Zilean Build Guide by Culophaus
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Exemplar Glass Cannon Support
Alternative start (aggressive)
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.
Greetings, reader! My name is Culophaus, or Luxel in-game (NA), and this is my first published guide for my favorite, underplayed champion.
Zilean brings a lot of utility to the team, and he doesn't have enough damage with only Time Bombs to justify taking him mid, so support is his best role right now, especially with his rework. This guide follows how I play Zilean in a duo bot lane scenario.
The Lore of the H.G. Wells' Novel: The Time Machilean
Both the current lore and the original lore for Zilean:
This guide doesn't look like you're building a Support champion...
| Zilean has the strength to combine the carry-like pokes and stuns from his Time Bombs with his support-like positioning( Time Warp) and revive( Chronoshift) skills to outperform any enemy duo he faces in bot lane. By building him along my guide's path, his Time Bombs and Chronoshift will reach their full potential without sacrificing any utility with Rewind or Time Warp for the team.
You will support your carry by zoning away the enemy with your crazy burst damage, slowing the enemy down, speeding your carry up, and even keep him alive in seemingly lost situations with your revive. You will open up opportunities for mad plays with your double- Time Bomb stuns, and your carry will love you for it.
Zilean's two abilities Time Bomb and Chronoshift have huge AP ratios. His other two abilties, Rewind and Time Warp, are only affected by CDR. The items that give him the most benefit are a bit on the pricey side, but Zilean can make more use out of these items than anyone else due to his amazing opportunity-making kit he offers to his entire team. I'll outline what items work well on Zilean, and in what situations we should consider buying them, later in the guide.
Pros / Cons
Extremely strong, zoning pokes
Low cooldowns with Rewind
Time Warp hyper movement modifier
Stronger, shareable version of Guardian Angel with Chronoshift at level 6 onward
Snowballs like crazy with Time Bomb damage
Largest non-ultimate stun in the game
Hard to conserve mana
Can be shut down during the lane phase
No sustain outside of Chronoshift
Reliant on a good partner
Suffers from Chronodysplasia
Dances like an old man
Is an old man
Weighing the Pros and the Cons, its easy to see that a whole lot of Zilean's strengths and weaknesses involve his early game. We want to build the right items to mitigate weaknesses as quickly as possible while still playing into his strengths.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Only two of Zilean's abilities scale with AP: Time Bomb and Chronoshift, but what huge scalings they have! We want to abuse Time Bomb's power during the early laning phase where the enemies do not have much, if any, magic resistance built.
|Greater Mark of Magic Penetration runes are much stronger than Greater Mark of Ability Power in terms of giving us damage, so get the former.|
|greater mark of hybrid penetration||greater mark of hybrid penetration runes will lower your magic penetration from 7.83 to 6.75, but it will give you 8.1 armor penetration, which makes your auto attacks do a little bit more damage in the early game. If you feel comfortable in the early game and can make full use of the bonus auto attack damage, then use these runes - but remember, an early stumble can cost either you or your enemy the game. My only suggestion if you take these runes is to make sure you take the alternative aggressive start and load up on Total Biscuit of Rejuvenations to stay healthy while you auto attack.|
|Without Greater Seal of Armors, enemy auto attacks will do a significant amount of damage to you. In order to mitigate any counter-harass, we need these.|
|Greater Seal of Healths are a good choice in general when you're going up against hybrid or pure magic damage because they are "better" than getting Greater Seal of Magic Resists, but in the bottom lane, your primary worry is auto attack harassment. When physical damage is the primary damage source, armor seals are better than health seals(especially with Total Biscuit of Rejuvenations).|
| Greater Glyph of Ability Powers give you more AP than the scaling variant from levels 1 to 7. Only take these runes if you feel that you can pressure the enemy out of lane and deny experience during this time. I prefer these runes because, with a few bombs, a time warp, and a stun in the early game, your ADC will be able to capitalize on your good work by getting first blood and/or shutting down the enemy adc.
If you're not sure whether to get the flat or scaling AP glyphs, feel free to mix and match to find out what works best for you.
|Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Powers are more rewarding in the long run than Greater Glyph of Ability Powers. From levels 1 to 7, the flat amount is better. However, by level 14, the scaling AP amount has doubled the flat AP's value, and continues to grow in strength until its 2.5 times better at level 18. Get these runes if you prefer to have a weaker early game in order to maximize effectiveness during the roaming phase.|
|Greater Quintessence of Ability Power are for stronger early-game Time Bombs. Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Powers are only 1.56 times stronger than the runes we grab at level 18, which means by level 12, they are about equal in strength. This takes too much time to become stronger in my opinion. However, if you would like to take scaling AP quints, it would make your mid-late game a tiny bit stronger than if you grabbed the flat AP quints.|
gives us 5% CDR, which is invaluable on any champion. Two of our skills only scale with CDR, so we want this.
Mental Force gives us a nice increase to our AP every level, capping out at 16 AP at level 18.
Arcane Mastery gives our Time Bombs a little extra zest in the early game.
Expose Weakness helps our ADC deal a little more damage to whoever we hit with our Time Bombs.
helps battle Zilean's mana problems. The amount of mana regenerated can be increased with a Chalice of Harmony!
Fleet of Foot gives us a nice little speed boost to dart in and out of harassment range during the laning phase.
Summoner's Insight helps bring our summoner spells back online 10% quicker. For Flash, that's 30 seconds sooner. For Exhaust, that's 21 seconds sooner. For only 3 points, its a steal!
Alchemist gives us more bang for our buck with Health Potions and Mana Potions. While we harass, we're bound to take a little bit of retaliation. The potions keep us in lane longer, so we can get more XP.
Culinary Master upgrades our Health Potions into Total Biscuit of Rejuvenations. Those give us 20 health and 10 mana immediately on use. Health Potions give about 10 health per second. Just a little extra to stay in lane.
Scavenger will increase our income while sitting near our farming ADC. Each minion wave has 6 or 7 minions in it, and each time our ADC gets a last hit, we get 1 gold. Not much, but it adds up.
Greed gives us some gold every few seconds, which helps line our pockets a little more.
Bandit gives us gold every time we attack an enemy champion. This has synergy with Spellthief's Edge, so we'll get even more gold per poke!
Wealth gives us an extra 40 starting gold, and we use that money to buy a Stealth Ward or two Total Biscuit of Rejuvenations.
Intelligence gives us 5% CDR and reduces the cooldown on activated items by 20%. With Sorcery , we have 10% CDR right out of the gate!
In order of viability:
|Your life relies on your positioning with this build. What summoner spell gives you the best positioning potential? Flash.|
|As Zilean, you have little in the ways of peeling for your carry beyond Time Warp. If the enemy goes all in for a kill and your carry turns to duel them, what's the best thing to do? Exhaust will sway the fight in your favor!|
|Ignite is a great aggressive summoner spell to use when you and your ADC decide to go in for the kill. It deals true damage, so make sure to check how much health your target has before using it to ensure a kill.|
|Teleport can be effective with shrewd use. Example: If your top lane is about to lose a 1v1, you can teleport up there, use your Chronoshift on him, and secure a turnaround kill! Your Time Warp can get you back to your lane right away after a scenario like this. Remember- Zilean's kit is all about making plays, so only take this summoner spell if you feel confident enough to make the most of it- not just to get back to your own lane quicker.|
|Barrier can be useful if you're just getting used to playing this squishy champion, as it will give you a little forgiveness for taking some burst damage. However, in the long run, you should learn not to rely on this because it doesn't give your ADC any benefit.|
Do not take
|Clarity is not useful with this build. Once we get a Chalice of Harmony into an Athene's Unholy Grail, our mana problems will be gone, and we wouldn't use this spell again. Make sure to pick a summoner spell that you'd be able to make use of throughout the whole game!|
|Heal has re-entered the meta due to its great health bonus on top of movement speed. However, your carry will probably take this. Using two Heals lowers their effectiveness, so be cautious.|
|Ghost is very similar to Time Warp, but it lasts four times as long and its effect is only a fourth as intense. Literally. Time Warp lasts 2.5 seconds and its boost will get up to 99% move speed. Ghost lasts 10 seconds and its boost is 27%. 27% x 4 = 108%. In total, the extra 9% means you'll move a little bit further than if you used Time Warp once. Ghost is a poor man's version of Time Warp since its cooldown is also super long.|
|With the Farsight Orb's addition into the game, Clairvoyance is essentially worthless.|
|This summoner spell is very selfish, as in, only you would get the benefit. If you get caught in a situation where Time Warp and Flash can't help you, Cleanse won't help you.|
|I've seen some Jungle Zilean videos and such, and I won't comment on that. In regards to playing Zilean in the support role, the only benefit you'd have from Smite would be in securing objectives - let your jungler handle it.|
|The passive Heightened Learning helps yourself and your carry (allies within range) get an experience advantage on the enemy! Stay alive and stay nearby so they get the most benefit!|
| Time Bomb is your only damage skill. Its burst can be doubled when paired with Rewind. Click a location, and the bomb will be thrown there over a set period of time. After three seconds, the target and everything in the area will take full damage. If a unit walks over the bomb, it will attach to them - friendly or not. If you throw this into the fog of war, you will gain sight until it explodes. While some champions may be difficult to hit, applying a target with Time Warp first will make it very easy.
Throwing a Time Bomb on an enemy, then using Rewind, will give you the chance to throw a Time Bomb on the same target again! Applying a second bomb to a target that already has a bomb on them will instantly detonate the first one and restart the timer til the new bomb's explosion. The first explosion will cause all damaged units to get stunned - this can only occur if a target gets two bombs applied to them before the first one detonates naturally. This is known as the Q-W-Q combo, and is the core of Zilean's damage. REMEMBER: The stun affects everyone who gets hit by the bomb - if a target is proving difficult to tag, aim both bombs at a nearby minion or ally who's movement is predictable in order to apply the full damage and stun.
Be careful when harassing, because not having your first bomb ready means that there will be more times where your full Q-W-Q combo isn't available, and that means you won't have the AoE stun. Enemies might realize this and use it as an opportunity to attack.
|Rewind is your W skill, and it makes Zilean rather frightening. Pressing W will instantly cast the spell and lower Time Bomb's and Time Warp's cooldowns by 10 seconds, but not lower its own or Chronoshift's cooldown.|
| Time Warp is your E skill. Clicking on a target will instantly cast the spell - slow an enemy, or speed up an ally(or yourself!). Time Warp lasts for 2.5 seconds. This is the strongest slow in the game at level 5, Nasus's Wither coming in second for building up to 95% over time. You cannot cast this on minions or monsters. Feel free to use this on a target in order to land easy Time Bombs!
TIP: Like Rewind, this skill does not scale with anything other than cooldown reduction and player skill. If a player can make use of the speed buff, make sure to give it to them!
| Chronoshift is your ultimate skill. This ability will instantly cast when you target an allied champion or yourself. Upon activation, the target receives a 5 second buff. If the target dies during this time, they will enter stasis, become untargetable, and revive after 2 seconds.
This skill requires some practice to get used to- If you cast it too soon, the enemy might notice and change targets so the buff isn't activated, if you cast it too late, you risk being too slow and letting them die. My suggestion is to err on the side of being earlier than usual. If anything, it will give your target 5 seconds if pseudo-invincibility, because the enemy will refrain from landing a killing blow, or trigger it and refill your target's health pool.
Zilean doesn't have any means for sustaining damage outside of his burst(like Lulu auto-attacking with Pix, Faerie Companion), and his auto attacks have no modifiers or damage increases(like Leona's Shield of Daybreak or Thresh's Flay) so he has little reason to auto attack other than to proc
and Spellthief's Edge. Zilean won't frequently auto attack outside of the early game because it does very, very, very little damage. Instead, we want to rely on Time Bombs to do damage. Because of this, and because Chronoshift is extremely powerful with its huge 200% AP ratio, we stack AP.
Champions like Taric, Thresh, and Leona benefit from being directly in the fray, so they build items as such- with armor and close-range AoE things like Randuin's Omen, Sunfire Cape, etc. Zilean benefits from being able to stay away from the fray, so he has to build as such- with lots of AP and CDR to make his long-ranged abilities potent and frequent.
|We start with Spellthief's Edge because it gives us everything we could ever want this early in the game: AP for stronger pokes, mana regen for more pokes, cash flow for each poke, and some passively acquired gold over time. Upgrade this to Frostfang to double the AP, mana regeneration, gold per poke, and the gold we passively acquire every 10 seconds. Frost Queen's Claim builds out of Frostfang and gives us some invaluable stats for a low amount of gold. The active can coat an entire team and the CDR is amazing- make sure to use it to its full potential!
If the enemy is extremely slippery, consider replacing your Frost Queen's Claim with Twin Shadows in the late game - you trade the gold generation, mana regen, and the AoE ice lance for a longer-distance two-target slow that's half as intense, more AP, and more movement speed.
|If you want to ensure survival, or you're up against a lane where you will receive constant harassment ( Caitlyn + Lulu/ Lux for example), starting with a Crystalline Flask is a possible choice. This gives you bursts of mana and health whenever you need it, and you'll save money on splurging on potions. With the money we save, we can get our next big buy without getting forced out of lane. With this item, we won't be spending much money on Health Potions, so we don't need the Culinary Master mastery.|
|A Chalice of Harmony will keep you from running out of mana, which is Zilean's largest problem early game. Getting an Athene's Unholy Grail will solve every mana problem you'll ever have on top of giving you ability power, magic resistance, and 20% cooldown reduction- everything we need! If we want to get something like a zeke's herald for our ADC, then we don't get Athene's Unholy Grail due to going over 40% cooldown reduction - the regeneration from a Chalice of Harmony is enough to keep our mana pool healthy.
TIP: Mana Potions and Chalice of Harmony work together! When you use a Mana Potion, it increases your mana regeneration for 15 seconds. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? This means that it is affected by Chalice of Harmony's passive! If you use a mana potion when you are low on mana, you can greatly increase the potion's effectiveness!
|Boots of Speed are necessary, as movement speed is needed to keep you alive and to harass. Turn these into Boots of Mobility to go zoom zoom with better positioning. Don't get Sorcerer's Shoes because the damage increase is insignificant due to only having Time Bombs that benefit from it - trading the little extra damage for the huge movement speed boost is not worth it.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass is an invaluable item in difficult AD match ups as it will not only give you more damage, but also a huge amount of armor and an active that allows you to survive through sustained damage like channeled spells! This is very expensive, though, and your careful positioning should keep you out of harm's way. Get this item if AD assassins are causing you grief- Zed, Shaco, etc. You'll get survivability from their attacks and give you some extra power to fight back.|
|Rabadon's Deathcap is core on pretty much every AP hero in League of Legends because it really marks the turning point in a match where the champion goes nuclear- on top of getting 120 AP, your total AP is also increased by 30%~! Get this if you are really snowballing but don't need the extra movement speed from Luden's Echo, and you will scare everyone on the enemy team. If you are behind or in an even match, I would suggest waiting til you have 40% CDR. Getting cooldown reduction items are extremely beneficial to your whole team since those allow you to use Time Warp and Chronoshift more frequently. You are a support, after all!|
|Banner of Command? Yes. This item gives a nice chunk of AP, some CDR, health, and its aura helps out allies. Most people still overlook it as a troll-ish item, but consider the following: Zilean's minion wave clear is extremely quick, and his movespeed is very high, so he's able to push down a lane very effectively- the only problem he has is actually taking out a tower with his auto attacks. If the opportunity arises and your team doesn't need you, why not split push to give a minion some steroids? An Anti-turret cannon(Yeah, that's what its called. Totally serious) can push hard and do a huge chunk of damage to the enemy tower- sometimes outright destroying it! Consider buying this item if the game is at a stalemate, if you haven't reached the CDR cap, and/or your goal is to split push.|
|Ohmwrecker is an extremely situational item that can turn off a turret for 3 seconds. It gives a small chunk of armor, health, and CDR, but this item should only be bought for the utility of using its active. The only roles that would consider getting this would be backdoor pushers like Master Yi. I suggest that you only get this item if your team is on the offensive and needs the 3 seconds of time, because Zilean doesn't have the kit to capitalize on this item by himself. Do not get this if you are on the defensive and losing.|
|Twin Shadows offers a good slab of ability power and 10% CDR, but what makes this item amazing is its bonus movement speed and active. While you are chasing or fleeing, you can use this item even if you lose sight of the enemy champion in the fog of war, and the shadows will chase 'em down. The range and speed on the ghosts goes far beyond Time Warp and Frost Queen's Claim's ice lance. This range makes it safe for you to use in nearly any situation that calls for a slowed enemy. Plus, this item makes you move quicker, which is a core aspect of keeping Zilean alive. I'd suggest this item when you need the extra damage on top of the that extra CC against slippery enemies, like a Singed. In the late game, if you don't want your Frost Queen's Claim anymore, replace it with this.|
| Morellonomicon gives a nice chunk of AP, can cap out of CDR if we get an Athene's Unholy Grail, mana regeneration that stacks with the Grail's passive, and an awesome anti-ADC passive that cuts healing and regeneration in half. Morellonomicon is very strong against champions that rely on regaining health- lifestealer ADCs, Dr. Mundo, Vladimir, Mordekaiser, and anyone else I've forgotten to mention. The passive only affects those that fall below 40% health, though, so make sure to have a Time Bomb ready for when that happens!
A note about the Morellonomicon on Zilean... if you were to do a QWQ combo on someone below 40% total hp, the first bomb would instantly activate the Grievous Wounds for 4 seconds, and after 3 seconds, the second Time Bomb would activate to give another 4 seconds. This gives the passive 7 seconds of being active. Also, don't forget- Time Bombs deal splash damage, so you could theoretically coat and stun an entire enemy team with Grievous Wounds. However, keep in mind that your Time Bombs can stun, and the stun might be enough to kill a target that requires lifesteal, so you might not need this item.
|Will of the Ancients is a rather inexpensive item that gives us AP, CDR, and spellvamp to keep us alive. This is a good item to get if you happen to be taking a lot of damage and you keep running out of biscuits- keep in mind, however, that the only skill you have that benefits from spellvamp is your Time Bombs, so use them in large crowds to get larger healing effects!|
|Void Staff is an extremely strong item on Zilean- especially so if you happen to be one of the only sources of AP damage on the team. This item will let you start dealing significant damage to enemies that get magic resistance, but its important to remember that your only ability that will benefit from this is Time Bomb. Make sure your team needs the extra AP damage before buying this. You'd get this item in a game against a scary Galio, or an entire team that's building things like Abyssal Scepter/ Maw of Malmortius/ Spirit Visage.|
|Liandry's Torment is a rather expensive item that gives a chunk of health and some damage to Zilean; 50 AP, +15 Magic Pen, and damage over time. The damage over time is doubled if the target is slowed, and with Time Warp and a QWQ combo, we can do that. However, the only ability that benefits from this is Time Bomb, so this item should only be bought with that in mind. Generally, this item is better suited for champions that deal lots of constant damage over time in order to keep the passive rolling- champions like Singed, Malzahar, Teemo, Cassiopeia, etc. The cost of this item is huge, and it is very hard to get your money's worth out of the passive with only Time Bombs. You'd be better off getting a Void Staff instead- that costs much less and doesn't require you to Time Warp your target every time you Time Bomb them. If you need the health, buy a Rylai's Crystal Scepter instead for the same gold amount.|
|This item is nice for champions that stick close to the action with other allies that can make use of the passive magic resist reduction, like Ryze or Nunu, but as Zilean, you usually aren't within aura range of your target. If you are, then you're not safely positioned and risk getting killed very quickly. I highly suggest against buying this.|
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives a nice boost to Zilean's health, as well as a big boost to AP. The passive is weakened on him, though, because Time Bombs count as a multi-target spell, so the passive slow is reduced a lot. If you're looking into getting beefier with more survivability vs. AD and AP, more damage with Time Bombs, and team-fight presence, then I'd recommend this item. Rod of Ages offers the same sort of stats- more health, lots of mana, a little less AP, and a defensive passive. Make sure you buy the right item for whatever your game calls for. If you only need the survivability, and you have the time, then Rod of Ages will be a better choice.|
|This item is super expensive, and Zilean's strongest asset is his mobility- he can hit people with Time Bombs and run away instantly. Nashor's Tooth is meant for auto-attacking AP champions, like a Jax, Teemo, or Diana. If a Zilean sits in place to auto-attack his target, he'll get dog-piled on and melted immediately. Do not get this, even if you want to use it to take down towers. I tested it out briefly on a split-pushing Zilean build, and it doesn't work at all. He attacks a little bit quicker when at towers, but the item is totally worthless anywhere else in the match. If you want to split-push, just get a Banner of Command- the super minion will do more damage than the Nashor's Tooth would have done, and it is muuuuuuuuch better for him.|
|Mejai's Soulstealer increases your AP every time you get a kill or assist, but you lose some of the gained AP if you die. This is a very risky item to get, but the potential benefit you can get from this is very enticing- especially since you're an assist magnet and usually out of harm's way. I would only suggest getting this item during the mid-game when you have been able to size up your opponents and see how the match is going; if your lane has won, your team is far ahead in kills, and you've been getting many assists already, then perhaps its time to get on the hype train and start powering up that soulstealer! This item is really risky, though, because its strength directly correlates with how well you are doing. As such, only get this item if you are doing very well. You won't know if you're doing well or not until around the mid game, so avoid rushing this item if you got a lucky early-game double kill.|
|Locket of the Iron Solari is a good team item that gives you health, magic resistance, CDR, an aura for your team that gives magic resist and health regeneration, and an active that shields everyone in range for a chunk of health. The only problem with this item is that Zilean isn't always in aura-range of all of his allies like the jungler or top champion is, so I usually ask them to buy this instead. Being in range to give the benefit of the active and the aura is sometimes very risky, so I only recommend this item with a cautionary warning: the reason why we don't build a lot of survivability items is because Zilean doesn't have to be close to danger to be effective; the problem with this item, though, is that he will have to be close to danger in order to make the item effective.|
|Elixir of Sorcery gives a nice chunk of AP, mana regeneration, and a damage buff for a very low cost of 400 gold. This item is a consumable, and will be lost after 3 minutes(3 minutes and 18 seconds with our Alchemist mastery), or on death. This item is invaluable in the late game when you have built all 6 of your items, because it doesn't require an item slot to be effective. However, if you do buy this without all 6 item slots filled, you can choose when to activate it. However, this is not a permanent item, and should only be bought with that in mind. I suggest buying this item only after you have your core completed, and only if you can make use of the increased stats for the short duration- don't buy this 'just in case'.|
|I used to have Rod of Ages in the core of my build, but it requires a lot of investment in order to be at full strength- 10 minutes, in fact- so I've decided to include it as a good choice, albeit situational. If a match up is going well, I suggest rushing other strong AP items to keep the pressure up instead of this. If you're having difficulty and need to play passively, then you should get this item early in order to start charging it up. It gives a big chunk of health, mana, AP, and a passive that helps keep you in the lane/fight for longer periods of time. This item is similar to Rylai's Crystal Scepter in terms of what we want to get out of it- survivability and damage. However, this rod's base cost is 100 gold less, and its growing stats end up making this item about 1000 gold more efficient than the scepter.|
|Archangel's Staff also used to be in the core of my build, but it can take even more time than a Rod of Ages to charge up and become a Seraph's Embrace. The mana, AP, and shield it gives are extremely useful on Zilean, but this item is better with lots of mana items, and with an Athene's Unholy Grail, we don't need lots of mana- we just need the mana regeneration. The goal of this build is to buff up our early game as much as we can, and while we try to build this item, we risk getting shut down. Also, because we don't build mana, this item is not a good choice for our build. It is not a bad item, however! If you decide to get items like a Frozen Heart, Rod of Ages, and Rabadon's Deathcap, then getting a Seraph's Embrace would seriously boost your AP and effectiveness in a match. In general, though, unless you go into a match knowing you're going to buy this, don't buy it.|
|This item used to be a safe start for Zilean, but it was recently changed to be essentially worthless once you leave the lane. Our early game is very weak, and we can't afford to get this item because it makes us stay really close to danger in order to heal. A Crystalline Flask will keep you safer, and you'll save money on potions in the long run.|
|Luden's Echo is a new AP caster item that gives us 120 AP and a nice chunk of movement speed. It acts like Statikk Shiv in the sense that, after increasing the charge to 100 via moving and casting spells, the next cast spell will deal bonus damage to the target and also create three purple balls that damage three nearby enemies. This item works well on Zilean because, while most AP casters do not need the movement speed, we can benefit from it beautifully. Likewise, our only damage ability is our Time Bombs, so this item's passive helps give us more 'oomph'. It is very expensive, though, so only build this in the same case you'd consider building a Rabadon's Deathcap.|
How to play against other supports!
|Easy. Avoid getting too close. Poke his ADC when possible. His Triumphant Roar heals himself more than his allies, so avoid poking him.
|Easy. Avoid his grab and getting too close. Punish his missed grabs by poking both him and his ADC.
|Easy/Medium. Avoid skill shots and try to bait out her heals. Poke either her or her ADC whenever possible.
|Easy/Medium. Beware his stun and getting too close. Poke his ADC cautiously.
|Easy/Medium. Beware her pokes. Focus her when possible to shut her down.
|Medium. Poke either him or his ADC whenever possible. Beware Magical Journey ganks.
|Medium. Avoid getting too close. Poke his ADC cautiously.
|Medium. Avoid skill shots and getting too close. Punish his missed hooks by playing aggressively- poke either him or his ADC.
|Medium. Avoid overextending when her passive is ready. Poke either her ADC, or her when Molten Shield is on cooldown.
|Medium. Dodge her Howling Gale and avoid getting too close due to her Zephyr.
|Medium. Beware her silence and heals. Poke her or her ADC when possible.
|Medium/Hard. Avoid her skill shots and standing within melee range. Poke either her or her ADC whenever possible.
|Medium/Hard. Avoid her skill shots and always stay close to your carry. Poke either her or her ADC when possible.
|Hard. Poke her or her carry through the minion wave for safety. Play cautiously.
|Hard. Play defensively and replace his Time Bombs with your own.
Best carry choices!
While playing, I have found that there are a few carry champions that work exceptionally well with Zilean. The following are in no particular order of best to worst.
|This lane is exceptionally fun and safe to play in. Sivir's Spell Shield will protect her from most CC and initiations, and her Boomerang Blade helps poke the enemy hard along with your own Time Bombs. If you two are getting ganked, On The Hunt along with Time Warp will get both of you out of there quickly. One of my favorite match ups.|
|This is a very strong kill lane. Using Time Warp on an enemy will keep them under Draven's pressure with Spinning Axe and Blood Rush. In the case of a gank, Stand Aside can break any channeled spell and give you just enough time to escape. Those that realize too late that their health is low can easily be picked off by Whirling Death.|
|A very risky lane, but extremely prone to slowballing. Twitch's Ambush along with you casting Time Bomb and Time Warp on him will give him a very quick and unexpected initiation. Your strong zoning keeps him safe and constantly farming. If he does get in trouble(as Twitches tend to melt quickly), Chronoshift will keep him in the fight. His Contaminate(R.I.P. Expunge) and your Time Bombs together are extremely strong burst tools that can easily mop up any early game fight. You will destroy anyone too silly to approach you two.|
|This is another very safe lane to be in. Graves has a good poke with Buckshot, lots of surviveability with his passive True Grit, and a dash Quickdraw to close in on your targets when you use Time Warp. His Collateral Damage is a huge AoE nuke that works well with your Time Bomb AoE damage in teamfights. One of my favorite match ups.|
|This lane works well. She's very passive with her long distance, so she is generally safe by herself and is able to back away from any harassment while you go to work. If she wants to play more aggressively, she can stand closer to the minion wave and help you poke nearby enemy champions. If you get into trouble, she has a good slow with Frost Shot that can hit multiple targets when paired with Volley. Those that realize too late that their health is low can easily be picked off by Enchanted Crystal Arrow. I've been having good luck with this duo.|
Warding with the Chronobro!
While trinkets have made the warding game much easier now that everyone can be part of it, the support is still the primary source of sight for a team- especially in the bot lane, where your ADC should keep their focus on farming and staying alive. This section will outline the specifics of your job regarding warding!
|As Zilean, what trinket should you get to join the warding fight?|
|In the majority of your games, you will want to get a Warding Totem so you can get vision in important bushes around the bot lane during the laning phase. With this trinket, you'll still buy a Sightstone sometime in the early game- the trinket is nice, but the Sightstone gives us wards with 3 minute lives instead of only 1 or 2 minutes. Once you get a Sightstone, you don't need this trinket anymore, so you should buy a Sweeping Lens to get control over objectives and bushes. If you do want to keep it, make sure to upgrade the trinket into a Greater Vision Totem in order to get constant vision and invisibility detection in really important places, like the Baron or Dragon pit, or even plopping it down in a Teemo lane or during a fight with Akali or Twitch. Having the invisibility detection is invaluable.|
|Get a Sweeping Lens if you want to clear wards. Usually, we sell our Warding Totem to buy this once we finish getting our Sightstone. This is a very strong trinket to bring to the bot lane because it can de-ward the river bush for your jungler, or even de-ward the lane bushes to remove any possible zoning that the enemy was doing. If you start the game with this trinket, you absolutely need to rush the Sightstone because only your ADC will have vision with his Warding Totem and you shouldn't make him leave the lane to get some gank prevention- he needs to constantly farm. Upgrade this to Oracle's Lens if you want invisible detection for 8 seconds after using. This is effective while clearing out Noxious Traps, Jack In The Boxes, Stealth Wards, chasing a Deceived Shaco, A Wukong Decoy, etc. Most games will end with you buying this trinket after you buy that Sightstone.|
|The Scrying Orb got a little bit of a buff recently- if you cast it on someone with its buffed range, they get revealed for a few seconds. As it levels up, its range increases dramatically and (level 2 Greater Orb to level 3 Farsight Orb upgrade)its cooldown decreases dramatically. THIS WILL NOT REVEAL INVISIBLE UNITS. Get this trinket if you are hesitant to facecheck bushes, invades are frequent, or if you want to get that 5-second vision on an enemy after casting it on them. Once again, if you get this trinket, make sure you rush a Sightstone.|
In the bot lane, there are several places you should focus your attention on when it comes to warding. Ranked in order of importance, they are:
The River Bush,
The Dragon Pit.
the Lane Bushes,
the Bottom TriBush,
the Top TriBush,
the Bottom Side Bush.
|At the start of the game, buying a Stealth Ward is highly recommended. Your only other option to get sustained sight is through the Warding Totem, and it lasts 2 minutes less pre-level 9. Use your Stealth Ward in the River Bush, because that is your #1 priority- having vision here can give you warning of any potential ganks and keep you alive for a 75 gold investment. Once you get a Sightstone, you shouldn't buy these anymore. If you're finding yourself running out of wards, consider upgrading to a Ruby Sightstone- on top of an extra ward charge, it also gives you more HP and saves you a lot of gold on Stealth Wards in the long run.|
|Vision Wards are more expensive, but they have the ability to see any invisible units, like Stealth Wards, Noxious Traps, Evelynn, etc. They will also last forever, but are visible to any champion, so they can be easily destroyed by the enemy team. Generally, you want to use these wards on places that don't have high traffic, like the Dragon Pit or the Baron Pit so you can constantly see the monster, but also so they won't get run over and destroyed by any passersby. Once you upgrade to a Greater Vision Totem, you can be more lenient with where you decide to put them- such as in the River Bush to de-ward any possible enemy Stealth Wards. Just remember that you are only allowed to have one of this type of ward, so quickly replace it in a Pit if you use it for another reason! If you don't have the upgraded trinket yet, only buy these for the Pits.|
During the early game, your objective is to give your ADC as easy of a time farming as possible- this means that you want to poke the enemy at every possible moment to zone them away from the minion wave. You are very squishy and will take harassment, so make sure you always stay healthy - do not hesitate to buy Total Biscuit of Rejuvenations - we got that mastery for a reason, and spending money on health is worthwhile to keep the pressure up and force kills!
You will risk pushing the minion wave with bombs. Be careful. If you do get pushed up, be very conscious about bomb placement and warding the river. While Time Warp can help escape a gank, it can only do so much this early in the game if you're up against the enemy tower.
You want to rush a Sightstone to get warning for any jungler ganks. At about 3 minutes into the game, you should place the Stealth Ward you bought at the beginning in the River Bush, because it is around this time that most junglers will be done clearing out the red and blue buffs. Save your trinket ward for the Lane Bushes.
Dragon: Once the Dragon spawns, you should buy a Vision Ward and put it in the pit so you can have a constant view of the area. This ward will help you remove any other enemy Stealth Wards in the area so you can kill the Dragon in peace. Generally, a team won't try to kill the Dragon without some sort of clear advantage over the opposite team- if an early-game gank is successful on the bot lane, then the winning ADC, Support, Jungler, and Mid can all move in to try and kill it. Be wary of the enemy jungler, however, because they will have Smite and might be able to attempt a steal by Flashing into range and attempting to get the killing blow. In order to prevent this, place a Stealth Ward in the jungle by standing near the back of the pit and placing it over the wall. This way, you'll be able to see if the jungler is approaching and waiting for a steal chance.
Baron Nashor: The Baron has not spawned yet at this point in the game.
During the mid game, a couple of towers will have been destroyed, and you'll start roaming around the map with your ADC. Make sure that you stay with your ADC- do not run off by yourself to farm or to split push at this point in the game- your ADC still needs you. Your Time Bombs should deal a considerable chunk of damage, and your Time Warps and Time Bomb stuns should be strong enough to give your ADC enough time to kill whoever gets targeted by you with it. If you decide to push down a second-tier tower together, make sure to use your Sightstone in places like the TriBushes and the Bottom Side Bush so you can see any possible ambushes or ganks.
Dragon: You won't have to rely on a lot of players to kill the Dragon like in the early game, but you are still at risk of it getting stolen by anyone who notices you in the pit. Once again, put a ward in the jungle to see if anyone is waiting for a steal. Make sure you keep some sort of ward in this pit so you can get a warning if the enemy team is trying to kill it, and if you have it, use your Sweeping Lens when you arrive so you can see any enemy Stealth Wards. Try to kill the Dragon whenever its alive- the gold, experience, and buff it gives is extremely beneficial.
Baron: The baron will spawn around this time, but no one will attempt to kill it until everyone on their team is strong enough and they have clear advantage over the enemy(exception- some champions like Tryndamere have the potential to solo kill the Baron if they get fed). Putting a Vision Ward in this pit will give you a long and constant vision of this objective that can sometimes last into the late game- if you make sure to put the vision ward against the back wall in the pit- it might not be seen by passersby.
Your objective in the late game is now to help anyone who needs it- not just your ADC- and to split push lanes with your extremely fast movement speed and minion wave clear speed. Your primary target for Time Bombs are any squishy targets, like the enemy ADC or APC. Beware their damage output, but remember that your Time Bombs paired with Time Warp can make you quite hard to catch while you keep dealing damage. If a large teamfight is starting to form, make sure to be nearby to help- don't splitpush(unless instructed to do so) because your kit benefits the team in a huge way.
Dragon: The Dragon sometimes starts to get ignored by the team at large around this time of the game, but if you remember to keep Stealth Wards nearby, it can give your team an opportunity for a quick and easy chunk of gold, experience, and buff. Usually, the jungler can solo kill the Dragon within a few seconds at this point, so you don't have to be present- just keep it warded.
Baron: The Baron is an extremely important objective in the late game- it gives a team a huge bonus to all of their stats, so it is imperative that you do not lose sight of him. If you do, the enemy team might be able to sneakily kill it without you knowing and rushing in to contest it. Baron Nashor needs constant sight, so make sure to always have a Vision Ward or a Stealth Ward in his pit. When it comes to actually killing Baron Nashor, you don't have much damage to add other than your Time Bombs, so consider rushing into the nearby jungle and putting down some Stealth Wards to see if any of the enemy team is approaching you to contest it.
The Epilogue of Zilly Pilgrim
Support Zilean is a dancing game of fancy footwork in and out of the enemy's harass range. The enemy can't ignore you because you deal tons of damage, but they can't focus you because all it takes is the blink of an eye to drop a Time Bomb, and then you're out of there with a Time Warp and a laugh! You're like a crafty eel that's attached to a flying clock. You are Z'eel'ean! You have the damage to zone anyone in the bot lane, the speed to juke out of any skill shots and casting ranges, and the trickery to fool an enemy into over-committing while you have your ultimate ready and waiting. What a pesky eel you are!
Thanks for reading my guide! Its been up for over a year now, and its still going strong! I'll make sure to keep updating and revising it as I test out more things and take in feedback. Make sure you vote it up if you liked it, and comment about anything you like, dislike, want me to add, or just to ask about anything you want- I want an open dialogue with anyone who wants to discuss Zilean!