there really isn't another choice right now
+3 Sunder - More Armor Pen
+1 Executioner - FINISH HIM!
+4 Durability - health boost for a little more sustain
+3 Hardiness - Early game armor boost is very helpful
+1 Resistance - small boost, but need to put that point somewhere
+1 Veteran's Scars - HP boost at the start is more useful than you think
Once again, sorry I don't have pics, but I am trying to get to the foundation with the build; if I had time I would make beautiful art for you all to gaze upon, but I don't, so just suffice with reading, please.
You want to start your game with Boots of Speed & Health Potions (x3). Next, you want to focus on getting to your max CDR, so buy The Brutalizer. Next, you want to upgrade your boots to Ionian Boots of Lucidity. With the new patch, you can enchant your boots further, so I recommend grabbing the GREEN enchantment that gives +15 Movement Speed (This isn't available on mobafire yet, but is in game). Now, build up to buy your Youmuu's Ghostblade, by this time (depending on the game), you will be around 7-9 ish. Next, build up to The Black Cleaver. This finishes the Core build, and will have you at a smooth 35% CDR and some nice AD to boot!
CORE BUILD SEQUENCE: Boots of Speed > Health Potion (3x) > The Brutalizer > Ionian Boots of Lucidity > Enchantment of Alacrity > Youmuu's Ghostblade > The Brutalizer > The Black Cleaver
By this point, you are about to start or have already started team fighting. From here, the situation of the game will dictate your next items. If you are winning by a landslide, or if your team is well composed (YOU HAVE A GOOD TANK), then you want to go with the offensive build, meaning you want to go crazy with AD. If your team is getting beaten up pretty badly, or you don't have an effective tank/initiator, then you may want to go with the defensive build, give you a solid amount of health/armor/magic resist, which means nice survivability. Remember, your core build is already in place, so you damage output is still pretty solid, but this will allow you to stay in fights without being wiped so quickly. Below are the order for which you should buy your items depending on your path, as well as some alternatives to give you some other options (everyone plays a little differently). For instance, if you feel like you need some extra health to last a little longer in team fights, then I suggest you prioritize grabbing Frozen Mallet right after finishing the core build and just replacing Infinity Edge. Another point I need to address is that this build is kind of pricey (>16k) and could be overkill (I finally reached full build in a game where I was VERY fed, and my AD @ lvl 18 was over 600!). If you don't think you need that much AD (in some cases you may not), or if you feel it is too expensive, then just go with some of the cheaper alternatives. Lastly, if you are playing against a team loaded with armor (2 or more tanks), then you may want to prioritize grabbing Last Whisper right after finishing your core build and replacing either The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge. At the bottom I will provide some full build options.
OFFENSIVE BUILD: Ravenous Hydra > The Bloodthirster > Inifinity Edge
OFFENSIVE ALTERNATIVES: Last Whisper, Blade of the Ruined King, Entropy
DEFENSIVE BUILD: Frozen Mallet > Guardian Angel > Maw of Malmortius
DEFENSIVE ALTERNATIVES: Warmog's Armor, Randiun's Omen, Mercurial Scimitar
FINAL ZED BUILDS
CLASSIC (AD OVERKILL): CORE > Ravenous Hydra > The Bloodthirster > Infinity Edge
CLASSIC AD FOR THE PO BOY: CORE > Last Whisper > Tiamat > B.F. Sword
CLASSIC AD OFFTANK (AR/MR): CORE > Frozen Mallet > Guardian Angel > Maw of Malmortius
CLASSIC AD OFFTANK (HEALTH): CORE > Frozen Mallet > Warmog's Armor > Atma's Impaler
CLASSIC AD TANK KILLER: CORE > Last Whisper > Ravenous Hydra > The Bloodthirster
CLASSIC AD HYBRID CORE > Frozen Mallet > Ravenous Hyrda > Guardian Angel
Just a reminder, all of these builds keep the CORE because no matter how you are trying to play Zed, you still have the role of a major burst damage dealer. Unless you are just getting wrecked in you lane, you should ALWAYS BUY THE CORE FIRST! If you are trying to play Zed as a full tank or as a support with your items, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!
Ignite: Good offensive spell, great for that kill secure if the enemy gets away, and great to add into Zed's nasty burst combo.
Flash: A great spell, but not as useful for Zed, since he has a built-in flash with his shadows (W and R). If you are having trouble with escapes, then choose this until you have the hang of it.
Ghost: Once again, not as useful for Zed since he has some escapability already.
Heal: The new patch nerfed this once great spell quite heavily, so use it at your own risk.
Skills & Sequence
I will try to keep this simple, as I will explain how to use the abilities more in the how to play section. Here, I will briefly talk about the sequence of maxing your skills, as well as a description of each. At the bottom, I will have the summary sequence from level 1 to 18.
Q: Razor Shuriken - This is your fearmongering freakshow of a weapon. This baby is strong, can hit multiple enemies, and has solid range. Combined with his W, this move can pack a real punch, and is a great initiator, harass, and finisher. The only issue is that it is a skillshot, so it takes practice to learn how to shoot it. Maximize this ability FIRST.
W: Living Shadow - The real essence of Zed's power, this shadow is Zed's greatest overall utility, both for offense and defense. The key is learning where to place it and when, which will be covered in the how to play section. The bonus AD is a great add, and the use of his shadow to regain energy is key to Zed's success. The other thing is that you can use your shadow to QUICKLY teleport towards or away from your target. Maximize this ability LAST.
E: Shadow Slash - A great AoE move, Shadow Slash is strong and gives Zed some slight CC with a slow. Paired with his W, this move is a great initiator, and is a great farming tool. On top of that, every enemy this hits when your W is on cooldown reduces that by 1 second, so use this to your advantage. For the best damage output, maximize this ability SECOND.
R: Death Mark - The cream of the crop, Zed's final is a f*cking BEAST with this move. Zed teleports in and summons a shadow, does damage on the port, and all damage done by you and the shadow in the next 3 seconds is added up and re-done to the target (50% of that damage plus Zed's AD). This is the move you use to strike a kill. You do it enough times, and people will be afraid and RUN AWAY FROM YOU while ****ping themselves in fear. This is what defines Zed as a flippin' ninja! Maximize just as any other Ultimate.
Sequence: Q > W > E > Q > Q > R > Q > E > Q > E > R > E > E > W > W > R > W > W
How to Play Zed
Now what you've all been waiting for; HOW TO USE ZED!!!!!!! I am just going to go over quick uses and combos, then I will talk about how to get easy kills in 1v1, and even the 2v1! The key to mastering Zed's combos is patience. YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIME TO STRIKE! I know this particularly because I have been ripped to shreds multiple times by being too aggressive. For now, I will break down segments of the game and how you should play it effectively.
Early game: Just stick to farming for now. Use you Q and try to line it so you hit both minions and harass you enemies to keep them at bay. If the enemy is aware and starts to zig-zag, try to predict their movement and throw ahead of them so they walk into it. If you are laning with a partner, or if the enemy is being stupidly aggressive, then you can try to kill the target with a swift exhaust>ignite>Q. Once you get your W and E, you have much more power to harass. With your shadow, your range on your Q is nearly 1500! Use this to keep them off, and if they are still in range, check them with an E from your shadow to remind them you aren't f*cking around. Another thing that is tricky is learning to aim Zed's Q with the shadow. This will just take time; you can aim the shadow by turning your mouse/cursor, giving it some intersting utility. For example, you can aim it forward for long range, or you can aim it back towards yourself to entrap the enemy for a secured double hit, or you can aim is in a crossing fashion to hit multiple targets. The last thing you want to do is make sure if it is possible, at all costs hit your enemy with both your and your shadow's shuriken, as it is max damage and replenishes energy, giving you some more time to hit another E if in range.
Mid Game - AKA F*ck Sh*t Up Time!: By now you should have your ult, and Youmuu's Ghostblade, so it is time you give 'em the business. If there is someone isolated in your lane, or if your partner is there, or you are just feeling bold, then either chase them down or wait in a bush for the right moment (RECOMMENDED). You want to follow this exact sequence below:
While this may be a bit of overkill, this is the sequence you will follow until they are dead. 1v1, this is enough to take down an armored tank! This is your main burst combo to take down the opposing ADC in team fights, or to take down the team's target with ease. Now, when your ult is off cooldown, that doesn't mean you have to be. There are multiple ways to initiate a fight:
Remember, if your target is getting away, feel free to use your exhaust and ignite if they are up. Also, use corners when they are available, as you can peel around them with your shadow for a surprise hit, as well as a way to clear bushes.
Ganking: Communication is key in your ganking, but stick to the 1v1 plan (You sholdn't try to gank unless your ult is up, but if so, try to trap the enemy).
THE CLUSTERF*CK AKA the 2 for 1 Solo (WARNING: FOR ADVANCED ZED PLAYERS): This is probably the most fun thing you can do with a Zed. Now, I will warn you, you may not want to try this on fed champs, tanks, or if you aren't at full health (DUH), but if those things are clear, then get ready to DELIVER THE BOOM! Get in a bush and get ready to jump, you want to take out the squishiest and/or the one who does the most damage FIRST. This next sequence is crucial to pulling this off, because if you f*ck up, you could die (FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS ONLY!):
*A is your 1st target, B is the 2nd*
R on A > E > W (don't trap) > Q (try to have shadow hit B) > Exhaust and Ignite B > Focus Autoattack on B > E > Q.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with this so be ready to escape (escape techniques below). First off, if your R>E didn't do almost half their health, then you may want to refocus on killing the first then escaping, as you may not have enough AD for the task just yet. If your R>E does do enough damage, then a Q and maybe one autoattack and they will die from the R's 3 second tick. That's when you want to focus on that 2nd target; they will either try to kill you, or realize you will sh*t on their souls and run. In either case, your exhaust and ignite are needed to keep them from doing either as your energy and abailties return to deliver the killing blow!
ESCAPING: This is probably the most important of all the techniques, as if you keep dying, your kills are a little tainted. You have two possible ways to teleport (W & R). While R is for more advanced escapes, your W is a quick go-to. If possible, you want to run along a wall and use your W through the wall while running and IMMEDIATELY hit W again to port across. Another technique is to drop the W in front and run past it, then right before you leave port range, hit W again to backtrack and 'Juke' your opponent. You can also use this if your opponent doesn't have much health and chases you into turret country, allowing you to get an unlikely kill and really piss them off (TASTES SO GOOD). The last way to escape is good for aborting from a team fight after getting that kill on their carry. First, you will rush in with your R, followed by a quick E>Q. After your target is low, place the W diagonally from yourself toward your escape route, then run TOWARD your opponent (I know, but trust me). By this time, your target has died from th ult's tick. Now, your will quickly port with R, then immediately follow it with a W port. This makes you untargetable for the time you double port and gets you out of range of a majority of moves. Remember, STICK WITH YOU TEAM if possible. You can't win by yourself, so rely on your teammates before you try to jump in by yourself.
I hope you guys have liked the guide! I know it won't be for everyone, but this is what has consistently worked for me! Remember, Zed isn't for the faint of heart, so until you have gotten really effective at your shadow plants and the Q skillshot, I advise you to practice with bots before you jump into PvP. It takes practice, but if mastered, Zed is truly a force with which to be reckoned. I welcome all questions and comments, so please let me know what you think!